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One-way dialogue?

One-way dialogue?

(Robert Dale/Illustration Source)

A Pew Forum poll released in 2008 showed that three out of four evangelicals do not believe "evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth." That skepticism is anathema to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and one of its major funders, the John Templeton Foundation. Templeton has been hostile not only to creationism but to the big tent of Intelligent Design.

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has played an important role over the years in defending the liberty of evangelicals to stand up against political correctness and its religious offshoots. In recent years groups like the Institute on Religion & Democracy have criticized the NAE for partnering with the politically correct instead of representing evangelicals. WORLD exposed in our July 14 issue the NAE's $1 million partnership with a leading proponent of contraception for the unmarried.

After receiving substantial criticism, the NAE announced it would not continue that partnership (see "Cashed out," Aug. 11) - but another one appears to be coming. The NAE, according to a report to its board by chief operating officer Heather H. Gonzalez, is "in the final stages of formalizing an agreement to collaborate with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (and their Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion) on a project to build better dialogue and understanding between the scientific and evangelical communities. The collaboration is part of a Templeton Foundation grant received by the AAAS." Gonzalez turned down my request for more information.

Dialogue, sure: But let's make it a real dialogue, with proponents of Intelligent Design not frozen out. Better understanding, of course: But let's focus on God and not make Charles Darwin a god. "Collaboration"? Not if the goal is to sell evolution to the three-fourths of evangelicals who still keep faith with the Bible's teaching that God made Adam from the dust of the earth. Is this overly critical of what could be a good thing? Not if we take into account the 2006 AAAS "Statement on the Teaching of Evolution," which sees critiques of evolution as "attacks on the integrity of science." Not if we take into account Templeton's "Science for Ministry" funding of "programs that will help ministers and the congregations they serve to move away from ... simplistic solutions and polarizing stereotypes."

Templeton did not specify the simplistic and polarizing views: Seeing chapter 2 of Genesis as real history rather than fable? Seeing man as fallen and in need of redemption? But the clear goal of AAAS and Templeton is to bolster the "motivation, imagination, and capacity" of pastors who want to influence their congregations to accept evolution. Is a collaborating NAE once again trying to sway evangelicals rather than represent them?

Comments

  • Richard H's picture
    Richard H
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    AZDave,Most of us that are involved in this debate don't question that evolution (change) takes place at, and only at, the micro-evolution level.  The observation, however, is that evolution never causes one kind to become another kind.  The dishonesty from the evolutionists (ie: AAAS) is they apply 'fact' to neo-Darwinian (macro) evolution.  Unfortunately, the evolutionists have caused the confusion on the term evolution.  The term includs origins as well as either: 1) change over time, 2) micro-evolution (small changes within kind), and 3) macro-evolution (changes from one kind to another).What you seem to have ignored in your responses is the role God has with creaton.   

  • PuritanD
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    I appreciate the work at keeping the NAE accountable.  I am quite shocked as to why the NAE is doing what it is and the decisions that it is making is starting to make we wonder if my denomination should pull its funding of this organization.

  • AZDave
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    The terms in this article could be better defined and used more consistently. Evolution should be compared with creation, not creationism. And naturalistic origin of life ahould be referred to as abiogenesis.  Finally, evolution is a scientific fact. Life indeed changes over time. We all have observed it during our lives and there is evidence for it at the genetic level. How and to what extent, is much less certain. This is where various theories are competing and complementing one another.
    Intelligent Design (as defined by the Discovery Institute) is compatible with evolution. Life or certain aspects of it could be been created, while life could have also evolved in other ways.  This approach is (in my opinion) a valid scientific approach, and one that could ultimately produce testable hypotheses. 

  • AZDave
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    The premise of the 2008 Pew forum poll is flawed. Evolution, the idea that life changes over time, has nothing to do with creation or origins. But, unfortunately, the popular understanding trumps the correct scientific definition. So, someone who understands the distinction should properly answer no, or even better, refuse to answer.

  • Michael
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    Mr. Olasky, thanks for the "heads up" about this organization (NAE).  So much goes on behind the scenes with the higher leadership of churches and church organizations that it is hard for the lay person to keep up with it all.  Thanks for this information.  Keep us posted on further developments.

  • Richard H's picture
    Richard H
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    You're right.  The NEA appears to have sold out a number of years ago.  The first time I learned of the NEA and its sell out was when their Wash DC PR man, Richard Cizik, was pro-global warming and they used Ron Sider as a consultant for An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility with an endorsement from Jim Wallis.  This was about 6 years ago.  This was also about the time NEA President Ted Haggard was outed.  If I'm not mistaken, I believe the NEA also allows members to be members of the NCC as well, or is it the other way around.  No matter, the result is the same.    

  • Lubbock Rebel
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 07:08 pm

    The NAE is beginning to look like the "moderate" wing of the Republican party.  It serves no useful purpose and may lead some of the faithful away from orthodoxy.