Volume 44 Number 3
Executive Director's Corner
ASA Lay Education Project
by Eugene L. Maxwell
The ASA has undertaken the Lay Education Project (ASALEP) to enable lay members of Christian churches to understand God's revelation through nature and the scientific method and to know what they should and should not expect to learn from them. In other words, this project will inquire into the different kinds of truth God deposited in the Bible and in nature. The appropriate use of God's dual revelations will be illustrated by evaluating alleged evidences for a young and an old earth, using the latest information put forth by supporters of these discordant views.
Only Christians can restore God's written revelation, the Bible, to its rightful place as a certain source of information regarding love, grace, righteous living, and God's provision for our salvation. The first step in this restoration should come from a mitigation of the discord found within the Christian community. And that is what the ASALEP is all about. This project should be viewed as a response to biblical exhortations for Christians to seek unity and oneness of mind. It will also be a response to God's command to love our neighbors as ourselves if we succeed in avoiding criticisms of people, organizations, or ideas. Rather than casting shadows on anyone or anything, it is our intention to shed light on the information found in nature and in the written Word. If successful, this project will reflect favorably on all people who worship God, and it will strengthen the Christian witness to the world.
In the grand scheme of things, what people think about the age of the earth and related issues will make little difference. But the discord these issues have created does matter, because it has damaged the credibility of the Church and the Bible itself. To make matters worse, Christians on all sides of these issues have misused both scriptural and natural information in attempts to justify their positions. While ostensibly guarding the integrity of the Bible and/or science, the result has been just the opposite. Nobody wins, and the integrity of the Christian community has suffered.
One of the innocent ways that scriptural and natural information have been misused is to proclaim that they must agree whenever they seem to be addressing the same thing. True, they do not disagree, but that statement is meaningless because they contain different information written for a different purpose.
The Project's Products: A Book, Video and Study Guide
A book with the working title, God's Dual Revelations and the Age of the Earth, will be the principal product of the ASALEP. In addition to a book, the project will produce a video and a study guide. It is expected that the book will be useful as a reference or to provide for a more in-depth study than that afforded by the video. The study guide will facilitate the development of three courses of study.
The first course will focus on using the video for a four- to six-week Sun- day School class, with references to the book to assist the teacher in his or her preparations. The second course will provide for a more in-depth, thirteen- week class using the video and the book. This course will contain reading assignments from the Bible and the book, as well as questions and topics for discussion. The third course will provide guidance for home schooling parents who want to use the material as part of their science curriculum.
The Project's Objectives and Goal
It is our prayer that the products forthcoming from this project will:
help readers understand the scientific method used to extract information from nature
separate the kernels of truth from the chaff found in both Christian and secular publications
inform Christians regarding the confidence they can have in scientific data and its interpretation
educate Christians on the proper use of information obtained from both of God's revelations
relieve some of the animosity that has built up over such issues as the age of the earth
explain how natural information can help interpret Scripture and vice versa
facilitate the science education of our youth in the church and in the home
show how science glorifies God and can strengthen our faith in him.
The goal of this project is to produce educational products that could be used at the High School and adult levels. The mainly non-mathematical format and restraints on scientific and theological jargon will facilitate communication to a diverse audience, including non-Christians and people with little background in the sciences. It will also be of interest to members of the scientific community who recognize the need for better communication with the Christian community.
How You Can Help
We need volunteers to review individual chapters of the book as rough drafts become available. Experts in the fields addressed and lay Christians with little or no scientific or theological background are needed. The experts will be expected to provide feedback on the accuracy and adequacy of the chapters whereas lay Christians (ages 16 and above) will tell us if they had difficulty understanding the subject matter. We are particularly looking for ASA members to review the more technical chapters (5-7), but reviewers of any chapter will be welcome.
Please use the following list of chapters to select those that you would like to review:
1. The Search For Truth
2. God's Written Revelation
3. God's Revelation In Nature
4. A Brief History Of Science
5. Honest Scales & Accurate Weights
6. An Astronomical Primer
7. An Earth Science Primer
8. Evidence For A Young Earth
9. Evidence For An Old Earth
10. Using God's Dual Revelations
E-mail Gene Maxwell (email@example.com) if you would like to help. Of course, only your comments and suggestions will be passed on to the author(s); your name will be kept confidential.
