Volume 43 Number 2
From the Executive Director
John Polkinghorne Speaks in USA
by Alan McCarrick
John Polkinghorne presented a lecture entitled "Science and Theology in the Twenty-first Century," sponsored by the Philadelphia Center for Religion and Science and Chestnut Hill C., on Nov. 28, 2000. He retired from a career as a particle physicist at Cambridge to pursue theology leading to ordination in the Church of England.
Polkinghorne began the talk with quantum mechanics and chaos. The future can be known through them only dimly. They offer hints of human freedom and God's providence. He commented that "nature is not only subtle, but also supple."
Polkinghorne likened science and theology to countries with a long common border where the relationship may be locally peaceful or warlike. He hypothesized that every area of science goes through a cycle: initial identification, determinism, and eventually the discovery of subtle effects. "Nature fights back against reductionism."
"Scientifically stated questions will get scientifically stated answers," but there are "meta-questions" beyond science. Polkinghorne discussed three: (1) Why is the world knowable at all? (2) Why is it mathematically beautiful? and (3) Why is the universe so special (anthropic)? The study of nature gently nudges us toward God.
When Polkinghorne mentioned that along the biology border much gunfire has been heard, there was a general chuckle from the audience. He stated: "I am a creationist in the proper sense of that word. ... Only God could make a world that makes itself." The universe at the Big Bang was "pregnant."
Polkinghorne feels that reducing human consciousness to biochemical functions is necessarily incomplete. We are more than our bodies, the difference being a form of information. That information can be held in God's mind after our death to resurrect us as the same person, but not the same body.
To a question on his own spiritual experience, he responded that he did not have a "Damascus Road" experience, but grew up in a "Christian home" and had always drawn grace from the "Scripture, church and sacraments."
Although I could wish that he had spoken more strongly on some issues, I'm sure he recognized the needs of the audience before him.
Pennsylvania Biology Standards Mini-Tempest
The creation-evolution front of the culture war has moved, for the moment, to Pennsylvania. An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Nov. 29, 2000, p. A-1) entitled, "Proposed Rules Boost Teaching Creationism; Critics Say It's Not Science and Is the Same As Teaching Religion" by staff writer Pamela R. Winnick, outlines the teapot tempest:
A draft of new standards for teaching science and technology in Pennsylvania schools includes some subtle, little-noticed changes that seem to open the door to the controversial idea of teaching creation theory alongside the theory of evolution.
What has caused controversy is that the new standards leave it up to the teacher to present concepts "that do or do not support the theory of evolution." Furthermore, they ease the straitjacket state schools are in over the teaching of creation-evolution by opening the classroom to "analyze the impact of new scientific facts on the theory of evolution." Dept. of Education spokesman, Dan Langan, said the new phrases were inserted by state Board members but did not identify them. "Under the proposed standards, there's room for science teachers to expose students to other theories," Langan said. "The degree to which that's done is up to local school districts."
Andrew Petto, editor for the National Center for Science Education who teaches university science in Philadelphia, said he particularly objected to the standard that would allow schools to "analyze the impact of new scientific facts on the theory of evolution ... It smacks of anti-evolution intervention."
"Evolution is not a fact, it's a scientific theory. And because it's a theory, that means you have to test various hypotheses to support it or not support it." Eugene W. Hickok, PA Secretary of Education, Nov. 30, 2000
The modified standards are only now entering the public-comment phase. The announcement for the comment period will be made in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, updated each Saturday, at: www.pabulletin.com/
Wielding extraordinary political power in state education nationally is Lawrence Lerner, an emeritus professor from California State U. at Long Beach, who grades state school evolution standards for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. The Post-Gazette article reports that Lerner was "surprised" to find the appearance of "creationist jargon" in the revised Pennsylvania standards. "The creationists have gotten in there," he said. "It's too bad that happened." Lerner does not hide his anti-creationist bias and scientific authoritarianism. "Science is not democracy," Lerner said; "These calls for fairness in science may sound appealing, but they are bad science." While grading the science, the larger issue is that state-run education is also a political and spiritual battleground.
