Science in Christian Perspective
The A.S.A. In Retrospect
William J. Tinkle
How thrilled was I to receive a letter in the latter part of 1941 reporting that a new organization had been f ormed and that I had been mentioned as one who might be interested in membership. Once before an invitation had come to join an organization dealing with science and the Scripture but I had declined.
Since the founders were cautious about the personnel of the new group, they invited a few of us to a 'little private meeting and then Peter Stoner recommended Jesse C. Brandt and me for membership. This was two or three months after the initial meeting in Chicago. A report of this meeting has been given to our readers several times and it always intrigues me.
How those memories come flooding back through these eighteen years! What a thrill to meet men who were trained in science as you were and who had also a belief in the Bible. You could say what you believed about spiritual realities without encountering a silent stare, more vocal than words. A genuine fellowship was realized, replacing the loneliness of disagreement, which is ten times worse than the desert.
Some of the benefits received have been over and above the original plan. I have been stimulated to learn science outside of my own field, which is biology. This discipline should be of value to any scientist in view of the great specialization which has taken place. I realize that my biological principles may be in error if I do not understand other sciences, physics for example. Does not ignorance of the ways of God also lead to error ?Interesting new research has been reported at our meetings but if we did this, alone we would become broad and thin and lose our unique purpose. At a convention a good research paper was given and our members appreciated it. But one of the more spiritual men said to me privately, "I should like to ask that author to what chapter and verse in the Bible his paper refers".
We do not have enough people writing for our literature, in view of the fact that our message must be given largely in this way to a scattered people. Correcting and criticizing the writing of others is a necessary work, and there has been no lack of members willing to do so.
The A. S. A. has conducted a good open forum but such a method is limited in its scope of usefulness. We ought to settle some principles, then go out and make converts among other scientists. We have no united, forceful campaign to correct the mistakes of scientists which have lessened faith in the Bible. Some members even seem willing to admit that there may be mistakes.
Doubtless you are familiar with the legend of the ostrich, how it hides its head in the sand and, seeing no danger, thinks there is none. Actually, however, this bird does not do this, but I contend that naturalists should search for some creature that does so ' because it is such a good illustration of what people do. Many church people say there is no conflict between the doctrines of scientists and the Bible, and to be sure we all wish there were none. But the discrepancy is, too big to be solved by ignoring it and we of the Affiliation should strike at the ostrich attitude of the liberal Christians of our time.