Deposition of Michael E. Ruse - Page 2
predominant theory of philosophy and there are
others which are more of a minor view?
MR. NOVIK: I am not sure I understand
Q. In teaching philosophy, are there
certain views which are considered the more
standard and some are considered more minor?
Q. When you are teaching a minor view, do
you spend as long on a minor view as you might on
one of the more standard views?
A. Depends very much on the context, on
Q. What does the phrase prohibition
against religious instruction mean to you?
A. It means that you don't teach religion,
Q. I would like to direct your attention
to section 4 of the act, please. 4A, first of all
which states that "creation science means the
scientific evidence for creation an inferences
from those scientific evidences," and then below
that as you will see, it lists six separate
Section 4Al states, "sudden creation of
the universe, energy and life from nothing." What
do you consider that to mean?
A. Supernatural intervention by the
Q. Is that consistent with your religious
Q. Are you aware of any scientific
evidence which would support that portion of the
A. It's not science.
Q. That was not my question. Are you
aware of any scientific evidence that would
support that part of the definition?
A. My answer is I don't think it's of the
nature that could have scientific evidence.
Q. The next portion of that definition is
"the insufficiency of mutation and natural
selection in bringing about development of all
living kinds from a single organism."
Could you tell me what that means to
A. What it means?
A. It means that natural selection
differential reproduction of organisms working on
variations which are caused by changes in the
genes, is a mechanism -- if you talk about
sufficiency, it's mechanism sufficiently powerful,
if you talk about insufficiency, not sufficiently
powerful to cause the organisms of the world from
one initial first organism.
Q. Are you aware of any evidence which
supports that portion of the definition, any
A. Which supports insufficiency or
Q. The insufficiency.
Q. What is the evidence which supports
A. I would say that there is evidence of
random factors, quite possibly genetic drift.
These sorts of things.
Q. You feel there is scientific evidence
to support 4A2?
A. Probably. Single organism I don't know.
Q. 3 is the "changes only within fixed
limits of originally created kinds of plants and
animals." What do you understand that to mean?
A. I really don't know what that means.
It's fixed limits. I don't know what. It is too
Q. Then would you have any knowledge of
whether there is any scientific evidence to
support that portion of the definition?
A. As I said, I don't really understand
what fixed limits, I find to be so vague as --
Q. 4 is "separate ancestry for man and
apes." What does that mean to you?
A. It means human beings and things like
chimpanzees, if you go back far enough in time you
don't find an ancestor, common ancestor.
Q. Are you aware of any evidence,
scientific evidence which supports that portion of
A. Separate ancestry?
Q. Are you aware of any inferences from
scientific evidence which would support that
definition? Again, I am not asking you whether
you personally agree with these.
A. It depends. If separate ancestry
implies something -- does this imply nothing about
causes or not?
Q. Let's just take it on its face. I am
asking you what it means to you in the first
A. If it means something to do with causes,
miraculous causes, then my answer again is this is
something which I don't think could be subject to
scientific proof or disproof.
Q. We are looking just at part 4 there and
there is nothing mentioned about a miraculous
cause. If that is not included --
A. It's just a phenominal statement?
A. Them my answer is I do not know of any
Q. 5 is "explanation of the earth's
geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence
of world wide flood." What does this portion of
the definition mean to you?
Q. Do you think all catastrophic events
are miracles or implied miracles?
A. It's a loose word. It certainly has
meant that in the past.
Q. Are you aware of whether it still
maintains that meaning today?
A. In my readings of the scientific
creationists, I find it does.
Q. Are you aware of whether it maintains
that readings with geologists generally?
A. I am not sure this is a word that
geologists word use in this sort of sense.
A. You would have to show me specific
cases of geologists using it.
Q. 6 is, "a relatively recent inception of
the earth and living kinds." What does that mean
A. It's so vague as to be virtually
Q. Are you aware of any evidence which
A. As it stands here, I find it so vague
to be meaningless. As I read it in the scientific
creationist's works, again I find it to be
religious and not something subject to scientific
Q. Turning our attention then to evolution
sciences. The first part of that definition
states the emergence by naturalistic processes of
the universe from disordered matter, and emergence
of life from nonlife. What does that mean to you?
A. I am not sure about what the word
emergence means in this sort of context.
Emergence, does this mean some sort of higher form?
The word emergence to me is again a word I am not
sure that I would use. Something comes out of the
water. Naturalistic processes mean blind, unguided
law. Life being produced, if you want to say life
being produced from nonlife by blind law.
