Introduction: Kevin Lea's Austin/Brown Mediation Executive Summary


Original posting version - July 6, 2009

Revised June 13, 2010 - To fix broken link for Professor Heaton article on page 5.

Revised July 6, 2009 to clarify use of Professor Heaton quote.

Revised Sept 2018 -    To incorporate updated references, minor edits for clarity, and to support posting at Bob Enyart’s web site. These updated changes are highlighted in order to aid the reader who has already read the previous postings(s) and only wants to read the changes throughout.

Introduction – Updated 2018

Those coming to this link having already read from “Is AiG/ICR Helping or Hindering” may notice that some of this intro is repetitive, but some is not and is important.

If you Google “creation evolution flood,” the Number 1 hit out of 218,000 is Dr. Walt Brown’s web site and online book, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood (2018 -  9th edition).

As part of Brown’s detailed explanation of his Hydroplate Theory for Noah’s flood, his In the Beginning (ITB) provides a comprehensive presentation on the origin of the Grand Canyon, including a detailed explanation of the initial conditions (and reason for them), the chronology of events, and mechanisms and forces that created this incredible world wonder.  (When searching the Internet for “origin Grand Canyon,” Google consistently ranks Brown’s Grand Canyon chapter of ITB first out of approximately 2.1 million hits.)

Brown’s explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon is the subject of this letter.  Specifically, my motive for this writing is to expose the negative impact that Steve Austin’s plagiarism of Brown’s work has had to this day (including a display in AiG’s Creation Museum); it is not about who gets credit for any discoveries.

As a creation apologist, as well as a pastor, I am appalled when creation ministries present poor science and incomplete explanations to the public.  I have seen from my own experience that apologetic creation/flood “stories”, which cannot withstand the rigor of scientific examination, can be worse than no answer at all.  These false narratives set up Christian students for ridicule in their classrooms.  In contrast, a clear, biblically consistent, and scientifically accurate explanation equips our students with a powerful defense and reinforces their faith in Christ as our Creator and in the literal Word of God.

In early 2008, I became aware that the Answers in Genesis (AiG) museum was featuring Steve Austin’s narrative of how the Grand Canyon formed.  Austin now uses the name “Canyonlands Lake” instead of “Grand Lake,” the name Brown had given this now-extinct lake in 1988 when he discovered how it breached its dam to set in motion events that carved the Grand Canyon.  Further, unlike Brown’s explanation, Austin’s narrative is scientifically indefensible for reasons explained below.  

Since I was well-informed of the history in this area, I sent the original version of the following letter (and its Attachments), dated 14 March 2008, to AiG and ICR and those named in the text of this document.  Neither AiG or ICR or any other individual addressee responded. 

In April 2008, I distributed a clarified version of the same letter to nearly 200 creation organizations so that they could be aware of the bad science AiG and ICR were promulgating as well as the history behind it.  This second letter generated several streams of correspondence between various parties.  I revised the letter in July 2009 to incorporate the additional insights gained from those who responded and to correct a minor error that I made in the first two letters.

AiG, ICR, Austin, Dr. Whitmore, and Dr. Holroyd were provided copies of my narrative and conclusions before I posted it in 2009, with my offer to correct any errors.  Again, no response.  So I did post this documentation on our church’s web site, but deliberately made it difficult to find by the casual searcher.  I provided the direct link to individuals as requested.

Given continued deceptions by Austin, AiG, and ICR since then, I have decided to make the documentation more accessible.  This Sept 2018 update supports the posting of this narrative on Real Science Radio’s web site pursuant to Bob Enyart’s June 2018 radio interviews with HPT expert Bryan Nickel on the Grand Canyon.

Overview – Updated 2018

The record clearly shows that between 1989 and 1992, Steve Austin, a geologist then working for ICR, plagiarized key discoveries of Dr. Walt Brown pertaining to the Grand Lake, breached-dam explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon.  Some people noted the similarities.  Austin responded by accusing Brown of plagiarizing his work!

As confusion mounted (and threatened the ministry efforts of a friend of Brown’s), Brown followed our Lord’s instruction in Matthew 18 by approaching Austin and ICR privately.  He requested that they cease their deception and correct the record with a limited number of people. 

Austin and ICR rebuffed Brown’s attempt to settle the matter privately.  Following the instructions of Matthew Chapter 18 and 1 Corinthians 6, Brown proposed binding arbitration using Christian arbitrators as an alternative to making the entire story publicly available.

After initially agreeing (in writing) to binding arbitration with Christian men, Austin and ICR President Henry Morris II, backed out at the last minute.  Upon the counsel of their attorneys, they stated they would participate only in (non-binding) mediation.  Reluctantly, Brown agreed to mediation.

After hearing all the testimony, the mediators instructed Austin to insert an errata sheet into the remaining stock of his Grand Canyon guide book, which would correct the record.  Austin and Morris refused to insert the errata sheet in the existing edition, or to correct the next printing.  

They then started spreading false gossip, stating that Brown had threatened to (or did) sue them, thus casting aspersion upon Brown’s character as a Christian.  According to Dr. John Whitcomb, in a conversation with Dr. Brown, it was Henry Morris II who started this slander.  Several high level creation ministry leaders have repeated this slander to others over the years.  They include Dr. John Whitcomb (co-author with Henry Morris), Dr. John Baumgardner (formerly of ICR), Dr. Don DeYoung (President of the Creation Research Society), and Mark Looy (Chief Communications Officer for Answers in Genesis).  As an example of this slander, Mark Looy of AiG wrote the following in an email to a nuclear engineer, who was asking why AiG did not carry Walt’s book:

And since I wrote my last email to you, I discovered that Walt had not only threatened to sue an ICR scientist, but ICR's president as well; when you wrote that "I am not in the position to judge whether his reactions were appropriate," I would respectfully disagree: you are in a position to judge actions vs. Scripture. It appears that you condone such behavior (unless you don't believe the threats were actually made). You don't have to associate yourself with us if you wish, but why defend such a person who would even consider violating I Cor. 6 and Galatians 5?

So Mark Looy of Answers in Genesis rebukes a nuclear engineer for defending Walt Brown, who Looy falsely accuses of threatening to sue ICR/Henry Morris, something that would be unbiblical.  Applying this same logic to Mark Looy, no one should support AiG for bearing false witness against their neighbor (the 9th Commandment).  It should be noted that I sent AiG all the documentation (in the letter which follows below) of what really happened months before Mark Looy makes this and other slanderous statements in his emails.  So he/AiG knew, or should have known that what Looy was saying was false.

Proverbs 25:18 A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow. NKJV

Brown’s discoveries and unique explanation for the origin of the Grand Canyon make clear at least 24 enigmas that have plagued Canyon researchers for centuries. No other explanation does.  For decades, Austin and others in the AiG, and ICR organizations have attempted to hinder the public – creationist and secular - from hearing Brown’s explanation, while promoting their own incomplete and unscientific stories.  Fortunately, the Internet and independent creation science ministries have made this information available for those who wish to examine the evidence for themselves.

Some will say that the unprofessional and unethical lapses of Dr. Austin, AiG, ICR, and others, that are documented in this posting, should not be made public.  To those people, I can only say that they are part of the problem which has hindered creation science for entirely too long.  These men and organizations need to make truth a virtue they strive to achieve, even if it hurts.


Pastor Kevin Lea

Calvary Church of Port Orchard


Pastor Kevin Lea’s Letter To AiG Providing Documentation Of Austin’s Plagiarism And Request That They Remove The Bad Science From Their Museum

Original version – March 14, 2008

Mr. Mike Matthews,

Editor, Answers Magazine

Answers in Genesis

PO Box 510

Hebron, KY 41048

Subj:     Plagiarized Material in AiG Museum

Dear Mike,

Thank you again for taking the time to talk with me on February 19, 2008, about my concerns that AiG is using plagiarized material in its museum.

In our conversation, you told me that you were unaware of prior accusations that Steve Austin had plagiarized information pertaining to Grand Lake that Dr. Walt Brown had discovered, presented, and published from his year‑long study and field work (in 1987-1988) on the origin of the Grand Canyon.  You asked me to summarize my concerns and send them to you for you to forward to AiG’s legal department for review.  This letter, the associated links, and the attachment are intended to fulfill your request.

During the last few weeks, I (and others) have carefully read most of the letters exchanged during 1993 and 1994 between Walt Brown and ICR’s Henry Morris II and Steve Austin.  Based on this record, we are convinced that Dr. Brown does indeed have priority on the Grand Lake explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon.  We are not alone.

The first to realize what Austin was doing were some who attended Austin’s presentations. For more than three years, a few people familiar with Brown’s work had told Brown that Austin was using Brown’s material without proper attribution and was accusing him (Brown) of plagiarizing Austin!  Only when this falsehood threatened to have a large financial impact on a major video production of another creationist (Dr. Robert V. Gentry), did Brown feel he had to act.

On June 21, 1994, a Christian mediation panel of three attorneys and one retired federal judge reviewed the facts of the debate between Dr. Brown and Dr. Austin on this issue.  The lead mediator, Peter Robinson, Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Law at Pepperdine University, wrote in a September 21, 1994 letter to Austin that Austin was to stop using the name “Canyonlands Lake” when referring to the Grand Lake explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon.  Instead, Austin was directed to use “Grand Lake,” the name given by Brown, as “a symbol of his commitment to reconcile with Dr. Brown and also as one way to acknowledge Dr. Brown’s contributions regarding this body of water.”  Click here and go to Robinson’s determination that Austin should call it Grand Lake since Brown discovered it.

Also, in 2001, Julia Mulfinger Orozco reviewed much of the same material when conducting research for her book, which included one‑chapter biographies of both Henry Morris and Walt Brown.  In this book, Christian Men of Science: Eleven Men Who Changed the World, she wrote:

“For over a hundred years, geologists have known that if a large lake begins to erode a point on its rim, canyons can be carved in days.  Another geologist [Austin] had similar ideas.  He published Dr. Brown’s data on the elevation, name, location and breach point of Grand Lake without proper crediting and then backdated his publication to a year before Dr. Brown’s publication.  This geologist also claimed that an even earlier, obscure publication of his contained this explanation for the Grand Canyon.  It does not contain this explanation.  The claims of this geologist have caused confusion as to who first published the data and who set forth this explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon.  Careful examination of the evidence indicates that Dr. Brown was the first.”  [Christian Men of Science: Eleven Men Who Changed the World, pg. 305, footnote 11.]

I have viewed your DVD titled Flood Geology and noticed that AiG is using the name Canyonlands Lake and giving credit to Austin as the Grand Canyon expert, thereby implying he was the discoverer and source of the explanation. 

The DVD, and I assume your displays, are entirely silent on Dr. Brown’s discovery of this lake (properly named Grand Lake) and, most importantly, the confirming details and mechanisms showing how and when it breached its rim to form the Grand Canyon in weeks.  I am assuming that the errors in your DVD result from Steve Austin’s failure to inform you of Dr. Brown’s priority and discovery of Grand Lake and how it formed the Grand Canyon.


