Volume 36 Number 5A 

SEP/OCT 1994

ASA Annual Meeting Ends Scientific Materialism

The ASA Annual Meeting at Bethel College near St. Paul, Minnesota was an unprecedented success this year, as every tenable position relating science to Christian faith was undeniably established by the many outstanding papers presented, much to the belated admission of an unexpected array of leading scientific materialists in attendance, including Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Stephen Jay Gould, Francisco Ayala, Carl Sagan and Stephen Weinberg. The sudden and unanticipated collapse of scientific materialism - and at the occasion of an ASA Annual Meeting - prompted ASA Executive Director Donald Munro to exclaim: "Our main focus will now be on the incursion of ancient pagan views into science and Christian faith," referring to New Age mysticism and its possible connections with the Gaia theory of the ecosphere and animal rights efforts against drug research and Snail Darter population sampling.

When interviewed on the collapse, both Dawkins and Sagan remarked that they had not realized before the Meeting that a substantial foundation existed in support of the Christian world-view and its relationship to science, and that both were intending to study the biblical alternative to an eternal material universe. "It was indeed a challenging and provocative presentation of concepts. What impressed me was the clear elucidation of billions of loose ends in my thinking about the universe" Sagan observed. Dawkins also confessed that "the anti-Christian axe I've been grinding in letters to the London Times was exposed. It is no accident that I've been blind to my own motives." Both indicated a need for a period of rethinking and reintegration of their overall views.

ASAers in Action

ASAN Shortened

With the voluminous coverage of ASA news in both the popular and scientific press, the ASA Executive Council decided at their last meeting to reduce the number of pages in the ASA Newsletter from eight to the number in this issue, while also discussing (though not approving), the elimination of the ASAN entirely due to the increasing use of electronic mail, the extensive coverage of events elsewhere, the need for funds to support news releases to other media and the inability of the present Editor to write clear, succinct sentences. When asked what he thought of the decline in his dwindling "empire," the ASAN Editor Dennis Feucht brushed off its significance, and commented that he was preparing an info-packet for a press release on the matter, using some of the re-allocated funds. When pressed, he admitted that what he regretted most was losing his press card, which got him into Bosox games at Fenway Park long after they were sold out.

Limbaugh to Council

In a move unprecedented in ASA history, Rush Limbaugh was simultaneously made an ASA Fellow and elected to the Council. "A week ago I hadn't even heard of the ASA" the ebullient Limbaugh remarked. When asked for his comments on this maneuver, Cal DeWitt was unable to offer a response, preoccupied by the Army Corps of Engineers who were draining the swamp near his house to assure its habitability. Ed Olson of Whitworth C. in Spokane, Washington was also asked to comment, but was too distracted by the Spokane-Lake Missoula flood in his area. Mike Epstein, however, remains skeptical of the process involved in Limbaugh's quick ascendancy to an ASA leadership position.

Scientific Eschatology Promoted

The time-frame for the end of the world was put on an alleged scientific footing recently when a spokesperson for the Institute for Eschatology Research announced the breakthrough. The relationship between eschatology and science has been eclipsed in recent years by origins issues involving creation and evolution. Some ASAers, however, think it's time that "destinies" issues receive more treatment. While not expecting a destruction/devolution controversy as large as its origins counterpart, these ASA eschatologists are concerned that the ASA will be identified with the "recent destructionist" position, such as that of the IER, which opts for a recent end of the world. Most ASAers, however, anticipate a longer time-frame and see God's work in the processes of a devolving world, open to study by scientific investigation. Controversy surrounds the detailed identification of the mechanisms of these processes, as Phil Johnson has been quick to point out. Several ASAers have formed an Unintelligent Accident Committee, out to prove that the destruction of the world is accidental and not justly attributable to an intelligence such as God but instead to the stupidity of sinful humanity. The Committee is early in its development of alternative theories to those that claim an intentional and purposive world-end, and while rejecting a "young new-earth" approach, are still seeking a scientifically plausible explanation based on accident.

ASA Backgrounder  

Theistic Evolution? Intelligent Design?

Several views about how God created can be found in the ASA. Theistic evolutionists, on the one hand, put too much emphasis on the authority of science, while intelligent design theorists put too much of their faith in the Bible. Other ASAers don't know what to trust, but know that both science and scripture must be accounted for. There are some who see no connection between science and theology, while others see no distinction. It is a wonder that all the theistic evolutionists have not joined the NCSE by now and that IDTers haven't joined the ICR or the law faculty at Berkeley. And equally amazing is the fact that so many ASAers, about half of whom have Ph.D.s in science, just don't know for sure. You would think that 2,500 experts ought to be able to resolve these simple questions. Until they do, I suppose it will be necessary to continue to explore, reflect upon, discuss, argue, debate, and misrepresent the issues.