Deposition of Robert V. Gentry
Deposition of Robert V. Gentry - transcript paragraph formatted version. (Defendants Witness)
ANSWERS AND DEPOSITION OF ROBERT V. GENTRY, a witness produced on behalf of the Plaintiffs, taken in the above-styled and numbered cause on the 24th day of November, 1981, before Certified Court Reporters and Notaries Public, in and for Fulton County, Georgia, at American Civil Liberties Union, 52 Fairlie Street, Suite 355, Atlanta, Georgia, at 11:00 a.m., pursuant to the agreement thereinafter set forth.
MR. STEPHEN G. WOLFE: What are operating now by way of stipulations?
MR. RICK CAMPBELL: Essentially that this is a discovery deposition; that Dr. Gentry will sign the deposition and return it to us and we will give it to you-all. All objections are waived except as to form of the question.
MR. WOLFE: All right.
ROBERT V. GENTRY,
being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
BY MR. WOLFE:
Q. Would you please state your name and address for the record?
A. Robert Vance Gentry, ***** ** **** *****.
Powell, Tennessee 37849.
MR. WOLFE: I'll ask the reporter to mark as Gentry Deposition Exhibit 1 two pages from "Who's Who in America," the Forty-First Edition.
(Thereupon, Plaintiff's Exhibit No. 1 was marked for identification by the court reporter.)
Q. (Continuing) Sir, I'll ask you to look at what's been marked as Exhibit 1 and tell me if you recognize it.
Q. What is it, sir?
A. Well, it's part of the "Who's Who in America," which has my curriculum vitae on it. As I indicated to you earlier, I was also a member of the American Scientific affiliation in the past and am presently a member of the Creation Research Society.
Q. Doctor, aside from the points that you've just made, is the information in this exhibit accurate
Q. Sir, in addition to your B.S. and M.S. studies at the University of Florida, have you had Physics Education at any other institution?
A. Yes. I took some courses at Georgia Tech; I've had Mathematics graduate courses at the University
of Florida; and if I remember correctly, one Physics course as well past the M.S.; and if I remember correctly, also a course at Southern Methodist University Extension School which was, I think, in Nuclear Engineering; and I think I had Mathematics graduate courses — no. I was going to say I taught at Texas Christian University, but I may not have had any graduate courses there.
Q. Doctor, do you have any graduate degree beyond the M.S. aside from this honorary degree that's indicated?
A. No, I do not.
Q. Was any of the post-M.S. work that you've just described undertaken in pursuit of a Ph.D. Degree?
A. The work at Georgia Tech was.
Q. When was that sir?
A. That was the academic school year 1962-'63 and the beginning of 1963-'64. I do not think I took courses in each one of those semesters, but it was during that period of time that I was at Georgia Tech. as an instructor and had begun working towards a Ph.D.
Q. Sir, how did it happen that you did not finish your degree work at Georgia Tech?
A. I had begun to work on a Ph.D. with the
understanding that I would choose a thesis topic that was mutually agreeable. I had become interested in the subject of radioactive halos and had discussed my desire to do research in this area with the Chairman of the Physics Department.
The Chairman of the Physics Department did not feel at that time that my efforts in the field of radioactive halos would result in beneficial data and conclusions consistent with what he understood to be the conventional history of the earth. We discussed the possibilities that I might find something that was in variance with the conventional view. At that time, to my knowledge, I had not seen a radioactive halo under the microscope; so it was a preliminary discussion based on simply what might develop. In any event, I felt the area of radioactive halos, as a field of research was one that I very much desired to look into. He did not feel as if this would be fruitful. This difference of opinion resulted in my leaving Georgia Tech.
Q. Sir, is it correct, then, that you are still a member of the faculty at Columbia Union College?
A. Yes. I still am a member of the faculty.
Q. Do you teach at the college at all?
A. No, I don't.
Q. Have you taught at Columbia Union in the past?
A. I taught at Columbia Union College from 1966 through mid-'69, at which time I received an invitation to be a guest or visiting scientist at the Oak Ridge National, Laboratory for one year. That one year has been extended to the present time as a guest.
Q. Sir, then, is it the case that, I gather, since 1969, while you've been nominally still on the faculty at Columbia Union, that you've worked at the Oak Ridge Laboratory all that time?
A. That is correct.
Page 7 is missing.
by the Archeological Rese [Text covered by note]
A. Yes, I was.
Q. Do you know the [Text covered by note] ling for the Foundation?
A. At that particular time, there were individuals in Columbus, Georgia by the names of Thrash, Calvin and Agatha Thrash, who donated money for my support. And there was another individual whose name comes to mind now that I think about it. There was an individual by the name of Sam Marx.
Q. Sir, I'm not, certain that. I understood. whether the three people that you've mentioned, Calvin and Agatha Thrash and Sam Marx — did they provide all of the funding for the Foundation or only to support your work there?
