Joseph Carson (
16 Sep 96 23:29:53 EDT

September 16, 1996

Dear fellow ASA'ers,

The attached correspondence regarding the formation of an ASA
Special Interest Group (SIG) within the 120,000 member American
Society of Mechanical Engineers warrants ASA'ers individual and
ASA's collective interest. If ASME approves this idea and if ASA
doesn't oppose it, there could be eventual wide-ranging
implications for ASA. Engineers form a much larger percentage of
potential ASA'ers than their current representation in ASA (about
400 out of 2500) indicates.

If substantially more engineers join ASA, the complexion of ASA
will change. ASA will continue to do what it now does, but it
will be doing other things too. ASA's polity may change, its
name may change. It's mission may change - not to remove its
current mission, but to complement it with a more practical
component of ASA'ers being "salt and light" in their workplaces
and professions - to better integrate faith into the jobs and
professions of ASA'ers - to complement ASA current stated

For more engineers to join ASA, ASA has to offer them more. ASA
SIGs in the major engineering Professional Societies would
enhance ASA membership value to eligible engineers.

If ASA starts to grow, it will be of much more interest to
ministries as Hugh Ross's and Ravi Zacharias's etc. ASA
membership could well receive endorsements by the various "names"
in evangelical Christianity - a virtuous cycle could ensue.

But where is change, there is always a possible downside, at
least to some stakeholders. If engineers grow in numbers and
influence in ASA, then, at least relatively, the influence of the
academicians in the natural and life sciences would diminish.

Please feel free to provide feedback. I would prefer that you
reply to the ASA mailing list and not to me individually. I'd
prefer a group discussion to numerous private ones (I simply
haven't the time, in any case, for substantial "off-line"

Feel free to play devil's advocate - I appreciate skeptical,
questioning attitudes.

Your coworker in His Sovereign plan,

Joe Carson, P.E.

September 16, 1996

Dear Colleague in ASA and the profession of Mechanical

I obtained your name from the 1993-1994 ASA/CSCA Directory (there
are about 30 ASA'ers who listed Mechanical Engineering as their
profession in the directory.) I'm writing to inform you of the
status of my attempt to form an ASA Special Interest Group (SIG)
within ASME, International (the name was changed a few year ago
from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to reflect the
increasingly international nature of its membership.)

I invite your support, particularly prayers, and feedback,
preferably by email.

Mr. Warren Leonard heads up the "Member's Affairs" office of
ASME. His email address is <>. He can be
reached by phone at ASME at 1-800-843-2763. His address is ASME
345 East 47 St., NY, NY 10017


Joseph Carson, P.E.
10953 Twin Harbour Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37922
(423) 675-0236
(423) 966-1675 Fax


My letter of August 5, 1996 (sent via email) to Mr. Leonard of
ASME, with attachments

Mr. Leonard's email response of September 4, 1996


Don Munro, Executive Director ASA
Don Degraaf, Chair ASA Communications Commission
ASA Members in Mechanical Engineering

#: 619720 S0/Outbox File [MAIL]
6-Aug-96 0:40:00
To: Warren Leonard >

August 5, 1996

Mr. Warren Lenard
ASME International

Dear Mr. Lenard,

Attached to this memo are the following:

o information about the American Scientific Affiliation

o a letter I wrote to the Rutherford Institute last month,

o and the response of the Rutherford Institute (the mission
of the Rutherford Institute is to protect religious

When I informally inquired about initiating an ASA Special
Interest Group (SIG) in ASME several months ago, I did not ask
for a documented response, nor did I describe my concept of such
a SIG and its role in ASME.

What I have in mind for an ASA SIG is very modest. An ASA SIG in
ASME would be self-funded, would have no role in governance,
would have no "official voice," and would pay standard rates to
advertise its existence and activities in ASME publications. If
and when it developed a web page, I think it would be appropriate
to link it to ASME's home page and if ASME starts to sponsor
USENET groups or internet mailing lists, then I think it would be
appropriate for the ASA SIG to be able to "piggy back" (possibly
at cost) on ASME's system. The ASA SIG would have some type of
official standing/recognition from ASME - only for its existence,
not for the beliefs or actions of ASME members who choose to join

I am very open to describing my interests in having such a SIG
and how I think it could benefit ASME as a whole. Briefly, many
professionals in America seek to better integrate their
metaphysical or creedal principles into their vocations - both in
their individual workplaces and their larger professions. I
think Technical Societies should, within appropriate limits, in a
balanced way, accept this and make allowances for it. I'm also
very open to the interests/concerns of ASME members who might
oppose the concept, and I intend to speak reasonably to everyone
involved. Perhaps ASME is on firm legal ground in prohibiting
such a SIG. If so, fine - I asked a good-faith question of my
Professional Society and received a definitive answer. There are
hundreds, if not thousands, of professional and technical
societies in America, so Engineer that I be, I assume this or a
similar question has come up before somewhere.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Joseph Carson, P.E.
10953 Twin Harbour Drive
Knoxville, TN. 37922
423/966-1675 fax


What exactly is the American Scientific Affiliation?

