Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Here are some thoughts in connection with J. C. Sinclair's "A.S.A. Publication Policy" in the Journal, September 1953. Would you transmit them to those who might be interested?
Direct access to the high school student and the layman through articles in Christian magazines offers several advantages: cost of printing and distribution would be met by the publication rather than ASA, more could be reached than we could hope for through a system of our own, reading of the subject matter (in a series of articles) would cover a longer period of time affording better assimilation. Have not such items appeared in HIS and ETERNITY? Possibly some denominational organs would be interested.
To the counselor-the one (perhaps an ASA member) to whom the student or layman turns because of his scientific background or his position in youth work we must provide reference material to enable him to be informed in fields other than his own, a record of current thought, and material that he may make available to those who seek his counsel.
The reference material might be in the form of a comprehensive book. It is desirable that it be written to be understood by anyone versed in scientific thinking. Hence, where terms are introduced whose defining principle cannot be covered in the text, there should be given reference to an accessible standard work which treats the subject concisely. It should include "what is known about (the) subject; the more important theories that attempt to account for what is known and how these theories point to further knowledge; . , . what the author believes with his reasons for his conclu,sions"; in fact, this might well be the essential outline of the book. To attempt to include all important theories in all fields would make the job impossibly long; certainly emphasis should be placed upon those fields which seem most controversial. It is of dubious value, then, for superficial appearance of covering all major fields, to include matter which involves neither important theories nor their substantiation, It should be subject to criticism of interested ASA members, and to periodic revision. To a large extent MODERN SCIENCE AND CHRISTIAN FAITH now fills these requirements.
The aims of the ASA embody two basic tasks: the construction of a consistent Christian theistic philosophy as it relates to science, and correlation of this with significant current scientific thinking. Therefore "the record of current thought" should present current developments in both areas. This is the place of the Journal. The new sections initiated in the April number are a good start in the second field.
With proper planning, much of the need for material which the counselor can make available to those coming to him can be filled by the magazine articles. Such planning should anticipate the articles being reissued in reprint form for such use. Hence where feasible the material should be copyright by the ASA (or the ASA maintain right to its use) and the format be such that it may be reprinted from the original plates. This would eliminate the need for rewriting the article and would reduce printing costs. The matter would be presented in a format associated with serious thought. The plan should be formulated be fore any of the articles are written so that they could be designed toward an integrated coverage of the problems to be considered.
While the series is in progress, a running bibliography in the Journal would help make them available to those not ordinarily receiving the publication in which they appear.
The needs of others familiar with the scientific
method-the college student encountering a materialistic philosophy, the pastor wanting background for
his work, the Christian school teacher-will have been
largely met through reference material suggested for
I would welcome further exchange of thought on
17 Minthorne Street
November 27, 1953
Sincerely, Harold Barker, Jr.