A. No. There were other funds which were used for other purposes, but these individuals provided funds for my part of the work.
I cannot rule out the possibility that some other individuals may also have contributed, but these were the main ones as far as I remember. And I should add if my memory serves me correctly, that I believe the Thrashes and Sam Marx were members at least at one time.
Q. Doctor, did the research work supported by
the Foundation have any particular area of concentration, any subject matter area?
A. Would you repeat the question?
Mr. WOLFE: Would you read back the question, please?
(Thereupon, the previous question was read back by the court reporter.)
A. (Continuing) There were interests in archeology in the Middle East; but in my estimation, most of the individuals involved were interested in searching for an artifact or what they considered. to be the remains of an artifact on Mount Ararat.
Q. Sir, the artifact that you've just mentioned, would that have been some artifact of the Ark contributed to Noah in the Bible?
A. In the eyes of the individuals who were searching for it, I am relatively sure they made that association.
Q. Can you tell me which of the persons whose names you gave me earlier were those persons searching for an artifact on Mount Ararat?
A. In the context of the question, "searching for," do you mean individuals, who actually went over and looked for the artifact, or do you mean individuals who were actually interested in the possible find of
Q. My question was broader; that is, the persons who were associated with this interesting finding and find- of an artifact on Mount Ararat.
A. In my estimation, all the individuals that I named were interested in the search; yes.
Q. Doctor, was the work that you did at the Foundation part of your ongoing work on radio halos?
A. My work connected with the Foundation concerned primarily my work on radio halos.
Q. Did you do any other work while you were at the foundation other than the radio halo work?
A. At times, I was questioned with respect to my opinion as to what might take place in the Middle East as the other members of the Foundation searched for the artifact. At one time, they attempted to get me involved in a trip, to the Middle East, which did not materialize.
Q. Doctor, I believe you stated earlier that you were uncertain whether the Foundation is still in existence; is that right?
A. That is correct.
Q. Will you tell me what you know about its subsequent history? When did it become —
A. I can only in part, due to the information
that I have knowledge of. After I left the Foundation, I knew that other people continued the activities, but I did not attempt to keep up with the existence of the Foundation. So I simply do not know when or if it ceased to exist.
Q. Doctor, have you received any salary from Columbia Union College during the years that you were not teaching there, but a guest scientist at the National Laboratory?
A. I have received salary every year. This is my main source of support.
Q. I see. Do you receive any salary from the Federal Government or the Oak Ridge National Laboratory?
A. I am presently a guest scientist or consultant at the rate of one dollar per year at the present time.
Q. I see. Does the National Laboratory provide you with any office or work space or laboratory facilities?
A. They provide, me with office space and laboratory space.
Q. Are you required to reimburse them in any way for that office or laboratory space?
Q. Does the National Laboratory provide you with
laboratory equipment or chemical agents for use in your work?
Q. Are you required to reimburse them for any part of that cost?
Q. Doctor, on your vitae, there are references to several grants that you've held from various institutions. Can you tell me if you've ever made a grant application which was not funded?
A. I have made grant applications which were not funded, and the letters for rejection of those grants have been given to you today.
Q. Can you list the instances in which you've made application's which were not funded and tell me what institutions the applications were made to?
A. I will refer to the material which I have given to you.
Q. Please do.
A. In the material entitled the "National Science Foundation," you see a May 24, 1971 letter from the National Science Foundation to me addressed, Department of Physics, Columbia Union College, in which I received a grant from NSF. March 29, 1973, I received another grant from NSF; November 25, 1974, another grant from NSF. The page after that is the summary of the completed project for the period '74 through '77.
After that time, you see a letter, June 21
1977, in which I was informed of a rejection of my
proposal. The next one, you can see that I am asking the National Science Foundation to provide me with information concerning why my proposal was declined. The next page, another request to the National Science Foundation for information that would enable me to appeal the decision more intelligently. The next page, a letter from the National Science Foundation from Dr. Rower giving me some of the details as to why my proposal was declined.
And the next letter is to Dr. Todd asking for a review process in which I point out in this letter that there were some things that, in my opinion, were not sufficiently reviewed in the original proposal, and I would refer in particular to the second paragraph of this particular letter: "Referring specifically to the Program Director's letter to me dated July 11, 1977, the first part constitutes quite a negative appraisal of the article on superheavy elements which I co-authored in July 1976. I find very interesting that in this time flight evaluation, neither the Program Director nor the review panel make any mention of the fact that at the time of publication of this article last summer, both higher and lower officials of NSF were vying with ERDA as to which agency was going to get the lion's share of credit for this publication.