The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) is a fellowship of men
and women of science and disciplines that can relate to science
who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment
to integrity in the practice of science. ASA was founded in 1941
and has grown significantly since that time. The stated purpose
of the ASA is "to investigate any
area relating Christian faith and science" and "to make known the
results of such investigations for comment and criticism by the
Christian community and by the scientific community."

How do I join the ASA?

Anyone interested in the objectives of the Affiliation may have a
part in the ASA. Full, voting membership is open to all persons
with at least a bachelor's degree in science who can give assent
to our statement of faith. Science is interpreted broadly to
include anthropology, archeology, economics, engineering,
history, medicine, psychology, and sociology as well as the
general recognized science disciplines. Philosophers and
theologians, who are interested in science, are very welcome.
Full member dues are $55/year.

Associate membership is available to interested non-scientists
who can give assent to our statement of faith. Associates
receive all member benefits and publications and take part in
all the affairs of the ASA except voting and holding office.
Associate member dues are $45/year.

Full-time students may join as Student Members (science majors)
with voting privileges or as Student Associates (non-science
majors) for discounted dues of $20/year. Full-time overseas
missionaries are entitled to a complimentary Associate

Retired individuals and spouses qualify for a reduced rate. A
retired member pays yearly dues of $35; a spouse pays $10.

An individual wishing to participate in the ASA without joining
as a member or giving assent to our statement of faith, may
become a Friend of the ASA. Payment of a yearly fee of $55
entitles "Friends" to receive all member benefits and
publications and take part in all the affairs of the ASA.

Subscriptions to our journal, *Perspectives on Science &
Christian Faith*, are available at $30/year (individuals),
$45/year (institutions) and $20/year (students). The journal
comes automatically with your membership.

What does the ASA believe?

As an organization, the ASA does not take a position when there
is honest disagreement between Christians on an issue. We are
committed to providing an open forum where controversies can be
discussed without fear of unjust condemnation. Legitimate
differences of opinion among Christians who have studied both the
Bible and science are freely expressed within the Affiliation in
a context of Christian love and concern for truth.

Our platform of faith has four important planks:

1. We accept the divine inspiration, trustworthiness and
authority of the Bible in matters of faith and conduct.

2. We confess the Triune God affirmed in the Nicene and
Apostle's creeds which we accept as brief, faithful statements of
Christian doctrine based upon Scripture.

3. We believe that in creating and preserving the universe God
has endowed it with contingent order and intelligibility, the
basis of scientific investigation.

4. We recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God's
creation, to use science and technology for the good of humanity
and the whole world.

These four statements of faith spell out the distinctive
character of the ASA, and we uphold them in every activity and
publication of the Affiliation.

Why must there be an ASA?

Science has brought about enormous changes in our world.
Christians have often reacted as though science threatened the
very foundations of Christian faith. ASA's unique mission is to
integrate, communicate, and facilitate properly researched
science and biblical theology in service to the Church and the
scientific community.

ASA members have confidence that such integration is not only
possible but necessary to an adequate understanding of God and
His creation. Our total allegiance is to our Creator. We
acknowledge our debt to Him for the whole natural order and for
the development of science as a way of knowing that order in
detail. We also acknowledge our debt to Him for the Scriptures,
which give us "the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith
in Jesus Christ."

We believe that honest and open study of God's dual revelation,
in nature and in the Bible, must eventually lead to understanding
of its inherent harmony.

The ASA is also committed to the equally important task of
providing advice and direction to the Church and society in how
best to use the results of science and technology while
preserving the integrity of God's creation.

