Putting Things Into Perspective


From: PSCF 45 (March 1993): 1

American Evangelicals have had a difficult time coming to grips with the environmental movement. Conflicting views on politics and economics, overuse of scare tactics, concern over New Age influences and a Cornucopian view of world resources serve to muddy the waters. The ASA 1993 Annual Meeting (held in August in Seattle, Washington) will address ecology once again. It is important that we find ways to communicate the results of this discussion to Evangelicals. Our first paper in this issue, Mark Stanton and Dennis Guernsey's "Christians' Ecological Responsibility: A Theological Introduction and Challenge" offers a keynote for this conference and the Christian in the pew.

Bruce Hedman provides a change of pace with his discussion of Lutheran mathematician Georg Cantor's deep commitment to integrate mathematics and his Christian faith in "Cantor's Concept of Infinity." Hedman examines how Cantor's Christian understanding of the universe as created and contingent influenced his development of transfinite set theory and, in turn, how transfinite set theory has influenced "an increasingly contingent world view in modern science."

Carl Sagan's popular TV series Cosmos and his books on the same theme offer a powerful and enduring contemporary challenge to Christianity. Theologian-pastor Mark G. McKim examines Sagan's world from a Christian viewpoint which seeks to demonstrate the inadequacy of Sagan's philosophy, which characterizes much of Western society.

In our last article, Nancey Murphy takes a critical look at Phillip Johnson's account of the status of evolutionary biology. She suggests that Johnson has "allowed the Evolutionary Naturalists to confuse evolutionary science with something else and, second, that he has used too primitive a view of scientific methodology for his evaluation." I suspect that this will not be the last word on the subject.

Adrian Desmond's Politics of Evolution (reviewed in this issue) recounts the often rowdy battles of London's medical community in the early nineteenth century. Two Communications in this issue deal with modern versions. First, Jerry Bergman provides an account of Forrest Mims' struggles with Scientific American in his "Censorship in Secular Science: The Mims Case." Scientific American also provides the context for Phillip Johnson's "The Religion of the Blind Watchmaker," a response to Stephen J. Gould's highly critical review of Darwin on Trial. Scientific American has refused to print Johnson's piece.

Clifford Grobstein's views on when life begins are considered defective by F. Earl Fox, due to the fact that the analysis is based on biological grounds alone. Fox argues for the need to look at the psychologist's picture and (ultimately) that of the Bible in considering the nature of life in "Two Kinds of Personhood: A Reply to Clifford Grobstein."

In the closing chapter in the William Hasker/Alvin Plantinga dialogue, Hasker emphasizes the need for Plantinga to articulate an alternative to the "theory of common ancestry" and questions his proposal for a "theistic science." We thank these scholars for an illuminating discussion.

This issue closes with a selection of book reviews and several letters to the editor.

J. W. Haas, Jr.
Gordon College
Wenham MA 01982