And for the record, it should be noted that even now, the opinion of the panel and the Program Director is certainly not universally held by the scientific community. I refer first to the comments of Dr. D. Allan Bromley of Yale University as they appeared in print in the February 4, 1977 issue of Science (see underlined section on the enclosed write-up on superheavy elements). And I refer secondly to the fact that giant halos have become a subject of scientific inquiry apart from their connection with superheavy elements. In support of this statement, I enclose copies of recent articles on giant halos by Holbrow in "Nature" and by Von Wimmersperg and Sellschop in "Physical Review Letters." Further, two other scientists in England are now preparing to publish still another theory regarding the origin of giant halos.
"With this background on this article, I find it quite interesting that the most negative reviewer's comments about my proposal was devoted almost entirely to what amounted to an emotional outburst against my search for superheavy elements and, in particular, the publications of said report. In this respect, I now raise the question: Why did the Program Director choose this referee when his
remarks give strong evidence that he was possibly very prejudiced about my work before he even saw the proposal? That is, according to the information given by Symington on p. 271 of the May-June issue of the `American Scientist,' it is the responsibility of the Program Director to see that the reviewers of NSF proposals are not biased. The question which needs a vary specific answer is whether the Program Director checked into the possible bias of this reviewer before sending the proposal out to him, and if he did check, what were the results. I might add —
Q. Doctor, pardon me. I don't like to interrupt. I'm concerned, because we've only got about four hours more to the deposition. How much do you want to put in the record, and may I propose that we mark this packet as an exhibit and refer to it by paragraph other than have you occupy a certain amount of time by reading the material into the record?
A. I do not agree. You asked me a question. I'm reading this material for a very specific purpose.
Q. Well, sir, I asked you, I think, to tell me what instances you had applications rejected and by what organizations. Now, I'm afraid that not all this material is directly responsive to the question,
and you have limited the time that's available to me to examine you, and I must object to having a large part of it taken up with your simply reading material which can be simply designated into the record, when it could be designated and save a great deal of time that I do not really have to spend.
A. I will leave this up to Mr. Campbell.
MR. CAMPBELL: Well, Dr. Gentry, how much more did you want to —
THE WITNESS: The next paragraph, in particularly, the two sentences there at the very bottom of the page is the information I want to read in.
MR. WOLFE: Well, I would prefer to have the material read into the record, because it's handier than adding an exhibit and having to refer to the exhibit; but I'm concerned with the fact that we have a very limited amount of time. Would you mind being more selective, perhaps?
A. (Continuing) All right. Skip down to the next paragraph. "Now with respect to the second criticism of the proposal, the Program Director's letter states that, in essence, the panel was not able to find that I had any hypothesis to test with
respect to the other phases of my research on halos, or that there was any prospect of my finding a hypothesis in the future. I can understand such statements could be made by persons unacquainted with geochemical terminology who might read my published reports. It is, however, very difficult for me to understand how a panel of geochemists could make such statements, especially in view of the fact that I had previously discussed with the Program Director the hypothesis and implications of my research on Po halos as they have been published in the open scientific literature and referred to in both the previous and the present NSF proposals." For the reasons that you have asked, I will stop at this time and request that the last paragraph — the last two paragraphs be cited, then, in the record.
MR. WOLFE: All right. Then, I'll ask the reporter to mark as Gentry Deposition Exhibit 2 the package of material, the first page of which is a letter to Dr. Gentry dated May 24th, 1971 from the National Science Foundation; and the record, I think, will be clear from the references Dr. Gentry made as he paged through them,
which pages he was referring to, specifically a letter from him to Dr. Edward T. Todd near the back of the package.
(Thereupon, the document was marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit No. 2 for identification by the court reporter)
MR. CAMPBELL: The Todd letter, for purposes of the record, was dated August 26, 1977.
Off the record a minute.
(An off-the-record discussion ensued.)
Q. Sir, is it a correct summary of your testimony, then, that the only institution which has rejected a grant application of yours is the National Science Foundation?
A. I may have had — I have had grants from Nassau. I do not have before me my complete record for my Nassau transactions; so I would have to check my records to see whether Nassau had rejected one of my proposals. That is a possibility I would have to check on.
Q. Is it true that the only one that you are able to recall now is this rejection by the National Science Foundation?
A. There has been more than one rejection by the National Science Foundation.
Q. And you have, included letters on each of them in this packet that we've marked as Deposition Exhibit 2.
A. I think — I think there is even one which somehow got left out of this packet which was another rejection.
Q. Did each of these rejections apply to the same proposal or application?
A. No. These were different proposals.
Q. And there have been how many proposals in
total to NSF? Sir, I'm sorry. I think my question is unclear. That is, how many separate applications which they rejected have you made?
A. The two that you have record of here, and I believe that there is one more, the letter I meant to include, but apparently don't have it here from the National Science Foundation.
Q. Doctor, turning your attention back to Exhibit 1, at the bottom of your entry, there is an italicized sentence. Can you tell me what that is, sir?