Lerner called another Pennsylvanian, Intelligent Design biochemist Michael Behe "a screwball." "There are a few people in Intelligent Design who have biological training," Lerner said. "These are all smart guys. But they're a cult. No one in the scientific community takes them seriously." Such rhetoric drew the fire of anti-Darwinist and Wedge point-man Phillip E. Johnson: "The very persons who insist on keeping religion and science separate are eager to use their science as a basis for pronouncements about religion." And the controversy goes on - on the web at: www.pde.psu.edu, the PA Dept. of Education website.
ASAer in Congress Manages Science Education
With election politics lingering on people's minds, a connection between something ostensibly as far-removed from science as politics is found in ASAer Vernon Ehlers, who taught physics at Calvin C. before becoming a Michigan state representative. Ehler is also a former ASA Annual Meeting keynote speaker. In the Nov. 13 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), under the headline "Election Resolves Almost Nothing," writer David Hanson reported on what happened in the House and Senate elections that might affect the status of science. Hanson wrote: "In the midst of the confusion on the national scene, the House elections were fairly routine," with most incumbents returned to office and the GOP retaining a nine-seat edge. "The few scientists in the Congress apparently have been returned for another term. Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Mich), a physicist and vice chairman of the House Science Committee, was reelected handily ..." Ehlers has been in Congress since 1994.
Last year, Ehlers was backed by fellow House members and scientific and educational societies in introducing three bills intended to improve math and science education in primary and secondary state schools. (See Science 288, 21APR2000, p. 419.) With the methodology of a scientist, Ehlers had previously studied the state of science in the USA, and reported on it to the House leadership. Although the report fell by the wayside, Ehlers had, in these bills, devised a political solution to the problems the study uncovered. But how do you get the attention (no less support) of Congress for proposed solutions? Ehlers got outside support from the American Chemical Society, National Science Teachers Assoc., and Nobelist physicist Leon Lederman as lobbyists. Lederman testified: "We already know how to improve things, but we need leadership and a central strategy. I applaud Mr. Ehlers for taking the initiative."
The main reform was the National Science Education Act (HR 4271), which called for NSF funding and tax-credit support for science, math, and technology teachers, and for dissemination of good science teaching ideas. Although many Americans are skeptical of solutions based on spending away a problem by government, other House members were critical of the fiscal constraint of Ehlers' bills.
In June 2000, Ehlers wrote an editorial on science education for C&EN (June 26, 2000, p. 5), a publication of the American Chemical Society. After pointing to the centrality of science and technology for our present prosperity, Ehlers cites an essential condition for science education:
We must ensure that the U.S. develops and maintains the most basic elements of its success: the brainpower and technical competence of our people. And this can be done only through a strong education program.
Ehlers turns to the problem of how to maintain and improve the sci/tech infrastructure, and zooms in on the need for good classroom instructors, and the importance of their science, math, engineering, and technology competence.
Beyond what politics can effect, changes in American society itself in the last half of the twentieth century have tended to undermine historic "Yankee ingenuity." Children raised in affluent surroundings are not as apt to develop the primal character qualities of good scientists and engineers - those of learning how to optimize: how to find alternative solutions due to a scarcity of resources, and how to find novel uses for what is at hand. With few limitations on budget, buying instead of devising a solution to a problem becomes an ingrained habit. Consumerism replaces ingenuity.
Secondly, zoning and suburbs have placed youth in environments largely devoid of commerce and industry. Suburbs are sterile "bedroom communities" lacking industrial effluvia, the incidental materials and building-blocks that can engage young minds in creative activities. Most middle-class households are satiated with the gadgetry of technology, but unlike the simpler radios and automobiles of yesteryear, reveal little insight into how they function once torn apart, due to the micro-miniaturization and complexity of their components. The family computer is about the only accessible technological artifact. Little wonder that so many young people are into computing nowadays.
Finally, the success of technology has satiated our lives with its effects, and familiarity breeds contempt. The economic principle of diminishing marginal utility also applies: the third piece of pie does not taste as delicious as the first. While simplifying and improving our material lives, technology has also tended to deplete our lives spiritually and has even begun to adversely affect the ecosphere in various ways. And the atomic bomb still stands as a symbol of the destructive power of science.
As sci/tech becomes firmly embedded in developed societies, its interconnections with not only religion, but also politics is bound to increase. ASAers will increasingly be challenged to think through our scientific and Christian commitments in a multiplicity of contexts. Ehlers is one of them doing so in a very visible way.
