Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ted Davis on Evangelicals and Fundamentalists

Ted Davis, Vice-President of the ASA contacted me today and had some kind words to say about my blog. He also reminded me of a great article he wrote in 2008 about how evangelicals deal with science. A high point:
Evangelicals and fundamentalists share many core beliefs, but differ from one another mainly in attitude, especially their overall attitude toward modernity, including science. George Marsden, the leading historian of fundamentalism, defines it as “militant anti-modernism,” and both parts of that definition are crucial. Where fundamentalists have historically emphasized separation from the world and its “worldliness,” evangelicals have typically been much more willing to engage the world on its own terms, and thus their understanding of the world is negotiated to a much greater extent than that of fundamentalists
He is quite correct and I am often guilty of lumping them into the same group: science skeptics. it nonetheless continually puzzles me when many evangelicals that I know will have absolutely no trouble accepting the findings of modern chemistry, physics, cell theory, germ theory and other scientific perspectives and yet reject those of others, almost arbitrarily. He makes mention of this as being the difference between the so-called historical sciences and the "current" sciences. The problem is that the same techniques apply, something that most evangelicals don't seem to understand. Read the whole thing.

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