A. That is a statement which "Who's Who in America" invites its listees to present to them for possible inclusion in "Who's Who in America." It is a statement of opinion, of the person who is going to be listed.
Q. So that sentence is language that you wrote and sent to "Who's Who" for inclusion?
A. That is correct.
MR. WOLFE: Off the record.
(An off-the-record discussion ensued.)
MR. WOLFE: I have given to Mr. Campbell a copy of all the material from Dr. Gentry's documents that we copied, but I understand
now, from Dr. Gentry, that he intended to actually give the entire file to me for retention. So that I will make a complete copy of the contents of the file, and later on, when I have done so, send a copy to Mr. Campbell of the entire contents of the file.
Q. (By Mr. Wolfe) (Continuing) Doctor, are you a tenured professor at Columbia Union College?
A. No, I am not.
Q. Have you ever been eligible for tenure?
A. Truthfully, I do not know.
Q. Does Columbia Union College have any religious affiliation?
A. It's affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Q. Doctor, can you tell me how long you've been a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science?
A. I would have to check my records on that. Certainly more than six years, but I would have to check my records.
Q. All right, sir. So that it's been at least since 1975, and perhaps longer.
Q. Do you recall how long you've been a member of the American Physical Society?
A. No. Again, I don't know. There, I would be a little bit more conservative and say, at least for the last three years; but that, I think, would be a conservative estimate.
Q. Doctor, do you recall how long you've been a member of the American Geophysical Union?
A. I would say, for the AGU, again, I would have to check my records; but probably since 1970, and perhaps longer.
Q. Sir, are you a fellow of the American Geophysical Union?
A. No, I am not.
Q. Doctor, have you ever been a peer reviewer for any scientific journal?
A. Yes, I have.
Q. Which one, sir?
A. Science, I'm almost positive — almost — I will say probably for physical review letters.
Q. Sir, when were you a peer reviewer for Science?
A. I would have to check my records. It has been within the past — in my recollection, which I
will — subject to my checking on, I believe it was within the past six years as a reviewer for Science.
Q. Sir, are you still a reviewer for Science?
A. In my understanding, one only knows he is a reviewer when you receive a manuscript for potential review.
Q. I see. How many manuscripts have you reviewed for Science in the time that you have been a reviewer for that publication?
A. Again, I would have to check my records, but I believe I can remember two. There maybe more, but I am uncertain without checking my records.
Q. Doctor, I believe you had stated earlier that you're a member of the Creation Research Society; is that correct?
Q. Sir, how long have you been a member of the Society?
A. Again, I would have to check my records; but my recollection is that it probably stretches back to the formative days of the organization — and we would have to check to find out when that was. But if I remember correctly, it I think I became a member either during the formative period or relatively soon thereafter.
Q. Can you tell me approximately when that was?
A. This, in my recollection, I think is around 1965-66. I could be off a year or two.
MR. WOLFE: I'll ask the reporter to mark as Gentry Deposition Exhibit 3 an application form for the Creation Research Society.
(Thereupon, Plaintiff's Exhibit No. 3 was marked for identification by the court reporter.)
Q. (Continuing) Doctor, do you recall ever having seen the application form which has been marked as Exhibit 3?
Q. Do you recall whether you filled out such a form when you became a member of the Creation Research Society?
A. I do not remember the event of filling the form out; but I'm relatively certain that if this is a membership application blank, and I believe that it is, I'm relatively certain that I must have filled out an application blank similar to this.
Q. Sir, I'll direct your attention to near the center of the page, and there are numbered paragraphs, one, two, three, and four well, let me ask you
another question, first. Sir, at the top, there are four types of members or persons described. Can you tell me what kind of member of the CRS you are?
A. To my understanding, I am a voting member.
Q. Sir, then looking down at the middle of the page, there are four numbered paragraphs and the statement above them, quote, "In addition, all members (categories 1, 2, and 3 above) must subscribe to the following," closed quote.
Now, I take it, then, that as a voting member, at least presently, if you were to apply for membership, you would have to, quote, subscribe to the following," closed quote, these four numbered paragraphs.
Can you tell me whether you do, in fact, subscribe to the contents of those paragraphs?
A. Let me read them very carefully.
A. (Continuing) Yes. I would today sign a statement, I believe, to that effect.
Q. Doctor, are you a member of the Institute for Creation Research?
A. To my knowledge, I am not.
Q. Are you a member of the Creation Science
A. To my knowledge, I am not.
Q. Are you a member of the Bible Science Association?
A. I subscribe to the Bible Science Association newsletter. In their view, this may qualify me as a member of their organization. To my knowledge, I have never signed a statement of belief or a statement similar to the one which the Creation Research Society has before me here — you have before me here. But they may consider me a member of the Bible Science Association because I do subscribe to the newsletter.
