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Thursday, September 15, 2005

YEC ID supporter Paul Nelson defends record

Commenter Andy Groves, wrote,

"So I have a professional interest in knowing who Ebert is talking about"

[Note: He is quoting Denyse O'Leary, who was addressing an unsubstantiated accusation that young earth creationists who support intelligent design conceal their YEC views. Go here for the context.]

How about Paul Nelson? Paul is a YEC, but has not to my knowledge publicly stated that he is a YEC since becoming associated with the DI. He used to write YEC stuff under the pseudonym Peter Gordon, but hasn't done that for many years.

Paul has recently been demoted from a Senior Fellow to a Fellow of the DI, but he has said this is due to his tardiness in publishing his long-awaited monograph "On Common Descent".

Paul is a very nice chap in person, by the way.

In addition, since many members of the DI studiously/disingenuously avoid discussing the age of the Earth at all ("not my area of expertise" are usually the weasel words), it is very hard to tell whether they are YECs or not. But you probably know them better than me, Denyse. Would you like to go down the list of DI Senior Fellows and say whether you know for a fact whether they accept an Old Earth and a non-literal interpretation of Genesis?

I'm not saying that to try and paint them guilty until proven innocent, merely to illustrate the point that their public comments on this issue are hard to find.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 4:31:32 PM
I don't normally respond to comments, but thought that this one might lead somewhere interesting, so contacted Paul Nelson for a comment in response and here it is:

Hi Denyse,

I like Andy, a lot (we met at the Soc for Developmental Biology meeting in Boston a couple of years ago), but he needs to get his history straight:

1. I became a fellow at Discovery in 1996, and published a chapter defending YEC with John Mark Reynolds (in the Zondervan volume Three Views on Creation and Evolution) in 1999. In fact, the submission of my chapter MS was delayed, much to the consternation of the Zondervan editors, because Discovery colleagues were urging me to drop out of the book. I've never made any effort to hide my YEC convictions, which are mainly theological in origin.

To my knowledge, I'm the token (i.e., only) YEC among the Discovery fellows.

2. I stopped using the pseudonym "Peter Gordon" as a 1st year graduate student (in 1985), because Kurt Wise advised me that using pseudonyms was bad practice for scientific dissenters. Nothing I wrote under that name, however, had anything to do with YEC in particular: I wrote book reviews (e.g., of Kitcher), articles on natural selection, and the like, but nothing about YEC. I adoped the pseudonym as an undergraduate because I had been graded punitively as a student for dissenting from neo-Darwinism, and wanted to protect myself while applying to graduate school.

Feel free to put all of this up on your site, and tell Andy that I hope to see him at SDB next year, if he's going.

Best,

Paul

For more on YEC, see Creation Ministries International.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.
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