UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
REV. BILL McLEAN, et al.,
THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, et al.,
Deposition of STEPHEN JAY GOULD, held at the offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Esqs., 919 Third Avenue, New York, New York, on the 27th day of November, 1981, at 9:30 o'clock a.m., pursuant to Notice, before Helaine J. Dribben, a Notary Public of the State of New York.
BRUCE J. ENNIS, ESQ.
SUSAN STORM, ESQ.
Assistant Directors for Affiliate Program American Civil Liberties Union
132 West 43rd Street New York, New York 10036
STEVE CLARK, ESQ. Attorney General State of Arkansas Justice Building Little Rock, Arkansas
DAVID L. WILLIAMS, ESQ., Of Counsel SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER & FLOM, ESQS.
919 Third Avenue New York, New York 10022
BY STEVEN BARNES, ESQ.
DAVID KLASFELD, ESQ., Of Counsel
IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED by and between the attorneys for the respective parties herein, that filing and sealing be and the same are hereby waived.
IT IS FURTHER STIPULATED AND AGREED that all objections, except as to the form of the question, shall be reserved to the time of the trial.
IT IS FURTHER STIPULATED AND AGREED that the within deposition may be signed and sworn to before any officer authorized to administer an oath, with the same force and effect as if signed and sworn to before the Court.
STEPHEN JAY GOULD, called
as a witness, having been first duly sworn by the Notary Public, was examined and testified as follows:
EXAMINATION BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q. Could you state your name, please?
A. Stephen Jay Gould.
MR. ENNIS: Bruce J. Ennis, appearing for Dr. Gould. Steve Barnes also appearing for Dr. Gould.
Q. Have you brought any documents with you today?
MR. ENNIS: Yes we have. In addition to the 3 books we have produced, ONTOGENY and PHYLOGENY, THE PANDA'S THUMB and THE ORIGIN, A VIEW OF LIFE, we are also producing several documents.
You previously received a curriculum vitae for Dr. Gould, but I would like to give you an updated
current version of that CV, together with a complete scientific bibliography of the many articles written by
Dr. Gould. We are also producing various file
folders which break down by categories relevant to your request for production of documents, additional correspondence, and documents that were in Dr. Gould's possession.
And we are in addition producing articles written by Dr. Gould which bear specifically on the subject of creationism or creation-science and subjects directly relevant to this lawsuit.
Finally, I would like to state for the record that we would like to at least mention to you that there is one article written in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, which Dr. Gould may have occasion to refer to in the course of his testimony, but for which I do not have a copy. It's called THE CEPHALOPODS IN THE CREATION and THE UNIVERSAL CREATION, and it's written by John Woodmorappe.
In the Creation Research Society Quarterly, volume 15, September 1978. I will give you this copy now, but I do not have an extra. If you would like to make one, I would appreciate if you will return the original.
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes, I would like to
have a copy made of this.
MR. ENNIS: I would also like to state for the record that we made a diligent effort at Harvard Wednesday to try and find our Creation Society literature on which Dr. Gould might rely in his testimony. We have not been able to determine for certain which things he will be relying on, but he has read many books by creationists, and if you would like we can state them for the record because he may -
A. Yes. The main ones would be Gish's EVOLUTION THE FOSSILS SAY NO. THE GENESIS FLOOD by Whitcomb and Morris: FOSSILS KEYED TO THE PRESENT, by Bliss, Parker and Gish. SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM, by Henry Morris.
I am not saying I won't read some others before the trial, but these are the ones I have read so far. In fact, the only major creations works I own.
MR. ENNIS: I would like to say for the record that I now understand that you have a copy of
another book written by Dr. Gould entitled EVER SINCE DARWIN. And that will complete our document
production in response to your request.
I would like to state for the record that Dr. Gould has written literally hundreds of articles in his professional career and all of them to some extent or another have something to do with evolution. We have not produced all of those articles because he does not have copies of most of them, and had reprints of virtually none of them. But we have made an effort to reproduce all articles that deal with creation-science or anything related to this case.
We have also produced a list of publications, and if on looking at that list there appear to be any additional publications in that list which you think might be relevant, we will be happy to try and get copies of those as well. We made an effort to screen through and I think we complied in good faith with your request.
MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MR. ENNIS: We are going to have the standard stipulation reserving all objections except as to form until the trial. We will not waive the signing of the deposition, however. Anything else you would like to add, David?
MR. WILLIAMS: No. Its my
understanding though, concerning the details, that the original will be forwarded directly to Dr. Gould; is that right? For his signature.
MR. ENNIS: We will have to figure out. what's the quicker way to do that since he's going to be out of the country.
MR. WILLIAMS: Off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
MR. WILLIAMS: In our off the record discussion, I think we have agreed that the original of the deposition transcript will be sent to Dr. Gould either tomorrow or Sunday by Federal Express or some other overnight delivery service. He will then read it and make any necessary corrections before he leaves the country on Wednesday of next week. Will return it by Express Mail or some other overnight means of delivery to Skadden, Arps, who will conform their copy to any changes made. They will in turn send the original signed and corrected to the Attorney General's Office, Justice Building, Little Rock, Arkansas, to my attention.
Q. Dr. Gould, where are you currently employed?
A. Harvard University.
Q. And your position at Harvard?
A. Professor of geology.
Q. Are you tenured?
Q. When did you receive your tenure?
A. 1971, July 1 - sorry, July 1, 1973.
Q. Your attorneys - the attorneys for the plaintiff, have they explained to you the purposes of a deposition?
Q. Have you testified before in any case?
Q. Ever had a deposition taken before?
Q. Are you married?
Q. What Is your wife's name?
A. Debra Lee, maiden name, Lee.
Q. Is she employed?
A. She's a self-employed artist and illustrator.
Q. Do you have any children?
A. Two boys.
Q. Ages, please?
A. One 8 and one is going to be 12 next Thursday.
Q. Where are they in school?
A. My youngest son is in the local public school called the Agassiz School, my older boy is seriously learning disabled is in a special school called League School in Newton
Q. Your 8-year old will be in the second grade?
A. Third grade
Q. Would he have any courses yet in which they discuss the subject of origins?
A. I wish he did, but the state of public education in Massachusetts is such that there is no science at all in public schools now, which is a scandal or other reasons.
Q. Why is there no science in the public schools of Massachusetts?
A. There is in some schools. There was a science specialist, but he was released for lack of funds. I don't say the teacher doesn't occasionally discuss some scientific subjects.
Q. To your knowledge, has the subject of
evolution ever been discussed in your son's class?
A. I am it wasn't.
Q. Are you a member of any organized religious faith?
A. Not a formal member.
Q. Informal member?
A. I identify myself as Jewish faith. Not a paying member of any temple or synagogue.
Q. Do you observe any Jewish holidays?
A. In my own way. I fast on Yom Kippur, and that's difficult for a fatso like me.
Q. Have you ever been a member of a synagogue?
Q. Have you ever studied what the Jewish faith says about the origins of man and life in the world?
Q. Where did you study that?
A. Informally, personally.
Q. What is your understanding of their position on the origin of the world?
A. As with virtually all matters among Jews there are as many opinions as there are
Q. Are there some individuals, if not viable groups, within the Jewish faith who subscribe to literal interpretation of Genesis?
A. There are, but it's definitely a minority position.
Q. What is your personal belief as to the existence of a God?
A. Difficult question because it depends so much on a matter of definition. If you ask me whether I think there's a male figure with a beard sitting in the clouds, I certainly don't. But if one were to define God as the source of order in the universe, I might be tempted to say yes.
Q. You might be tempted to. Is that your -
A. I reserve judgment, because that's an issue far too difficult for the human mind to answer.
Q. So to the extent that you would consider the possibility of a God, you would define it as a source of order in the universe?
A. No. I didn't quite say that.
Q. I just want to understand what your
A. I said if one were to define God that way, I might be willing to give my assent.
Q. What is your present opinion as to the existence of a God?
A. It's again a definitional question. If one chooses to -
Q. Define God.
MR. ENNIS: If you can. If the witness has a definition.
A. No, I really don't. It means too many different things to too many people.
Q. That's why I am trying to ask you what it means to you, because I understand that it can be given different meanings.
A. No, I really can't. Mysteries have no definitions.
Q. Would you characterize yourself as an agnostic, an atheist, deist, sir, or any of the other labels which have arisen to put people in nice pigeon holes?
A. The problem with academics is we tend to perhaps traversely and certainly ardently to value
our personal approaches so much that we
really decline to impose any label upon ourselves, and therefore I have always resisted such characterizations. As the literal meaning of the word, and agnostic is one of them, is unsure. In the literal meaning of course I am, in the vernacular agnostic, and have done many things. Let us say I regard the issues too difficult for either my mind or anyone else's to solve.
Q. To the extent that any of those are a label concerning your position on the existence or lack of existence on a God, would agnostic be the closest that you are aware of?
A. When something is close it's not necessarily good enough. I will certainly admit that agnostic is certainly a closer word than creationist. But any word is so far from my personal beliefs that I decline to be labeled by the terms.
Q. You say that mysteries have no definition. What do you mean by that, that the existence of God is a mystery?
A. However we define it, we know so little that the subject is beyond our comprehension.
Q. Beyond our intellectual comprehension?
A. That's the only way I know to comprehend. To comprehend literally, that doesn't mean that we don't have other sources of feeling, et cetera.
Q. Do you think that a religious person can be a competent scientist?
A. Of course. The empirical record proves it. There are thousands upon thousands of religious people who are competent scientists.
Q. Do you think that a religious person who might be characterized as a fundamentalist can be a competent scientist?
A. Depends on what they do. If the science that they do has no bearing upon their belief in the literal interpretation of scripture, then the answer might be yes. If, for example, they worked on the mechanism of the heart, and were only interested in how it functions as a machine, never ask questions about how it got there, how it arose, I imagine that one could.
Q. Do you think that a person who might be characterized as a fundamentalist on religious issues
could be an adequate scientist in studying evolution and the subject of origins generally?
A. Insofar as at least in my understanding the basis of creationism is a belief that God or some supernatural force placed creatures on earth by an act of miraculous creation, and insofar as a miraculous creation is a suspension of natural laws and insofar as science deals with natural laws only, the answer would be no. Except with one qualification. If for example a creation scientist can find himself in my profession, for example, merely to describing fossils, I suspect since that's a purely empirical endeavor, it could be done.
Q. My question, though, I am not sure if I was perhaps as clear as I might be, is if someone is a "religious fundamentalist" and is a scientist studying origins, if they look at all the scientific data and attempt to analyze it, in the most competent scientific manner that they know, would they be any less a competent scientist because of their religious beliefs?
A. Could you define fundamentalist for me?
Q. I admit the term does not admit of an easy definition for me. It is a term bandied about in this
lawsuit, more by the plaintiffs than
the defendants, I might say. Let's take one step back and just replace the term fundamentalist with one who has an article of faith, believes in the literal account of Genesis, his article of faith I said.
A. Science of course by definition doesn't deal in articles of faith. So insofar as articles of faith involve empirical claims, as a literal belief in Genesis does, such a person could not be by the usual definitions a scientist.
Q. How does Genesis necessarily involve an article of faith as empirical data, is that what you said?
A. That was your definition.
Q. I am saying as an article of faith let me rephrase the question. If a scientist believes in Genesis literally as an article of faith and then studies it, studies not it, but the subject of origins generally as a scientist, can he not believe in one as an article of faith, Genesis as an article of faith and then study the scientific evidence without being biased or tainted in your own mind?
A. You mean of course the literal
interpretation of Genesis. I believe that Genesis is an inspired account in a different way, and very great literature as well. Sorry, I missed the thread of your question.
Q. What I heard you say earlier indicated to me that you understand that a scientist who believed as an article of faith in the literal account of Genesis could not be a competent scientist to study the subject of origins and theories of origins.
A. If they insisted a priori and an unreviseable belief that the literal story of Genesis had to be true, then since the empirical evidence is so overwhelmingly against certain aspects of the Genesis story, particularly the creation of all life in 6 days and 24 hours, that could not be because that belief has been falsified.
Q. That is the key, isn't it, as to whether they will try to establish or come to their work with a priori conviction?
A. That could not be altered.
Q. If they had this religious belief but they were able to put that aside and look at the
data as a scientist there is no reason why they
A. That's a contradiction in terms, they couldn't. If they really are biblical literalists committed to it, then the scientific data puts to the contrary.
Q. Are you aware that even among biblical literalists that they don't necessarily believe that week of Genesis was a week of 24-hour days?
A. The bill as I understand it, demands that they are not 24-hour day, then the creation of the earth is so recent then it is equally falsified by the evidence that we have.
Q. We will get into the bill in a moment. I have been handed this morning either revised or updated curriculum vitae. Does this vitae include all of your employment since you received your Bachelor's Degree?
A. Yes, it does. It's been a dull life. I have just been at Harvard since I got my Ph.D.
Q. What courses do you teach in geology at Harvard?
A. I teach several courses. I teach either year a large course in the core curriculum, which is the
general education program for the
college which is called science B-16, which is an overview of the history of the earth and life. In addition, I teach, though not every year and in varying intervals, a number of more technical courses in paleontology, evolutionary theory, and the history of evolutionary and geological thought.
Q. You received your Bachelor's Degree in geology at Antioch in 1963?
Q. Did you have any subspecialty in your study of geology?
A. Antioch is a strange school. It doesn't really recognize formal majors. I took a fair number of courses in biology as well, with a major in geology.
Q. Did you bypass the Master's Degree? I don't see that listed.
A. Yes. It's customary. At least many schools that are Ph.D. oriented to either have an honorary master's that you really get after having taken a certain number of courses or to dispense with it all together. I may even have it, I don't remember.
Q. And your Ph.D. was in what?
A. In geology, with a specialty in paleontology, 1967, Columbia University.
Q. Describe for me briefly how you would define paleontology?
A. Paleontology is the study of fossils. Simple as that, all aspects thereof.
Q. Who was your major advisor at Columbia?
A. My major advisor was Norman Newell, a curator of fossil invertebrates at the Museum of Natural History.
Q. Have you ever taught a course on creation-science?
A. I couldn't. There is no such thing.
Q. Have you ever discussed the subject of creation-science in your classroom?
A. Only in brief allusions in my science B-16 course.
Q. Do you recall what your brief allusions would consist of?
A. They were negative.
Q. I would expect that, but do you recall the content?
A. I in fact will give come up to Harvard next week. I am going to give 2 lectures
on Monday and Wednesday, which is the first lecture I will give on the subject. They mainly consisted on attempts to show that by the definitions of science, creationism did not qualify.
Q. Are you aware of any schools where the subject of creation-science - I am talking about schools which are post secondary schools, colleges, universities, where creation-science has been taught?
A. I know that it is in the abstract, but have never talked with anyone who teaches such a course. I did in Dayton, Tennessee, meet the president of Bryan College, and I believe, though I am not certain, that they teach creationism there.
Q. Do you know if it's being taught in any other colleges or universities say on the east coast, what would be some of the more major colleges?
A. I'm not aware that it is.
Q. Would you be surprised if it is?
A. Yes depending on how it's taught, I would not be surprised if it were considered in sociology
courses an issue of the day. I simply
Q. Where did you graduate from high school?
A. Jamaica High School. It's a public high school in New York, in Queens. Not on the island of.
Q. What science courses did you take there?
A. The standard very poor offerings that existed before the Sputnik went up. I had in junior high school, a year of general science, and then a year of biology, a year of physics, and a year of chemistry, plus mathematics of course. No calculus.
Q. Did you study theories of origins in high school?
A. Ever so briefly.
Q. What do you recall about your study?
A. Virtually nothing. Evolution was treated in a week or so at the end of the course. That being, by the way, a legacy of the Scopes trial and the textbooks which still exist not many years later.
Q. How did you arrive at the conclusion that that was a legacy of the Scopes trial?
A. Because the book we used was Moon,
Mann, and Otto. And we know since that book was around since 1920 that, although the early editions included much evolution, the post-Scopes trial ones did not.
Q. Are you aware that there were other texts which were available which perhaps had a more thorough discussion of evolution?
A. No idea. I was a little child.
Q. Was the creation model or any symbols there of origins treated in your high school courses?
A. No. But there was very little evolution either.
Q. In undergraduate school at Antioch, what courses on theories of origins would you have taken?
A. Theories of origins is a bad term, because we don't really deal with origins in the study of evolution. If you ask me in evolution, the answer is a fair number. I guess I only had one formal course entitled "Evolution," but I had since age ten or 11 made a personal study of the subject.
Q. What books had you read from age ten
and 11 that you can recall and that would have been influential?
A. The first book and most influential one was George Simpson's, THE MEANING of EVOLUTION.
Q. When did you read that book?
A. Let us say I attempted to read it at age 11. I doubt in rereading it later that I understood much of it then.
Q. Any other particular influential books in this area?
A. I like Roy Chapman Andrews' ALL ABOUT DINOSAURS, but I doubt very much that it said much about processes of change.
Q. In undergraduate school, did you receive any instruction in creation-science, model of origins or anything similar thereto?
A. Only from personal study. I always had an interest In the subject.
Q. And in your postgraduate studies, did you have any study of the creation-science model of origins, or anything similar to it?
A. Not formally, again.
Q. What was the subject of your Ph.D. dissertation that you wrote?
A. THE EVOLUTION FOSSIL LAND SNAILS FROM BERMUDA.
Q. Was that published?
A. Yes, it was. It's item 20 on that list if I remember correctly, a very long and complex title.
Q. When was the first time you heard the term creation-science?
A. I just don't know.
A. The problem is I don't know whether I certainly am aware of literal beliefs in Genesis. I have read a lot about the Scopes trial as a teenager. I just don't know whether the term was used then. I don't think so, but I don't know.