Q. Sir, do you regard yourself as a member of the Bible Science Association?
A. I would have to — I would have to look at — and I do not have before me, nor do I have access to, I don't think, a statement of requirements or conditions or belief of the Bible Science Association and what it would require to be what, in my estimation, would be the equivalent of a member as I am of the Creation Research Society itself.
In other words, as I have earlier indicated. to you, I subscribe to the Bible Science newsletter. In their records, in the records of the Bible Science Association, this may qualify me, in itself, as being
a member of that organization. If it does, I have not protested that point of view.
Q. Is it fair to say, then, that you cannot know whether you regard yourself as a member until you've seen their statement of belief, if they have one, and which is required of members?
A. Well, what I always try to avoid is getting associated with an organization by inference, meaning that there are things which are, for example, published in the Bible Science newsletter which I personally do not subscribe to. From that standpoint, I would want to have the beliefs of the Bible Science Association more clearly enunciated before I would say or I would qualify myself to be, quote, a member of that organization in the same sense that I am, quote, a member of the Creation Research Society.
For instance, we have a formal statement of beliefs which I have, I'm certain, signed sometime in the past and would be willing to sign again today. On the other hand, to my knowledge, I do not have a statement of beliefs requirements for members of the Bible Science Association; so I do not — I have not signed a document stating that I am, quote, a member of the Bible Science Association.
As I said, if they, in their terminology,
consider my subscription to be a membership, this is a matter of their record keeping and not mine.
Q. Sir, in your last answer, you said, on the one hand, we have a form that I probably subscribed to in the past and would subscribe to now. I take it, by that, you mean the Creation Research Society form.
A. Correct. Uh-huh.
Q. Sir, can you recall now any of the instances of what you've just mentioned of things in the Bible Science newsletter which you would not subscribe to?
A. Many of the topics which are dealt with in the Bible Science newsletter are topics that do not bear specifically on my field of expertise. I have no real evidence one way or the other whether the articles are factual or not; so I'm in no position to pass judgment on them. I do not look at the Bible Science newsletter for a source of scientific information as far as my own research is concerned and do not keep records of articles which I consider are improperly documented as far as science is concerned.
Q. Okay. Doctor, can you tell me when you were a member of the American Scientific Affiliation?
A. Again, I would have to check my records'; but from what I can estimate this morning, I would say it was in the mid — early to mid Seventies. It could
have been a little bit earlier than that, and my membership could have stretched past 1975; but again, I would have to check my records. In fact, I don't even know that I have records that would allow me to state specifically when I joined the organization. When I join an organization like that was not a matter of something that I necessarily was going to keep close track of.
Q. Doctor, can you tell me how you came to no longer be a member of the American Scientific Affiliation?
A. Primarily economic. The dues of the Affiliation were increasing; the scientific information I was receiving from the journal, in my estimation, was minimal; so I discontinued my subscription and my membership.
Q. Doctor, are you a member of any church?
A. Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Q. How long have you been a member of the Seventh Day Adventist?
A. Since 1959.
Q. Were you a member of any other church prior to that time?
A. I believe that the membership which I had in the Christian Church — the First Christian Church
in Jacksonville, Florida was from probably my early teen years and perhaps earlier than that. I'm not sure that that membership was ever discontinued. Even though I had left Jacksonville, Florida, which is where the church is located. I had left that area basically in 1951 to attend the University of Florida, and attended that church very little after that particular time. Whether the First Christian Church retained me on its rolls would have to be checked with the church itself.
Q. Doctor, have you ever held any offices in the Seventh Day Adventist church?
A. I would, ask for a clarification from the standpoint of whether one is talking about an office in a local church or in an administrative office pertaining to the church itself.
Q. Well, Sir, I'd be interested in either instance, if you had been an officer within a local congregation or of some administrative body of the national church, if there is such a thing.
A. Yes. I have, to my recollection, served as a deacon in a local church; to my recollection, I have served as an elder and, to my recollection, I probably — I think. I yes, served as what is called a lay activities director. I have served as what is
probably called a communications — communications secretary, if you please. I have served in the capacity of a Sunday School teacher. These are the offices that come to mind at this time, I have held no administrative offices within the church as a whole.
Q. Are you able to recall approximately when you held the offices that you've mentioned?
A. It seems that in 1959, I may have been involved with some newspaper, getting news stories into the local newspaper, when I was a member of a church in Gainesville, Florida. I don't remember. It's possible that I became a deacon at that time. This would have, been a few months or thereabouts after I became a member of the Adventist Church. The position of elder, probably in the time frame from '63 to 1964 in Atlanta, is when I believe I first held that office. I have held the office since that time, in the Church of Knoxville, Tennessee in, again, the early to mid-1970's; and during that time, early to mid-1970's, and perhaps after '75 a year or so, probably was also involved in the activities of the what is called the lay activities endeavors of the church, called perhaps, or termed the lay activities director.
