Custom Search

Saturday, June 05, 2010

American Scientific Affiliation: Some extinctions may be just as well

I remember seeing the cover of a book by Stephen Jay Gould, lamenting the decline of species of snails* somewhere, with the species illustrated. I couldn’t tell the difference between them for beans, and that’s quite different from not being able to tell the difference between a dog and a cat - though it is said that they have a common ancestor. One thing is certain: They cannot interbreed. They parted—unamicably, I suspect—a long time ago.

Now to the point: I want to write about what I take to be the extinction of the American Scientific Affiliation, which exists to promote “theistic evolution,” so far as I can see., but is probably now best employed promoting grey hair formulas for shampoo.

One columnist notes, here:
... it is with some astonishment that recently I received an email asking why attendance at ASA meetings has "grayed" so much, with one reporting that only 5 in a crowd of 80-100 were below the age of 40. A mail-in survey of 53% of the members found that less than 15% were below 40, (and apparently not desirous of attending meetings.) An anecdotal survey of other Christian affiliations of scientists found them with larger percentages of young scientists. So what ailment has afflicted the ASA?

Okay, why did ASA get started, post-World War II? To tell the world that there is no conflict between Christ (“take up your cross and follow me”) and Darwin (“survival of the fittest”).

Because that would be bad for up-to-date religion.

Darwin sure thought there was a conflict, which is why he was a materialist atheist from long
before he wrote Origin of Species, let alone Descent of Man, which - so far as I can see - is one long racist tract, never properly denounced or renounced by Darwinists.

But that does not matter any more. People can promote racism today, as long as they can cite the sainted name of Darwin. Otherwise, why has Jim Watson’s Nobel Prize not been revoked, the way David Ahenakew’s Order of Canada was revoked, and for the same reasons? We do not need these hassles.

In my view, those are the sorts of issues that a “theistic evolution” group - right or wrong - should have been strenuously addressing. Not trying to convince Christians that Christ and Darwin would have been pals, when everyone knows it is not true.

Well, the ASA got around to conducting a survey of its members’ beliefs, reported June 1, 2010, and here are some of these ... ?" results.

*Okay, it is true. I failed snail-ology** a while back, but can’t help wondering whether such similar life forms are really separate species. It sounds too much like a legacy bureaucracy to feel real to me. I’m all for ecology and environmentalism, but have long felt that some of this stuff is due for an overhaul.

** I gave up snail-ology altogether when I accidentally hit someone (who was smoking on my retaining wall) with a large snail I was booting from one of my rose bushes. Of course, I had to go down and apologize. The snail was almost certainly eaten by local birds who waited on the telephone wire for precisely such events - but we keep no record of such matters here.


American Scientific Affiliation: Why does it exist? Who would have believed these results?

First, no particular surprise, nearly 86% agree that the universe is about 14 billion years old, and Earth is about 4.6 billion years old. These are the given figures. Even if they were wrong, it would make sense to accept them, for calculation purposes.

But ...

What is a surprise is that six percent believe that there are other universes. I wish ASA had also asked how many of its members believe in astrology or visit Madam Rosa the Psychic.

Well, after that, it all goes downhill quickly, like a toboggan on ice: Over 60% actually believe that “Biologically, Homo Sapiens evolved through natural processes from ancestral forms in common with primates.” Well then, goodby, God. Nice knowing ya.

Even funnier is that nearly 27% believe that “consciousness and self-awareness emerged in hominids through natural processes”.

In reality, no one has any idea how consciousness emerged. It is unclear to me why anyone who opts for “natural processes” would claim to be a Christian. What the term means is plain enough to anyone who finished high school.

Now, this next part is not at all funny; it is scandalous: Unbelievably, over 27% of these Christian science luminaries actually believe that “Human behaviors, like kindness, care for children, competition, or desire for revenge, developed through evolutionary processes with natural causes.”

So why are they Christians? They are - in effect - saying that God never communicated directly with man - in defiance of all monotheist religion whatever.

It is one thing to disagree on the meaning of texts of Scripture, but everyone who accepts Scripture as defining the moral life agrees that it is a communication from God.

Disagreement about the meaning of communications from God or anyone else is nothing very unusual. My mother and I have strongly disputed the meaning of obscure communications from the firm that supplies the hot water tank.

It would be quite another matter for both of us to assume that no one at all had written that letter; that it somehow got composed and written by chance forces.

Is tenure at bible colleges worth this much? Who knew?

More on ASA later. My view is that it is a dying organization, but maybe Grecian Formula will help.


Who links to me?