Deposition of Michael E. Ruse - Page 4
the apes, obviously separate.
Q. Does that necessarily mean he is more
concerned about man?
A. He has a special concern, let me put it
Q. If he created all kinds separately,
then he just created all kinds separately. Does
that necessarily mean a special place for man?
A. As I see it, 4(a)(3) is allowing some
changes within the limits. So I see somebody who
has some special concern about man.
If I am unpacking 4(a)(5), a creator
who is responsible in some way for a worldwide
flood, as I see it, implies how certain do you
want to unpack this. I ask myself why would there
be a world-wide flood? Then I go and look at the
works by creation scientists.
Q. Rather than looking at the works, I
would like for you just to look at that Act and
what is defined in there and tell me what you know
about the creator.
A. I think I have done as far as I can go
at this point.
Q. So we know that there is a power, it is
a designer, with some special concern about man.
And yet the question about the worldwide flood
doesn't really tell you anything about them, does
A. I think it does.
MR. NOVIK: Them?
MR. WILLIAMS: Did I say "them"?
A. I think anybody who does all this and
presumably wipes everything out, I take it a
worldwide flood is going to last long enough that
we can't just swim on the top.
Q. Do you know necessarily that this
creator has love or compassion or any of those
qualities which would typically be associatesd
with a god?
A. I find this very difficult to answer
because you are insisting again, I think, on my
confining myself to an impossibly narrow thing,
Q. You can look at other portions of the
bill if you would like.
A. Thank you. I do look at 4(b). I say
at least we are implying a god of some particular
kind, maybe a stern god, a vengeful god, a just
god, something along these lines. For example, if
I look at 4(a)(5), then I start to ask, well, how
many organisms got left, where did they go? You
are asking me these sorts of questions. I can't
do this out of the context of Genesis. I can't do
it out of the context of creation science writings.
Q. Is there anything in 4(a) which
necessarily implies that -- back up. In your text
here you have a quote with several adjectives
applied to the creator. You don't have a
reference for that. Is that from creation science?
A. I'm sorry, if there isn't one, there
should be. It is from Morris's edited work
Q. From 4(a) do we definitely know that
this creator was infinite?
A. I would have thought that we are
getting fairly close to in with 4(a)(1).
Q. What in there tells you that?
A. Anybody who can create everything out
of nothing has got pretty significant powers.
Q. I was thinking infinite more in terms
of either size or endurance.
A. Does one mean that by "infinite"? What
does one mean by "infinite" in the theological
Q. What about "eternal"?
A. It is difficult to say. One assumes
that this is a god outside time. Don't forget,
eternal doesn't necessarily mean everlasting. So
I would infer again from 4(a)(1) that we are
getting fairly close to something eternal in the
sense of beyond, outside, time.
Q. Also the sudden creation of energy --
A. We are dealing with someone that can
create something out of nothing.
Q. That doesn't necessarily mean that they
have been there forever, does it?
A. I think you are confusing everlasting
Q. What is the difference in your mind?
A. Everlasting is where you have events
going on like this and that. Eternal is something
outside of time. Pythagoras's theorum hasn't been
everlastingly true. It extends outside of
My implication from 4(a)(1) would be
that we are dealing with a being which in some
very important and very real sense stands outside
physical phenomena. As I understand religious
discussion, and I am talking now as a philosopher,
that would be eternal.
Q. I take it you would find the
omnipotence in 4(a)(1)?
A. I think so, yes.
Q. How about omnipresent?
A. Again, having built in the eternal, we
are probably getting pretty close to omnipresent,
and 4(a)(5) certainly shows that the god --
Q. What is (5)?
A. Explanation of the earth's geology by
catastrophism including a worldwide flood, I would
have thought is pushing fairly close to being
A. But omnipresent, again, we are unpacking
4(a)(1). I see 4(a)(1) being associated with sort
of our Western intellectual tradition as you can
best unpack it with a god who is all powerful,
eternal, omnipresent, and so on and so forth.
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me. I think we may
have lost somewhat the fact that Mr. Williams is
reading from a quote within Dr. Ruse's book, the
quote coming from a Mr. Morris, a noted creationist
who uses these words in support of his argument
for scientific creationism.