Q. Sir, can you tell me what your duty or
responsibilities were as lay activities director?
A. From time to time, there are radio programs which are programmed in another area of the country, recorded in another area of the country. These radio programs and television programs are available for distribution to local outlets. At one time, I checked into the possibility of getting a television program on a local station in Knoxville.
At other times, there are days in which church members participate in distributing literature which concerns, the Seventh Day Adventist to friends and neighbors within the community. I was involved in helping to plan that sort of literature distribution. Generally speaking — I do not remember all that we tried to accomplish, but the lay activities department of a local church is involved in activities. which would attempt to distribute information about the belief of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the printed page, or radio or television.
Q. Doctor, have you ever done any work for the church that involved evangelism or seeking converts to the church, in addition to what you've just described as your work as lay activities director?
A. Yes. In my opinion, I would answer yes to that question from the standpoint, number one, the
information which I had published in the open scientific literature is the kind of information which in my opinion, raises the questions — raises questions with respect to the conventional evolutionary framework of the development of the earth. This information, being open to the public, including church officials, has, from time to time, come to the attention of ministers within the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and in particular and on occasion, these ministers have asked me to present the information to their audiences which I have published in the open literature and the implications of which I have published in the open literature. So in this context, I think I would have to say that I was cooperating with the ministry.
Q. Sir, would the Seventh Day Adventist faith permit the use of an exaggeration or a half-truth in evangelism if it were thought necessary to bring a nonbeliever to that faith?
A. I am happy that you asked that question. I would like to refer to one of my quotes in a publication. As background material, several years ago, 1976, I was involved in the publication of evidence for superheavy elements. This publication received wide notice. There were several scientists involved
in the original report. To my knowledge, I was the only scientist who participated in experiments that revealed that the original evidence was not due to superheavy elements, but was due to a more conventional phenomenon.
On page 238 of the information which I have given you "Science News," this is a write-up of a symposium on superheavy elements that was held in Lubbock, Texas in 1978. I refer specifically to the information on the left-hand column of that page. In the middle of the page, we quote the following: "Gentry emphasizes that in making that statement, he speaks only for himself." Quoting me, "I don't speak for anyone else, and they don't speak for me." Now, the original — the people who were with me in the original report did not agree with my about-face. I freely admitted that I was wrong. At the same time, I could not let them speak for me, and this is why I said, I don't speak for anyone else, and they don't speak for me.
What the Seventh Day Adventist Church would do is something that would be decided by the officers of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I could give an opinion and only an opinion about what individuals would do.
Q. What is your opinion, sir?
A. If you would have the question repeated, I will give an opinion.
(Thereupon, the previous question was read back by the court reporter.)
A. (Continuing) If indeed a recognized body of church officers were asked that question, in my opinion, they would say no. Now, whether such things have ever been done is a matter of the individuals involved. I have only knowledge of what I consider to be the essence of my beliefs, and these I have communicated to you.
Q. Do you ever read the Bible?
Q. Which versions or translations have you read?
A. The King James version, the Revised Standard version. I believe there is a New English Bible. The New International version, I believe, is one recently out. I have scanned some of those. Primarily, I read out of the King James version and the Revised Standard version.
Q. Are you able to estimate approximately how often, on an annual basis or weekly basis or some other basis, you read the Bible?
A. Several times a week.
Q. Do you ever consult the Bible in your capacity as a physicist or nuclear physicist?
A. I will refer to information which I have published in the open literature which I have given copies to you today. Specifically, I refer to a publication in the transactions of the American Geophysical Union, "EOS," dated May 29, 1979, the paragraph beginning with the word, "and," the third one down. It says, "And as far as a new comprehensive theory is concerned, I would replace the one singularity of the Big Bang with two major cosmos-related singularities, (in which I exclude any implications about extraterrestrial life-related phenomena) derived from the historic Judeo-Christian ethic, namely, the events associated with, (1) the galaxies (including the Milky Way) being created ex nihilo by Fiat nearly 6 millennia ago and (2) a later catastrophe which resulted in a solar system-wide disturbance that was manifested on earth primarily as a worldwide flood, with subsequent crustal adjustments. I later say, "I propose that this new framework has a scientific basis because there are certain predictions which, in principle, can be confirmed and others which can be falsified by suitable
MR. WOLFE: I'll ask the reporter to mark a copy of the letter which you've just read as Deposition Exhibit 4.
(Thereupon, the document was marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit No. 4 for identification by the court reporter.)
