Volume 43 Number 6
Executive Director's Corner
ASA Affiliations Meet at ASA01
The Affiliation of Christian Biologists (ACB) met during ASA01 at KSU. ACB scholarships enabled some student contributors to attend. ACB wants to make sure that everyone who wishes to receive their newsletter does. ACB is going to try sending it out via email to those who would like it that way. If you would like to be added to the ACB mailing list, please state which method (email or postal mail) you prefer. Or if you currently get a snail mail newsletter and would prefer an email version, or if you want to be deleted from the mailing list, notify Marilyne Flora at: MarilyneSFlora@avenew.com or at: 815 Greenwood Ct, Batavia, IL 60510.
The Affiliation of Christian Engineers and Scientists in Technology (CEST) met for its third year as an ASA affiliation. John Osepchuk presided. A theology of technology might develop within CEST, as ASAers in technology consider the various aspects of it from a wider perspective. CEST is partially formed from the now-merged ASA Industrial Commission.
What's new is discussion of CEST hosting sessions at ASA Annual Meetings, such as the Global Resources and Environment and the Creation Commissions did at this year's meeting. CEST might also work up a statement on technology.
Harry Lubansky has created a web page for CEST at: http://pages.prodigy.net/hjlubansky/index.html. There you will find CEST's Statement of Purpose, an introductory letter from the CEST Vice-President, copies of the most recent minutes (taken by CEST secretary Jack Swearengen), and calls for papers.
ASA01 Symposium Report
by George Murphy
"Evolution as a Work of the Trinity" was the title of a daylong symposium at the ASA annual meeting at Kansas State U. This was intended to stimulate theological discussion of issues involved with evolution, and the title called attention to the need for a distinctively Christian approach to the topic.
Denis Lamoureux began with a paper directed "Toward an Incarnational View of Biblical Hermeneutics." He argued that just as God took on the limitations of our human nature in the Incarnation, God also accommodated himself to views of the biblical writers that we know today to be scientifically questionable. Interpretations of verses about the sun "standing still" in Joshua 10 were analyzed and the descriptions of origins in Genesis, so important in creation-evolution discussions, were considered. Denis argued that an appropriate theological concordism should be distinguished from attempts to read these texts as accounts that can be brought into scientific accord with modern descriptions of the physical world.
It is always helpful to understand the cultural context in which concepts develop. In "Evolution and Theology: A View toward the Left," Sara Miles reviewed significant ideas from some movements often ignored by evangelicals. She discussed the importance of Enlightenment thought for intellectual developments connected with evolution and emphasized the importance of the views of Herbert Spencer, who had greater influence on some theologians than did Darwin. In recent times, process theology has made evolution a crucial part of its understanding of the God-world relationship. Conservative Christians may be alert to weaknesses in these "leftward" views, but they in turn may help to uncover problems with more traditional approaches.
George Murphy's "Christ as Evolver and Evolved" gave a central role to belief in Christ as God Incarnate for a theological understanding of evolution. God's kenosis or "emptying" of self spoken of in Philippians 2 hints at a similar self-limitation in divine action in the world, which God restricts to what can be accomplished through natural processes. God's participation in the suffering of the world can inform a response to questions of theodicy raised by natural selection, and provides a way of understanding cosmic salvation. The position of some theologians that the Incarnation was God's purpose even apart from sin provides the best framework for understanding human nature, sin, and salvation in an evolutionary world.
As its title indicates, Robert Newman's "Some Problems for Theistic Evolution" presented challenges to biological evolution and the possibility that it could be coherent with Christian doctrines. Bob first discussed the meaning of the concept "theistic evolution" with some attention to the statement of this position for the ASA's Commission on Creation. He then described scientific difficulties faced by evolutionary theories, including transitional fossils and irreducible complexity. Adequate interpretations of Genesis 1-3, a proper understanding of God's action in the world, and the relationship of mind and body are some of the theological problems with which a credible understanding of theistic evolution must deal.
