To: All 940503 00:%:58 Subject: DOBSON LETTER To everyone: I don't normally inhabit this e

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From: Dave Knapp To: All 94-05-03 00:%:58 Subject: DOBSON LETTER To everyone: I don't normally inhabit this echo; I have a low threshold for it. But I recently sent the following letter to Dr. James Dobson, who appears on a radio talk show and runs Focus on the Family Ministries. Tell me what you think. -- Dave ---------------------------------------------------------------- May 2, 1994 Dr. James Dobson, Ph.D., President Focus on the Family Colorado Springs, CO 80995 Dear Dr. Dobson: I was introduced to your film series in the early 1980's, and I have followed your radio program since then. My wife and I have written you once before to give you information on a ministry with which we are affiliated, Engaged Encounter. I have admired you and seen you as an honest spokesman for the Christian faith, and, though we disagree on some topics, we have enjoyed reading your monthly letters. But your most recent letter, that of April 1994, has made me wonder if my perceptions have been correct. In it, you recount some details of your interview with Dr. Phillip Johnson, who has written the book Darwin on Trial. I have read Dr. Johnson's book and am familiar with his arguments, and I have corresponded with Dr. Johnson myself; we disagree, but are able to do so in a mutually respectful and civil manner. The debate over the validity of evolution is not, I believe, a "salvation issue." However, your treatment of this issue concerns me greatly. You printed the following: "Now, after 135 years of exhaustive research, the transitional forms still have not turned up. They don't exist in the geological record. This and other convincing criticisms of classical evolution make it difficult to understand why so many intelligent and highly educated men and women still hold a position that is not supported by verifiable scientific data. Darwin tried to tell us that the various life forms evolved on earth from a single-celled organism swimming in a primordial 'soup.' ... From that spontaneous beginning in an African swamp came a dazzling array of evermore complicated species... Evolution is the only belief system which holds that events in the natural world move from disorder to order on their own initiative." Scientists sometimes exaggerate a position for the sake of argument; it can be a useful tool. However, there is a point at which exaggeration becomes misrepresentation; your passage above is well over that line. Several statements in the above passage from your letter are utterly incorrect. I'm not talking about a difference of opinion about how to interpret data; I mean you made erroneous statements that might be interpreted as falsehoods. I don't have space here to explain in detail, but: - Transitional fossils have been found, though not as many as Darwin originally predicted. - Evolution, most especially common ancestry, is indeed supported by verifiable scientific data. One might legitimately disagree about the quality or quantity of the data, but they exist, and they lend support to the evolutionary theory. - Evolution theory does not predict a one-way rise from less complicated creatures to more complicated creatures. - Evolution theory does not predict that events will necessarily move from disorder to order on their own. - Other scientific theories do predict transitions from what we would perceive as disorder to what we would perceive as order. I do not seek to debate evolutionary theory; rather, I am concerned that as Christians it is our duty to speak truth, not falsehood, and to act in an honest and ethical manner. I honestly hope that your above statements were made from ignorance, not purposeful mendacity. We will never promote God's kingdom through the use of inaccuracies or false statements. Without integrity and truth, our witness to the world is a hollow one. I strongly urge you to consult someone who is conversant with science, evolution, the scientific method, and the evidence for evolution. In my opinion, Dr. Johnson does not meet these criteria. Please feel free to contact me; my address and phone number are given below. I am a scientist: I obtained a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1986, and I now do research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I am also a Christian who believes that the Bible is the inspired word of God. I have thought long and hard about these issues, and studied them a great deal. It does not matter to me so much that we do or do not agree about evolution; it does matter to me that you, a high-profile Christian, not make public statements that would appear to be dishonest. Thank you very much for your consideration. Since you asked me to write about the issues you raised, I hope that I will not receive a form letter in response. I pray that God will move your heart to hear my concern and love. In Christ's love, (s) Dave Knapp --- Blue Wave/QWK v2.10 --- TMail v1.31.5 * Origin: Diablo Valley PCUG-BBS, Walnut Creek, CA 510/943-6238 (1:161/55)

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