Scientific and theological publications by TE/EC

Jonathan Clarke (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 07:43:23 +1000

Dear Reflectorites

To digress before replying to part 4 of the "Is TE/EC marginalised?"
discussion, Steve Jones (Re: TE/EC marginalised? #3 Sun, 25 Jul. 1999
16:51:06 +1000) asked me to supply

"*references* to "those books or journal articles where" these "TE/ECs
have argued the case for TE/EC in the scientific community."

Meeting this request is rather difficult, because I suspect our
expectations are different. My understanding Steve, is that you want
evidence that TE/EC scientists construct theories on the basis of their
specific theological stand point and publish them as such.

However, science does not (and should not) work that way. Good
scientists don't publish science on the basis of their metaphysics.
They may of course publish more general works, both specialist and
popular, which does place their work into a broader metaphysical
content. It seems to me the only criteria which can work is whether or
not TE/EC scientists contribute to science to the same degree as their
non-TE/EC colleagues.

If TE/EC people are marginalised, the question is from whom? The
dictionary definitions you quote in part 4 of the discussion is "To be
marginalised means to be "relegate(d) to a marginal position within a
society or group". Your original July 8th post said that 'TE/EC is
marginalised in *both* mainstream "science" and "theology"'. Thus the
status of TE/EC in the broader community, Christian or otherwise, is
irrelevant in this discussion. If you had said the "in the broader
Christian community" or "among popularisers of science, I would have
taken little issue. However you did specify mainstream science and
theology, so those disciplines are what we need to discuss.

Mainstream science is what is published in scientific journals and is
typically collated on various databases. I looked up the publications
for a few TE/EC scientists (most of whom I know personally) on these

64 publications by Sam Berry in period 84-97

43 publications by Alastair Richardson (department of zoology,
University of Tasmania) in period 84-97

35 publications by Ghillean Prance

82 publications by Ken Campbell (palaeontologist at the Australian
national university in Canberra) from 1953-1998.

19 publications by Pierre Kruse (palaeontologist with the Northern
Territory Geological Survey) from 1978-1996.

89 publications by Neil Archbold (palaeontologist at Deakin University,
Melbourne) from 1978-1998

In total these six authors produced 331 publications in an aggregate of
129 years, average 2.6 publications per year. This is about average for
academic scientists. No sign of any marginalisation of their work
(which would show up in reduced publication rates). Ghillean Prance was
even knighted for his work.

Mainstream theologians also publish in professional journals These are
more difficult to judge, as here are no comparable databases to those in
science. So I had to scan through journals in the local theological
library (St Marks Canberra). We should note that most theologian
journals generally leave questions of science-faith interaction (of
which organic evolution is only a small part) to more specialised
publications. My ability to go through these journals is limited by
what is locally available. For example, I would have liked to have
looked through "Perspectives on Science and Christian Belief", Science
and Spirit" the CTNS newsletter, and "Science and Religion News" - but
the library did not subscribe to these. There are also difficulties and
subjectivism in deciding when a paper is favourable to TE/EC and when it
is not. Theologians are much more judicious than many on this list! Time
constraints has also meant that I have only looked at issues published
in the last 10 years.

However, with these caveats, I scanned through 17 journals representing
a theological spectrum from Catholic to Evangelical. In them I found 39
titles which I judged were favourable to God and evolution and 10
against. Titles and references I can send to those who want them.
There is also a journal, the Tielhard Review that is devoted to
developing and exploring the ideas of God and evolution originally
posited by Pierre Tielhard de Chardin. I would not want people to think
I agree with everything published in this topic, but to me these data do
not indicate marginalisation of TE/EC perspectives from among
theologians. Rather they show that, at a minimum, it is a position that
is taken seriously and would appear to be a majority position amongst
those who publish on the subject.

Finally (and with some caution), I thought I would check what several
web sites generally thought of as being anti-Creationist would say. Of
course these sites are interested primarily in YEC and are popular, but
given the commonly perceived hostility of the discussion on these to
Christianity I thought they might be a useful measure gauge of whether
or not TE/EC is marginalised by this area of discussion.

There is the archive and article "God and evolution" by
Warren Kurt Von Roeschlaub at In it he distinguished
deism from Biblical theism.

Then in the page by E.T. Babinski (I wonder where he/she/it is from?)
entitled "Liberal trends amongst evangelicals"
( there is a list of
the diversity of modern theologians who accept evolution.

Turning to the Australian Sceptics, they have a page labelled "Is
science and religion compatible?"
One article on it is entitled "Science and religion are compatible" by
the AC's president Barry Williams (no friend to Christianity as far as I
know says) "Creationists often claim that holding a religious belief and
accepting the correctness of the theory of evolution are incompatible.
This is clearly untrue." Another article is the transcript of an ABC
(the Australian Public broadcaster) production by the ABC' s science
unit entitled "Evolution, theology, and creation science" by Anthony
Garrett. He writes:

"...almost all the Christians who actually understand the theory of
evolution find that there is no clash
between the Biblical account and the account due to natural selection.
The clash is made up of atheists on one side, and Christians who hold a
particular interpretation of the Biblical account on the other. But it
is not the only interpretation, and it is not one that all Christians
share. In retrospect it is not surprising that reconciliation is
possible, since science itself grew out of a Christianised culture."

finally Ron Tolle has a web site called "Is Creationism for real?" One
page is called "Creationism and mainstream Christianity". In it he

" However, it must be stressed at this point that most major Christian
denominations view this as an extremist position. There are a great many
forums where a fruitful dialogue between religion and science is being
pursued." Tolle then gives links to: AAAS Program of Dialogue Between
Science and Religion, Affiliation of Christian Geologists, Home Page for
the American Scientific Affiliation, and the Science and Theology Web

His concluding comment is "The point to be stressed here is that organic
evolution is not considered controversial by either science or most
Christian denominations."

Again, I would hate people to think I endorse everything on these sites,
but they to indicate that TE/EC positions do not appear to be
marginalised even amongst those who would have the most to gain by
polarizing the difference between scientists on one hand and Christians
on the other.

Now back to part 4 of the original discussion.

God Bless