Testimony of Ronald W. Coward - Page 2
A: (continuing) subject area.
Q: You said, I think, a minute ago — I want to make sure I understand this — that in a high school classroom, a secondary classroom, it is not necessary to explain the origin of first life to teach evolution. Is that what you said?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Under Act 590, it says you don’t have to instruct in origins, isn’t that correct? Read Section 5 with me, clarifications, sentence number two. “This Act does not require any instruction in the subject of origins.” Is that correct?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Did you testify earlier on direct that you can’t teach the theory of evolution because of the balanced treatment required in creation science?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Now, is the theory of evolution, in terms of the theory of evolution, are you saying that the evolution explanation of origin or first life can be deleted from your classroom and not negatively impact on your students at all?
A: If I understand your question, I can delete the teaching of origin in my classroom without losing the validity of the concepts of the theory of evolution.
Q: Then you can teach evolution?
A: Not by the— Not according to the six guidelines set down in Section 4.
Q: Not according to the six guidelines—
A: Only one of those, I believe, deals with origins. The others deal with catastrophic floods, separate ancestry of man and apes. I could not handle those in my classroom even disregarding origins.
Q: You said earlier that you consider yourself to be a scientist who has chosen to be a science educator. When was the last time when you, as a scientist, had any scientific training?
A: I think I would be correct in saying about 1968 or 9.
Q: ’68 or ’69. Thirteen years? Twelve or thirteen years is the last formal science training you’ve had?
A: That’s correct.
Q: But you consider yourself competent to understand or to evaluate what is science?
A: That’s correct. If I can’t, then they need to find somebody to replace me in my classroom.
Q: I’m interested, Mr. Coward, I know you have a B.S.E., a Bachelor of Science in Education? Correct? Master’s of Science in Education?
A: That’s correct.
Q: In those disciplines you were taught science and
1 (Text Missing [TM]) Continuing) educational principles and techniques?
2 (TM) s correct.
3 (TM) you have any formal academic training in
4 (TM) y?
5 (TM) I do.
6 (TM) much?
7 (TM) approximately twenty-four hours, I would say
8 (TM) at the graduate level?
10 (TM) undergraduate?
11 (TM) I take that back. Yes, I do have. Probably
12 (TM) it is at the graduate. I was thinking of
13 (TM) duate.
14 (TM) you define for me what is the scientific
15 (TM) You’ve talked about the body of science.
16 (TM) says, they say, we say. Is that the scientific
17 (TM) ty?
18 (TM) do you want it in specifics?
19 (TM) Yes. Is “they”— Are “they” the scientific
20 (TM) ty?
21 (TM) Well, when I say “they”, I’m referring to the
22 (TM) fic community.
23 (TM) Now, tell me what that is?
24 (TM) The scientific community is made up of the men and
25 (TM) who work in the field of science each day. And
A: (Continuing) their primary objective, of course, is to perform experimentation to uncover data, to analyze data and empirical qualities and quantities, and to assimilate this information into working theories and hypotheses, make it applicable to our daily lives.
Q: Are you a part of that scientific community?
A: No, I’m not.
Q: What is your role in relation to that community in teaching?
A: As a science educator, I am a go-between, in a sense, between the scientific community and my students. My role is to, more or less, try to keep abreast of what is going on within the scientific community, try to sift through the abundance of data and information that is made available through publications and new texts and so forth, and try to sift through and sort through this material to determine what is applicable to the particular students that I have, what’s applicable to their lives and what do they need for basic understanding of science, and what do those need that are preparing themselves to further education, to college or what have you. Now, this is my role, to sift through and decide what is applicable to them, get it on a working level which is understandable by them and can be used by them or utilized.
Q: Would it be fair to characterize your role, then, as
Q: (Continuing) that of sitting as a judge to (TM) for your students what concepts in science they should learn and acquire in order that they might prepare themselves for their advance careers?
A: Not exactly. I think the scientific community is the judge of what is valid and what is not simply in a sense there is so much of that information that I do have to select or scrutinize the information.
Q: Do you believe that life evolved from nonlife?
A: I think it is feasible.
Q: You think it’s feasible. What’s your basis for that belief that it’s feasible?
A: Based on, there again, the study by Henry Miller shows that it’s a feasible process. It doesn’t mean that it occurred, but it’s feasible.
Q: Is there a scientific explanation for first life for origin?
Q: Is there confusion among the scientific community as to the explanation of that in your judgment?
A: Depends again on— “Confusion” there is a relative word, too.
Q: All right. Let me say it’s a disagreement.
A: I would say that there are probably people in the scientific community who do not totally agree on that
1 Continuing) concept, yes.
2 (TM) re other areas in science where the
3 (TM) munity disagrees on biology concepts?
4 (TM) ry one.
5 (TM) ed equilibrium, gradualism being two?
6 (TM) y.
7 (TM) you realizing this disagreement in the
8 (TM) mmunity, have the responsibility and the
9 (TM) judge what concepts should be passed on to
11 (TM) of the disagreements or each viewpoint of
12 (TM) ent still has scientific merit or scientific
13 (TM) en I feel that I should present both
15 (TM) believe both of those have scientific merit?
