Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Tone Down the Rhetoric
John M. (Kim) Battean
Westminster Theological Seminary,
From: JASA 24 (June 1972): 75
Let me first say how much I have enjoyed the Journal ASA (reading it
here in our
library). It has provoked me and helped me. I particularly appreciate
to let Christians with different views express themselves. This is a refreshing
change in a day of strict party lines.
I graduated from Harvard ('68) and am now a student here at Westminster. I've had an interest in "science" (whatever that is distinct from "truth") for several years. I spent a year systems programming for I.B.M. in Poughkeepsie before coming to Westminster.
My concern in writing this letter is that of fearing that the ASA may be lapsing into a party linetheistic evolution. I realize that since the break-off of the Creation Research People, you are more or less inclined to debunk flood geology, etc. but I do hope that as Christianc you will not close your minds to truth. I perceive that in the tone of many of your contributing writers is a superiority ("these idiot Morris-Whitcombites") which is far from a Christian attitude. Several essays indicated this to me. I believe you printed van de Fliert's article, "Fundamentalism and Fundamentals of Geology," (Journal ASA 21, 69 (1969)) from the original in the International Reformed Bulletin. Van de Fliert's attitude toward the flood theory and its proponents is, to say the least, haughty in its assumed omniscience. Van de Fliert presupposes the absolute truth of his position in order to discredit the other! Thus his "disproof" consists in spewing back contemporary uniformitarian assumptions and "facts"-it is unthinkable ostensibly for him to even consider any other hypothesis. This is not Christian thinking. Is tradition a sacred cow? (I realize he says science changes, but how much of a change is the question.)
In Journal ASA 23 No. 1 (1971) I find this same closed-mindedness in Seeley's articles. He speaks of "flood geology" (p. 26) as a "widespread delusion," "mythology", "pseudo-science," "giant cancer," "obscurantism," etc. Where is Christian courtesy in this barrage of hostility? let alone "scientific objectivity"?
Name-calling, on either side of this issue, is uncalled for. I must say that I, having studied this issue with some diligence, (for example I took a course at Harvard in the History of Biology, criticized Darwin and Huxley in detail, got an A in the course), see tremendous possibilities in this Flood theory. Am I an obscurantist, cancer-ridden idiot?
Please tone down the rhetoric and turn up the real interchange of opinion.
Scripture must he incrrant in "science." It is God's Word, His- interpretation of creation, and thus needs no interpretation. However in correlating the Divine Word to the creation, pseudoproblems may arise (only in the creation) because (a) man can never be omniscient and (b) the task of science is subordinate to
worship, and when this is reversed (Humanism) everything becomes meaningless, including the "I" of the scientific "investigator."