Q. Are you aware of scientific evidence
which supports this statement?
A. I know of evidence which bears upon it.
Q. Bears upon it in favor or against it?
A. Bears upon it favorably. As I say, I
don't like the word emergence in that context.
Q. Would this statement be consistent with
your religious beliefs?
Q. 2 is "the sufficiency of mutation and
natural selection in bringing about development of
present living kinds from simple earlier kinds."
What does this statement mean to you, Dr. Ruse?
A. It means the, that natural selection
differential reproduction of organisms working on
random variations can bring about the organisms of
Q. Is there scientific evidence in support
of this portion of the definition?
A. Sufficiency, if you mean total
sufficiency, the answer is no.
Q. Is this statement consistent with your
A. What, the false statement?
A. Something I consider false isn't really
consistent with anything I believe.
Q. You said the false statement. I
thought you said full statement.
A. Sufficiency, I don't subscribe to
Q. You mean as used here?
A. I don't subscribe to statement 2.
Q. 3, it says "emergency," but I think we
can agree that is a typo, and, "by mutation and
natural selection of present living kinds from
simple earlier kinds." What does that statement
mean to you?
A. It means more or less the same that 2
means. I would have thought that organisms -- I
suppose 2 says that sufficient and 3 says that
they did in fact occur through differential
reproduction working on random variation.
Q. Is there scientific evidence to support
A. Again, I don't like the word emergence
in this context. There is, if you say all living
kinds came only by that process, I would have said
Q. It doesn't on the face of it seem to
say that all living kinds came by that process, to
me. Does it to you?
A. If it doesn't -- yes, I think it does,
Q. 4, is the "emergence of man from a
common ancestor with apes." What does this
statement mean to you?
A. Again, I don't like the word emergence.
But I take it that it means that human beings and
present living higher apes like chimpanzees have
Q. Is there scientific evidence which
supports this portion of the definition?
A. I think there is evidence which points
in this direction, certainly, yes.
Q. Is this statement consistent with your
own personal religious beliefs?
A. Yes. As much as I qualified the word
Q. "5, explanation of the earth's geology
and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism."
What does this mean to you?
A. Again, I find it difficult because of
the term uniformitarianism which has been used in
many different ways. If you mean by natural
causes, I -- if that is what it means.
Q. What does uniformitarianism mean to you?
A. How can I put it? What does it mean to
me or what has it meant to people?
Q. What does it mean to you personally?
A. Inasmuch as I mean uniformitarianism --
to me, uniformitarianism has to be defined in the
terms of what particular scientist who is using it
means. In other words, what I am saying is, it
doesn't mean one thing exactly to me. You have to
tell me who is using the term.
Q. Can you define uniformitarianism?
A. I can give a definition. Again, you
are not asking me as a geologist. I presume you
are asking me as an historian of science. What it
meant to Charles Lyell were causes of the same
kind, same intensity. And an unchanging world. A
steady state world.
Q. Are you aware of scientific evidence
which supports this portion of the definition?
A. If you mean it in those terms, Lyell's
terms, then I wouldn't accept it.
Q. Is there a more commonly accepted
definition for uniformitarianism?
A. If you mean same cause or causes of a
kind which se see around us today, effective or
same natural laws or something like that, then
subject to the fact that in the past you can have
different conditions -- preplate techtonic
situations, then I think that would make the
position that I think that the average geologist
today would subscribe to, and I would, too.
Q. What does preplate techtonic situations
A. I think what goes on in the world at
the moment might not necessarily be the way things
came together and worked in the past. It doesn't
mean to say, what I am saying that doesn't mean to
say that the laws as such are violated. It's just
that you got different conditions working when the
earth is molten instead of when the earth is now
in its present state.
Q. Does that mean that different laws of
nature and the --
A. That's the very point I was trying to
avoid saying. I was saying you have a different
situation. Same laws. Different situation.
Q. Uniformitarianism have a definition to
you, the idea that the same laws of nature which
are now in effect were and always have been in
A. If that is what you mean by
uniformitarianism, it can have that meaning and I
Q. Can it have that meaning in your mind?
A. It can certainly have that meaning in
Q. Given that definition, are you aware of
scientific evidence which supports this?
Q. And given that definition, would this
portion of the definition of evolution science be
consistent with your religious beliefs?
A. I am not happy with the term evolution
Q. That is the term that the act has. We
have to discuss those terms.