16 (TM) nes are you speaking of?
17 (TM) ted equilibrium and gradualism.
18 (TM) they do. There again, I’m not expertise in
19 (TM) s
20 (TM) Mr. Coward, let’s pretend I’m one of your
21 (TM) I’m going to ask you that question. What’s
23 (TM) id think they would both have a certain degree
24 (TM) ic validity. I’d have to do further research
25 (TM) ougn, before I could testify as to the validity
A: (Continuing) of those.
Q: what kind of research would you do before you would tell me they do as a student?
A: I would probably try to obtain some type of publication by Doctor Gould would be one good source.
Q: If you heard the testimony of a witness for the State today or tomorrow, whenever we begin to put on our case, that cited scientific evidence for creation explanation of origin, would you do some independent research there, too, and then explain that in your class?
A: If I heard the evidence and I considered it to be scientific, I would further investigate it, yes.
Q: Well, now, wait a minute. Whose standard are we judging science by now? Yours or that of the scientific community?
A: Well, the position I’m in, I have to be a judge, to some degree as to what is science. If I—
Q: Then you are a judge as to what concepts are passed on?
A: To some degree. I’m more or less like a traffic cop; not a judge.
Q: All right. More or less like a controller, a coordinator? Will you take that?
A: Director, yes.
Q: A director. All right. You are a director when information is passed on. As a director, do you think
Q: (Continuing) it’s fair to pass on information about concepts in terms of evolution that deal with gradualism and punctuated equilibrium; is that correct? I don’t want to say something you didn’t say. Is that what you said?
A: Would you restate that?
Q: As a director, you think it’s proper to pass on concepts, educational concepts, to your students in the theory of evolution, gradualism and punctuated equilibrium?
A: If I find both are from the millwork of the scientific community and both seem to have validity in my judgment, I think it would be certainly within my power as a director to present both viewpoints.
Q: Are they from the millwork of the scientific community?
A: I believe they are.
Q: Then they would be passed on?
A: If that was within the scope of my course that I teach, but it is not. But if I were teaching, perhaps, a—
Q: In biology when you teach evolution, it’s not within the scope of the course to talk about gradualism and punctuated equilibrium?
A: There again, as the director, I have to keep the work level of my course on the comprehensive level of the
A: (Continuing) students which I teach. This may or may not be beyond them. It would depend. But I would use my judgment at that time. I think this is probably a little bit, maybe, beyond the scope of high school biology.
Q: To expose them to the ideas beyond the scope of high school biology?
Q: To expose them to the idea that there may be another explanation for first life or origin as based in creation explanation is beyond the high school student’s competence, if there’s scientific evidence? I understand the burden is to prove that. But if there is, as a director, is that beyond their scope and is competence?
A: Perhaps not.
Q: Perhaps not?
A: I’m not sure of an exact understanding of what you’re asking.
Q: Okay. And yet as a scientist, you tell me you haven’t had any training for twelve or thirteen years, is that right?
A: That’s correct.
Q: No formal institutes, no formal—
MR. CEARLEY: Your Honor, I’d like to make it clear
MR. CEARLEY: (Continuing) to, the Court and to counsel that Mr. Coward was offered as a witness as a science teacher and not as a science expert. And he’s not ever been represented as such. He’s answered Mr. Clark’s questions about how he perceives himself.
MR. CLARK: Your Honor, I’ve never asked him—
THE COURT: Go ahead.
MR. CLARK: (Continuing)
Q: I want to come back to something I asked you earlier. You said in your search for materials that explained a creation explanation of origin that you found none that were presented to you that scientifically—Excuse me. I think you said you found no valid scientific publications, text materials that were valid within the scientific community; is that correct? No established is publishers, printers, those sorts of things, is that correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: You also said you did not make much of an independent effort on your own, but what you had seen, no valid publisher would have done that or had done it, to the best of your knowledge?
A: That’s correct.
Q: I want to show you a textbook here.
MR. CLARK: Your Honor, I’d like to have this marked for identification as Defendants’ Exhibit, I believe, 4.
MR. CLARK: (Continuing)
Q: That textbook is entitled The World of Biology, is that correct?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: Who is it published by?
A: McGraw Hill.
Q: Is McGraw Hill a reputable publisher?
A: Yes, they are.
Q: Would you turn in that text to what would be numbered, I believe, page 409? Have you found it, Mr. Coward?
A: Yes, I have.
Q: Would you read the title of the chapter that starts on page 409?
A: “Evolutionary Theory and the Concept of Creationism.”
Q: Would you then turn to page 414?
Q: On page 414 you see in bold print or type, the second paragraph, actually, would you tell us what the title is leading that paragraph? What does it say?
A: Sub-topic is “Creationism.”
Q: Would you take just a minute to peruse the next two
Q: (Continuing) or three pages and see if those include some explanation of the creation model or creation, theory for origins?
A: They appear to, yes, sir.
Q: Thank you, very much.