School Fight Moves to Ohio
The controversy over Darwinism in government schools is like an active volcanic mountain range, with incidents occurring in one state after another. As Kansas cooled, the issue moved to Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, then to the federal level, in the Santorum amendment. Now the eruption is in Ohio, where the divided Board of Education moved its Monday, March 11 meeting to a larger 4,000 seat auditorium. The attendance was about 1500.
The board heard proponents of both Darwinian theory and Intelligent Design (ID) in a panel discussion. An early draft of the proposed state science standards was criticized for not including ID along with Darwinian theory. Even though teachers are not required to follow the standards, the sophomore-year state test required for graduation is based on it. Consequently, the standards drive the local curriculum.
Stephen Meyer spoke on behalf of the Discovery Institute of Seattle, and asked the board to encourage teachers to cover the disagreements about Darwinism rather than incorporate ID into the curriculum. "We just want the discussion opened up, because we feel the evidence is running strongly in our favor," Meyer said after the hearing.
In an Associated Press (AP) article (March 14, 2002), "Ohio School Board Debates Teaching 'Intelligent Design'" by religion writer Richard N. Ostling, the growing influence of the ID movement was acknowledged:
Whatever the board decides, the Ohio discussion has brought new attention to the fledgling ID movement, a small academic faction but one that flexes considerable brainpower.
Proponents say evolution is typically taught to mean life emerged on Earth spontaneously, and that only undirected natural selection produced the varied life forms. But, they contend, the best evidence indicates that scenario is fantastically unlikely.
Case Western Reserve U. physics chairman Lawrence Krauss objected to ID as science, and National Center for Science Education's Eugenie Scott warns "ID would bring religion into biology classes, even though advocates scrupulously avoid naming the intelligence they see behind the universe." "Look, it's God, not a little green man," Scott says. "We know that."
Krauss identified the problem of introducing ID: "The real danger is in trying to put God in the gaps" ("Ohio Board Hears Debate on an Alternative to Darwinism," New York Times [NYT], March 12, 2002, late ed., section A; p. 16; col. 1; by Francis X. Clines). According to the NYT article, Krauss
argued that while much remained to be discovered about natural selection, Darwin's theory had only grown in strength through decades of repeated experimentation and discovery that intelligent design had not been subjected to.
The article distinguished between ID and young-earth creationism:
In contrast to the biblical literalism of creationists, proponents of intelligent design acknowledge that the earth is billions of years old and that organisms evolve over time. But they dispute that natural selection is the sole force of evolution, arguing that life is so complex that only some sort of intelligent designer, whether called God or something else, must be involved.
Ostling's article also distinguished between young-earth creationism and ID while noting that MIT Press's recent 805-page anthology on ID, Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, does not. It categorizes ID as a variant of "creationism." Historian Ronald Numbers considers tarring ID with the "creationist" brush is "the easiest way to discredit Intelligent Design." The AP article also cites William Dembski and his new book, No Free Lunch.
Also testifying at the Monday meeting was Brown U. biologist Kenneth Miller, who debated Michael Behe of Lehigh U. and author of Darwin's Black Box, at a previous ASA Annual Meeting. Behe is quoted as saying: "the problem is not religious people trying to push design, but scientific people pushing their heads into the sand to avoid design because it has religious implications." In ASA, the role of religion in science has been debated; others see biblical faith as the foundation for science rather than part of its subject-matter. Behe's remarks, however, apply more to the social context in which political decisions about science education are made.
The Columbus Dispatch weighed in on limitations to science in an op-ed piece titled "Don't Compromise; Science mixed with religion isn't science" (March 17, 2002, final ed., Home section: editorial & comment; p. 02G). The article defended the status quo of Darwinian science with strong defensive language (" slick pseudoscience and bogus appeals for scientific 'debate' and 'diversity'") and then went beyond, to present apologia for materialism and talk about an "anti-evolution jihad."
Alabama Textbook Inserts
Alabama is also still in the news, as it adopts state biology textbook inserts. State Superintendent Ed Richardson commented: "Originally no insert was to be included in the new books. But then the letters, faxes and e-mails started coming to pressure the board to include an insert." Of the four paragraphs of the insert, the first two explain theory. The last two paragraphs of the insert read:
The theory of evolution by natural selection is a controversial theory that is included in this textbook. It is controversial because it states that natural selection provides the basis for the modern scientific explanation for the diversity of living things. Since natural selection has been observed to play a role in influencing small changes in a population, it is assumed that it produces large changes even though this has not been directly observed. Because of its importance and implications, students should understand the nature of evolutionary theories. They should learn to make distinctions between the multiple meanings of evolution, to distinguish between observations and assumptions used so draw conclusions, and to wrestle with the unanswered questions and unresolved problems still faced by evolutionary theory.