Finally, Howard Van Till posed the question, "If Creation is Equipped to Evolve, is God a Deist?" After outlining the familiar positions of "episodic creationist theism" and "evolutionary naturalism," Howard described his own "Robust Formational Economy Principle." According to this principle, God has created the universe with the capacity to develop physical structures and life without supernatural, form-imposing interventions. In response to frequent objections to this principle as "deist," Howard noted that it does not rule out divine action in the world, but it does suggest that the character of divine action may need reexamination. Concepts of process theology, in which God "persuades" creatures rather than coercing them, provide one way of expressing how divine and creaturely action may be related.
Lively discussions followed each of the papers and were capped by comments of the presenters in a concluding panel. The questions that were raised about the historical development of theological responses to evolution, biblical interpretation, the significance of the Incarnation, and the mode of God's action in the world should help to further conversation about this important topic in the ASA and perhaps beyond the boundaries of its membership.
ASAers Report on ASA01
Report from Don DeGraaf, a faithful ASA Meeting attendee
I was glad to be at the ASA meeting, although the outdoor temp of about 110F in mid-campus every afternoon was hot.
I learned quite a bit about the virtues of the tall-grass prairie that is preserved in the Konza. Our main talk about that was in a barn on the Konza with little ventilation, at 7 p.m. on the first day. Also, the talks underscored the value of preserving all species that we can. For me, it also highlighted the absurdity of urban sprawl with its consequent "abuse" of rural farm and forest areas. They manage their rural area much better in UK and in France, from my observation.
The seminar on Creation had some good papers. Even though related issues have been controversial for over fifty years, there are still things to learn.
Report from Karen McReynolds, a biologist at Jaguar Creek Preserve in Belize
I felt a very warm spirit at ASA01. People were both kind and genuinely interested in me and what I had to say, which helped dispel my qualms about speaking in front of such a highbrow group. The camaraderie was excellent. It is such a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with like-minded people, even if we have varying views on some of the issues. The root views-- the Lordship of Jesus and the wonder of the Creator God (regardless of how long it took him to create it!)--are the same, and there is a deep kinship there. I wish I could go every year.
Report from Eugene L. Maxwell, a first-time attendee
My first reaction to attending my first Annual Meeting of the ASA was: "Why did it take so long to get there?" I was involved in scientific research all of my professional life (42 years) and I was a member of Sigma Xi, IEEE, the International and American Solar Energy societies, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing. I received their journals and have also subscribed to National Geographic, Scientific American, Sky and Telescope, Invention & Technology, Smithsonian, Science News, and Christianity Today. Furthermore, I have attended and given papers at many national and international conferences of these societies. During this time, I also was active in Christian Education, addressing such issues as creation and evolution for at least forty years.
Yet, I did not learn about the ASA until about three years ago. I deeply regret that. I am sure it was partly my fault. But I am also sure that there was no booth, paper, or advertisement that could not be ignored.
My next reaction to the 2001 Annual Meeting was the great pleasure of starting each day with prayer and a devotional and then meeting together on Sunday for a worship service. Although I have been fortunate through my entire professional career to work alongside fellow Christians, this experience of worshiping together at a scientific meeting was unique. Would that I could have done so in the past.
I must confess that before attending, I was skeptical about the quality of papers that I would find. I was pleased to find the same range of excellent, good, fair, and bad papers that I found in virtually all of the conferences I attend. The most positive aspect of all the sessions was that the authors had enough time to do justice to their papers. My only general criticism is that too many of the papers were read. Of course, it would have been great to find all excellent or good papers.
At almost all of the scientific conferences I have attended, I found papers that excited and inspired me. ASA01 was no exception. I have already found occasions to share some of these inspiring papers with others. No one will be surprised if I mention the keynote lectures by Wes Jackson and Sir Ghillean Prance.
My introverted nature makes the social occasions of secondary importance to me, but I enjoyed them nevertheless. The absence of liquor and smutty jokes certainly contributed to that. The Christian spirit and the sense of unity were noticeable.