*Walter Hearn, who co-wrote this article but the Editor is responsible for its content.
ASA01 Web Page
Thanks to Ruth Miller, this year's Annual Meeting (ASA01) has a web page, at: www.eece.ksu.edu/~rdmiller/ASAannmtg.html
Canadian Prime Minister Candidate Is
In a Hamilton Spectator article titled "Pseudo-science behind Day's creationist beliefs" by Peter Van Harten, the creation-evolution controversy has entered mainstream Canadian politics. (See www.hamiltonspectator.com/news/324400.html) Stockwell Day was a candidate for Prime Minister.
After introducing the Genesis account as "a question of faith, not a matter of fact," and evolution as science, the article announces:
The news that potential prime minister Stockwell Day appears to believe creation is both science and fact has brought controversy for the Canadian Alliance leader ... He says his beliefs shouldn't trouble us any more than the belief in the virgin birth held by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who is a Roman Catholic. But should we be troubled that he views his beliefs as science, worthy of being taught in the classroom?
In 1997, Day let down his hair in Red Deer, Alberta, telling students that he held the view of young-earth creationism (YEC): "that the Earth is 6,000 years old, humans and dinosaurs roamed the planet at the same time and that Adam and Eve were real people." The article was quick to caution readers that "Most scientists--even devout believers--see creation science as pseudoscience or bad science."
In the U.S., amidst legal battles over teaching YEC in state schools, the controversy is increasing in political significance. President George W. Bush believes creationism should be allowed equal treatment alongside evolution in government education. Also, presidential contender Al Gore has said that school boards have the right to teach creationism, though he personally favors evolution.
Day comes from Alberta's Bible Belt and is a Pentecostal lay preacher who seems to accept that when the Bible's Book of Job talks about a great beast "that moves its tail like a cedar tree," that a dinosaur is being referred to. He believes YEC has scientific support.
In Ontario, creationism is sometimes taught in religion, English, and mythology and native-studies classes while evolution is taught in senior high-school biology classes. However, creationism can also be taught in biology classes at the discretion of school boards.
The article recounts the opinions of a Canadian Christian:
Jitse van der Meer, at Redeemer University College, feels there is value in teaching creationism in science classes. It puts science in the context of everyday life and lets students of all faiths realize they can work together to observe and resolve scientific problems, he says. Van der Meer teaches biology and philosophy of science and believes the Earth is 4.5 billion years old because the weight of independent scientific evidence proves it. "Science is open-minded," he says. "You can't be dogmatic about it because of religious reasons," he said. But as a Christian, he values the dominant dimension of faith in science creationism and how it interprets the natural world, he said.
McMaster U. philosopher of science Michael Ruse has a reputation as one of the leading anti-creationists in North America. However, he disagrees with the position that students should not know about creationism. He says: "I'm not saying that high school kids in Ontario should come out pig-ignorant about creationism. What does worry me is if they come out thinking it is a viable scientific theory." He also said that there would be an uproar if McMaster U. taught Christian Science medicine in the name of equality. As for politicians' views on religion and science, Ruse says: "Religion may be none of my business. But if a person is going to be a leader you do have to look at the whole package."
"Religionists should keep their hands off science as long as it is genuine science and not larded with philosophical opinions to which everyone has rights." Huston Smith,Why Religion Matters, p. 201
Events and CyberplacesNancey Murphy of Fuller Theological Seminary will be the principle speaker at the Goshen C. Conference on Religion and Science, April 6-8, 2001. The format of the conference will provide maximum opportunity to interact with Professor Murphy, who will present two open public lectures and one with attendance limited to conference registrants. The lectures will deal with topics of personal and research interest to Murphy. Following each lecture, conference registrants will gather with Murphy for discussions of any of the topics presented. The registration fee is $80.00 (US) payable by check to Goshen College. Mail the completed form directly to: Conference on Religion and Science, Goshen College, 1700 S. Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526. Conference contact: Carl S. Helrich; firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 219-535-7302; fax: 219-535-7509.
The Calvin C. conference on Intelligent Design scheduled for 24-26 May is described at: www.calvin.edu/fss/spring.htm.
