Deposition of Michael E. Ruse - Page 3
Q. How would you classify that?
A. Perhaps it's sort of inorganic to
organic. But from the point of view of an
evolutionary theory, one doesn't get into that as
Q. Are you familiar with a book by Kerkut
called THE IMPLICATIONS OF EVOLUTION at all?
A. I know the title, I am not sure that I
have ever read it. Certainly the title I know of.
Q. He makes, to broadly paraphrase it, it
is my understanding of his book in which he
discusses some of the implications, some of the
assumptions of evolution, that because of the
assumptions involved in it, and because we have a
fairly uniform system of education where everyone
learns the same thing,, the theory of evolution is
taught and the assumptions are not really stressed.
The assumptions then become re-enforced
because everyone learns them to the point that
when you get from secondary school to college and
really in an area where you could do some research,
scientists are perhaps unable to give a fresh
appraisal to the evidence because of this kind of
process that he talks about. Have you ever
thought about that?
Q. Do you think there is any merit to that?
A. I think it could certainly be true of
individual scientists. I think you better draw a
distinction between being prepared to, if cause
arises, and spending every day doing so. The
scientist as a scientist has to get on with his or
her job. Just as you as a lawyer have to.
MR. NOVIK: I am a bit confused. You
are referring to this book that the witness has
never read. You are talking about assumptions
that the author claims are part of evolutionary
theory; is that right?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am not trying to get
this witness to adopt those assumptions. I am
merely talking about an overall idea about the way
in which scientists perhaps approach the subject.
Whether ever thought about this idea. I am not
trying to tie him down to the book.
MR. NOVIK: Or the underlying
MR. WILLIAMS: No. I was trying to
give some background. For purposes of background
rather than trying to talk him down to it. I am
in no way trying to do that or have him adopt
Q. I think another concept which I have
heard mentioned is for some of these reasons that
perhaps the study of "scientific heresies" should
be encouraged. Have you thought about that?
MR. NOVIK: Does this come from the
same author, also?
MR. WILLIAMS: I think it does.
A. Of course, it depends what you mean by
heresy. My position is as follows: I think that
science is an enterprise like other aspects of
life. Like the law. I think that certainly you
work on ideas and you try them out, you explore
them. They work, you can take a pragmatic
position or you can in some sense encode them.
Then there comes a point when you don't spend your
time worrying about them all the time. As I say,
whether it be Constitution or some sort of basic
claims. That does not mean that -- I think good
science means working from this and going ahead.
That does not mean that you should never look at
them again or that there never comes a time to
look at them again or beyond reasonable doubt that
there comes a time one could never open up the
case again. Certainly. My point that I make here
I would accept with Kuhn, I think, that it is not
unreasonable, not a question of faith in any
religious sense, to assume certain basic sort of
things have now been established. Let's get on
with the job. Not start from scratch every Monday
Q. Would it be fair to kind of talk about
it in the sense that there is a base there and
that you are talking about the base has been
established, let's build on it rather than always
trying to see if the base is correct?
A. Right. It doesn't mean that you never
can look at the base again or in teaching, you
talk about heresies. One of the reasons I think
history of science is very good for students is
that they do invoke -- you do introduce them to
some of the earlier ideas in life. But if you say
to me is it good teaching to introduce Balakovsky
in every physics class, no.
Q. As an example of the idea you are
talking about of going on, saying this has been
established, let's get on about the business, it's
my understanding from my very limited knowledge
about the history of science, that the geocentric
theory of the universe predicted within 98 degree
of accuracy some of the orbits of the planets and
stars. Not stars, but orbits of the planets and
of the moon; is that correct?
A. Probably can now. I am not sure
Ptolemy ever did.
Q. With that degree of accuracy, would
that have been a basis for just going on and
furthering that model of that paradigm rather than
looking at the underlying basis?
A. No. Because there were serious
conceptual differences with the Ptolemy theory.
Q. Where do you determine where the
serious conceptual difficulties are, if there are?
A. In the Ptolemy theory, for example, the
only way you could explain the planets going
backwards, retrogressing -- Ptolemy did it through
epicycles, and this didn't fit in with the causal
connection of crystal spheres. So one had serious
internal contradictions within the theory. Which
Copernicus was at pains to remove. And unanswered
questions within the theory about the inferior and
Q. Explain to me why, first of all, is it
true when you start defining what is science and
what is biology, that this is a philosophical
input rather than a scientific one?
A. Yes, and historical.
Q. Why is that a philosophical inquiry?
A. I guess it's a question in the nature
of the philosophy. Philosophy is a second order
discipline. We are not scientists, we are looking
at the methods, concepts that -- ideas of
scientists. And of course in other areas of
educationalists and so forth. That is what
Q. As one who is new to much of this, in
fact most of it -- I think about the term which is
often used, the question that is asked, is this an
exact science? The idea being that science is
somehow very exact in itself. But yet, when we
begin to define science we depart from science and
enter into philosophy.