Austin must have also failed to tell you that after Brown brought his concerns of Austin plagiarizing his work to Austin’s attention (ultimately leading to Christian mediation), that he (Austin) tried to claim priority by referring to a small guidebook of his in which the copyright date had been falsified (pre-dated by one year).   The publication was a field study tour guidebook to the Grand Canyon, which Austin published annually.  Brown caught this deception by noticing that the dates of other materials referenced in the “1988” copyright publication were published in 1989.  When Brown confronted Austin with this fact, Austin then said he accidentally put a title page with a 1988 copyright from the previous year’s publication into the 1989 publication (after originally claiming the 1988 copyright gave Austin priority).  See April 8, 1989, Grand Canyon Field Study Tour Guidebook with the Title Page containing a false 1988 copyrightThen read: (1) Austin's letter to Brown saying that the 1988 copyright proved his priority , then (2) Pages 6-8 of Brown's July 6, 1993 "Setting the Record Straight" letter to Austin pointing out the false copyright. This is a very important read for those who want to get a grasp of the amount of deception Austin was willing to use to cover up his plagiarism and bad science.


Also for the first time in the 1989 edition of Austin’s guidebook (link above) was a map/figure of a lake (see page 54). It was drawn by Dr. Edmond W. Holroyd and given to Austin for his use in 1986, two years before Brown’s fieldwork, discoveries, and lectures on the Grand Canyon in 1988.  Holroyd’s map/figure showed a single unnamed lake that encompasses both Grand and Hopi Lakes.

Holroyd was not studying the origin of the Grand Canyon, but was trying to explain the absence of rock debris at the base of cliffs.  This led him to postulate one huge lake at the 5,577 foot level, situated east of the Kaibab Plateau (which is at an elevation greater than 8,000 feet.)  For Holroyd’s or any lake to breach and carve the Grand Canyon, there has to be an explanation for how the water flowed 2,000 feet vertically up to traverse the Kaibab Plateau or how it penetrated a thirty-mile wide dam of limestone that is less porous than concrete.  (Today, concrete dams only a couple hundred yards wide hold back deeper lakes.)

Although Holroyd provided the sketch to Austin in 1986, Austin did not use it in his guidebook until the 1989 edition.  Instead, in 1988 (the year Brown is lecturing and giving radio interviews about his discoveries of how Grand Lake breached at Marble Canyon and then carved the Grand Canyon), Austin’s writings only muse about what if a torrent of water carved the canyon (see excerpt from the actual 1988 Guidebook).  However, he also mentions in the same guidebook several of the problems that had to be overcome by any breaching explanation, but provides no solutions, answers, or evidence that can overcome these problems.  To this day, only Dr. Brown’s discoveries and theory solve them.

However, in 1989, a year after Dr. Brown had begun lecturing and speaking on the radio about his detailed discoveries, Austin now inserts the previously-ignored figure by Holroyd, but without revising his musings about the problems associated with a breaching explanation.  He also adds into the caption under the figure that the lake's elevation was 5,700 feet (exactly the same as Brown’s elevation used in lectures on how the Grand Canyon formed), not Holroyd's elevation of 5,577 feet (1,700 meters).  Also inserted by Austin into the caption is the statement, “ancient lake which breached its dam to form Grand Canyon.”  How did Austin’s uncertainty in the preceding pages of the same guidebook, which does not even mention the lake, suddenly disappear?  The evidence seems to suggest that the figure was inserted at the last minute before publication and there was no time to revise other related narratives.  Then Austin “accidentally” inserts the 1988 copyright page into the 1989 Guidebook.  Even though Austin’s caption now states with certainty that this ancient lake breached its dam to form the Grand Canyon, he says nothing in the guidebook about the lake and, therefore, did not provide a scientifically acceptable explanation of how the lake penetrated or flowed up and over the high and wide Kaibab Plateau – nor has he to this day.

When Austin purchased the 1989 edition of Brown’s book, In the Beginning, a few weeks after it was published (finally admitted in writing by Austin), he was then able to learn a few of Brown’s critical details (Dr. Brown’s Grand Canyon information from the 5th Edition).  Later, when Austin published the 1990 Guidebook with the Grand Lake Map, he had completely revised the discussion in this section.  Not only did Austin show Holroyd’s map (page 68 – still mistakenly showing just one lake), he now also included Brown’s map without attribution (page 76) with Grand and Hopi Lake labeled (also without attribution to Brown pertaining to Grand Lake).  It should be noted that for more than three years, Austin continued to use Brown’s chosen name (Grand Lake) and its elevation of 5,700 feet (instead of Holroyd’s 5,577 feet) until challenged by Brown.

Only then did Austin change the name of the lake to Canyonlands Lake and then try to make a case for a new elevation (5,800 feet) Austin’s published Note 62Please note in this link that Austin states his lake at 5,800 feet is more accurate than Brown’s at 5,700 feet, and that Austin’s name for the lake (Canyonlands Lake at 5,800 feet) is therefore preferred over Brown’s (Grand Lake at 5,700 feet).  For details of how deceptive Austin is being when he makes this claim, please go to the detailed discussion in Attachment 1 (under “Austin’s published Note 62”).


Austin's deceptions in Note 62 are exposed by Austin himself when he published an article in the July, 2008 issue of ICR's Acts and Facts titled, "Red Rock Pass: Spillway of the Bonneville Flood." In reference 8 of that article, Austin states:

"Early in 1987, I used topographic data [obtained from Dr. Holroyd] to show that if Grand Canyon were blocked today by a giant man-made damn with 5,700 feet elevation [Brown's number, not Holroyd's, who used 5,577 in the map he gave Austin], the lake formed would rise behind the dam to a maximum of 5,620 feet elevation and would extend into four states. The overflow location out of that lake at 5,620 feet would be 20 miles east of Kanab, Utah, at Telegraph Flat."

So now (2008) Austin is back to 5,700 feet (Brown’s number), when in 1994 he said in his book’s Note 62 that the reason his lake was better than Brown’s and deserved a new name (Canyonlands Lake instead of Grand Lake) was because it was at the 5,800 foot level.  People who don’t tell the truth have a hard time being consistent with their stories until ultimately it becomes impossible.  Those who do tell the truth don’t have to keep track of what they said in the past.

While Austin’s original use (for years) of Brown’s 5,700-foot level for the elevation of Grand Lake, instead of Holroyd’s 5,577 feet level, may seem trivial, it shows the origin of what Austin was using; that is, Brown’s workwithout attribution.  Mapmakers routinely insert a unique detail, such as an intentional error, on their maps to catch anyone who plagiarizes or infringes on the mapmaker’s copyright.

Attachment 2 documents and exposes Austin’s other attempts to cover his plagiarism.

If you have not already done so, I strongly urge you to read Dr. Brown’s explanation (including the evidence, mechanisms, forces, and energy involved in creating this wonder of the world) from his 8th edition book or at his website  After doing so, you will see how limited and unsatisfying Austin’s explanation is, as Dr. Timothy Heaton, professor of Earth Sciences at the University of South Dakota, documents in his critique of Austin’s book when he wrote:

For the most part Austin's research is rigorous and deserves praise, but in the end his logic fails on a count that is typical in creationist literature: he never presents a comprehensive theory of how the Flood took place, where the water came from, or how or from where it moved sediment to form the rocks of the Grand Canyon. In fact, most of these vital issues are never even mentioned! A single diagram is given showing inundation and supposed zones of sedimentation (suspiciously similar to a classic marine transgression but presumably occurring much faster), but this raises far more questions than it answers. Without a comprehensive theory of the Flood there is no way to make a scientific comparison of any kind, so pointing out esoteric problems in the classic theory is trivial and very [bold mine - italics in original] misleading.” (online at, fifth hit on Google search on {Origin “Grand Canyon”}.  View PDF version here.)

     [Note July 2010 – This quote from Dr. Heaton applies to Dr. Austin’s lack of a viable explanation for the flood]

Those who have read Austin’s July 2008, “Red Rock Pass: Spillway of the Bonneville Flood” article, know that it provides only trivial and very misleading musings about how Grand Canyon could have been formed by a breached dam (as Dr. Heaton observed about Austin’s 1994 book).  Austin’s articles (and your museum if you don’t change your display), will be just as trivial 20 years from now because Austin could only plagiarize the name, elevation and breach point of Dr. Brown’s discovery, not the explanation that answers critical details for HOW it carved the Grand Canyon.

To summarize the main point I am trying to make, the seemingly minor details of a lake’s name, location, elevation, breach point, or who is credited with the discovery are not important in themselves.  However, these items clearly identify Austin’s plagiarisms which have resulted in a grave disservice to all creationists and those deceived by the evolution lie (but who are looking for answers from creationists).  Austin did not, has not, and cannot provide people with scientifically sound evidence or a logical explanation for HOW Grand and Hopi Lake breached the Kaibab upwarp.  Brown’s thirty-eight-page explanation is scientifically sound and does explain how, where, and in what sequence the lakes breached and formed the Grand Canyon.  AiG and ICR have for many years ignored and slanderously marginalized Brown’s contribution to the creation science field, thus trying to establish the image (false image) that AiG and ICR are the go-to guys for the best and most complete information about all creation, flood, and young earth topics.  AiG’s popularization of Austin’s incomplete Grand Canyon story at their museum contributes to this deception and has the effect of hiding Austin’s plagiarism and the dozens of items of Brown’s evidence that Austin cannot add to his book without further obvious plagiarism.  AiG and ICR are acting like a VW Bug dealer telling their customers not to bother going to the Porsche dealer because Porsche cars are laughable in their design and performance.  Some of us have driven the Porsche and we know the VW salesmen are lying.  Soon everyone will know, the deception will be over, and the God of the Bible will be pleased that it is, since He hates lying (Proverbs 6).

With Brown’s discovery that Grand Lake was separate from Hopi Lake (and not connected as Holroyd had thought) key questions could finally be answered.  Furthermore, with Brown’s information about where to look, the breach point is clearly seen on the ground and from the air—a key piece of spectacular evidence. But still, with Austin not understanding the engineering mechanisms and forces at work on the Colorado and Kaibab Plateau, he cannot explain the major events that lifted the Rocky Mountains in hours, and elevated the Colorado Plateau by more than a mile.  He also does not explain the filling and breaching of Grand Lake, the formation of the Kaibab Plateau, the carving of the Grand Canyon, and finally what produced spectacular features (otherwise unexplained) within a few hundred miles of the Grand Canyon.  These mechanisms are only understood in the context of Brown’s Hydroplate Theory explanation of the flood of Noah, which AiG and ICR have shown no interest in understanding.

Now, 16 years after Brown first confronted Austin about his plagiarism, the confusion caused by Dr. Austin’s failure to set the record straight is increasing, and AiG’s displays, videos and DVDs are tarnished because of his actions.  It is time to clear this up once and for all in order to present the clearest, most accurate explanation to sincere seekers looking for honest answers about the flood of Noah and its consequences, including formation of the Grand Canyon.