You indicated in your direct testimony, Mr. Coward, that teachers — and I think you were speaking specifically, I think you might have been, of science teachers know what is current in the field; is that correct?
A: It is part of the responsibility to attempt to keep current, yes.
Q: How do you do that?
A: Through the reading of books, periodicals.
Q: What periodicals? What books?
A: In what particular area are you speaking of?
A: Some of the books on the subject such as Origins by Richard Leakey, Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan, Human Fossil Remains, I don’t recall the title of that one, this type of thing.
Q: What do you read regularly?
A: I read a good deal— In biology, I assume, that you are talking about?
Q: Yes. Please.
A: Most of my reading recently has been in psychology,
A: (Continuing) but I am very much interested in evolutionary theory and for that matter, the scope of history of evolution.
Q: But specifically, what have you read recently or do you read regularly in terms of biology? Well, just take evolutionary theory, your ongoing—
A: I skim through current periodicals such as Scientific American and National Geographic and these type things.
Q: You skim through those, you say?
A: Well, read areas that might be of particular interest to me. I’m not knowledgeable of all the publications and all the articles that are written in the field of science.
Q: You testified on direct about the text called Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity, and you testified as to its general nature. Did you read that entire text?
A: Not cover to cover.
Q: Did you read excerpts?
A: I did a fair random sampling of the entire book, yes, I did.
Q: In your direct testimony, you admitted you have some confusion about the implementation of Act 590 in teaching in the classroom, is that right?
A: That is correct.
Q: You said that confusion surrounded the fact that you found no scientific evidence to explain the creation model, is that correct?
A: That’s part of the confusion, yes.
Q: The second part of that confusion was that you were specifically prohibited from using religious materials, is that correct?
A: That’s correct.
Q: Would it be fair to say, Mr. Coward, that if there were scientific evidence offered to you that you can comply with Act 590 without problem?
A: If the scientific evidence comes from the scientific community and is recognized to be science by authorities in the field.
Q: Now, you define the scientific community as what?
A: It’s the group of men and women in the field who dedicate their lives to field and laboratory work, investigation and analyses of data, and produce theories and hypotheses from that information. This is their livelihood.
Q: So if the state presents witnesses who have Ph.D. education and academic training, publications, and they are from the scientific community, in the sense that they do experiment, publication, evaluation, propose hypotheses
Q: (Continuing) and those sorts of things, are they in the scientific community, and that testimony supports creation explanation?
A: I’m not sure that I could answer that. I’m not in the scientific community, so I’m not sure how they are accepted or—
Q: Well, if you are not in it, how do you recognize it?
A: Through all the publications with which I am familiar.
Q: Well, which publications tell you what is the scientific community?
A: There are a number of scientific publications that come from the millwork of the community.
THE COURT: Mr. Clark, how much longer are you going to be?
MR. CLARK: About another fifteen, twenty minutes, your Honor.
THE COURT: Why don’t we take a recess until 11:00 o’clock.
(Thereupon, Court was in
recess from 10:45 a.m. until
11:00 a.m.) 23 24 25
MR. CLARK: Your Honor, I don’t think I moved for the admission of Defendants’ Exhibit Number 4, The World of Biology, portions of The World of Biology, and I would Like to move their submission now.
THE COURT: It will be received.
MR. CLARK: (Continuing)
Q: Mr. Coward, you testified on your direct about the impact of Act 590 on you as a teacher and your students What is your belief of academic freedom as a teacher?
A: I believe it is the freedom of students in a given class or given discipline to pursue information or knowledge within that discipline.
Q: You’ve given me a definition of academic freedom for students? Is that what you just gave me?
A: That’s basically correct, yes.
Q: And I’m sorry. I was asking for a definition of academic freedom for a teacher, but I will start with the student. So would you restate that for me so I will make sure I heard everything you said?
A: I think it allows students to pursue available information or knowledge in a particular discipline or academic area.
Q: Would you give me that definition for a teacher, definition of academic freedom?
A: Well, as I understand how it would apply to a teacher?
Q: Yes, that’s what I mean.
A: I would assume that it allows a teacher who is the professional or supposedly is the expertise in that given area, it allows that teacher to decide what is academically sound basing their choices on what to teach and what not to teach.
Q: Are there any restrictions or limits on that academic freedom of that teacher as it applies as you defined it?
A: I do not know of any mandated limits that are set by anyone such as school boards or administrators.
Q: The principal can’t set some fixed limit on that?
Q: The superintendent cannot set any fixed limit on that?
Q: The school board cannot set a fixed limit on that?
A: Not within a given class.
Q: Not within a given class?
Q: Can they in some other circumstance?
A: They have, obviously, they have a say-so in course offerings. I’m not sure that would come under the head of academic freedom. In fact, as I understand it, the State
A: (Continuing) of Arkansas does this.
Q: Would in course offerings but not in a specific course, is that correct?
A: That’s true.
Q: Can the Education Department for the State of Arkansas place any limits or restrictions on that academic freedom?
A: They can set guidelines, course guidelines for graduation purposes, but there are no guidelines set for courses within a particular subject area.
Q: They cannot within a particular subject area?
