Correspondence via e-mail between John Warwick Montgomery and Richard Packham
Concerning Boyd Pehrson

You should have arrived at this page from the article Response to Boyd Pehrson. If not, you may wish to start there, since the correspondence deals with the identity of Mr. Pehrson.
To:  John Warwick Montgomery 
From:  Richard Packham 
Subject:  Boyd Pehrson
Date:  1/29/2003

Dear Dr. Montgomery:

    I am writing to inquire about Boyd Pehrson, the author of an article 
in the most recent Journal of which you are editor, at    
The article I am referring to is Mr. Pehrson's rebuttal to my critique of some of 
your writings on legal evidence, which is on my webpage. 

    In his article Mr. Pehrson comments on what he obviously considers my 
insufficient legal experience, implying that I am not qualified to write on legal 
questions.   However, Mr. Pehrson offers no indication of his own legal 
background, training, or experience, and I have been unable to locate 
any other internet writings by him which would provide that information.  
I have also looked on several internet directories of attorneys practicing 
in the US and Canada, and I do not find him listed.

   I would like to prepare a response to Mr. Pehrson, and I would like to 
take into account his legal background, since he has made that an issue 
in his article.

   May I also call your attention to the fact that the URL given in Mr. Pehrson's 
article is obsolete - my ISP changed the URL by substituting 'home' for 'www' -
 the correct URL is

   If you would prefer that I contact Mr. Pehrson directly, I will be glad to do so, 
but will need an address for him, which I presume you have.

Best wishes,

Richard Packham

Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 10:26:09 +0000
Subject: Re: Boyd Pehrson
From: "Prof. Dr J.W. Montgomery" <>
To: Richard Packham 
Dear Mr Packham,

Mr Pehrson informs me that he does not see any point in continuing the
argument with you.

He also suggests that I remind you of the difference between reasoning ad
hominem and reasoning ad argumentum:  the case for Christianity depends, as
he tried to show in his article, not on personalities but on historical
facts and sound inferences from those facts.

In his view, you appear unwilling to apply to this fundamental religious
issue the sound evidential methodology characteristic of good legal
reasoning.  This may explain why eminent legal scholars such as Lord
Denning, Lord Hailsham and Lord Diplock, and distinguished legal
practitioners such as Abraham Lincoln, have not taken your view but have
been convinced of Christianity's truth.  (See, for example, Australian
barrister-solicitor Ross Clifford's volume, LEADING LAWYERS' CASE FOR THE

Yours sincerely,


To:  John Warwick Montgomery <>
From:  Richard Packham 
Subject:  Re: Boyd Pehrson
Date:  1/29/2003

Dear Dr. Montgomery,

    Thank you for your response.   However, you did not answer my question.

    I agree that reasoning ad hominem is fallacious.   I did not use ad hominem 
reasoning in my original article.  This is why I was disturbed that Mr. Pehrson 
began his article with a disparaging (and inaccurate) reference to my legal 
experience (or rather what he considered a lack thereof).    It is irrelevant whether 
Mr. Pehrson desires to continue the argument with me or not.   Regardless, I am
 writing a response, to correct what I view as gross errors in his reasoning and 
his quotations from my original article.   

     You yourself, in your response, quote LEGAL scholars and refer to them as 
such.    Whether one has extensive legal background does seem to be relevant, 
both to you and to Pehrson.   I am merely asking therefore about Pehrson's legal 
background.    I am asking as a courtesy, which I assumed professionals would
 naturally extend to others in their profession, regardless of their differences in 

     Does "Boyd Pehrson" even exist?   Or is the name simply a pseudonym 
which you put on an article which you wrote yourself?  Your refusal to identify 
him would make one suspect that is so.

Yours truly,

Richard Packham


Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 23:01:34 +0000
Subject: Re: Boyd Pehrson
From: "Prof. Dr J.W. Montgomery" <>
To: Richard Packham 

You may be suffering from incipient Alzheimer's!  You yourself were in
correspondence with Mr Pehrson a number of months ago.  He definitely exists
but wants no further communication with you.

[This is Montgomery's response to my next e-mail;  the text of my e-mail, to which
he is responding,  is the lines beginning with > ]

Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 10:23:32 +0000
Subject: Re: Boyd Pehrson
From: "Prof. Dr J.W. Montgomery" <>
To: Richard Packham 

> At 11:01 PM 1/30/2003 +0000, you wrote:
> Dear Dr. Montgomery,
>   I fail to see why you should take such a hostile tone with me.  As I
> understand Christian doctrine, Christians are taught to love even their
> enemies.   I am certainly not your enemy, and I certainly do not need your
> "love", but I would think that a minimum of courtesy would be more Christian
> than your Alzheimer's comment.   I merely have different beliefs from yours,
> and I have treated you, even in my critique of your writings, with the
> utmost respect.   In writing to you now I am merely requesting information.
> There is no reason for you to be discourteous to me.

