The Graying of the ASA
From: PSCF 45 (September 1993): 149
The graying of America has not left the ASA unscathed. The impatient pace of those on the move is increasingly joined by a more measured tread ˇ and an increasing number of third generation members. One tradition views cutting edge science as the province of the young. Does this tradition carry over to the activity of the ASA?
I would argue that the ASA can only fully serve its mission when all age groups are active. We need to attract younger students with the message that their faith and science should not be placed in separate categories, and challenge them to start the life-long task of building a world view. Working scientists can discuss the practical issues that stem from their work and join with others from various disciplines to grapple with enduring questions such as origins.
What can older members contribute? First, continued membership. Member fees and contributions provide the base for a unique evangelical ministry. Older members (hopefully) offer a more measured view on issues and can mediate in situations marked by impassioned rhetoric. Integrative thinking requires maturingˇa long testing and sifting of ideasˇsense of history when dealing with the latest cosmology to hit the newsstand.
Older members can provide "timely" reviews and explore areas beyond their immediate disciplines. They can provide the organization to keep local sections alive. ASA has never suffered from the want of good ideas but has often lacked the infrastructure to carry them out. In short, the ASA needs a blend of youth and age which can articulate issues, educate the Christian community, witness to a wider community and engage in science-related ministry.
Keith B. Miller begins this issue by examining the theological implications of a "continuous creationist" position. He finds the relation of mankind to creation still largely ignored or subservient to economic interests. George Murphy then calls to our attention the distinctive contribution of the Holy Spirit to the natural world. He examines the role of the Holy Spirit in living things, the place of chance in natural processes, spiritual gifts, and cosmic sanctification. Daniel J. Price offers an analysis of recent interpretations of Freud's concept of the person. He finds "intriguing analogies" between theologian Karl Barth's anthropology and that of the post-Freudian psychoanalytical school of "object relations" psychology which views mankind as more than instincts and other biophysical factors.
John Weister's Communication challenges us to be precise and consistent in our use of the term evolution in the light of the prevailing assumption which views evolution as "outmoding any concept of design, meaning or purpose in the history of life."
Adam Drozdek closes this section by offering further comments on Bruce A. Hedman's earlier paper on Lutheran Georg Cantor's view of infinity, and Sara Miles leads the book review section with an essay review on Desmond and Moore's Darwin biography.
We are saddened to report the death of long time ASA member and Publications Committee Chairman Jim Neidhardt (July 15, 1993). His generous support will be sorely missed.
J. W. Haas. Jr.
Wenham MA 01982