Q. (Continuing) Doctor, are there any other instances in which you've consulted the Bible in your scientific work?
A. There are other instances in this particular document which you are already having cited in which I referred to evidences for creation. Continuing on at the bottom of page 474, "For example, Primordial Po Halos imply that Precambrian granites, pegmatitic micas, and other rocks which host such halos must be primordial rocks (and hence should constitute ideal rad waste containment sites). Therefore, I regard the failure to resolve the long-standing controversy, in geology which concerns the origin of the Precambrian granites to be because such rocks are primordial and hence not necessarily explainable on the basis of conventional principles. Even though I think they further qualify for that role in their association as basement rocks of the continents, nevertheless,
I would consider my thesis essentially falsified if and when geologists synthesize a hand-size specimen of a typical biotite-bearing granite and/or a similar size crystal of biotite.
The next paragraph concerns the evidence from the primordial halos in coalified wood which, in my estimation, relate to the events concerning the second singularity, which, in other terms, would be the flood. This is covered in the second paragraph. "A further consequence of this model is that evidence of U-series disequilibria and abnormally high Uranium 238/Lead 206 ratios should still persist in those sedimentary formations in which uranium was partially separated from its daughters during the second singularity about 4 millennia ago. Studies of radio halos in coalified wood from geological formations, presumably two to eight-years old suggests that such evidence does exist and that it admits the possibility that the formations are only several thousand years old."
I would like to add one further sentence. The last sentence in this document says, "I submit this letter to the members of the scientific community, not as an antagonist purporting to have the final word in a dispute, but as a colleague, who, in the spirit of
free scientific inquiry, genuinely seeks a vigorous critical response to the evidence discussed herein.
Q. Doctor, do you believe that the Bible is inerrant or infallible?
A. My view is that the Bible forms a consistent whole. There are some areas of the Bible which I am still studying to have a better understanding of.
Q. So, I'm not certain that I understood if answered my question. That is, is it your belief the Bible is infallible?
A. In my estimation, the statements in the original language in the Bible — the original statements are correct.
Q. Doctor, when you speak of the original statements or the original language in your answer, what version or translation of the Bible do you have in mind?
A. Well, of course, you're talking about any translation if you're talking about —
Q. I see. So your last statement referred to statements in what language, in Hebrew or in Greek?
A. My understanding is that most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and that most of the Hebrew Testament was written in Greek. I am conversant with neither of those languages; so at
the present time, I'm evaluating the evidence on the basis of individuals who have done their best in translating the original documents.
I realize there are differences in the way that various translators translate certain passages. I do not interpret this — these differences as an error in the original autographs or a means of arriving at inconsistencies in the original autographs.
Q. So is it correct then, that you believe the Bible is infallible, but you accept, from that translation, error and don't regard those as bearing on the fallibility or not of the original versions?
A. Would you repeat that question?
(Thereupon, the previous question was read back by the court reporter.)
A. (Continuing) I don't think I stated that I viewed the differences in translations as errors per se. What I said, I think, or wanted to communicate was that the differences which exist may exist because of insufficient information on the basis of the translators' themselves, and that these differences in translations do not reflect the reliability or the correctness of the original documents themselves.
Q. Sir, turning for a moment to the application form for the Creation Research Society, which was
Exhibit 3 to your deposition, in the numbered paragraph 1, it makes a reference to the quote, original autographs, closed quote. Is that what you're also referring to when you speak of the original version of the Bible?
Q. Doctor, what's your belief as to how the Bible came to be inerrant or infallible?
A. What I have stated to you is that, in my opinion, the original autographs are correct. So the question that you have asked me just now goes beyond the statements which I have made. You have used words which are beyond the words which I have spoken to you.
Q. All right. Well, sir, perhaps we should clear that up. Could you explain to me the distinction you're making, if you're making one, between correctness and inerrancy or infallibility?
A. "Infallibility" is a term which I use sparingly, because I have seen the term misused, in my estimation, many times. Example: There is within, in my estimation, the body of Christianity individuals who apparently claim — this is getting off into a philosophy area. I will go back to the — simply the point that the word "correct" without error
is my judgment of the original autographs, "correct," meaning, my definition, without error. Now, if you wish to state more specifically what it is that you feel the word "infallible" implies in addition to being without error, perhaps I could respond to that.
Q. Well, there's no necessity for you to count your testimony in any specific language, and so I'm happy to have your testimony that your belief is as you've described it. And I guess, parenthetically, I don't know what else it is to be infallible except that you don't make errors; so perhaps there's no difference at all.
But I'm not — you know, I wanted to know if you thought there was a distinction, and I'm perfectly happy to have your testimony in your own words; namely, that you believe the original autographs to be correct, and you understand that to mean they would not have error.
A. (Witness nods head affirmatively.)
Q. My question is, what's your belief of how the original autographs came to be without error?
A. I can give you my understanding of the Biblical record, which may differ from other individuals. My understanding of the Biblical record
is that certain individuals, in times passed, received communications from the Deity — in my estimation, God — and these communications were subsequently recorded.
Q. Then, is it because the Bible essentially came from God that it's able to be without error?
A. In my estimation, it is because the scriptures have their ultimate source in the Deity or God, that they are — in my estimation, the original autographs are without error; yes.