There is a call for papers for the fourth Christian Engineering Education Conference (CEEC-2001) to be held in Albuquerque, NM, June 27-29, 2001, immediately following the 2001 meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Final papers for accepted abstracts will be due May 1, 2001. Conference information is available at the CEEC web site: http://engr.calvin.edu/ces/ceecForward abstracts and proposals to: Prof. Carl Erikson, tel: (717) 766-2511 ext. 3300; Engineering Department fax: (717) 796-5222; Messiah College, Grantham, PA 17027; email: erikson@ messiah.edu
Ron Vos of Dordt C. in Iowa led six agriculture students on a summer sojourn to Ukraine. Over the years, he has kept in touch with Eastern Europeans. In Hungary, farming advice is needed since farmland was returned to private owners by the government--after it had hauled off truckloads of topsoil. Hungarians of the Reformed Church are bringing the Gospel to ethnic Hungarians in parts of Ukraine and nearly a quarter of the village population attends church, despite the years of oppression from Communism. The students found that farmers knew little about animal nutrition or how to build up nutrients in the soil, and advised growing soybeans for increased protein. Another problem is the high level of distrust among villagers from the days when so many people "informed" on each other. Ron was a past winner of the ASA Caring Research Award.* Walt Hearn On the scientific lighter side: Richard Hendry of Westminster C. in western Pennsylvania was reported in the Nov. 20, 2000 issue of C&EN (p. 80) to have discovered on the Internet two new, exotic beverages. In Tokyo, Meiji Milk Products is now marketing reconstituted stomach juice from hornets, from which Olympic marathon winner Naoko Takahashi got her extra boost. The muscle fatigue reducer and high-energy food of the three-inch hornets was studied by the Inst. of Physical & Chemical Research near Tokyo. Not to be outdone, Bio-hydration Research Lab of San Diego, CA is selling penta-hydrate, "the best water in the world." These pentamer water clusters are claimed to significantly increase cell water absorption. The FDA has not evaluated the claims. * Walt Hearn
Dan Osmond sent in a page from Oskar Gruenwald's J. of Interdisciplinary Studies (www.JISonline.org) of a reprinted letter from Storrs L. Olson of the Smithsonian to Peter Raven of National Geographic magazine dated Nov. 1, 1999. In case you missed the dispute, Olson cited National Geographic's Nov. article, "Feathers for T. rex?" and describes it as "engaging in sensationalistic, unsubstantiated, tabloid journalism." Earlier, in July 1998, National Geographic ran an article, "Dinosaurs Take Wing," for which Olson was invited to review the photographic fossil evidence from China. In its failure to publish alternative theories, Olson said: "It eventually became clear to me that National Geographic was not interested in anything other than the prevailing dogma that birds evolved from dinosaurs." The question of the origins of birds is a dynamic field of study
Jonathan Wells posits, especially for high-school and college students, "Ten Question to Ask your Biology Teacher," found on-line at: www.iconsofevolution.com Jon has paper bookmarks available with these questions, too. See the site for details.
Graphic evidence showing stages of the physical evolution of a widely- known species can be viewed at: www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/1344/physic.html* David Buckna
Sci/Xny Textbook by Murphy
ASAers know George Murphy as both a theoretical physicist and theologian. He does both, and has recently written an introductory textbook about the relationship of science and Christian belief. Toward a Christian View of a Scientific World gives an overview of the relationships between Christianity and science which requires no special expertise in theology or science. Each chapter closes with a few questions to stimulate thought and discussion. Contents include: identifying the central questions, understanding and controlling nature, how we know about God, the scientific picture of the world, God's action in the world, reading the Bible, the origin of the universe, creation and evolution, the environment, angels, aliens, artificial intelligence, religious themes in sci-fi, the future, and the church's mission. All that in a single volume which can be ordered for $13.95 from the CSS at: www.csspub.com; tel: 800-537-1030 or 800-241-4056.
Washington-Baltimore ASA Local Section Web Site
You simply must take a look at: www.christianmind.org By the looks of it, the local ASA section in Washington-Baltimore has a first-rate web site, thanks to the good efforts of Paul Arveson, physicist and long-time multimedia communicator of the Christian message in a scientific context. Through its high-quality appearance, the home page presents five categories: definitions, historical documents, illustrations, resources, and fellowship.
The web site is under construction in places, but the overall structure looks promising. Perhaps other ASAers might contribute to its ongoing development.