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me. You have made a
point of asking the witness his views as to each
of these items extracted as single units from the
statute. Your reference to the phrase evolution
science is an attempt to put this back into the
context of the statute, which the witness has
MR. WILLIAMS: I am not trying to
attach more significance. I was really trying to
reference the definition.
Q. This portion that we have read, just
that portion 5, is that consistent with your
A. In the way that we have finally worked
it out, yes.
Q. 6 is, "an inception several billion
years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life."
What does that mean to you?
A. That means that the earth started a
long time ago and that life appeared on earth for
some reason or by some cause, again presumably in
Q. Is that statement consistent with your
Q. As you read or have read Act 590 have
you read anything in there which, in your opinion,
would prohibit a teacher from expressing their
professional opinion as to the validity of either
evolution science or creation science as they are
defined in the act?
A. I am not quite sure I follow that
Q. In Act 590 as you read it, is there
anything in there which would prohibit a teacher
from expressing his or her professional opinion
concerning the validity of either the theory of
origin, which are covered by the act?
A. I see what you mean. To my way of
thinking, I think yes. I would want to say.
A. I look upon having to teach something
that you don't want to teach as a prohibition in
that sort of sense.
Q. A prohibition on expressing their --
A. If I am made to say things which I
don't agree with, then I look upon that as a sort
of a prohibition in the sense of not being allowed
to say things which I do agree with. I mean
subject to not allowing me to teach what you don't
want to. We have so many double negatives going
Q. My question is, is there anything in
the act which would tell the teacher you can't say
for example that I think that creation science is
not scientifically valid or I think that evolution
science is not scientifically valid?
MR. NOVIK: This is the third time you
have asked this question. He has given his answer.
MR. WILLIAMS: I don't think I have
gotten an answer to the question yet.
Q. Dr. Ruse, you can answer the question.
A. I run into the question of balance
treatment now. If a teacher were to teach
creation or were to have to teach creation science,
which as I say I don't look upon as science, I
think it would be extremely -- and -- extremely
difficult to say, for the teacher to say, to be
given a balanced treatment if the teacher were
introducing it and denying it all the way through
just flatly. I think a balanced treatment --
well, that's it.
Q. In teaching the various philosophy
courses that you do teach, do you at times ever
teach or discuss theories or philosophies that you
don't personally agree with?
Q. Do you think that a teacher should
teach only those things that he or she agrees with?
Q. In teaching philosophy, are there
philosophies which you think are at greater weight
or more valid than other philosophies?
Q. What is academic freedom, to you?
A. I think it's something which means the
teacher and the student and parents involved have
the right to express and explore ideas free from
Q. What do you mean by ideological
A. Well, for example, if a teacher were a
socialist, I would think that academic freedom
should protect him from the capitalist
superintendent of schools.
Q. If I understand your answer, you don't
mean that a teacher has to totally divorce
themselves from their ideological beliefs in
teaching, do you?
A. No, no. What I mean is that a teacher
and students and parents have the right to their
beliefs, within certain constraints.
Q. What are those constraints?
A. Suppose a teacher believed in
pedophilia, in other words, believed that it was
acceptable or morally right to sleep with small
children. Then I think I would say that --
academic freedom would not protect the teacher,
allow the teacher to preach this, this sort of
Q. Academic freedom is not an absolute?
A. I think it is an absolute notion, but I
don't think it's something without any -- I think
you would have to qualify it to spell it out.
Q. How can academic freedom be limited?
A. I think by higher moral considerations.
If it violates the integrity or rights of an
individual, or this sort of thing.
Q. What other moral considerations would
justify a limitation on academic freedom?
A. In some sort of overall sense,
happiness as well we are talking about, like two
basic moral concerns.
Q. How do you determine when the teaching
of some particular notion would violate, I think
you said, the integrity of an individual?
A. Of course, one draws on experience.
Rarely if ever does one come into a situation cold.
And one can look back on past experience and these
sort of things.
Q. To make a decision as to whether
teaching something violates the integrity of an
individual, is that an objective assessment?
A. I think one is working with objective
sense of values, surely. But human beings are
Q. Might two people differ on what
teaching would in fact violate the integrity of an
A. They could.
Q. In fact, would people would, more than
A. Not more than likely.
Q. In your opinion, may the state
prescribe the curriculum for secondary schools?
A. The curriculum?
Q. In your opinion, should the classroom
in a secondary school be open to all academic
A. What does academic mean in this context?
Q. Well --
A. Every idea? Every idea that people in
the state have held?
