Marketing letter from FTE (Buell, 1987)

Marketing letter from FTE to prospective publishers (Buell, 1987)

Mr. Arthur C. Bartlett
Vice President & Publisher
Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Inc.
20 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

Dear Mr. Bartlett,

I'm writing to alert you to a potentially lucrative educational publication opportunity, an opportunity to expand into a subject area where a verifiable market of millions is today totally untouched. A new independent scientific poll (report enclosed) shows almost half of the nation's biology teachers include some creation in their view of biological origins. Many more who don't still believe it should be included in science curriculum.

But wouldn't reference to such views threaten the 1st Amendment separation requirement?

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals says that teachers are free to teach scientific information that happens to support creation if they wish. In ruling on the so-called Louisiana "Balanced Treatment Act" this Spring the U.S. Supreme Court may not affirm state-mandated teaching of creation, but they will almost certainly let stand the above academic freedom for teachers.

But that seems not so much like a market as a curiosity.

Numerous reliable polls (sampling enclosed) in the '80s show better than 3/4 of the public wants creation taught in the schools.

But surely teachers prefer their own personal comments to some curriculum approach.

No. The biology teachers poll shows almost all teachers believe strengths and weaknesses of a plausible alternative to the dominant theory should be given and nearly 3 in every 4 want publishers' help in providing it!

But what is the potential for profit in such a departure?

The enclosed projections showing revenues of Over 6.5 million in five years are based upon modest expectations for the market provided the U.S Supreme Court does not uphold the Louisiana "Balanced Treatment Act". If, by chance it should uphold it, then you can throw out these projections, the nationwide market would be explosive!

How could you even begin to develop an enlightened treatment in a difficult area like this?

The beginning has begun! A no-hype, no-nonsense supplement has already been written. Highly informed and credentialed, non-controversial scientists have collaborated together to provide an outstanding, heavily-reviewed manuscript for just this very task.

How would you break the ice to market such an innovative book?

The book is already in use as an experimental program in one school district, and other districts are expressing interest, too. The book qualifies for the new Texas Science Supplements list (where 2/3 of the biology teachers include some creation in their views) without undergoing the textbook review process so famous for basal text adoptions.

Our manuscript is entitled Biology and Origins. From the project's inception, our authors recognized such a book could not sidestep the valid criticisms of creation, but must take them seriously, treating the subject with a sensitive and critical approach. At the same time, the book will not be subject to the major criticism of creation, that the supernatural lies outside of science, because its central statement is that scientific evidence points to an intelligent cause, but that science is silent as to whether that intelligence is within or beyond the material universe. So the book is not appealing to the supernatural.

Biology and Origins does not duplicate either general science or biology textbooks. It has been authored by highly gifted and credentialed, previously published authors of major works of biology (Dean Kenyan, co-author of Biochemical Predestination, New York: McGraw Hill, 1969 and P. William Davis, co-author of World of Biology, Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders & Co., 1985). The manuscript has also been evaluated by dozens of reputable scientists of both evolution and creation persuasions. In addition, the authors' perspective is substantially informed by the philosophy of science to handle tricky questions clearly and in a manner consistent with sound scientific methodology.

In case you would like to see an example of our work, we are enclosing some material and reviews about our first book, The Mystery of Life's Origin (New York: Philosophical Library Publishers, 1984), which is an advanced college level critique of chemical evolution. It is now the best selling advanced level book on chemical evolution. The major author among the three authors of the book is Charles Thaxton, our Director of Curriculum Research, and the manuscript was prepared for publication by the Foundation For Thought and Ethics. A copy is enclosed. You will notice that among its favorable reviews are those published by the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine and the Journal of College Science Teaching, published by the National Science Teachers Association.

We are in touch with a growing number of science educators, school officials, and university faculty. We have a growing Council of Educational Advisors composed of prestigious intellectual leaders (list enclosed) and a much larger peer review group of readers and scholars with whom we have keen interacting.

Undertaking a high school level project would not require new marketing people for Jones & Bartlett. Since in the majority of state adoption states supplements don't require state textbook committee approval, we believe the book will sell very well throughout the U.S. through mailings and distributions of complimentary copies via readily available lists. We could also share other marketing ideas for the book appropriate to its innovative and groundbreaking subject matter. Also, it is possible cur organization could be involved in promoting it, preparing residuals, or taking other roles. I will call you after you have had several days to look over our materials to see if you would be interested in receiving the manuscript.

Yours truly,

Jon Buell, President,
Foundation for Thought
and Ethics