For all of you who have yet to attend your first ASA Annual Meeting, I can highly recommend them. You will be educated, have good Christian fellowship, make new friends, and you may even be inspired to greater and better things. Whether in California in 2002 or Colorado in 2003, do come. If you don't, you will be missing out on one of the more significant and enjoyable benefits of membership in the ASA.
Science and Ecopolitics in the Klamath Basin
The tradeoffs in sustaining natural and human environments is a complex one, pioneered in ASA by the Global Resources & Environment Commission, and of interest in CEST, ASA's affiliation of technologists. The need for clear insight and action becomes more apparent with time, as battles between the federal government and those who make their living directly from the land increase.
The situation is ostensibly that of federal agencies, such as the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management, waging a battle for ecological preservation against profit-driven land owners. Science is used to support the claims of both sides. And both sides also express an interest in land and wildlife preservation. This article presents an overview of the current battlefront. It includes typical features of the overall issue involving humanity and the environment.
In the semi-arid Klamath Basin of south-central Oregon, a system of irrigation canals were built over a century ago, enabling agriculture there. As reported by Marcia Armstrong and the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau (with cited article at www.snowcrest.net/siskfarm/klamposit.html):
Under the 1902 Reclamation Act, the States of California and Oregon ceded lake and wetlands areas of the Klamath Basin to the federal government for the purpose of draining and "reclaiming" the land for agricultural homesteading. At that time, the United States declared that it would appropriate all unappropriated water use rights in the Basin for use by the Klamath Project. Under Section 8 of the Reclamation Act, these water use rights would attach to the land irrigated as an "appurtenance" or appendage to the land. The Act also stated that the appropriation would be in conformance with State water law. Under such laws, the water had to be put to beneficial use within the mapped area of the Klamath Project.
The recent drama began when the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), in 1988, invoked the Endangered Species Act, listing two sucker fish as "endangered." What led up to the current confrontation was the drought year of 1992, when the USFWS recommended that Upper Klamath Lake be kept "topped off" at certain levels, thereby curtailing irrigation deliveries.
Then in 2001, based in part on a controversial study of Utah State U. hydrologist Thomas Hardy, the wildlife service raised the lake level requirements, appropriating all of the available water in a normal precipitation year. Armstrong tells what happened next:
On April 6, 2001, the Klamath Project "water allocation decision" was announced stating that based on the biological opinions and the requirements of Endangered Species Act, there would be no water available from Upper Klamath Lake to supply the farmers of the Klamath Project. ... A suit by the irrigators to prevent implementation of the decision failed on the basis that requirements of the Endangered Species Act supersede all other obligations of the Project.
Agriculture consumes about 2% of the basin water resources.
Six positions have been enumerated by those adversely affected (www.klamathbasincrisis.org/sixpositions.htm) entangling science, politics, and, beneath it all, value judgments based on world views.
On June 16, fisheries scientist David A. Vogel testified before the House Committee on Resources, Oversight Field Hearing. Vogel's 26-year career has included 14 years with the USFWS, and he was recipient of the Fisheries Management Biologist of the Year Award for six western states. He was a contributor to technical portions of the recent document, "Protecting the Beneficial Uses of Waters of Upper Klamath Lake: A Plan to Accelerate Recovery of the Lost River and Shortnose Suckers." He testified, in part, about the quality of the science used in the policy decision:
In my entire professional career, I have never been involved in a decision-making process that was as closed, segregated, and poor as we now have in the Klamath basin. The constructive science-based processes I have been involved in elsewhere have involved an honest and open dialogue among people having scientific expertise. Hypotheses are developed, then rigorously tested against empirical evidence.
None of those elements of good science characterize the decision-making process for the Klamath Project. At one time, several years ago, the agencies would interact with all interests who had expertise or a stake in the decisions. ... A scientist that I work with has had the experience of being invited to a technical meeting, then literally turned away. Additionally, we have been invited to attend recent meetings related to downstream flow studies, but our presence was requested at the end of the process, after key assumptions had been developed.
