Volume 43 Number 3
From the Executive Director
World Forum 2000: Science, Spirituality, & World Power
As the world transitions to a new millennium, the sweeping impact of science and technology in the last century has brought these communities into the "equation" of global power. Religion or "spirituality" joins sci/tech as another source of power, where power in this sense is the ability to influence.
As far-removed as science-religion relationships might seem to be from political power, it appears prominently in the biggest issues ASA addresses. For instance, the legal battles over teaching or not teaching Darwinian or creationist alternatives in government schools is political, as is legislation or court rulings to allow or disallow such teaching. Environmental issues are even more entangled, involving political powers of the highest level - the global power structure.
One of the twentieth-century theologians who paid attention to the nature of the world order, Reinhold Neibuhr, observed that:
Wherever men hold unequal power in society, they will strive to maintain it. They will use whatever means are convenient to that end and will seek to justify them by the most plausible arguments they are able to devise.
Recently, The State of the World Forum (www.worldforum.org), under the aegis of the world's ruling elite, was convened by ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbechev on Sept. 4-10, 2000 in New York, to facilitate a consensus on an agenda for the world. The registration fee was $5,000 per person. One of the sectors of society included in the Forum was that of science and technology, along with "a broad network of leaders from business, government, and civil society who gather to examine the principles and values that may guide humanity and to initiate progressive actions."
The Forum leaders recognize that the political and economic parameters of the world are changing rapidly ("a new cultural matrix is arising"), as social interaction and organization are consolidating on a global scale. The Forum included a conference relating science and spirituality, most of it far from a biblical world view. However, there were a few exceptions.
The Templeton Foundation co-conducted "Future Visions: Putting the Scientific and Spiritual Imaginations to Work." Of the many speakers invited to participate were Ian Barbour and Westmont C. biology prof. Jeff Schloss. Jeff reports that "It was an absolutely incredible event" with "two very explicit things that most dramatically influenced me, and which still have me both inspired and concerned." For inspiration, he thought that:
there was a very emphatic and impressive wedding of science, religion, and sociopolitical visions of a just and sustainable biosphere. I have not seen the kind of integration heretofore attempted, not only between science and faith, but economics, sociology, political science, applied sciences (medicine, public health, agroecology, engineering), and cultural anthropology. The effort was expansively integrative, and ambitiously visionary.
World-class efforts to unite science and religion projected a kind of power Jeff described as follows:
I felt like the whole event was "Faith-Science" raised to the next level - not just an exercise in cognitive integration, but lifestyle accommodation. These folks attempted something grand and important, and frankly, I viewed them as well ahead of the decades-long evangelical enterprise of "integrating faith & learning," and even the much older enterprises of natural theology and theologies of nature.
What bothered Jeff was the direction of this impressive enterprise. He says:
There was an extremely disturbing aspect of the gathering in general, but particularly the "Future Visions" sessions that were focused particularly on faith-science. These sessions revealed a well-funded, highly innovated, ambitiously energetic, and amply populated thrust to not just explore dialogue between science and religion, but to promote a particular religion through science--and it is not Christian young-earth fundamentalism (usually accused of such activity), but New Age Spirituality.
There were two dominant and almost incessantly repeated refrains in these sessions. First, that "true" religion does not entail doctrine or propositional truth (criticized as presumptuous), but it is contentless and generically transcendent. Second, there is nevertheless scientific validation of various spiritual principles. Phrases repeated almost like a mantra were "the new physics," "the new biology," "the new genetics," ...evolution, physiology. These "new" disciplines are emerging in published research outside the venue of peer reviewed journals. For example, when asking for citations, I got citations to trade books published by a variety of new-age presses, or periodical literature like Journal of Crystal and Energy Field Studies.
The neo-pagan orientation was not subtle. As Jeff further comments:
Assertions I encountered included healing (and improvement of sex life) by wearing crystals and minerals, extension of life to immortality by neural manipulation, levitation and resurrection by appropriate understanding of morphogenetic field theory, attainment of mystical revelation by erotic exchanges with extraterrestrial beings, and achievement of global consciousness by symbiotic merging or human cognition with the worldwide web. And the most interesting assertion, made publicly in a session on genetic engineering, was that there was published scientific evidence that aliens had already manipulated the human genome, and anyone who was not aware of this had already been manipulated.