Q. In response to our request for documents you brought with you this morning some various documents I want to ask you some questions about.
First of all, labeled in a folder entitled American Society of Naturalists, Committee on Creationism,
there is a memo and two or three letters. Do you recall what the occasion was that you received this?
A. Yes. I became president of the American Society of Naturalists by the death of the man who should have served. I was not so elected. I was vice president. And one of the items of business was the establishment of a committee within the society to study the creationist challenge, and I as president participated in the setting up of such a committee asking Bruce Wallace to be its chairman. That committee functioned sporadically, made the report that you have, and more or less merged with a still ongoing committee for which you have a folder of documents and of which I am a member of the Society for the Study of Evolution. I might say that the Society for the Study of Evolution of the American Society of Naturalists are the two major professional societies of evolutionists.
Q. So you appointed Bruce Wallace to chair the committee; is that correct?
A. Bruce Wallace is too eminent a man. One doesn't appoint him, one begs him to do it.
Q. You were responsible?
A. I asked him, yes.
Q. When did the American Society of Naturalists decide to set up a committee on creationism?
A. My memory for dates is terrible.
A. It was 1978 or '79 or 1980. It was at the annual meeting.
Q. Is there any resolution or any other written documentation concerning the reasons why this committee was set up?
A. If so, I don't have them. As I remember, Walter Bock, was a professor of biology at Columbia, wrote to the president of the society asking or recommending that such a committee be established. I had that letter at one time. I don't now, because I passed on my entire files. As I said, I was only president pro tem.
Q. What do you recall as the reasons motivating this committee being established?
A. We evolutionists believe that what you call creation-science is a contradiction in terms and is
not science. We were alarmed at its spread in various secondary schools across the nation and set up
a committee to look into ways whereby
evolutionary biologists might raise questions and oppose this spread.
Q. Was a charge given to this committee?
A. Only to report back the following year as to what they thought effective tactics might be. Let me not say that. What they thought the appropriate stands of professional evolutionary biologists might be.
Q. It was clear at the outset, was it not, that the overall purpose would be to symbol creationism?
A. Oh, yes, indeed. I presume that's not an issue. Sorry if I was pussyfooting.
Q. What is the Voice of Reason?
A. The Voice of Reason about which I confess I know not a great deal, is an organization brought to
my acquaintance by Morris Goodman, who is an evolutionary biologist at Wayne State University in
Detroit, which has at least one of its charges combating creationism. Dr. Goodman asked if I would sign
the statement of purpose and become a member of I don't know if it's the board of advisers or just a list
of signatories. I read the list and signed them.
Q. These subscribe to this document entitled the Voice of Reason with several subtopics, the American Tradition and another subtopic of the Secular Stage.
MR. ENNIS: Is your question did he by signing subscribe to the entire document or just the statement on creation-science?
MR. WILLIAMS: My question is, there is a two page document there which his name I think the fourth page is listed as on the national board of advisers.
A. As always in signing documents, I do not guarantee that I accede to every nuance of every word, but the resolution section which is the guts of the document I signed because I do indeed support it.
Q. What have been the functions or activities of the Voice of Reason to date?
A. I don't know.
Q. When did you agree to sign on as a member of the National Advisory Board?
A. I think it was last spring, spring of 1981 that is. But I would not commit myself to that. Plus or
minus 8 months, which is the
academician's statistical fluctuation.
Q. Looking at the National Advisory Board I notice it includes people like Isaac Asimov, Francisco Ayala, Guy Bush, and there are people on the list. Would it be fair to say that all these people would be evolutionists?
A. I am sure they are all evolutionists. Yes, it would.
Q. These other documents that you have provided from the Voice of Reason which include some really outstanding works of art, have you read those before?
A. I have glanced through them.
Q. I notice on one page it says "It is our heritage to continually construct a wall of separation between church and state."
A. The only thing wrong with that is the split infinitive.
Q. But do you agree that's part of our heritage, to have a wall of separation between church and state?
A. I thought that's what the first amendment says, not in quite that graphic language. The best for
the protection of religion, as well
as everything else.
Q. Has this been published, to your knowledge, any of this information in any other form?
A. I don't know.
Q. It would appear to be perhaps the draft of some sort of pamphlet or something?
A. It did come in a bound pamphlet form. No, that art does not hold a shadow to Michelangelo. I think Michelangelo today would have been an evolutionist.
Q. Does this group have any meetings that
A. I don't know.
Q. You have not attended any personally. By the way, did anybody ever ask you if you do this last Tuesday?
A. No. I am sorry. I don't like being here either. I want to be with my family.
Q. But you were never contacted to check and see if you could have done this Tuesday?
A. I couldn't have, I had to teach. I don't really remember if we did, since I had a class in the morning,
I couldn't have in any case.
As I understand it, I am here at your request, not at my personal desire.
Q. I understand that. What involvement have you had with the so-called Committees of Correspondence?
A. No personal involvement. I merely submitted those documents since they were sent to me. I tried to give you whatever literature I had from any formally constituted anti-creationist group.
Q. Are you aware of the purpose of Committees of Correspondence?
A. In a loose sort of way, yes. I have spoken very briefly to Stanley Weinberg in the State of Iowa, whom I understand is their leader, and I know the head of Massachusetts branch, Laurie Godfrey, but have had no formal ties with them.
Q. You haven't done any work or any writings yourself?
Q. Do you know why you were sent this material?
A. I imagine they have a mailing list that
Includes evolutionists of notoriety. I guess I classify - I qualify as such.
Q. I think you said earlier that you are a member of the Society for the Study of Evolution's education committee. What is your understanding of the purpose of the education committee?
A. To study the creationist challenge and devise means of meeting it.
Q. Again, the purpose is to oppose it, correct?
A. Oh, yes, indeed.
MR. ENNIS: Can I ask you to clarify your question by what you mean oppose it, do you mean oppose the teaching of it in public schools or oppose it more generally?
A. You can't oppose what parents do in their house or what churches do in their buildings. That's no concern of ours.
Q. I notice in some of the correspondence on the committee, education committee of the Society for the Study of Evolution the term the anti-evolutionist is often used. Do you use that term in reference to the creation scientist?
A. I usually call them creationists. They
are not creation scientists, because in my view they are not scientists, and they are people opposed to evolution. So I myself use the term creationist.
Q. Do you use the term anti-evolutionist?
A. I haven't, I don't think. But it would not be an inappropriate term.
Q. What duties or activities have you undertaken on the education committee?
A. I attended a meeting at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution held in Iowa this June or July, and beyond that I have been a fairly passive member, merely receiving documents, although I did send out one mailing in which I merely sent copies of the two of the articles that you have to all members of the committee in response to a request that we circulate among ourselves those writings that we have.
Q. What articles did you send?
A. The piece from DISCOVER MAGAZINE, and the natural history column entitled a visit to Dayton, both of which you have.
Q. There is a file with some
correspondence in it titled the "National Academy of Sciences."
A. The National Academy of Sciences has a committee. How active or how it's constituted I don't know. It was preparing a draft statement on creationism. I was contacted by Dr. Maxine Singer, and asked to check its wording and make any comments. I suggested a very few alterations, mainly stylistic.
Other than that, they did hold a meeting in Washington, I was invited to attend it but was unable to because I had classes that day. That is the extent of my involvement with them.
Q. Have you had any other you may have said something on this, perhaps I didn't hear but other than this reviewing this draft of a statement on creationism, have you had any other involvement with the National Academy of Science's opposition to creation?
A. Not other than being invited to this meeting and being unable to attend.
Q. In the final folder that I have in front of me presently is a National Association of Biology
Teachers, which contains apparently some
A. Yes. I have had no official contact with them. That like the Committee of Correspondence information that came to me and knowing that the NABT is active in the anti- creationist front, I thought I would supply those documents. I should, however, mention that I did at the annual meeting of the National Association of Biology Teachers held in Boston and now again it's plus or minus a year, it was either this year's or last year's meeting, give an address on creationism.
Q. Is there a transcript of that address?
A. I think there is.
Q. Is it included in these materials?
A. I don't own it, but it could be, if such exists it would be a cassette tape and could be obtained by contacting Wayne Moyer, who is head of the national association.
MR. ENNIS: Let me say for the record that in Boston on Wednesday we did ask Dr. Gould if there
were any transcripts of any of the addresses or speeches he had given on the subjects covered by your
request to produce documents which
were in his possession, and the answer is that there are not or to the extent there are, they are included in those document requests. There may have been other brief appearances on radio shows or other speaking engagements, but he does not have any transcripts of those in his possession.
Q. To the best of your recollection, would your talk or speech on creation-science given to the National Association of Biology Teachers contain any information different than what is included in your writings?
A. It was longer, so evidently there would be more words, but I think the content of it covered, particularly the article that you are holding now.
Q. You're referencing the DISCOVER article?
Q. Have any of the other organizations that you are a member of or have been involved with besides the ones we have gone through taken an official position on creation-science?
A. Not that I know of.
Q. How about the AAAS, are you aware of it?
A. I don't think they have, but I don't know for certain. The AAAS, of course, is such a large organization. One is a member to receive the magazine SCIENCE and I am not aware of their official position.
Q. Are you a fellow of
A. That's an honorary title.
Q. What does it mean?
A. It means that with your document, and 75 cents you can take a ride on the New York subway.
Q. Are you voted on?
A. Yes. You get a little psuedo parchment document in the mail that says you're a fellow and you put it on your CV.
Q. Is that a mark of distinction within the scientific community?
A. It is said to be. I do not regard it as a particularly distinguishing mark thereof.
Q. Do you recall making a remark previously in a speech or a presentation or perhaps at a
so-called debate, I don't know if it was a debate or not, on creation-science, that creation-science was not an
issue anywhere in the world except in the United States?
A. I have said things like that but not quite in those terms.
Q. What is your position on that?
A. That so far as I know, that in no other western nation - I don't know what's happening in China or Sri Lanka That in no other Western nation though. I know there are individual creationists and even in England a few societies, but that this is not a major political issue.
Q. Are you aware of as to creation-science or some form of creation model is taught in Canada?
A. I guess I always consider chauvinistic, one tends to consider Canada as an extension of the United States. After all, Montreal almost got into the World Series this year. Yes, I think there's a creationist movement in Canada, and I guess I was lumping Canada with the United States.
Q. Are you aware whether creation-science is taught in the public schools in Canada?
A. I don't know.
Q. And you say this is really not an issue, as I understand it, anywhere but in the United States and Canada?
A. As far as I know it is not a major
political issue that commands media attention.
Q. Now you have said not a political issue. Is it an issue in the scientific community?
Q. Are you aware that the, if I have the term right, the Museum of Natural History in London had an exhibit in which creation-science or something similar thereto was presented as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution?
A. I am afraid that's a misinterpretation of what was done at the British Museum of Natural History. There was a fairly cautionary put up in one of the exhibit halls that spoke about alternatives, but it was not an equal time exhibit.
Q. But which said that creation-science, if we can use that term, in the general sense at this point, was an alternative theory to evolution?
A. I have the copy of the wording. I don't believe that that's an accurate representation of it. I don't have it with me.
Q. Could you produce that?
A. I could produce it insofar as it is an editorial in NATURE MAGAZINE that talks about this. I believe
I have a copy of it and can produce it.
MR. WILLIAMS: If you can produce that, I would appreciate it.
THE WITNESS: However, it was an editorial in NATURE MAGAZINE, which is a fairly common magazine.
Q. If I can have just have a cite.
MR. WILLIAMS: I would like this marked as Defendants' Exhibit 1 to the Gould deposition an article from the May 1981 DISCOVER MAGAZINE entitled "Evolution as Fact and Theory."
(Whereupon, document above referred to was marked as Defendants' Exhibit 1 for identification, as of this date.)
Q. In Exhibit 1, on page 34, the second paragraph you state that "The arousal of dormant issues should reflect fresh data that give renewed life to abandoned notions." And then you go on to state that "The creationists have not a single new fact or argument."
Upon what do you base your belief that the creationists do not have any new facts or arguments?
A. Reading their literature and being aware of what was used in the 1920's in the Scopes
trial, and the literature of that time, particularly by George McCready Price, who was the leader of the creationists in the 20's and 30's.
Q. Could you describe for me the literature that you are talking about, particularly with reference to George McCready Price? I am talking about George McCready Price. What arguments did he forward?
A. I haven't read this material for a while, but they were mainly including what Bryan and others presented at the Scopes trial, primarily arguments about the presumed young age of the earth and gaps in fossil record, et cetera.
Q. Did he talk about the second law of thermodynamics?
A. Who remembers, but
Q. Do you recall that?
A. I don't remember. It's a pseudo argument. When I say not a single new fact or argument, a
literal meaning of argument to me is something that has, I suppose argument is anything that anyone
says, there are new words that weren't used before. By "argument," I mean something that has
Q. If your statement that the creationists have not a single new fact or argument, if that were not true would your opinion change any on the subject of creation-science?
MR. ENNIS: I didn't understand that question.
THE WITNESS: I didn't either.
Q. One of the first statements that you make in this article is that the creationist have not offered any new facts or new arguments, as I take it
A. I mean arguments of substance.
Q. I understand that. But if there are in fact new facts since 1925 in the Scopes trial or new arguments, and arguments of substance as you term those, would your opinions be different?
MR. ENNIS: About what?
Q. Your opinions on creation-science as a science.
MR. ENNIS: I don't mean to be obstructive here, but I still don't understand it. It seems to me
what you're asking is if in fact there were scientific evidence for creation would you then have a different view.
MR. WILLIAMS: I think the witness' article begins on the premise that there are or there is no new evidence.
A. The main premise of the article is that
MR. ENNIS: I am sorry. If you can answer the question, I have no objection to your answering the question.
A. I still don't really understand it but the main premise of the article of course is that there is nothing going forth. The main point is not a historical one as to when arguments arose. Like any scientist, when an argument that we haven't heard arises we have to assess it. I am unaware, and I have read a fair amount of creationist literature, of anything that I find in the slightest persuasive.
Q. You use the term creationist literature. What do you include within that term?
A. Here I am using the sentence of those who support the literal interpretation of Genesis as an infallible guide to interpreting the history of life in the earth.
Q. I don't understand your definition or
characterization of creationist literature. You seem to be describing it with reference to the beliefs of the writers, rather than to the implications of the writings.
A. I think that is what the creationist movement represents, and I think the bill specifies that when it talks about the age of the earth and the flood. So it's that body of literature by Gish, Henry Morris and others I regard as the main body of creationist literature.
Q. Have you read Act 590?
Q. I would like to ask you if you could to look at it again for a moment. And looking at section 4-A, which is the definition of creation-science, before asking you questions about that, from your other testimony I think it's fair to say that you view creation-science as nothing more than a literal interpretation of Genesis under the guise of science?
A. Let me say that creation-science is to me a contradiction of terms. Because creation, in my
understanding, refers to the suspension of natural law by some power to place creatures upon
Q. First of all, let me ask you then, where in the act is creation-science or creation defined or described in such a way that it necessarily includes the suspension of natural laws?
A. Point one, sudden creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing.
Q. Now that is one part of what creation-science may include. It says, does it not, that creation-science is the scientific evidences for creation and inferences there from. Is that correct?
A. Not exactly in those words. Creation-science includes the scientific evidence and related inferences that indicate, yes.
Q. Is there anything in that sentence which necessarily requires the suspension of natural laws?
A. In vernacular definition, the production of things from nothing is to me miraculous.
Q. In that first sentence.
A. I think so because to me the term
creation-science, defining creation as I do, implicitly refers to miraculous suspension. That's the way I define the miracle of creation.
Q. A miraculous suspension of natural laws?
Q. That is how you define creation-science?
A. That's the core claim of creation-science as I understand it is the suspension of natural law to place on this earth by the fiat act of a supernatural Creator the kinds of life.
Q. Do you feel like you are familiar with the account of creation given in Genesis?
A. I have read Genesis. I don't know all the exogenical traditions, of course.
Q. Looking at 4-A1, could you tell me if that language is in Genesis?
A. I read Genesis different from creationists. To me it's an allegorical tale of great literary power.
Q. My question is, I think according to your earlier statement that creation-science is derived from
a literal reading of Genesis, is that right?
A. As I understand it.
Q. I want you to just look at 4-A1, which says, "the sudden creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing." Is that in Genesis?
A. I don't think it is. Other people do. Remember, any part of the Bible can be read in many different ways.
Q. 2 says, "the insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about investment of all living kinds from a single organism," is that in Genesis?
A. I'm not aware of that Genesis speaks of mutation. I don't see how it could.
Q. 3 is, "changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals" does Genesis say that only the kinds have only fixed or does Genesis say that the living kinds changed only within fixed limits?
A. My answer is really the same to all of these.
MR. ENNIS: Are you asking the witness what his interpretation of Genesis is, or are you asking
the witness of his understanding of what the interpretation of Genesis advanced by creation
MR. WILLIAMS: From his earlier testimony I think he said that he had studied the Genesis account of creation. Genesis account of
MR. ENNIS: I believe his testimony was that he had read the Genesis account of creation, but I don't believe he said he had studied or studied it or read it recently.
THE WITNESS: I said that I am aware that there are many exogenical traditions of it. I certainly know what the words say, but there are so many different interpretations. There is no book that has been more interpretive in a variety of ways than the Bible. There are 100 different interpretations, as you know. I don't quite see what you are getting at.
