Brown to Morris, 93-09-21


Tuesday, September 21, 1993


Dr. Henry M. Morris
Institute for Creation Research
P.O. Box 2667
El Cajon, CA 92021
                                                                                   September 21, 1993
Dear Henry:
Thank you for your letter of September 9th. I first want to commend you on your prompt responses
to my letters. I wish I could do as well.
I have tried to understand your last three letters from your point of view. You do not want "dirty
linen" (to use your words) spread about ICR. I understand that. Now I hope you will read this letter
from my perspective. I have seen and heard damaging and false statements from ICR for several
years and can no longer ignore them. All I ask is that you acknowledge and correct these problems.
This letter will only respond to your letters of June 22nd, July 9th, and September 9th, 1993. Please
read this carefully from my point of view and you will see what I mean. If you sincerely believe I am
wrong, then I hereby make the same offer to you as I did to Steve Austin on August 19th.
Specifically, you and I should move to Christian arbitration, step 3 of the procedure outlined in
Matthew 18:15-17. If you ignore the problems I have privately described to you here and elsewhere,
and if you reject the procedure Christ outlined, then we are at step 4. Since Austin ignored my offer
of Christian arbitration, I no longer feel a responsibility to keep a "close hold" on this information. I
welcome scrutiny of this matter by anyone. Ignoring this will only make it much worse.
The following are my comments on your three letters:
False Accusations. On June 22nd you wrote: "Obviously I cannot take any action on vague reports
when you give no specifics, and when those you are accusing assure me there is no basis for your
charges. Can you provide name, dates, and any kind of specific data? If so, I will try to check on it."
On July 6th, I gave you precisely what you requested in a 13-page report. This included the names,
dates, and location where two people were told these false allegations by Austin himself. (You were
free to contact them for verification.) Your response on July 9th was simply, "If you and Steve wish
to pursue it, however, that is your business . . . . I would prefer not to carry this discussion any
further, since we do have more activities and responsibilities than we can handle in the time
available." (Austin has also ignored the statements of these witnesses.) As you requested, I
provided specifics. I am sorry you did not do what you said you would.
Plagiarism. Let's disregard for the moment the work of Ed Holroyd and myself. Austin has clearly
"lifted" artwork and other matters from various authors, and then he (or ICR) copyrighted that
material. This is plagiarism and copyright infringement. Austin even admitted to me on the phone
that he took material without getting copyright releases. He tried to brush it off as simply publishing
an "internal document." Wrong. ICR copyrighted that material—in effect, telling everyone that it is
original and no one should use it without ICR's permission.
You say that, "It seems to me that the two of you may have come up with the same idea independently--
like Newton and Leibritz [sic] with the calculus." Austin admits using major ideas and a map from Ed
Holroyd—without attribution. He tries to justify it by saying that he had an agreement with Holroyd not to
mention Holroyd's name. Holroyd wrote me that he asked Austin to credit him: "I [Holroyd] said he could
refer to my 1987 CRSQ note for a reference or list it as personal communication." Austin recently talked
to Holroyd twice by phone, and now he says Holroyd will support his story. I doubt it. Let's let Holroyd
speak for himself. (Austin should stop trying to influence Holroyd's testimony by heavy, actually clumsy,
hints of future employment. That is highly improper.)
Even if Holroyd and Austin agreed to hide Holroyd's contribution, how can you say that Austin came up
with a breached dam proposal for the origin of the Grand Canyon? Ed Holroyd gave Austin the key ideas.
I also believe that Austin took several important ideas from me, not just the name "Grand Lake" as he
admits. Apparently, when Austin realized what I was saying and writing, he stopped "supposing" and
made some quick changes to ICR's 1989 and 1990 Grand Canyon Field Study Tour Guidebooks.
Furthermore, I am confident that most people who carefully read what Austin and I wrote, will concur. As
one advisor, after studying this matter, told me "You caught Austin red-handed. Any undergraduate
caught doing the same thing would be expelled."
Therefore, I am amazed by your September 9th statement: ". . . false accusations and plagiarism. These
are serious charges, but they have already been answered quite satisfactorily, as far as I am able to
judge from the correspondence." Respectfully, Henry, you have either not read the correspondence
carefully, or you are unable to see these serious errors within ICR. Now others will be given the
opportunity "to judge from the correspondence." The inconsistancies in Austin's explanations are blatent.