Q. What do you consider academic
discussion to mean?
A. I mean the broad, general knowledge
that we ourselves have developed and our parents
and the general consensus, sifted through
Q. Given that definition, do you think the
classroom in a secondary school should be open to
all academic discussion?
A. If we are talking about in the terms of
consensus, yes. In the discipline.
Q. Perhaps I am having a problem
understanding what you mean by consensus. Could
you elaborate for me on that?
A. What I mean is, I wouldn't allow
religion to be taught in science classs, for
example. The consensus of professional scientists
sifted through certain ideas or let's say medical
people, then for example I wouldn't allow, shall I
say, Christian Scientists to give courses at
Q. Do you think that if a science teacher
having reviewed all the evidence and data
available to him decides that creation science is
a valid scientific alternative to evolution, that
that teacher should have the right to teach that
in the classroom?
Q. Why not?
A. Because it's not science.
Q. Assuming you were to be presented with
scientific evidence which supported creation
science, could you accept creation science as a
A. You are asking me an impossible
question, because you are asking me for scientific
evidence for a nonscientific position.
Q. I am asking you, and I am asking you to
assume, please understand --
A. I can't assume it because it is
Q. If a competent, well skilled scientist
came to you and presented to you evidence for
creation science, scientific evidence --
A. It's impossible.
Q. I am not asking you if it is possible.
I am asking you if it in fact happened.
MR. NOVIK: The question, there is a
fallacy in the question. The witness is trying to
point it out. The question assumes that it is
possible to do what the hypothetical suggests.
The witness has stated now three times that he
doesn't believe it is possible or that the
question can be assumed. He is not answering it.
Perhaps a different line of inquiry might be
Q. Dr. Ruse, what you are saying, as I
understand it, is simply that no matter how much
evidence might be presented to you, you could not
accept creation science as science? Is that
A. As I say, the evidence, as such, is
irrelevant. I cannot accept creation science as
Q. Why do you say that it is an
impossibility to have scientific evidence for
A. Because creation science relies on the
Q. Why do you say creation science relies
on the supernatural?
A. Because every work by a creation
scientist that I have read invokes the creator at
some point. Which then is outside law.
Q. Why does the creator necessarily imply
something outside natural law?
A. It's a question of definition, for
starters. But it's also stated quite explicitly
by creation scientists.
Q. It is stated in Act 590?
A. Not in Act 590.
Q. So you are being influenced by what you
have read on creation science other than Act 590?
A. Let me qualify that. If you ask me is
it in Act 590 literally, no. My reading of Act
590, the only way I can make sense of it, is by
the notion of the creator.
Q. I think you changed terms.
A. I am qualifying it. I am putting in a
second clause. Not changed. Extended.
Q. You were talking about supernatural and
now you mentioned a creator.
A. I am sorry. Supernatural intervention
by a force outside the natural cause of things,
called as a creator.
Q. If there were -- assuming there were
scientific evidence for creation science --
MR. NOVIK: The witness has already
responded to that assumption on three separate
occasions. And I have let him give that answer on
three separate times now. I think it is unfair to
continue to use that hypothetical in your question.
You are questioning his objection to it.
MR. WILLIAMS: You may be right.
Q. Let me ask you this: Do you have any
objection to all scientific evidence on the theory
of origins being presented in the classroom?
A. All scientific evidence?
A. I have no objection at all. At the
Q. Do you feel that high school students
can appreciate different theories of origin?
Q. Appreciate, distinguish.
A. I would say upper level ones, yes.
Q. How do you define evolution?
A. A continuous development, succession of
forms, organisms from one or a few number, early,
back in life history through natural processes up
to the present. That's organic evolution.
Q. As distinguished from what?
A. Inorganic evolution.
Q. What is inorganic evolution?
A. The belief that the universe had
evolved. The nebular hypothesis.
Q. The big bang?
A. Or whatever. I am not sure whether I
want to use the term evolution in terms of big
bang. I am not a master physicist.
Q. Is there a difference in your mind
between a theory and a model?
A. Yes, I think I can draw a distinction.
Q. What is the distinction?
A. I think models are small pictures or
small stories that a scientist, in a particular
context theory, as the overall, what shall I say,
set of the models.
Q. A theory is larger than a model?
A. More comprehensive in some sense. Yes,
they are technical terms. Different philosophers
or different scientists would use them in
Q. Some might use them interchangeably?
Q. Is the theory of evolution or the
evolution model, if you will, observable?