Those who have read Dr. Brown’s works are wondering why Grand Lake is misnamed Canyonlands Lake by Austin and AiG’s museum.  How can we Christians effectively defend the biblical record and battle the evolutionist enemy if we can’t even function with truth and integrity within our own camp?

In light of the: (1) decades-long mistreatment of Dr. Brown by ICR, (2) the incredible patience Dr. Brown has shown them in return, (3) even with all the damage that ICR (and AiG) have done to his work since 1984, and now (4) with Austin’s deceptions now prominently displayed in the AiG museum, I feel something more must be done.  It is time to let the church and secular laymen and scientists who are interested in the Grand Canyon read about this debate and determine the truth for themselves.

To this end, I have prepared this third version of my letter to you with the intent that it will post at our website in the near future.  Doing so will provide people with access to a detailed historical account of this far-reaching controversy.  Our web page will include links to related communications between Austin, Brown, and Morris as well as the Mediation Panel.  I would be happy to provide the links to these postings now if you wish.  Until now, the record shows that AiG has chosen to ignore or remain ignorant of Austin’s actions.  I hope a positive change in your posture will allow me to update this posting with the fact that AiG did what was right based on the facts of this matter.  May I suggest that you take the following actions (which were first proposed in March of 2008):

  1. Place an errata sheet in all remaining copies of your current edition of the Flood Geology DVD that states that the actual name of “Canyonlands” Lake is Grand Lake, the name given to it by its discoverer, creation scientist, Dr. Walt Brown, who in 1987-88 made several key discoveries that support his theory that the Grand Canyon was carved in a few weeks, as a result of the breaching of Grand Lake a few centuries after the flood.
  2. Starting immediately, make the above announcement to all audiences who watch this video at the museum and/or correct the audio portion of the user-activated displays to ensure those visiting the museum do not leave with misinformation.
  3. Expedite corrections to the in-house audio/visual displays of this information.  I suggest you work with Dr. Walt Brown in this.
  4. Before the next production run of your DVD, remove all misinformation, visual and audio, as you did with the in-house displays.
  5. Inform the authors of all books sold by AiG that if their books contain false information about the discoverer of the Grand Lake explanation for the formation of Grand Canyon, and the naming of the lake, that you will stop selling them until an errata sheet is inserted to correct the errors.  (I suggest you refer them to our posting of the documents exposing Austin’s refusal to comply with the Mediation Panel’s resolution on this matter.)

Some may wonder why a pastor of a young-earth-creation, Jesus-is-the-only-way-to-be-saved, Bible-believing church would take the effort to post something that may be detrimental to the creation message.  The answer is simple:  (1) More damage is being done by the lack of ethics and integrity among those who claim to love Jesus than will be done by exposing these lies and, (2) This letter and our church’s internet posting may help to restore this needed ethics and integrity.  Yes, this information will quickly move beyond the creationist community, but I think Dr. Timothy Heaton (mentioned above) deserves to know the truth too, don’t you? 

Austin, and to some extent ICR and AiG, have shown little regard for accuracy and the truth.  Austin’s and Morris’ actions over a period of many years have caused this waste of precious time (mine and everyone involved).  But the time will be well spent if it results in correction.  I pray that this letter will be a catalyst that will help the creation movement clean up its act, now.

In conclusion, I realize that even after the dozens of hours carefully reading and pondering the documents pertaining to this issue, I may have missed something and erred as a result.  Therefore, I welcome you (AiG) and those I am sending a copy to – ICR, Peter Robinson (head mediator), Rob Yardley (who went with me in my face-to-face meeting with ICR in June of 2006), Steve Austin, John Whitmore, Edmond W. Holroyd, Mark Rasche, Bruce Wood (mentioned in the attachment below) — to please inform me of any errors of fact contained in this letter so that I can correct them before posting. 

Attachment 1 provides a summary of, and links to, some of the key correspondence.  This version of Attachment 1 has been extensively expanded from the original to more clearly document Austin’s deceptions.

Attachment 2 contains various additional facts consistent with my assertions of Dr. Austin’s ethical lapses.  These facts were contained in the main body of my original letter to you on March 14, 2008, but have been further clarified and documented based on the responses to my April 9 letter. 

Thank you for carefully considering this matter. 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Kevin Lea

Pastor, Calvary Church of Port Orchard


  1. Summary of Selected Correspondence, with Links
  2. Additional Facts Associated with Austin’s Ethical Lapses

Copies to: Institute for Creation Research: John Morris, Henry Morris III, Lawrence Ford; Steve Austin, and Mark Rasche, Peter Robinson, Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Law at Pepperdine University; Rob Yardley, Edmond W. Holroyd, John H. Whitmore, and Ken Ham (AiG)

2018 update – Be sure to read the very important
Attachments 1 and 2 which follow.


Attachment 1
Summary of Selected Correspondence, with Links

This is only a small portion of the entire record but encompasses the main points.

Note:  Some of these files are large and may take a while to load.

June 18, 1993 Letter from Brown to Austin

Over a period of more than three years, several people had informed Brown that Austin was using Brown’s material without proper attribution and was accusing him (Brown) of plagiarizing Austin!  Only when this falsehood threatened to have a large financial impact on a video production of another creationist (Dr. Robert V. Gentry) did Brown determine that he must act.  His first step was to write this letter to Dr. Austin in accordance with Matthew 18:

Matt 18:15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”  (NKJ)

2018 update:  Anyone reading this letter will observe Brown’s graciousness in his appeal to Austin to make things right.  This letter should have been all that was necessary to convince Austin to do what was right.  But Austin refused to act ethically, and instead continued in his deceit.

June 18, 1993 Letter from Brown to Morris

On the same day, Brown also wrote ICR’s former Director, Henry M. Morris, II (now deceased).  During Brown’s many years of studying creation and the flood, he discovered other instances where ICR publications plagiarized the work of other scientists.  Dr. Brown sent an example to Morris by forwarded pages from former ICR employee, Harold S. Slusher’s book Age of the Cosmos (1980) showing where he clearly plagiarized from Professor Stacey’s book, Physics of the Earth (1969).

In this letter, Brown hoped that Morris II would act appropriately against this example of plagiarism and stop Austin from doing the same with Dr. Brown’s work. 

June 21, 1993 Letter from Austin to Brown

Important 2018 expanded Update:   In this response to Brown, Austin claims that he came up with the same lake elevation and breached dam idea just a few months before Dr. Brown went public with his breached dam discoveries.  As proof, he offers as evidence page 54 of his 1989 edition of his Grand Canyon Field Study Tour Guidebook, which he claimed was an exact reprint of the 1988 guidebook, pointing to the 1988 copyright page at the front of the 1989 guidebook.

However, a careful comparison of the 1988 and 1989 version of Austin’s Guidebooks reveals the truth.  In fact, Austin inserted a 1988 copyright page and page 54 (with a lake and breached dam statement) into his 1989 Guidebook.  (His so-called 1988 edition included references to works published in 1989, which exposed his deceit.)  This act of fraud reveals Austin’s pre-meditated plan to conceal his plagiarism of Brown’s work.

In his 1990 guidebook, Austin compounds his sin by using Dr. Brown’s name for the lake (Grand Lake) and breach point (Marble Canyon) without attribution.  Three years later, Austin abruptly changes the name he uses for this lake from “Grand Lake” to “Canyonlands Lake.”  He then used this name change and other very deceptive tactics (as documented in this posting) to cover his theft of Dr. Brown’s discoveries.  Tragically, these actions have created confusion for those trying to research theories on the origin of the Grand Canyon.

The most egregious aspect of Austin’s shenanigans is that they keep affecting people to this day.  Many people read Dr. Brown’s work and wonder why they have not been told about it by ICR and AiG, or why they didn’t see it featured (even as an option) in the AiG museum.  Little do they know that the answer goes back to Austin’s deception, which started in 1989 and then escalated with the stance Austin took in this letter, the effects of which continue to this day.  In addition, Dr. Brown continues to be distracted by people accusing him of stealing Austin’s discoveries.   Some have stated that this accusation originated with Austin himself. 

In this June 21, 1993 letter (and a year later in the mediation meeting), Austin denies that he had accused Dr. Brown of plagiarizing Austin’s work.  But after the mediation, Austin sends a letter to the mediator accusing Brown of this very thing (Brown taking his material without attribution).  He does so by using a letter from one of his co-workers, Russell Humphreys, dated October 5, 1993 See Attachment C.  (This letter, which contains a number of erroneous statements, was conveniently sent to Brown shortly after Brown confronted Austin and ICR on this issue.)

Austin then uses this letter after mediation in order to sway the mediator's joint statement ruling (explained on page 5 below).  Clearly, the proper action would have been for Austin to bring this letter to the mediation session for open examination, instead of attempting to “swing the jury” (which had already ruled against him) after the fact.


It should be noted that neither Austin’s nor Humphrey’s letters give specific examples of what they claim Brown stole from Austin.  They cannot because there are none.  Even though Austin claims in this first response to Brown that he (Austin) was the first to come up with a breached dam (based on his supposed 1988 copyright), his own 1988 and 1989 guidebooks make reference to others before him who had surmised that the Grand Canyon was formed by a breached dam  cataclysm. Specifically, on page 56 of both Guidebooks, Austin cites the following reference work:


Rogers, J. D. and Pyles, M.R., 1980, Evidence of catastrophic erosional events in the Grand Canyon:  Proceedings of the Second Conference on Scientific Research in the Nationals Parks, v. 5, p. 392-454. (The authors present evidences for catastrophic drainage of large lakes within and to the northeast of Grand Canyon.)


Much of Austin’s guidebook material came from geology training he received from others.  But it appears that now, in his mind, he thinks that he is the source of all basic geology information attributed to the Grand Canyon.  He refused to consider the fact that Walt also studied from esteemed geologists, including Bob Dietz at Arizona State University.  Dr. Brown received nothing of additional value from Dr. Austin.  Austin contributed nothing to Brown’s unique discoveries as anyone can see when they compare Dr. Austin’s book with Dr. Browns detailed cause to effect explanation for how the Canyon formed.

As Brown acknowledges, others before him had suspected that the Grand Canyon was formed catastrophically, but no one had been able to explain the how or where, including Austin.  To this day, only Brown’s Hydroplate Theory discoveries explain the how and the where of the Grand Canyon formation (and many other enigmas of the Canyon) in a scientifically sound way as a consequence of the global flood.


June 22, 1993 Letter from Morris to Brown

Sadly, Morris chose to minimize this obvious case of ICR’s plagiarism of a secular scientist’s work and defended Austin.  He hinted that he may remove Slusher’s book, but then backtracked and deflected in later correspondence. 

More than a year later, Morris told Brown that this book was out of print, out of stock, and would not be reprinted (January 12, 1995 Letter from Morris to Brown, page 2).  Several weeks after Dr. Brown received these assurances from Henry Morris II, Dr. Brown purchased this book from ICR.

July 6, 1993 Letter from Brown to Austin/Morris – setting the record straight

2018 Update:  Brown’s letter clearly lays out the facts surrounding his contribution to the Grand Lake discovery and his contention that Austin plagiarized his work, including Austin’s 1988 copyright deceit.  Over the next year, Brown exchanged many letters with Austin and Morris.