There are many unanswered questions about the origin of life. Instructional materials associated with controversy should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
* Norris Anderson
Detrashing the Environment
The "high-octane American lifestyle" generates huge volumes of trash which is placed in landfills or dumped by barges into the ocean hundreds of miles off the coast of New York City. But landfill sites are limited and the dumps are filling. According to Electronic Design (Feb. 19, 2001, p. 34), in 1998, about 20.6 million desktop computers (PCs) became obsolete. Yet only 11 % were recycled. PCs are toxic landfill items because they contain lead, mercury, and cadmium. The International Association of Electronics Recyclers estimates 275 million pounds of electronics were recycled in 1998.
Fortunately, the number of recycled PCs is sharply increasing. However, so are the number of PCs. Marketing research firm Dataquest says that less than 5 % of all PCs are donated to schools and other organizations. For a list of groups that accept donations of used equipment, see: www.nsc.org/ehc or www.iaer.org
Biblical stewardship of the environment involves engineers in the effort to do something creative with this mountain of discarded wealth. In another engineering trade journal, Designfax (www.designfax.net), during National Engineers Week, Leo F. Peters, president of the American Consulting Engineers Council, in a commentary asks: At what cost is our prosperity? Natural resources, he says, are strained, global population is growing, and consumers want the best product at the best price. The answer? Sustainable development, "the mind-set and technologies targeted at making civilization and nature live in greater harmony." He regards sustainability as "the sum of all engineering in the new century" and that engineers have the wherewithal to make a greener world, and can develop materials devoid of hazardous emissions.
Sustainable development involves new ways of managing design, producing and using energy, and building the infrastructure.
ASAers into environmental science and engineering have shown an interest in sustainable development. For instance, William B. Monsma, adjunct professor in physics at Augsburg C. and in chemical engineering at the U. of Minnesota, wrote an article in the MacLaurin Institute newsletter, University & Universe (vol. 2, no. 4, Spring 1999) on "Wilderness and Garden: A Christian Approach to the Environment." Monsma starts by writing that "the place to begin forming a Christian approach to the environment is with the Bible." He interprets Gen. 1:28 to "fill the earth and subdue it," this way:
As God subdued the darkness and the waters to make something good of them, so we are to work with the raw materials of the earth to make something good. At the end of our work week, we should be able to survey all we have done and say, as God did, "Now that's really good!"
The Genesis command, Monsma goes on, does not mean obliterating the wilderness but limiting it so that it does not overwhelm everything. Jesus came to restore all things, including our stewardship.
ABC News: Hox Genes and Natural
An article on the Feb. 6 ABC News site (http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/darwingene020207.html) reported recent genetic evidence supporting Darwinian natural selection, involving Hox genes. These genes control the behavior of other genes during embryonic development. University of California at San Diego biologists recently mutated Hox genes in crustaceans and millipedes, preventing limb formation. The researchers hypothesize that such a mutation could have led to the development of insects. The results were reported in Nature.
What is interesting about the ABC report for sci/Xny is the seeming shift in position of the major media in covering the development-of-life controversy. The article sounds a minor note about the interpretation of the discovery in the first paragraph, noting that skeptics are not convinced of the discoverers' interpretation. More than half the article then addresses the controversy. "Creationists" are distinguished from those for Intelligent Design:
Creationists argue that, rather than evolving naturally, all species were created by God. And proponents of a theory known as Intelligent Design claim that plants and animals are too complex to be formed by evolution and so must have been crafted by some existing intelligence (possibly God or a form of extraterrestrial life).
Included in the article are comments by Liberty U. biology prof. David DeWitt and IDer Jon Wells:
There's an awful lot more to a species change than eliminating some legs. In effect, all they've produced is a crippled shrimp.
This report and others in recent mainstream media are expressing a new skepticism toward Darwinian theory as a settled issue and show an openness to other viewpoints. Also, reporters are learning the prominent names in the ID community and (as was the case for this article by Amanda Onion) are seeking out ID proponents for comment.