A: Not to my knowledge.
Q: Can the State of Arkansas do that through its legislative body?
A: I know of no circumstance other than this particular one.
Q: Did you tell me in your deposition that academic freedom can be limited in some subjects like sex education?
A: No, I did not.
Q: You did not?
A: Not exactly in that context.
Q: Do you remember what you did tell me?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What was that?
A: I said that academic freedom does not, or school
1 (TM) ng) districts or what have you cannot
2 (TM) s say, the discussion of sex education in a
3 (TM) oom, certainly in a biology or human
4 (TM) ssroom.
5 (TM) a teacher might receive reprimand is where
6 (TM) more or less, overextends themself
7 (TM) y, maybe does too good a job of teaching,
8 (TM) it.
9 (TM) s overextension? Personally, I don’t think I
10 (TM) hat.
11 (TM) let’s say maybe becoming a little bit too
12 (TM) this particular area. It could bring recourse
13 (TM) mmunity or the administration.
14 (TM) teacher overextend or become too explicit in
15 (TM) area and, therefore, require limitation?
16 (TM) opose they could.
17 (TM) you give me an example?
18 (TM) istory teacher, for example, might, let’s say,
19 (TM) t the communist form of government is a superior
20 (TM) overnment to the democratic system.
21 (TM) eaching what communism is and teaching it as a
22 (TM) ay of life is two different things. I think a
23 (TM) might very well overextend themselves there.
24 (TM) w, I’m trying to make these things fit, Mr. Coward.
25 (TM) d me that in terms of academic freedom to teach
Q: (Continuing) course matter, that there weren’t any restrictions that could be imposed by the principal, by the superintendent, by the school board, by the Education Department, by the State through its legislative body, period; is that correct?
A: No restrictions that say you cannot teach this subject area, that particular part of the subject. There are no restrictions that say you cannot teach sex education or you cannot teach about communism. But as a professional, I have to be very careful not to overextend myself when I do teach those areas.
Q: But as a professional, if you taught, for instance, using your example, that communism was a superior form of government to the democratic process, it would be over- extension and a violation of academic freedom?
A: No, not a violation of academic freedom, but would be a violation of professional ethics—
Q: Professional ethics?
A: —as an educator.
Q: Is it a violation of academic freedom or professional ethics to teach a creation explanation of origin?
A: I’m sorry. Restate that.
Q: Is it a violation of academic freedom or professional ethics to teach a creation explanation of
Q: (Continuing) origin?
A: I think it is, yes.
Q: Is a violation of which or both?
A: I think it is a violation of academic freedom?
A: Because it is mandated by a governmental body.
Q: Well, now—
A: A governmental body is telling you what you will do or will not do within a given classroom.
Q: Let’s take my question and back up a little bit. Instead of using Act 590 at this point, which, as we know, is obviously in litigation, today, assuming the void or
(TM) nce of Act 590, is it a violation of academic freedom to teach a creation explanation of origin in the classroom?
A: I’m not sure that I can say. I understand that we have people that are doing it.
Q: Is that a violation of academic freedom, in your
THE COURT: Wait. Whose academic freedom? The student’s?
MR. CLARK: I think it’s the teacher we are talking about here, your Honor.
THE COURT: Are you saying it is a violation of the teacher’s academic freedom for the teachers to teach creationism in the classroom?
MR. CLARK: I understand the Court’s confusion, and I share that. What I’m trying to find out from Mr. Coward, your Honor, is in his definition of academic freedom, he has indicated there are some limits, at least with ethics or academic freedom or a mixture of the two.
Now, I’m trying to find out that if I, as a teacher, or someone else, as a teacher, wants to advocate a creation explanation of origin, is that inconsistent with what is academic freedom by his terms.
THE COURT: I understand that question.
THE WITNESS: Well, I’m still confused on it.
MR. CLARK: I’m sorry I’m not helping, Mr. Coward. I’m not trying to make this difficult. I’m just trying—
THE COURT: I assume if somebody tries to keep a teacher from teaching creationism, is that a violation of the teacher’s academic freedom?
MR. CLARK: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: For example, the school board?
MR. CLARK: Principal, superintendent.
THE WITNESS: They say that a teacher cannot teach academic freedom or cannot teach Act 590?
MR. CLARK: Yes.
THE WITNESS: I assume not. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that.
MR. CLARK: (Continuing)
Q: You assume not. You assume it is not a violation of
Page 792 is missing
A: (Continuing) what new discoveries come from the millwork or framework of the scientific community, and deciding if these discoveries or theories have enough validity that I can present it to my students and support that viewpoint.
Q: Does academic freedom place any restraints on your ability to decide what is good science or bad science?
A: I do not believe it does.
Q: So you are the sole arbiter of that question?
A: I guess that more or less comes with the job, yes.
Q: Did you testify on direct that in pursuance of this academic freedom we’ve just talked about that you decide what is good science and bad science based on your students’ ability to learn, their career goals, and you may have given one or two other things?