THE WITNESS: It is not just Mr. Morris.
This is a book that he has edited.
MR. WILLIAMS: But it is the Plaintiffs
who are to inextricably tie this Act back to these
MR. NOVIK: That is something we can
argue about later. I was just trying to clarify
the record as to what you were reading from.
MR. WILLIAMS: Right.
Q. Is there necessarily in Act 590 any
indication that this god is a moral god or creator?
MR. NOVIK: Is that another one of Mr.
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
A. I would have thought that 4(a)(4) and
(5) would be difficult to expound on without in
some sense bringing morality in.
Q. The worldwide flood --
A. You are asking me to make a cloak
without cloth at the moment. You are asking me to
comment on rather ambiguous fragmentary passages,
like separate ancestry from man and apes.
As I unpack that, we are obviously
dealing with some sort of special status for man
or for humans. That, again, one has to put this
in sort of common sense and general intellectual
tradition and everything like this. When you
start talking about special status for man, you
start to get to morality and spirituality very
Q. What you are really saying there when
you are talking about this Western intellectual
tradition is simply that that sounds like
something from the Bible, therefore it must be the
same creator as in the Bible?
A. No, I think I am saying something a
little stronger than that. I am saying that in
these sort of fragmentary states that these are in
and rather ambiguous phrases these are in, the
only reasonable way to interpret them as they
stand at the moment is to take what we know and,
as it were, build something which makes sense. In
order to do this, the presumption as I see it
would be that we are dealing with a moral being, a
being certainly which has a special place for man.
Q. Are you extrapolating? When I asked
you the qualities that you could read into it, you
only gave me a power, designer, a special concern
about man, and then some question about a worldwide
MR. NOVIK: He also said all-powerful.
A. I am getting close to moral, too.
Q. Do you think that the theory of
evolution is consistent with the beliefs of some
A. Yes. Not inconsistent, put it that way.
Q. Do you know whether evolution is the
tenet of some religions?
A. I don't, no.
Q. Are you familiar with the Society of
Q. Have you ever read the
HUMANIST MANIFESTO 1, 2, or 3?
Q. Something else about your manuscript
that I want to ask you. Let me show it to you.
You state here that, "Remember how blatant the
Arkansas bill is in this matter. Homosexuals will
be condemned and excoriated as moral degenerates,
women will be confined to perpetual second-rate
citizenship, and all nonbelievers will be labeled
perfidious infidels." Do you get that from the
A. I see that as an implication of the,
what shall I say, the enforcement of the Arkansas
bill. I don't see the Arkansas bill condemning
MR. NOVIK: I think the first sentence
in that paragraph adds some light on what Dr. Ruse
means by that.
MR. WILLIAMS: For the record, the
first sentence is, "The trouble with the
creationists' position is that it really does open
the way to a teaching of a specific religiously
Q. You think teaching about a creator,
that is religious, is that what you think?
A. I say teaching about a creator is
Q. How do you deal with ORIGIN OF THE
SPECIES then in this reference to a creator?
Should it not be taught?
A. I am not sure that Darwin intends it
literally at that point. He does qualify himself
in later editions to point out that he doesn't
necessarily mean it in a literal sense.
Q. But he did use a capital C Creator,
A. Yes. But he does point out later on
that he didn't intend it in the literal sense.
Q. Do you think that the first editions
then of origin of the species should not be taught
in the classroom?
A. No, because I don't think Darwin
intends that. But I would certainly expect the
teacher to be able to point that out or point out
the ambiguity there.
Q. In other words, when the concept of a
creator is included in an evolutionary theory, you
have no problem with the teacher being able to
point out what was going on; is that correct?
MR. NOVIK: That is argumentative,
don't you think?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes, it is. I will save
Q. Could you summarize for me your
argument on why creationism should not be taught
based on knowledge?
MR. NOVIK: Can you refer us to the
argument you are talking about?
MR. WILLIAMS: Sure. It is on Page 48
of his manuscript. He has three specific
arguments. One is religion, one is morality, one
A. I worry that students will be forced to
accept such bad and falacious arguments that this
will hinder their development, intellectual
development, so that generally speaking they will
be unable to make proper judgments.