I am not being smug or facetious here. These were all ideas presented with utmost seriousness and I believe may constitute an altogether new, and from my view disconcerting, attempt at dialogue between science and religion--the concordist attempt to apologetically harmonize fringe science with new-age spirituality.
In addition, a multitude of new-age mystics spoke such as Deepak Chopra and Forum board member Caroline Myss, a pioneer in the field of "energy medicine" and human consciousness. Since 1982, she has worked as a medical intuitive--one who "sees" illnesses in a patient's body by intuitive means.
A close friend of the other two board members is Jim Garrison, founder and president of the Forum and the Gorbachev Foundation/USA. With a background in world history, history of religion, and philosophical theology, he has written six books concerning the historical and theological implications of the advent of the nuclear age. His latest work is Civilization and the Transformation of Power. He was born of missionary parents in China.
The Forum, with its distinct spiritual underpinning, is currently seeking to advance its influence as a partnership "in a spiritual renaissance to keep pace with humanity's scientific and technological advancement" using popular causes such as "ecological sustainability" and promotion of global governance. This is epitomized by one Forum speaker, Canadian Maurice Strong, a committed neo-pagan who is involved in the UN's one-world-government project of Global Governance, is Secretary General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, and has been head of the UN Environment Program.
Joe Carson also attended and concurs with Schloss. He described the dominant Forum world view:
"Religion" is wanted insofar as it motivates humanistic behavior, but not if it makes any concrete, let alone exclusive, claims about truth or mores ... It discounts the possibility that God has freely chosen to reveal aspects of His nature via special revelation to certain humans at particular times and places. All we can know about God is what we, ourselves, without any divine aid, can adduce and God is so big, we need to be very humble about our ideas.
World Forum Goals
What does the Forum intend to accomplish? In their words:
The intent of the State of the World Forum is to work with partners world-wide to help galvanize this spiritual, political and cultural renaissance to keep pace with humanity's scientific and technological advances, such that momentum toward a global civilization is established comprised of holistic, self-actualizing individuals.
This renaissance of self- and not Christ-actualizing individuals conforming to a one-world order underlies the "principles and values" the Forum hopes will guide humanity in "progressive actions." Christians who find red flags going up in the back of their minds might recognize this effort as an attempt by the humanistic super-rich to secure their rule of the world.
As Niebuhr suggested, an emerging system of power requires dissolution of competing power, by persuading the people of free countries to relinquish their rights for the sake of reform and security. The Forum projects its bandwagon discontent as it seeks popular support for its alternatives:
... a consensus is emerging among many diverse constituencies that the present system is not working equitably, and that reform is needed. In the midst of growing public concern and commitment to explore new options, a compelling challenge resides in convening together the world's stakeholders for sustained dialogue. Such an undertaking would be potentially historic in its consequences.
In global-governance parlance, stakeholders are those who agree to participate under the authority of those structuring the new global order, as sustainable human system management. Use of such language (facilitation of consensus among stakeholders) is common throughout related documents. Typical are those of the UN Committee on Global Governance and UN Environment Program (UNEP). Decision-making is not by the representative one person, one vote mechanism, but that of stakeholder "consensus" achieved through "facilitation." School districts and county governments in the U.S. have already been exposed to this new form of implicit external control.
As global power consolidates, and draws on both scientific and spiritual resources to achieve political goals, it increasingly impacts the world of science-religion relationships. The ASAN will continue to cover this emerging interaction in the future.
ASAers Meet to Hear Johnson at Case Western
Phillip E. Johnson spoke at Case Western Reserve U. (CWRU) on Tuesday, Feb. 27 to an overflow crowd of 350-400 attendees - mainly students - in Hatch Auditorium. Johnson emphasized the materialist presuppositions underlying Darwinism, evidence for design of life, and called for an open hearing and level playing field for discussion of the development of life. The event was hosted by InterVarsity, who has published several of Johnson's books. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship area director for eastern Ohio, Marc Papai, a chemical engineer by background, introduced Johnson, who spoke for an hour. Audience interaction brought out some sharp-witted CWRU students who asked polite and well-placed questions.