A: I don’t necessarily decide what is good science and bad science. I decide— From the science that I use, I decide what is — it’s kind of like better and best — what is the best information that we have available at the time and if it is a reliable source and that the information can be supported or substantiated by other people within that scientific framework, then I assume it is good science. Then I select what is relevant to the lives and to the futures of my students.
Q: Go back and tell me again what is academic freedom to a student?
A: I think it is the ability of that student to, allowing that student to pursue an area of information or knowledge within a given discipline.
Q: Are you, by your own definition, in terms of academic freedom and the way you apply it in choosing science to be taught in your classroom, denying your own students academic freedom by virtue of precluding some ideas that could be discussed in your classroom?
A: I don’t believe so. I think it is part of my role to sift through and decide what is relevant to them.
Q: Do you see a conflict between those two?
A: Not really. There is a wealth of information that comes from the scientific community that could be passed on to the students . It’s certainly not conceivable that this could be done within the scope of even the entire four years of high school, much less within the one particular subject area.
Q: But if academic freedom for students— Is it a privilege or a right, in your judgment?
A: I haven’t given that thought. Maybe both.
Q: If it’s a privilege or a right, is it a privilege or right to pursue the available information in a discipline?
A: Of that particular discipline.
Q: Is there any absolute to that, in your judgment?
A: I wouldn’t say anything is absolute.
Q: Okay. As absolute as something can be?
A: Perhaps so.
Q: And yet you are telling me and you’ve told this Court that you tempered or in some way modified that based on what is your best judgment as to what science should be taught based on their level, ability and those sorts of things and available concepts that you think have validity
A: It’s part of my job description. That’s what I’m hired for. That’s why I acquired a background in order to be able to do so.
Q: You testified on direct as to portions of the Act and the definition in particular of creation science. You testified under Section 4(a), you testified to 1, 5 and 6, sudden creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing, explanation of the earth’s geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and a relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds. Was it your testimony on direct that those were religious?
A: Yes, I believe they are.
Q: Have you ever done any sort of scientific research
Q: (Continuing) or made any effort as a scientist to see if there is any validity in these?
A: No, I have not. In fact, one of the basis of science is you have to be able to test something, and that doesn’t fit that description.
Q: In definition number 6, “A relatively recent inception of the earth”, what does that mean to you?
A: Well, the time frame is not as important to me as the fact that recent inception seems to indicate that it all happens at one time. The time frame, I don’t think, even all the creationists agree on it, as I understand. But from the literature I read, there again, it’s around ten thousand years.
Q: Wait a minute. You said that it all happened at one time?
A: I believe this is the context of that.
Q: Read 6 to me again, would you?
A: “A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.”
Q: Where do you get in those words the “concept it all happened at one time”?
A: Well, in the total context of Section 4, this is what it’s indicating. That particular thing there, of course, would defy — that particular statement, number 6 — would defy most of the principles and understandings
A: (Continuing) that we have, the theories involving geology and geophysics. There again, I have to rely upon those people to verify whether or not that is a valid statement.
Q: You testified on direct another problem you had with Act 590 was, you didn’t understand what “balanced treatment”
was, is that correct?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And it was your testimony that you figured you’d have to spend about half your time on a counter or alternative explanation that’s based on a creation explanation if you are going to give balanced treatment?
A: That’s correct.
Q: And that is predicated on your personal judgment as an educator?
A: That’s predicated on my interpretation of what “balanced” or “even” means.
Q: Have you ever thought about in terms of implementing this act the concept of teaching the creation explanation that might include a unit that would go two days or three days or a week or two weeks?
A: I guess it could be implemented. It would be against my better judgment as an educator or as a person with some science background.
Q: Why is that?
A: Because it is not science.
Q: Well, I understand your disagreement with Act 590. But assuming there is scientific evidence for 590, the creation explanation of origin, and we are talking now about the implementation which you say gives you pause, problems. As an educator now — let’s rely on your education aspect of your career, experience and formal training — have you ever given a thought to the concept of teaching the creation explanation in lectures of a two or three day or a five day or a week or two week unit?
A: You’re assuming there is scientific evidence, which there isn’t.
Q: I understand. I’d just like you to humor me and make that assumption with me.
A: Hypothetically you are speaking, right?
A: Hypothetically, I guess if there is scientific evidence to support this, then I guess a person could put in a two to three day unit on creationism. To me, that alone, does not give it balance.
Q: It does not?
A: No, sir.
Q: Why not?
A: Because there are numerous references throughout the
A: (Continuing) chapters. For example, numerous references are made to, there again, ancestral inheritance lines, blood lines or what have you, family trees and so forth.
Q: So an explanation of origin with— A creation explanation of origin given in a unit that’s taught and the lectures as a whole does not balance if you don’t do it minute for minute, day for day, time for time?
A: No, sir. As I understand— I believe it’s Section 6— I’m sorry. Section 5.
Q: If you are looking for the definition of balanced treatment, go back to the front of the Act.
A: No, sir. Section 5.
Q: Okay. What about Section 5?