Vogel goes on to question the extent to which the fish in question are endangered, challenging on scientific grounds the methods used by federal decision-makers making such claims. Vogel's testimony is at: www.klamathbasincrisis.org/testimony-vogel.htm
But the plot thickens. According to a report in the Sandy (Oregon) Times titled "The Klamath Basin Tragedy" by Linda Shockey, a "farmer at heart":
Most of the problems we now see in the Klamath Basin are man made. The Klamath Irrigation Project is the biggest culprit. High elevation limits the growing season, which in turn limits the variety of crops which can be grown.
Furthermore, the issue is not merely Klamath basin farmers versus environmentalists. Shockey reports:
Over the years acreage irrigated for farms has expanded which left too little water in the Upper Klamath Lake and Klamath River to support fish and wildlife. Massive fish kills caused by Klamath Project operation in the past has been a major factor in Coho becoming endangered in the Basin. The Coho salmon decline has resulted in direct and indirect economic losses of hundreds of millions of dollars to coastal fishing communities.
This river system was once the third most productive salmon river in the US, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association's (PCFFA) spokesman Glen Spain noted: "In a drought, farmers can get by in a hard year with drought assistance from the federal government. However, fish have only one river and if they go extinct they are gone forever and so are the communities which depend upon them for food and for their livelihoods."
The Klamath Basin affair is a case study in conflict between humans and God's other creatures. In the wider view beyond the farm-fisheries tradeoff, ecopolitics lies close to the root of what is driving the controversy. A government agency appears to be consonant with biblical teaching about environmental stewardship. But from the testimony of established scientists, the "science" upon which government decisions were made appears flawed, and the scientists themselves ignored. Is something else going on here?
Ecopolitics watcher Henry Lamb has tracked the politics to higher levels. He points to the Klamath farmers' ignorance of the United Nations policy on land that was adopted in 1976 in Vancouver, BC, which states:
Land ... cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.
Lamb furthermore comments on the underlying politics:
The Klamath basin is an area that environmental elitists want to "restore" to its pre-Columbian condition. The sucker fish, like the spotted owl, and the red-legged frog, is simply a surrogate, an excuse to invoke the Endangered Species Act, to force people off the land.
Virtually every area of the United States is under siege, from policies that originate in the international community, which are incorporated into law or rule, and imposed upon unsuspecting citizens. (From www.eco.freedom.org/el/20010801/laverkin.shtml)
As for the other endangered species - the farmers - a bucket brigade was formed to protest the cut-off of water, and the gates have been opened four times against government closure. Long-time Oregon ASAer and land-use watcher, Paul Blattner, has been aroused by the abrogation of land rights by use of the UN to invoke the international treaty route through the Constitution. He is promoting a petition supporting the water rights of the Klamath farmers. For a list of reports on this developing conflict, see website: www.klamathbasincrisis.org.
Whether the Klamath basin farmers, fishermen, or federal agencies prevail, the larger issues of biblical creation stewardship, science (ecology), technology (irrigation canals), and the role of earthly powers leave plenty to sort out by ASAers, as ASA continues to expand into the relationships among Christianity, science, and political power. * Richard Kinnaird, Paul Blattner
Announcements & News
The J. for Interdisciplinary Studies (XIV 2002) is calling for papers on "Re-Inventing Liberal Arts Education: Interdisciplinary Perspectives" in WP 8 or RTF format; deadline is Jan. 1, 2002. A fascinating volume of JIS XIII (2001) has just been released, "Civil Society and Religion in the Third Millennium." See www.JISonline.org JIS is edited by Oskar Gruenwald, (og@JISonline.org) of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, 1065 Pine Bluff Dr., Pasadena, CA 91107; tel: (626) 351-0419.