Also attending the event were ASAers Dan Simon, a second-year electrical engineering professor from Cleveland State U., Tom and Barbara Hoshiko, both retired professors of CWRU, now living across the border in Pennsylvania, and their son Daniel, an electrical engineer designing RF instrumentation in Cleveland. Cleveland west-sider, ASA00 cellist, and aerospace engineer Bruce Clark also appeared, and a mutual friend of both Dan and Bruce's, Jim Perry. The Editor, who has also known Perry from youth, was also in attendance. Afterwards, an impromptu ASA gathering convened.
Dan and I also brought a pile of ASA literature - mainly journals - for distribution. Books by Johnson and other IDers, such as Jon Wells' Icons of Evolution were for sale. Dan, Bruce, and I spent about an hour afterward talking with a bright, young man with degrees in physics and economics about Johnson's presentation, philosophy of science, Christianity, and econometrics.
In response to a question, Johnson gave his standard reply for why it makes no sense to be a theistic evolutionist, but in his talk he conceded that evolution guided by a creator wouldn't qualify as naturalistic. In responding to the question, "Doesn't attribution to God shut science down?" Phil gave two answers: (1) the real question of interest to ID is what is true (whether it's called science or not), and (2) this is a misunderstanding of ID; rather, it opens scientific research up to all the possibilities, and gets rid of the natural/supernatural dichotomy. Johnson closed with an appeal to return science to evidence collection and away from worldview promotion.
What Happened in Alabama
by Norris Anderson
[Alabaman Norris Anderson presents his view of the events behind the new science course of study adopted recently by the Alabama State School Board. Ed.]
We knew that the evolutionists were targeting our state so we worked with one of our board members to get a "[John] Wiester-like" statement into the preface of the new curriculum. Instead, the State Department of Education decided to include the entire Textbook Insert that was adopted six years ago.
The reaction was predictable. Many of the course of study committee members threatened to walk out if the insert were included. As a counter-measure, they prepared their own preface extolling the virtues of Darwinism as a factual system. Others on the committee told them that their approach was just too blatant and would attract enemy fire. So, they decided to "hide" the salient part in a longer document.
In the spirit of compromise, we accepted their document and made only "small" changes to their core section. The result was an introduction to the course of study that represents a first in this state - collaboration between Intelligent Design and evolutionists. I am hoping that this document will serve as a model for other states. I was thrilled at the great progress made in educating our education officials about the proper teaching of origins. Our state superintendent, our state department of education, and the entire state school board supported the preface. One of our board members, an evolutionist said, "I have no problem with a preface that says we should teach our theories, certainly the most widely accepted theories, but at the same time asks our children to question them and keep an open mind."
ASAers in Action
Bube Writing on Web
Dick Bube is now writing a monthly column for the PRO (Professionals Reaching Out) Group on their web site, with the general title of "Science and Faith." A new column will appear once a month on the first week of the month for the next presently undetermined number of months, starting March 2001. The web address is: www.proministry.org
Burgy on Web
Another ASAer with a website is John Burgeson. Visit him sometime at: www.burgy.50megs.com Near the beginning of the site, he says:
My plans for this web site are to include links to web sites that have responsible information on issues of origins. "Creation-Evolution" is not a good name for this issue; a better one is "Purpose-Accidentalism."
ASA's Being a Christian in Science in Taiwan in Chinese
ASA's book, Being a Christian in Science, co-published with IVP and written by former ASAN editor Walter Hearn, was translated into Chinese by an IVCF-related group, the Campus Evangelical Fellowship (CEF). This was a transcultural experience for Walt, who does not "shuo zhongwen" (or guoy¸).
Photographs of the cover of the English-language version and even of the author appear on the inside flaps of the attractive cover. The copyright page says (in English) that IVP is the publisher and ASA is the copyright holder. Of course, Walt couldn't read the text but he can tell that a good bit of rearrangement was done, such as omitting the "Good Company" section - possibly because the references to American scientists would seem too "foreign."
