Re: Analogies for pseudogenes... a tipping point for the ASA? ([asa] Re: On the Barr-West exchange and ID/TE)

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Thu Nov 19 2009 - 08:07:37 EST

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> So just in the same way we know that people are copying, because of
> these designer tricks, we can know for sure that macroevolution
> happened, because of the copies of errors in the genome. Man came from
> an apelike creature, and was not created ‘de novo.’ I wonder what
> prevents the ASA from taking a strong stance on this; i.e., why
> tolerate YEC or OEC viewpoints on this, as if it is a reasonable
> position to have a ‘de novo’ idea of creations for humans? Maybe it is
> because this genomic evidence is still rather new, just a few years
> old because of all the recent sequencing. But I think the ASA will
> have to step up to the plate if it wants to be respectable and
> relevant… dealing with the consequences of this data in a reasonable
> way. Maybe the pseudogene evidence is the tipping-point to break-off
> from OEC/YEC? Maybe the ASA, by officially being agnostic and not
> repudiating YEC/OEC on this point officially, is contributing to
> confusion about evolution in the Christian world? After all, if there
> was solid evidence for evolution, wouldn’t the world’s best Christian
> scientists admit that forthrightly? Maybe the ASA is having the same
> consequences of ‘big tent’ mentality as ID is having (although, not at
> all to the enormous same extent)?
> I would like to tell my Christian friends “The consensus of Christian
> science and theology experts (the ASA) is that macroevolution
> happened.” But I can’t do that.

As best I understand history. the ASA was founded by people who drew
heavily from the work of Bernard Ramm who was OEC, at least as I read him.
> His equally celebrated and criticized 1954 book /The Christian View of
> Science and Scripture/ was the theme of a 1979 issue of the /Journal
> of the American Scientific Affiliation
> <>/

 From article on ASA history:
> The original founders were very concerned about the increasing
> atheistic emphasis and orientation of science, especially the
> uncritical acceptance of Darwin and evolution as a whole (Nelkin,
> 1977). The first president was F. Alton Everest and the first
> secretary was Wheaton College biologist Dr. Russell Mixter (Hartzler,
> 1991). Part of the ASA preamble states that it is an "evangelical
> organization of men and women who share a common fidelity to the word
> of God and to Christian faith." The ASA does not align itself
> exclusively with any specific religious orientation, and claims that
> they are willing to go "anywhere research leads them." Nelkin (1977,
> p. 65) concluded that ASA members "believe that evolutionary concepts
> are misleading and have serious [i.e., undesirable] moral and social
> as well as theological implications." She adds (1977, 65) that the ASA
> has "avoided taking a position that advocates teaching creation theory
> in public schools," although many ASA members criticize the current
> evolutionary emphasis in most biology and related textbooks, arguing
> that "evolution is taught in a far too dogmatic way, that the theory
> is extended beyond what is scientifically appropriate and that it
> unnecessarily excludes consideration of alternative theories" (Nelkin,
> 1977, p. 66). Although many ASA members are theistic evolutionists,
> large numbers are conservative progressive creationists. The literal
> six-day, twenty-four hour creation for both the heavens and earth, and
> all that is in them, and the universal deluge (otherwise known as
> flood geology) views are also well represented. Many members, though,
> stress only that biology "must avoid implying that evolution is the
> only acceptable theory" of origins (Nelkin, 1977, p. 66). Their middle
> of the road approach, though, has not always been well received by the
> science community:
1993 Jerry Bergman Originally published in /Contra Mundum/ No. 7 Spring 1993

Admittidly the above is somewhat out of date now and I would expect that
the proportion of members that hold an EC/TE position has increased as
have those that accept ID. I wish we had a recent survey.

My point is that ASA is not a EC/TE organization although as Randy's
recent article pointed out we do look for and hold to scientific
integrity. Henry Morris etc left the ASA to found ICR as he felt
unwelcome and unaccepted. I probably would not have subscribed to
Perspectives and joined had ASA been an exclusively EC/TE organization.

I agree that the evidence for common descent has become much more
compelling recently and have long accepted an old earth even when I
attended a YEC church.

Dave W

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Received on Thu Nov 19 08:08:19 2009

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