AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC AFFILIATION1991 Annual Reports
REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT
From: PSCF 44 (March 1992): 72-73
As I reflect on some 15 years of active involvement with the American Scientific Affiliation, I continue to be amazed at the wide range of stimulating endeavors sponsored by the ASA. I was pleased when I read an article entitled "Science and Religion" (Current Contents, June 24, 1991, p.8-13) recently and found that it listed the American Scientific Affiliation as one of the few organizations in the U.S.A. that addresses the interaction between science and religion.
Sincere thanks are due to the ASA staff for their work during the past year. Special thanks is due Frances Polischuk for her management of our financial affairs during a difficult year. I would also like to express appreciation to Karen Brunstrom and Becky Petersen for effective service as our Executive Assistant and Managing Editor, respectively. We are pleased to welcome Carol Aiken and Patsy Ames who assumed these responsibilities late this summer. Many thanks also to editors Jack Haas, Walt Hearn and Richard Ruble who continue to work effectively on our behalf.
Executive Director Bob Herrmann has this year completed ten years of outstanding service to the ASA. It is ironic that he had to miss the 50th Anniversary celebration to recover from a retinal tear.
The long anticipated 50th anniversary celebration at the 1991 Annual Meeting was all that we had hoped for it to be. Jack Haas, our program chair, and the invited speakers did an outstanding job of surveying the past and setting the stage for the "next 50" years.
It was a great honor and an inspiration to have a number of early members of the ASA present at our meeting and it was a privilege to present a gift to Dr. Russell Mixter on behalf of the ASA.
It was a distinct privilege to see two affiliates of the ASA, the Affiliation of Christian Geologists and the Affiliation of Christian Biologists in action at the 1991 Annual Meeting.
These are challenging days for the ASA Executive Council. At the present time we face financial challenges brought on by economic recession. As we anticipate the retirement of several key persons within the next decade, pray with us that God will raise up those who will be able to carry the vision of the ASA into the 21st century.
President, Executive Council
REPORT FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
This is the first year that we have published our Annual Report as part of Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith, so it is of necessity somewhat abbreviated.
1991, our 50th Anniversary, was celebrated in fine style at the Annual Meeting at Wheaton College in August. I was unable to be there because of medical problems, and I am very grateful for the extra efforts of the Executive Council and the staff. Special thanks is also due Al Smith, our local arrangements chair, and Marilyne Flora, Chicago Section Leader, for providing the facilities necessary for a large and complicated meeting.
As befits our 50th Anniversary, this has been a year for new projects. Walt Hearn began a booklet for graduate students entitled On Being a Christian in Science, designed as a response to the new National Academy of Science booklet On Being a Scientist. The new ASA booklet will inform Christian young people of the opportunities and responsibilities of a scientific career, affirming the N.A.S. publication but showing how being a Christian provides a higher order of motivation and moral commitment for doing good science. The Stewardship Foundation and the Murdock Trust have supplied grant support for this project.
This year we also began a series of university lectures sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. E. David Cook of Oxford University lectured at the University of Texas and historian of science Owen Gingerich lectured at the University of California at San Diego and at the University of British Columbia. Psychiatrist Armand Nicholi lectured at the University of Miami, and David Allen and I lectured at Georgetown University at the inaugural conference of the new Tournier Institute. Four more lectures will complete the first year of support, the last by Russian quantum physicist Audrej Grib in Rome in March 1992. The Templeton Foundation has given us a second year of support for these university-based lectures, which are intended to emphasize the new openness which should characterize the relationship between science and theology.
A third program which was initiated this year is a new Institute for African Scientific Research and Development. ASA plans to provide training, logistical support and staff on sabbatical leave to the new Nairobi-based organization. At present we are represented by three board members; Ken Dormer, Martin Price and myself. Daystar University College has been very supportive of the new Institute.
1991 was also the occasion of the first resolution ever passed by ASA. The Committee for Integrity in Science Education, chaired by John Wiester, brought a proposal for a resolution entitled "A Voice for Evolution as Science" which states that when evolution is taught in public schools the terms evolution and theory of evolution should be carefully defined scientifically and the data of evolution be approached with an effort to distinguish evidence from inference and with due recognition of unsolved problems.
The resolution was approved in an advisory vote by the body of ASA Fellows and given final approval by the Executive Council in December. Press releases were distributed to the media at year's end. This action on the part of the Affiliation derives from the continuing misrepresentations of ASA and our widely disseminated booklet Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy as "anti-scientific." John Wiester and fellow committeeman Walt Hearn have also written numerous letters of clarification. At the same time, several additional favorable reviews of Teaching Science have been published, one by Larry Martin in the Crucible and another by John Brobeck in the CMDS Journal.
Among continuing programs of the Affiliation, the television series, "Space, Time and God" has reached completion of scripts for all six episodes. Writer and anchorman Owen Gingerich and Producer-Director Geoff Haines-Stiles met with the Executive Council in December to discuss funding strategies to raise some two million dollars which will be required for the production of the series for public television.
This year also saw a complete revision of the Source Book, due in large part to the efforts of Publications Committee chair Jim Neidhardt and the editorial expertise of Becky Petersen and Robin MacLeod. We plan to go to the printers early in 1992. Another committee, charged with Long Range Planning and chaired by David Swift, is preparing a report for the 1992 meeting in Hawaii.
The Commission program has continued with five commissions reporting activities in publication, recruiting, review of problem areas and public relations. The Biomedical Ethics Commission, newly chaired by Donald Munro, plans a statement concerning the use of animals in research. The Global Resources and Environment Commission, chaired by Fred Van Dyke, continues preparation of a book on Christian perspectives on the environmental crisis which is being reviewed for publication by InterVarsity Press.
The Industrial and Engineering Ethics Commission, chaired by Fred Lehman, has worked on two projects this past year. One, "An Ethic for Christian Servants in the U.S. Marketplace" received strong input from Commission member D. J. Howell before she had to retire because of other commitments. The second project, "Ethics and the Challenger Disaster" is being prepared as a teaching tool for small group discussion with special leadership by Ed Allen.
Finally, the Science Education Commission, chaired by Ken Olson of Greeley, Colorado, met in Wheaton in August and considered various curricula for high school and church school students.
In concluding my report, I wish to invite you all to the 1992 Annual Meeting on the big island of Hawaii. If you are unable to come, we plan our 1993 meeting for the campus of Seattle Pacific University, the 1994 meeting for Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the 1995 meeting at Montreat-Anderson College in Montreat, North Carolina.
Robert L. Herrmann
Executive Director, ASA