MR. NOVIK: Is there a question?
Q. I would like to know why.
A. Because that's what philosophy is.
Science is an empirical study of the natural world.
Trying to invoke law and you mentioned testability,
falsifiability, objectivity, that sort of thing.
That is what science is. Philosophy is the
enterprise which looks at what is going on and
asks questions, say, like is what one scientist is
doing like what another scientist is doing. A
scientist can act like a philosopher.
Q. Do you have an opinion as to who is
better equipped to determine whether a theory is
scientific, a scientist or a philosopher of
A. I would say that whoever is going to do
it is going to be doing it as a philosopher of
Q. Do you agree with Popper's notion of
what is a scientific theory?
A. I am empathetic to much that Popper
A. Empathetic. Philosophers really agree
Q. Where would you differ with him?
A. I am not -- we talked about Kuhn, for
example, and we had seen that I am empathetic,
obviously, to some of Kuhn's ideas. Inasmuch as
Popper would accept these, then I think Popper and
I would be very close. I would probably disagree
with some of the more strident Popperians who made
falsifiability of every item the absolute
criterion of something being scientific.
Q. Why would you disagree with them?
A. As I said, science to a certain extent
has to be almost pragmatic enterprise in the sense
that you don't spend every day criticizing or
looking at every item all the time. Popper, I
think, was fully aware of this. In fact, most
scientists don't read past the first chapter.
Popper himself is very much aware of these sorts
of things. I differ from Popper again in Popper
says history isn't so important. I think history
of science is very important.
Q. Why did Popper feel that the history is
not so important?
A. Philosophers could do, should do their
work just by looking at the present.
Q. Why do you feel that we must look at
A. Because I think often -- first of all,
I think you can get a better grasp of what happens
now through looking at the past. Certainly I
think I have. I guess that's -- particularly if
you are looking at things on a temporal dimension.
Q. In stating that the synthesis theory
has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, how do
you respond to the individuals who are now
forwarding the punctuated equalibertarian theory?
A. My feeling is something like Francis
Koyarla. I don't see that debate as being one
which causes any trouble at all. I see the sort
of things I was talking about there and referring
to the work of someone like Bashanjki, as being
quite compatible with some of the different
interpretations of the fossil record between
paleontologists. In other words, what I am saying
is, loke other people, like other Darwinians today,
I don't find the debate at all worrisome.
Q. Do you --
A. I think it's exploring areas which up
until this point hadn't been filled out.
Q. Do you think that the modern synthesis
theory and the punctuated equilibrium are
A. I think there had certainly been
extreme statements on both sides. I am quite
prepared to accept that some people cannot agree.
That some paleontologists have disagreeing
positions. I said that. On the other hand, I
believe that most scientific change doesn't come
about through victory or failure but usually some
sort of synthesis. I think that this is the sort
of thing that is occurring here. I see nothing
what is going on at the moment to deny the sorts
of claims I wanted to make there.
MR. NOVIK: There being your book?
A. When I talk about the synthetic theory
in the question of genetic change. I don't
logically preclude the possibility of opening up
Q. It hasn't been opened up yet, to your
A. The hand and the eye, no.
Q. One of the things, as I understand it,
the exponents of the punctuated equilibrium cite
in support of their case the fossil record. The
fossil record doesn't support any transitional
forms. It doesn't spring up suddenly. Do you
agree with that?
A. There are different positions within
the punctuated equilibrilists. One I think, some
would argue for a more rapid change than others.
Again, it's difficult for me to make an equivocal
unqualified statement yes or no.
Q. For example, Steven Gould, what does he
A. At one point he has argued very
strongly that his position stems from the
synthetic theory. He argues that his position is
based on the founder principle, which for example
I discuss in chapter 4 there.
Q. The founder principle?
A. Yes, founder principle. Which is as
the work of Meyers. Certainly he has argued very
vigorously in some of his writings. What he is
doing is taking orthodox evolutionary theory and
applying it to fossil records. Other places he
said other things.
Q. What else has he said?
A. I think recently, he's been exploring
the possibility that when one might get some sort
of double chromosome number in Zebras. But I am
not -- I don't want to pretend to be an expert on
the particular position of Gould, per se. Every
last new answer, of course. I think it's a
developing position that he's got which is the
nature of science.
Q. If a scientist were to try to look at
for example the origin of first life and using
accepted scientific principles and mathematical
principles, to determine that the origin of first
life could not have been possible by pure random,
nondirected chance, would you consider that to be
A. I am not sure that this is part of the
evolutionary theory you are asking me about now.
Q. Why is it not?
A. Traditionally, the evolutionary theory
starts with life. Darwin and the origin says one
or a few forms.
Q. He said the creator breathed life into
the first few forms, also, didn't he?