Q. Your statement I think earlier was that creation-science, besides the point that you think it's a contradiction in terms, that it is also merely a literal account of Genesis, is that correct?
A. It depends upon the claim that Genesis read literally represents the facts of nature. Specifically
in points 5 and 6. And if you
allowed a little play, that wouldn't change very much.
Q. Where in Genesis, for example, does it state that there has been a relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds?
A. Again, I don't believe that it does.
Q. I know, but if you interpret it literally, where does it say that?
A. One calculates the genealogies, starting with Adam, and gets an age.
Q. Is that in Genesis, to your knowledge?
A. It's not all in Genesis. You might have to proceed through some of the begat sections of Chronicles and some of the other books, but that's how it's been done.
Q. Where in Genesis is separate ancestry from man and apes?
A. My answer is going to be the same to every one of these questions. That represents one possible interpretation.
Q. That's an interpretation, but it is not necessarily in there, is it?
A. It can't necessarily be in there since so many people who regard Genesis as an
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which is a widely circulated publication which would support the theory of creation-science?
A. Could you define the theory of creation-science for me in this context?
Q. Creation-science, let's at this point confine ourselves to the definition given in Act 590, since that's the issue at hand.
A. But you see it's an odd definition. One of the points it makes under definition I regard as inappropriate there. It says 2 kinds. That's a caricature of what evolutionists say. I don't believe the mutation and natural selection is sufficient, but that is surely not part of creation-science.
So If you confine the definition to this set of 6 points, then the answer is yes, but only because the definitions are so poor. Of course there's literature that says mutation and natural selection is insufficient. I forget what its called in logic, but to say that the acceptance of what anybody says is the definition of any one part of it commits one to the definition is false.
Q. Your statements concerning your position and conclusion that creation-science cannot be science, could you tell me again why you believe that creation-science is not?
A. Because its core belief requires that natural law be suspended for the sudden or flat introduction of basic kinds onto the earth, and science is defined as an enterprise based on natural law. The suspension there of not being science.
Q. Does the role or the definition and use of the term "kinds," is that precluded from being science?
A. What I said doesn't apply to the word kind. I mean kind to me is a very vague term, the likes of which I don't know. But the fiat introduction of any kind of life, be it a species a genesis or kingdom.
Q. Do you feel that we know all that there is to know about the natural law?
A. Goodness, if we knew everything that there was about the world I guess we would pack up and play golf for the rest of our lives.
Q. So there is more to learn?
A. By definition in science, there is always more to learn. What a dull world if there weren't.
Q. Do you think that it would be scientific for a scientist to look at the origin of life or some organism and try to determine whether the origination of that life or organism was possible under the laws of nature?
A. Science, like any other enterprise, has boundaries. Science is that enterprise that attempts to describe and interpret the facts of the world under natural law, therefore attempts to study the origins of things under the laws of nature, and part of science.
Q. So the study of the limits of the laws of nature would be part of science?
A. The limits are not the limits are not limits have to do more with definitions of the enterprise, not with the facts of nature. Therefore, nothing about morality is part of science. Natural law doesn't deal with morality. But anything about the facts of nature come under the heading of natural law as we understand it.
Q. What was the last statement? I didn't
A. That the fact of nature as we understand it comes under the province of natural law.
Q. You use the term as we understand them.
A. Science is always tentative.
Q. If a scientist might resort to some scientific method and concluded that the origin of the first life could not have been by chance or by just the laws of nature operating, could that be scientific?
A. First of all, let me say that I have no professional opinion on the question of the origin of life is not what evolution deals with. So I am not going to be able to go very deeply into technical questions. But domain of science does not include things that don't have to do with natural law. I don't know what else one can say. And therefore, for instance, does not allow one to speak on questions of morality.
Q. Define evolution.
A. Evolution is the study of changes at several levels, either within local populations or from species
to species that occur once life is on
Q. Could you restate that? I really want your precise definition of what you consider evolution.
A. The science of evolutionary biology, that's really what I will call it, is the science that studies history of changes that life has undergone, both within populations and between species once it arose.
Q. Between species and what that arose?
A. Within populations. That's not a very elegant definition. The substance is there.
Q. According to your understanding of creation-science, does it deny the presence of evolution or the occurrence?
A. It denies the sufficiency of it to account for the living world as we know it. What literature I have read does not deny that a limited amount of evolution can occur.
Q. The evolution, these are common layman's terms, I mean the evolution of, for example deposition
MR. ENNIS: I am happy to let the witness answer that question but in view of your
earlier questions when you ask him his understanding of creation-science, does it allow some evolution to occur, are you talking about creation-science literature or as defined in Act 590?
MR. WILLIAMS: I want to talk about it in terms of the act unless otherwise specified.
MR. ENNIS: That's why I wanted to clarify that.
A. The act says you've got to believe in changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds.
Q. That could be fairly characterized as evolution?
A. Oh, yes, but the theory of evolution maintains that the whole pattern of life as we see it is a process of change by natural law. Evolution would not be satisfied by any means by the statement that only poodles and chihuahuas can be derived from the basic dog.
Q. But the creation science definition in Act 590 does include evolution to a degree.
A. But that's not evolution as we understand it. It's only a little bit of a change.
That's not what the theory of evolution is fundamentally about. Just as, for example never mind.
Q. You were going to say as for example. You make statements like in negotiations lawyers can't let them try?
A. Nineteenth Century creationists believed in a certain amount of natural selection but they used it only as a device for getting rid of extremely deformed individuals. But they weren't Darwinians. Quite the opposite. So in other words, it's not being an evolutionist to believe point 3.
Q. When you define evolution and discuss the changes that life has undergone between species, is it a necessary part of evolutionary theory that all species are related in some fashion?
A. Genealogically, yes.
Q. And that if you go back far enough there will be a common ancestor?
A. Yes, there are common ancestors. It's not impossible that if life arose from chemical constituents of
the earth's atmosphere and oceans,
that it might have done so twice, but yes, it's a claim of common ancestry, sure.
Q. So it is part of the theory of evolution, scientific theory of evolution as opposed to social evolution, that all organisms do have a common ancestor?
A. Again I qualify that. It's a claim of theory of evolution that all evolution are connected by ties of genealogy. It is not inconceivable, that life, if it arose from nonlife, could have made that transition a few times. However, it is probable that all life actually had a single common ancestry. In any case, even if there were say a few origins of the lowest level, changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals I think would be excluded. By no stretching of the term kind could a bacterium and human be placed as the same kind.
Q. So while it is not inconceivable that there were more than one that there was more than
one instance of life from nonlife, is it the prevailing view in the theory of evolution that life evolved
from nonlife only once from that
A. That's a very unimportant issue. I don't even know whether it's the prevailing view or not. It's not what we deal with. We have in the fossil record going back to 3 and a half billion years forms that we believe are the ancestor of all others. Those are the forms of very simple bacteria.
Q. Where do you believe those forms of life came from?
A. Again, I have to reiterate what I said, that is as an evolutionary biologist we do not deal I do not have expertise at all on the issue of origins. It's curious, if I may make aside comments, how in a way the professional evolutionary biologists are within the linguistic limits of the debate placed counter to what is called creationism.
An evolutionary biologists as professionals deal with changes in life once life arises. One would have
to know a lot more chemistry, for example, than I know to talk about the origins of life from nonlife. I
just don't have a professional opinion in that area.
Q. I am not trying to have you explain to me exactly how life emerged from nonlife, but is that not part of the general theory of evolution that life did emerge from nonlife?
A. It's not what evolutionary biologists study.
Q. You're limiting it to evolutionary biologists?
A. The theory of evolution as I studied it is a biological discipline that talks about the evolution of life once it arises. The term evolution has been around the word evolution has been around in many usages for a very long time. Spencer applied it to the evolution of societies. Evolution was a vernacular word, and I don't deal with all those other meanings.
Q. But it does have other meanings, doesn't it?
A. All sorts of words have vernacular meanings that are wider than their technical ones, and
people engaged in the technical studies don't necessarily know. Significance has a definition in statistics, but
a statistician needn't know whether things
Q. In your study then as an evolutionary biologist, how far back would you say
A. I go back 3 and a half billion years to the first life on earth.
Q. What's that first evidence that you are aware of?
A. The first evidence is bacteria from the fig tree Zimbabwe. And maybe somewhere else in Africa.
Q. And while perhaps not from that precise bit of bacteria that you are aware of, is it not true that bacteria are the oldest life is according to evolutionary thought presumed to be the ancestors for all subsequent life?
A. That's correct: Yes, the later life arose from.
Q. What within the scientific community, not necessarily within evolutionary biology, who would take us back farther, as a group or a subdiscipline?
A. Those biochemists that were interested. That's not all biochemists.
Q. Is there such a thing as an evolution biochemist?
A. That are biochemists who study how life may have arisen from nonlife. I don't know what they call themselves.
Q. What is the theory as to how life arose from nonlife?
A. Again, I didn't even take organic chemistry in college, so I am speaking largely as a layman here. But the general feeling as I understand it
MR. ENNIS: You can answer the question the extent that you have knowledge or opinion.
A. Is that life arose by natural processes and natural law.
Q. From nonlife?
Q. Is it correct to say it was essentially a chemical reaction?
A. Awfully complex set of chemical reactions. As you know we can make from the constituents of the earth's atmosphere a lot of fairly complex organics, including amino acids. That's not life.
Q. Then within the, if I could refer to it, as the school of evolutionary thought, as opposed
to just evolutionary biology or paleontology?
A. Again, I don't mean to be instructional early. But professional boundaries are very guarded in academia and it's not regarded happily when, people make pronouncements in areas they don't really understand. I don't know what you mean. If it includes the evolution of society, then I disclaim. Darwinian theory, for example, is not the only biological evolutionary theory there is about genetic change in DNA and its consequences.
Therefore, when we talk about the evolution of society one can only speak by analogy. When we talk about those biochemical changes before the development of DNA, it again can only be by analogy. I don't really know what else to say.
Q. Do you consider yourself an evolutionary biologist?
A. Oh, yes.
Q. Perhaps I am being hampered by semantics here. But as a paleontologist you study fossils?
Q. Do you study the molecules of DNA and genetics as a paleontologist?
A. Only on very rare occasions when you get soft parts preserved.
Q. Have you made the study of the I am just curious, sir as to what your area of expertise is?
A. My area of expertise is fossils. When I said DNA and consequences? No. I need to study DNA when I study the symmetry of the hand.
Q. I think we have established that within the general framework of evolution, and we are talking only about evolution of life here, not society and that sort of thing, that it is believed that life emerged from nonlife, these complex chemical reactions?
A. No. I didn't say that. I said that that is not what my profession of evolutionary biology deals with.
Q. I understand that. You're a professor of you have a Ph. D. in a field which is obviously in
geology and I am sure that you are aware of what are the other parts
A. I said that. I have to insist that it's not part of evolutionary biology. As I said to you.
Q. A part of evolution generally.
A. It is not part of what I define as the field of evolution. It is a part of science, to be sure. It's not my part of science.
Q. I understand that. I can appreciate that, that you would prefer to limit yourself to the area where you are really concentrated. But my question is, as you understand it, where did the matter, the nonlife come from?
A. Oh, that's not even a scientific question. If you want to go back that far. Science itself doesn't deal in ultimate origins. I am sorry, I thought you were giving me the chemical constituents of the earth. You asked me where matter came from, how can science deals with that question. I have no opinion on that. That is the mystery of mysteries.
Q. If I asked you where the matter on this planet came from, does science say anything about that?
A. Science has theories of how solar
systems form, sure. That's a very different issue from ultimately where the matter of universe came from.
Q. What are some of the theories of where the matter on this planet came from?
A. Again, I disclaim any formal expertise. I am not unaware of the scientific American level of what people say. But as I understand it the most popular view refers to the origin of planets along with the sun from the condensation of a primordial cloud of dust and gas. I have a very rudimentary knowledge of physics and chemistry.
Q. That's commonly referred to as the big bang; is that correct?
A. Oh, no. The big bang refers to again. As I said it, to a time when all the matter of the visible universe may have been together in a single place and there is dispersion after an explosion from that place, the condensation of the solar system is a later event. You have to talk to the cosmologists if you want the latest word on those issues.
Q. Let me see if I understand you. So you feel natural origin of the first matter is not a
A. How could one answer a question like that?
Q. Is the origin of the first matter then necessarily a religious question?
A. That again depends on definitions of religion. I don't think all unanswerable questions are by definition part of religion. From the parts of our own mental structure, I at least could only conceive of two answers. Either that matter both of which involve a concept of eternity with which our poor minds can't deal. One is that matter was around forever, and two, that some other force was around forever that made matter at some point. We have no answers. I don't know how we get them. To me it is not necessarily a religious question. It's just a question unanswerable.
Q. But it's a nonscientific question?
Q. And you can think you can't think of any other alternatives to either that matter always existed
or that something always existed which created the matter?
A. I can't think of any other alternative. There may be. Certainly not in my subdivision.
Q. Do you think it is inappropriate to discuss in a public science classroom, for example, where that matter came from?
A. I don't know how you could. I defer to my attorney here.
MR. ENNIS: Just when you ask him if he thinks it's inappropriate, do you mean inappropriate asking for a legal conclusion whether it's unlawful?
MR. WILLIAMS: No; personally, in his opinion as a science professor.
THE WITNESS: I would never include it in a curriculum, because we have nothing to say about it. Suppose a student asked me a question about it, I would give my personal opinion as in any other subject.
Q. So if the student asked a question about it, you would give your honest opinion?
A. I would basically say why I didn't think it was science, a question that science can answer, it
doesn't mean that he wouldn't have a discussion about it.
Q. Could you tell me in kind of a nontechnical sense since I am a layman to science, upon what you base your opinion that the bacteria which we know of to be 3 and a half billion years old or something similar is the ancestor for all subsequent forces of life?
A. It's primary, based on the biochemical similarities that you create all forms of life. DNA of modern, bacteria which seem to be not significantly different from the old ones is the same stuff that of which we are made.
Q. Is there anything about the similarities which necessarily dictates that there is a common ancestry?
A. The only sensible story I can tell based on it.
Q. - It's the only sensible story.
A. I could tell another tale that isn't science. But I wouldn't be able to falsify it. I couldn't think of an observation that could run against it.
Q. But in trying to view the origin or the evolution of life 3 and a half billion years ago, can you think
of an observation which would run
A. That in principle would run against?
Q. Yes. Run against this concept that
A. Do you mean an actual observation that does run against or an observation in principle that might?
Q. First of all, are there any, to your knowledge?
A. Observations that run against?
A. There may be some that people have claimed have. But I know of none that in my interpretation does. If you ask me can I conceive of one, sure.
Q. Would you give me one?
A. Species it turned out, which I didn't, but it could have, when people started studying
biochemical similarities, that based on DNA sequences or amino acid sequences, that humans were as closely
related to bacteria and yeast as to chimpanzees. I have a real hard time reconciling that with notions of
descent. It didn't work out that way. Biochemical taxonomies bear a marked resemblance to conventional ones.
Q. So what you are saying is because biochemically we are closer to a chimpanzee than to a bacteria, then and I assume is the chimpanzee closer to the bacteria than we are?
A. No, no. We are both so far, it's hard to say.
Q. But because we are closer to the chimpanzee than we are to a bacteria that there has been this common ancestry at some point?
A. That's not what I said. Your question was there any statement that can falsify evolution and I gave you which the converse doesn't necessarily hold. I can think of no other reasonable interpretation of that fact.
Q. Do you think that all scientific evidence on theories of origin should be taught in the classroom?
A. One of these is a question of definition. What do you mean by theories of origin?
Q. I am talking about theories of origin of man, of life, and of the universe.
A. See, because again, we talked about theories of the origin of matter. I already said
that that kind of ultimate question really isn't a scientific one. We don't teach that. If you confine your questions about origins to those subjects with which science deals, then it's almost tautological. If you confine it to the objects, subjects with which science deals, then yes, all scientific evidence should be taught. Let me back-track. I don't mean that any claim ever made in history that is testable, after all there are testable claims that have been made, that have been falsified, and those needn't be taught. One need not teach that the earth might be flat. One need not teach that the sun goes around the earth. Those are scientific claims in the sense that they are testable. They were tested and found wanting.
Q. If there is scientific evidence which would if there is scientific evidence for creation, do you think it should be taught?
A. There can't be. No, I can't because it's a definitional point again insofar as creation deals with
miraculous suspension of law as we were discussing before. And that isn't science. There cannot be such.
Q. For example, under Act 590, one of the portions of the definition of creation-science indicates a relatively recent inception of the earth. Now, would you agree that, first of all there is evidence as to the age of the earth?
A. Yes. And it all points to the falsity of part 6.
Q. But if there should be evidence which points to a relatively recent inception of the earth, do you think that should be discussed? Scientifically, that is?
A. No. If there were real evidence, yes. If there were real evidence that the sun went around the earth, it should be taught. The fact that some people claim it, which some people do, the very fact empirically that some people have that claim doesn't mean it should be taught. I am aware that people make that claim, but that doesn't mean it should be taught.
Q. I am not asking you to adopt that as being necessarily scientific. I am really asking if there is
scientific evidence for that statement, or that contention of a relatively recent inception of the earth
A. But it has to be real evidence, it can't just someone's say so. Yes, that's a testable claim, and it's been tested and found false. If any new evidence came around, one would discuss it. But I am aware of none.
