|About Us - August 2003|
|by Do-While Jones|
This newsletter is Volume 7, Number 12. That means we have published a “six-page newsletter” (which often runs eight pages, sometimes more) every month for the past seven years. We looked back over the previous 83 newsletters when choosing material for the Evolution Exposé. As a result, we did some unplanned introspection.
People sometimes ask where we get all the material for the newsletters. They wonder if we are worried about running out of things to say after seven years. The truth is that the unpublished material keeps building up every month.
We get our material from several different kinds of sources. Most of it comes from respected, secular scientific journals. Specifically, we rely heavily on Science, the most respected peer-reviewed journal in the United States, and Nature, the most respected peer-reviewed journal in the United Kingdom. We also read Science News, which is a very small weekly magazine that summarizes articles that appear in Science, Nature, and several other more specialized scientific journals. We tend to quote Science and Nature for facts, and Science News for commentary on those facts. This is where you will find the truth about evolution. Unfortunately, Science and Nature are very expensive, and sometimes difficult to read. This limits their circulation in the general population. After quoting something from Science or Nature, we generally have to add a couple of paragraphs to explain what the quote said.
We also get inspiration (and cannon fodder) from pseudo-scientific tabloids such as National Geographic, Scientific American, Natural History, and Discover magazines. These publications contain biased distortions of scientific fact which seem to be intended to evangelize young people, and make them true believers in the theory of evolution. We often quote them in order to expose the false statements they make, and set the record straight using quotes from Science or Nature. We feel it is important to respond to these tabloids because they do have some influence over the general public.
We used to read the Skeptical Inquirer, but no longer waste our time on it. We doubt that anyone takes the Skeptical Inquirer seriously, so it isn’t important to refute anything they say. The pulse of the mainstream, potentially credible, evolutionary sources is found in National Geographic, Scientific American, Natural History, and (to a lesser extent) Discover. Occasionally Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News and World Report will print some evolutionary propaganda, which we try to deal with in the very next newsletter.
We get a lot of email. We read it all (unless it doesn't get through the spam filter), and answer some of it. We don’t bother to answer the hate mail, but if someone seems to be sincerely interested in a topic, we address it. If it seems to be of general interest, we use it for an “email” column.
In the early days, we were severely limited by money. That’s not a serious problem anymore. Our bank balance once got as high as $2500. It is somewhat less now, due to advertising for the Evolution Exposé. We ask our members for $15 a year, and some give us $25 instead. We don’t pay salaries, travel expenses, or rent, so the small contributions of many people keep us going. Internet service is cheap; and we get a really good deal from our printer. (But don’t stop sending us money! )
Actually, it is the emotional support expressed attached to each and every check that is more important than the money itself. Publishing the newsletter is a lot of work. Knowing that there are people who think it is worth $15 a year to keep receiving the newsletter provides the emotional support that we need to keep going.
The hate mail gives us emotional support, too. Knowing that people feel that we are a serious threat to the theory of evolution is encouraging to us. If we didn’t get hate mail, we would feel as irrelevant as the Skeptical Inquirer.
Over the years, the approach taken by Science Against Evolution has evolved. The original plan was to send one newsletter to everyone in Ridgecrest to try to build up a nucleus of people who would sponsor speakers from the Institute for Creation Research, or Answers in Genesis, to give scientific lectures about creation and evolution.
Of course, it took several years to send newsletters to every residential address in Ridgecrest because we could only afford to send out 200 per month. During that time, we started putting our newsletter on the Internet. After a while, we had more members from outside California than inside. The number of hits on our web page keeps increasing.
We are certainly not in the same league with the Big Boys (ICR, AIG, CRS, etc.), but we have reached the point where we can’t answer all the mail.
You may have noticed that although the Big Boys have some wonderful publications, we don’t use them in our newsletter. We think we have interesting things of our own to say. Not only that, we don’t have the time (or space in the newsletter) to say them all. Therefore, we don’t waste our valuable time or space repeating what creationist organizations say. Probably everybody who reads our newsletter reads the big-name creationist literature, too. Besides, since we aren’t publishing a fancy magazine with long editorial deadlines, our Evolution in the News column usually deals with breaking evolutionary news a month or two before the Big Boys do.
So, what’s in the future? Well, just as the Internet made it possible to publish essays cheaply, digital camcorders, DVD burners, and video editing software make publishing DVDs feasible. There isn’t any way that we can take the Evolution Exposé seminar to all the locations we would like, but we can put it on DVDs. That technology allows us to put in “scene selection”, which will allow viewers to jump directly to any of the topics in the presentation. Maybe next spring you will be able to buy Evolution Exposé on DVD.
And, if you happen to live in the “right place” (which means, “near my grandchildren, or near some interesting geology, or near anyplace else I am willing to spend my own money and vacation time to visit”), you might be able to attend an Evolution Exposé in person.
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