TED DAVIS: The Creation-Evolution Conflict in Historical Perspective
Ted Davis is a former president of the American Scientific Affiliation: “a fellowship of men and women of science and disciplines that can relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science.”
I learned a lot from the rich historical perspective that Ted brought to this conversation—both due to his own scholarship and also to his experience on the front lines of helping his fellow evangelicals move beyond the warfare model of the relationship between science and religion.
Here’s more background…
Edward B. (Ted) Davis is Distinguished Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on historical and contemporary aspects of Christianity and science and directs the Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science. Mainly known for his work on the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, Davis edited (with Michael Hunter) The Works of Robert Boyle, 14 vols. (London, 1999-2000) and a separate edition of Boyle’s influential treatise on God and nature. He wrote the chapter on Isaac Newton in Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion, ed. Ronald Numbers (Harvard, 2009).
Davis has also written numerous articles and reviews on the history of religion and science in modern America, including a commentary on the Dover intelligent design trial (which he attended) that was published in the Winter 2006 edition of Religion in the News. BBC radio has featured his research on modern Jonah stories, published in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (December 1991). With support from the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, Davis is currently writing a book about the religious beliefs of prominent American scientists in the 1920s. An article based on this project was published by American Scientist (May-June 2005).
Additional information on Ted and his work can found here: http://www.messiah.edu/hpages/facstaff/tdavis/home.htm
I’ll post some choice quotes from our conversation in a few days, once I receive the transcript. In the meantime, please feel free to share your comments here.
Here’s the quote from Gil Bailie that I read toward the end…
“It was not those closest to the historical Jesus who first gave the gospel its geographical breadth and theological depth. It was Paul, who had never known him. In addition to that, impressive achievements in biblical scholarship have, in many ways, brought our era closer to the constituent events of the Christian movement than were, say, the Gentile Christians of the second century. If the life and death of Jesus is historically central, then people living ten thousand years from now will be in a better position to appreciate that than we are. Furthermore, when they look back they will surely think of us as ‘early Christians’ – living as we do a scant two millennia from the mysterious events in question. They will be right, for the Christian movement today is still in the elementary stages of working out for itself and for the world the implications of the gospel. There isn’t the slightest doubt that the greatest and boldest credal assertions are in the future, not the past. It may be only at rare moments that this flawed and unlikely thing we call the ‘church’ even remotely resembles something worthy of its calling, but it is nonetheless embarked on a great Christological adventure. Even against its own institutional resistances, it is continually finding deeper and more inspiring implications to the Jesus-event.” — Gil Bailie