Q. If there is scientific evidence on the insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about I think you said something to the effect of all living kinds from a single organism, do you think that should be discussed in a public school science classroom?
A. That to me is one of the ways in which the bill is very poorly written, because to me it is not part
of creation-science to claim the insufficiency of mutation and natural selection. I think most
evolutionists think that mutation and natural selection are insufficient. I happen in my own personal views think
they are a little more insufficient than other people. But even the most orthodox Darwinians, Mr.
Ayala, would argue that genetic drift plays some role. To me that's an example of how the bill is badly
written. For purposes of convenience, I think that we can refer to it as creation-science, and
that's what the bill speaks of. I think it might be a bit clearer.
Q. In your article in DISCOVER MAGAZINE, you discuss or differentiate between a theory and a fact.
Q. What do you consider a theory to be?
A. To me a theory is a set of ideas that attempts to interpret and explain the facts of the world.
Q. If you take facts from the facts you derive or you get or hypothesize theories; is that correct?
A. It's a little more complicated than that. Because not all theories that anyone has ever tried arise as mere inductions from facts. Theories are tested by studying the facts of the world.
Q. Would you say that the fact that the earth is not flat is a theory?
A. No. It's a fact.
Q. At one point it was a theory, wasn't it?
A. Oh, no, it was always a fact. We just didn't always know it.
Q. But it was offered as a theory, and then in some way that was measured?
A. Indeed, it was offered as a fact. No. It was offered as a fact and people were wrong. No. Theories are not facts. Theories are structures of ideas that interpret and explain facts. I am aware that in the American vernacular the theory is used differently to mean imperfect fact. It is not what it means to a scientist.
Q. When you use the term American vernacular, are you talking exclusive of the scientific communities?
A. Since scientists always use the vernacular they mix the two on occasion also.
Q. So this concept at the present time of differentiating between a theory and facts is one which may not be commonly held by the scientific community?
A. I am not saying it's never transgressed. I think it is commonly held.
Q. When is the difference between a theory and a scientific theory?
A. That really has to do with incommensurate things, namely again vernacular and scientific
usages. A scientist shouldn't use the term accept to mean scientific theory. In the vernacular we say I have a theory about why the Yankees lost last month. That's not the way a scientist would use the term.
Q. When you talk about evolution as being both a fact and a theory, as I understand what you are saying, and let me see if I can briefly summarize it, what you're talking about there is the concept on the first hand that evolution is a fact because we can observe certain changes, and it's a theory in the sense
A. Can I stop you?
Q. It's a theory in the sense that from these observed changes we can try to extrapolate the larger changes which have occurred over time which we cannot observe?
A. No, that is not a correct characterization.
Q. Correct it for me.
A. Sure. The facts of evolution of which we by no means know all of them, are merely the path ways
of evolution, the ones we know and the ones we don't know. The ones we don't know are
not yet in our vocabulary, but when we know them they will be the facts. The theory of evolution is how you interpret the causes of those connections. The processes, the ways by which those connections were established, whether by natural selection, whether by some other mechanism. The distinction is not between those genealogical connections we know and those we don't know. It's rather between the mere information which is the tree of life, and the modes of explanation for why that came about. The second being the theory. Darwin made that distinction all the time.
Q. Also on the first page of your article, there is, I think an aside concerning President Reagan's remark that you devoutly hope that his remark was campaign rhetoric. I thought you didn't use devout in a religious sense?
A. Oh, no. Just meaning very much hope.
Q. Devout to some people it does have a religious connotation?
A. Yes. But you will admit it also has a vernacular connotation.
Q. I have a hard problem trying to really differentiate between a fact and theory. You
define fact to be confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent. Now, if that is what a fact is
A. That's all it can be because science doesn't deal in certainty.
Q. Can a theory then not rise to the level of being a fact?
A. No. It doesn't mean it can't be right, but that's just not what a fact is. Theories are ideas that interpret and explain facts. They are just something else, they don't arise to the level.
Q. In your definition of the fact you kind of describe it without saying what it is. It has been confirmed to such a degree?
A. It's a piece of the world. This is a cup, I can describe what it's made out of. There is not a theory about cups. Facts are data, what the world is made out of. Theories are ways in which we interpret and explain how they operate, why they are here, et cetera. How they got here. Their ultimate why's we don't deal with.
Q. Are creation-science and to use Bill's term evolution science incompatible?
Q. If there were, assuming arguendo, there were a creator at some point, which created that first that bacteria on the fig tree, and from there life evolves, would they not be compatible?
A. That's not what the bill says.
Q. I understand that. I am asking if there are incompatible?
A. Yes. There is a part of it that is incompatible.
Q. What is that part?
A. The fiat creation of the bacterium. Because that also involves the suspension of law. If you take Newton's law view of God that God is a clockwinder who sets up the laws of the universe, then let it run, is the universe. But again, I point out this act does not permit that version of creation.
Q. But again, you have to look at the definition, and if you look at that definition it says that
A. But it says separate ancestor man and apes. And if you have a bacterium there would not be separate ancestry.
Q. I take it that you read those A, B 1
through 6 under 4-A there to be an all, inclusive definition of creation-science?
A. It doesn't have to be all inclusive, but I take it they at least include these or it wouldn't be law.
Q. I am just asking how you are reading it.
A. My vernacular as a nonlawyer reading is that if it says these 6 are there, they are certainly part of it, and several of them are directly contradicted by the scenario that you just gave me.
Q. That would be nonetheless an act of creation?
A. What would?
Q. A creator, whatever that might be.
A. Making the bacteria.
MR. ENNIS: Are you asking the witness if there are other religious interpretations of Genesis that are not inconsistent with evolutionary theory?
MR. WILLIAMS: No. I never asked that.
MR. ENNIS: It sounded like what you are asking.
MR. WILLIAMS: I think it presupposes
your whole theory of the case.
MR. ENNIS: If you would like to ask the witness that, we would be happy to answer.
Q. Are you aware of any scientific alternatives to the theory of evolution?
A. How do you define the theory of evolution?
Q. I want to take it in its broad scientific sense. Including not only what you have described as the change within populations or between species, but also going back to that emergence of life from nonlife.
A. I don't define it that way.
Q. But are you aware of any scientific alternatives to all, or a portion of the theory?
A. Again, I don't understand that. Scientific alternatives, any one of the particular proposals, there is
a proposal called Darwin's or the strict version of Darwin's theory argues that natural selection is about
all there is as an agent of evolutionary change. There are scientific alternatives to that. There have
been others historically Lamarckism was the most prominent but those are all within science.
Q. But those are not different than evolution, they are simply
A. They are different mechanisms of evolution. But they all accept the facts.
Q. Are there any scientific alternatives to evolution?
A. But that' s what scientific alternative is. Lamarckism is a scientific alternative as an explanation of evolution. Scientific oh, you mean to evolution itself. Again
MR. ENNIS: Do you understand the question?
THE WITNESS: I think half of it.
MR. ENNIS: I would rather you not answer the question unless you're sure you understand what it is. I am happy to have you answer the question that you understand.
Q. Are there any scientific alternatives to evolution?
MR. ENNIS: You mean to the fact of evolution, theories of different mechanisms to explain it?
Q. The theory aspects of evolution.
A. You see, that's where the problems are.
Insofar as evolution is a fact, there are no known alternatives. It's just a fact of the world. We could be wrong, of course. We can always be wrong. Whether there are alternative theories, of course there are, but they are all evolutionary theories. I don't know how else to answer.
MR. BARNES: You're asking if there is a scientific theory that incorporates a view of the world that excludes evolution?
MR. WILLIAMS: I think
THE WITNESS: I don't see how there could be. If that's what you are asking, the answer has to be no. There can't be scientific theory that denies the facts of the world.
Q. Are you aware of any scientific alternatives to the evolutionary view of the emergence of life from nonlife?
MR. ENNIS: I object to the question because it assumes that the emergence of life from nonlife is part of evolutionary theory and the witness has testified that it is not.
MR. WILLIAMS: He has testified that under the general umbrella of evolutionary theory that is part
THE WITNESS: No, I denied that. I thought I said that there are vernacular usages that to me more middle things than clarify. I would not, for instance, allow views on the evolution of society to be encased within evolutionary theory.
Q. I am talking about the evolution of organisms. Is part of the theory of evolution of organisms a theory that life did emerge from nonlife?
A. That's not what I studied.
Q. I am not asking what you studied.
A. I said that it was a common opinion of my colleagues that that was so.
Q. Are you aware of any scientific alternatives to that aspects.
A. People have made other proposals and it doesn't make them scientific.
Q. In your opinion that are scientific.
A. That's not my area. I can't testify to it any more than I can about different theories about the evolution of society about which I know nothing and am dubious in any case.
Q. One of the criticisms that I have read
and heard leveled at creation-science has been that it essentially is anti-evolution, that it seeks to criticize evolution. Do you agree with that?
A. As I define evolution, indeed. The claim for a separate ancestry for man and apes contradict evolutionary theory as I understand it, as to do many of the other statements in these six points.
Q. When you quote was it one of Darwin's basic objectives to try to disprove or not to disprove but to criticize the theory that species had been separately created?
A. Yes, of course.
MR. KLASFELD: I think the point that Mr. Williams is making is that there has been criticism of creation-science that as a science is limited only to criticizing evolution and not offering alternative theories of its own, and I think his question was are you aware of that
THE WITNESS: Yes. It has offered no alternative scientific theories.
MR. WILLIAMS: I want to ask that one attorney handle the objections or questions or
statements or whatever they might be, all right.
MR. ENNIS: That's fair.
Q. I think you have answered my question in the affirmative that one of the main purposes of Darwin in his writings and research was to show that these to criticize, if you will, the theory that each species had been separately created.
Q. So he started out in a sense trying to criticize a previously-held theory, correct?
Q. In the history of scientific theories and scientific thought, have theories arisen or began as merely criticizing an existing theory, do you understand that question?
A. Certainly, and I also see exactly where you are driving. But remember that Darwin not only
criticized what came before, but offered a whole mode of explanation that was scientific as to why he proposed
an alternative. No, in fact Darwin looked at it historically did not do that at all. He developed the theory
of natural selection in 1838 largely before he developed most
of the criticisms of fact.
Q. That was not my question. In the history of scientific thought have not many theories arisen at least in their genesis, if I can use that term, to criticism of other theories?
A. But not without proposing some scientific alternative.
Q. But you would agree with my
A. No, I wouldn't. Because the answer is not without proposing some scientific alternative.
Q. What do you define as a scientific theory?
A. Whatever I said five minutes before.
Q. We were talking about you said a theory in your article is a structure of ideas that explain and interpret facts.
A. Right. I will stand by that.
MR. WILLIAMS: Let's take a short break.
Q. Look at section 4-B of Act 590 please, which is the definition of evolution science.
Q. Evolution science is defined in Act 590, Dr. Gould, to mean the scientific evidences for
evolution, and inferences from those scientific evidences in that it lists several things that it does include. As formulated in Act 590, would you say that evolution science is a theory or a fact?
A. First of all, let me say that some of the statements in 4-B are absurd from the point of anybody's definition of evolution, whether it be fact or theory. For example, point 2, the sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds.
As I testified before, I know of no evolutionist who regards mutation and natural selection as
utterly efficient to do that. And five, "Explanation of the earth's geology and the evolutionary sequence
by uniformitarianism," which is in its strict definition is held by no geologist, so therefore I find it let
me say for the record that I find it hard to answer that question because of the definitions here. But
therefore I guess I can't. I can only reiterate what I said, that the fact of evolution is simply the bare
bones statement that organisms are connected by ties of
descent and evolutionary theory and the theory of evolution are the proposals about mechanisms and processes that explain how the tree of life got to be where it is.
Q. Is the theory of evolution as you have articulated it testable?
A. Sure. Theories of evolution.
Q. Right, theories.
A. They have to be, or they are not science.
Q. Are they falsifiable?
A. That's part of the definition of testable.
Q. Are they observable?
A. Depends on what you mean by observable. Very, very little of science deals in absolutely direct visual observation. I am looking at you now.
Q. So is observability part of a definition of a science?
A. Not direct visual observation, because whoever saw an atom.
Q. What is meant by that term as you understand it?
A. I don't know. You have to tell me what you mean by it.
Q. Did Popper use that term?
A. I don't know.
Q. You know who Carl Popper is?
Q. Do you recall his writings on philosophy of science?
A. In the distant past, one has read a lot of them. I am still vaguely aware of some of what he says. But I am not going to commit myself.
Q. You don't know whether he used the observability as a criteria of science?
A. Read me a quotation and I will tell you what I think it says.
Q. What about predictability?
A. Are we talking about Popper or me now?
A. You will have to read me what Popper says. He is no God of course.
Q. Would you agree with Popper's definition of what is a scientific theory?
A. I don't know. You have to read it to me.
Q. You are not familiar enough with it to be able to converse?
A. He has written that many works (indicating) and he has also changed his mind on a lot of it. If you read me a definition, I will tell you what I think it says.
MR. WILLIAMS: Let's take a quick lunch break.
(Luncheon recess: 12:30 p.m.)
STEPHEN JAY GOULD, having been previously sworn, resumed the stand and testified further as follows:
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q. Are you aware that Popper in his autobiography, which is entitled UNENDED QUEST, says, "I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program a possible framework for testable scientific theories"?
A. Are you aware that he has modified that view since then?
Q. First of all, you are aware that he wrote that?
Q. What is his modification as you understand it?
A. I forgot the quotation.
Q. Could you paraphrase what you think he said?
A. That he now regards it as testable.
Q. When did he modify that, roughly?
A. I don't know the date of the statement, but it was published in SCIENCE MAGAZINE, Nature or THE SCIENCES. And it was last year, but I am not sure that was the original statement. It was quite recent.
Q. Is science concerned where theories come from?
A. Sociology is. Scientists are interested in it as human beings, but the distinction that scientists and that philosophers make between context and logic of theories are different things.
Q. Scientists, as I understand it correct me if you think this is wrong
A. I mean the theory could come to one in a dream, as long as it's testable.
Q. The source of a theory is not really the important thing?
A. Yes. Source is important. One wants to know about it, one wants to understand what kind of an activity science is.
Q. You said earlier you thought theory of evolution was testable.
A. There is no theory of evolution. There are a variety of theories. To be scientific theories they must be testable, they must be falsifiable.
Q. There are a variety of theories?
Q. But if there is a thread which runs through all of those theories
A. That thread being the common acceptance of the fact that what they are trying to explain is the fact of evolution, yes.
Q. And can that commonalty itself be tested?
A. It has been. If the commonalty is merely the basis, the factual basis that they are trying to explain, yes.
Q. I don't know if you answered this question or if I asked it before. Would the evolution or emergence of life from nonlife be testable?
A. You keep pushing me on that one. I am going to disclaim again. It's not my subject, I am not going
to tell you about the evolution of science, I don't know anything about it. The
things I don't know about I can't tell you about.
Q. Well, you are a historian of science, aren't you?
Q. I mean, to be a historian of science, don't you have to have some knowledge of science generally and all of these concepts?
A. Do you mean as a historian of science do you have to know about all of science? No, I am a historian of parts of science. There are books on it, I have never read them, reviewed them, I couldn't. The work I have done on the history of science is on the history of evolutionary thought and the history of evolutionary theories.
Q. Who are the most noted authorities, living or dead, on the origin of life?
A. I hardly even know that. I know some of the names. The grand old man is Oparin in Russia. And in this country I suppose the leading person is Leslie Orgel at the Saulk Institute in California.
Q. What, to your knowledge is that a he or a she?
A. It's a he.
Q. What does he say about the origin of life?
A. I haven't read the book in ages. I am really not up on the subject. I am sorry, I don't mean to be evasive. I do not have a strong interest in that subject because of my lack of chemical background.
Q. What observations or experiments would disprove the theory regarding the evolution of life from nonlife?
A. Can't you ask me about subjects I know about?
Q. In your article you state "that I cannot envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory that I know."
Q. Are you using "know" in the authoritative sense?
A. No. In my definition of evolutionary theory, namely that evolutionary theory deals with changes in organisms once they are around.
Q. You stated in your article in DISCOVER that, "Creationists pervert and caricature this
debate by conveniently neglecting the common conviction that underlies it." What is that common conviction that you refer to?
A. That evolution occurred, the fact of evolution.
Q. Are you normally given to calling things convictions?
A. Oh, it's a permissible vernacular use, sure.
Q. How do you define a conviction?
A. In that context of that sentence, a conviction is what we accept strongly. And we accept things strongly for good reasons and bad. The obvious ancillary in this case is that we have that conviction for good reasons. That's what the rest of the article is about.
Q. You quote Duane Gish at the bottom of that page
Q. Yes. where it is said he says, this is not you, "We do not know how the Creator created,
what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural
universe." Does Act 590 necessarily
say that processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe were used in creation?
A. This life now being created from nothing?
Q. I didn't say that's what was happening, the processes.
A. It seems that creation-science the operative line in that quotation is not that one. It's the next one. "We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes used by the Creator." That's why that quote is there. It seems to me an admission that studying creation isn't science, plain as could be.
Q. That's what one person said about creation-science. Now you would agree
A. Leading light of the movement.
Q. That's a subjective judgment as to who is the leading light of any movement, isn't it?
A. As you would include Darwin necessarily as a leading light of evolution, I don't see how you can have creationism without Mr. Gish.
Q. But you would agree that there are
theories which have been espoused and supposedly based on evolution which for example, the superiority of certain races which are not necessarily supported by it, merely because one offers up a theory in the name of evolution doesn't make it a proper evolutionary theory, does it?