A. A theory isn't observable. A theory is
a set of claims. That is not observable.
Q. Why is a theory not observable?
A. The theory is not the sort of thing
that could be observable.
Q. Is evidence for the theory of evolution
A. Evidence, yes.
Q. Is the theory of evolution testable?
A. From inferences that one can draw from
it and check against the world.
Q. Is the theory of evolution falsifiable?
A. What do you mean by the theory of
Q. I am content at this point to use your
definition for organic evolution.
A. Without regard to some specific
A. Is it falsifiable, you asked me?
Q. Yes, that is the question.
Q. How is the theory of evolution
A. Again, I don't want to be awkward, but
it's a little difficult without specifying a
little more about mechanisms to know what sort of
specific claims one might make. For example,
Darwin's theory and Lemarck's theory are separate.
What might falsify one theory might not falsify
another. As we get specific, I think I would have
to have a little more.
Q. Is the theory of evolution repeatable?
A. Again, if you just use the term the
theory of evolution, it's difficult to know quite
what you mean. Some theories have allowed that.
Q. Some theories of evolution have allowed
it, you mean?
Q. Are you aware of whether there are
scientists who feel that the theory of evolution
cannot be falsified?
A. Some scientists have made some claims
to that effect, about some parts.
Q. Are you aware of whether some
scientists have said that no genuine evidence can
be found in favor of the theory of evolution?
A. Can be found in favor of it or can be
Q. In favor of the theory.
A. Some scientists said there is no
genuine evidence in favor of it?
A. I can't recollect scientists who said
there is none at all. But it's possible.
Q. What about Manser?
A. He is not a scientist.
Q. What is he?
A. A philosopher.
Q. A philosopher, then. Are there other
philosophers who have said that the theory cannot
A. There are philosophers who have said
Q. Are these philosophers creation
Q. While you may differ perhaps with him
on opinions, would you respect someone like Manser?
A. As a philosopher I could respect him.
Not necessarily as a philosopher of science.
Q. The point is, that experts in the field
of philosophy of science differ, do they not, on
whether the theory of evolution is falsifiable?
MR. NOVIK: You have used experts in
the plural; is that right?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
MR. NOVIK: You have only cited one.
Do you know of others?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am asking him.
MR. NOVIK: Is that the question,
whether more than one expert believes --
MR. WILLIAMS: That's right.
A. You are asking me about today?
Q. Let's start with today.
A. I am not sure.
Q. Have there been more than one expert in
the last 20 years?
MR. NOVIK: By expert, do you mean
MR. WILLIAMS: Expert in the area of
philosophy of science.
A. Not philosophy of biology.
Q. Who are the experts in the philosophy
of science who have held this view that the theory
of evolution is not falsifiable?
A. Popper, Carl Popper.
Q. Would you regard Popper as the foremost
philosopher of science?
Q. He is regarded by some?
Q. In that role, is he not?
Q. Popper, wasn't he the one that said
that evolution is a metaphysical research program?
Q. What does a metaphysical research
program mean to you?
A. To me it doesn't mean very much. To
Popper it meant some sort of overall guide for
formulating theories which itself would not be a
scientific theory but sort of a conceptual
framework into which you would fit one.
Q. Popper, as you understood his thought,
felt that the theory of evolution was not overall
a scientific theory?
A. He thought that the Darwinian theory
Q. Who else besides Popper?
A. Medawar, he's got certainly
philosophical pretensions. Other philosophers --
not too much.
Q. What did Manser say? Did he not hold
A. Yes. Manser certainly held that
position. He is not a philosopher of science.
Q. What is his area of expertise?
Q. What about Goudge?
He was a philosopher of science. He is
a philosopher of science.
Q. What was his position on the
falsifiability of the theory of evolution?
A. I think he thinks that it's falsifiable.
Q. Is criticism of a scientific theory
Q. Do you think that the theory of
evolution should be critized?
A. You keep saying "the theory of
evolution." You mean one particular theory?
Q. Does that have a meaning to you, the
theory of evolution?
A. If you mean, most people I guess
without qualification, I would mean some form of
Darwinism. If that is what you mean, yes, I think
it should be open to criticism.
Q. Is the evolution theory of origins an
unquestionable fact of science?
A. Origins? What do you mean by origins?
Q. Origin of the universe, the earth, of
life and man?
