Letters to the editor: March 14
Theories of evolution would not withstand scrutiny
I was encouraged and impressed with the insights of Bekah Coggin in her March 7 Chimes article, “Evolution Needs More Evidence.” She made clear what all Christians should consider, that is, examining the realities and failures of evolution as it tries to explain the natural world before trying to harmonize Scripture with evolutionary dogma. Scripture, not speculative science, should be our starting point. Not surprisingly, “science” has been “harmonizing” with Scripture over recent times.
Her most profound statement, “If Christians subjected evolution to the same degree of scrutiny and doubt that liberal theologians suggest we bring to Genesis, the theory would not hold up under the examination,” was entirely perceptive and correct. I would add, “If Christians subjected the motives and beliefs of atheistic evolutionists to the same degree of scrutiny and doubt that liberal Christian scholars suggest we bring toward creation science and scientists, the creation controversy in the church would be diminished.”
I applaud both Coggin and Sterchi for their mature and enlightening insights in their recent articles about Genesis, as well as the respectful way in which they confront those who might disagree with them. They illustrate how the body of Christ should live.
Ambiguity of language makes discussion difficult
I’ve been following recent Chimes articles about evolution and have picked up on subtle misrepresentations of points used by the various authors. These have only hindered helpful discussion of the topic, and can be attributed to the ambiguity of language. The beauty of language is that words themselves have no meaning — they only convey ideas based on the hermeneutical situation of the reader.
For instance, the word “evolution” has multiple meanings and people’s initial reactions bring forth very different ideas of what is being debated. Some take it to mean “A series of random mutations that, over time, created species as we know them today,” while others think “mutations or adaptation over time.” The problem grows with terms such as micro versus macro evolution, theistic evolution and Darwinism, and some equate evolution to the big bang theory. I would encourage both the writers and readers of Chimes to attempt to fully understand the context and meaning behind words (and arguments!) used in these articles, especially when the article is at odds with one’s own beliefs. This will also play into reading Genesis and the Bible: understanding the broader context of the text (historical and cultural) will help alleviate some of these misunderstandings.
- John Sherwood
Class of ’15
You [Mr. Hielkema, author of “Pro-Choice at Calvin”] state that the new student pro-life organization “sharpens the issue” of Calvin’s stand. Sharpness is appropriate when the issue is as weighty as life.
Your assertion that calling abortion murder is countered by reclassifying unborn as those who live only with permission is unsupportable. There is no inherent difference between a premature infant fighting for life and him moments before birth. Permission was not granted for the birth, yet it happened. Did the life change? Antenatal testing allows moms to “withdraw permission” for the unborn with Down Syndrome. Is it conceivable that with our nation’s inevitable contraction of healthcare expenditure, “withdrawn permission” could one day become “compelled to terminate”? It is conceivable.
We degrade life when define it by nothing inherent, and the consequences are horrifying. Peter Singer, Princeton University bioethics professor, muses that attributing legal status of personhood to an unborn, or even a born one, is meaningless. Being incapable of having preferences, a preborn or newborn infant can hold no sway over his mother’s preferences. Neatly “reclassifying” life as one who has the power to prefer, Singer extends your argument from “permission” to infanticide. I was once taught that the “slippery slope” argument is invalid, as our nation will develop ethical tools to handle complex moral issues in concert with scientific and medical advancements. My professors were in error. The slope has slid.
Women anguishing over unplanned pregnancies are neither good nor bad, but their babies are worthy of life whether in or out of the womb.
-Jean Oram (parent)