The title consists of four Chinese characters, the first two representing "science," the third literally "sharp," and the fourth "soldier." Former ASA president Chi-Hang Lee thinks the title conveys something like "Vanguards of Science" or "Science Pioneers."
Walt also learned from Chi-Hang that the use of the classic Chinese script marks the book as printed in Taiwan, since on the mainland only the modern simplified script is used. (Translations of Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial have now been printed in both scripts.) Conversion to the new script can be done automatically by computer programs, if Walt's book is ever published on the mainland for distribution there. At least one copy of the English-language version is in Beijing, given by Walt to a Chinese scientist to take back with him.
Inscrutably, while stumbling around on the Web, Walt found this URL with a photo of the Chinese version and no doubt full information (in Chinese):
* Walt Hearn
ASA IDers Prominent in New Book
Bill Dembski has edited and contributed content to a new book from Brazos Press, a division of Baker Book House, called Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design, along with Touchstone executive editor, James M. Kushiner.
The 176-page book is a collection of essays by Walter L. Bradley, Paul A. Nelson, Jonathan Wells, Robert F. DeHaan, Stephen C. Meyer, and John L. Wiester. Essayists also include Phillip E. Johnson, Nancy Pearcey, Michael J. Behe, John Mark Reynolds, Patrick Henry Reardon, Jay Wesley Richards, John G. West, Jr., and others originally published in the July/August 1999 issue of Touchstone, which sold over 13,000 copies.
In generally accessible language, with the aid of diagrams and relevant quotations, the book provides an introductory overview of the argument for intelligent design, arguing against the logical and evidential fallacies of evolutionary theory from fossil records to the irreducible complexity of biochemistry.
Amazon.com lists the book for $8.79, at: www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587430045/qid=982022166/sr=1-2/ref=sc_b_2/105-4623086-9267119
Christian in Atmospheric Science Denies Warming
The preponderance of opinion in the scientific community is that the average temperature of the earth has been increasing. Filter out the high-frequency dips and peaks in the data, and the temperature versus time curve has a positive slope. Or does it? The issue is controversial. This article emphasizes the case against global warming, or at least, against the extent of some popular claims made about it. Future coverage will include more of the better-known claims for warming.
Speakers at ASA 2000 presented compelling evidence for global warming. But not all scientists have concluded similarly. In fact, thousands have joined the Petition Project, P.O. Box 1925, La Jolla, CA 92038-1925, (www.oism.org/pproject/s33p37.htm) headed by Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences. The petition states, in part:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
When the list is reduced to those with the requisite scientific expertise, the number is still significant. A few dozen leading meteorologists have signed a declaration (www.sepp.org/statment.html) declaring, in part:
Such policy initiatives derive from highly uncertain scientific theories. They are based on the unsupported assumption that catastrophic global warming follows from the burning of fossil fuels and requires immediate action. We do not agree.
The issue deserves a further look because it obviously is not only of academic interest; global political powers are applying the issue to effect major policies in the developed countries that interact with the energy issue and with the global economy.
For many scientists in disagreement, the argument is over the extent of warming and its causes. The National Academy of Sciences published a report on January 2000, put out by the National Research Council, titled "Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change." (National Academy Press. Washington, DC). It identifies the geographic regions of warming and cooling during the last 20 years. Surface measurements of East Africa show no warming trend and weather satellites show a pronounced atmospheric cooling trend there.
The figure (shown below) is taken from the George C. Marshall Institute website at:
It shows changes in yearly average surface temperature sampled worldwide, reconstructed for land and sea surface (solid line, University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit [CRU]), and land only (dashed line, NASA- Goddard Institute for Space Studies [GISS]). The temporary warming in 1997-98 is a natural and unusually strong El NiÒo event and biases the estimated warming trend upward.