For instance, an earlier Boston Globe article, "'Evolution' gets hot reception" (by Suzanne C. Ryan, Sept. 24, 2001), trumpeted the WGBH-TV PBS series "Evolution," with its executive producer Richard Hutton reiterating that "evolution is the linchpin of all biology." He also commented that the series is not about attacking faith but is intended to re-open dialog. He conceded that six-day creationism is in conflict with what is presented in the series, which was financed by Clear Blue Sky Productions, the film company owned by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.
The article, however, gave
dissenters some space for rebuttal. "They want everybody to
think that only religious fundamentalists oppose Darwinism,"
said Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman. And
young-earther Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, who was included in
the last episode of the series, contends that he was
misrepresented because "Evolution" portrays him as
"Bible thumping." "They interviewed me for two
hours and filmed almost an entire seminar but they didn't play
the bit about me talking about science," Ham said. "I
don't disagree with genetics, mutations, and natural
* Mark Edwards
Sci-Xny Book by Alexander
Long ago, Christians in Science (CiS) member and editor of Science and Christian Belief (CiS's journal) Denis Alexander wrote Beyond Science. (CiS is the British ASA counterpart.) Now he has written another, more ambitious book on science and Christianity titled Rebuilding the Matrix: Science and Faith in the 21st Century published by Lion Publishing, Plc. (www.lion-publishing.co.uk), with 510 pages, hardbound. Price: £20.
Alexander begins by asking where our beliefs about science and Christian faith come from, and emphasizes the historic roots of both enterprises while describing their relationship. With philosophy of science and religion running throughout, he takes on the creation-evolution issue, cosmology, miracles, and ends by viewing science within the larger context that includes human values, justice, and the environment. He writes that as Darwin chased natural theology out the front door, cosmology brought it in the back door (p. 408).
Alexander, an immunology researcher, shows a deep understanding of the natures of both science and Christianity, and provides a mature and readable apologia for the church in dealing with science-religion matters in this book. While accommodating Darwinism theologically, he spends an entire chapter (10) laying out three religious implications associated with Darwin's idea: (1) chance and design, (2) compatibility of Darwinian mechanisms and God, and (3) the morality of "the evolutionary process." He distinguishes among three meanings of chance: absence of knowledge of physical causes, physical indeterminacy, and (metaphysical) accident.
This is a sci-Xny book that should be included in a serious library on the subject and is comprehensive enough to be used as an introductory sci-Xny textbook. While it will probably not be popular with young-earth creationists, or even Intelligent Design advocates, it meets non- or anti-Christians on the same Darwinistic grounds often used by them to discredit Christianity, answers their objections, and issues challenges.
While accepting Darwinian theory as science, Alexander is not at all complacent about what "evolution" has come to mean. He says:
Evolutionary theory is like a ship that has been so long voyaging at sea that its hull has become encrusted with some rather strange barnacles which are hitching a ride. But the barnacles themselves do not belong to the hull and need to be stripped off [as unnecessary philosophical and religious baggage].
* Denis Alexander
"Scientists like explanations for things.
It is supposed to be one of their jobs that they tackle difficult
questions and come up with good explanations to answer them.
Scientists who fail to ask questions about the ultimate purpose
and meaning of the universe therefore display an odd lack of
curiosity which contrasts strikingly with the explanatory quest
so characteristic of the scientific enterprise as a whole."
Denis Alexander, Rebuilding the Matrix, p. 407.
AAAS Aids Whistleblowers
ASA's point man in the battle against sci-tech corruption in government must be Joe Carson, whose seemingly lifelong battle with his employer, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), is now showing some progress. The American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility is headed by Carole Nagengast, who wrote a letter to Spencer Abraham, Secretary of the DOE, on March 4, 2002, regarding the unresolved lawsuit, Carson v. DOE. The letter states in part:
It is now legally established that DOE engaged in workplace reprisals against Mr. Carson for simply fulfilling his responsibilities as an engineer to bring concerns related to safety to the attention of appropriate officials within the Department.
Nagengast raises the concern that the matter remains unresolved and that this "sends a disturbing message to other scientists and engineers seeking to exercise their responsibilities on behalf of the public welfare" in the Dept. The letter asks that the Secretary rectify the situation and seeks assurances.