A. Indeed, but the strictures of this act are such that most conceivable creationist theories are not included.
Q. From reading Act 590, what could you tell me about the creator?
A. That he suspends natural law to make things out of nothing.
Q. Anything beyond that?
A. Oh, that's enough to make it not science.
Q. I want to know just generally what if someone said read Act 590 and tell me everything that you can that Act 590 says about the Creator
A. You would learn a lot more. You would learn that he made the earth fairly recently, therefore
you learn something about his time scale.
Q. I am concerned as to exactly what he or she or it did, but what you would know about this creator.
A. All you have to know is that this creator made things from nothing to make it not science.
Q. I understand that, but I want to know what else you could know about the creator.
A. What more do I need to know?
Q. For example, I mean, I think there is trying to look at the creator there would be a clear implication that the creator had some intelligence, would you agree with that?
A. Oh, I don't know. The creator certainly had some power.
Q. Power and intelligence?
A. I didn't grant you intelligence.
Q. Can we tell anything about the creator as to whether the creator has compassion?
A. That's a question of ethics and morality, which is not we can't say one way or the other.
Q. What about love?
A. All we know is that he suspends natural
law to make things out of nothing.
Q. Do we know that we don't know whether it's a he or she or it?
A. No. I just used the old sexist vernacular.
Q. Do we know whether the creator is still in existence?
A. I don't get the thread of the question.
Q. Where I am going is really not for you to determine. I am just asking from looking at it can you tell
A. I have to infer before I can answer.
Q. can you tell that creation-science requires that the creator is still in existence?
A. If he ain't around any more, it was a very recent event, because he sure was doing a lot just a couple of thousand years ago. I suppose he could have died in 1500.
Q. To answer my question, does creation-science require that the creator still be in existence as is defined in Act 590?
A. If he is not around his constraints still operate. That is, he created things according to fixed kinds
and is not allowing
natural law to transcend those kinds. Again I repeat the one thing he did that isn't science is to suspend natural law by making things out of nothing and that's how life got here.
Q. In your article you state that, "All historical sciences rest upon inference, and evolution is no different from geology, cosmology, or human history in this respect. In principle, we cannot observe processes that operated in the past." And you state above that that
A. Where is that?
Q. I am referring now to page 36 in the second full paragraph. Which begins "The second and third arguments for evolution."
A. Got you.
Q. You state that those second and third arguments "do not involve direct observation of evolution in action. They rest upon inferences." So in terms of observability of evolution, there are some severe restraints and in interpretability?
A. Observability is not a criteria of science. You can't observe the fall of Rome either, but it fell.
The ability to make an escapable inference is.
Q. Pardon me?
A. The ability to make inferences, most of the major entities of science are unseen. You never saw gravity, but objects fall. You never saw an atom.
Q. How much do you think we have been able to observe about evolution?
A. As much as can really be expected in the time scale of 100 years, which is nothing, since the publication of THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES.
Q. But even well in recorded history let me rephrase that. One of the examples I think that you used was the peppered moths in England.
Q. How is that an example of evolution?
A. Evolution is defined as change of gene frequencies within natural populations. In the case of the peppered moth, the black allele, which was present at very low frequency before trees got blackened with industrial soot, rose rapidly to very high frequency after those trees were so blackened, and that is evolutionary change.
Q. I read that but I did not really get that change from reading what you wrote here. Do
the tests and the data that we have confirm that that black allele changed or is it not possible that simply the black moths simply because they were more concealed, they were camouflaged, if you will, and they bred and produced more black moths and the black moths lived?
A. That's evolution. Evolution is change of gene frequencies.
Q. You're not saying then that the moths really in a sense
A. Evolutions change within a population.
Q. Is that inconsistent, as you understand it, with the creation-science?
A. It's not inconsistent with point 3, changes within fixed limits. But please understand that within 100 years one would not expect to observe large scale changes under any version of evolutionary theory that I know.
Q. When were species first defined and divided?
A. The word? The word goes back to Aristotle.
Q. No, the modern definition of species?
A. Linnaeus in the 18th Century.
Q. In the recorded history, how many new species have been observed?
A. Oh, a fair number, but I don't know. You produce them in the laboratory often.
Q. And by new species, what do you mean?
A. Species are populations that are reproductively isolated from others.
Q. For example, if you had two sets of flies which were distinguishable by some characteristic, but they bred or were sexually reproductive between each other, and then if you were able to make them somehow sexually isolated, it that would be a new species, would it not?
Q. How many times has that been done, to your knowledge?
A. I don't really know, it's not my field. But ask Francisco Ayala.
Q. He said he's been trying to do it for eight years.
A. You see, you wouldn't be able to do it in eight years. The case of the peppered moth as a single
gene change, it makes the population very different in its adaptive value. But to be able
to reproduce you have to you generally must accumulate many more genetic changes. To be unable to reproduce. But in asexual forms, for example, the evolution of disease resistance and bacteria, you can produce very new creatures right away.
Q. The peppered moths, is that an example of natural selection?
Q. Or is that an example of some sort of genetic change?
A. That's natural change is genetic change.
Q. Are those two necessarily synonymous?
A. Not all genetic change is by natural selection, but all natural selection involves genetic change.
Q. One thing I wanted to ask you about in this article where you talk about "the etymology of September, October, November and December (seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth from the Latin)," what does that have reference to? I just totally don't understand it.
A. If you read the first essay in THE PANDA'S THUMB about how the best proof of
evolution are imperfections of auditors that record constraints of past history, we know by looking at those words that they had a different function in the past and that there is rather historical continuity. Likewise, we know by looking at the impure and odd paths of organisms that they were present in different historical contexts that have evolved.
Q. You have a statement in your article that perfection could be imposed by a wise creator or evolved by natural selection. What do you mean by that?
A. That when you see an organ that is perfectly designed, that doesn't teach you a whole lot about how it arose. When you see a structure that is very imperfect, as almost all organic structures are, and when you can trace that Imperfection to an historical constraint based on a previous evolutionary stage, then you have evidence for evolution.
Q. You mention in here this idea about why do rats run and bats fly with the same order of
structure, would it not also be possible that the creator who in the same
A. That's exactly the problem. It's always possible for the creator and therefore notions about the creator such as that are untestable, since there is no conceivable falsifying claim.
Q. Do you consider Australopithecus to have been a human?
A. Australopithecus is an intermediate form, whether it's human not is a definitional question. I believe it to be a creator on the human side of the split between apes and humans, that is after the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans. Australopithecus is on the human side following that split, and is there either an ancestor or a close cousin of modern man.
Q. I mean, and the fact that he would differ from human in some respects concerning the 1,000 cubic centimeter difference, his cranial capacity, that could be explained by a sort of evolution in kind that would not violate the creationist?
MR. ENNIS: Object to the form of the question in that you're using the word "kind."
MR. WILLIAMS: I am not trying to get
him to adopt the term I am talking about within the context that it's used or mentioned.
Q. You don't think so?
A. That's exactly the problem with point number 3. I suppose any creationist could weasel out of any evolutionary claim by saying those are in kind. I think it violates any reasonable vernacular notion of kind to say that a creature with a cranial capacity no larger than that of an ape is within the human kind merely because it walked upright. But I find that notion of kind to be so ambiguous that it's undefinable.
Q. You also state that transitional forms are generally looking at the species level but are abundant between larger groups.
A. Australopithecus is a lovely intermediate form.
Q. Are you aware that there are other experts which do view Australopithecus as essentially a human?
A. I am aware that there are other human beings who say that. Let me backtrack, because the
word human is ambiguous. Some people used the word human to simply mean anything after the split
between chimps and humans, so in part it's a definitional question. Those that say Australopithecus is human in the sense of having human intelligence at the level of modern human beings is not I know of no expert who says that.
Q. Are there experts, to your knowledge, people who you consider to be experts, who say that Australopithecus is not a transitional form?
A. There are those who say, perhaps including myself, that Australopithecus is not the ones we know and is not a direct ancestor. Remember I said its either a directs ancestor or a cousin, we are not clear about that.
But, see, the notion of transitional form doesn't mean that you have to have every single stage in a final-graduated sequence. Evolution doesn't work that way anyway. It means that you have twigs that are lower down on the bush of human evolution than modern man and that's where Australopithecus is.
Q. How many years have you spent studying evolution? Since you were 11, I think you said.
A. No, since I was five. Well, I saw my first dinosaur when I was five, but I don't think
I heard about evolution until I was ten or 11.
Q. You think that you have invested a substantial amount of time in the study of evolution?
A. I think I see where this one is going. Yes, I have.
Q. The transparencies of the arguments hopefully don't diminish
A. No, you're right, they are different. Just like the context of discovery and notion are different.
Q. And until recently have you studied creation-science?
A. There is no creation-science. I have been aware ever since I was a little fellow that there is a fundamentalist movement in this country and I have on occasion read their literature all through that time.
Q. If evolution were determined by the scientific community to be perhaps not a fact, what kind of an effect do you think that would have upon you personally?
A. That's the kind of statement we have to take it as a hypothetical, you understand, that
I regard that as unlikely as the scientific community finding that the sun really does go around the earth. How would I take that? Well, I would be sad. But I was sad when the Yankees lost of the World Series.
Q. Do you think it would have any effect upon, for example, your own stature within the scientific community?
A. Only insofar as it had that effect upon all my colleagues who believe in evolution. I think it would depend very much on our reaction to it.
Q. Would it be fair to say that since you have something of a vested interest in seeing that evolution
A. Only in the sense that everybody has a personal stake in what they believe, no more, no less. Every human being does. That doesn't constitute bias. Bias or prejudice is unreasonable personal investment in a theory.
Q. From just that one article in DISCOVER I take it your opinions on creation-science are very strong?
A. I just have strong opinions. I don't
dislike the creationists any more than I dislike the Los Angeles Dodgers, but I live with them.
Q. Is this a case of trying to oppose creation-science, is it a cause with you?
A. A cause? What's a cause?
Q. Well, what do you consider a cause to be?
A. Something I believe in and work for. I don't know whether cause is the right word. I believe that creation-science is not science. And that's its claims are, insofar as testable, tested and incorrect. And in general that at its core not testable, and therefore not science and that therefore as a scientist when the issue comes up I oppose it. But I didn't bring up the issue. My stance is reactive.
Q. When you look down the road as much as we can, do you think 20 years from now our science knowledge will be the same as it is today?
A. Of course not. It wouldn't be science.
Q. When we look back at time in the history of science, were there ideas and theories offered which
were at one time considered a science which today would be considered
A. They shouldn't be laughable, because when held by scientists there were reasons in the context of those times. There really were reasons in the context of the 14th Century to hold to the earth centered universe. So if one understands the context of the times, one would not laugh. But of course, I see the thread of your question. The fact that science is always tentative does not mean that there is entirely subjective knowledge in the world. I think science does obtain answers. They can never be absolutely certain. But again I would be very surprised if the earth did turn out to be flat after all.
Q. Can you sit here today and say that there will never be any scientific evidence for creation?
A. In a way I can because it's not science, you see. It's really almost a definitional matter having
less meaning than the question seems to hold. And if creation is about the suspension of natural law, then
it's not part of science. If you ask me might we radically revise our ideas
about evolution, sure.
Q. But as we learn more about science, can you say without qualification that some of the various parts of the definition of creation-science such as a relatively recent inception of the earth, even the occurrence of a worldwide flood, those sorts of things
A. Those things are effectively falsified by what we know now. One is never say absolutely certain because one never can say that in science. To the best of our knowledge today they are effectively falsified to the extent that they cannot reasonably be held.
Q. What about changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals?
A. Insofar as that directly contradicts the facts of evolution, I regard that as equally falsified.
Q. What you are saying when you say it's effectively falsified, there is an assumption there that the scientific data can be presented on those sorts of questions?
A. It's not scientific that one can make
claims. Creationists sometimes make testable claims that is the core of the theory. The fiat creation out of nothing is unfalsifiable. That doesn't mean they don't occasionally in their support make testable claims that have been tested and found false.
Q. When you look back over the history of science, do you see that notions of science and scientific theories has been affected by kind of a society of the times?
A. Of course.
Q. Do you think that's any less true today than it was then?
A. No, but that just points to the difference between the sociology of knowledge or the psychology of knowledge, why do we believe what we believe, and the justification of knowledge, which is a different point. That is, ideas may arise within the social context. But their truth or falsity is a different matter.
Q. You stated in the prologue to EVER SINCE DARWIN, at page 15 that "Scientists as overt
human beings unconsciously reflect that their theories are the social and political
constraints of their times."
Q. What do you mean that they unconsciously reflect it?
A. That the things we believe have complex sources and often we don't recognize our own culturally based preferences, but again I repeat that the source of our ideas is a different matter than their truth or falsity.
Q. Do you think that evolution has been affected by this unconscious reflection of the social constraints of the times?
A. All science is. Always has been, always will be.
Q. Can you give me some examples of where you see this presently?
A. In any science or in evolution?
Q. In evolution.
A. The reason I am an historian is that it's very hard to identify present bias, but in my own career
I have tried to show that much evolutionary thinking is biased by the presumptions that most people
have in Western culture, that change tends to be slow and gradual.
Q. How do you think that is a reflection of the social and political constraints?
A. It's an old tradition of Western thought tied to ideas of progress in the chain of being as an old maxim that nature does not make leaps, for example. And I think that is a reflection of social thought in part.
Q. Do you think that it would be correct to add to your statement there that scientists unconsciously reflect that their theories are social, political and religious constraints of their times?
MR. ENNIS: May I see that?
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
A. Religious belief is part of that, it's implicit. But again, do make that separation between the source
of our ideas and the testing of them. I mean, it may well be, as I said an idea might come to you in a
dream, it might come to you in a mystic vision, it might come to you while you are driving your car to work
one day, it may come to you because you were reading a textbook in economics and said hey, there is
an interesting analogy. The testing of it, its true value is a
totally different matter.
Q. And if a theory of evolution came from that individual who used it as let me rephrase that. Withdrawn. If a theory of evolution had its genesis in some individual's belief in atheism that he was going to try to really go out and prove, make sure there is not a creator, that wouldn't create any problems for science, would it, as long as the data fit the theory?
A. You know, there are people who have developed evolutionary ideas in order to affirm their religion. Truth value is a different subject and all I can do is keep saying that evolution preaches no moral doctrine. It cannot, no science can.
Q. Are you familiar with a book entitled
THE IMPLICATIONS OF EVOLUTION by Kerkut?
A. I thumbed through it about a decade ago. Not very familiar, no. I own it but I have not read it.
Q. Do you consider him to be a creation scientist?
A. I don't know even know who he is.
Q. I think he's from the University of
Q. Do you have an opinion about that book?
A. How can I if I haven't read it?
Q. Do you recall what his general approach was in that book?
A. No, I haven't read it.
Q. You haven't read it?
A. No. I have a lot of books I haven't read. Don't you?
Q. In your book EVER SINCE DARWIN, when you were writing about Velikovsky and collision in that essay, while you make some I think you will recall, some criticisms of Velikovsky. You state at the end "I will continue for heresy preach by the nonprofessional." What do you mean by that?
A. The most exciting thing in science is when widely held ideas are wrong. See, you have a root for Loch Ness monsters and ESP, insofar as they are potentially scientific. That doesn't mean you have a root for nonscience.
Q. Do you think we should study these ideas which are viewed by science, as heresy?
A. Scientific scientists should study scientific heresies. Whether scientists want to study things that aren't science that has to do with their interest as human beings. I do a lot of things that aren't science. We all have leisure time when we study those things outside science that interest us. But as scientists we are not compelled to look at heretical notions that have nothing to do with science.
Q. If we look at some of the facts say, for example, on the age of the earth, and some of those facts support a relatively recent age of the earth, and we devise a theory to explain those facts
A. That's an Interesting "if" so far.
MR. ENNIS: I was going to object to the form of the question since it assumes that there are facts that support a young age of the earth. If you ask that as a hypothetical, I am happy to let the witness answer.
THE WITNESS: Same thing I was going to say myself.
Q. I am saying "if." So if they do exist. I am not asking you to tell me if they do,
A. I want to make it clear in my judgment I think that they do not exist.
Q. If there are facts which support a relatively recent age of the earth, and a theory is devised to try to explain those facts, would that be a scientific theory?
A. I don't know. It depends on how it's formulated. If the theory formulated to explain those facts called upon fiat creation of things, as a result thereof, then it's not a scientific theory. If it was a theory that explained according to natural law how the earth might be that young, then it would be.
But again I repeat, there are no such facts, to my knowledge. There are claims. That's different.
Q. Do you think that the old Darwinian theory of evolution is axiomatic?
A. It can be axiomatized. Axiomatic at least in the vernacular means almost necessarily true.
When people say things can be axiomatized that means that you can set up a formal structure, but I am not
a philosopher and I don't fully understand what that means.
Q. Are you familiar with a book MATHEMATICAL CHALLENGES TO THE NEO-DARWINIAN INTERPRETATION OF EVOLUTION?
A. Vaguely. I own it. I have read parts of it, I have not read it all.
Q. What is your opinion of that work?
A. It's got some interesting parts, got some wonderfully mistaken parts.
Q. If the earth was not approximately four and a half to five billion years old, what impact would that have on the theory of evolution?