Mary Hendriksen is organizing a conference at Notre Dame on the topic "Ecology, Theology, and Judeo-Christian Environmental Ethics," to be held Feb. 21-24, 2002. The call for papers deadline is Nov. 1. For more info, see: www.nd.edu/~ecoltheo
Access Research Network (ARN) and the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC) have announced plans to operate IDURC as a student division of ARN. IDURC will retain its orientation toward undergraduate students, but the site will be streamlined and resources shared with the ARN web site (at www.arn.org). ARN released two new interview videos, one with astrophysicist/theologian Robert C. Newman and an hour-long interview with Michael Behe. Excerpts from both are available; see: www.arn.org/announce/announce0201no12.htm
The European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT) will hold the Ninth European Conference on Science and Theology in 2002 in Nijmegen, Netherlands, with the theme "Creating TechnoSapiens? Values and Ethical Issues in Theology, Science, and Technology" in Nijmegen, Netherlands from 19 to 24 March 2002. For more info, contact: Mary Bluyssen, tel: +31-24-36 12 184; fax: +31-24-35 67 956; email: email@example.com
The C. S. Lewis Summer Institute at Oxford and Cambridge Universities is calling for papers for their meeting July 14-27, 2002 (Oxford: July 14-20; Cambridge: July 21-27) with the theme "Time and Eternity: The Cosmic Odyssey." The C. S. Lewis Summer Institute is an interdisciplinary conference that serves as a focal point of the C. S. Lewis Foundation's efforts to encourage a renaissance of Christian scholarship and artistic expression among faculty. Speakers will include John Polkinghorne, Elaine Storkey, Peter Kreeft, Robert Russell, among many others. (For details on previous meeting, see www.cslewis.org/conference)
Papers with 20-minute delivery time should address a topic that relates to the stated theme of the conference. Proposals should include an abstract of about 300 words, accompanied by a two-page CV or resume with complete contact information. Deadline for submission of proposals is Jan. 15, 2002. Send inquiries to: Prof. Harold K. Bush, Jr., Dept. of English, St. Louis University, 3800 Lindell Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108; fax: 314-977-1514; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Voting members of the ASA can receive a copy of the ASA Financial Statements for 2000 by requesting one. Email (email@example.com), call or write the ASA office.
What ASAers Do
We'd like to link the ASA web site to the web sites of ASA members who have posted materials pertinent to ASA interests. John Burgeson is coordinating this effort. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
One of ASA's longest-lived members, Marie Berg of Minneapolis, MN, wrote in a recent letter to ASA:
Since I am now 92 years old, I am not able to come to meetings anymore. I still travel on my short mission trip to Germany. After cataract surgery I can read again which I thank the Lord for--and good physicians. Our local chapter does not seem to exist anymore--or maybe I have not heard of it. Sorry I can neither type nor use my 1988 computer. I could not get ribbons for either. I have to wait to get a new computer after I get back in October.
Tom Woodward should shortly be receiving his Ph.D. in Communications, with specialty in Rhetoric of Science from the University of South Florida. On Sept. 19, he defended his thesis on the topic: "Aroused from Dogmatic Slumber: A Rhetorical History of Intelligent Design." John Wiester, who reported this, was off for 12 days in mid-September, pursuing the mighty elk of the San Juan mountains of Colorado with bow and arrow.
Way back in May, the Grove City C. (PA) Two Books Club invited Jennifer Wiseman, then an astronomer at Johns Hopkins U. and now a congressional fellow, to present a lecture on "The Continued Creativity of God in the Universe," in which she integrated Christian faith and science. Using extensive slides of the universe, she indicated how God continues to work in it. She weaves the message of the Christian faith with astronomy in a way that preserves the integrity of each. GCC physics prof. Richard Leo has had the pleasure of knowing her for a number of years, and has heard her give similar presentations. * Steve Jenkins
Douglas Hayworth reports that he has received interesting feedback to his Dec. 2000 "Riddles" essay (PSCF 52, pp. 222-7). Doug has found the essay very helpful in discussions with believing and nonbelieving colleagues alike. However, some may have found it difficult to reach Doug because his address changed soon after the article went to press. His current address is: Pierce Chemical Co., 3747 N. Meridian Rd, PO Box 117, Rockford, IL 61105; email: email@example.com He began work at Pierce in Dec. 2000.