Q. Why do you feel this in particular will
hinder their intellectual development?
A. Because I read the works of the
scientific creationists, and I see a great many
logical and formal and informal fallacies being
committed, passages being quoted out of context,
people being taken to say things that they don't
mean to say, arguments being distorted, claims
that things are being tested when they are not
being tested, pseudo explanations. In other words,
just about everything I teach my students not to
do. I worry that if this is taken to be
acceptable intellectual discourse or intellectual
reasoning, that this will lead to a general
downfall of intellectual, what shall I say,
criteria, methodology, teaching.
Q. Do you think that creationists are to
be equated with Auschwitz and Hiroshima?
A. I don't think that Harry Morris is
another Hitler, no. I do think that bad thinking
of all kinds, shoddy thinking, leads the way for
evil people to take action and to seize power.
Q. Did you tell me this morning that you
thought that a teacher who thought that creation
science had some merit, and as you will recall I
think my question presupposed that the teacher had
reviewed all literature and made a conscious
effort, you still thought he should be prohibited
from teaching that; is that correct?
A. Teach it on Sundays.
Q. But he should not teach it in the
A. In public schools, no.
Q. How do you determine when a science
teacher should be prohibited from teaching an idea?
A. When it is religion.
Q. Is what is religion a fixed standard, a
A. I think there are fuzzy edges, but I
think that doesn't mean you can't say that some
things are religion and some things aren't.
Q. Do you think that the neoDarwinian
theory of evolution is axiomatic?
MR. NOVIK: Are you going to tell us
what neoDarwinian is?
Q. Do you understand what that means?
A. Yes. Synthetic theory.
MR. NOVIK: Is that what you mean?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
A. I think in part it is.
Q. What do you mean by axiomatic?
A. You start with certain basic axioms and
from these you derive other statements as premises,
Q. Are axioms provable?
A. They are certainly up for test.
Because something is axiomatic, there is an
ambiguity here, doesn't mean to say it is accepted
without question. Within a system it is, but it
doesn't mean to say that the system itself has to
be accepted without question.
Q. Except for tests. But my traditional
sort of layman definition of an axiom is something
which can't be tested. Does that apply here?
A. As I say, that is a confusion between
the two senses of "axiom" here. I mean unproved
within the system.
Q. Have you studied physics much?
A. In my past I did. My undergraduate
degree included a fair amount of theoretical
Q. Are you familiar with any parallels
between physics and some of the Eastern mystic
A. No. That is beyond my field.
Q. Are you familiar with the Taoist
A. I know of it, but I have not read it.
Q. When the creation scientists talk about
evolution as being not testable or falsifiable, is
Dobzhansky in their corner on that?
MR. NOVIK: Read that back.
Q. Does he agree with them?
A. It wasn't the creationists. I think
the phrase was the creation scientists. You are
not implying that Dobzhansky was a creation
Q. No, not at all.
A. I would not have said that Dobzhansky
would have agreed with them on an overall basis.
Q. What was Dobzhansky's position on that
point as you understand it?
MR. NOVIK: On falsifiability?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
A. To the best of my knowledge, he would
have thought the theory was falsifiable. But, to
be honest, I can't pretend that I have read all of
Dobzhansky's works and I have never met him.
Q. Are you familiar with MATHEMATICAL
CHALLENGES TO THE NEODARWINIAN INTERPRETATION OF
A. I think I glanced at it 10, 12 years
ago, but that is my familiarity.
MR. NOVIK: Is that a book?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
MR. NOVIK: Who is the author of it?
MR. WILLIAMS: Murray Eden.
Q. Do you have an opinion about that work?
A. I have come across Medawar's article on
it, which I don't agree with. But other than that
I really don't.
Q. Are you familiar with either Paul
Ehrlich or L. C. Birch?
A. I know of them, yes.
Q. Are they evolutionists?
A. I am pretty sure that Ehrlich is, and
Q. Do you know who L. Harrison Matthews is
A. He is a fellow of the Royal Society. I
think he may have been president of the
Sociological Society or at least important in
those sorts of circles.
Q. Is he an evolutionist?
Q. Are you familiar with H. S. Lipson,
A. I think I have come across -- I was
shown an article by him -- is he from Manchester
or somewhere like that? I forget.
