We are not “anti-ASA”

Imagine a Christian society of scientists which sets up study committees with the aim of making public statements on controversial topics related to science and faith, grounded in good science and good theology, and issuing educational materials and books which integrate good science and theology. The society might even be large enough to sponsor research on controversial topics.

In order to do such things, there needs to be a substantial degree of unity in world view and theological presuppositions. Of course, seeking a greater degree of unity in world view and presuppositions always narrows the number of people who may be involved. The goal of the CSS is to have a scientific society which is a broad as possible while still being definitely Christian, in particular with a high view of Scripture.

In this regard I see two existing types of societies which may be called Christian scientific societies at present. One is the ASA and its affiliated bodies. The ASA model is to be as theologically broad as possible. This creates a very valuable forum for debate and discussion, but makes it impossible to find consensus or issue formal statements on controversial matters. In particular, there is not general agreement in the ASA on the inerrancy of Scripture or the role of Scripture in informing us of truth.

Another model is Reasons to Believe, Answers in Genesis, and similar societies. These bodies have a high view of Scripture and speak with a great deal of unity, but have little place for substantial informed debate on controversial matters, because their agenda is relatively fixed. In my experience, there are many practicing scientists who are committed to the inerrancy of the Bible who are not committed to young-earth creationism, and either believe in or are open to a much older creation. In addition, there is a need for a society with a broader agenda than just the creation/evolution topic.

This new society should not be seen as “anti” either of these types of societies. Rather, it is aimed to fill a need which is presently not being met, for a place with substantial debate which can lead to public statements and education, yet one in which that debate is undertaken on the basis of shared world view and substantially similar theological presuppositions.