Monday, 4 January 2010

Throwing down the gauntlet to Dr. Denis Alexander

Regular readers will know that in the last year and a bit I've written a full-length response to Dr. Denis Alexander's insistence that evangelicals must make their peace with Darwinism. That response, tidied-up is itself now available as a book. I also contributed a chapter to the (IMO, devastating) IVP-published response, Should Christians Embrace Evolution?

Well, today I received something on the latter an editor at IVP. Dr. Alexander has finished reading it, and wants to contact the authors. He says that he does not have the inclination or the time to respond to the book as such, but just wants to alert us of a few factual points for correction. Hence he wanted to know our e-mail addresses.

Dr. Alexander has a pattern of avoiding meaningful interaction with people who disagree with him, so I didn't want to let this pass. Here's the reply I e-mailed to him and the other IVP authors, and I await his response. I've cut the quote referred to in the first paragraph as that was Dr. Alexander's own e-mail and I haven't asked him permission to publish it. (It's my own response; not all the authors are young-earth creationists as I am).

Hi Dr. Alexander,

I'm glad you've read the book and want to talk about it. For my part (this is referring to what's quoted below), I would much rather you would find both the time and the inclination to make a response on the substance of it and not just have a little side-discussion about a few points here and there. I read your book and noted that the interaction with genuine present-day creationists and their writings was basically zero - it was all "some Christians believe" but these "some Christians" normally only had a limited likeness to the positions of actual mainstream Darwin nay-sayers. (Henry Morris got a couple of footnotes: living representatives of creationism as it existed in 2008 got none). Yet at the end of the book there was a stinging criticism of creationists as time-wasters who don't spend enough time dealing with the real problems in the world. The impression was that in your book you had actually refuted year-2008 creationism and not a "some Christians say", "Here's what I've heard some folk say as I've been on my travels" folk-creationism caricature. You can't have your cake and eat it - either interact with us and then say you've done so, or don't interact and then don't claim afterwards that you did.

You've had time in 2009 to do a tremendously large amount of pro-Darwin activity, so I find it hard to stomach the idea that you don't have time to interact in a deep way with the main response to your position that's on the table. If we're going to have this discussion, let's have it properly or not at all. You've written that you're concerned science should be done properly - well, let's do theology (what my chapter was about) properly too. Let's not just quibble about minors around the edge. If your concern is that a private discussion wouldn't be as effective as all the public activity that's keeping you busy then that's fine - let's have it in public. I think my position stands up to maximum robust public scrutiny and am sure you feel the same about yours. So what have you got to lose by taking the time to do it properly? I have a
blog and your institute has a website - anything you write to me or in the other direction I'd suggest the other person gets full rights to publish (in full, unedited) on our own websites. Then perhaps that'll sidestep your concern, if that is what you're thinking. Over to you!

(Obviously I'm just speaking for myself here, not any of the other authors).

God bless,

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