A. Yes, something like that. The first
part of my answer is I am not sure that at least
as far as evolutionary theory is concerned that
that is a question. But no, my answer to the
second part is no, that if a scientist stops using
blind natural regularists, then he quits being a
Q. How did he stop using blind natural --
A. I thought you said that was your
hypothetical, if a scientist stops doing this and
Q. My question was if a scientist should
determine that based upon the laws of science and
of mathematical probabilities that it simply would
be impossible for the first life to have evolved
purely by chance, would that be scientific?
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me. I have trouble
understanding the question. You said first life
evolved through chance?
MR. WILLIAMS: I misspoke.
Q. To have occurred, for life to have --
A. To have occurred through blind law?
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me again. Are you
asking whether chance combination is the only way
life could have originated?
MR. WILLIAMS: No.
Q. I am asking if a scientist who has
looked at and studied the origin of first life and
has determined, looking at what would be necessary
to make a living cell, and some of the
mathematical probabilities of that occurring by
chance, and determines that it would be impossible
for it to have occurred by chance, would you
consider that to be scientific?
A. If he said it's logically impossible
that we could have a natural explanation of this
phenomenon, at that point I would say he has gone
beyond being a scientist. He might say I can't
answer it at this point.
Q. In effect, what you are saying, are you
not, that science could not admit its own
A. No, I don't think I am saying that. I
am saying I could well accept that one is only
exploring in a certain area. But what I am saying
is that as science, one accepts a certain
methodology, and if you don't do that, you are no
longer doing science. You may like baseball, but
what shall I say, if you introduce a ball this
size you may prefer it but it is no longer
Q. In the DARWINIAN REVOLUTION, you make
reference in the prologue on page I. Just a
passing reference I think, five lines from the
bottom, "That for many aspects of the causes of
origin are still highly controversial."
What are some of those causes of origin
that are still highly controversial?
A. What I am referring to in this specific
case, if you notice the reference to Lewontin was
about the debate, on-going debate about the amount
of variation that there is within populations.
And the extent to which this has, this variation
is held in place by selective forces or not.
Q. The variation within the population?
Would that be the same or different than variation
within a species?
A. Populations going up to make full
species. Some people think there is a lot, others
think there is a little. That is what I have got
in mind at that particular point.
Q. Does the word converted have inherently
religious connotations to you? When you talk
about someone becoming converted to a particular
A. Not necessarily. I think -- no, I
think it depends on the position. I can get
converted for example to -- I would use the term
for example I could get converted to a belief in
say the superiority of Japanese cars. To take a
comfortable example. That does not to my way of
thinking necessarily imply the sort of experience
that Saul had on the way to to Damascus: It's a
generic term. I would use it for changing your
mind. If I were writing a book on religion or
philosophy of religion I would probably be -- that
is the sort of word I would clarify and specify.
Just as here I clarify and specify the word law.
But that is a key word to my discussion.
Q. The word "converted" can have a
religious meaning, can it not?
A. It can have.
Q. Like teleology?
A. Can have, surely.
Q. On page 5 of this same book, again you
are talking about Kuhn there.
A. Background to the problem?
A. You quote Kuhn, not quoting but you
paraphrase him I think there and you mention that
when discussing those who tend to break with the
past and open new and fertile fields of scientific
field of exploration tend to be very young. One
of the reasons for that is that young people for
some reason are the people who open the new fields
are not as emotionally or intellectually as
committed to the past, for example. Is that what
you say there in part?
A. That's what I say there.
Q. Do you agree with that?
A. At the individual level, yes.
Q. If you study only one theory or one
model of origin rather than any alternatives,
would that not tend to make a person more
emotionally intellectually committed to the past?
A. One model of origins? You mean only
one particular mechanism of evolution?
Q. No, just one model of evolution. One
model speaking of evolution, if you just study
evolutionary theory as opposed to any other theory.
A. Emotionally attached to it? I think he
would probably be very sincerely attached to it.
When I use the term emotional here, I am talking
about an individual scientist who perhaps has done
a lot of work in something and then feels
threatened. I am not talking about the scientific
community having an emotional attachment to
Q. Does that occur, where they do a lot of
work in something and then become emotionally
attached to it?
A. I think sometimes, yes.
Q. And they may become intellectually
attached to it as well, if they work in the same
sort of mind set for a great many years?
A. An individual scientist, yes. Not all.
Q. Also, to a certain degree, if they had
done work in a particular area and they have
established a stature in that area, their stature
is going to be determined in large part by the
success or failure of that theory?
MR. NOVIK: Is that a question?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Isn't it?
A. Sure. Some scientists, but not all.
If you read on in the book you will see how Lyell
sweats it out. And really goes quite a long way.
As I say, I think that I would want to distinguish
between Kuhn's sort of perceptive insights about
the individual scientists and be wary of
generalizing to the general scientific community.
