Re: [asa] ID vis a vis id

From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Jun 04 2009 - 13:29:11 EDT

I'll make comments about the handout separately. I just wanted to present
the facts and evidence as best I could.

The story behind the handout

==================

This is the story of what the School of Environmental Studies in Apple
Valley Minnesota did to one student and her family. We are not going to
reveal any details pertaining to how this matter came to our attention. That
is for courts and attorneys to learn during discovery.

The student, who shall be called Jane Doe, was apparently an 11th grade
student who comes from a Christian family. Its not that she didn't undertand
the evolutionary theory presented in class, she just did not accept it. The
teacher could not accept that Jane Doe did not accept the offical
presentation. So the teacher decided to give out the following two page
handout.

It is not clear as to whether Jane Doe was the only student in the class to
recieve the handout or whether the handout was given to the entire class. It
is clear however that the handout was not deemed necessary (i.e., was not
part of the regular curriculum) until Jane Doe said she just didn't believe
the evolution unit. Thus the handout was a reaction by the teacher to Jane
Doe's apparent unbelieving attitude.

Upon receiving the handout Jane Doe was very unhappy. She took the handout
home to share with her parents. The parents were shocked and angered. No
other details shall be relayed about the Doe family. Obviously they did not
keep this matter to themselves.
Text from the handout (Page 14)
========================

*Creationism versus Science*

*Creationism: The Appeal to Authority*

The creation science response to evidence from physics,
geology,chemistry,biology, and the related sciences is still the one that
biblical literalists were struggling to maintain in the nineteenth century.
More Text (Page 15)
=========================
I believe that I fairly summarize their position as follows: "If there is
any contradiction between a literal interpretation of the Bible and
knowledge derived from scientific studies, the latter cannot be true because
God's word was dictated verbatim to Moses and therefore cannot be false." A
fundamental point in their quarrel with science is the biblically based
position that the age of the Earth is about 6,000 years old - certainly no
older than 10,000 years. Earth and everything on it was created in six days.
Adam was created directly by God in his image and likeness; therefore humans
can in no way have evolved from lower mammals. In addition, creation
science, masquerading as science, rejects well established methods of
seeking scientific truth through research, by which scientists develop
hypotheses, theories, and models to explain the data.

These assumptions by creation science are central issues for us because they
relate not only to the validity of scientific studies, and especially those
in the life, Earth, and astronomical sciences, but also to the understanding
of God's through a sound and reverent application of critical method. The
creation science position basically holds that all the most important truths
are explicit in the Bible, and that many conclusions are or theories based
on the results of scientific studies, such as evolution or the age of the
universe and Earth, are illusory.

Sincere people of earlier generations did the best they could with what they
knew. Today, however, abundant resources are at hand, so that solidly
founded science and religion can not only coexist peacefully, but they may
mutually enrich the practitioners of each, should they so desire.

Science, the Appeal to Evidence

Although creation science proponents claim not to be opposed to science, it
is clear that they reject the most important parts of the work that experts
in the fields of science do, namely the devlopment of models and theories to
explain data. Creation scientists either do not grasp or choose to ignore
the nature theory, claiming that a widely accepted explanation of the data
is by competent scientists is only a theory.

Characteristically, creation science claims that "there is no scientific
proof" for evolutionary theory, to which they are unalterably opposed. But
no respectable scientist claims that the evidence for a particular theory of
evolution is so compelling and complete that it should be regarded as
"proven", meaning "completely understood," including its mechanism. Strictly
speaking, a theory cannot be proven in the same sense that a mathematical
theorem can be proven. Theories are erected on evidence. As studies proceed,
the evidence increases, the theories are modified, and our understanding
improves.

By now experts have presented evidence for evolution that is so massive and
cinvincing that the general validity of the theory is logically
demonstrated. From Darwin to the present, the best available data at any
given time have provided a basis for modifying specific theories of the
evolutionary process. A given theory of evolution in 1890 must be very
different from one in 1980 or 2080 because, on the

More Text (page 16A)

=======================

basis of new evidence, our understanding of of the theory itself evolves.
However, it is the nature of scientific investigation that the strong
corroboration of a theory is secured by evidence. Overwhelming evidence for
evolution and uniformitarianism has come from molecular biology, embryology,
taxonomy, genetics, zoology, comparative anatomy, physiology, geology,
stratigraphy, paleontology, paleoanthropology, physics, chemistry, and
astronomy.

The amount and variety of evidence tracing the persistent process of
evolution throughout most of the Earth's history is so great that geologists
generally accept evolution as "proven" -- "proof" being a logical deduction
as to the cogency of the evidence: a theory so convincing that prudence
dictates acceptance.

One of the objectives of scientific investigation is to try to discover
mechanisms; however, the demonstration of the logical validity of a theory
is independent of the of the discovery of the mechanism. For example, plate
tectonic theory in geology has now been generally accepted among geologists
by the accumulation of massive amounts of evidence, although its mechanism
is not yet fully understood.

More Text (Page 16B)

=======================

Two Kinds of Knowledge

[in the margin: "sci cannot explain religion & rel. cannot explain
creation"]

The Genesis narrative, therefore, and the conclusions of science as to the
age and origin of the universe, of Earth, and of life, including human life,
belong to two interactive but distinct apects of human understanding.
Genesis should be interpreted as saying very little, if anything of
relevance today about the age and mode of origin of Earth and living things.
The story of creation is a prelude to the story of Adam and Eve's fall and
the consequent human estrangement from God. As salvation history, its
message is a religious one.

More Text (Page 17)
===========================

biblical scholarship and the distinct roles of scientific knowledge and
religious faith. The Bible has a very special place in our culture, and even
students from fundamentalists backgrounds are often pleasantly surprised and
relieved to learn that there are sound methods of interpreting the Bible
that in no way conflict with with science.

A sound and critical analysis of Genesis makes it clear that the authors of
that book had as their main objective to produce a history of Israel that
provided a religious message and guidelines to an intimate relationship with
the personal God who made a covenant with Israel. It is equally clear from
other considerations that the role of science is to investigate the
universe, including earth, and to understand how it came to be as it is.
Religious people who believe that God is the creator of the universe and the
author of those laws by which it operates should find no conflict between
science and religion.

[in the margin: an indecipherable note, and a bracket over the above
paragraph with the word"summary"]

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Received on Thu Jun 4 13:29:41 2009

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