Additional background from Ken Van Dellen on his car shown in the last ASAN issue: "Fred Trexler and I traveled to ASA from Michigan in the Toyota Prius. ... I thought it was nicely in keeping with the theme of the meeting." Fred and Ruth Miller drove it.
The car has a gasoline engine which drives an electric generator. The drive motor is powered by batteries that are charged during coasting, more so by regenerative braking, and when necessary by the engine. Ken writes: "My mileage is typically in the low to mid-forties on a tank full, but the digital readout shows that it is in the fifties around town" when more of the power comes from the batteries (with attendant low emissions). On the highway, the gas engine does most of the work, with a boost from the electric motor for passing and hill-climbing. It has pep, and saves gas and brakes. Ken is delighted with it.
As for the T-shirt comment last issue, Ken adds:
The other T-shirt got too tight, so I gave it away. It said "Reunite Gondwanaland!" Some students used to say, "Riunite what?" Those may have been some who drank their wine with the bottle still in the bag.
Ken is also involved in ASA's activity in Kenya. See the growing collection of Daystar U. stories and photos at: http://members.home.com/kenvandellen
ASA will have at least one speaker at the 2002 AAAS meeting Feb. 14-19. Geneticist Elving Anderson will be organizing two "Science and Society" symposia: "Behavioral Genetics: What We Know and How We Know It," and "Social and Ethical Implications of Behavioral Genetics Research." * Walt Hearn
Mark Strand, one of the students giving ASA01 talks, writes: "On behalf of the other student scholarship recipients, I want to thank the ASA leadership and the generous donors for underwriting our expenses to the 2001 ASA Meeting at KSU. It was informative and inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of preparing my talk and the satisfaction of delivering it to a very supportive and sympathetic audience. Thank you very much."
The Influence of a Letter
Johnny Wei-Bing Lin finished his schooling at UCLA, and is currently doing a post-doc at the U. of Colorado. On his website, http://cires.colorado.edu/~johnny/, he links to ASA as one of the organizations to which he belongs. His letter to the editor of EOS, the newspaper-like transactions of the American Geophysical Union, while he was in the dept. of atmospheric sciences at UCLA appeared in the 22 Aug 2000 issue. Under the heading, "Teaching Evolution, the Kansas Board of Education, and the Democratization of Science," the published letter responded to earlier letters in EOS and made the point that the usual response by scientists of calling for better scientific education of the public misses the mark.
Lin's letter cited an opinion piece on "The Democratization of Science" (B. Harvey, First Things 101 : 17-20), at www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0003/opinion/harvey, to the effect that "scientists have never really been prepared to justify their disciplines in the face of radical skepticism exercised by ordinary people, particularly in connection with questions that extend beyond matters of technical utility." Lin spoke up for a dialogue between scientists and those outside of science to encourage a healthy skepticism, "one that avoids dismissing wisdom from tradition a priori and establishes at least some common standards for adjudicating truth."
The first steps of such a dialogue have already started, Lin wrote, mentioning efforts by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (see http://www.aaas.org/spp/despp/dbsr/) and by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, with funding from the Templeton Foundation. Then Lin added: "The American Scientific Affiliation, an organization of Christians who are scientists (and of which I am a member), has also been at the forefront of working on a dialogue, through conferences and lecture series."
Lin's letter is still influencing people in the scientific establishment. The Editor heard about it from former ASAN editor, biochemist Walt Hearn, who is not a member of GSA and has never even seen an issue of EOS. Hearn received a copy of Lin's published letter from geologist E-an Zen, a member of the National Academy of Sciences with whom Hearn has corresponded regularly since 1998. After somehow getting hold of a copy of ASA's book, Being a Christian in Science, Zen wrote to say that he liked what the book said about science, although he was "in no way a Christian."
E-an Zen is retired from a career in the U.S. Geological Service but still active in NAS and the Geological Society of America, of which he is a past president. He and Hearn, "like two old mud turtles sunning themselves on a log in the swamp," continue to exchange long letters on Christian faith, science, society, and sustainability (a particular passion of Zen's).