Other data (also on the GCMI webpage), taken from satellites, shows warming as a questionable conclusion. The next figure (below) shows changes in monthly average lower tropospheric temperature between latitudes 82ƒN and 82ƒS through August 1999, from satellite Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) measurements. These data have been corrected for the recently reported effects of, for example, satellite orbit decay. The temporary warming in 1997-98 is a natural and unusually strong El NiÒo event.
The satellite data was reported by J. R. Christy, R. W. Spencer, and E. S. Lobl, in "Analysis of the merging procedure for the MSU daily temperature time series," Journal of Climate 11, 2016 (1998), and by J. R. Christy, R. Spencer, and W. D. Braswell in "MSU tropospheric temperatures: Dataset construction and radiosonde comparisons," in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 2000.
Writing in Discover magazine (vol. 22 no. 2, February 2001), author Elizabeth Royte begins "The Gospel According to John," with this byline:
When this world-class atmospheric scientist insists there's no such thing as global warming, is he talking science - or religion?
John Christy is a Huntsville, AL Baptist and professor of atmospheric science at the U. of Alabama. Some of his fellow church members, the article states,
may even know that he puts more faith in evolution as an explanatory theory than in creationism. But only those closest to Christy know the extent to which his science and his religion are intertwined - and how much his double life has helped shape the most heated scientific debate of the past 20 years.
Christy is on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established by the United Nations about a decade ago. Christy for years has doubted the global warming claim and has grown more skeptical. The IPCC was established and is run and funded by the UN Environment Program (UNEP). As Steven Milloy reported in the Washington Times (Feb. 13, 2001), in an article titled "Dirty new warming secret,"
There is no new science in the IPCC's scarier assessment. Looking for a way to turn up the heat, the IPCC merely cranked some more extreme human emission scenarios into the computer, to crank out a hotter world 100 years from now.
Before the IPCC announcement, Christy declared the opposite: "The usual predictions show escalating atmospheric temperatures, and we're just not seeing that rise. This indicates that the cause of recent surface warming may be due to factors other than human activities."
Christy's opposition to the IPCC declaration is rooted not only in global satellite and weather-station data, but in his Christian convictions. Twenty-seven years ago, he was a missionary in the Kenyan village of Nyeri, in the highlands outside Nairobi where he saw first-hand how energy policies of the powerful nations devastated developing communities dependent on fossil fuels. "Disrupting the lives of those whose existence is too often literally hanging by a thread causes the kind of suffering that the average policy maker or activist never sees," he told the House Small Business Committee in 1998.
Because of the difficulty of obtaining accurate ground-based temperature data, no less that of the troposphere, Christy began to work with Roy Spencer, a satellite meteorologist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, gathering data from polar-orbital satellites. The two meteorologists' contribution was to find a way to determine tropospheric temperature from the satellite data. But they found that, instead of heating like a greenhouse, since 1979 the lower troposphere had warmed only 0.2 degree Fahrenheit, whereas the surface had warmed between 0.48 and 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The disparity led Christy to the thesis that prevailing climate models were wrong.
When his work was published in 1990, it was attacked on detailed technical grounds (satellite drift, orbital decay, instrument temperature, etc.) Industry public relations officers happily distributed his statistics while environmentalists denounced it. "I'm more upset with environmental advocacy groups who lie about my data, who say it's inaccurate" he says. One employee of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program, which studies climate change, told him, "I'm paying people to come at you with bricks and bats."
Christy and Spencer went to work on the faults. As the Discover article reported:
For months on end, the men identified and quantified possible sources of error, applied nonlinear-trend reconstruction algorithms, and corrected least-squares regressions. They calibrated one satellite against another and, finally, validated their corrected numbers with readings from radiosondes - weather balloons that have been collecting data worldwide since 1958. In the end, he says, the errors fell to less than a tenth of a degree for the 20-year period.
Their rigor was eventually recognized when, in 1996, they were awarded by the American Meteorological Society for "fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate." The next year, the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in England independently verified their data. "We have nine data sets and they're absolutely confirmed," Christy says. "They're dead-on."
Ironically, while Christy's data have won praise, his conclusions have not. In a report released on January 12 last year, the National Research Council declared that the disparity between surface and troposphere temperatures is probably real, but that it's difficult to say why it exists or what it means.