A: I believe it’s in 5. Somewhere within this it says that each lecture does not have to be balanced; that each textbook does not have to be balanced. But at some point in here it does say that on a whole they must be. That does not mean if I give an hour lecture today that I have to divide it in thirty minutes between the two models. It means I give an hour lecture on the theory or the concepts of evolution today, then at some point in time I’ve got to give an hour one on creation science.
Q: As an educator, are you familiar with the concept of
Q: (Continuing) scope and sequence in the classroom, the presentation of materials in a semester or a year? It's a teaching technique. Scope and sequence. Scope the course, sequence the course. Are you familiar with that?
A: Are you talking about the over all plan by which you will teach your students during the school year?
Q: Do you follow that sort of technique and that procedure?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Is that technique and that procedure for you to outline a discussion of all the material in the biology class you will teach, for instance, for the course of a semester or the course for the year?
A: Well, the entire scope is more or less pre-set in my own mind by the time the school year begins. I may modify my sequence based upon the students' ability to grasp concepts and this type thing.
Q: As you construct that sequence in conjunction with the scope, do you intend to give balance to all ideas that are recognized in biology or science?
A: Of course not. We don't even touch on all of the ideas in biology or science,
Q: In the ideas that you teach where there are
Q: (Continuing) conflicting theories, do you attempt to give balance?
A: If there are conflicting theories, and both of those theories, again, comes from the framework of the scientific community, then I think they both have credence and both could and probably should be used.
Q: Do you do that minute per minute in balance?
A: There is no law saying that I have to, either.
Q: As an educator, though, you don't do you?
A: It's within my own personal discretion. If I feel like both of these have merit, and it does have some significance or meaning to my students, then I will do so, yes.
Q: And your interpretation of Act 590 is your interpretation, correct? It hasn't been imposed upon you by any higher authority in the sense of the school district or the school Board or anyone else in terms of what is balanced treatment?
A: I don't understand that question.
Q: Okay. No one has told you from your— Let me back up. Has your principal, has your superintendent, has the school board, the State of Arkansas or the State Department of Education of Arkansas told you what balanced treatment is?
A: No, they have not.
Q: So what you are testifying today is what you think balanced treatment is?
A: Well, I might classify that or categorize that answer. According to this Act right here, the State of Arkansas is telling me, I think, what balanced treatment is.
Q: But it's your definition?
A: It's my interpretation of the statements, yes.
Q: Now, in your educational philosophy, if you teach two ideas in science, in biology, that you think have it validity and merit, do you think you could teach them sound in terms of educational policy or philosophy and not give them minute for minute weight, is that correct?
A: That's correct.
Q: Then why can't you teach a creation explanation alongside an evolution explanation and not give it minute for minute accountability and still reach that balance?
A: Because somewhere in here it does say that they will be given equal treatment as a whole.
Q: In other words, it's your problem, isn't it, Mr . Coward? It's not the State's; it's your problem about how to interpret this Act, is that right?
A: I'm the one that's got to do it.
Q: Now, if someone tells you, if the State tells you what is balanced treatment, you can follow that, can't you?
A: It will have to be much more explicit than it is in
A: (Continuing) Act 590, yes.
Q: If the State told you that the answer to balanced treatment is what you presently do in the classroom now when you weigh out how much time to give to any two conflicting theories in biology, you could accept that and teach it, couldn't you?
A: I think that would be infringing on the right of academic freedom if I did.
A: The same point I made earlier, I don't think the State should mandate within a given classroom that we do or not do anything or say or not say anything.
Q: If the State tells you as a professional, which you've testified that you are a professional competent teacher, as a professional competent teacher, you use your best judgment to teach these two concepts and give them balanced treatment as a whole, can you do that?
A: I could do that if I had concepts that had equal merit.
Q: Assuming that you had concepts that had equal merit in science, can you do that as an educator?
A: I could if the concepts had equal merit, yes.
Q: You said on your direct that balanced treatment requirement of Act 590 affects your credibility as a teacher. I don't understand that. Could you tell me what
Q: (Continuing) that means?
A: Well, there again, I assume "balanced" means being impartial in the eyes of my students; not necessarily taking sides on the issue. I feel like if I try to remain impartial and run this through under the guise of science and try to convince my students that this is science and that this is good science, that it all has credibility, I think they will see through me like pea soup. I think, there again, that that destroys my credibility because they depend upon me as a professional educator for some background in this area, some expertise in this area to really decide what is good and what is valid and what is, more or less, current and what is accepted. I would be having to falsify my viewpoints and guard my words so carefully because they would understand that I was doing this.
Q: I asked you earlier in this cross examination for an explanation of origin. And you gave me an explanation that was predicated on experiments done by Doctor Stanley Miller, right?
A: It's not an explanation of origin, no.
Q: It was a statement of feasibility of origin, is that right?
A: That's correct.
Q: All right. We won't quibble on words. I asked you if your students asked you for an explanation of origin, I think you responded that this was a statement that you made about the feasibility of life evolving from nonlife, is that right?
A: That's correct.
Q: Then I asked you were there any assumptions based on that. What was your answer?
A: I believe there are no assumptions based on that.