Recently Zen sent Hearn a working paper on "Sustainability Science" which he presented at a February 2001 meeting of the National Academies' Coordinating Committee for Transition Towards Sustainability. In it, Zen, the only earth scientist on the Committee, outlined five important issues facing the interacademy panel, including the monitoring and protecting of four major earth resources (water, soil, sources of energy, minerals), the foundations of the ecosystem pyramid.
One of Zen's five issues was better communication with the world at large on the subject of sustainability. That's where he cited Lin's letter, saying that "the problem may not be in people's failure to get our word, but in their sense that science commands no intellectual authority. Lin suggested that populism and associated iconoclastic skepticism that flooded Christianity may be at the root of our miscommunication with the public." If that diagnosis has merit, Zen said, scientists "could perhaps learn from the faith community, which has a large and venerable body of experience in communicating with skeptics." Zen considers that this may be an appropriate task for NAS.
The moral of this story for ASA members, of course, is that a letter you write to the editor of a scientific journal, or even to your local newspaper, may have far-reaching effects. If you have something important to say, don't hesitate to say it in print. * story by Walt Hearn, firstname.lastname@example.org
ASAers Appear on PBS Evolution TV Series
Mark Kalthoff was on a panel with a Catholic priest and anthropologist Milford Wolpoff on local PBS television in Detroit in a commentary on origins as a follow-up to the evolution series on PBS. But in episode 7, none other than Keith Miller and Walter Hearn appear in the "What about God?" segment, which was made independently of the other segments. Walt commented: "I was interviewed on camera for thirty minutes for that five second clip."
In response to the PBS series, "one hundred" scientists have signed on to the following dissenting statement: "I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." Among them are ASAers Henry "Fritz" Schaefer, Robert Kaita, Walter Hearn, Robert Newman, William Dembski, Walter Bradley, Moorad Alexanian, Terry Morrison, Robert DeHaan, Pattle Pun, Jed Macosko, Jonathan Wells, and Charles Thaxton. The statement was championed by the Discovery Institute in Seattle, WA, a public policy center funded largely by the late Davis Weyerhaeuser and supportive of Intelligent Design. It came in response to the propagandizing aspects of the series, which was solely paid for by another Seattle resident, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen. The price tag is believed to be over $15 million. According to Larry Witham of the Washington Times, the producers of Evolution had asked Discovery Institute scientists to appear on the last segment, "What About God?" But Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman said they would only cooperate if their scientists could dissent on camera during the scientific episodes.
The dissenters' list of reputable scientists challenges the contention of the series that "virtually all reputable scientists in the world" support Darwin's theory. Institute officials charge that officials of WGBH/Clear Blue Sky Productions have used that contention to keep any scientific criticism of Darwinism from being acknowledged or examined in the eight-hour series. "They want people to think that the only criticism of Darwin's theory today is from religious fundamentalists," said Chapman. "They routinely try to stigmatize scientists who question Darwin as 'creationists'." * David Buckna, John West
With the Lord
Swiss physicist Hans Rudolf Brugger, a long-time ASA member, went home to be with his Lord on August 4, 2001. He died at the age of 73 after a long illness of the blood platelets, which he bore in much weakness, but patiently and in peace.
After earning a Ph.D. in physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he did research in elementary particle physics at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. An excellent teacher, he taught physics and mathematics at the Evangelical College of Schiers, Switzerland for 25 years. Twice during this time, he spent some months doing astronomical research at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. He was fascinated by astrophysics and cosmology, which displayed to him the glory of God. He lovingly but resolutely opposed young-earth creationism, having thoroughly studied relevant dating methods. Last year, he translated ASA's Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy into German. Hans Ruedi, as his Swiss friends called him, is survived by his wife Barbara, two daughters and three sons. * Peter RΈst
See the ASA website (www.asa3.org) for descriptions of job postings in clinical psychology, computer science, education, experimental psychology, information systems management, mathematics, physiology, and physical science/astronomy/earth science. The job postings are at:
The Executive Director's Corner by Donald W. Munro
God has been at our side as we have experienced these difficult times of the mass murder of United States citizens in the name of politics and religion. It is a wake-up call not only to the need for greater security on earth but also the need for eternal security. I have been amazed at the spiritual response from a nation which seemed to be leaving its first love. May each of us be a conduit to reach out spiritually to our friends in science who may be seriously considering their mortality.