Q. If we could just just consider
evolutionary theory and think about it apart from,
as much as we can from this creation science
controversy, if there arose a new alternative
scientific theory to the theory of evolution,
would you agree that there would be something akin
to an institutional resistance to accepting it?
A. That is awfully hypothetical and it's
very difficult to answer that one. I think the
answer is possibly but not necessarily. It would
depend on the evidence.
Q. Kuhn talks about part of a normal
scientist to defend the model?
A. Yes. But scientists can change their
mind as a group very quickly. Plate techtonics.
It depends on the evidence that is brought up.
It's like everything else, you go with something
and you give it up but, of course, depending on
what the force of the evidence which is brought
against it. For example, if you convict somebody
and then the next week you gat an identical murder
and another person actually caught doing it, that
is much stronger evidence than a bit of tangential
evidence 20 years later. You change your mind
much more quickly in the one case than the other.
Q. I guess I am really asking you a larger
and what appears to me to be more philosophical
question of are scientists immune from really the
human condition that --
A. Scientists as such, as individuals, no,
Q. When we look at the history of science
and we look back at some of the notions which were
once considered scientific, today, with the
benefit of hindsight, some of those appear
laughable and ludicrous?
A. Reading Kuhn teaches you not to laugh
Q. But they would appear to that?
A. If you held them today they would be
ludicrous. For them to have held them was not
Q. Do you have any reason to think that
one day someone might look at what some of the
notions that we currently hold to be scientific
and have the same opinion?
A. I am sure they will.
Q. That raises the larger question is
science affected by society at large?
MR. NOVIK: Isn't that a bit broad?
Q. The idea, for example, that someone
like Sir Fred Hoyle says that if science affects
society then there is no reason to think that the
converse is not always true?
A. I think it would be naive to say that
can't happen. Particularly in the social sciences.
Q. Do you think it happens in the physical
A. It has been known to. But I think
science has its sort of self-correction or its
methodology, its attempts to rise above this. So
that it would be unfair to say that science is no
more than, what shall I say, some sort of trendy
popular idea of the time, which is purely
subjective. Like a liking for Elvis Presley or
something like that. One society likes, another
Q. But there is that influence there?
A. The influence, yes. But there is also
the, how can I put it, the counterbalance of what
I would call the scientific aim, scientific method
overall, which helps, what shall I say, the truth,
knowledge, science, to emerge. Rise above the
individual, above the time.
Q. Is pursuit of the truth, is that a
proper inquiry for science?
A. I think that is a --
Q. You didn't finish.
A. How can I say no.
Q. On page 244 of the DARWINIAN REVOLUTION,
you make a statement that depending on one's a
priori conviction, one could draw completely
different conclusions from the same facts. Do you
A. Of course, I am talking here now about
a time when religion and science haven't been
separated out. At least on this issue.
Q. What reference is that?
A. In the 1860's. I am talking about the
Duke of Arguyll, who was very explicitly a
Christian, and very explicit about the extent to
which he let his Christian beliefs influence him.
I am also talking about Charles Lyell, who again
was a very ardent deist and letting his religious
beliefs influence him. I am certainly not denying
that individual scientists have done this, or
individual scientists have let their religious
Q. Would you say that that statement is
any less true today than it was --
A. Yes, I think so. In the sense that I
think that we do now have a clearer notion of
science, once acceptable. And it's an evolving
and been an evolving concept. Darwinian
revolution was part of it.
Q. Do scientists today not have any a
A. Apriority convictions? 2 plus 2 equals
4. If you want to call than an a priori
Q. You can have an a prioric conviction
A. I wouldn't want to say that every
scientist today is as pure as driven snow. On the
other hand, I think now as indeed then, in the
1860's, I think there was a scientific methodology
which enabled people to sift through things. And
what shall I say, approach some sort of scientific
consensus. Individual scientists in the 1860's
had different views. But it didn't mean to say
they were all equally valid then or now.
Q. If a scientist is working on
evolutionary theory accepts the general
evolutionary framework or concept rather than
testing it, does not have an a prioric conviction
concerning evolutionary theory?
A. I prefer not to use the word a prioric
conviction here. I this is a point that goes back
to a point I was making earlier. I think there
can come a time when it is no longer reasonable to
go on worrying about that particular position.
That does not mean that it is necessarily a priori.
You convict somebody and, okay, let's go on from
there. That does not mean that your belief in the
person's guilt or innocence is a priori. What it
does mean is that you don't now spend the rest of
your legal career going over that one.
Q. Doesn't your analogy breakdown, though,
because if you look at the criminal justice system,
a decision has to be made, you can't have the
fellow charged interminably?
A. All analogies break down. If they
didn't they wouldn't be analogies. No, I don't
think so. God knows, in America you go on long
enough with your cases, anyway. No. How could I
put it? Surely, perhaps in the courts you have to
say some sort of formal mark of the time when you
say enough. In science, even there, I suspect, in
a sense there comes a point where you say to your
students, look, how can I put it, you drop it from
the course now. Because you say look, that's
decided. It doesn't mean that it could never,
ever be opened again. But it means that you go on.