A. Depends on how old you're going to let me make it.
Q. How old do you think the earth would have to be in order for
A. I can't give you a figure, but it has to be more than 4,000. I can tell you that, and more than 10,000.
Q. Would one million he enough?
A. To the nether realm, I decline.
Q. Have you thought about that before?
A. You can't put a number on it. You just can't. Let me just say not what any creationist science I
Q. Are you familiar with Paul Ehrlich?
A. Nice fellow.
Q. Are you familiar that he has stated that evolution is not falsifiable?
MR. ENNIS: What is the source of that?
MR. WILLIAMS: The source is an article in NATURE. Which I don't think you would consider to be a creationist publication.
THE WITNESS: Give me the source, where. NATURE is a big magazine. What year, what page?
MR. WILLIAMS: I think 1967.
THE WITNESS: Do you have a page number? Let's see what he says.
Q. He said in the article there "our theory of evolution has become one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus `outside of empirical science' but not necessarily false."
A. He may have been I don't know the context of that quote. He may have been complaining
about some particularly strict version of evolutionary theory. Which is different from the facts of evolution.
Q. Are you not personally familiar with what his position is?
A. On that, no. That was a long time ago. I will find out. I will give him a call.
Q. Are you familiar with L. Harris Matthews?
Q. Who is he?
A. L. Harris Matthews is a man who must be in his 80's now who was a major zoo keeper somewhere in Britain, has some interesting ideas on the Piltdown fraud. He once did a very interesting study on the pseudo penis of hyenas, in female hyenas.
Q. Would you consider him to be an expert in the field of evolution?
A. Not really.
Q. What would be his area of expertise?
A. I just said it.
Q. I am sorry, I didn't hear you.
A. I don't know him very well. What did he say?
Q. What would you consider to be his area of expertise?
A. The biology of hyenas.
Q. Are you familiar with H.S. Lipson?
Q. Do you recall an article you wrote in 1980 in PALEOBIOLOGY?
A. Which one? I hope so. It wasn't too long ago. Is it a new and more general theory of evolution emerging, that one?
Q. Do you have a copy of that article here?
A. Don't know.
MR. ENNIS: Can I see it? What was the title of it?
MR. WILLIAMS: I don't have a title. That's what I am looking for.
MR. ENNIS: Is it among the documents that we produced today?
MR. WILLIAMS: I don't see
THE WITNESS: I don't think we gave you that one.
Q. Do you recall writing an article, since I don't have a copy of it, where you said that
characterization of the synthetic theory of evolution, if accurate, then as a general proposition it is effectively
dead despite its
persistence as textbook orthodoxy?
A. Remember, the phrase "as a general proposition." That doesn't say that the so-called synthetic theory of evolution is false, it merely says it doesn't account for all the theory of evolution.
Q. You say it doesn't account for all the evolution. That seems to be quite a qualification from saying it's effectively dead.
A. Effectively dead as a general theory. That's what the quote says. Still very applicable to the understanding of small scale changes within populations.
Q. If species or kinds, to the extent that word is used
A. They are not the same thing.
Q. I understand that were created, would you not expect to see their sudden appearance in the fossil record?
A. See, again I haven't studied any logic for a long time, and I don't know the name of that fallacy.
But the fact that species usually occur suddenly because it's consistent with a theory in their creation
doesn't mean that in any sense it
favors that theory, because there are many other evolutionary explanations.
For example, Velikovsky argued that the high surface temperature of Venus indicated that it was a comet and issued forth from Jupiter, and the surface temperature was high. That doesn't mean his explanation was correct. It wasn't. There is a name for that fallacy. But I don't remember.
Q. You have, if I might use the term, revived to one degree or another some of the theories or concepts offered by Richard Goldschmidt; is that correct?
A. Only in a very minor way and I hope that you understand the theory of punctuated equilibrium has little to do with Goldschmidt.
Q. You stated in an article in NATURAL HISTORY in 1977 that you predicted that during the next decade Goldschmidt will be largely vindicated while in the past he had been rebuked and derided.
A. Yes. What I meant by that in the article is quite clear. Is that Goldschmidt's hierarchical
perspective on evolutionary theory would be the path in which I believe there will be
major revisions of evolutionary theory, but I did not support some of the more spectacular of Goldschmldt's ideas, particularly the so-called idea of systemic mutation, which in fact I reject in that article.
Q. What new data or fresh data gives life to some of Goldschmidt's previously abandoned notions?
A. Particularly the concept of hierarchy, which is what I am discussing there. Primarily, the notion that there are properties of species that cannot be reduced to natural selection operating upon individuals. For example, propensity to speciate, that is to make more species. The characteristics of species that make them more likely to produce daughter species are in general not properties of individual members of that species, but of the species as a whole.
For example, population structure, how many there are and what kind of aggregates, and insofar
as that's so, and insofar as major evolutionary trends may be powered by different speciation, then to
that extent trends will have to be understood as a kind of higher order
selection upon speciation events themselves and not by conventional natural selection operating among individual organisms.
To that extent, we need an expanded evolutionary theory that recognizes units higher than individual bodies as agents of selection.
Q. Is there an answer in there to my question as to what new data there is?
A. You want a specific example?
A. Okay, there's a group of snails called the volutes. If you go back into the Tertiary, some 60 million years ago, about half the species have floating larvae, planktonic, and the other half brood their larvae as the young develop right in the mother or within the mother's body. Today, all volutes brood their young. So there is a substantial evolutionary trend.
Looks as though that trend, and we have numbers to back this up, it looks as though that trend
occurred because the species that brood their young speciate more frequently and the reason for that
presumably is that they are better able to become isolated and thereby evolve genetic
independence, of reproductive isolation. The ones that have floating larvae, they float all over the world. When a small population gets isolated that isolation is diluted by larvae coming in from the parental population. And if the trend is produced by different speciation, and if that propensity to speciate is not a property of individual volutes, then the trend must be understood as a higher order selection upon species.
Q. When did this information become available on this particular piece?
A. This particular study was published in science by a man named Hansen in the late 1970's. The theoretical basis has been established by people like Niles Eldredge and myself, and by Steve Stanley.
Q. Are you familiar with Thomas Kuhn's book THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC EVOLUTION?
Q. Do you see the debate that is going on now as to whether the modern synthesis theory or
punctuated equilibria is the more correct, if that's the right word, as fitting into some of
A. I don't like the Kuhn model that well. I think the book was an important one in getting us away from previous notion that the scientific progress was just a steady march to truth. But I I don't really accept in detail his theory of paradigms. I think punctuated equilibrium is a new idea that explains some things we didn't know before and proposes some new phenomenon.
Q. Doesn't Kuhn's say that the paradigm or the model is no longer when the evidence no longer fits the model of the paradigm, this is a tendency to change or tinker with the model so it will fit?
MR. ENNIS: If the witness knows. Otherwise I prefer that you read a quote.
THE WITNESS: The witness knows what Mr. Kuhn has to say. Sorry, I lost the question. Could you ask it again?
Q. Does Kuhn say that when the evidence no longer fits the model, that the model or the paradigm as he calls it, is modified?
A. Remember that I don't subscribe to all aspects. What Kuhn says is that when anomalies
begin to accumulate that the initial attempt is usually to try and invent some ad hoc hypotheses. I do not, because I see where you are going of course, see punctuated equilibrium as ad hoc tinkering at all.
Because what it does is try to add new theory atop the old. It is not an attempt to revise the synthetic theory in terms of what it says about change in populations. It's rather an attempt to argue that you need different kinds of explanations when explaining change at higher levels. So it's really not within the context of Kuhn's model.
Q. I am not sure if I even understand the essentials, but as I understand it the modern synthesis theory is essentially one of slow gradual changes; is that correct?
A. I would say that the modern synthesis contains a preference for gradual change, but it does not require that all changes be gradual.
MR. ENNIS: Again, you can ask the question any way you want, but for purposes of clarity it might be
of use if you will find out what is meant when the witness uses the word gradual in
this context. Are we talking about ten days or years?
A. As a paleontologist, the theory of punctuated equilibrium refers to events of geological scale, and in fact the punctuations of which we speak in that theory usually take on the order of tens of thousands of years, which is very slow by the scale of our lives, but a second in geological perspective.
Q. When you talk about gradual, not you but when you discuss gradual in terms of the modern synthesis theory, does that refer to just time or the degree of change in the species or both?
A. The main idea to be identified as gradual is not a notion that rates are constant, but for the idea that evolution precedes by the wholesale transformation of a lineage, so if you had species A the whole thing changes steadily until you want to call it something else. Under punctuated equilibrium, while this change does not occur that way, but it occurs during events of branching or speciation.
Q. To use an oversimplified example and
one could be said as the hand, does the modern synthesis theory say that the hand evolved gradually? By "gradually," I mean was there an earlier form of the hand where it would look quite different than now and it slowly grew into the form that we know have?
A. It's not a good example because we really don't have a lot of direct evidence for the hand.
Q. The question I am asking is, though, if you are going to look at other parts of anatomy
A. The general idea, though no one would claim that it holds in all cases, would be under the modern synthesis that most structures arise through a series, not necessarily every, but through a series of intermediary stages.
Q. Would the punctuated equilibrium differ on that point?
A. Not necessarily in that punctuated equilibrium is about species, and the punctuational origin
of species. Species are small units, so you might under punctuated equilibrium get a hand through
27 sequential events of speciation, step by step. But each step
would be rapid.
MR. ENNIS: Rapid in the sense you're talking about
THE WITNESS: Rapid meaning tens of thousands of years.
Q. What did the column BORN AGAIN CREATION, where did this appear?
A. In a magazine called SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE.
Q. What is SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE?
A. It's a magazine of scientists who tend to have political opinions to the left of center.
Q. Is that published by some organization?
A. It's published by Science for the People, which is an organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I think it's called Scientists and Engineers for Social and PoliticalI don't remember.
Q. Are you a member of the group?
A. Yes. Insofar I am a member insofar as I pay my dues to get the magazine. That's my only contact with it.
Q. Do they have a statement of purpose reduced to writing?
A. They may. I don't have it. As I say, the extent of my activities is to subscribe to the journal.
Q. Why do you state in here that the Australopithecines has passed an "equal time law"?
A. Maybe I made a mistake. Does it say balanced treatment here? I could have made a mistake. It wouldn't be the first time. Probably made a mistake. I don't really know what balanced treatment means. What does it mean?
Q. That's one of the issues in the lawsuit. If you were going to balance treatment of two opposing theories, do you have an idea how you would do it?
A. Depends on the theories. I don't know what balance treatment means, but seeing as in my view creation isn't a science, so it isn't an issue of whether you give 20 percent or 50 percent of the lectures on creation-science. Either 20 percent or 50 percent of a nonscience in a science course is inadmissible.
Q. Tell me how would you balance a treatment of two opposing theories.
MR. ENNIS: Two opposing scientific
MR. WILLIAMS: Yes.
A. By presenting the evidence for both.
Q. What if on one side there was more evidence than the other than on the other side?
A. I would have to give a little more time, but it wouldn't be real fair. Just to mention while the kids were packing their books at the end of the class hour that there was another view. I don't think I can define that. It's like basic kind. It's ambiguous.
Q. But suppose one aspect of the theory there was no evidence for one theory and all of it was for the other.
A. I am really not a legal scholar. I disclaimed on the origin of life, which I know a little bit more about than I don't know what you mean. You have to tell me what you think that phrase "balanced treatment" means. When I discuss I don't know.
When I don't know the answer to something and I think there are two competing theories, I tend to
give roughly equal time to both. I am not saying that would be so in all
Q. Do you think if you were teaching two opposing theories of science, and you were asked to give balanced treatment and that was left to your professional discretion, do you think you could do it?
A. If they were two scientific theories?
MR. ENNIS: Your question does presuppose that it was left to his professional discretion to determine what he thinks balance means?
THE WITNESS: That's an interesting point. If the legislature tells me to do it, then I don't know what it means.
MR. ENNIS: I want to make sure that's part of your question.
THE WITNESS: That's a good point.
Q. It obviously is
MR. ENNIS: So you're not attempting to frame that question in the context of this act?
MR. WILLIAMS: As to what it means, we will have to leave for the court's ultimate decision.
MR. ENNIS: If that's so, then I object
to the form of the question because I think it assumes that the act leaves that to the discretion of the teacher. So I would object to the form of the question and direct the witness not to answer it and ask that it be stricken from the record. If you wish to ask the question as a hypothetical, then I will let the witness answer the question.
MR. WILLIAMS: I think he has already answered the question. So your objection is noted for the record.
MR. WILLIAMS: I am going to have made as exhibit number 2 to the deposition an article entitled BORN AGAIN CREATIONISM, by Steve Gould from SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE. It's dated September, October, November 1981.
(Whereupon, document above referred to was marked as Defendants' Exhibit 2 for identification, as of this date.)
Q. Dr. Gould, directing your attention to Exhibit 2, I think we have already established what while
you use the term "equal time law" in reference to Act 590, that that term in itself, at least, is not found in
the act, correct?
A. Yes. And we also established that balanced treatment is to be at least in part determined by legislative decision.
Q. And you state that "The creationist leaders may be dishonest in argument and even malevolent. Do you consider them to be that?
A. I think some of the misquotations are so egregious that it verges on dishonesty. One can only make inferences.
Q. In this article you quote Duane Gish where I think you had the same essential quote earlier where he says "We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes used by the Creator." There is no reference for that.
A. Page 42 of EVOLUTION, THE FOSSILS SAY NO.
Q. Can I see that, please?
A. You sure could. It is the end line of the longer quotation.
That is in fact not the version I got the quote from. It's basically the same statement.
Q. That quote that you used from Dr. Gish, is it not simply consistent with the earlier
discussion that you and I had about the fact that we can only tell from creation-science that the creator has some power?
A. I read the quote as an admission that so-called creation-science isn't science. After all, if you cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative process is an admission that in principle it cannot explain the most important claim that it makes.
Q. But when you look at that statement, can you not distinguish would it not be possible to distinguish between the determining by scientific investigation the exact creative processes used and the fact that creation did occur?
A. That's not enough. Listen to what it says. "We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes. You can't admit in principle that in principle you can't discover anything about the major phenomenon.
MR. WILLIAMS: Off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
Q. You quote in this article from if
not quote or reference some of the information published by the Seagraves and also some things by Gish. You do kind of tend to lump creation scientists together, don't you?
A. They share a set of beliefs.
Q. The same way some evolutionists share some beliefs?
A. To that extent I would lump as evolutionists all people who believe in evolution.
Q. Including those who have said in the past that an average black adult male has the mental capacity of a 11 year old Caucasian or something?
A. So far as they said that, they were not behaving at scientists. But they were not evolutionists. Good guys and bad guys everywhere.
Q. Do you feel like you understand the second law of the thermodynamics?
A. Not in its details, but a hell of a lot better than Mr. Gish does.
Q. Do you think do you agree that it essentially states that order must decrease through time?
A. No. It specifically doesn't say that.
It specifically states the circumstances in which order will decrease, as I understand it. I am not a physicist, and I will not go very far. It states that in so-called closed systems, that the systems in which there is neither input nor outflow of energy, that order will decrease, which is another way of saying entropy will increase.
Q. How do you define what is a closed system?
A. Again, I don't want to go too far because I am not even positive that this is technically the correct definition. I understand it's a system which is closed, that is there is no energy entering or leaving by boundaries of the system.
Q. You state that "Creationism is part of the program of the Evangelical right in America, and this movement, considered peripheral a decade ago, has became central in Reaganland."
A. That's America.
Q. Could you explain to me on what you base your conclusion on that creationism is part of the program of the Evangelical right?
A. Well, that term insofar as that term
has been applied to people like Mr. Falwell who has a larger political program, insofar as creationism is one aspect of his political program, then the definition holds.
Q. Do you know whether Jerry Falwell is responsible for the passage of Act 590?
A. I have no idea.
Q. Is the fact that it's part of the Evangelical right one of the reasons that you oppose it that you view it as being
MR. ENNIS: Oppose what, the teaching in the public schools or the document itself? Do you understand the question?
A. I mean empirically in my own life the answer would have to be no because I opposed it just as much ten years ago when there wasn't an identifiable Evangelical right.
Q. What is Reaganland?
A. It's a metaphorical description of the U.S. of A. And its current political climate.
Q. How do you feel about that personally, not as a scientist?
THE WITNESS: Is that relevant?
MR. ENNIS: At the trial I would object
on the ground that it's irrelevant, but we have waived questions as to relevancy until the time of the trial, so if David wants to spend a lot of time asking those kinds of questions, do so.
A. I did not vote for Ronald Reagan. I don't think I am not very happy with his presidency.
Q. Would you say that's a fair and accurate depiction description of your feelings about the political climate of the country right now, that you are not very happy with his presidency?
Q. So you're somewhat happy?
A. Okay. All right. I will be a little more forthcoming. I am not opposed to everything he's done, but in the panoply of presidents I have witnessed, I would rank since my memory which extends back as a little child to the death of Franklin Roosevelt, one of the first things I do remember, I would rank Reagan second to Nixon in the terms of the ones I didn't like.
Q. You state in your article that "The creationist laws lost a series of court battles
between 1975 and 1978, when several statutes for "equal time" were tossed out because they had violated the principle of the separation of church and state." What court battles do you have in mind there?
A. Particularly I hope my years are right the overturning of the Tennessee creation bill, which I think was in 1977. I may be wrong.
Q. That's one.
A. Were there not others?
Q. I am asking you.
A. I think there were. I wrote this article several months ago, and I think I had some documents before me. In fact, what I was basing that on, I remember, was a news report from SCIENCE, THE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, that listed the others and I do not know recall what they were.