These letters will also be posted soon at our web site and are available now upon request.  Brown asked only that Austin/ICR stop the false statements and correct the errors, which they refused to do. 

June 22, 1994 Notes of Mediation between Brown and Morris/Austin

Despite the detailed evidence that Dr. Brown presented, Morris and Austin denied any wrongdoing and tried to sidestep the issue.  Brown responded that since they could not reach agreement, they should both submit to binding arbitration with an independent, knowledgeable Christian arbitrator.  For six weeks Morris refused, finally agreeing only when Brown said that he would no longer keep the matter private unless they did agree to arbitrate.

Over the next seven weeks, Morris/Austin proposed two arbitrators.  Upon checking, Brown discovered that both proposed arbitrators had previous ties to ICR.  Dr. Brown insisted that the arbitrator be independent of both organizations.  Finally, ICR agreed to use a Christian arbitration and mediation service in the Los Angeles area.

Morris then sought legal advice and was told that he and Austin should not submit to binding arbitration.  However, Morris and Austin did not tell Brown they were withdrawing their written agreement to arbitrate until four days before the scheduled Christian arbitration at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.  At that time, Austin and Morris announced that they would only mediate. 

(Arbitration results in a binding decision, while mediation seeks harmony and understanding.) 

With airline reservations and preparations made, Brown was faced with a dilemma; should he cancel everything or proceed with mediation?  Brown knew that mediation would not force Morris and Austin to comply should the ruling go against them.  Reasoning that after a year of correspondence, something is better than nothing, Dr. Brown agreed to mediate.  (In hindsight, this decision was a major mistake.)

When mediation took place on June 21, 1994, a tape recorder was not used as Brown had requested.  This letter is Brown’s memorandum of what took place at the mediation.  Brown wrote this memorandum hours after the mediation and forwarded it to all parties asking for any corrections.  He received no response.

As you read Brown’s notes of the mediation, be sure to note how Austin was clearly caught in a lie that all in the room heard.

It is also critical to note that the mediation board concluded that Austin’s book needed to be corrected, not that Brown was in error to accuse Austin of plagiarizing his work.  It was generally understood that Austin’s book contained false statements about Austin’s discoveries, and about Brown and his discoveries.  During mediation, and despite a year of requests by Brown, Austin failed to provide one piece of evidence showing that he wrote about Grand Lake, its elevation, or breach point before reading it in Brown’s book. It appears to me, after reading the meeting minutes, that the lead mediator (Peter Robinson) walked away thinking Austin (being the good “Christian” man that he was) would see the errors of his way and quickly work with Brown to acknowledge and correct them.  Peter probably thought that his remaining role would be a simple task of playing referee about minor details of wording.  Boy, was he in for a surprise.


After the mediation, a contract was signed which Austin and Morris soon broke. Brown had no desire to pursue the matter further in civil court.

Book Count Dispute

Everyone agreed during the mediation that Austin would prepare an errata sheet and insert it in every unsold copy of his book, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe (January 1994).  Minutes before the mediation ended, Austin had a new thought.  He proposed that there be no errata sheet, because, he said, the January 1994 edition was almost out of print and a new edition would soon be printed.  Brown agreed only if Austin’s book inventory was less than 1,000 copies. 

Therefore, Austin’s first duty was to give Brown the number of his books that were still unsold.  If the count was greater than 1,000, then an errata sheet was to be inserted into Austin’s remaining books to correct the misinformation he had previously published.  This memo documents Austin’s delays, deceptions, and outright refusal to come up with that number, which “eviscerated a good agreement” as Brown would later write to Peter.  Brown’s appeals to Henry Morris and Peter Robinson were ignored. 

Austin Buries the Lead Mediator Peter Robinson

Austin was given a simple task to fix the false statements in his book.  Apparently to avoid this professional embarrassment, Austin sends a barrage of documents (that include reinventing history surrounding the Grand Canyon) trying to persuade Robinson to minimize the required corrections to his soon to be published 2nd edition and to insist that his book be allowed to continue using the name Canyonlands Lake instead of Grand Lake. 

Austin’s tactics forced Brown and Robinson to expend additional dozens of man-hours digesting, understanding, and refuting these new arguments.  Brown and Robinson now find themselves spending more time dealing with Austin after mediation than they did in the mediation itself.  Austin may have counted on Robinson’s lack of knowledge about the Grand Canyon geology and history to be an advantage in accomplishing his apparent goal of pushing the mediator into an overload reaction.  

Brown also sent a letter to Peter Robinson rebutting Austin’s arguments.

September 21, 1994 Direction from Mediator Peter Robinson to Brown/Austin

Peter Robinson (lead mediator) wrote in this September 21, 1994 letter to Austin and Brown that Austin was to stop using the name “Canyonlands Lake” when referring to the Grand Lake explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon in the next edition of his book.  This letter was after nearly three months of delay and confusion tactics by Austin about how Austin’s endnote 40 and 62 were to read, and about the naming of the lake.

Austin was also told to put the following statement in endnote 40:


In 1989, Walter T. Brown, Jr. in proposing the Hydroplate Theory, also proposed where a very large lake, at an elevation of 5,700 feet, once occupied much of southeastern Utah and parts of Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, (In the Beginning [Phoenix, Arizona, Center for Scientific Creation, fifth edition, 1989], 58-83).  Brown named it Grand Lake and suggested that its breach between what is now Vermillion Cliffs and Echo Cliffs, together with the breach of Hopi Lake, formed the Grand Canyon.


Please note how Robinson starts the last sentence with “Brown named it Grand Lake and suggested.”  In his November 14, 1994 letter Robinson changes it to “Brown named it Grand Lake and WROTE that it --”, emphasizing that Brown was the first to write about this lake.

Also in this letter, Peter Robinson proposed a joint statement that would be the “press release” groomed for public consumption.  It was determined at mediation that this statement would be agreed to and signed by both parties.  It was never signed, and instead ended up only being a preliminary, because Austin refused to give up, and instead started to barrage Robinson with more disinformation. 

Austin takes Robinson Back to the Ring

This link opens correspondence used by Austin to argue that Robinson did not have the authority to dictate the name of an extinct lake (Grand Lake) since the name had already been used elsewhere.  Austin used the name Grand Lake for three years (admittedly having stolen it from Brown), but now by-golly the feds will be pounding on Robinson’s door if he makes Austin go back to using it. 

Austin also wants the “Joint Statement” to be changed to reflect that he thinks Brown plagiarized his work.  It was this false charge against Brown that first caused Brown to confront Austin, and Austin denied that he had ever accused Brown of plagiarizing his work.  Now, outside of mediation, Austin brings this false charge against Brown to Robinson and wants the Joint Statement to look as if Brown and Austin are equally claiming fault with the other. 

Brown is fed up with Austin’s actions and does not invest the time and energy to fully rebut these lies by Austin.

Final letter from Robinson – November 14, 1994 — Robinson Caves into Austin

Tragically, after more countless hours of dealing with Austin’s last appeal, Robinson caves in and retracts his determination that Austin must change the name back to Grand Lake and instead makes it a suggestion.

He also rewords the Joint statement to include that the mediation covered Austin’s charge that Brown used Austin’s written work without attribution.  This was a blatantly false statement and was never signed by Brown and was therefore not a “Joint Statement.”

The following was an email I sent to Austin, and best explains how I see this desperate and partially successful final attempt by Austin:

----- Original Message -----

From: Kevin Lea

To: Ross Olson ; Steve Austin

Cc: Peter Robinson ; Mike Matthews ; ; Walt Brown ;

Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 1:39 PM

Subject: Pastor Kevin's response to Steve Austin about Ross Olson string




I am not surprised that you still don't get it.  I will be surprised if AiG doesn't get it.


The book, Canyonlands Lake: A Monument to Plagiarism, will be written.  The truth will be told and widely disseminated.  Your ability to deceive with impunity has ended.  It should be obvious to you that there cannot be two names for the same lake.  Had you taken Peter Robinson's advice about going back to the name Grand Lake, there would have been a godly conclusion to the dispute.  Instead you chose to keep the name Canyonlands Lake, after using Grand Lake for three years without attribution to Brown. 


After being confronted by Brown, you changed the name to Canyonlands Lake and then published your book, Grand Canyon:  Monument to Catastrophe with this false name and many false statements in order to hide your plagiarism.  This first edition of your book was before mediation.


At mediation, it was determined that there were false statements in your book that needed to be corrected.  Peter wrote that the name Grand Lake was to be used in future printings.  You knew that if this determination about the lake's name stuck, and the next edition of your book came out with corrections of false statements, and a return to the name Grand Lake, then all readers would see that you did plagiarize Dr. Brown's work in your Guidebooks and first printing of your book.  You knew this would be the case even if Dr. Brown never told people you plagiarized his work.


You were at a fork in the road, Dr. Austin, and you took the wrong path, a path of deceit that is going public (because of your intransigence).  Honesty, integrity, professionalism, etc. demand that you return to the fork (repent) and do what is right (let the man who discovered Grand Lake be allowed to keep the name, as well as attributing to him his discovery of the breach point, the breach theory, etc, and correcting the other false and misleading statements in your Endnote 40 that were written by you to try and cover your plagiarism). 


Dr. Austin, I know you are aware that if the name Grand Lake is used to describe a now extinct lake, the feds are not going to be locking up Dr. Brown, or shutting down the AiG museum because there is a pond with the same name in Colorado. So why did your last desperate attempt to deceive Peter Robinson include this garbage argument about fed requirements for naming things?  Peter's original determination that you change back to Grand Lake was because Brown discovered and named it.  If your true motive was to please the feds about the name of a lake, but you also wanted to be godly in complying with the spirit of the mediation agreement, then you would have given attribution to Brown for Canyonlands Lake.  But having a godly attitude was not your motive.  You were desperate to hide your plagiarism.  Your endnote 62 is a deceptive lie, as all who have carefully read the history clearly see.  


There is nothing to hide anymore Dr. Austin, everyone who reads the history (with documentation) will know the truth.  The further you try and go down the wrong road, the more you are going to be sinking to the axles.


I implore you to give it up and do what is right.  No matter how painful it is, the alternative is worse according to the Word of God.



It should be noted that I never received a response to this letter.

Austin’s published Note 62

In Robinson’s September 21, 1994 Direction to Austin and Brown, Robinson wrote:

Accordingly, I believe that Dr. Austin would have continued using the title Grand Lake had the controversy never arisen.  He should now continue using the title Grand Lake as a symbol of his commitment to reconcile with Dr. Brown and also as one way to acknowledge Dr. Brown’s contributions regarding this body of water.  The scope of this determination extends to footnote 62 and the main text of his Grand Canyon guide book [he meant Austin’s book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe].

Because Robinson changed his September 21 determination that Austin return to using Grand Lake into a recommendation that Austin do so in his November 14, 1994 letter, Austin ignored Robinson’s recommendation and proceeded to publish his false statements about the history of HIS Canyonlands Lake discovery in Note 62 of the second edition of his book.  I beg the reader to carefully compare Austin’s published, November 1994, Note 62, with his July 2008 article published in ICR’s Acts and Fact titled, “Red Rock Pass: Spillway of the Bonneville Flood.”