A. That's a big grab bag.
Q. I understand that.
MR. NOVIK: What was the question?
Q. Is the theory of -- is the evolution
theory of origins of the universe, of the earth,
of life and man an unquestionable fact of science?
MR. NOVIK: If there is an evolutionary
theory of origins in the way you have defined it,
then the witness can answer, if he understands it.
A. Well, yes. I think that the evolution
of organisms is a genuine theory.
Q. Is at unquestionable fact of science?
A. I don't quite know what that would mean,
an unquestionable fact of science. It's a genuine
Q. You would not agree with the statement
that it is an unquestionable fact of science?
A. I don't see theories as being
unquestionable facts. Nothing is unquestionable.
Q. Does the theory of evolution presuppose
A. No -- well, depends what you mean by
Q. You previously used, I think, creator
as some sort of supernatural intervention?
A. The theory of evolution carried through
consistently, in its modern form, precludes an
Q. In teaching the theory of evolution in
its modern form, is it required that substantial
emphasis be given to the preclusion of a creator?
Q. Is the concept of a creator an
inherently religious concept to you?
A. Because it deals with the supernatural,
outside natural law.
Q. If the creation theory of origins could
be discussed in the classroom free of any
religious references, would you oppose its
A. It can't.
Q. I understand that's how you feel. But
if it could --
A. I don't think it could be.
Q. What is teleology?
A. It's understanding in terms of future
or ends rather than initial causes.
Q. It seems like I have heard or read one
time, the concept of teleology is the hand, the
hand is made for grasping. Could you give me an
idea of what that was and just refresh my own
memory on it?
A. A teleological explanation of the hand
would be contrasted with a normal causal
explanation. A normal causal explanation would be
in prior causes, how the hand grew and what made
it grow. A teleological explanation would be one
which in terms of what function or what end does
the hand serve.
Q. Have teleological explanations
traditionally been or had theological implications?
A. Until 1859.
Q. Do you consider the concept of
teleology to have religious overtones?
A. Not necessarily.
Q. It's possible, is it not, to have a
theological teleology and a nontheological
Q. How do you distinguish the two?
A. A theological one is done in terms of
God's intention, God's purpose, God's design. A
nonteleological one -- a nontheological, sorry,
would be one which still looks at things in terms
of the ends but doesn't impute some sort of great
designer in the sky.
Q. Could you enlarge upon the
A. Yes. I think Darwin himself admitted
to being a teleologist. I think a lot of modern
biologists think of themselves as teleologists,
although today they often use the term teleonomy
to give a non -- to show it's a non --
Q. Why do they use that term?
A. To show they are using the sense of
teleology without theological connotations.
Q. Trying to overcome the semantical
A. Right. Teleological explanation in
today's terms would be someone who said I am
trying to explain why do we have what shall we say
is the tail on the back of the dinosaur, or what
is the purpose, what end. I think most of them
would want to translate this out in terms of
natural selection. What function does it serve.
But as I say, there wouldn't be any implication
that God had especially intervened or put it on
the drawing board.
Q. You said teleology is or is not a
byproduct of natural selection?
A. I think inasmuch as a scientist uses it,
a biologist uses it today, I think it is connected
to natural selection. I think. Much discussed by
Q. Is there a dispute over that?
A. Not on theology.
Q. Not on theology but?
A. But on the exact, on packing.
Q. I think you said that the theological
teleology continued to 1859?
A. It went on after that, but that is the
Q. That is the date origin of the
A. On the ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES.
Q. Was written. What is faith to you?
A. Some sort of commitment or belief which
transcends or is other than reason in some way.
It transcends, is not the word I want. Other than
reason, some sort of commitment to a belief for
which there is neither empirical nor logical
evidence. At least -- which is arrived at other
than that. One can have both.
Q. Do you think there is any faith placed
in some in the theory of evolution?
A. I wouldn't want to deny that some
scientists sometimes have gone beyond the evidence.
As -- but again to go back to my term of consensus,
no. I wouldn't use the word faith in that context.
Q. By the term "consensus," you don't mean
unanimous, do you?
A. No. I take it you are asking me
whether the average biologist believes in
evolution through scientific reason or faith.
Q. I am not really asking that question.
I am asking you when you use the term
consensus, you said some people have gone beyond
the data or the evidence. By the term consensus,
you mean not each and every scientist or biologist?
A. The well sifted experience of the
Q. The predominant school of sort?
Q. Before 1859, was there a nontheological
A. I think that people like Darwin and
there were others who were working on the idea.