Q. I think he is, yes.
A. Then I think I know who you mean.
Q. Do you consider him to be a competent
A. I don't know.
Q. You don't know, have no opinion?
Q. Are you aware that Gould has stated
that if Mayer's characterization of the synthetic
theory is accurate, then that theory of the
general proposition is effectively dead?
A. Yes, right.
MR. NOVIK: Was that a quote?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. What is your opinion of that statement
A. A, I disagree with it. But, B, I think
that if you look at what Gould has to say in the
context of the whole article you will see that he
is nowhere like as far from Mayer's position as
that one paragraph implies. Although he does say
Q. Are you aware of any other scientific
explanations or theories for the origin of the
world, life, and man?
Q. What other scientific theories are
A. There are versions like the one that
Fred Hoyle is pushing at the moment, that life
came from outer space or something like that. I
believe there are several versions of this now
that life was brought here by intelligent beings
or that life was planned by intelligent beings. I
think Hoyle's version is that in some sense
intelligent beings planned the comet so we would
pass through cloud dust or something like that.
Q. Do you consider that to be a scientific
A. Hoyle's stuff is very difficult to
follow when he gets to his religious chapter. I
think that it would be possible to divorce that,
as it were, the earlier part perhaps, from the
later part. I think when he gets to talking about
intelligent beings, then he is going into religion.
But if one had a position that life had just
always existed, I see no reason why that shouldn't
be a scientific position of some sort. I don't
say that it would necessarily be true.
Q. I am not asking you to adapt the theory
as being true. Any others that you can think of?
A. Not offhand. But that could be a
function of my limits of imagination.
Q. Do you have any correspondence other
than this with the attorneys in this case on the
subject of creation science?
A. What we were talking about this morning?
Q. Other than what was passed between the
attorneys in this case and you.
Q. Have you done any other writings on
creation science other than what we discussed here
and that you brought with you?
Q. Other than the professional societies
of which you are a member, are you a member of any
A. I think St. John's Parent Teachers
Q. Are you not a member of the ACLU?
(Discussion off the record.)
A. I was asked whether I have everything
on the table literally which is on my CV. I am
fairly certain that there are about three articles
probably not in that group.
Q. Do you know which ones they are?
A. I don't, but I will certainly check
them and make them available. It was a function
of hurried time, getting them done.
I don't have my book reviews.
Q. In your book reviews have you ever
written about creation science?
A. To the best of my memory, no. I
wouldn't want to say that there has never ever
been a sentence on creation science. I am looking
down the list. There are a lot of reviews over a
long time. I would certainly say there is nothing
here which is not already on the table.
Q. What did you say about Gould's EVER
A. I said that I thought it was a most
enjoyable book and that everybody should buy a
copy for themselves and for their favorite great
aunt for Christmas.
I think I also mentioned I do have this
edited volume, if you will look on the penultimate
page, annotated papers from the 1980 Montreal
symposium. I only contribute the preface. The
preface in fact is on the table.
Q. What was your review in essence of J.
Farley's SPONTANEOUS GENERATION?
A. I expressed admiration for somebody who
knew so much science and so many foreign languages.
I said it was an interesting book. I think I
implied that it was a little bit on the dull side,
which it was.
Q. What was the concept and the thrust of
SPONTANEOUS GENERATION? What was the general
thesis of SPONTANEOUS GENERATION?
A. Farley was talking about the
development of the idea that life had been created
out of inorganic matter by natural processes. He
goes back to the Seventeenth Century and brings it
up to the Twentieth Century. He is concerned to
show that the popular view that it was all simply
a question of experimental evidence in fact wasn't
always true, that there were other considerations
which motivated people, including religious
considerations. I think that's about it.
Q. Have you brought with you the papers
you have read at conferences?
A. I confess I haven't. I'm afraid I
don't have them. But I would say that there is
nothing in the papers that I have read at
conferences which didn't find its way into print
on the table.
Q. I would like you, after today if you
would, to check and see which articles you don't
have here. If you would send them to us, I would
A. I certainly will do that.
Q. Have any interviews with you ever been
A. I think not, no.
MR. NOVIK: Have you ever been
THE WITNESS: Yes, I have been asked
questions, that sort of thing, when I worked on
Darwinian evolution theory.
