Re: Russ Humphreys

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 10:04:59 EST

  • Next message: Jan de Koning: "Re: Russ Humphreys"

    Hello, Jonathan and to all reading these postings,

        I've just joined this listserv, and am glad to be taking part in the
    discussions. After looking through and reading some of this February's
    postings in the archives, I have a sense of what topics have drawn interest
    and comments. I'll be wanting to contribute and to benefit from the
    comments others contribute, for reasons I'll give in another message.

        Some thoughts, Jonathan, to your question. Thompson would have to
    answer Humphreys' charge that he has misread H's use of the data, and I hope
    you will hear directly from him. What I think you can do for your friend at
    church, more importantly, is to ask him to review H's piece and ask himself
    if he thinks the language and tone is worthy of a Christian who finds
    himself in disagreement with other Christians. H. could have expressed his
    disagreement, even strongly, without engaging in what I think any
    disinsterested observer would consider intemperate, insulting and accusatory
    expressions. His condemnation of Thompson et al. (I read the whole piece on
    the True Origins web site) express a fury that far exceeds what the fault,
    if it be so, calls for, especially from one that professes his Christian
    faith so openly. It strikes me--if I may dare to judge, but then H. is
    being judged--that R waves the word "Christian" against his opponents as if
    it were a club, and that the tone and language of his accusations, etc.,
    reflect more Gal. 5:20 than 22. (There are other exhortations in Paul's
    letters and the pastorals that would fit this occasion. A friend of mine, a
    Baptist minister who teaches courses in Old and New Testament at Appalachian
    State Unversity, here in Boone, NC, where I live, cites some of them when he
    has occasion to say to his fundamentalist students that they have a right to
    be fundamentalists but not to be mean-spirited.) We know that it is
    possible to engage in spirited disagreement, and even call attention to
    errors by others, without coming on like Jesse Ventura in his wrestling
    days. I think H. went beyond indignation.

        In looking over H's posting on True Origins I see that he has issued a
    retraction that appears to be a response to something Glenn Morton wrote
    him(?). I wish he would pull the whole piece and rewrite it in a way that
    is more worthy of his Christian commitment.

        I probably haven't said anything you yourself have concluded, but
    perhaps you might welcome this confirmation.

    Bob Schneider, ASA Associate Member

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Jonathan Clarke" <>
    To: "ASA" <>
    Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002 1:08 AM
    Subject: Russ Humphreys

    > Hi all
    > I started this discussion on acg-1 which I run from my work computer but
    > as it is the weekend and I won't be at it until Monday I will continue
    > it here.
    > I asked for some information about an attack (and a nasty one at that)
    > by Russell Humphreys on Tim Thompson, Steve Schimmrich and Glenn Morton
    > that is on the True.Origin Archive. In particular i was after the
    > background information especially the criticism of Steve (who may still
    > lurk here) of Humphreys and any response by Steve. The material I got
    > was to another unpleasant discussion with John Woodmorappe, which was
    > not it.
    > Sorry to have to drag this unplesantness up, but i need it for a
    > discussion with someone at church, who has given me RH's attack.
    > Part of it says:
    > "An anticreationist named Tim Thompson read one of my ICR Impact papers
    > on the earth's magnetic field and looked up one of my references, a
    > six-page section in a well-known magnetism textbook. Thompson saw a
    > figure near the beginning of that section which roughly resembled a
    > mirror image of my Impact article figures.
    > Thompson immediately jumped to a wrong conclusion; he thought I had
    > either stupidly or dishonestly reversed the time axis of the text's
    > figure to get my figure, and he hastily rushed to judgement upon me in
    > his website. If he had bothered to look up some of my other, more
    > technical references, he would have seen that I used data from a
    > different part of the section in the textbook. The technical references
    > are harder to get, but they spell out exactly how I made my figure. A
    > critic is morally obligated to look up all references before rushing to
    > accuse. At the very least, Thompson might have asked me about it first.
    > He did not follow any of those normal procedures of good scholarship. As
    > far as I know, he still hasn't, despite my informing him of the above.
    > He justly deserves any embarrassment he may get from this incident.
    > The response of other anticreationists to Thompson's piece of poor
    > scholarship is instructive. Glen
    > Morton, a former young-earth creationist, immediately believed Thompson.
    > Without checking with
    > me --- or the copies of my technical papers he has in his possession ---
    > he immediately began
    > spreading his "good news" around the darker corners of the Internet. I
    > corresponded privately
    > with him after my response to Thompson was posted. Although Morton says
    > he is still a Christian,
    > he apparently feels no obligation to retract his inaccurate information.
    > Then an assistant professor of geology named Steve Schimmrich at Calvin
    > College grabbed the
    > ball and began to run with it. He posted a caustic note in various
    > places, including the Calvin
    > college net, accusing me and creationists in general of being dishonest.
    > Calvin college (in Grand
    > Rapids, Michigan) has been a center of anticreationism for several
    > decades, being the home
    > territory of such worthies as Howard Van Til, Davis A. Young, and
    > Clarence Menninga. Though
    > still nominally a Christian college, many of its faculty seem to have
    > slid very far down and away
    > from its original principles. However, I decided to give Dr. Schimmrich
    > the benefit of the doubt. I
    > sent him the following e-mail privately, asking him to retract his piece
    > of misinformation. As an
    > experiment, I appealed to Christian ethics.
    > His response? He ignored my request and challenged me to debate him on
    > other technical issues.
    > He showed not a shred of shame about relaying bad scholarship and
    > wrongly accusing creationists
    > of dishonesty. I wrote back that I was not at all interested in debating
    > him, because I was so
    > disgusted with his hypocrisy that I didn't want anything more to do with
    > him."
    > Any light anyone on the squalid piece of near vilification and slander?
    > Feel free to respond privately.
    > Jon

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