It may not necessarily be a formal court which
says right, we have now proven or we have now
established these things like this. But you do
get marks of acceptability like Nobel prizes and
Q. Then you say we shouldn't bother with
that, we should go on with other things?
A. Double helix.
MR. NOVIK: Shall we break for lunch?
(Luncheon recess: 1:05 p.m.)
M I C H A E L E S C O T T R U S E, having
been previously sworn, resumed the stand and
testified further as follows:
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q. Dr. Ruse, do you thing that a teacher
in a class on evolution, if asked a question about
evolution and religion should try to answer it
fairly and honestly?
A. Depends on the question.
Q. If a student should ask for example a
question as to whether in a discussion of
evolution, as to whether the concept of evolution
precludes the existence of a God in bringing about
life, how should a teacher answer that question?
A. I think you would probably say
something along the lines of -- certainly, some
people have been evolutionists and believe in a
God and others haven't been. Some Christians have
not been evolutionists and vice-versa. In the
context of an ordinary classroom discussion. But
more than that, I think you lay off.
Q. Do you think that would be a honest
A. I think so, yes.
Q. Earlier today, didn't you tell me that
the concept or the theory of evolution in its
terms precluded the existence, not the existence
but the necessity of an intervention by a creator?
A. A necessity. But it didn't preclude
the intervention. Precludes the intervention of a
creator on an on-going basis like that, yes.
Obviously, you can't be a rigid fundamentalist and
an evolutionist at the same time. But you asked
me whether one could be a Christian or something
like that. I think you can be a Christian and an
Q. Do you think that evolution is contrary
to the religious, moral and philosophical beliefs
of some students?
A. I suspect it's contrary to some of
their religious beliefs. It's a difficult
question. It depends how far their religious
MR. NOVIKL Which students are we
talking about? His students?
MR. WILLIAMS: Not his students.
Students in general. Some people.
A. Moral beliefs, I don't think so. What
was the other one?
A. Not necessarily.
Q. I note in your manuscript, in chapter
14, I think it will be 13 in the published volume,
you at some length tried to expound on what you
consider to be creationism; is that correct?
A. Scientific creationism.
Q. And you rely almost exclusively on it
but call it creationism, published by the
Institute for Published Research; is that correct.
You made a determination as to?
Q. Have you made a determination as to
whether the book SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM would be
permissible under Act 590?
A. I got a feeling that is a legal
Q. Just from your reading of it.
A. Well --
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me. Permissible is
a legal issue. There might be other questions you
can ask, but I am not sure permissible is the
right question. I think perhaps the witness ought
to try avoiding seeming to interpret the statute
in terms of what is permissible or not.
MR. WILLIAMS: I think the statute if
implemented would probably be implemented by
educators probably more than lawyers.
MR. NOVIK: Is that a response?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
MR. NOVIK: The purpose of this lawsuit
is to find out what is permissible or not. And
that is to be decided by lawyers and judges.
MR. WILLIAMS: I have no problem with
approaching it a different way.
Q. Are you aware that Act 590 does contain
language which prohibits religious instruction or
reference to religious writings in --
Q. Have you examined SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM
to determine whether that book meets those
Q. What is your opinion on that?
A. Well, I find bill 590 --
Q. Act 590?
A. To be somewhat contradictory. On the
one hand it does prohibit religious teaching. On
the other hand, that particular book, the textbook,
I think fits -- puts forth in six points.
Q. If, speaking in the realm of the
hypothetical, if there were a creator who did
cause the first life, if you will, in whatever
form it might have occurred, would that be
A. I think so, If he did it in a
supernatural way, I mean.
Q. How do you distinguish between morals
A. Religion has a belief in some sort of
supernatural creator or some extraworldly entity.
Morals has to do with code of conduct. Some
religions certainly incorporate a moral system.
Q. Would it be true in large part that if
you take atheistic religion, if you take the
presence of a supernatural being out of there,
that you would be left probably with some sort of
A. Well, I am not quite sure how to answer
that. If you took God out of Christianity, I am
not quite sure how much you have left.
Q. If you took just the precepts and some
of the rules that are given by which to guide one's
life, wouldn't you still have a moral code?
A. You would certainly have moral claims,
but I am not sure how much you are going to have
left if you take God out of Christianity.
Q. Is it quite so simple to separate
morals from religion, one has a God and one
A. No, it is not simple, no. You say one
has a God and one doesn't. I don't think it is
quite an either/or like that. I myself think that
morality is something which exists independently
of a god, certainly of an atheistic god. I think
it is something that one intuits. Certainly
certain religions have emphasized or reinforced
this or specified this, often with their own
particular side twists, as it were.