Q. Are you aware as to whether there were any differences in that Tennessee law and this law?
A. Oh, I say there are. I think there are differences of rhetoric, rather than of substance.
Q. I understand that's the way you feel. But do you agree that there are differences?
A. In statement but not in substance.
Q. According to your column here that only after it says, "at this point," I guess that's between the court battles of '75 and '78, "creationists shifted gears and began to argue that creation-science was a purely scientific alternative to scientific evolution." Where did you establish that that is the dividing line between two different approaches taken?
A. I just remember that when I used to read creationist literature a while back there were numerous explicit references to God, religion and Christianity, and those have been notably absent in the last few years, and I made inference, that this was in recognition of a different legal strategy to pass the same kinds of laws.
Q. You further state in your article that "As a sidelight to a correct perception (and cowardly decision) about the politics involved, I was originally scheduled to testify for the State in this trial but was dropped as a witness by the Attorney General because he felt that my leftist political" I see. The light has struck. You're talking about the California trial?
A. Yes. No, you never called me.
Q. Let me finish the - let me start again to get the entire quote in. "As a sidelight to a correct perception (and cowardly decision) about the politics involved, I was originally scheduled to testify for the State in this trial but was dropped as a witness by the Attorney General because he felt that my leftist politics might enhance the impression that evolution is some kind of Commie plot."
MR. ENNIS: Is that a statement or a question?
MR. WILLIAMS: That's a statement, and I am going to ask questions about the quote.
Q. Briefly describe for me your leftist politics, if there are such?
A. It was all moot because I never got to testify because as you know in the California trial the grounds were so narrowed that none of the scientists were
MR. ENNIS: Again, let me just note for the record that we would object to this line of questioning if
it were attempted to be used at the trial on the ground that it's irrelevant, but for these purposes I will
let the witness answer the
A. It's too vague.
Q. You are the person who used the term "leftist politics."
A. Yes. My political views tend to the left of center.
Q. Could you be more specific about your political views?
A. I don't know how to be. I am not a joiner, so I am not a member of any organization. So I have always resisted labeling. But if you read my other book, THE MISMEASURE OF MAN, which is not included because it is not about evolution, you will get a sense of my political views.
Q. What do you talk about in THE MISMEASURE OF MAN?
A. It's a book about the history of measurement of intelligence.
Q. But it makes the argument, you were saying?
A. It makes the argument that the primary it makes the argument that attempts to measure
intelligence have been politically motivated and represent a misuse of science in
order to support existing social distinctions as biologically inevitable.
Q. Have you done much reading in the area of political philosophy?
A. I have not made an intensive study. I expect I have read some.
Q. What books would you say were most influential on you in the area of your own political philosophy?
A. I think the most influential book I ever read was C. Wright Mills. THE POWER ELITE. Some of Chomsky, who is not a political philosopher but writes politics. In fact, over the last many years I have not read widely in this area. It does not hold as much interest for me as it once did.
Q. You go on to say, just to paraphrase, that you are less concerned about the court strategy than the school board strategy, as you refer to it. Why are you more concerned about the so-called school board strategy?
A. Because I think that's where creationists may be more effective in persuading local school boards
to adopt creationist texts.
Q. Do you know how many schools have adopted some form of creationist text?
A. No, I don't
Q. You also make a comment about the textbook publishers who you say will incorporate almost any nonsense to win orders that may mean millions of copies. Do you think that if this law and others like it should be upheld, that the textbook publishers would meet the need for books which incorporate creation-science without religious references?
A. I assume the main thing they will do is what they have always done, kick evolution out.
Q. That's assuming
MR. ENNIS: You asked the witness a question.
A. It's a justified assumption that happened after the Scopes trial and it's happening now.
Q. How can they kick it out if they require that both be thought? [probably should be "...both be taught?" - MvADP Editor]
A. Or neither. That's an alternative. One way to make it neither is not to include either.
Q. Given your views as to the, call them good business sense of textbook publishers, don't you think they would also have volumes of text which would incorporate both?
A. I think the primary thing they will do based on previous experience and things that have happened already, and if you contact Wayne Moyer, he has been monitoring the decrease of information about evolution in textbooks. Based on previous experience, the primary effects of this law will be to decrease the coverage or eliminate the coverage of evolution in textbooks.
Q. So you see that as a result of the law?
Q. If you had an alternative of either trying to get balanced treatment or eliminating both, which would you prefer?
A. That's very hard to decide between two reprehensible alternatives. I don't know. They are both really frightening to me.
Q. You have no opinion, you wouldn't make a decision on that?
A. I think the human psyche is generally a jolly thing and likes to postpone considering bad
things that may not happen.
Q. But if you had to make a decision, what decision would you make?
A. I don't know. I don't have to make it, thank goodness.
Q. The Act 590 does say that you ought to teach the scientific evidences and inferences for both creation-science and evolution science.
A. There aren't any for creation-science.
Q. All right. Assuming that, why are you so opposed to the act, if there is no scientific evidence for creation-science and the overwhelming scientific evidence is all for evolution?
A. Because the act nonetheless requires that what is not science be taught as science.
Q. I think the act says in section one that you ought to give balanced treatment to both if you teach either, then in section 4 it says the scientific evidence
A. You're not really telling me that one conceivable interpretation of this law is no creationism will ever be taught anywhere in any of the schools?
I am not telling you that, I am just
referring you to what the bill says. It says "the scientific evidence and inferences therefrom."
MR. ENNIS: Is your question that if a teacher concludes that there is no scientific evidence for points 1 through 6, then a teacher does not have to say a word about creation-science?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am talking about the act does require balanced treatment for both. But then it says that you defines creation-science as to be the scientific evidence and inferences therefrom for creation.
MR. ENNIS: Your question is if there is no scientific evidence, then what?
Q. If you feel there is none and you feel the overwhelming authority of scientific evidence is on the side of evolution, then what are you afraid of?
A. Because a public school teacher in the state of Arkansas, that despite that conviction I would
be compelled to present some pseudo evidence as it exists in books that I think have no intellectual
stature, but are published nonetheless for creation-science. I don't read this bill as giving freedom to
every teacher to
assess the evidence as he sees it.
Q. Would you agree that your, and by your I am talking about your position personally, concerning you don't want this taught, that you oppose this law, does it rise to the level of censorship?
A. No. It is a just a proper separation of disciplines. I have never said that I think parents or creationists shouldn't tell their children what they want. I teach science and I don't want to be told by the State Legislature that I have to teach in a science course that something that in my professional judgment is not science.
Q. What if there is a teacher out there who has reviewed all the scientific evidence in the literature and has concluded that creation-science is a science, should he or she be able to teach it? I'm not asking it legally.
MR. ENNIS: You're not asking for a legal conclusion and you're not asking whether there is a need for a statute to permit a teacher to do that?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am not asking anything
A. I have to ask you a question. Before this law was passed what stopped them from doing it?
Q. Those are some of the issues for the trial. I am asking if someone out there thinks it should be taught, do you think they should be prohibited from teaching it?
A. I can't give a yes or no to a question like that. There are grounds for dismissal on competence occasionally. I suspect that if a teacher of physics did insist the earth were flat and presented it as dogma and failed school children who said otherwise, there might be cause. One can be too dogmatic about anything.
But in general, as far as I understand it, the statute should leave teachers free to make their own professional judgments. I will disagree with many of them. What I don't like about this statute is it dictates what a teacher must do.
Q. So if a teacher absent and apart from this statute should decide that creation-science has
some validity and wants to teach it in the classroom to balance the treatment, if you will,
that you would not want the teacher to be prohibited from doing that?
A. That's a funny hypothetical question. I can't respond to hypothetical questions like that.
Q. Are you aware that one teacher in another state has been fired for teaching creation-science?
A. I don't quite understand the relevance of that to this particular act. I am not on the school board in the state of Arkansas anyway. And that is a different and very difficult issue.
Q. As a matter of academic freedom, should the teacher be able to teach the course?
THE WITNESS: I am still looking for guidance.
MR. ENNIS: I think probably the reason the witness is having trouble answering that question is
that would depend upon the particular facts of each case of exactly what's being taught, how much is
being taught. If the teacher is supposed to be teaching a course on social studies and teaches
creation-science instead, that's irrelevant. If it's a biology course, so forth.
I would have trouble answering the question because on those kinds of academic freedom grounds you need to know all the facts and circumstances. The hypothetical doesn't state what they are.
THE WITNESS: If they were lying, that would be one thing.
Q. I thought my question was specific on that. Let me restate it. You have a high school teacher of science in the area of biology who has reviewed all the scientific literature that he or she can get his hands on. Reviewed it and has determined that creation-science is a valid scientific theory.
A. Let me tell you the problem I have. I would not consider such a person any more to be operating as a scientist. That I will be clear on. Whether that constitutes grounds for firing is another matter. There will be some teachers who might not be good teachers and are not teaching the best material, and I don't know whether that's always a grounds for firing.
Grounds for firing have to be quite lenient in my view. I can clearly say that such a person is no longer
a scientist or operating as a
scientist if they accept a theory that's patently not a science. But whether they should be fired, there is a whole question of tenial laws I don't understand.
Q. I am asking whether they should be free to teach it?
A. No. Because who is to stop them. What's the penalty of not firing.
Q. For example, they can say you can't teach that.
A. And then if they did they are fired. So I mean it is fundamentally about losing one's job.
But you're placing something in my hypothetical that's really not in there. Let's approach it this way. Define academic freedom.
MR. ENNIS: Not the law of, his own view?
A. My personal view of academic freedom is the right for teachers to shape the subject matter of
their courses according to their competence and own judgments within the confines of that subject matter
as understood by the community within that profession.
If a teacher of classical music decides that he is not interested any more and only teaches painting, I think it would be right to say that they are no longer teaching that subject and if that were the only teacher of classical music in the school, and someone moves against that teacher because the subject matter is not being taught, that would not be abridgement of my definition of academic freedom.
Q. How can academic freedom then properly be limited, if it can?
A. I don't regard that as a limit. You contract to teach a certain subject. One has an understanding of what that subject is and within the confines of that subject one does it one's way, as Mr. Sinatra says.
Q. Can the state prescribe curricula for the secondary schools?
MR. ENNIS: Are you asking for a legal conclusion?
MR. WILLIAMS: No.
A. I don't know very much about how a school curricula is set up. I know what academic freedom
usually means on a college level. I don't
really know much about high school law and how it works.
Q. Do you think a teacher has to agree with a theory personally before they can adequately teach it?
A. Oh, no. I mean, after all, I teach when I teach alternate theories I may have my preference but I hope I can give an adequate account. However, as a science teacher I only teach scientific theories. Very much different from teaching a theory that is not part of the profession that I agreed to teach.
Q. Have you made any personal studies concerning evidence for evolution?
Q. You mentioned your dissertation I think. Would that be one?
A. I am a research biologist, sure. I work on the evolution of Western Indian land snails. I am sure you don't want to hear about them, but I would being glad to tell you.
Q. Would all of the research that you have done fits within the evolutionary theory?
A. It certainly does.
Q. You provided me with a copy
A. Wait a minute. The evolution theory fit within the general theory that evolution that there must be some mechanism for it. I said I don't know what the mechanism of evolution is. All my work certainly fits the conviction that evolution occurred, that it is a fact. As to the mechanism by which it occurred, we have much to learn.
Q. What's your opinion of the creation-science materials that you have read, I am talking about reference to the books that you earlier referenced and this article on Cephalopods.
A. It's not science. In fact, I think it's primarily based on rhetoric and misquotation.
Q. You think it's valid criticism of some of the shortcomings of evolution, or problems?
A. Occasionally within the forest of rhetoric and misquotation they will raise in a tangential way a legitimate point. But the essence of the argument is unscientific and unfair in most of the publications I have read.
Q. Do you think that the evolution theory of origins is an unquestionable fact of science?
A. There is no such thing. My definition of fact confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.
Q. Does evolution presuppose that no creator exists?
A. For what? No, of course not. But wait. This goes back to about 10 o'clock this morning. I mean evolution is a statement about general logical connections. If there was a creator and he made matter 177 billion years ago and then set up the laws of nature, such that they yielded this result by natural laws, and if he even smiles down upon it and says it's good, that's all right. It's occurring within natural law. What is inadmissible in science is the suspension of those laws in order to introduce by fiat creation of life from nothing.
Q. Bear with me for a second. If you would, let's say, go back to the first life and you had these
chemical reactions, and as I understand it those are very complex chemical reactions which would have to
occur for this first life to arise. If you had all these natural laws operating, and a creator, whatever that
kind of intervened but only to the extent to cause it to happen
A. If God sticks his finger in the soup by suspending the laws of nature, it's not science. It's like a little bit pregnant. Not even a little suspension of natural laws. However, I emphasize many evolutionists believe even in very personal notions of God, but it's a God who doesn't break his own laws. I mean, evolutionists from Asa Gray to Dobzhansky have been atheists, no problem.
Q. But to consider evolution and try to make it consistent with a belief in a creator, does present problems, doesn't it - let me be a bit more specific.
MR. ENNIS: Object to the form of the question because when you say to consider evolution and try to make it consistent with the belief of a creator, I don't think the witness has testified that there is anything at all about evolution and that belief.
Q. I will be more specific. Is one of the essential characteristics of evolution that it has occurred more
or less in a random and chance way?
Q. Why not?
A. That's not part of most evolutionary theories. See, in Darwinism for example, and of course there are other theories of evolution, randomness is only called upon to produce variation, to produce raw material. In fact, the direction of change is imposed by natural selection, which is a deterministic force that adapts organisms to prevailing local environments. That's one of the common misunderstandings of evolution. That most theories regard what happened as due to chance. That's not true.
Q. If you are a theoristic evolutionist, and as I understand you would think that would mean that someone who believed that had a creator or some supernatural power set up the laws of nature at the beginning. And if he didn't - if he just set up the laws and just let them operate, does that mean or do we know - strike that. That's incapable of resolution.
Do you think that the theory of evolution is contrary to the religious convictions or moral values
or philosophical beliefs of some
A. I don't think they can be contrary to properly constituted morality and ethics, because that's a whole other realm, and evolution is about the facts of the world. I don't see how the world's facts can be contrary to ethical and moral belief. That doesn't mean that it ought to be. If you asked me as an empirical fact whether some people feel that evolution runs contrary to what they feel is the foundation of what loosely is called their philosophy, I guess the answer is yes.
Q. Do you think the theory of evolution or the theory or the facts, however you would like to describe it, has affected society beyond the study of biology?
A. It caused a lot of people to think about a lot of things. Whether the theories have actually promoted social change or merely been used to or usually misused to rationalize that social change is going to occur, I don't know.
Q. Do you think that the theory of evolution can be presented in the classroom without reference to
any religious doctrine?
A. It usually is. By the theory of evolution it varies. I present it without reference to any religious doctrine. Religion to me is about ethics and morality.
Q. How do you define religion?
A. It's about as hard as asking me to define God. I know what it's not, but it's one of those subjects hard to put in a few sentences. To me religion is the set of ideas that fundamentally deals with the way we should conduct our lives in ethical and moral terms. It tries to provide justifications for moral precepts.
Q. Does religion necessarily require a God?
A. Not under depends on what a God is. It doesn't require some supernatural force that intervenes to break the laws of nature, no. And there are people who call themselves religious, as you know, particularly in non-Western cultures, who do not have a belief in anything that by the Western vernacular would be called God.
Q. Do you think atheism could be a religion?
A. Why are you asking that?
Q. I am just curious, sir.
A. I mean, atheism simply means a lack of a belief in God. Atheists have moral values. In fact, ethical values don't come from the lack of a belief in God. That's merely a statement. They derive their moral principles from elsewhere. But evolution does not speak to this issue. There have been atheists who are evolutionists, devout Christians who have been evolutionists.
Q. Do you think that religion can be based on science?
A. No. They are a different sphere, simply different.
Q. Do you know whether anyone has articulated the possibility of basing religion on science?
A. Insofar as people have, I think they are fundamentally mistaken. You can find people to say almost anything, of course.
Q. So while you personally don't think it could be, there are people out there in the scientific communities, for example, who
A. Not very much and they are wrong and we will try and show them why they are. I have been in a
lot of evolution classes in my life, and I
don't think I have ever heard any of my teachers make pronouncements about the nature of God with the material in the classroom.
Q. Do you have a definition for faith?
A. Not really, because the word I think means too many different things. If you give me a context, I will give you a definition.
Q. Do you think it means scientists have faith in evolution?
A. Not in the usual vernacular sense of that term, which I take to mean a belief held so strongly that in the absence of evidence it is still accepted. To that extent, evolutionists don't because their acceptance of evolution is based on hard information.
Q. In your article in SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE, you state that this creation battle or creation-science is one part of the coherent political program of the Evangelical right, including anti-ERA, anti-abortion, anti-military and anti-Communism. Is that a correct
A. Sounds right.
Q. Is that one of reasons why you oppose creation-science?
A. As I said, from my own personal history, since my opposition has become no less intense since before these ties arose, my opposition is not caused by that. I would not say that my feelings that those points are irrelevant to my feelings about it. But I assure you my opposition was as intense before these connections were clear.
Q. Have you provided the attorneys for the plaintiffs with any reports or any written documentation, have you written anything for them other than what you have given me today?
A. No, I haven't.
Q. Do you know at this point what your testimony will consist of, for example, what opinions you will give?
A. We have not discussed that except in the broadest outline. That as a paleontologist, I will deal I imagine with those areas that are closest to my competence, namely the question of how creationists explain the facts of the fossil record, and particularly the issue of gaps in this record.
Q. Could you just briefly summarize how you do view the way the creationists treat the
fossil record and the gaps therein?
