|Correction - August 2015|
Dr. Lumsden’s testimony is true.
Over the years we have consistently urged readers not to believe everything they hear without checking to make sure it is true, and to be willing to admit it if proved wrong. They are words we live by ourselves.
We asked readers if it is possible for an atheist not to believe in evolution, and published representative responses in the “Alternatives” article in our June newsletter. One reader directed us to the YouTube testimony 1 of the late Dr. Richard D. Lumsden. It claimed that he was a prestigious department chairman at Tulane University, and author of “hundreds of scientific articles” who, when confronted by evidence from a creationist, not only rejected the theory of evolution but also became a Christian.
I personally know of three other cases of atheists who became Christians after rejecting the theory of evolution, so it sounded plausible; but just because something is plausible doesn’t make it true. We had never heard of Dr. Lumsden before. We found his story repeated on several creationist websites, and declared to be a hoax by rude evolutionist bloggers; but without substantial evidence for or against from either source. So, we tried diligently to verify his story ourselves.
We went to the Tulane University website, hoping to find a faculty directory which might mention illustrious past professors. Years ago it was easy to find information about students and teachers on university websites; but in this day of identity theft and privacy laws, you have to have an account on the school server to get that information (if at all). We could not confirm the identity of any past Tulane professors on the Tulane website, let alone Dr. Lumsden.
Wikipedia has an entry for Richard Lumsden the actor/musician; but not Richard Lumsden the scientist. Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable source because anybody can post anything there; but it often has external links to more reliable sources. The fact that Wikipedia didn’t have an entry for him was suspicious—but then, it doesn’t have an entry for me, either. (That’s probably a good thing because it would just give our enemies an opportunity to post lies about me. And yes, I am ashamed to admit that I actually looked for myself on Wikipedia.)
The claim that Dr. Lumsden had written “hundreds of scientific articles” 2 seemed easiest to check. We went to the Science and Nature websites to find them. We found ten papers in Nature, and one in Science, all co-authored by W. H. R. Lumsden, East African Trypanosomiasis Research Organization, Tororo, Uganda. That’s far from Tulane University, and he did not have the right initials. Granted, there are other, more specialized scientific journals; but I thought that if he had written hundreds of articles in any of them, at least one would be cited in Science or one of the 130 specialized journals searchable on the Nature website. Apparently, I was wrong.
Because I could not find any evidence to support the claim that Dr. Lumsden was an eminent biologist, we declared the story to be a hoax.
After the story appeared in the June newsletter, we received an email from David (who was one of the first dues-paying members of Science Against Evolution in 1996) which said, in part,
I’ve met Dr. Lumsden and heard him lecture several times at the Institute for Creation Research when it was located in Santee, CA. During the mid-90s, when I attended, ICR was hosting in a 3-day Summer Institute every summer. Dr. Lumsden was part of these Summer Institutes. As part of his lectures he used to give at least a part of his testimony. Dr. Lumsden was also the head of the biology department at the ICR grad school. He died in 1997, if my memory is good.
I also have a friend who was a grad student under Dr. Lumsden and because of that became a good friend of his. If you would like, I can get my friend in contact with you to provide more info on Dr. Lumsden. (Admittedly, much of my knowledge is second hand through my friend.) Let me know if you are interested in communicating with my friend.
We were interested. David’s friend, Mark Armitage, M.S., Ed.S., did contact us and said,
I can certainly testify that that is the correct Dr. Lumsden. Everything I know about electron microscopy I learned from him.
I'm too busy to hunt all this down for you guys; but you are looking in the wrong places. Parasitologists rarely publish in *non specific* journals such as Science and Nature.
Here is a link from the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP) page showing that Dick Lumsden (Richard D Lumsden) received the highest award from ASP [the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal] in 1975: http://amsocparasit.org/node/63
You might have to go to a library to see his many papers (not sure about 100's) but you would have to search Journal of Parasitology, Parasitology Research, etc., but searching specifically as Richard D Lumsden.
Following Mark’s lead, we did find
Richard Dick Lumsden
David also provided us with a link showing that Dr. Lumsden won the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal in 1975. 4
So, we humbly apologize to the late doctor, and say that the Facts and Faith article 5 about Dr. Lumsden is, in fact, true, and not a hoax.
I am truly sorry that I made the error—but I am not sorry that my error was caught. We are glad for this opportunity to set the record straight, which we would not have had if David had not brought it to our attention.
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2 Creation Evolution, “Richard Lumsden (1938-1997)”, http://crev.info/?scientists=richard-lumsden
5 Facts and Faith, July 2, 2012, “Richard Lumsden, Ph.D – Evolutionist and University Biology Professor Turned Christian”, http://factsandfaith.com/richard-lumsden-ph-d-m-d-evolutionist-and-university-biology-professor-turned-christian/