Q: Then I asked you, do you know for a fact that the earth's atmosphere contained the elements that you identified or the ones we together tried to identify under Doctor Miller's experiments?
A: I was not there at that time.
Q: That's correct. You were not. Now, you don't know if that's what the earth's atmosphere contained, correct? Do you tell your students that?
A: I tell them that I have to rely upon the best available information.
Q: Do you tell them about the possible inconsistency or inaccuracy or assumption of that experiment that explains the feasibility of life evolving from nonlife? Do you tell them that?
A: Would you restate that?
Q: Yes Do you tell your students when they ask you about the feasibility of life evolving from nonlife, when you tell them about the experiment of Doctor Miller, do you tell them that that experiment may be predicated on the assumption that the elements that were used — ammonia, nitrogen, whatever they were — are assumed to be those that were consistent with the atmosphere at the time that this occurrence occurred four billion years ago or whatever?
A: No, I do not.
Q: Now, if you don't, if I tell your students that, does that affect your credibility with them?
A: That, according to what the geophysicists and geologists tell us, though, those were the conditions at that time based on the best information that I have available to me. As a science educator, I have to rely upon the fact that those were the conditions at that time.
Q: Based on the best information available to you at the time?
A: That's correct.
Q: Now, do you not make that disclaimer to your students?
A: I think it's the general understanding within a classroom that I am not a walking encyclopedia. I did not perform these experimentations or observations myself.
A: (Continuing) They know that I must pull from other resources; that I am strictly the go-between.
Q: Did you not just testify, though, it's a general understanding in your classroom that your students look to you to tell them what is correct in science?
A: They look to me to decide what is the best information available. There again, if there are conflicting evidences, then I normally relate this, too. That's part of the credibility, too. You also have to point out sometimes the fallacy or the flaws of a given hypothesis or whatever.
Q: Do you do it with that one experiment? Do you ever point out the fallacy or the flaws or the possibility of those?
A: I don't think I do on that particular experiment.
Q: Have you ever done it?
A: On that particular experiment?
A: I don't recall.
Q: Have you ever given any other statement about the feasibility of life from nonlife other than based on that experiment?
A: No. Because that is not really relevant to my course content, that subject area.
Q: But when asked, have you ever given any other
Q: (Continuing) explanation?
A: Not that I recollect.
Q: Does that not affect your credibility
A: I don't believe so.
Q: Does that not indicate some sort of prejudicial or propagandist type position in terms of an explanation of origins of life from nonlife?
A: I don't believe so.
MR. CLARK: I have no other questions of this witness, your Honor.
THE COURT: Any redirect?
MR. CLEARLEY: Very briefly.
BY MR. CEARLEY:
Q: Mr. Coward, I've placed Defendants' Exhibit Number 4 back in front of you, which is the entire text of The World of Biology published by McGraw-Hill. Would you look inside the initial flyleaf, please, of that book, Mr. Coward, and tell the Court what the copyright date is on The World of Biology?
A: It's 1974.
Q: Will you turn to the first page in chapter 17. It should be about page 393 or 395.
A: 394, I believe.
Q: I believe there is a statement of chapter learning
Q: (Continuing) objective there, is that correct?
A: Yes, there is.
Q: What is the title of that chapter?
A: "The Origins of Living Systems."
Q: And what's the chapter learning objective?
A: "Chapter learning objective. The student must be able to complete an examination on the process of organic evolution, including its history as a concept, modern evolutionary synthesis, terminology and evidence bearing upon its validity."
Q: Now, turn, if you will, over to the portion of that chapter that Mr. Clark had you read from. It appears, I believe, on page 415. In fact, turn to page 414, if you would, the first full paragraph from the top on page 414. Will you read that, please, sir?
A: "To sum it up, the vast majority of biologists consider the evidence to be overwhelmingly in favor of evolution. That is, that the diversity of organisms is best and most simply explained in terms of evolution. Most scientists, while readily conceding that some of the hypotheses about particular events may have to be modified as new evidence is found, still accept the concept of evolution as one of the most fundamental theories of biology."
Q: And the next paragraph is titled in bold type,
Q: (Continuing) "Creationism". Will you read the first three sentences in that, please, sir?
A: "A few scientists, even today, remain unconvinced, however, holding the view that evolutionary theory does not satisfactorily explain all the facts and that the divine creation of organisms is, at least, as probable. This view is called Creationism is generally ignored in the science textbooks on the grounds that it is not a scientific explanation."
Q: Will you read the next two sentences, please?
A: "Thus far, at least, most of the concepts surrounding Creationism have been of the kind accessible to the techniques of the scientific inquiry."
Q: will you read that sentence again, please, sir, Mr. Coward?
A: "Thus far, at least, most of the concepts surrounding Creationism have not been of the kind accessible to the techniques of the scientific inquiry."
Q: And the next sentence?
A: "Consequently, Creationism is generally held to be an unfalsifiable hypothesis. In the words of an American Association for the Advancement of Science, the statements about Creation that are part of many religions have no place in the domain of science and should not be regarded as reasonable alternatives to the scientific explanations
A: (Continuing) for the origin and evolution of life."