Carson considers that the letter was about five years in the making. Not only did the AAAS come to Carson's defense, but also a local employees' union and the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers whose letters expressed similar concerns.
On Feb. 11, 2002, Insight (www.insightmag.com) carried an article by Martin E. Andersen titled "Whistleblowers Keep the Faith" (p. 20). Andersen writes that "in many government offices the first rule of management is employee loyalty to superiors" and that faith-based dissenters are particularly suspect by management because "their personal commitment to a higher authority makes them classic 'loose cannons' " On p. 23 of the article is a text insert with a picture of the Carson family, titled "Nuclear Safety Matters to God, Too." Carson "first voiced concerns about safety and security violations, along with abuses in rewarding extremely lucrative contracts." Carson's practice of his engineering profession, the caption says, "is an outgrowth of his evangelical faith." * Joe Carson
ASAers in Action
Tom Woodward runs the www.apologetics.org website, which includes a discussion of Intelligent Design. Tom is also looking for a part-time paid moderator for this board. * Jay Richards
Keenan Dungey recently spoke to a group of about forty college students on the topic, "How Can a Scientist Love God?" The talk was sponsored by the local campus ministry, Christian Student Fellowship. Keenan presented historical examples of Christians in science and gave his own testimony of being a chemist and a Christian. He made a plug for the ASA and Walt Hearn's book, On Being a Christian in Science. The student questions afterwards were mainly concerned with how to deal with professors who are atheists.
Keenan and his wife, Jan, live in Springfield, IL, with their two children, where he is an assistant professor of chemistry at the U. of IL at Springfield. Keenan has met with the other ASAers in the area, such as David Holland of Springfield C., and they've talked about meeting more regularly, perhaps as a local science and Christianity reading group. An ASA local section in the making? If you are in the area and interested, contact Keenan at tel: (217) 546-0038 (home) or (217) 206-7345 (work); email: keenan.jan@ att.net or firstname.lastname@example.org
It's not about ID but about posting the Ten Commandments in state schools that has led to some letters in the Wilmington, NC newspaper, the Star. Moorad Alexanian has been reading them. A letter by a reverend reminded readers that the commandment to remember the Sabbath refers to God's creation week of days, and for Christians to be consistent with this command, the state school (following its promotion of diversity) include for them "divine creationism" in its curriculum. Predictably, one letter in response threatened ACLU legal action if the laws of God are posted.
[Editor's comment: Is it any wonder? In representative forms of government, the legislature and not the Bible is the ultimate determinant of law, which is the codification of right and wrong for a society. God's law is that of a competing jurisdiction, and is treated as such by government courts. The U.S. Constitution requires that a given process be followed in making law but does not stipulate the kind of law to be made; hence, moral relativism is implicit in U.S. legal foundations. In making up their own law (in spite of Deut. 4:2; 12:32), fallen humanity, like Adam in the garden, determines what is good and evil for themselves.]
"I think that the sense of wonder in doing
science is a religious experience, though not everyone who has it
would certainly call it that. There certainly is a sense of awe,
even of worship, at the beauty of creation."
John Polkinghorne, 2002 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion recipient.
Christians engaged in engineering education or other engineering activities are invited to gather for a time of discussion, reflection, and fellowship on June 19-21, 2002, at the Presbyterian C. in Montreal, Canada. This is the fourth conference in the past ten years, and will immediately follow the 2002 ASEE Annual Conference.
Participants will engage in structured conversations about the missions of Christian engineering education and the engineering profession. Conference announcement and registration information are at: http://engr.calvin.edu/ces/ceec
Christian Environmental Practitioners
The conference titled "Faith and Earthkeeping: Rebuilding a Value Frame-work for Action" will meet May 30 - June 2, 2002 at Redeemer University C. in Ontario. Keynote speakers from the U.S. include Scott Hoezee on the biblical principles of caring for creation. Fred Van Dyke and Jim Ball will explore how faith and earthkeeping can shape professional environmental practice.