Of greater irony are the conclusions of the 1,000-page IPCC document that lists Christy himself as a co-author, that the burning of fossil fuels has "contributed substantially to the observed warming over the last fifty years," in contradiction to Christy's research results.
Another irony: IPCC member, James E. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies believes that the atmosphere will continue to warm based not on satellite but current radiosonde data. But most of the warming, as Christy points out, "occurred in the early part of the 20th century, before humans had boosted concentrations of greenhouse gases." Christy lists other possible influences on temperature readings: sunspots, volcanic eruptions, El NiÒos, variations in aerosols, water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane from living creatures. While northern hemispheric temperatures have been slightly higher in recent years, southern hemisphere temperatures have been lower.
Better models and improved understanding of how particulates affect climate has sustained the majority of scientists, such as Brandon MacGillis of the National Environmental Trust: "In legitimate climate circles, there is no debate on the way humans have warmed the planet. It's happening."
Christy does not take issue with the value of reducing toxic emissions like methane, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide: "I care about our environmental problems," he says, "if they're scientifically based and put into perspective with global environmental problems. But what I see is people in the Northeast and the West trying to control how others live." He says the environmental effects of curbing greenhouse-gas emissions "are likely to be minuscule," while the social effects could be disastrous.
Many competing hypotheses are debated as they are studied; that's completely ordinary in the scientific community. Global climate, however, has a major political side to it that affects the usual objectivity of scientists. The situation is summed up by Royte, in noting how only twenty-five years ago, the scientific consensus was that the planet was cooling:
Such reversals underscore how remarkably young the study of climate change is. Twenty-five years ago, atmospheric scientists fretted about global cooling. Today scientists agree that Earth's surface is warming, but they can't reach a consensus on exactly how much and why. The more scientists study the atmosphere, the more complicated it appears.
To probe further, access the following websites:
… IPCC Working Group I: www.meto.gov.uk/sec5/CR_div/ ipcc/wg1
… John Christy's work: www.atmos.uah.edu/atmos/christy.html
… NASA Goddard Institute of Space Sciences Global climate modeling: www.giss.nasa.gov
… John Christy: tel: (205) 922-5763; email: email@example.com
… Roy Spencer: tel: (205) 922-5960; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quaint Books and Others
… Sociologist David O. Moberg has just edited Aging and Spirituality: Spiritual Dimensions of Aging Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (Haworth Press, 2001; www.HaworthPress.com); 207 pages, $24.95 soft; $49.95 hard cover). This book provides a much-needed resource for anyone involved with those who are aging: health-carers, clergy, social workers, and counselors of geriatric clients, by integrating spiritual issues into the theoretical framework of social gerontology. Look for the book to be available in May.
… The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity, by Amir D. Aczel (www.4w8w.com) is the story of Georg Cantor whose mathematical study of infinity opened the way for G–del's accomplishments. Cantor's theory of the infinite is famous for its seeming contradiction that the number of points on a line segment is independent of its length. Aczel traces the philosophical roots of Cantor's work to ancient Greek mathematics and Jewish numerology. Cantor used the first Hebrew letter, aleph, with its attendant divine associations to represent the sum of all positive integers, of which there is no last. Aczel writes: "Perhaps Cantor's ultimate belief that the absoluteness of God was incomprehensible to the human mind - even when the mind can attempt to understand actual infinity - brought peace to his tormented soul." In hardback, $24.95, 304 pages.
With the Lord
… Dutch geologist J. R. van de Fliert died in February 2001. Some of us remember him for his classic ASA article on catastrophism versus uniformitarianism in geology as related to the Noahic flood.
… Jerry Albert is sorry to report that on March 4 a friend, Craig R. Allen died after a three-month's convalescence following a stroke last November which left him with right-side paralysis. He was an electronics engineer retired from San Diego's Naval Ocean Systems Center. Craig was a long-time ASA member, faithfully read the journal, and attended many annual meetings with his wife Jackie. He is also survived by two sons and a daughter.
… John C. W. Bliese of Kearney, NE, passed away in mid-February 2001. He was a retired biologist interested in science education.
