Re: [asa] ASA Newsletter

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Tue Sep 08 2009 - 14:29:39 EDT


I think if a question and it's answer are important enough then one
doesn't leave it to exist only in an email chat room.

 Yes, I agree, drive by questions from atheists dinging the historicity and
truthfulness of Christianity are indeed the nature of the medium. But isn't
that why
it is better to point the questioner to the answers that were worked out
long ago?

It depends upon who one wants answering. If the answer is something the ASA
or asa list members should be dishing out then isn't it obvious that those
groups should develop the answers? That is why I thought raising an FAQ
community process here might be valuable. Wouldn't that be better than
leaving it to totally random opinion slinging? Or random chance?

Now, " why it is better to point the questioner to the answers that were
worked out long ago" ????? Because then the answer is from consensus, it
is higher quality, and it is convenient in that you just point to it instead
of regurgitating external material (material that may not be easily
available to the questioner).

Dave C

PS, Gee, I think I've just described the concept of a wiki.

On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 11:17 AM, <> wrote:

> David -
> 1st I should be clear that though I am a long time ASA member (32 years I
> think) & also have been a participant on the list since the late 90s, I'm
> not in a position to make official statements about the purpose or policies
> of either. Randy or Ted would be better people to talk to about those
> matters.
> & I am not trying to blame you for how the list functions, or for anything
> else. I was simply pointing out that it is for purposes of discussion &
> open to anyone who will follow reasonable guidelines of relevance &
> civility, so that the problems you see are pretty much in the nature of the
> medium. In the present case the question of the relevance of ASA to the
> work of apologetics came up & I made what seemed to me the fairly obvious
> point that since issues related to science & religion are a concern for some
> people, ASA ought to be able to be a resource for the church. (I should add
> that that's to the extent that apologetics is a legitimate enterprise - I'm
> enough of a Barthian to make some qualifications there.)
> Your criticisms seem to have more to do with the ASA itself rather that
> just this list. I will agree that the organization has its limitations.
> One is just that it doesn't have a lot of money. Another is that it
> doesn't take an official stance on some of the debated issues like the
> relationship between evolution & creation. Those things alone mean that it
> can't be devoted to apologetic work in the way that, e.g., Reasons to
> Believe is. (OTOH it isn't hampered with some of RTBs dogmatic commitments,
> like rejection of human evolution.)
> & the purpose of ASA isn't, like that of RTB, active apologetics or
> evangelism. I see it rather as being a resource for the church, including
> its work in those areas. That's stated in PSCF as one of the purposes of
> the journal - to be "one of the means by which the results of such
> exploration [in faith & science] are made known for the benefit and
> criticism of the Christian community and of the scientific community."
> It seems to me that you're being a bit dismissive of "Writing articles for
> PSCF" and "Going to conferences". I agree that too much activity in both is
> still devoted to things like the Noachic flood. But both the journal &
> conferences do serve to get ideas about the proper relationship of faith &
> science to membership & to some extent to the larger Christian community.
> I, for one, make no apology about writing for the journal (including an
> article related to the question of salvation last year) & giving papers at
> conferences. But I can't force people to read or listen to or apply them.
> I also think it's unfortunate that David Opderbeck left the list & am sorry
> to hear (if it's true- I don't follow all threads & didn't know about this)
> that Ian has. But I think it's wrong to suggest either that discussions
> here accomplish nothing or that there's no legitimate disagreement permitted
> here. Speaking again for myself, I've appreciated the contributions of many
> (including David & Ian) with whom I sometimes disagree, & in turn have been
> told by others that my arguments have been helpful, while criticisms of my
> views have never tempted me to bail out. (Sometimes, however, discussions
> start to take up so much time that I just have to get out for a bit to catch
> my breath & attend to other things - & I suspect that's the case for others
> too.)
> Shalom,
> George
> ---- David Clounch <> wrote:
> > On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 12:10 PM, <> wrote:
> >
> > > David -
> > >
> > > The asa list is just a venue for discussion of science-religion issues
> &
> > > questions.
> >
> >
> >
> > > It isn't the totality of the ASA. That doesn't rule out discussions
> here
> > > of what ASA policy should be or what initiatives it might undertake,
> but no
> > > such discussions in themselves will change policy or bring about
> action.
> > > There are other ways to do those things.
> > >
> > > The organization sends me a newsletter and gives me this place as the
> place
> > to discuss anything.
> > So if you don't think this works very well, well gee George, I certainly
> > agree with you on that.
> > But you sound sort of as if you blame me for that. I didnt choose either
> of
> > these solutions.
> >
> >
> >
> > > I don't think the question of how people "get saved" is irrelevant to
> > > policy or practice.
> >
> > Its not irrelevant. But a coherent view of salvation also cannot be
> > resolved in a chat room comprised of non-ASA members for exactly the
> same
> > reason as you are saying no decisions about how the ASA develops
> resources
> > can get made here. When it comes to the arm chair philosophy and
> > opinion-slinging that probably won't even develop into any sort of
> > coherent consensus - well, that part is most certainly irrelevant. And
> the
> > reason is similar - no product is produced. No resources are produced.
> >
> > But if you are concerned about the matter being all that critical then
> why
> > not simply point folks to the ASA website where the answers on "how
> people
> > get saved" is on display (after having been worked out) ?? Perhaps
> > because oops - there is no such material? Which is sort of my
> original
> > point. If the same answer is given ten years from now "oops - there is
> no
> > such material" it will be only because it was decided that it isn't
> worth
> > developing that material. Instead an infinite chat session on the topic
> > will be the total output of the ASA. I suppose I was challenging you
> and
> > Ted and Randy and others to change that. What ever was I thinking?
> Just
> > slap me, I'll come out of my dream state momentarily.
> >
> > Since you alluded to the rest of the ASA, What I see ASA members doing
> is:
> >
> >
> > 1) Writing articles for PSCF
> > 2) Going to conferences
> > 3) Chatting on this majordomo.
> >
> > Thats all I have seen so far. It seems to me the typical person who
> comes
> > in contact with the ASA eventually sees about this much. So where is the
> > 90% of the iceberg that provides the great resource to Christianity?
> What
> > am I missing?
> >
> > Two recent events bother me.
> > 1) David Opderbeck withdrew.
> > 2) Ian Strachan apparently withdrew, apparently because of Bernie/atheist
> > related nonsense?
> > I miss both these distinguished gentlemen, and the value of this list to
> me
> > is greatly reduced. Apparently a lot of good people over the years have
> > withdrawn. Is this because they didnt see anything more? Or is it
> because
> > the organization never actually finds any common ground between the
> various
> > persuasions within Christianity?
> > And never allows Christians to legitimately disagree? Identifying where
> > Christians may legitimately disagree is just as critical as finding areas
> of
> > agreement. I've seen very little emphasis on any of that.

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Received on Tue Sep 8 14:30:53 2009

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