First, let’s consider Austin’s Published Note 62:

Austin’s  Published Note 62 from his November, 1994 Book

“The name ‘Canyonlands Lake’ is introduced here for a lake which occupied the major portion of the extraordinary canyon country of southeastern Utah.  The outline of the lake was first suggested by computer plotting by Edmond W. Holroyd, III (“Missing Talus,” Creation Research Society Quarterly 24 [1987]: 15, 16). Field evidences suggest Canyonlands Lake had an elevation above 5,800 feet in many areas.  A lake with significantly different shoreline and lower elevation was suggested by Walter T. Brown, Jr. (In the Beginning [Phoenix, AZ. Center for Scientific Creation, fifth edition, 1989], p.83).  Brown used the name “Grand Lake” for his proposed lake in southeastern Utah.  Grand Lake of Brown (1989) covered the La Sal Mountains, Abajo Mountains, and Aquarius Plateau, whereas Canyonlands Lake did not occupy these areas.  Holroyd’s plotting is superior to Brown’s, and the name “Canyonlands Lake” is preferred.”

There is a significant false statement in Austin’s 1994 note that must be addressed before moving on to what Austin wrote in 2008.  The outline of Grand Lake (Austin’s Canyonlands Lake) was not first suggested by Dr. Holroyd (Click here to see my correspondence with Dr. Holroyd).  Dr. Holroyd’s outline, which was based on computer plotting from detailed topographical elevation data that he had access to as a result of his job with the government, was a single and larger lake combining Hopi Lake with Grand Lake.  The truth is that Dr. Brown was the first to discover, lecture on, and write about a lake (Grand Lake) that was separate from and at a different elevation than the previously (decades earlier) discovered, extinct, Hopi Lake.

In his published 1994 Note 62, Austin also makes misleading statements that are nearly impossible to discern without having a deep understanding of the facts.  For example, it is true that Brown’s first publication of the location of Grand Lake did not include a topographically accurate shoreline. Brown had discovered the elevation where Grand Lake breached at Echo/Vermillion cliffs, but Brown only utilized his rough elevation data for the hundreds-of-thousands of square miles that defined the Lake’s shoreline by being either above or below Brown’s 5,700 foot level.  Therefore, Brown’s first published edition of the Grand Lake shoreline did not show the islands (La Sal Mountains, Abajo Mountains, and Aquarius Plateau) inside of the lake which were higher than the shoreline, nor was it important to do so. 

I know this is confusing, but carefully think about the absurdity of Austin’s argument.  Austin’s Canyonlands Lake at 5,800 feet is better than Brown’s 5,700 foot lake because it doesn’t cover the islands inside of the lake (how does a lake with a higher level not cover more land?), and Holroyd’s plotting at 5,577 feet (lower than Brown’s but in error because it joins Hopi and Grand Lake) is more accurate.  I doubt that anyone who has ever read Austin’s book has picked up on this deception, but Austin must have certainly known that he was being deceptive.  Austin is using mumbo-jumbo to try and make the reader think there truly is a substantive difference between Brown’s and Austin’ lakes, when in fact there is not, and Austin must have known it.

The significance of Brown’s discovery was not the exacting shoreline of Grand Lake, but the fact that Grand Lake was separate from Hopi Lake, and the location of where it breached.  With this knowledge, and an understanding of the physics that would come into play as a consequence, Dr. Brown was able to unravel twenty-four mysteries of how the Grand Canyon was formed, mysteries that for centuries have plagued those who have studied it.

As a final note, it is true that Holroyd’s plotting was superior in topographical accuracy, but it is based on the topography of today, which would show Hopi and Grand Lake joined.  But Brown’s discovery was that Grand Lake breached at Echo/Vermillion cliffs causing the released billions-of-gallons-per-minute water from Grand Lake to undermine the sediments holding the higher Hopi Lake, until Hopi also breached, removing hundreds of vertical feet of lake wall, thus unleashing additional billions-of-gallons-per-minute of Hopi water, which combined with Grand Lake water, carved the Grand Canyon.  With the sedimentary layers of Hopi Lake now removed, any damming of the existing Colorado River would create one massive lake that joined the now extinct Hopi and Grand Lake.  It is this fact that separates the work of Austin and Holroyd from the discoveries made by Brown. 

Now that we have covered Austin’s published false statements from his 1994 book, let’s compare them to a germane portion of what Austin published in his July 2008 article, which was published in ICR’s Acts and Facts titled,  “Red Rock Pass: Spillway of the Bonneville Flood.”

Austin writes (2008):

In 1986, I began the process of mapping the possible shore of the giant lakes east and north of Grand Canyon.8 In addition to Hopi Lake east of Grand Canyon, we recognized evidence for at least two large lakes in Utah. The largest of these lakes (what I call Canyonlands Lake9) was in northern Arizona, southeastern Utah, northeastern New Mexico, and western Colorado.

Where his associated endnotes 8 and 9 read:

8. Early in 1987, I used topographic data to show that if Grand Canyon were blocked today by a giant man-made dam with 5,700 feet elevation, the lake formed would rise behind the dam to a maximum of 5,620 feet elevation and would extend into four states. The overflow location out of that lake at 5,620 feet would be 20 miles east of Kanab, Utah, at Telegraph Flat.

9. Austin, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. See pages 103, 104, and endnote 62 on page 110.

PASTOR LEA Now my comments to Austin’s deceptions in the 2008 article:

It should be noted that it is very likely that Austin wrote this article shortly after I had sent the earlier version of this letter to nearly 200 creation organizations.

A clear point of this letter was (and has been) that the smoking gun of Austin’s plagiarization of Brown’s work (and more importantly, its affects on creation science) was the fact that Austin used Brown’s 5,700 foot elevation in his 1989 guidebook (as a note under Dr. Holroyd’s single-lake map) instead of Holroyd’s plotted elevation at 5,577 feet. 

There seems to me only one logical explanation for Austin doing so.  Austin must have heard (directly or indirectly) one of Dr. Brown’s lectures or hundreds of radio programs where he made public his discovery that an extinct lake breached at Echo/Vermillion Clift at the current 5,700-foot level.  He may also have heard that Brown was lecturing on how the lake’s breaching set in motion events that carved the Grand Canyon. 

Austin had been trying for years to come up with an explanation for how the Grand Canyon formed and assumed like so many others that it must have been a breached dam.  But the geology of the area presents many problems that are not solved by a simple breached dam explanation.  So Austin was unable to publish, hoping for a breakthrough. 

Now that Austin hears that Brown is lecturing on his (Brown’s) Grand Lake, breached dam, discoveries, Austin senses that he has been scooped by Brown.  In panic, seeing stardom slipping away, he quickly inserts (into his guidebook) Holroyd’s previously ignored map and uses Brown’s 5,700 foot elevation and breach location and then falsifies the print date, in an attempt to claim priority.

But my April 9, 2008 letter partially exposed this deception to hundreds of Creation ministries. Therefore, if Austin wants the creation community to ignore my letter, he needs to discredit my allegation that his use of Brown’s 5,700-foot level was a strong piece of evidence that Austin did indeed plagiarize Brown.  I believe this article by Austin was that attempt and ICR’s Acts and Facts publication was his bullhorn to spread misinformation so he could attempt to cover-up his past deeds in the eyes of the creation community.

In doing so, he has fallen into the trap that all liars do; they can’t keep their stories straight because one false statement begets another until the false statements become mutually exclusive.

The following is Austin’s same 2008 article with my comments pointing out Austin’s false statements, using his own words as proof.

AUSTIN (2008) In 1986, I began the process of mapping the possible shore of the giant lakes east and north of Grand Canyon.8

PASTOR LEA — In 1994, Austin published his book with endnote 62 reading:

AUSTIN (1994) The outline of the lake was first suggested by computer plotting by Edmond W. Holroyd, III (“Missing Talus,” Creation Research Society Quarterly 24 [1987]: 15, 16).

PASTOR LEA — Which is it Dr. Austin?  Did you map the shoreline or did Dr. Holroyd map it and then give it to you?  The fact is that he gave it to you.  Are you again trying to take credit for other’s work?

AUSTIN (2008) In addition to Hopi Lake east of Grand Canyon, we

PASTOR LEA — Where does “we” come from, Dr. Austin?  The previous sentence says, “I began the process ---.” Of course you and I know you slipped here because you know that “we” means that Holroyd gave you his work.

AUSTIN (2008) In addition to Hopi Lake east of Grand Canyon, we recognized evidence for at least two large lakes in Utah. The largest of these lakes (what I call Canyonlands Lake9) was in northern Arizona, southeastern Utah, northeastern New Mexico, and western Colorado.

PASTOR LEA — The false statements and false implications pile up in these two sentences.  Hopi Lake, which was in Arizona, not Utah, was discovered and named decades before this controversy began, as Brown explained.  Austin never provided evidence that he spoke about, or wrote about Grand Lake (or Canyonlands Lake) or any other major lakes in Utah prior to this controversy.  Brown repeatedly asked for such evidence, even a tape recording of any presentation by Austin. The mediators asked for such evidence as well. Austin could produce nothing.  By Austin’s own admission, he purchased Brown’s book as soon as it was available and only after this date, can Austin provide evidence that he wrote about these separate lakes using the same names, elevation and the breach point for Grand Lake that Brown used, but without attribution to Brown.  Now putting together Austin’s text from the article and his endnote 8:

AUSTIN (2008) In 1986, I began the process of mapping the possible shore of the giant lakes east and north of Grand Canyon.8

AUSTIN Endnote 8 (2008). Early in 1987, I used topographic data to show that if Grand Canyon were blocked today by a giant man-made dam with 5,700 feet elevation, the lake formed would rise behind the dam to a maximum of 5,620 feet elevation and would extend into four states. The overflow location out of that lake at 5,620 feet would be 20 miles east of Kanab, Utah, at Telegraph Flat.

PASTOR LEA Austin did nothing of the sort, Dr. Holroyd did the work to create a map of a single lake at the 5,577-foot elevation, not the 5,700-foot that Austin claims.  But even if he did, notice what else he says in this endnote.  If the dam was at 5,700 feet, the lake would overflow at 5,620 feet at Telegraph Flat, which is about 35 miles away from where Dr. Brown discovered (and Austin plagiarized) as the breach point for Grand Lake. Also notice that now (since 2008) Austin is saying that only the imaginary dam is 5,700 feet high, not the lake.  Why does anyone need to know the dam's height, as long as it is higher than the lake?  Is Austin now saying that he never used Brown's elevation, but was only referring to the dam?  In addition, Austin’s endnote 9 of the same article makes reference to endnote 62 of his 1994 book: 

AUSTIN’S endnote 9 (2008): Austin, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. See pages 103, 104, and endnote 62 on page 110.

