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ASA on ID and Evolution

Here’s a proposed letter that Randy Isaac, the executive director of the ASA (the American Scientific Affiliation — an association of Christians in the sciences of which I’m a member), proposed sending to Nature in response to their cover story a few weeks back. Since this has appeared on a public listserve, I’m not divulging any confidences. Although the ASA leans toward theistic evolution, I was gratified to see the following remark: “Scientific criticism of evolution should not be muted for fear of being labeled a creationist.” Amen.

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
On Behalf Of Randy Isaac
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 8:04 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: ASA misrepresented in Nature

Here’s a draft of a possible letter to the editor. I don’t know if we could get it published but it might be worth a try. Comments?

Randy

=-=-=-=-=-

Sir:

Michael Lynch points out in his letter, Nature 435, 276 (19 May 2005) , that readers can learn more about Intelligent Design (ID) from Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF.html), the journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). Our organization is dedicated to the integration of science and Christian faith, providing a forum for dialog of diverse views that are consistent with the orthodox Christian creeds and with integrity in science. Accordingly, we strive to publish peer-reviewed papers by both proponents and critics of views such as Intelligent Design, but we do not advocate any particular position. For example, we have published papers (e.g., http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1997/PSCF9-97Dembski.html) that attempt to define ID as well as papers (e.g., http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1999/PSCF12-99Roberts.html) that critique the movement.

While some prominent ASA members such as George Murphy and Keith Miller, both cited in Nature 434, 1062-1065 (28 April 2005), are critics of ID, other members such as William Dembski are advocates of the movement. Yet we are all united in our belief in the Creator, in commitment to integrity in science, and in the conviction that science and Christian faith are intimately and positively related. We encourage scholarly debate with respect for each others’ views as we search for deeper understanding of the truths that underlie our disciplines.

We urge that evolution be taught in our public schools as science and not as a proxy for any particular religious philosophy, be it metaphysical naturalism, atheism or theism. By teaching evolution as science, it is subject to the same scientific method of inquiry and critique as all other scientific knowledge. Scientific criticism of evolution should not be muted for fear of being labeled a creationist. Nor should support of evolution be avoided for fear of being branded an atheist. The scientific theory of evolution is based on a vast and complex array of data but its metaphysical implications are not established.

Randy Isaac
Executive Director
American Scientific Affiliation
www.asa3.org
[email protected]

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2 Responses to ASA on ID and Evolution

  1. I think its a great idea. Its a well written letter and it says many things that need
    to be said.

  2. [...] g out that both IDists and ID-critics could be found among their members (brought to us by William Dembski). Denyse O’Leary was quick to offer her take on it.

    [...]

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