Q. You do think that a school should teach
morals; is that what you say in your manuscript?
A. Yes. I think that a school should
certainly teach morals. Not all morals in the
sense that not all things that people have claimed
as morals, but loving, integrity, honesty.
Q. How do we decide what morals we teach
and what we don't?
A. Again, I think one falls to a great
extent back on the accumulated wisdom of the ages,
what we have worked out, the sorts of things that
we were taught very much.
Q. Where did you learn this?
A. At school and at home, and to a certain
extent in the Quaker Church.
Q. How do you teach morals in school?
A. Often you do it by example. In other
words, if the teacher is honest, the teacher keeps
his/her word, the teacher plays fair, I think this
is an important thing. Also to a certain extent
by talking about these things, by having rules,
and obviously a certain amount of enforcement.
Q. Could you summarize for me your
argument that scientific creation should not be
taught in public schools because of the morality
problems you see?
A. As I have said, the problems I have
here are the sort of what I call the side effects
or the twists, as I said in a rather inelegant
phrase I used earlier. I see scientific creationism
as endorsing a particular set of moral claims. By
moral claims here I mean claims that people make
in the name of morality. For example, certain
aspects of the Old Testament about the status of
women, homosexuals, some of these sort of things,
which I personally find ethically offensive. But
my point is not so much whether I find them
ethically offensive, but I think these are sort of
particularly divisive aspects.
Q. Because you think they are personally
divisive you wouldn't like to see them taught in
A. I personally find them that. But the
reason why I object is because I don't think these
are today, with our present understanding, part of
what I call the consensus, accumulation of
Q. Does the theory of evolution have any
A. I really don't think so.
Q. When you talk about natural selection
and survival of the fittest and you apply that to
all areas of your life, do you not think that
would have some moral implications?
MR. NOVIK: He never said that natural
selection and survival of the fittest applies to
all aspects of his life. Your initial question
assumed a state of facts which the witness never
MR. WILLIAMS: Let's go on.
Q. Do you understand my question?
A. I think I do. I find it a difficult
question to answer because I am not sure how much
sense it makes. It is rather like asking me does
the law of gravity apply to all aspects of my life.
Q. For example, was some knowledge or
notion of evolutionary theory used -- who was it,
by Carnegie? -- to justify the corporate system?
A. John D. Rockefeller. I think this is
something he is reading into evolutionary theory
and then reading out.
Q. I really fail to --
A. A knowledge of biology can help you to
make moral decisions. Genetic counseling, for
example, the knowledge of this certainly. But I
don't think your moral decisions and morality per
se stem from science. It stems from your moral
code, utilitarianism, Kantianism. But to apply
moral decisions you have to bring particular
circumstances into effect.
Q. If a student learns that one of the
laws of nature, of evolution, is survival of the
fittest, that general notion, and understanding it
as a law he seeks to apply it to other aspects of
his life, could that not lead to some results
which would be contrary to even your own set of
A. If. But that is not teaching
evolutionary biology as it is presently understood
today. If somebody is taught badly, sure things
can go wrong.
Q. Maybe the question is not one of the
quality of the teaching but the application which
the student might give it. Is that not true?
A. How can I put it? You teach a student
how to drive, he might do something wrong. But
the job of the driving instructor is to teach you
properly so that you minimize the possibility of
accidents. I see nothing in contemporary
evolutionary theory which would lead the student
to go out and behavior like the mad hulk.
Q. Isn't what you are saying that the
evolutionary theory is in this nice neat little
box called evolutionary biology and it shouldn't
go out of there?
A. No. What I am saying is that
evolutionary theory doesn't have these horrendous
ethical principles or consequences that you are
trying to draw out of it.
Q. It has been used for that, though,
A. So has Christianity.
Q. Both can be abused?
Q. In your manuscript you talk about the
creationists' cries for, quote, equal time, closed
quote. Is there any piece in the Act which
requires equal time to be given?
A. Balanced treatment.
Q. Does that mean equal time?
A. I would have thought the presumption is
Q. Other than the balanced treatment,
there is nothing in there that indicates equal
time to you, is there?
A. That to me is enough.
Q. In your manuscript you also describe
creation science and you make a statement about
the creationists, quote, "Here at last, one can
find a firm basis for morality."
MR. NOVIK: Can we see that?
MR. WILLIAMS: Do you have a copy of it?
MR. NOVIK: I don't, I'm sorry.
A. What I am saying here is that this is
the creationists' belief. If you will notice in
the sort of context I am talking about, how people
feel worried about the collapse of moral behavior,
as I say, I am tending somewhat simplistically to
a belief or set of beliefs that they can hold on
firmly to. That is not my claim.
Q. Are you in effect saying here that
creation scientists look at creation science and
say here is a firm basis for morality in creation
A. No. I think they find a firm basis for
morality in the Old Testament.