The conference includes workshops on water management, land restoration, climate change, agricultural ecology and urban planning, and a pastor's workshop on the theology of creation. In addition are field trips, fellowship, and worship. Fees are reasonable. For more information, or to register on line, go to: www.caringforcreation.ca. Or contact conference secretary, Crystle Numan at email@example.com
National Faculty Leadership Conference
The National Faculty Leadership Conference is to be held in Chicago, June 27-30, 2002, sponsored by Christian Leadership Ministries, the faculty ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Dallas Willard will be the featured speaker. Content includes discipline-specific topics, academic integration, general interest topics, and personal and group ministry ideas for professors. The conference web site is at: http://facultylinc.com Paper submissions are due by April 30. Tel: 973-713-7130; email: NFLC@clm.org
Workshop on Complexity and Philosophy
The Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (www.isce.edu) Workshop on Complexity and Philosophy is scheduled for July 29-30, 2002, at the Courtyard Marriott, Norwood, MA, near Boston. The aim of this meeting is to explore the considerable philosophical implications of the fledgling science of complex systems. For full details, visit http://isce.edu/site/comphil.html
C. S. Lewis Summer Institute
The Oxbridge 2002 theme is "Time and Eternity: The Cosmic Odyssey" at Oxford U. from July 14-20, 2002 and Cambridge U., July 21-27, 2002. More like a pageant than a conference, get details at: www.cslewis.org/programs/Oxbridge02.html or email Oxbridge2002@cslewis.org or call 888-CSLEWIS. Cambridge speakers include Walter Bradley, John Polkinghorne, Robert Russell, Hugh Ross, William Lane Craig, and Peter Kreeft.
CiS Annual Meeting
ASA's British counterpart, Christians in Science, has announced its annual meeting, with the theme of exploring God's work in creation, encouraging concern for the environment, and applying biblical principles to science and technology. The day conference is based on the question: How does God act in the world? It will be held Sat., 28 Sept. 2002, from 9:30 am to 5 pm at St. Paul's Church, Robert Adam Street, London.
The speakers include: Graham McFarlane, Systematic Theologian, London Bible C.; Howard Van Till, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, Calvin C.; John Houghton, who until recently was Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and Roger Forster, Team Leader, Ichthus Team Ministries. * Caroline Berry
It is not the Christians in Science (CiS) newsletter PrΘCiS, which is ceasing publication (as reported in the MAR/APR 2002 ASAN, p. 7), but that of a sub-group of CiS, Christians in Science Education, for which John Bausor produced the excellent newsletter. * Caroline Berry
The question posed in the MAR/ APR ASAN, "Has anyone asked Alister McGrath to join the ASA (or CiS) yet?" has been answered by Denis Alexander. "The answer is that Alister has been associated with CiS for many years and has been on the Editorial Board of Science & Christian Belief virtually since its inception."
Science and the Olympics
The science of increasing human physical performance in sports events has its own well-known moral challenges, such as the use of steroid drugs for that winning edge. Blood doping is newer; an athlete stores blood for infusion before the sports event for an additional 10 % boost. Blood expanders are an even newer approach, which nixed the Finnish cross-country ski team from the recent winter Olympics.
This application of "better living through chemistry" has been banned in most sports. But a really bizarre technique has surfaced, as reported in "Going for gold It takes blood, sweat and an abortion to be a winner," (by Celeste McGovern, in Report, Canada's independent news magazine, Feb. 4, 2002; weblink: http://report.ca):
One scheme that's virtually impossible to ban is pregnancy. Early on, pregnancy has the effect of boosting a woman's blood volume tremendously to fuel her unborn baby's growth. Getting pregnant two or three months before an event and having an abortion days prior to it can grant as much as a 10 percent performance enhancement.
North American athletes have not been known to use this method, but a Finnish sports medicine expert is quoted in the article as saying: "Now that drug testing is routine, pregnancy is becoming the favourite way of getting an edge on competition." The article elaborates: "One Russian athlete told a reporter that as long ago as the '70s, gymnasts as young as 14 were ordered to sleep with their coaches to get pregnant - and then abort." Though essentially unenforceable, U.S. Olympic regulations ban the scheme. And by the way, the original Greek Olympics ended due to corruption.
"The more we know about the cosmos and
evolutionary biology, the more they seem inexplicable without
some aspect of design."
Charles Townes, Science 15 (AUG 97): 891.
The book, Reason, Science & Faith by Paul Marston and Roger Forster, is available on line at http://www.reason-science-faith.co.uk. The authors are British; Marston studied philosophy and scientific methodology, tutored by Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend. His Ph.D. thesis concerned interactions among science (geology), scientific methodology, and Christianity, and he teaches philosophy of science at the U. of Central Lancashire. His course "Christianity Science, and History" won a Templeton prize in 1998. Forster completed studies in theology and mathematics at Cambridge U., and he currently leads the London-based Ichthus Fellowship in spiritual development, youth training, and social action.