Darwin had the idea for 20 years.
Q. But at some point prior to 1859 or
prior there to, teleology was considered to be an
inherently religious concept, wasn't it?
A. I would -- yes, I think I would say
that is a fair comment. By 1859 I don't mean an
Q. I understand.
Dr. Ruse, your article that you wrote
entitled -- perhaps it's a book -- THE REVOLUTION
Q. Is it a book?
A. That was an article I wrote in 1969.
Or 1968, I wrote it.
Q. What is the general -- could you give
me the idea what it was about?
A. It was the first one I ever wrote.
Q. First article that you wrote?
A. Yes. It's an analysis of Kuhn's, the
philosopher or historian and philosopher, and his
book structure of scientific revolutions, put
forward a theory of scientific change. Which is
relativistic. What I was trying to do was analyze
it and show that it wasn't right.
Q. When you use the term relativistic
applying to his notion, what did you mean by that?
A. Kuhn's theory which I don't think he
holds to today, was that scientists have a
particular paradigm, a particular conceptual
framework, and that when they change their minds
they do it for reasons which are often not simply
a question of looking at the facts and deciding on
these. To a certain extent one's beliefs define
the evidence. So Kuhn argued that one has a sort
of a switch, revolution.
Q. A conversion?
A. I think he may well use that term.
It's not a position to which I subscribed at that
Q. When you wrote the article, you are
A. Right. And on out.
Q. I think you said that you don't believe
that Kuhn still holds to that position.
Q. Has he recanted?
A. Taken quite a bit back.
Q. How has he modified his position, as
you understand it?
A. I think that now, you would allow a
much bigger place for cross communication between
scientists and different paradigms, and more,
shall I say more weight to more objective evidence.
And shared rules.
Q. Has he changed his basic notion of that
a paradigm arises and attracts a number of
adherents and then all evidence or all work to
support that paradigm until someone breaks out and
tries to establish a new one?
A. He certainly changed it to the extent
that it's now clear that paradigm can involve a
much smaller group of scientists than we thought
A. Smaller group. Almost tow or three
gathered together can constitute a paradigm. It's
much more of a microtheory rather than that sort
of global position that all scientists hold and
then switch to.
Q. What are the other criteria by which he
would measure a paradigm?
A. He uses sociological terms, as you
pointed out. That you accept a certain work, or
that sort of thing. That you accept certain basic
positions and then work from within this. And try
and solve puzzles as he says within the basic
position and holding to your basic beliefs.
Trying to work around the evidence.
Q. Is part of his idea that when the
evidence doesn't fit the model or the paradigm,
then you start tinkering with it and modifying the
paradigm a bit?
A. Certainly was, yes.
Q. Is it still?
A. He has modified his position, as I say.
I am not sure.
Q. Is there any publication that you can
recall right offhand where he has modified this
A. Yes. A book edited by Fried Suppe.
It's a collection with an article by Kuhn. THE
STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES.
A. I am sorry. It's an edited collection
by Fred Suppe, called the structure of scientific
theories. Kuhn has some comments there. There
are other places, as well. But that is one place
Q. While you would differ, as I understand
it with Kuhn in some particulars, would you
recognize his work as being authoritative?
A. What does authoritative mean?
Q. Authoritative, recognized as an
A. As an authority, yes. Authoritative --
Q. By authoritative, I don't mean to imply
that it's the final word in the sort of absolute
A. I would prefer to use the word
Q. With whom did you have a debate that
was reduced to video tape?
A. Lane Lester, I debated with.
Q. When did that debate occur?
A. A month, six weeks ago.
A. On the TV Ontario. That's our
equivalent to PBS, in Toronto.
Q. Who is Lane Lester?
A. He teaches, I think, at some Christian
college in Tennessee or somewhere like that. He
is a professor of biology there. If not Tennessee,
one of --
Q. How many minutes did you have in the
A. It's not a debate as such. It's a host
and two people and you put the position and then
people phone in. It's a 60 minute tape altogether.
Q. Do you have a transcript of this?
A. I don't, no.
Q. Are transcripts available?
A. Not to the best of my knowledge.
Q. Do you recall what you said during this
Q. Could you give me kind of a summary of
some of the things which you said about creation
science during the debate?
A. I said it wasn't science and that as
such, shouldn't be taught in science class rooms.
Q. How do you define science?
A. I think the most important thing is an
appeal to natural law.