American Scientific Affiliation
PO Box 668
Ipswich, MA 01938-0668
Phone (508) 356-5656
Fax (508) 356-4375

July 11, 1996

Mr. John Whitehead
Rutherford Institute
1445 East Rio Road
Charlottesville, VA 22906

phone: (804) 978-3888
fax: (804) 978-1789
email: <>
Worldwide Web: <>

Dear Mr. Whitehead,

I'm a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) who works for the US
Department of Energy. Several years ago, a situation arose in
which I decided that the Code of Ethics of Engineers, the Code of
Federal Employees, and my conscience, informed by my Christian
faith, required me to speak out about safety violations in DOE,
in precisely the way an employee is supposed to. I've been
paying ever since for being a loyal, honest, and efficient
employee of DOE.

I have now "prevailed" twice in whistleblower reprisal complaints
against DOE ("prevail" means I get to keep my job - nothing
happens to those guilty of the reprisal.)

This situation has given me occasion to closely examine how I
integrate my Christian metaphysic in my vocation and as well as
to observe how I see other Christian engineers doing (or not
doing) likewise. I am aware of only one Christian organization
for engineers - the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA.) ASA
has been very supportive of my situation, which has been a real
test of my faith.

ASA has only about 2500 members, although there are probably
several million self-identifying evangelical Christians with the
requisite technical training to qualify for membership in ASA.
Currently, ASA is composed primarily of natural scientists who
have vocations in academia.

I'm a member of two large voluntary engineering professional
societies, the 70,000 member National Society of Professional
Engineers (NSPE) and the 120,000 member American Society of
Mechanical Engineers (ASME.) I have approached the leadership of
ASA, ASME, and NSPE about the feasibility of establishing ASA
Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within ASME and NSPE. The point
would be to establish a mechanism for Christians to better be
"salt and light" in their vocations through organized fellowship
with other Christians within these professional societies. ASA
has not officially expressed either support or opposition to the
idea, but both ASME and NSPE have informally told me that they
would not allow any official standing to such a SIG.

As you are well aware, there are a number of rules that can
constrain overt Christian speech and action within the workplace.
I realize the validity of many of these rules as being
appropriate expressions of the hierarchy present in employee-
employer relationships. A voluntary professional society is much
more egalitarian though and I don't understand the basis of its
prohibition of its members' expression of metaphysical principles
and ability to associate, within that society, based on
metaphysical principles. Additionally, these Professional
Societies have given official standing to SIGs within them based
on age (under 35), race (minorities only), and sex (women only.)
It seems to me that using age, race, and sex as a basis for
association is inherently more exclusive than using adherence to
credal or metaphysical principles.

I am contacting you to determine if the Rutherford Institute
would be interested in evaluating the legal basis of the
positions that ASME and NSPE have expressed to me and, if not, if
could you direct me to someone who would. I have been much
influenced by the book THE NAKED PUBLIC SQUARE by John Neuhaus,
and this situation seems a perfect example of it. ASA wants
positive publicity and growth. If your organization expresses
interest, ASA might decide to get actively behind this issue.
ASME and NSPE also want positive publicity and growth. Many
members of these organizations are Christians and I think, with
some gentle persuasion, this situation could be successfully

I can readily obtain copies of the by-laws of these
organizations. I've included some information about ASME that
will give you some idea of its scope.


Joseph Carson
10953 Twin Harbour Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922
(423) 675-0236


ASA information booklet


Don Munro, ASA Executive Director


Post Office Box 7482
Charlottesville, VA 22906-7482
(804) 978-3888
fax (804) 978-1789

July 22, 1996

Joe Carson
10953 Twin Harbour Drive
Concord, Tennessee 37922

Dear Mr. Carson:

Thank you for your contact with and interest in The Rutherford

The Rutherford Institute has reviewed your inquiry for our
assistance. Please send documentation of the American Society of
Mechanical Engineers and the National Society of Professional
Engineers legal position regarding the denial of religious
special interest groups. We will review these and get back in
touch with you.

Very truly yours,

Legal Department

#: 4593 S0/CompuServe Mail [MAIL]
04-Sep-96 14:48 EDT
Sb: ASA SIG? -Reply
Fm: Warren Leonard >

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Date: Wed, 04 Sep 1996 14:45:39 -0400
From: Warren Leonard <>
To: 73530.2350@CompuServe.COM
Subject: ASA SIG? -Reply

Dear Mr. Carson,

My aplogies to you fro not responding directly to you earlier.
Please be advised that you request for ASME and the initiation of
a Special interest group in ASME of the ASA is currently on the
Agenda for the September Committee on Planning and Organization

The CPO is a committee of the ASME Board of Governors, and is
charged by the BOG with examining such requests for affiliation.

I have supplied the entire CPO with your August 5 file to me. I
will keep you abreast of CPO's actions following their meeting in
Warren Leonard


To: [73530,2350]