PASTOR LEA — We must not forget that Austin’s endnote 62 on page 110 of his book states:

AUSTIN’S 1994 endnote 62: The outline of the lake was first suggested by computer plotting by Edmond W. Holroyd, III (“Missing Talus,” Creation Research Society Quarterly 24 [1987]: 15, 16). Field evidences suggest Canyonlands Lake had an elevation above 5,800 feet in many areas.  A lake with significantly different shoreline and lower elevation was suggested by Walter T. Brown, Jr. (In the Beginning [Phoenix, AZ. Center for Scientific Creation, fifth edition, 1989], p.83).  Brown used the name “Grand Lake” for his proposed lake in southeastern Utah.  Grand Lake of Brown (1989) covered the La Sal Mountains, Abajo Mountains, and Aquarius Plateau, whereas Canyonlands Lake did not occupy these areas.  Holroyd’s plotting is superior to Brown’s, and the name “Canyonlands Lake” is preferred.

PASTOR LEA — In the same 2008 article, Austin claims he discovered a lake behind a 5,700 foot dam, but then makes an endnote in the article which references an endnote in his 1994 book (which completely contradicts the statements of his 2008 article). In his 1994 book, the reason Austin gave for his Canyonlands Lake being superior to Brown’s Grand Lake was because his was at 5,800 feet.  If Austin’s lake is now (2008) back to Brown’s lower number, then by Austin’s own reasoning in 1994, Brown’s Grand Lake should be considered “preferred.”  Time to throw in the towel, Dr. Austin?

I doubt that anyone has picked up on this deception.  But again, I find it hard to believe that Austin didn’t know he was being deceitful.

I should also note that when I first read Austin’s 2008 article, I was shocked by the number of false statements and attempted cover-ups (many more than discussed above).  I then wrote and email to ICR asking if they stood behind Austin’s articles:

----- Original Message -----

From: Kevin Lea


Cc: Walt Brown ;

Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 1:54 PM

Subject: from Pastor Kevin Lea


Dear Dr. Morris,

I want to thank you for taking my call of a few months ago pertaining to Dr. Austin's plagiarism of Dr. Brown's work and the adverse effect his actions are having on creation science and on the AiG museum displays. 

There has been much correspondence between various parties since we talked.  I did not put you or any ICR management on copy for most of it because I gathered from our conversation that you were not interested in taking the time necessary to investigate and deal with the issue.

However, because of two recent events, I feel I must bother you again for the sake of ensuring my booklet on this matter will be published with accuracy.

For background, I have attached Dr. Brown's Endnote 34, which is currently posted in the Grand Canyon Chapter of his Internet version of In the Beginning (8th edition).  The printer is currently working through some technical problems that have delayed the production of 30,000 books of Dr. Brown's 8th edition.  When these problems are corrected in the next few days, the books will be printed with this same endnote in them. 

The endnote mentions that Pastor Diego Rodriguez and I have published a booklet (Canyonlands Lake a Monument to Plagiarism) which analyzes and dissects all the correspondence, other documents, and events pertaining to Austin's plagiarism.  The booklet has not been completed yet, but will be in time for the street release of Dr. Brown's 8th edition [update July 2009 Still not completed but this internet published letter will be widely disseminated as a preliminary to the book].  It will include AiG's and ICR's actions or inactions after I brought my concerns and associated documentation to your/their attention.

Two questions that need to be answered by you to ensure accuracy in Pastor Diego's and my booklet:

1.  Does ICR management stand behind the statements made by Austin in the July 2008, Acts and Facts article titled, “Red Rock Pass Spillway of the Bonneville Flood?”

2. I recently heard that Dr's Austin and Baumgartner were laid off from ICR.  If true, and if you feel that any of the reasons behind their termination should be included in pastor Diego's and my booklet, then please feel free to fill me in.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email so I can know you have received it.  If I don't hear from you via email, I will be resending via certified letter.

Thank you for your time.


Kevin Lea 


PASTOR LEA On July 23, John Morris responded:


----- Original Message -----

From: John Morris

To: Kevin Lea

Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 5:28 PM

Subject: RE: from Pastor Kevin Lea



Steve's situation involves the fact that ICR has moved to Dallas, and Steve, for family reasons, is unable to relocate at this time. ICR and Steve are now negotiating a "consulting" contract for him to continue his essential work for ICR.


John Morris


PASTOR LEA I noted that Dr. Morris did not answer my question about whether they stood behind Austin’s article in their Act and Facts publication so on July 29, 2008, I wrote:


----- Original Message -----

From: Kevin Lea

To: John Morris

Cc:; Walt Brown

Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:43 PM

Subject: Re: from Pastor Kevin Lea


Dear Dr. Morris,


Thank you for getting back to me in answer to one of my questions.  I would still like to hear from you about whether ICR management stands behind the statements made by Austin in the July 2008, Acts and Facts article titled, “Red Rock Pass Spillway of the Bonneville Flood?”


Thank you for your time,




PASTOR LEA – Receiving no answer to the above, on September 12, 2009, I again wrote:



----- Original Message -----

From: Kevin Lea

To: John Morris

Cc: Walt Brown;

Sent: Friday, September 12, 2008 1:13 PM

Subject: Fw: from Pastor Kevin Lea third request for info about Acts and Facts article


Dear Dr. Morris,


Sincerely hoping things are well with you and yours.  I regret that circumstances have caused us to not enjoy the kind of fellowship in Jesus that comes with harmony and like-mindedness.  I pray that someday we will be able to, this side of eternity.


However, I truly feel led by the Lord to try and bring correction to the many unbiblical things that are hindering the Creation Movement ministry, and will continue to persevere until the leading goes away, or there is no longer a need to do so.


With that said, I am still looking for a reply to my question about whether ICR management stands behind the statements made by Austin in the July 2008, Acts and Facts article titled, “Red Rock Pass Spillway of the Bonneville Flood?”


I plan to post the article with comments interspersed documenting all the false statements made by Steve Austin (using his own words and maps from his 1988-1990 Grand Canyon Guide book and letters to Brown) throughout the article.

If you do not go on record stating that you do not support the article, then I will be making it clear in my posting that ICR allowed Austin to use its publication in order to widely disseminate his false statements (which will be shown to be a failed attempt to cover his plagiarism of Dr. Brown's work and the detrimental affects these actions are having on the creation ministry).


If you do not support Austin's false statements in your publication, then I look forward to a retraction in the next edition of Acts and Facts along with how this could have possibly happened in light of receiving documentation in March and April proving Austin's unethical actions and false statements of the past.


Please respond to this request, thus saving me the time and expense to send a certified letter.


Did you ever read my March 14 or April 9 letter with the links to Austin's and Brown's exchanges?  A new revision with links to more documents will be coming to you soon for your review before posting it at our web site (for the first time able to be read by all who visit our site).


I heard that you told someone at the ICC that ICR would not carry Dr. Brown's book because Brown threatened a law suit (or something to that affect).  Did you really say that? [If so, it is not true]


I will be trying to complete these postings before leaving for Sudan at the end of the month on a short term mission trip.


Thanks for you time, feel free to call.


Because He lives and is coming again,





PASTOR LEA After not receiving a response to the above, on September 19, 2008, I sent a certified letter forwarding the entire email exchange to ICR stating:


Institute for Creation Research

1806 Royal Lane

Dallas, Texas 75229


Dear Dr. Morris,


This is a certified letter version of the email I sent you on September 12, 2008.


If I do not hear a reply from you by September 30, then I will be writing and posting at our web site that you (ICR) stand behind all the statements in Austin's, “Red Rock Pass Spillway of the Bonneville Flood?” article.


Thank you for your time,


Pastor Kevin Lea

Calvary Church of Port Orchard


PASTOR LEA On September 22, 2009, I received the following US Postal mail response to the certified letter (linked as a pdf here) retyped here:


September 22, 2008


Kevin Lea

P.O. Box 151

Port Orchard, WA 98366


Re: July Acts and Facts article by Dr. Austin


Dear Sir:


Your certified-mail demand letter addressed to Dr. John Morris regarding our July 2008 Acts and Facts article by Dr. Steve Austin was forwarded to my attention, as I serve as Executive Editor for all ICR publications. 


I was disappointed by your threatening tone toward Dr. Morris and ICR regarding our publication of this well-documented article, especially considering your full-time role as an ordained church pastor in Washington State.


Nevertheless, Acts and Facts does not plan to issue a retraction of the article, its contents, or its author.  ICR editorial staff and management have no further comment regarding this issue.




Lawrence Ford

Director of Communications


PASTOR KEVIN — He is right, it has been hard to document and expose the unethical behavior of Austin and ICR while also serving my calling as a full time pastor, which is why I have been so late in getting this revised letter ready for posting.   But the history of this discovery must be written, and those trying to create a false story must be refuted for the sake of the truth.


This ends the discussion about the false statements and deceptions associated with Austin’s endnote 62, which he published in the second edition of his book in November of 1994 (after mediation).  The Mediator had suggested that Austin return to using the name Grand Lake instead of Canyonlands Lake because that is the name Brown had given that body of water.  All the confusion, bad science, false displays in the AiG museum, wasted time, etc. have been a result of Dr. Austin’s refusal to comply with this very simple request (but admittedly would have been very embarrassing to Austin had he complied).

December 29, 1994 Letter from Brown to Morris

This letter documents the ways in which Austin and Morris violated the mediation contract with Brown and how they otherwise continued to spread false and misleading information.  Brown notified Morris that under these conditions, he (Brown) would no longer unilaterally hold himself to the contract that Austin and Morris had already broken.  In this letter, Brown informed Morris and Austin that he was going to go public with the correspondence because of their failure to comply.  Morris then had the audacity to write a response to Dr. Brown saying that ICR and Austin had completely complied with the Mediation Board and would do so in the future.  See January 12, 1995 Letter from Morris to Brown where Morris writes:


As I have often stated before, neither Steve nor any our staff have ever plagiarized anything you have written or spoken, and we shall not do so in the future.  Neither have any of us ever, to our knowledge, defamed you or demeaned your work, either in publications or public meetings, and we shall not do so in the future.

Morris’ denials of past plagiarism are shown to be blatantly false by my letter and its Attachments.  Morris’ promise that there would be no future plagiarism is broken every time someone enters the Grand Canyon display area of the AiG museum, or every time someone reads Austin’s plagiarizing book, or read ICR published articles dripping in plagiarized deceit (Acts and FactsRed Rock Pass: Spillway of the Bonneville Flood”)

In another paragraph of the same letter, Morris falsely claims that Slusher’s plagiarized work was out of print, out of stock, and would not be reprinted.  This claim was proven to be false when Brown purchased from ICR this out-of-print, out-of-stock, not reprinted book a few weeks later.

Morris’ denial of past defaming was also blatantly false (the well-documented details of which, beginning in 1984, are outside the scope of this letter).   Morris’ promises to Brown that ICR would not defame and demean Brown’s work in the future were also broken numerous times as the remaining discussion and correspondence links show.