You wrote on September 9th, "Now you want to air this 'dirty linen' in public, a procedure which is bound
to be harmful to both our ministries." No. Let me remind you that in my August 19th letter to you and
Austin I offered to have some competent Christian group arbitrate this. Had he accepted, this matter
would be resolved and few would ever hear about ICR's "dirty linen." When you say, "Would it not be
better simply to leave the matter in the hands of the Lord?", what specifically do you mean? Sweep it
under the rug? Christ told us how to proceed in Matthew 18:17; with your knowledge, Austin declined.
Here is another example in your last three letters where, to protect ICR, you made misleading statements
and did not do what you promised. On June 18th I sent you a clear example of plagiarism within ICR, a
book ICR published and was selling. On June 22nd, you brushed it off as my "complaint," saying
(surprisingly) that the original author would probably not consider it plagiarism, but "we will possibly delete
this particular book from our next catalog." I then wrote you and said that since you would not consider
removing it from your inventory, other readers could decide if it was plagiarism. Then you changed your
position and words, writing back on July 9th, saying:
         . . . I had told you that . . . we would consider deleting the book from our inventory and
         catalog. I have since discussed it with our business manager, and this will be done. [my
Apparently, after further consideration you recognized it as a serious enough problem to remove it from
your inventory—one of the proper things to do. However, as of August 2nd (almost a month later), you
again had not done what you said you would. On August 2nd, I bought a copy from ICR.
In two of your last three letters, an important point I made earlier was missed. For example, you said in
your latest letter:
         To argue over "priority" in an unproven theory seems to me strictly a function of human
         pride, and is altogether irrelevant to the more basic issue of the validity and utility of the
         theory. For whatever it is worth, I could cite many instances of people "plagiarizing" my
         ideas--and occasionally my words--without credit. Instead of resenting this, I am thankful
         that what I consider to be truth is being spread thereby.
As I twice wrote you, I consider it a compliment when someone takes ideas of mine, even when it is
without reference, and even when they copyright those ideas as theirs. When Austin did that to me, I did
not raise an objection. I am glad you also share that attitude and have as one of your main objectives
spreading the information. However, when Austin took my ideas, claimed them as his own, then told
others that I plagiarized, a serious ethical issue is raised. I have known of these false charges for several
years. Again, I took no action against him, since there were more important things to do than to get into a
"priority" squabble.
The "call to action" came when Bob Gentry heard these false allegations. The "priority issue" could now
discredit an expensive filming project of Bob's. If the allegations were correct—something Bob could not
know for sure—then his product contained plagiarized material. This is much like the problem ICR has
with Slusher's tainted book, only worse: more effort and expense is involved, there is a larger potential
audience, and it is more current. In fairness to Bob, I could no longer ignore the false allegations.
Nor will I accept your insinuation that my "human pride" caused this problem. Austin's false allegations
and plagiarism caused the problem. From a source close to ICR, I know that Austin is embarrassed by
his improper actions. Then just admit it, and take corrective action.
You have tried in two of your letters to minimize the importance of the issues I am raising with Austin.
You either missed the point or are using every argument you can think of to protect ICR when you say
that the "Grand Lake Explanation" is unproven. (Most, if not all, scientific theories are unproven.) You did
this again in your July 9th letter by saying that "even if secular scientists eventually agree with the theory,
it still would make no difference in their commitment to evolution." This is not an issue of "proving" a
theory or attacking evolution. The issues are (1) false statements and (2) plagiarism.
Responsible leaders, especially of Christian organizations, should want to correct such problems. Your
statements that the matter is simply between Austin and myself, and you "prefer not to carry this
discussion any further" are disappointing. Your latest letter says that "the gracious and loving thing to do,
as well as the least harmful to our mutual cause," is to ignore the matter. Notice for the situation of
Matthew 18:15a that Christ did not give us that option.
For many years ICR has been in the forefront of the creation movement, a movement bigger than any
individual or organization. I do not want to harm ICR, as my years of silence show. However, unless
errors are acknowledged and corrected, you and Steve Austin will harm ICR and the creation
movement. Please rectify matters, so we can get back to our busy schedules.
Walter T. Brown, Jr.