The discussion between ASA conference atttendee Caroline Crocker, here, and Ted Davis, (here) (here), and (here), is a classic unsolvable conflict because two groups are proceeding from different assumptions.
Crocker (like the ID theorists) thinks there is evidence for design in nature. The ASA honchoes think the matter is forever uncertain, a birdie indefinitely batted between philosophy of science profs, and there is no evidence worth taking seriously. Maybe it’s even wrong to look for evidence. God wouldn’t have done it that way ….
It is deeply threatening to ASA when someone like Crocker suggests that a fact base, rather than loyalty to making the gospel relevant to the culture through science should decide such issues.
Second, another apparent ASA view is that Christians in science should believe the status quo to commend the gospel to unbelievers. That includes professing to the uttermost wholehearted acceptance of any nonsense talked in Darwin’s name – a river of which has gone through this site alone, and we are sandbagging for more.
Unwavering faith saves souls, even if the folly is on any other ground an offense to the informed intellect?
Crocker, by contrast, thinks she is following up on an evidence base. That gives her the sovereign right to ignore or dispute nonsense. Which sounds like “denialism” or “lack of charity” to the ASA honcho.
The ASA position is called, in some parts of the world, dhimmitude: One accepts (in this case) the dominance of atheism in evolutionary biology and attempts to save souls – one’s own and others – by accommodating to the intellectual atmosphere that government-funded atheists, clustered in large numbers, create. In general, as long as everything is an intellectual high tea, the ASA members are safe with their faith. The price is: They are expected to uphold the status quo and never permitted to challenge it.
The evidence-based scientist accepts no such thing, and suffers accordingly.
Here’s a thought: Is there any Darwin proposition so foolish that a typical ASA honcho would not require the assent of the critically thinking ASA scientist? They usually say yes in principle, but that principle is somehow never acted on. One could, I suspect, say the same about just about every issue they deem of interest. What is wanted is faith, and faith of a particular sort.
I don’t know why Crocker wants to be associated with ASA. I’ll back her for her guts, but tend to think Dembski is right: She’d be best to form a confraternity of scientists who think evidence matters and want to research it, wherever it leads. There’ll be trouble, but the nature of the trouble proves they matter.