Re: ASA News Releases

Dennis Feucht (
Fri, 5 Sep 1997 23:41:37 -0400

First, thanks for the many comments on the news release draft, both in
terms of the release itself and also in the wider, organizational sense.

Secondly, this version (if any) of the release will not be released.

I will confess that I know the range of opinions among us in ASA well
enough to know that the decidedly pro-Johnsonian/Behe slant I put on the
release would never be able to represent ASA members generally. As most of
you have stated well, because we operate as a forum where discussion of
differences of opinion among Christians can go on, no particular slant of
this kind can be put under the ASA name without misrepresentation of

The idea of ASA news releases is being considered by ASA leadership. The
problems this release illustrates include:

1. Can we say anything as ASA at all without misrepresenting members'
The _Teaching Science_ book had raised this issue and it was put in the
name of what is now the Science Education Commission, which consists of a
handful of members - small enough to achieve a unanimous consensus. Bob
Fischer's and Walt Hearn's books are ASA Press publications and do not
implicate ASA in whatever views they express merely because ASA publishes
them. In the Newsletter, despite your keen abilities to discern my biases,
I try (however successfully!) to give air to a full range of views on
issues (though Phil & Co., it appears, are making (and sending me) more
news right now than others in the creation-evolution category).

Consequently, it seems to me that we have implicitly been following an
unwritten policy that a range of views (delimited by our Statement of
Faith) are permissibly expressed in the ASA, but none of them represents an
official ASA position. This approach attributes views only to those
expressing them, in the context of ASA. Multiple views can and have, of
course, been expressed this way, all as coming out of the ASA, but none
representing ASA collectively. Is this the approach we should take in
pursuing item # 2 below?

2. We consider it part of our ASA mission to address "the waning faith of
modern youth subjected to the sweeping tide of scientific materialism."
(_ASA Directory, p. 2, "Background") Despite problems relative to the
science and/or theology of the Johnson/intelligent-design approach, Johnson
& Co. are challenging the scientific materialism of NABT, et al. and
(despite how well or badly they are doing) are drawing attention to
scientism and its underlying presuppositions. How can we address this
aspect of our mission in view of the forum-oriented aspect of our mission?
Is there any stand that ASA collectively can take that carries sufficient
conviction to produce crusaders having the determination of a Johnson or
Morris or Gish?

These two aspects of our mission could be equally affirmed and
complementary if we established the policy that ASAers can push a
particular view and have it recognized as an activity under ASA auspices as
long as the view is attributed only to ASAers whose view it actually is. In
other words, ASAers of differing persuasions really could be free to start
"crusades" within ASA as long as they are careful not to use their ASA
context as a general ASA endorsement of their particular views. It is
possible for commissions, for instance, to take stands and make statements,
but they would do so as the XYZ Commission of ASA, and not "ASA."
Meanwhile, ASA is seen as an organization big enough in scope to be capable
of allowing a thousand flowers to bloom (but not a million).

What think you of this approach to addressing both aspects of ASA's raison
d' etre?

News Release Postscript: For ASA news releases, it's a bit trickier. They
could be attributed to the Editor (me), but that's too big of a soap box to
give one guy. Do we run them through Don Munro and the Council? Or do we
forget the idea?

Dennis Feucht
Your ASAN Editor