This was originally posted 11 December 2005, and is a continuation of this (with explanation.)
Dr. Saul Adelman’s piece in the Fall 1990 issue of the Forum was not the end of the back and forth. His hard-hitting piece did get two responses.
One, from Georgia, discussed some intentional distortion of the Bible translations during the time of the Reformation. With the plethora of Bible translations—including the one we offer for download—we feel that this situation can be corrected in our time, so we will not pursue this further.
The other, more germane to the discussion, came from Thomas Schwengler of Danville, IL, and was on this wise:
Saul Adelman’s “Antifundamentalist Rejoinder” is more a denunciation of fundamentalists than a refutation of Don Warrington’s Winter 1990 Article. Warrington’s article was written to explain fundamentalist political involvement and to refute the charge (from an earlier National Forum article) that fundamentalist pressures had forced religion out of textbooks. Adelman, however, barely addresses these issues.
Instead, Adelman attacks fundamentalists, appealing to virtually every antifundamentalist stereotype and prejudice extant in our society. In various places, he calls fundamentalists anti-intellectual, intolerant, militant, totalitarian, dangerous and arrogant. He links them to Muslim fundamentalists, openly mistrusts them, and implicitly accuses them of hypocrisy. He even derides their children as uncritical, brainwashed, intellectual cripples.
Adelman’s disdain for Christian fundamentalists is so strong that it seems to have precluded a rational discussion of Warrington’s thesis. I am personally disappointed that a man of Adleman’s intellect would resort to such blatant, prejudice-based ad hominem instead of a carefully reasoned argument.
Honestly, I couldn’t say it much better, and was glad for the help, as the Forum was unenthusiastic about such a response from myself. With Adelman matters were different; his response to Schwengler’s letter found its way into the Winter 1992 issue, two years after my original piece:
I considered Don Warrington’s article (Winter 1990) solely on its own merits. Thomas Schwengler’s response (Spring 1991) to my “Antifundamentalist Rejoinder” (Fall 1990), rather than rationally addressing my arguments, hysterically dismisses them as a collection of stereotypes and prejudices. He strengthens my contention that fundamentalism is a universal religious phenomenon by finding that my disdain is directed toward Christian fundamentalism rather than that of my co-religionists. Although I have found that many fundamentalists are sincere in their beliefs, nevertheless I am profoundly disturbed by individuals who desire the products of our modern scientific revolution yet reject its pragmatic, rationalist points of view. This is hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is a moral fault. In a purely materialistic scheme of things, morality has no objective reality, along with many other things that people take for granted, such as the “meaning of life.” Secularists want to have it both ways, rejecting any religiously based morality and ethics but at the same time expecting people to adhere to a standard of their own making. The only secularists that have made a serious effort to eliminate morality are the Marxists, and the wreckage they have left behind have forced other secularists to attempt to cover this serious lacuna up. But ultimately they cannot.
Perhaps the best way to express what I want to say about Adelman’s whole view of things is to relate it to personal experience, not irrelevant since we are both products of a scientific higher education. Four years after “Public Education: A Christian Perspective” was published, I began graduate school, pursing a master’s degree in civil engineering. I thank God that I did not have to face the attitude evidenced in “An Antifundamentalist Rejoinder.” Instead I had four men who were aware of my faith commitment and who judged my work very fairly and on its merits. (You can click here to view this thesis.) Two of them have since passed into eternity. The third brought me back to teach Soil Mechanics and Foundations on an adjunct basis. The fourth is a Jewish mathematician from the old Soviet Union whom I consider one of the most brilliant human beings I have ever met, and who took my understanding of mathematics to a new level. He too wanted me to teach on an adjunct basis, but for mathematics we were stymied by the requirements of SACS, an institution that Dr. Adelman is all too familiar with.
Adelman frets that fundamentalism will dull the minds of children. But we now see that secularists are trying to use their pet dogmas as litmus tests wherever they can, rather than simply laying out the actual requirements and judging the results. Such policies—policies necessary to solve the “hypocrisy” problem Adelman posed in his last riposte—will discourage talented people whose convictions are not to the secularists’ taste from entering the sciences, and the “pragmatic, rationalist” results that Adelman so cherishes will be come scarcer than gratitude.