There was no discourtesy.  As with most unbelievers I have had contact with,
you have no sense of humour.  I find it truly incredible that (1) your
e-mail correspondence is so great that you cannot keep track of an entire
series of letters you exchanged with Pehrsen two years ago when he was
researching the bases of your criticism of Christian evidences; and (2) that
you do not index your e-mail correspondence--if only out of legal
>   I do not have any recollection of any correspondence with Pehrson.   It
> had not occurred to me that he might have written me.  I am certain that I
> did not start  such a correspondence - I would have no reason to do so.   I
> receive and respond to thirty or forty e-mails a week, mostly from people
> who are unknown to me, and who are writing to me to comment about my web
> page.  I tend to remember the names of those who write something worth
> remembering, but if I don't remember Pehrson's correspondence it must be
> because it was rather run-of-the-mill stuff.    I am sure that you do not
> remember the names of the thousands of people with whom you exchange a few
> communications, and I am sure that your inability to recognize the names of
> those people you do not  consider as "incipient Alzheimer's".      Since I
> do not archive all my correspondence, I have no way of going back to review
> that correspondence.  Nor do I see any reason to suggest that Pehrson send
> me copies, unless it contains the information that I am requesting.
>    Let me emphasize that my request for an address for him was only to
> relieve you of being placed in the position of go-between, not to take up a
> lengthy correspondence with him, and my only reason for communicating with
> him would be to ask him what his legal experience is, since HE made MY legal
> experience an issue in his article.  ( I hope that you recognize that it was
> Pehrson who made personal legal experience an issue, not I.)
>    Is it your position, then, as editor of your Journal, that the
> identities (other than name) and qualifications of the authors of your
> articles are somehow classified information?
That is indeed my position if and when my author does not want communication
on these matters with readers--particularly when the reader seems unable to
face the substantive issues raised by the author.

>   Do you not wish to divulge
> the academic degrees which they may hold, or, in the case of attorneys, the
> courts in which they are admitted to practice?   Why would you want to keep
> this information secret?   In all the professional journals with which I am
> familiar, such a policy would be considered absurdly unprofessional.
>   Furthermore, if it is Pehrson, not you, who wants to keep that
> information secret, why would he want to do so?

Asked and answered.
>   I also find it odd that Mr. Pehrson has no hesitation about writing a
> very critical article including ad hominem remarks about me, but then
> refuses to have any communication with me on even a superficial and neutral
> level.   That smacks of a "hit and run" mentality.   You asked if I were
> suffering from incipient Alzheimer's -  is Mr. Pehrson suffering from
> incipient paranoia?
>    I am sure that you wish to end this correspondence, Dr. Montgomery,

It HAS ended: as of now.

> and
> to do so is very simple:  tell me what academic degrees Mr. Pehrson holds,
> and what courts he is licensed to practice in, or of what bar associations
> he is a member, or, in general, what his legal training and experience is.
> I will tell you frankly that, judging from his article, it appears to me
> that he has no legal background or training whatsoever.   And that may be
> why you both are reluctant to discuss his background, after his making such
> an issue of my supposed insufficient legal skills.
>    If you feel that this information is irrelevant to the issues Pehrson
> and I were discussing (which I agree that it is), then it would seem the
> logical consequence should be that you remove from your journal pages Mr.
> Pehrson's comments about my legal training and experience as being equally
> irrelevant.

I am the editor of the JOURNAL; not you.  I shall edit it as I see fit.

My Comments

My statement about not remembering a correspondence with Pehrson is correct. As I said to Montgomery, however, any such correspondence was obviously not very "memorable." If Pehrson (or anyone) had said he was writing to me with the idea of planning a written and published rebuttal to my article, I would have saved the correspondence and I would have remembered it. Apparently when he wrote to me he did not reveal such an intent.

I find it truly incredible that the editor of a scholarly journal refuses to disclose any information about the authors of the articles he publishes. I am familiar with many such journals, and in every other journal the authors' backgrounds are always provided in the journal itself, and are certainly not kept secret.

I also find it amazing that Montgomery apparently assumed that I wished to communicate with Pehrson to "continue the discussion," when I repeatedly emphasize that I was only interested in information about him which either he himself or Pehrson could provide me with, in a few sentences.

Even more amazing is Pehrson's refusal to communicate with me at all, even to answer such a neutral question as to what academic degrees he holds, or where he has practiced law, especially in light of his own reminder in his article that the apostles did "not flinch" in answering any man's questions about their faith, citing (his footnote 7) 1 Pet 3:15. Why then should Pehrson "flinch"?

Pehrson's legal background, his legal training and experience, would be of no special importance if he had not made such an issue of the quality and extent ofmy legal background.

Montgomery refuses to give any explanation for this secrecy about Pehrson, or for the fact that Pehrson's name in an internet search engine or in listings of practicing attorneys shows no such person (other than a Boyd Pehrson who is apparently involved in boys' choral music).

Two possible explanations appear, neither of them very complimentary to Montgomery or Pehrson:

Supporting the first alternative is the fact that Pehrson's article shows a complete lack of awareness of the special meanings of technical legal terms, an unfamiliarity with customary usage in legal writing (format for citing cases, and sources), and the absence of any reference to his own legal expertise. The article appears on its face to be written by someone with no legal training.

Supporting the second alternative is the apparent non-existence of such a person, either in internet searches or on lawyer lists. Also, Montgomery seems to be very familiar with Pehrson's research and his correspondence with me. He is in close touch with Pehrson, and is willing to act as a go-between to protect Pehrson from even superficial inquiries. Both Pehrson and Montgomery use British English. Pehrson uses Montgomery's arguments, often almost word-for-word, as well as Montgomery's favorite sources and authorities. The only argument against Pehrson being merely another persona of Montgomery is that Montgomery does have legal training, and one would think that one with such a legal background would not make the kind of gaffes that are in the Pehrson article.

But then, on the other hand, I recall how surprised I was when I read Montgomery's works that he made those same kinds of legal gaffes....

I am reminded of an old professor I knew many years ago when I taught at the University of California in Berkeley. He secretly adopted a nom de plume, and developed a persona for this name, supposedly a brilliant scholar in a related field. He then wrote glowing letters over the signature of this fictitious person, praising himself and supporting his own special causes. He duplicated these letters and passed out copies of them to students and colleagues. He cited this fictitious person in his writing and his conversation. He fooled no one - everyone knew what he was doing. He only made himself look foolish.

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