Geological Theory of Noah's Flood Clashes with History
In a newly published book, Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History (Simon & Schuster, 1999), Columbia U. marine geologists William B. F. Ryan and Walter C. Pitman III make a case for the hypothesis that 7,600 years ago, the Mediterranean Sea broke through the Bosporus Strait, flooded into the Black Sea, and within weeks to months, the sea level rose to cause massive flooding in the area.
While other geologists found the argument persuasive, the archaeologists did not. At the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, for instance, Oxford U. historian and specialist on Babylonian mythology, Stephanie Dalley, did not think that a flood myth could last for four millennia. But if it had, and migration to the Middle East led to its recording as the Gilgamish epic, then its appearance in other areas of refugee migration would also be expected, such as Eastern Europe.
Most scholars attribute the Babylonian and Noahic flood stories to the periodic flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. A particularly severe flooding due to prolonged precipitation covered the dry lands of the river deltas. In the case of the Black Sea, occupants of its shores would have had time to leave the area. Both Babylonian and biblical accounts also include a shortening of human longevity after the flood, now subject to old age.
The geologists surveyed sediment in the Bosporus and around the Black Sea shore, and found marine shells from Mediterranean organisms that had died about 5600 BC. Recently, renowned Woods Hole oceanographer Robert Ballard explored the Black Sea and found a submerged city overlooking what appeared to be an ancient river off the Turkish coast. The archaeologists did not dispute that a massive Black Sea flood occurred. But according to Andrew M. T. Moore, archaeologist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, "a natural event had significant impact for people living around the Black Sea shores, but a more distant impact is not as certain."
Although the archaeologists rejected the hypothesis, sustained long-term collaboration was proposed. Using sonar, the geologists also discovered an unusual, submerged 1600-foot long, 50-foot high mound with what appears to be a ramp leading to the summit.
Darwin Omitted in Ontario
The U.S. is not the only place that the evolution-in-the-schools issue is active. In Ontario, Canada, the National Post (Oct. 30, 2000) reported on a story (www.nationalpost.com/news/national/story.html?f=/stories/20001030/445748.html), that the Ontario populace also has their doubts about Darwin. The latest science curriculum has attempted to avoid the controversy by omitting teaching about evolution except in the senior advanced biology course for college-bound students intending to major in biology or biochemistry. The subject is completely dropped in elementary grades.
Ontario is following the lead of nineteen U.S. states that have minimized or removed Darwinian evolution from the science curriculum. Tom Steinke of the Ottawa Carleton Catholic School Board who oversees math and science for the board, responded:
It is all value-neutral. So stuff that is controversial or has values attached to it--environmental stuff and so on--is pretty much left out.
We're pretty locked in ... to having kids learn the mandated curriculum, not for fear of stepping outside of it, but because of lack of time
Biologist Jim Fenwick of the U. of Ottawa says that this is a gaping hole in science education, that biology without evolution is just "a cookbook list of facts, each isolated, and each by itself perhaps interesting but meaningless." That is what they are getting in courses outside of the university. Even under the old curriculum, "very few" of Fenwick's freshman biology students have covered evolution.
Big Money Honors Darwin
The recently released Bank of England £10 note honors Charles Darwin. You can inspect the design at: www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/newten/design.htm Britain used to have a £20 note with a portrait of Christian- in-science Michael Faraday, shown at: www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/newtwenty/oldtwenty.htm* David J. Tyler
Joe Carson Receives Vanguard Award
Joseph P. Carsonis a P.E.-certified safety engineer and prevailing whistleblower in the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The American Engineering Alliance's (www.aeaworld.org) Vanguard Award recognizes the importance of the code of ethics for engineers for DOE safety professionals. Joe is the second recipient of the award, which "is intended to recognize individual Engineers who have shown the rest of us by specific example, a course to follow toward achieving the elevation of our Profession, while at the same time serving the Public Interest."
AEA chairman Louis R. Comunelli had some rather nice words to say to Joe in his letter informing him of the award. Even more so, they are given in review of what Joe has been through the last few years as a dissident of the state in his federal agency:
We are exceptionally proud to award this recognition to you. Six times in vigorously defending our Professional Code of Ethics, you called the Department of Energy to task for their disregard of public safety. Each time you were put in the position of having to justify adherence to our code which places our duty to the Public before all else. Each time you prevailed against the forces that placed avoidance of embarrassment before the health and welfare of workers and the Public.