Q. What evidence is there against the
theory of evolution, if you think there is any?
A. There is evidence against some theories
or some mechanisms. I am not sure that there is
evidence against the, how can I put it, the
neoDarwinian version. There are some areas where
we are obviously debating hotly. But I don't know
of evidence which is firmly against it.
Q. Firmly against it, that is something of
a subjective judgment, isn't it, the
interpretation you are going to give the data?
A. You asked me what evidence is there
against it, which kind of implies that there is
evidence against it.
Q. I said if any.
A. My reply is that there are areas where
matters are certainly not settled, where we don't
have enough evidence.
Q. When did you write this manuscript?
Q. Yes, over what period?
A. February through September.
Q. Of this year?
Q. When did you write the portion --
A. Towards the end.
Q. In September of this year?
A. Probably earlier. You write something
and then you revise it. For me it is a holistic
Q. Did you write it before or after you
were contacted about being a witness in this case?
A. Before, all before.
Q. You wrote it before October 8th or 15th?
Q. Do you have a personal belief as to
whether a creator, in whatever form, had a hand in
creating life, man or anything else or the
A. Not really.
Q. You think it all evolved by natural
A. I think inasmuch as one can know at
this level of existence, yes.
Q. What do you discuss in "Cultural
A. I am talking about the sorts of things
which might lead to the sort of change of customs,
habits, beliefs in the human world and whether or
not one can draw an analogy between what happens
in the human world and what happens in the
Q. Can you draw an analogy, do you think?
A. Probably, but not in the way I suggest
in that paper.
Q. You have changed some of your concepts
since 1974 when you wrote this or some of your
thoughts on it?
Q. How do you think you can draw an
A. Since the writing of that paper
sociobiology has been discussed, and I am inclined
to think that now one can perhaps not just
analogize but relate behavior in a more direct way.
We know more about it than I suggested in that
Q. What analogies do you draw?
A. Perhaps "analogies" is not a good word.
What I am saying in that paper is I think that one
can draw sort of a Lemarckian sort of inheritance
or some sort of analogies between the kinds of
adaptive strategies that organisms take in the
biological world and what we do in the human world.
But, as I say, that paper was written from what I
call a group selection is the point of view, and I
would repudiate most of what I say there now,
along with most biologists.
Q. What publication is this article from?
A. This is from NEW SCIENTIST.
MR. NOVIK: Could you read the title?
MR. WILLIAMS: Sure. It is "Darwin's
Theory: An Exercise in Science."
Q. Could you briefly summarize what your
statements and findings are in this article?
A. That natural selection is not a
Q. I take it in this article you were
trying to answer even some of the evolutionists
who were saying that it is tautology?
A. Some of the philosophical evolutionists,
Q. What is sociobiology?
A. It is the study of behavior from a
Darwinian perspective, group behavior, social
Q. Do you think that is a valid science?
A. I think it is a valid enterprise. I
don't necessarily think that every hypothesis
which is put forward is fully confirmed yet.
Q. But some of the hypotheses are validly
A. I think in the animal world some are
very good, yes.
Q. Do you think there are gay genes?
A. Let me put it this way. I don't think
it is any worse than some of the other explanations
that have been put forward.
Q. You wrote an article entitled "Is Human
Sociobiology a New Paradime?" What is the answer
to that question in your mind?
A. It goes back to what we were talking
about this morning, what is a paradime? In some
respects yes, in some respects no.
Q. Are you familiar with THE CONTROVERSY
OVER MAN, A COURSE OF STUDY?
A. No, I don't think so, no.
Q. Would you have any objection to an
interdisciplinary course on the study of origins
in which both religion and science were studied?
A. In a public school, yes.
Q. You would. Even if they were just
studying scientific theories of origin and some of
the different religious beliefs on origins?
A. If you are asking me at a comparative
religion level, then I don't think I would, if you
are asking me in a general knowledge class or
something like that what do people believe. But
if you are asking me something which could be
taken as an either/or, something as you do in a
biology class, then yes.