On June, 6, 2006, I had a face-to-face meeting with Mark Rasche of ICR at ICR’s headquarters in California.  In that meeting, I requested that employees of ICR stop slandering and misrepresenting the work of Dr. Brown and gave examples where they had done so.  I suggested to Mark that the ICR staff be encouraged to carefully read Dr. Brown’s work so that if they critiqued it, they would do so with knowledge and integrity.  During our discussion, I even offered to pay the salaries (for the three days it would likely take them) of those who read it if after three months they felt the time had been wasted.  Mark told me my offer to pay salaries would not be necessary and thought my suggestions that their scientists carefully read Dr. Brown’s work were reasonable.


After the meeting, Mark asked me to document our discussions in a letter so he could take them to the appropriate managers above him, which I did. (See letter from Pastor Kevin Lea to Mark Rasche, dated June 15, 2006.)  His response to my letter included the following paragraph:


  1. Given the long history of disputes between ICR and Walt Brown and the mediation agreement between Walt Brown, Henry Morris, and Steve Austin on June 21, 1994, our leadership team has determined that it would be counter-productive to begin revisiting Walt Brown’s theories since we are already familiar with them, and potential for agreement is minimal.

This paragraph left me, as it probably would most readers, with the impression that Walt Brown may have been the bad guy.  (The full text of the response letter from Mark Rasche is linked June 20, 2006 ICR letter to Pastor Kevin Lea.)  At the time of the meeting, I was only aware of the conflict between Brown and Austin to the extent described in Mrs. Orozco’s book, which I had read. (Mrs. Orozco’s key paragraph was mentioned earlier in this letter.)  I had not read the letters between Brown, Austin and Robinson, nor was I aware of the mediation agreement conclusions, etc. including the confidentiality clause.  How did Mrs. Orozco learn of the controversy?

Mrs. Orozco was at ICR to interview Dr. Henry Morris for her book that included a chapter on Morris.  While browsing through ICR’s library, she noticed Austin’s book, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, 1994.  From her prior interviews with Brown, she realized that Brown’s discussion of his work in and on the Grand Canyon was in conflict with what Austin had written in his book.  As a result, she and her husband drove to Phoenix to meet (and perhaps confront) Brown to clarify the matter. (Please note how the effects of Austin’s plagiarism lives on to demean Dr. Brown and his work.) 

Brown opened up the entire file of correspondence for her to read.  Years earlier, Brown had informed Austin/Morris (December 29, 1994 Letter from Brown to Morris) that because they had broken the agreement in multiple ways within months of the board’s ruling, that he (Brown) would no longer unilaterally hold himself to it, and the confidentiality stipulation was no longer binding.  Even so, Brown had not raised the issue with others until Orozco quizzed him.

Brown immediately, and in Mrs. Orozco’s presence, wrote Austin, informing him about what he was telling Mrs. Orozco.  Brown gave Austin Mrs. Orozco’s contact information and invited him to provide her with anything he wanted.  Austin remained silent.  As noted above, Mrs. Orozco’s book explained the controversy, but she omitted Austin’s and ICR’s names.  She stated to Dr. Brown that the subject kept her awake at night, as she realized the consequences the controversy would have.


ICR’s mentioning of the mediation in their response letter to me raised my curiosity about what had actually happened, but up to that point, I had not personally read any of the correspondence. In December 2007, I asked Brown if he had an explanation for the reaction I received from a prominent creationist author when I talked to him about Dr. Brown’s work.  Brown then explained (based on a conversation he had with the same gentlemen years earlier) a likely reason for his reaction might have been tied to another derogatory story about Brown that was initiated by Henry M. Morris, but perhaps embellished by others.  This story put my curiosity over the edge, and 18 months after my face-to-face meeting at ICR, I strongly asked Dr. Brown to send me the correspondence relating to the conflict that Mark Rasche of ICR mentioned in his letter to me.


Now I also have read the correspondence history and have reached the same conclusion as Mrs. Orozco; that is, that Brown has priority over Austin and that Austin and Morris violated the signed contractual agreement leading ultimately to Austin’s book being published with false and misleading information that AiG and others are now disseminating widely.  It is clear to me that Austin’s false information will continue to spread and cause confusion unless others (besides Orozco and me) are also able to see the correspondence history. 

January 12, 1995 Letter from Morris to Brown

Morris’ letter to Brown promising there would be no future defaming or demeaning of Dr. Brown’s work.

Jeremy Schooler’s December 26, 2007 email to ICR requesting their position on Dr. Brown’s Hydroplate Theory

Jeremy Schooler is a member of my congregation.  I was unaware that Jeremy was making this inquiry to ICR, not that it matters.  I also think that it is no coincidence that I had just completed reading the 1993-1994 correspondence history at the same time this dialogue took place between this young believer in our church and ICR.

ICR’s December 29, 2007, response to Schooler’s request


Bruce Wood of ICR responds by writing, “His [Brown’s] ideas look very impressive to someone not trained, but believe me, they are utterly laughable to one who has any training in geoscience.”  Mr. Wood then gives eight alleged flaws associated with Dr. Brown’s hydroplate theory.  These eight items are so off the mark in being an honest critique of Dr. Brown’s work and only prove that ICR staff has almost zero knowledge of what Dr. Brown is teaching.


It was precisely these kinds of ignorant and false statements made in letters by ICR for years that led me to meet with them face-to-face on June 6, 2006, to encourage them to read Dr. Brown’s work so that they could be accurate in any future critiques. (See letter from Pastor Kevin Lea to Mark Rasche, Dated June 15, 2006.)


Mark Rasche of ICR responded to Pastor Kevin in his letter of June 20, 2006 saying:


“I was informed that several members of our faculty are quite familiar with Walt Brown’s hydroplate theory, and strongly disagree with it.”


And that ICR personnel were:


already familiar with them [Brown’s writings], and potential for agreement is minimal.”


I wasn’t asking for their agreement, I was asking for their accuracy.


In light of the above response to Jeremy Schooler, either ICR lied to me when they said they were familiar with Dr. Brown’s work, or they lied to Jeremy Schooler in this email.  In either case, letters like this are defaming or demeaning to Dr. Brown’s work and reputation in the creation science community (something Morris promised ICR would never do).  ICR should prayerfully consider what God thinks about this and make corrections now.

Jeremy Schooler’s second email of January 8, 2008

ICR’s second response of January 10, 2008


Jeremy Schooler’s final email of January 11, 2008


Attachment 2

Additional Facts Associated with Austin’s Ethical Lapse

These following facts were contained in the main body of my original letter to AiG on March 14, 2008.  However, they are further clarified and documented based on the responses to my April 9 letter.   The increased volume of this documented correspondence and discussion necessitated moving the material to this Attachment in an effort to shorten the main body of the letter.

The following bullet items chronicle Austin’s further attempts to cover up his plagiarism by using other people’s work to claim priority over Brown and avoiding setting the record straight.

  • At mediation, Austin tried to claim priority by referring to another obscure publication (hand drawn map) by one of his students (now Dr. John Whitmore) that predated Brown’s.  Austin used Whitmore’s map in his 1986 Guidebook and gave him credit in the caption.  Now, in mediation, Austin uses Whitmore’s map as if it is his, but Dr. Whitmore’s hand drawn map did not discuss any lake, much less Grand Lake’s location, shape, name, breach point, or any other detail—and certainly no evidence or mechanism.  See this publication (Austin-Whitmore Map).

After Dr. Whitmore received my April 9, 2008 letter, he wrote me to rebut my claim that Austin plagiarized Brown by saying his term paper (one page of which was this map) gave him and Austin priority.  In a phone conversation, I pointed out that I was familiar with the map from his term paper, and noted to him that since the map did not show any lake, let alone Grand Lake, that I could not accept his claim that it exonerated Austin.

Dr. Whitmore sharply rebutted that I could not possibly know about his map from the term paper because he had never published it.  I then realized that he could not have read my letter very carefully because it contained a link to his map with his name on it (just as it appears two paragraphs above).

As a follow-up to the phone call, I sent the following email to Dr. Whitmore (excerpted to only cover portion germane to this issue):


> >>> "Kevin Lea" <> 4/16/2008 2:48 PM >>>
> Dear Dr. Whitmore,
> I want to again thank you for taking my call on April 12, 2008. 
> As a follow-up to our conversation, I was wondering if you had time to
> carefully read my letter as it pertains to your 1985 map being posted at
> our web site.  Specifically, was I in error to attribute the map (at the
> link below) to you?:
>   See this publication (Austin-Whitmore Map).
> If I am correct, the above link is page 48 out of Austin's 1986
> Guidebook, and although he attributes the map to you, it is clear that
> nothing about your map, or statements in the Guidebook, talks of a
> breached dam explanation for the Grand Canyon.  The area that you and
> Austin call the Bidahochi Formation is, of course, better known as the
> extinct Hopi Lake.  It was discovered decades before you, Austin, or
> Brown.
> If this "Austin-Whitmore Map" link above is accurate in depicting you
> as the author of the map, then the following paragraph from my letter
> also has a link to your work. 



> Two years after your work goes into Austin's 1986 Guidebook, his 1988
> Guidebook (page 45) includes a modified version of your map without
> attribution to you.  You will also notice that in using your map, Austin
> does not discuss any breach dam scenario.  In fact, he uses your map (as
> if it was his - and minus the "Bidahochi Formation") to talk about how
> he was thinking during his old-earth days:
>   "Figure 2.6 - Explanation of how the Grand Canyon was eroded
> according to the antecedent river theory.  Before the Kaibab Upwarp
> occurred seventy million years ago, the ancestral Colorado River was
> flowing westward through northern Arizona.  The Grand Canyon was eroded
> by slow downcutting by the Colorado River as the Kaibab Upwarp occurred.
>  The present course of the Colorado River was inherited from the
> ancestral river after tens of millions of years of uplift and erosion."
> Did you know that he was publishing a modified version of your map in
> his 1988 Guidebook without attribution?  Did you know that his
> discussion of your map was from an old-earth perspective?
> After reading my letter of March 14th, I hope you will agree that
> nothing in your map comes close to being an independent find of Dr.
> Brown's discovery of Grand Lake, its 5,700 feet elevation, its breach at
> what is today the north end of Marble Canyon, resulting in the
> undermining of Hopi Lake, resulting in its breaching, thus allowing both
> lakes to carve the Grand Canyon in a matter of weeks in the recent past.
> Dr. Brown's theory is not troubled by the Kaibab upwarp because it is a
> result of these events instead of an obstacle to them (which is unique
> to Brown and is the only explanation that makes scientific sense).
> If I have made any mistake in what I said about you, please let me
> know.  I want to be as accurate as possible.
> Since you stated that your letter to me was private, I am only sending
> this to you with copy to Dr. Brown and blind copies to my elders.  If
> the privacy status of your letter to me has changed, then please let me
> know.
> Thank you for your time,
> Kevin Lea


Dr. Whitmore and I then traded another couple emails where I requested that he provide documented evidence to point out any erroneous statements in my letter dealing with my assertions that Austin plagiarized Brown’s work.  He refused. The following is a small excerpt of my concluding correspondence with Dr. Whitmore.