Not only did you have to combat those outside forces, but you also had to struggle to obtain support from many in the Engineering community who were reluctant to stand alongside you.
And for the rest of the story, who better to tell it than Joe himself. Joe can be found at: jpcarson@ mindspring.com via email, and on the Web at: www.carsonversusdoe.com
by Joe Carson
I'm humbled and grateful that the American Engineering Alliance (AEA) recognizes my efforts and, indirectly, the sacrifices of my family, in modeling and advocating trustworthy--ethical, competent and accountable--professional practice by DOE safety professionals.
At the end of it, I have risked and paid in this effort for spiritual reasons--even though my profession, as my employer, is secular. I contend that people of faith in my profession (as other professions) can and should seek to integrate their faith with their professional conduct by modeling and advocating the trustworthy practice of their profession. In my case, I had to choose between my economic security and my primary professional duty to "hold paramount the help, safety and welfare of the public." My actions are consistent, I hope, with my theology.
While I (as other concerned safety professionals in DOE, past and present) haven't risked my life or liberty in doing my duty, I've found that one's job, career, personal reputation, professional reputation, savings, and family well-being are very much 'in-play' for DOE's concerned employees.
In my opinion, DOE's environment, safety, and health programs will not be adequate or credible until DOE is clearly characterized by a safety-conscious work environment and trustworthy safety professionals.
It's also my opinion that the crucial role--and independent professional accountability--of DOE safety professionals is not properly understood or appreciated within DOE or its stakeholders. (The code of ethics for engineers and P.E. licensure is the model for all the related safety professions, including industrial hygiene and health physics.) Unless this changes, I cannot be optimistic about DOE's Environmental Safety and Health programs.
AEA has shown itself to be the "Vanguard" of the Engineering Profession in America and, indirectly, around the world. Its friend of the court brief in my federal lawsuit is unprecedented in a freedom of speech case involving a federal employee. The brief has been entered into the record, other DOE stakeholder groups have joined it, others intend to join it. I think it possible that AEA's brief and involvement in my case will eventually lead to P.E. licensure being the rule, not the exception, for engineers in the federal government. Such a development would markedly contribute to more widespread P.E. licensure among all engineers, with positive ramifications for the engineering profession and public health and safety.
I hope AEA's example persuades the larger engineering professional societies that they should welcome opportunities to display cohesiveness to the code of ethics for engineers in situations like mine. As long as the safety professions remain reluctant to formally stand by their code of ethics in such cases, I don't think they will have the stature they should with the employers of safety professionals and other stakeholders.Ian Barbour Responds to ID and Huston Smith's New Book
Carleton C. physics prof. emeritus and author of a classic sci/Xny book, Issues in Science and Religion, Ian Barbour has recently been found on that great library that is cyberspace (www.meta-list.org), commenting on theologian Huston Smith's interventionist views of how God did it, as expressed in Smith's new book, Why Religion Matters. Some excerpts from Barbour follow (bolded ASAer names not in original):
Philosophical proponents of intelligent design, such as William Dembski and Stephen Meyer, write in the tradition of natural theology in which science is used as evidence of the existence of a designer. My own approach is not natural theology but a theology of nature in which one asks how nature as understood by science is related to the divine as understood from the religious experience of a historical community. I believe we should be open to the reformulation of traditional doctrines in the light of science, but always in the context of the worshiping community. I would think Huston would find this approach more congenial than the rationalistic arguments of the natural theology tradition.
"We should note that the phrase [intelligent design] is used in diverse ways by recent authors. Some scientists, such as Paul Davies, say that design is built into the basic laws which made evolution possible. For them there is no conflict between design and a modified neo-Darwinism. Others hold that design was introduced by divine intervention at specific points in past history." Ian Barbour
Barbour also has a new book, When Science Meets Religion (San Francisco: Harper, 2000) in which he presents four categories of science-religion interaction: conflict, independence, dialog, and integration. Before describing integration, he writes regarding limits to science, which Smith acknowledges:
Newtonian physics was impressive in its explanatory power in the 18th century and it was easy to think it could explain everything--until relativity and quantum theory showed its limitations. Molecular biology has recently shown its impressive explanatory power and it is tempting to think it can explain everything. Perhaps we are only beginning to see the value of a more holistic viewpoint in biology as well as physics.