Q. If you had a course on the study of
origins which looked at it from a comprehensive
viewpoint, considered all the scientific evidence,
whatever that might be, considered religious
theories of origins and just talked about how that
question affects us generally and some of the
sociological implications, would you have any
problem with that sort of course being taught at a
A. I am not sure how specialized a course
one would teach at this level anyway.
Q. How about in a college?
A. In a college?
A. In a certain general affairs class or
something along those lines, I think one could
cover different beliefs, a history of religions
class or something like that. But I would
certainly in a public institution, publicly funded
institution, I would certainly have objections to
a course being taught which presented creation
science as a viable alternative to biological
Q. But as along as it was not presented as
a viable alternative, you would not object to it?
A. In the sense that I could see a teacher
telling students about Communism in public affairs
class, O would not object to that happening. I
would object to a teacher, say, lecturing on DAS
KAPITAL as something the students must accept and
Q. Would you have a problem in, say, a
history course, where you were studying the
American Revolution, trying to give a balance to
it from the American perspective as well as the
A. Well, I talk about history in my own
science class. So I am not saying under any
circumstances at any time in a school or
university could one not ever possibly mention it
or anything like that. My objection is to
teaching creation science in the biology classes
as a viable option today.
Q. Maybe the problem is with the idea of a
viable option. If it was presented in the form of
there are individuals who -- I am trying to avoid
the use of the term "scientist" there because I
think you may find I would have some problems with
that -- but individuals with Ph.D's who work in
the field of science who believe there is
scientific evidence to support it, would you
object to that? Support it, I mean the theory of
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me. There are a lot
of questions in that question. Do you want me to
explain or do you want to rephrase it?
MR. WILLIAMS: I will be glad to
restate it if you have some problems with it.
MR. NOVIK: I have problems with the
Q. In a biology class, if the students
were told, in addition to being told about
evolutionary theory, that there are individuals
who have studied science and who have Ph.D's in
several fields of science and after having studied
it feel that there is scientific support for the
theory of creation science, would you object to
A. Being taught or just a mention of the
Q. First of all, that being mentioned.
A. If somebody just mentioned the fact in
passing, preDarwinians, I would hardly object to
that. But if the person now went on and tried to
teach from it as a viable option in a biology
class, I would object.
Q. Put aside for the moment the question
of a viable option. After they made this mention
they gave a summary, here is what the creationists
say and what the evolutionists say, kind of just a
contrasting position, would you have a problem
with that? Would you object to that?
A. I think probably yes.
Q. Why would you object to that? We are
talking about a summary form, just kind of a
A. I think, again, we go back to viable
options. Inasmuch as it is just something
mentioned in the course of teaching, we can't
pretend that the world doesn't exist, making
reference to preDarwinians or something, one
doesn't want to stand over the teacher and say
never ever mention the word "creation."
But I think we can all draw the
distinction between, say, a passing reference and
saying now, kids, now students or whatever, this
is what the creationists believe, et cetera. And
certainly any implications that there might be an
evaluation or that the students might be expected
to learn this or be tested on it.
Q. So you could mention that there are
creationists but you can't mention what they say?
A. You know the level I am talking about.
If the students said to me, if a student put their
hand up in biology class and said, sir, have you
read about the creationists, I would say yes. The
student would say, well, can we explore this? I
would say, sorry, no, that is religious concepts,
this is a science class.
(Continued on following page.)
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions.
MR. NOVIK: I don't have any questions.
MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Dr. Ruse.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
(Time noted: 4:15 p.m.)
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this ______ day of ______________ 1980.
C E R T I F I C A T E
STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF NEW YORK )
I, THOMAS W. MURRAY, C.S.R., and WALTER
HOLDEN, C.S.R., Notaries Public within and
for the State of New York, do hereby certify:
That MICHAEL ESCOTT RUSE, the witness
whose deposition is hereinbefore set forth,
was duly sworn by me and that such
deposition is a true record of the testimony
given by such witness.
I further certify that I am not
related to any of the parties to this action
by blood or marriage; and that I am in no
way interested in the outcome of this matter.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto
set my hand this 24th day of November, 1981.
THOMAS W. MURRAY, C.S.R.
WALTER HOLDEN, C.S.R.