Q. You said you think that the
creationists have had great success. Was that
Q. Why do you think they have had such
A. Well, here we are. What more can I say?
Q. Have you ever taken any step to oppose
the teaching of creation science in the schools of
Q. Do you oppose it in the schools of
A. I do indeed, yes.
Q. Have you ever testified in any efforts
in Canada to have creation science banished from
Q. Have you ever written any letters to
any educational officials in Canada opposing it?
Q. You make a comment in your manuscript
about the Arkansas law and state, "Significantly,
the Arkansas law makes the same charge as that
leveled by the California creationists, claiming,
that, if anything, it is the teaching of evolution
which is unconstitutional!" Where do you find that
in that 590?
MR. NOVIK: Would you like to show him
A. This was written in the summer. I got
this secondhand out of Nature. Well, here we go.
How about Section 7(c), "Evolution science is not
an unquestionable fact of science because
evolution cannot be specifically observed, fully
verified or logically falsified, because evolution
science is not accepted by some scientists.
Evolution science is contrary to the religious
convictions, moral values, philosophical beliefs.
Public school presentation of only evolution
science without any alternative model abridges the
United States Constitution protection of freedom
of religious exercise."
It seems to me the implications here
are starting to be that evolution science is
treated as a religion.
"Public school presentation of
evolution science produces hostilities towards
many atheistic religions." Then it goes on to say,
"These nonatheistic religions are like atheism, in
that these religious faiths general," I think that
should be generally, "include a religious belief
evolution." That seems to me to make the case.
Q. Do you read the Act as saying that the
teaching of evolution is in itself unconstitutional
or that the teaching of evolution without the
balanced treatment required by the Act is
A. As I explained to you, I find the Act
somewhat internally inconsistent anyway. But I
certainly find the implication in those parts that
I just read to be that evolution is religious, in
which case at least certain aspects of the Act
seem to imply that evolution should not be taught.
Q. But the Act in fact requires that it be
taught if either theory is taught, doesn't it?
A. Well, I didn't write it.
Q. How many years have you been involved
in the study of the Darwinian thought, Darwinian
MR. WILLIAMS: That is the title of one
of his books.
A. I would say it is a 15-year project.
Q. I take it that the notion of the
success of the creationists have had inspite of
your 15-year project of trying to write on Darwin,
in simple terms, makes you mad, doesn't it?
Q. You say that you even think that "the
creationists have had and can anticipate great
MR. NOVIK: Are you reading from the
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Is that correct?
A. Well, have had.
MR. NOVIK: I am sure Dr. Ruse did not
mean to imply anything about the outcome of this
Q. Do you think, honestly, they will
continue to have great success, as you claimed?
A. You are asking me about the outcome of
Q. No, not with reference to this trial.
I really would not ask you that.
A. Put it this way. I don't think things
are going to be over by Christmas.
Q. When I look at this and try to read, as
I am told by people like yourself and other people
in science who propose the evolution model, that
the overwhelming weight of evidence is in favor of
evolution, I think about have the evolutionists
somehow failed? Do you have a response to that
MR. NOVIK: I didn't hear a question,
first of all. Second of all, there has been no
testimony about what scientists think of the
evolution model. It is not a phrase that Dr. Ruse
has used once, as I have heard this testimony
MR. WILLIAMS: I can use "theory" just
as well. It matters not.
MR. NOVIK: Well, it matters a bit to
Q. Dr. Ruse, do you think that the
overwhelming scientific evidence is in favor of
the theory of evolution as opposed to the theory
of creation science?
A. I think the scientific evidence is in
favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to
other scientific hypotheses. I think scientific
creation or creation science is not science.
Q. Do you feel that the theory of
evolution has been accepted?
A. By whom?
A. That is a sociological question I am
not really that competent to answer. My guess
would be not entirely.
Q. Approximately 120 years, since THE
ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES, approximately, with all the
scientific evidence and certainly the bulk of the
scientific community on the side of evolution, do
you have an opinion as to why evolution, that
theory of evolution, has not been accepted?
MR. NOVIK: Accepted by whom? Do you
mean the community of scientists? Because he has
already testified as to what he believes about
Q. I am talking about generally in terms
of its acceptance by people. Maybe I am assuming
something. But as I read this work, some of it,
particularly the last position, there seems to me
to be a sense in your writing that the theory of
evolution simply has not been accepted by many
people. Is that fair?
A. I think in North America a lot of
people certainly have not accepted evolution. In
England I really don't know. I would hazard a
guess that more have. But I am not an expert in
Q. We will confine ourselves to North
America, keep it narrow. In view of everything on
the side of evolution and in terms of the things I
mentioned earlier, those three factors, why do you
think it has not been accepted?
A. I think one reason is that it hasn't
been properly taught. I think there has been a
lot of ongoing pressure from special interest
groups who fairly effectively excluded the fair
teaching of evolution in the schools.