The Executive Director's Corner
by Donald W. Munro
By now you should have received registration materials for ASA 2001 at Kansas State University, July 20-23. For the full meeting, you should arrive Thursday evening, July 19, as we need to leave for the Land Institute early Friday morning. This meeting has over fifty papers, posters, and presentations which necessitates triple sessions some of the time. There are two plenary speakers and the added value of a Templeton/ASA Lecture as part of the program. Several interesting places to visit on Monday afternoon include the beautiful KSU Gardens, the MacDonald High Energy Physics Laboratory, the TRIGA Research Nuclear Reactor, and more. Please send in your registration as soon as possible.
Hot off the press is the full program for the Global Stewardship and Environmental Ethics Symposium that is a joint effort of John Wood and Hessel Bouma III, respective chairs of ASA's Global Resources and Environment Commission and Bioethics Commission. The symposium will occur on Saturday, July 21, following the much anticipated plenary lecture, Creation is Groaning, by Sir Ghillean Prance. The symposium starts at 10:30 AM and continues to 5:30 PM. It will feature eleven separate presentations by lecturers from the US and Canada. It is divided into three parts: philosophical and theological perspectives, research and practice, and sustaining biodiversity. To see the complete program for this symposium, go to ASA's web site and click under meeting snippets.
At the last Council meeting, AISRED (African Institute for Scientific Research and Development) was accepted as our fourth affiliation and first overseas venture. AISRED, directed by George Kinoti for many years, is now located at Olooseos in the Ngong Hills on land subleased to them by the Presbyterian Church. George is trying to network with groups such as the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Heifer Project International, and World Vision Kenya. Dr. Mark Weber, professor of biology and health professions adviser at Grove City College, has led two successful medical missions to Olooseos and now hopes that the college can bring engineering students and people from other disciplines to this area of Kenya to contribute to local community projects. AuSable Institute has also held some courses at Olooseos. AISRED has some accrued debt and George asks for prayer for the financial health and the future of AISRED.
With this column, we continue the recognition of long-time ASA members. This time we celebrate those who were listed in the ASA journal as joining in 1961, which is forty years ago. So congratulations to Jerry D. Albert, Robert D. Anderson, G. Jean Dunn, Robert B. Griffiths, Robert A. Hirschy, Calvin O. Huber, Russell W. Johnson, Chi-Hang Lee, Frederick D. Shannon, Joseph L. Spradley, Walter R. Thorson, Andrew J. Wagner, Richard T. Wright, and Edwin Yamauchi. I desire for each of these many more years with the ASA. In the next issue, we will commemorate those with thirty-five years of ASA membership.
Do you need a job? Check out the job opportunities on the ASA web site as well as in the [printed] newsletter. At this point, any ASA member can post a job opportunity on the web site free of charge. Most of the postings have been by academic institutions but they should not be limited to that. For academic positions we plan to wipe the slate clean about July 1 of each year. If you do not want that to happen for a particular job, let us know ahead of time.
Ray Randall, ASA's financial adviser, who is a Registered Investment Advisor with Ethos Advisory Services, has provided us with details about security gifts to either the general or endowments funds of ASA. He has provided us with a sample Letter of Authorization that can be sent with gifted shares to Waterhouse Institutional Services in San Diego, CA, where ASA has an account. There are several pieces of information that must come with a stock gift, and I would be most happy to help you with that.
One of our younger members called my attention to the monthly prayer card where we placed unsaved friends on the last day of the month. She thought that was too much of an afterthought. I agree and will change it next time. Actually that ought to be a daily prayer.
The transition to a December-only membership renewal is progressing, and most of you have responded well. This process will get a bit complicated as the year progresses but this streamlining will help the organization in the end. I also appreciate the donations that many of you have added to your dues or sent in separately. Each contribution is very needed. To provide the staff with cost-of-living raises in 2001, the ASA Council simply raised the amount for donations in the 2001 budget. That means that each of us has to dig a little deeper if we are to once again make it into the black. Thanks for your continued prayers for the affiliation and the home office.