----- Original Message -----

From: "John H. Whitmore" <>

To: "Kevin Lea" <>

Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 12:51 PM

Subject: Re: follow up from Pastor Kevin Lea


> Kevin,
> After reading this note [EARLIER EMAIL] I am convinced that you did not listen to or
> acknowledge anything I had to say in our phone conversation.  There
> continue to be inaccuracies [which he refused to point out] in your statements below, despite what I
> told you.  Therefore, I am unwilling to discuss this matter with you
> further; it will not further the Kingdom of Christ. 

 [Kevin Lea] therefore have noted that you refuse to point out a single inaccuracy in my March 14, 2008, letter, or in my email that you are referring to.  I therefore conclude (and so will everyone else) that what I have posted about your no-lake, no-elevation, no-breach, no-breach location map is factual.  Thus you have not (and I suspect you cannot) shown (using facts) that your 1985 paper gives priority of Grand Lake, 5,700 feet, breach point, etc. to you and Austin. 


Thus I conclude that the facts continue to support that Austin plagiarized Brown's Grand Lake, its elevation, its breach point, etc. when he published it as his own in the 1989 and 1990 Guidebook.  The facts also continue to show that he falsified information in the 1994 edition of his book, including the note about your work.  This fact will also be clarified when I respond to Austin.


Your refusal to discuss the matter any further (after not giving any examples of inaccuracies) will be seen for what it is by all who read my soon to be posted response to Dr. Austin's desperate attempt to use your work to cover his plagiarism.  


In the interest of giving you and Austin the benefit of the doubt, before finishing my letter to Austin, sending it to him, and posting/sending it to all creation ministries as an update to my earlier mailing, I will wait for one week to give you time to send me your entire research paper that was submitted to Dr. Austin in 1985.  You say you have found it, and during our conversation on April 12, 2008, I requested that you send me a copy.  Did you already?  My address is XXXXXXX [omitted from original]


When I receive your paper and read about yours (and Austin's) discovery of: Grand Lake, separate from Hopi Lake, at an elevation of 5,700 feet, breaching at what is now the north end of Marble Canyon, thus carving the Grand Canyon in a matter of weeks in the recent past; then I will obviously have a lot of crow to eat and will be begging forgiveness from hundreds.  Of course I will wonder why Austin didn't provide this information during: 1) the one-year-long exchange of letters with Dr. Brown, 2) during the mediation agreement, or 3) during the months afterward when letters were exchanged between Dr. Brown and Austin about Austin's refusal to comply with the mediation board's determinations.


If I do not receive your paper by April 26, 2008, then I will assume it is because your work does not contain these items and thus the record will continue to show that Austin plagiarized these details from Brown in 1988 and 1989.  Please feel free to call me if you have trouble meeting this deadline XXXXX [phone number omitted from original].  – END OF EMAIL

It should be noted that I never did receive a copy of Dr. Whitmore’s 1985 research paper and I do assume it is because Whitmore’s complete work does not support Austin’s claims of priority or Whitmore’s claim of assisting in Austin’s priority.  I beg the reader to try and find Grand Lake, its elevation, and breach point, in this hand-drawn Whitmore Map.  (Austin-Whitmore Map).  Doesn’t it make sense that Whitmore and Austin would want to release Whitmore’s 1985 paper if it supported Austin’s claims of accomplishment and priority?  Why haven’t they?  Austin only brought the hand-drawn Whitmore map to the mediation meeting in a final desperate attempt to convince them that he had priority over Brown.  He failed because the mediation panel was unimpressed.  If this was the strongest piece of evidence he could provide from Whitmore’s work, it is unlikely that the rest of Whitmore’s paper provides anything of substance.  Their (Austin/Whitmore) refusal to divulge the rest of the paper shows they need to hide the truth (that they have been less than honest about Whitmore’s/Austin’s contribution).  My invitation is still open for Whitmore and/or Austin to provide the rest of Whitmore’s research paper for all to read.  If it does indeed provide information about: Grand Lake, how it was separate from Hopi Lake, its elevation, and breach point, all predating Dr. Brown’s discoveries and writings, then I will change this posting accordingly (after doing forensics on the original paper — not that I don’t trust them).

  • From the time Austin was confronted by Brown in 1993, Austin continued, along with Henry Morris II, to stonewall, avoid, and deny all meaningful discussion on the matter for many months.
  • At Mediation, Austin failed to convince the Mediation Board that Brown’s charges of plagiarism were unfounded to the extent that Peter Robinson determined in his November 14, 1994, letter to Austin and Brown that Austin give Brown credit in the next printing of Austin’s book by inserting the following paragraph into Austin’s endnote 40:

In 1989, Walter T. Brown, Jr. in proposing the Hydroplate Theory, also proposed where a very large lake, at an elevation of 5,700 feet, once occupied much of southeastern Utah and parts of Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, (In the Beginning [Phoenix, Arizona, Center for Scientific Creation, fifth edition, 1989], 58-83).  Brown named it Grand Lake and wrote that it breached between what is now Vermillion Cliffs and Echo Cliffs.  This in turn, eroded the western bank of Hopi Lake.  All the waters released eroded the Grand Canyon.

  • As directed by the Mediator, Austin did correct endnote 40 in the next printing of his book, but he refused to change the name back to Grand Lake as Robinson had directed in his September 21, 1994 letter to Austin and Brown (applicable excerpt here). The reader should ponder why Austin refused to change the name of the lake back to “Grand Lake” and the extreme measures Austin took to get Robinson to change his original direction to Austin to change the lake name in his September 21, 1994, letter into a suggestion to do so in his November 14 letter. Understanding motive is the key to unlocking every mystery.  Why was Austin so motivated to fight Robinson’s September 21 determination?  The answer is found in realizing how changing the name back to Grand Lake would have been an extreme embarrassment to Austin and quite possibly a career stopper.  Consider the following sequence which could explain Austin’s actions:
  • For three years, Austin used (plagiarized) Brown’s name for the lake (Grand Lake).  However, Austin was writing and lecturing as if he had discovered the lake and was preparing to publish his book, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe
  • In June of 1993, six months before Austin is ready to publish, Brown challenges Austin about his plagiarism of Brown’s work.  At first, Austin tells Brown that he came up with the name Grand Lake independent of Brown and his [false] copyright proves it.  He later admits in a letter to the lead mediator, Professor Peter Robinson, dated August, 29, 1994, that he took the name from Brown:

“Unfortunately, I did not reference Brown as the source of the name “Grand Lake” until the 1993 issue of Grand Canyon Field Study Tour Guidebook.  That lack of citation of Brown in the earlier issues [1990-1992] of the Field Guidebook may have led some to believe that I was the source for the name “Grand Lake.”  That supposition is, of course, incorrect.”

  • Austin and Morris then try to deny, in a sequence of letter exchanges with Brown between June 1993 and January 1994 that Austin plagiarized Brown’s work, and they also deny that Austin accused Brown of plagiarizing Austin, as witnesses were ready to testify.  (While Austin was given their names and phone numbers, he made no effort to contact them or contradict or correct their recollection in their presence.)  Austin now realizes that if he publishes his book with the name Grand Lake, he will be challenged by those who hear Brown’s rebuttals.
  • Therefore (apparently), Austin comes up with his own lake name (Canyonlands Lake) and then starts the deception of claiming his lake is different from, and superior to, Brown’s “Grand Lake.” Austin publishes his book in January of 1994 with many false statements about the Grand Lake discovery.
  • Brown’s original concerns about the affect of Austin’s plagiarism and false statements are now exacerbated by Austin’s additional published deceptions.  The letter exchanges continue between Brown and Austin/Morris (who refuse Brown’s requests that they set the record straight).
  • Brown then demands binding arbitration or he will go public with Austin’s plagiarism.  Austin and Morris agree in writing to arbitration, but at the last minute refuse arbitration.  (Arbitration is binding; mediation is not.)  The mediation is held and concluded.  The mediation panel concludes that Austin needs to make corrections to his book and Austin/Morris fight for (and get) a confidentiality clause as part of the signed agreement.
  • The corrections were to be inserted into Austin’s remaining books if more than 1,000 copies remained.  Inserted corrections made to remaining inventories of published books are referred to in the publishing world as “errata sheets.”   It is embarrassing for an author to insert an errata sheet into his or her published work.  It is a big flag saying they were careless to the extent the corrections must be made before the next edition.  In Austin’s case, it would be admitting he prevented his readers from knowing that the record shows it was Dr. Brown (not Austin) who first discovered, named, lectured on, and published about Grand Lake, and thus also hindered those same readers from knowing where to get all the scientific evidence for HOW Grand Lake breached and thus formed the Grand Canyon.  
  • Apparently to avoid this embarrassment, Austin used several deceptive measures to break his signed agreement to insert the errata sheet into his remaining inventory of books.  A man of integrity would have admitted the error and corrected it, like Dr. Randall Price did in his book The Original Bible – 2007, where an errata sheet was inserted in the beginning saying:

“The section entitled ‘What About ‘Errors’ in the Manuscripts?’ on pages 115 to 116 contains original statistical information produced by Daniel B. Wallace and is taken from his chapter ‘Can We Trust the New Testament? The Quality and Quantity of Textual Variants’ as contained in J. Ed Komoszewski, D. James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace, Reinventing Jesus:  What the Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don’t Tell You (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2006). Pp. 59-61.”

  • Please note that Randall’s failure to give attribution has no affect on the reader being able to understand the topic.  However, Austin’s failure to attribute Brown’s discovery of an extinct lake (Grand Lake, separate from Hopi Lake), its elevation, and its breach point prevents (by not pointing people to Brown’s associated explanation of how it breached) one from understanding all the reasons for the Grand Lake explanation for the origin of the Grand Canyon and how this supports the flood of Noah and its aftermath.
  • To avoid having to place an errata sheet in his remaining books and make changes in the next edition of his book, Austin throws up numerous distractions.  After wading through the volumes of post mediation arguments raised by Austin, the lead Mediator directs Austin to use the name Grand Lake in the next edition of Austin’s book and to make it clear that it was Brown that discovered the lake.
  • Austin realizes that he must fight this determination with all the deception he can muster.  Why?  Because if the next edition of his book changes Canyonlands Lake to Grand Lake, then it will beg the question, “Steve, why did you change the name of the lake?”   The truthful answer:  “Because I made up the name Canyonlands Lake to try and cover up that I plagiarized Brown’s use of Grand Lake for three years.  Brown brought the evidence of my plagiarism to a mediation board and the lead mediator told me to change the name back to Grand Lake and give credit to Brown.”
  • Had Austin been truthful, the confidentiality clause would have been meaningless, and the entire creation science community would have been shocked by the behavior of Austin, Morris, and ICR (although most evolutionists would not have been).  Therein lays the apparent reason that Austin went into full court press against the lead mediator’s determination that the lake name should be changed.  Austin used a bogus excuse that the lake could not be named Grand Lake because of Federal requirements and told the mediator that he did not have the authority (over the Feds) to mandate the name of the lake.  The mediator conceded that he may not have the authority but encouraged Austin to change the name anyway — an encouragement Austin ignored, which is why this sorry tale has to be made public for the sake of truth.