Q. When you say it has not been effectively
taught, what do you mean?
A. I mean precisely that.
Q. Do you mean it has been too watered
A. Probably not even taught at all. As I
say, you are getting me beyond areas that I feel
competent. I am not an educationalist in the,
quote, professional sense. I am an educationalist
in the sense I am a teacher.
Q. In your manuscript you state that, "Even
in areas in the U.S. where creationism is not that
strongly entrenched, course materials are directly
affected by the beliefs of those who take the
Bible literally." Then you have a reference to
Nelkin, 1976. In what areas is creation strongly
MR. NOVIK: What areas of the country?
MR. WILLIAMS: Of the country.
A. Towards the south and Alberta.
Q. On what basis do you make that
conclusion or have that opinion?
A. Again, it is reading things like --
people like Nelkin. It is reading newspapers like
The New York Times, which report to me where these
bills are being passed at places like Arkansas
rather than Pennsylvania. That is the inference I
Q. Have you made any study of the textbook
publishers in the scientific area?
A. The textbooks?
Q. The publishers.
A. I have talked to one or two publishers.
I haven't more than that, no.
Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether
the textbook publishers, the non creation science
publishers, if this bill is upheld and the one in
Louisiana and any others which might be passed,
whether they would meet the need for a market for
so-called nonreligious scientific creation books?
A. I am not sure.
Q. You don't have an opinion on that?
A. I think the textbooks would be altered.
Q. Is it true that the Natural History
Branch of the British Museum has had a display
which portrays creation science as an alternative
Q. You quote in your book from, it is
Medawar, that, "There are philosophical or
methodological objections to evolutionary theory.
It is too difficult to imagine or envision an
evolutionary episode which could not be explained
by the formula of neoDarwinism." Do you agree
Q. Is Medawar a creation scientist?
Q. On Page 428, and you can look at this
if you like, you talk about, quote, "We have the
creationist position which supposes that in the
fairly recent past the world was created
miraculously by God, that animals, plants, and
humans was all brought into existence at that time,
and that was it as far as new life was concerned."
Are those things necessarily required under
creation science as defined by Act 590?
A. I would need to put it line by line.
But, yes. If you want a definitive answer, I want
to look at the two texts together. But certainly
the gist seems to be there.
Q. For example, you state that "animals,
plants, and humans were all brought into existence
at that time." I assume you mean at the same time.
Where in Act 590 do you find that?
A. At the relatively recent inception, I
Q. Does that say that they were all
brought into existence at the same time?
MR. NOVIK: You asked him where he drew
the comparison, and he told you the place.
MR. WILLIAMS: I am asking are they in
fact in there.
A. If you are asking me, for example, does
it say they all have to be done in the same five
minutes, the answer is obviously no. However, if
you look at what I say through the context here,
you will see that it is clear that I am not
implying there that it is all done at exactly the
same moment. What I mean there is fairly early on.
MR. NOVIK: "There" pointing to the
THE WITNESS: Yes.
Q. You state in your manuscript that after
these animals, plants, and humans was brought into
existence, that "that was it as far as new life
Q. Is there in the definition of creation
science anything which precludes other new life
coming into existence after the creation?
A. Are you asking me if creation science
allows the creation of new life -- let me try that
one again. Are you asking me whether the bill
forbids a teacher from suggesting that new life
occurs on a daily basis?
Q. On a daily or any other basis.
A. I am not sure that if somebody wants to
teach that it is actually occurring today -- well,
yes. It seems to me Section 4(a)(3), "Changes
only within fixed limits of originally created
kinds of plants and animals." certainly to my way
of thinking has the implication that all the new
life that is going to come has come.
Q. You agree, do you not, that if the
world is not the billions of years old which the
evolutionists think that it is, that evolutionary
theory cannot be upheld?
A. In its present form.
Q. If you look at Act 590 and look at the
creation science and think about the creator that
is either implied or, as some would say,
presupposed by that, what do you know about that
creator, just from the definition there?
A. He is obviously going to have to be a
designer of some sort if he can suddenly create
the universe, energy, and life from nothing. And
I take it this is in juxtaposition to emergence by
naturalistic processes. I would say he is
certainly going to have to be a designer of some
sort. It would imply that he is going to have
some sort of special place for man. I would want
to unpack the implications of the worldwide flood,
Q. What do you mean unpack them?
A. What you are asking me is what can I
infer about the creator from Section 4(a), I take
MR. NOVIK: Do the unpacking.
A. What I am saying is, as I see it, we
are dealing with a creator who is obviously
all-powerful in some sort of traditional sense.
He is obviously or she or it is obviously a
designer of some sort. I see from 4(a)(4)
presumably one who is concerned about man.
Q. How so? How do you get that?
A. Man is separated right off from the
apes. In other words, man doesn't come under
4(a)(3), for example. We are dealing with man and