[asa] science playground parable

From: Merv Bitikofer <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Mon Jun 29 2009 - 00:50:44 EDT

As a result of recent exchanges here (and the Poythress book treatment
of this), I thought of a little sketch to help "paint a picture" of the
issue. Let me know what you think. Here it is; I'll call it "Science
playground".

On the edge of our science playground, kids stare up at the forbidding,
tall, dangerous looking structure, toying with the idea of getting to
the top of it somehow. The MN kids say, “There is no playground
equipment available for anybody to be able to get up there. And besides,
it’s not technically even on the playground.”

The I.D. kids in the group take this as a challenge AND as patently
false. “What do you mean we can’t do that?! --As a matter of fact, we
already have!” they declare.

“Then you must have used a ladder or some other non-playground equipment
that you aren’t admitting to,” retort the MN kids.

Meanwhile, closer to the middle of the playground, some PN kids yell to
the crowd gathered at the edge: “Hey, what fantasies beyond the edge do
you all think you’re looking for? --when will you become more
open-minded like us and realize that this patch of playground is the
only thing that exists and that nobody can ever leave it?”

The crowd at the edge snickers at this and then resumes their own more
thoughtful discussion. The I.Ders charge: “how come you MN kids try to
keep us from exploring this? You’re just like the PN kids huddled in the
middle there; in fact you’re probably no different from them. They are
MN too!”

“Huh? Where does that come from?” ask the MNers at the edge. “Many of us
go exploring beyond this playground all the time! We’re just not trying
to pretend that we’ve never left it when we do. It doesn’t go on
forever, you know!”

...and off they go happily exploring together, through dell and fen.
They can dicker about playground boundaries another time. (Okay, I'm a
sucker for happy endings. Strike the last line if you are artistically
offended.)

--Merv

Or this crossed my mind as another comparison that may help illustrate:
We pray for safety as we prepare to drive places. But we still keep our
hands on the wheel, eyes open, and attend to our driving affairs the
same as anybody else who may or may not be religious. I guess you could
call us MN drivers who see no conflict between praying for safety while
working to secure it as best we can just the same as anybody else,
seeing no conflict between our work and our prayers. Nobody charges us
with: "Hey, you're really an atheist since you are driving as if God
alone can't keep you on the road. --What's the matter? Don't you trust Him?"

--Merv

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Received on Mon Jun 29 00:51:27 2009

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