Q. An appeal to natural law?
A. That scientists work by trying to bring
phenomena beneath natural laws. This has
Q. If there are things about the natural
law -- are there things about natural laws that we
don't understand yet?
A. That we don't understand?
A. I am not sure how you could answer that
Q. Do you think -- do you think we reached
the maximum potential in understanding the natural
A. The natural law, no. All natural
Q. All natural laws?
A. Certainly not.
Q. You stated in one of your books, I
believe, that the modern synthesis theory of
evolution has been proved beyond a reasonable
MR. NOVIK: Are you quoting?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am paraphrasing.
MR. NOVIK: Do you know which book you
MR. WILLIAMS: I really don't recall
A. I think that aspects of it are
certainly proven. That doesn't mean to say that
new evidence can't come up or something like that.
Q. THE PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY, page 121,
you stated, "Because of all the evidence taken
together the truth of the synthesis theory in the
sense discussed at the beginning of the chapter
and the falsity of its rules is beyond reasonable
MR. NOVIK: Before you answer, can I
(Handing document to counsel.)
Q. On what do you base your opinion that
the truth of the synthetic theory is beyond a
A. In terms of the evidence that we have.
You got to understand that I am talking about
things like morphological characteristics, the
hand and the eye. I am not talking about
molecular biology. It is a qualified sentence.
Q. When you use the term "synthetic
theory," what do you mean that to mean?
A. I am talking about Darwinian theory of
evolution through natural selection as the cause
of thinks like the hand, the eye, so on and so
forth. I am not implying that everything -- I am
not ruling out the logical possibility of genetic
drift, I am not talking about molecular effects as
such, or something like that. When I use a term
like beyond reasonable doubt, I deliberately drew
the analogy with the legal position in the sense
that we have to make decisions to go along with
things. As you know in court cases, sometimes
evidence gets re-opened and something new comes up.
I am not arguing beyond reasonable doubt in the
sense of 2 plus 2 equals 4 logically could never
be disproved or the case could never be reopened.
Q. Have you changed your opinion on this
point since you wrote this book?
A. That the hand, the eye --
Q. No. The synthetic theory of evolution?
A. As much as it applied then I would
Q. Does the modern synthetic theory as you
understand it involve the slow and gradual change
over time --
A. How gradual is slow and gradual?
Q. I am not trying to put any limits on
those terms. As I understand it, that has been
part of the modern synthesis theory; is that not
A. There is some debate about that and I --
as you know, and I don't think that the level of
the synthetic theory that I am talking about there,
I certainly wasn't taking on that issue.
Q. Again, maybe I don't understand what
you meant by the synthetic theory here.
A. I mean evolution through natural
selection leads to things like the hand and the
eye, is beyond reasonable doubt in a sense that we
would use it in a court of law. It doesn't mean
that it's logically necessary or that one is
ruling out the possibility that anything ever
would make you change your mind. I mean I
deliberately used that analogy. What I meant by
it is that this is something that we as reasonable
human beings now learn to accept and get on about
our business, as it were.
Q. Close the case, so to speak?
A. Close the case. One can always open a
case in a court of law. What I mean is, that you
don't spend your time worrying about it.
Q. This appears to me to kind of, if you
will, fit into Kuhn's notion of the paradigm. The
paradigm has been accepted and we cease to really
look at some of the underlying assumptions or
potential problems that have gone to support the
paradigm. Would you agree with that?
A. We cease to look at them. We quit
bothering about them or something like that. Yes.
I don't think Kuhn is completely wrong. What I
was talking about with Kuhn was change.
Q. Are there any assumptions which
underlie the modern synthetic theory of evolution?
A. What do you mean by assumptions?
Q. The premises.
A. The laws of logic for example.
Q. Could you be more specific than the
laws of logic?
A. In order to do science at all, you have
to make certain implications or make certain
things about science, about mathematics, for
example. I certainly think that those assumptions
are presupposed. I think you have to make
scientists as a scientist assume that there are
laws to be found. That is part of the scientific
method. One makes certain assumptions about say
the nature of deduction or inference. A implies B
or something like that. I mean all of those sorts
of things. That I mean as a scientist, I think
one makes certain, how shall I say, accepts
certain rules of play. Testability,
falsifiability. These sorts of things.
Q. Is there an assumption in organic
Q. The question I think is is there an
assumption in evolution, organic evolution, I am
talking about now, for example that life emerged
A. I am not sure that there is an organic
evolution, no. I think that is a separate