Although I have not heard of any ASA members being killed in the attack, I am sure that many had relatives or friends who were. On behalf of the ASA membership, I express our collective sympathy to them and to the many families who lost their loved ones. We have realized anew the importance of prayer and how deeply comforting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is.
The ballot for the election of a new ASA Council member has been mailed to all voting members. Send your vote to us by Nov. 23, 2001. The nominees are Marilyne S. Flora and Elizabeth B. Juergensmeyer. Both women are educators in Illinois.
ASA Council meets the first weekend in December at our Ipswich office. Please be in prayer for us as we tackle a full docket of items, including setting the budget in an economically stressed world. Jay Hollman, president for a second year, will complete his five years of Council service this Dec. 31. We greatly appreciate his time away from a busy medical practice and the innovative ideas that he has brought during these years of service.
Jay is a "can do" person who has inspired us to greater heights. He sought and received funding for an evangelism panel at the 1999 and 2000 ASA Annual Meetings. The proceedings are being published and copies will be sent to ASA members. Jay also was instrumental in getting funding for student scientists to present papers at the 2001 meeting. We will miss him on the Council.
Our final registration figure for Kansas State U. was 159. I am hoping that even far more people will join us from August 2-5, 2002 at Pepperdine U. in CA. I have had the privilege of visiting Pepperdine U. and have seen what a beautiful and scenic campus it is. It sits on a hill above the Pacific Ocean in Malibu - just that name sounds comforting.
The call for papers is in the mail, and we hope that you will plan a presentation. We are finalizing the details of the California trip following the meeting. It will probably be limited to about forty-five people. We will send you that information as soon as it is available. Please pray that we will receive a proposed grant to enhance the programs for the 2002 and 2003 meetings.
It is time for the last honor list of 2001, which is to recognize those ASA members who are celebrating a quarter century (1976-2001) of membership in the ASA. In the previous newsletters for this year, we listed those with 50, 45, 40, 35, and 30 years of membership. The listing of names brought back many memories of interacting with so many of you at past meetings. What a wonderful privilege of fellowship we have in this affiliation. This is the largest list to date with thirty-seven names: Gilbert Albelo, Gary Allen, Donald Baer, John Buckwalter, Joel Cannon, Simon Chung, Leroy Cogger, David Cole, Peter Corfield, Forest Deal, Jr., William Duke, Thomas Harrison, Mark Henkelman, Richard Herd, Glenn Holt, Randy Isaac, Kent James, Richard Johnson, Sherman Kanagy II, Robert Kistler, William Klinger, John Knapp II, Marvin Lubenow, Esther Martin, Paul Palmberg, Douglas Phinney, Edward Piers, Carl Reading, James Rynd, Steven Scadding, Robert Schier, Jr., Bruce Schweitzer, James Swanson, Gary Thorburn, Norman Van Gaalen, John Verkade and David Ziegler. How is that for A to Z. Congratulations to all!
Have you put the new ASA brochure we included in our last letter to good use? What a great shot in the arm it would be to this affiliation if even one-half of you could recruit one new member. Be proactive with the membership brochure. Have them fill it out right in front of you and provide them with an addressed, stamped envelop. If you need more ASA membership brochures, e-mail us (email@example.com), tell us how many you can use, and we will mail them right out to you.
The end of this year will be very crucial for ASA's financial health. As you know, we count on donations to supplement the dues in order to balance our budget. Your help is needed now. I urge you to consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thanks so much for whatever you can do.
It continues to be a privilege to serve you. Let us know of your involvements for the newsletter. We are all interested in what other members are doing. Send the information to Dennis Feucht (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Enjoy Thanksgiving, have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.