In contrasting his view of sci/rel interaction with Smith's, he notes these differences:
[Smith] emphasizes eternity over temporality, and divine transcendence over immanence. He accepts ultimate mystery and paradox, whereas I seek intelligibility and coherence, though I acknowledge that they are unachievable goals.
The Executive Director's Corner
by Donald W. Munro
We have special praise about the endowment fund. At the end of the year, we went over the $10,000 goal with a total of $12,860. The donors were so pleased that they decided to match the entire amount at the two-for-one level thus giving us a total of $38,580 added to the endowment in 2000. We are very excited and greatly appreciative. Now we are ahead of the timetable I set in 1998. There is no endowment-matching grant so far for 2001 but please continue to invest in it beyond your regular gifts as a dividend for the future of ASA.
It also appears that we fulfilled the budget for 2000 as well, and that is another praise. This executive director/development officer must now seek God's will for the 2001 budget.
The various aspects of the July 20-23 meeting at Kansas State Univ. are falling into place. At least forty abstracts have been received plus some others for symposia. We are especially zealous to receive abstracts from young scientists reporting on their research work. There are some donated funds available to help them attend. The present deadline for their abstracts is set for March 1, 2001. If you have further questions on this, look at ASA's web site (www.asa3.org) or contact Joe Sheldon, Program Chair: email@example.com We believe that it is beneficial for young scientists to meet and interact with our wonderful members. We pray that this would make a real difference in their faith/science walk. Look for registration materials in the near future.
Calvin C. has been chosen as our meeting site in 2006. We plan ahead!
Slowly I continue to gather together the year that each of our pre-1978 members joined. This data was lost in the fire but the early ASA journals and then the older ASA newsletters give lists of "new members." Since student members were seldom listed, most of these dates are when people became full members. I plan to list the five-year anniversaries between 50 and 25 years one at a time in this bimonthly newsletter. In the last issue, I named our 50-year living members. This issue includes those who have been ASAers for 45 years. Members could have dropped out and rejoined but I would have no record of that. Those listed as a new member in 1956 are: Austin F. Anthis, Richard B. Barrueto, George H. Blount, Neal O. Brace, George R. Douglas, Jr., Stanley H. Horton, David O. Moberg, Nicholas J. Tavani, Sr., and Robert E. Vander Vennen. Congratulations on your forty-fifth year!
From time to time I receive interesting requests such as the one that came the other day. An ASA member in CA is moving and cannot take his ASA journals with him. He has an almost complete collection from 1958 onward and disliked throwing them out. He asked me if ASA or someone else would like them. There are many interesting materials in these older journals. I keep a complete collection right beside my desk and plan eventually to leave it here for ASA. If you know a college library (or a person) that would like to fill in their collection, please let me know. If I can have such a list on hand, then I could try to match donor with recipient. So please do not throw those journals away until you check with me.
Without success, I have solicited for some early ASA newsletters missing from my collection that I also hope to leave with ASA. The ASA office ought to have one full collection. I would be glad to duplicate and return early newsletters to you. The ASA newsletter was first published in 1959 so there must be at least one longtime member who kept them. I have almost all of mine but I did not join until 1962. I can give you a list of the issues we need.
Probably by now you have the Templeton/ASA Lecture Series brochure. There were still nine lectures (out of 74) unscheduled at the time of printing. If you live near one of those places, please feel free to call or email the lecture coordinator for details.
The judging of last year's lecture videos has now been accomplished by three young ASAers and three older, I mean more mature, scientists. They represent several different areas of science and theology. This year there was a tie for first place, so we will split the $3,000 prize between two speakers, Frederick Gregory and Pauline M. Rudd. This is the last of the video contests for now.
As our thoughts turn to Easter in April may we once again contemplate the deep meaning of the death and resurrection of God's son. It is always a time of soul searching for me. I just had a call from a woman who told me that her grandson was slowly leaving the faith because he refuses to believe in a young earth and total world flood and now he is claiming to disbelieve the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He describes himself as an agnostic. How can we reach and help that grandson and others like him? It is a deep challenge for the ASA to keep people steady on the essentials of faith as demonstrated by Easter instead of making some scientific things absolute which are not part of the core belief of the historic Christian creeds.