Q: How does the language which you've just read compare to the treatment of creation science and other biology text that you are aware of in which it is presented?
A: I would say that the main thrust of this is the same; that it is generally not accepted. It may be acknowledged or mentioned in a given text, but generally, there is the overall viewpoint that some people might hold this view, but it does not come from the realm of the scientific framework and is not acceptable as an alternative theory to evolution.
Q: Will you look down to the next to the last paragraph in the text on page 414?
Q: Do you see there the second sentence beginning, "For one thing ...
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Will you read that, please, sir?
A: "For one thing, consideration of creationist arguments should help considerably to delineate the nature of science."
Q: How would it do that?
A: I think, there again, it would be the point of confusing students to really what is science and what is not, how do we make scientific investigation and inquiry.
A: (Continuing) I think my students would have a hard time understanding even what science is by the time I got through with the creationist point of view,
Q: Now, Mr. Coward, will you turn over to page 417 of that book, please? Is that the last page in that chapter?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: Does that conclude with a bibliography for further reading?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: Will you read the first two sentences in that first paragraph where it says, "For further reading"? It begins, "A mountainous accumulation ...
A: Okay. "A mountainous accumulation of literature has grown up on the subject of evolution. We have tried to provide only some of the more readable and popular evolutionary works here. Additional references are easily obtained in the card catalogue of any good library. We have taken more pains to obtain a fair sized listing of creationist literature since this is not readily available, and what is available is often irresponsible. Creationist titles are starred."
Q: How does that statement compared with your review of creation literature?
A: It's almost as if I had written it.
Q: And finally, Mr. Coward, will you look down to the
Q: (Continuing) bibliography, which is in alphabetical order, and after Norman MacBeth, tell the Court who is cited there for further reading on creation?
A: It would be John Moore and Harold Slusher, who are the authors of this book.
Q: Which book?
A: I'm sorry. I'm incorrect on that point.
Q: They are the authors of what book as shown?
A: They are authors of the book, Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity.
Q: That's been entered in the record as Plaintiffs' Exhibit 129, is that correct?
A: Yes, that's correct.
MR. CLEARLEY: That's all I have, your Honor.
THE COURT: Anything else, Mr. Clark?
MR. CLARK: Yes, sir. Just one moment.
BY MR. CLARK:
Q: While you have that publication in front, Mr. Coward, there's one little excerpt I'd like for you to read, also. Let's go back to page 414, the final paragraph on that page begins with "finally". Would you read that?
A: "Finally, we cannot imagine that the cause of truth is served by keeping unpopular or minority ideas under
(Continuing) wraps. Today's students are much less inclined than those of former generations to unquestionably accept the pronouncements of authority. Specious arguments can only be exposed by examining them. Nothing is so unscientific as the inquisition mentality that has served, as it thought, the truth, by seeking to suppress or conceal dissent rather than by grappling with it. Therefore, we will briefly state, for those who are interested, several major theses of the creationist position and a few of these questions raised by this dispute. In general, the majority of creationists support their view with most or all of the following arguments."
Q: There's a list of some six or so arguments?
A: Six, I believe.
Q: And on the last page that you read, on page 417 on the various authors, you noted that those materials that were creationist in origin were starred, is that correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: Mr. Coward, I asked you if you'd done any independent research to see if there was any scientific validity to a creation explanation. I think your answer was no. Is that not correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: Would you read now about two thirds of the way down to an article entitled, "Kenyon, Dean Kenyon and Gary
Q: (Continuing) Steinman? What is the title of that?
A: "Biochemical Predestination."
Q: Who is it published by?
A: It's McGraw-Hill in New York.
Q: When is it dated?
Q: If I told you Mr. Kenyon had been on the list of the witnesses the State would call to prove the creation explanation of first life or of origin, would you say that's a noncreationist publication
A: Not necessarily.
Q: Would you say by definition of this text it is?
A: (No response)
Q: It either is or it isn't, Mr. Coward.
A: I'm not sure exactly what you are asking.
Q: This text said that those pieces of literature which were creationist would be starred, did it not?
A: That's correct.
Q: Is that one starred?
A: No, it is not.
Q: Would that be a representation in the scientific community?
A: According to the people who did the starring on this page, yes.
MR. CLARK: Thank you.
THE COURT: You can step down, Mr. Coward. Mr. Cearley?
MR. CLEARLEY: Mr. Bill Wood. Your Honor, Mr. Gary Crawford will handle the direct examination of Mr. Wood.
WILLIAM C. WOOD,
called on behalf of the plaintiffs herein, after having been first duly sworn or affirmed, was examined and testified as follows:
BY MR. CRAWFORD:
Q: Would you state your full name for the record, please?
A: My name is William Carroll Wood.
Q: And would you tell us your age and occupation?
A: I'm 37 years of age. I am a science teacher at John L. McClellan High School in the Pulaski County Special School District.
Q: What is your educational and professional background
A: My educational background is that I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in zoology from the University of Arkansas. I am currently working on my Master's Degree in educational administration at the University of Arkansas. And I have twelve hours of graduate credit in physics