In chapter 10, about Intelligent Design, they write:
Though we are not quite sure who decided that "evolution is, notoriously, supposed to be undirected," [Del] Ratzsch's careful analysis of the difference between evolutionary creationism and "intelligent design" is very useful - we hope Phillip Johnson reads it.
The Executive Director's Corner
by Donald W. Munro
We are looking forward to a great California meeting on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. There were so many papers submitted that we ran out of room to place them in the program, and asked several people to do posters instead. We have added a fifth plenary speaker, Jennifer Wiseman. Jennifer is serving as a congressional fellow this year and her experiences should give us an insight into the politics of science. Congress is expected to be in recess in August but if that does not occur, then Jennifer will have to stay in Washington. The Templeton Foundation is giving ASA a small grant to help compensate our speakers. The five speakers alone are worth your attendance.
As of this writing, there are still places left for the post-meeting trip in California. Please join us right away. I am looking forward to seeing some of the old Spanish missions, Big Sur, Monterey, Pebble Beach, Yosemite National Park, and so much more.
It is official. The Templeton/ASA Lecture Series has been renewed for the next two years, from March 2002 to May 2004. The new series includes 148 lectures scattered around the United States and Canada, and possibly some overseas as well. We will videotape a few lectures for placement on the ASA web site. Some purposes of the present series are to promote additional overseas networking in science and religion and to sponsor lectures in some of the more outstanding universities that have not yet been included. The grant will continue to fund lectures in some schools that have been awarded Templeton science/ religion course prizes. It has been gratifying to see that many of the previous coordinators are continuing science/religion series in their respective academic institutions well beyond the life of their grant. They have become a popular and expected academic extension.
In this newsletter, we honor those who have been members of the ASA for forty years as of 2002. There was a surprise waiting for me in the list - where does the time go? I joined as a graduate student in 1962 and began to attend meetings. I found the advice and information given at these meetings very helpful. Congratulations to these people from the membership class of 1962: Daniel Andersen, Ronald L Barndt, C. Henry Bradley, C. Daniel Geisler, George Giacumakis, Jr., Donald H. Grove, Sr., Kenneth B. Hoover, Joseph R. Hoover, Martin M. LaBar, John M. Miller, Donald W. Munro, Edward Piers, Eduard H. Schludermann, Jack N. Sparks, John F. Stewart, C. Richard Terman, Merville O. Vincent and Daniel E. Wonderly.
ASA sold out of the first reprint of the second edition of God Did It, But How? by Robert B. Fischer. We recently made the decision to reprint more copies since some of you are using it in your classes and want its wisdom for friends. It is such a good book. We were able to do this from funds set aside from the purchases of the previous printings of the book. We encourage you to start ordering it again. The price of the book is still $10.00.
Continuing with the results of the ASA questionnaire distributed at Congress 2002 in Boston, we begin to see the ambivalence that exists among Christians. Congress is a gathering of thousands of Christians from the New England area. The question was asked: "What was Noah's flood?" Fifty-one of the seventy-one respondents answered that the flood "covered the earth and killed all living things except for a few sea creatures and the ark contents." Fifteen thought that it was a "local flood that killed the people and animals in that area." Five said that they did not know. Although the vast majority thought the flood was worldwide, only a minority, however, thought that the flood was the primary cause of the fossil record or the geological layers. Forty-six respondents answered that the fossils were formed over long periods of time, and five said that they did not know. No one thought that Satan placed them there to fool us or that the fossils were not real organisms. Also, only sixteen thought that the geological layers were put down during Noah's flood; forty-four answered that the layers were put down over long periods of time while eleven did not know. These seventy-one were among those who stopped at our booth. We did not go out and flag people down.
Many thanks to those of you who were able to send a needed gift in the envelope included in our March letter. I hope that more of you will be led to do so and that the economy will pick up. As the latter occurs, I hope we can get back on track expanding the endowment fund through major gifts and also funds that a donor designates as matching funds. That has been successful in the past. Gifts of stock also serve both of us well. We get the funds and you get the full tax deduction instead of paying taxes on your capital gains. It's a win/win situation.
Please continue to remember us in your prayers and with your gifts.