A. As I understand it, the foundation of the view of those creationists I have read is that the fossil record, with its ordered sequence, is a product of deposition after everything got mixed together in Noah's flood. As for the gaps in the fossil record, creationists cite them as evidence that evolution is in trouble, and I believe those gaps to be a result of those imperfections in this record and the fact that evolution proceeds more by punctuated equilibrium than by gradual change within lineages.
Q. The article on Cephalopods and the creation of the universal deluge, how do you plan to use this in your testimony?
A. Perhaps only to talk about what I regard to be a misapplication of a quotation from one of my works, perhaps as an example of an attempt to explain a fossil sequence by flood geology, but probably only in the first sense.
Q. Are you speaking with specific reference to a quote which says "paleontologists and evolution
biologists are famous for their facility in devising plausible stories but they
often forget that plausible stories need not be true."?
A. That's the quote, yes.
Q. What do you anticipate your testimony about that quote might be?
A. That statement comes from a paper in which I was with several other authors referring only to stories that paleontologists tell that attempt to interpret in adaptive terms the facts of an evolutionary tree. It is cited in that context to make it appear that I believe the existence of the tree itself to be tentative.
Q. Do you have any idea who John Woodmorappe is?
A. I do not, no.
Q. Your article from PALEOBIOLOGY which is entitled "Punctuated Equilibria, the tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered," do you plan to rely on this in your testimony?
A. Yes. Well, I plan to use it.
Q. Could you describe for me how you will use it?
A. To explain the theory of punctuated equilibrium.
Q. Does this article fairly give your views, current views?
A. Yes. That's the most extensive statement ever published on the theory of punctuated equilibrium.
Q. Are there any assumptions which underlie your punctuated equilibrium theory?
A. That's too broad a question. All science has certain assumptions like the uniformity of natural law.
Q. Anything peculiar to any assumptions which are peculiar to
A. I wouldn't use the term assumptions. Let me say it's based on certain premises which I don't regard as assumptions but I regard as fairly well documented evolutionary principles. First, that evolutionary change occurs during events of speciation. Secondly, that events of speciation, though slow on the scale of our lives, are geologically instantaneous, tens of thousands of years. Thirdly, that most species during the course of their history tend to change vary little.
Q. I am sorry, what was the third one?
A. That most species during the course of
their history tend to change rather little.
Q. Go ahead.
A. That's call stasis. That's all.
Q. So the change comes in essence at the point where the species changes to a new species, as you view it?
A. When one species branches off from another, the ancestor usually persists.
Q. What happens to the ancestors?
A. They usually persist for a while, anyway.
Q. Would they then more often than not die out or would they more often than not continue?
A. Oh, I don't think it's probably about 50-50.
Q. When you talk about, for example, that the record of human evolution seems to provide a particularly good example that no gradualism has been detected within any hominid taxon, does that not provide would that not be consistent with creation-science?
A. It would not.
Q. Why not?
A. In the sense that there is a very good
evolutionary trend, it just doesn't proceed by slow and steady alteration. But there is a very good evolutionary trend as seen through successive speciation towards hominids with larger brains and larger bodies and if all forms life simultaneously weren't mixed up in the flood, I don't know why they would then sort out in such an ordered sequence of increasing size of brain and body from the australopithecines to Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens.
Q. Your article or maybe perhaps it is part of a book on punctuated equilibria, what book is this from?
A. A book called MODELS AND PALEOBIOLOGY, 1972.
Q. Is there anything in here that is not in the first article that I mentioned?
A. That is the first article. No, I don't think there is anything in there that is not covered, but I gave you that because that is the original statement of the theory.
Q. What is meant by the term "world view in relation to Darwin"?
A. What's the context?
Q. In this particular copy reference it says "aside from natural selection itself, gradualism became the most pervasive and controlling aspect of Darwin's world view?"
A. It's a translation of a German term weltanschaung, which is used by scholars to signify as an informal term to signify the basic assumptions that people make about the nature of the world and life, what is in the vernacular often called one's philosophy.
Q. That implies to me, that for example if you're talking about Darwin as part of his world view that evolution as he viewed it was not limited to the neat confines of evolutionary biology.
A. Yes, I would include other things in his world view on gradualism to Darwin was an important part of the way he looked at many other things besides science.
Q. Do you think Darwin's ON ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES can be studied in a public school classroom or should be?
A. Why not, it's one of the great books of Western history.
Q. Are you aware that he calls upon a creator in that text?
A. What he says first of all, he doesn't even use the word in the first edition. But in later editions he uses the term creator much in the essence of a scientist. What is the last line? He says there is a grandeur "with its several powers have been freed," and I guess he adds "by the creator" in later editions, into a few forms or into one, which would be consistent with the notion of Newton's clockwinder God.
Q. Is the concept of a creator an inherently religious concept in your mind?
A. Depends on how you define it. Again, as I understand
Q. Is the creator as referenced in Darwin, is it inherently a religious view?
A. The whole question of Darwin's religious views is an interesting one. The best book on that is by Neal Gillespie, published a few years ago, and a very complex one.
Q. But when he uses that term that life having been breathed into the first few forms by a creator, do
you take that to be a reference to a
creator in the religious sense?
A. One doesn't know, but no, I don't necessarily take it as such. It could be for Einstein's view that what we call the creators, wherever produced, or Spinoza's view, the creators of the laws of the universe. That's a metaphor and the book is full of metaphors. Every book is.
Q. So a creator is not an inherently religious concept?
A. The use of the word creator is not. What becomes inherently nonscience is when you call upon the creators to suspend natural law to put creatures on earth.
Q. Do you think in studying Darwin's ON ORIGIN OF SPECIES that you have to dwell on his references to the creator, talk about that, what does that mean at great length?
A. First of all, if you use the first edition it won't even be there. Secondly, it's a word here, there, whose meaning is ambiguous. I don't know and thirdly, if it is studied in the science classroom, that's not what you talk about.
Q. So it really brings us back to that question again of first life. And what Darwin
seemed to say there was a creator had breathed life into
A. There is all sorts of metaphor in THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES. It's a great work of literature. He says so many times in metaphor what's the greatest one that's a metaphor of the tangled bank, the metaphor of the tree of life, and the best of all, nature appears to us bright with gladness, he says. But behind that we see the war.
And the book is full of metaphor, and I think it's really clear in the context that that is a metaphor to state that he doesn't know how first life got here. I think the best proof of that is that the phrase "by the creator" is added the into some subsequent editions.
Q. It was added by Darwin, wasn't it?
A. Yes. See, because the creator can be the laws of nature.
Q. Do you recall whether he used the creator with a capital C, if that makes any difference?
A. I don't know. And that's really a typographical issue.
Q. So whether it's an a capital C or not doesn't make any difference to you?
A. I don't think so. In Victorian times many things were capitalized that we wouldn't today. I think laws of nature are often capitalized in literature of that time. In fact, nature itself is often written with a capital N.
Q. I want to make sure I understand. Invocation of a creator is not inherently a religious concept?
MR. ENNIS: Are you asking whether in the sense Darwin used it or are you talking about in Act 590?
MR. WILLIAMS: First of all, in the sense that Darwin used it. I think I am talking about in any concept, inherent is an invocation of a creator.
A. What's unscientific is to talk about the suspension of natural law to invoke that concept of a creator. To invoke a creator to state unfalsifiable hypotheses.
Q. Is the indication of a creator by Darwin an inherent religious concept?
A. When Einstein says God doesn't play
dice with the universe, a famous metaphor, what he says is that he believes that deterministic laws were discovered to render what we now consider chance. It is clearly a metaphor, as is Darwin's usage in that paragraph.
Q. In summary, what is your defense of Teilhard
A. My case? My defense?
Q. There is a reference here in PILTDOWN IN LETTERS, and a letter, I think, from you among others concerning a defense, according to the editor, of Teilhard de Chardin.
A. I think he played a role in the Piltdown fraud.
Q. What role did he play, as you see it?
A. I think it quite likely since he was at Piltdown and reasonably friendly with Mr. Dawson, who I think clearly was the primary instigator of the hoax, that he played a role, probably a small one, in it.
Q. What is this paper?
A. That's an untitled essay which will appear in NATURAL HISTORY next February, which I
included under your request for unpublished
documents because, as you will note, the last page contains some reference to creationism.
Q. Do you intend at this time to rely on this essay?
A. No. I presume that doesn't bar me if it should come up.
Q. I said at this time. What was the article you wrote for the New York Times "on Mankind Stood up First and Got Smart Later"?
A. That's a little commentary from section 4 one Sunday, probably some 700 words or so, on Johanson's DISCOVERY OF LUCY.
Q. Essentially, what was your comment on that?
A. That was a long time ago. That the DISCOVERY OF LUCY fairly well proved what in fact we have pretty well known since the 1920's, that the australopithecines, though quite small brained, only slightly larger than the ape brain, nonetheless walked fully erect.
Q. "Evolution: Explosion, not ascent"?
A. That is a very badly named article, not mine, giving a very short explication of the theory of
punctuated equilibrium. Nothing there
not covered in more detail in the two articles you have.
Q. Are you aware of any other articles on which you might rely?
A. I might rely on the essays in Darwin and THE PANDA'S THUMB, which you have.
Q. Any particular ones in there?
A. I can't anticipate. It will be a cross-examination, I think, more than direct.
Q. Is it fair to say from your essay on Velikovsky and collision that you will not object to Velikovsky being studied as a science although you don't agree with him?
A. Velikovsky stated his hypotheses in a falsifiable way, and they were falsified. I would not teach Velikovsky now because I think the argument is beyond doubt, but I would certainly answer questions about it and would not regard it as inappropriate material for courses studying scientific methodology.
His hypotheses were testable, therefore they were science or formulated in a scientific way though they have been falsified, in my view.
Q. Your curriculum vitae includes articles
only up to 1980, I notice. Your writings. The one that I have stops at '57, which is
A. That's B. Yes, there is an A part and a B part. That's not the main part. I know you had it. That's in fact the small let me see that.
Q. That's the one I was handed this morning.
A. No. That is everything. See, this is the main part, articles. It's in two parts. And that goes through 1981. I just haven't updated the B part that has little notes and letters and things. There may be one or two items that are not there just because I haven't updated it in recent months. But the A part is the main part. Those are the articles. Too many people iflate(?) off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
Q. "Darwin Novelized"?
A. That's a review of Irving Stone's biography of Charles Darwin called ORIGIN.
Q. Are you familiar with Pergamon Press?
A. I know it.
Q. It's not a creation-science publisher,
Q. I don't know if I can say it. ONTOGENY AND PHYLOGENY, I haven't had a chance to look at it in detail, what is it?
A. It's a history of the current status that old individuals in the course of their growth and embryology repeat the evolutionary stages of their ancestry. It's not true, but it was historically an important point. That is my major technical book. I thought you might want to see it. I rather suspect you won't want to read too much of it.
Q. But that concept has been discredited at this point?
Q. Is that different than the idea that an embryo passes through all of the different stages and supposedly had gills and that sort of thing?
A. We have gills, that's correct. But the evolutionists have a different interpretation today.
Q. What interpretation is that?
A. That it represents that the gills
represent not the fish ancestor, from which we descended, not the adult fish ancestor, but rather a common, stage in the embryology of all vertebrates which mammals have preserved and therefore it indicates conservative heredity.
Q. What's the Cecilia Society?
A. It's a course.
Q. What is "History versus Prophecy" in AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE?
A. That is an article commenting on the work of a geologist whose name I forget, it was a long time ago, who claimed that the book of Isaiah described correctly certain aspects of geological processes. It has nothing to do with the creation debate. It's whoever wrote Isaiah knew a lot about processes of erosion, and I argued that in fact what those passages are about is not geological. It's not relevant. You can have a copy if you like.
Q. I would like to have a copy of it.
A. It's my one exercise in biblical exegesis.
Q. What is the article that you wrote in the American Journal of Science called IS
A. The very first article I ever wrote. How nice of you to go back to it. It's an analysis of the principle of uniformitarianism.
Q. What's the answer to the question?
A. Pardon me?
Q. What's the answer to the question?
A. As among all academics, the answer is yes or no, that uniformitarianism means several different things. Some aspects of which are part of the definition of science, and others of which are testable claims that are wrong.
Q. Are you aware in geology of any sort of trend, to use that term roughly, toward greater discussion of catastrophes?
A. Oh, yes, and we welcome that. But it's not the kind of catastrophism that creationists talk about.
As you know, it has a lot of interest now in the asteroidal theory of Cretaceous extinction. This has
nothing to do with there is nothing in the correct application of uniformitarianism that precludes the idea
of local catastrophes, or even occasionally global ones produced by impact of extraterrestrial bodies, for
Q. So you would not necessarily as a geologist necessarily deny that there have been worldwide catastrophes?
A. The earth is 4 billion years old, and it must have been hit now and again with large bodies like asteroids and comets, but the creationist account calls upon all the strata to be produced by one single such catastrophe. And that is not part of the theory of any geologist.
Q. Where does it say that in the act, that all of that has to come from the one?
A. It doesn't. The act could be read differently, but in the major literature the explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophe is including the occurrence of a worldwide flood. That does indicate that all the earth's geology can be explained by catastrophism.
Q. You're really superimposing what you think it means from other literature into the act, aren't you?
A. It says explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, which indicates that if there was
more than one that still the record has
to be the record of its catastrophes and it clearly is not. At least not worldwide catastrophes, which is what the ordinary sense of catastrophism is. And the evidence for a recent worldwide flood is nonexistent, by the way.
Q. Are you familiar with Boyden at all? You're not familiar with that name at all?
Q. Can you think of other theories which are not falsifiable or testable which are taught in the science curriculum?
A. Other theories than what?
Q. I think you said you felt like that creation-science is not
A. Creationism is not taught, it shouldn't be.
Q. But can you think of others which have been taught?
A. Do you have an example?
Q. I don't know. I am trying to recall. I have read something about that. It seems like perhaps some
of Newton's laws I really can't
recall, but are you aware of any others?
Q. Have you made any effort to read all of the creation-science literature?
A. You can't read all of it. There is too much. I read a lot of it.
Q. How have you made a decision as to what you would read?
A. There are works cited more than others by people that are in the news more than others. It seems best I read the people whose work seems to be discussed most. And that is certainly most representative.
Q. Have you made you mean it's been just kind of a subjective decision? Have you provided any specific criteria as reading every fifth book on creation-science that comes out?
A. The major cited works of the people most in the news, which I think is the way you go about reading in any new subject.
Q. Some of the criticisms which have been leveled even by you during this deposition at the
creation scientists, have not some criticisms been leveled at you by some other proponents of the
modern synthesis theory?
A. Such as?
Q. For example, set up a strawman, unfairly trying to abstract or summarize a theory.
MR. ENNIS: Do you have any particular example?
A. Modes of argument are similar. The question is whether they have validity.
Q. The modes of argument are similar?
A. Yes. People may say the same thing, but I am prepared to argue the characterization in the case of Mr. Gish is fair. It isn't so much that Gish sets up straw men, it's mostly that he doesn't discuss most of the literature at all. I have never been accused of that.
Q. For example, to my earlier question, are you aware that I forget what the Ledyard
A. G. Ledyard.
Q. and Stebbins has said that "We object to Gould because he misrepresents the synthetic theory." Are you aware of that quote?
A. Sure. That's from his article maybe it's from a news report. That's a matter for
friendly debate between two people who are friends, me and Ledyard, that is. After all, one can characterize a theory in many ways. He thinks I haven't characterized it fairly and I think I have. And I will meet him in Washington this January and maybe we will resolve it and maybe we won't. But we will stay friends and colleagues on the same side of whether or not evolution occurred.
Q. Stebbins has also said, to paraphrase, that while such sudden erratical changes might grow mutations or macromutations are common, they almost never spread through further generations to become established. Are you familiar with that?
A. I agree with that. That's not the theory of punctuating equilibrium. That's talking about the theory of hopeful monsters that is not a theory that I have pushed.
Q. Do you think that
A. But I do emphasize that Ledyard and I have no disagreements with whether evolution occurs.
Q. Do you think that Archaeopteryx was a link between reptiles and birds?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Do you think any modern birds existed at the same time as Archaeopteryx?
A. It's possible more modern? No. That's a funny question. You mean modern species? Of course. If you mean anatomically more modern, the answer is probably yes because evolution is a branch of a bush and ancestors tend to persist so you always have the more primitive forms while advanced descendants are around. So it's very likely that it would be true.
For example, the genus Australopithecus in the form of Australopithecus robustus, lived on until it became contemporaneous with Homo erectus. It don't mean the genus itself is not ancestral.
(Continued on following page)
Q. Is part of your objection to creation-science a notion that it's based on something which is not tentative and not revisable?
A. Yes. It seems to me what's not revisable is the basic belief that a document, namely Genesis, must contain literal truth.
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions.
MR. ENNIS: We have no questions.
(Time noted: 4:50 p.m.)
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this ____________ day of ________________1981.
C E R T I F I C A T E
STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF NEW YORK )
I, HELAINE DRIBBEN, a Notary Public within and for the State of New York, do hereby certify:
That STEPHEN JAY GOULD, 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 27th day of November, 1981.
WITNESS EXAMINATION BY PAGE
Stephen Jay Gould Mr. Williams 4
DEFENDANTS' FOR IDENT.
1 Article from the May 1981 DISCOVER Magazine, an article entitled "Evolution as Fact and Theory" 42
2 Article entitled "Born Again Creationism," by Steve Gould 143
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