Q. Doctor, do you believe that the Bible in the original autographs is literally true?
A. I'll go back to the statement that I believe that the Bible, as a whole, forms a consistent — is a — itself, a consistent whole, meaning that there are some sections of the Bible that provide definitions for the interpretation of other sections of the Bible. These definitions, in my estimation, are useful, they're helpful, and they are, in themselves, necessary to the understanding of the Bible as a whole.
MR. WOLFE: Will you read the last answer, please?
(Thereupon, the previous answer was read back by the court reporter.)
Q. (Continuing) Doctor, do you mean, by the
reference in your last answer to necessary, helpful definitions in sections, that the Bible is not literally true, or that it is literally true as a whole or, do you mean something altogether that I didn't understand?
A. My comment was made because in my understanding, there are sections in the Bible which are primarily symbolic. In some cases, the word "waters is used, in my estimation, not to mean literal H2O, but to stand for something else. So while I say yes, that there are factual portions of the Bible which are literally, true, there are also factual portions of the Bible which are symbolic, and one needs the entire — with the entire whole one needs the literal, so to speak, factual portions in order to interpret the symbolic portions.
Q. Doctor, would you say that the description of Creation in Genesis is one of the portions of the Bible which is literally true, rather than symbolic?
A. In my judgment, I would answer yes to that. And I have, of course, gone on record, as we have already spoken today in the pages of "EOS," picturing my understanding of the historic Judeo-Christian ethic, which I also have proposed and asked for evidence which would falsify the scientific understanding I have of
that historic Judeo-Christian ethic.
Q. Is it your opinion that the Bible makes any predictions about future events that will, take place which, have not as yet?
A. In my opinion, yes.
Q. Can you give me any instances?
A. The outstanding instance that I think of is related, of course, to my association with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and that is the prediction of the second return of Christ.
Q. Do you believe that the Bible exhibits any predictions that were made at the time the original autographs were written which have since proven true; that is, predictions about things that were future as to the time of the original autographs that has now come to pass?
A. In my opinion, yes.
Q. What instances are there?
A. That is a broad question which perhaps we could relate very specifically to. If one were to look very specifically at the prophecies in the Book of Daniel, specifically referring to the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had, and the subsequent interpretation of that dream by the individual spoken of in the Bible as the Prophet Daniel, my understanding is that the
Bible, the Book of Daniel, relates the history of several nations from the time of Nebuchadnezzar down to the time of Rome, and then to the division of the European nations.
Specifically, Daniel saw, if I remember, a statue with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and moray clay. My recollection of the vision and the vision and the interpretation was, that the Kingdom of Babylon was associated with the head of gold; the breast and arms of silver were associated with the Medea-Persian Empire; the bronze, with Greece; the legs of Rome, and the feet and toes — feet and toes of iron mixed with moray clay, the toes being the ten divisions of the Roman Empire into the European nations of today. And the prediction was made, as iron and clay would not mix together, the statement, I believe, is made, neither shall they seed, their seeds shall intermarry, or words to the effect that there will be intermarriage, but that the nations themselves, the European nations and divisions of the Roman Empire, would not cleave together in a united whole.
This, in my estimation, is one of the outstanding prophecies relating to the history on
nations reported prior to the time, as far as I can tell, that the events themselves actually transpired.
Q. Do you recall any other instances?
A. I recall — I hesitate to enumerate in detail without references in front of me. There were references, as far as can tell, to the events, for example, that took place concerning the actual life of the Messiah, the way in which he would be born, the town in which he would be born, the way in which he would pass from this world. These are some of the outstanding, as far as I can tell, prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New. These are not all, but these are a sampling of what you're asking for, in my estimation.
Q. Doctor, has the Bible ever suggested to you a specific research project?
A. My interest in beginning this research resulted from my inquiries and my becoming a Seventh Day Adventist. For a number of years prior to becoming a Seventh Day Adventist, I basically had accepted the conventional, cosmological view of the development of the universe. As I began to study the kinds of prophecies that I have just referred to — mainly, the prophecies in the Book of Daniel, those relating to the life of the Messiah, and a few others —
it occurred to me that the scriptures had a great deal more credibility than I had granted them in the years from, for example, we'll say 1945, or my earliest years, to 1959.
I had gone to church in the First Christian Church in Florida and other places, but had no real strong convictions about the reliability or the correctness of the scriptures. When I saw — in my estimation, as I examined information, relating to the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel and the Messiah, other events concerning historical happenings, it occurred to me that the scriptures were of far more credibility than I had previously supposed. So even though I decided to become a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, I had questions regarding the origins, questions — questions concerning the age of the earth. So over the next few years, as I was a Seventh Day Adventist, I was unable to find any material that would satisfactorily answer my questions with regard to scientific evidence that would support, in my viewpoint, the information contained in the Book of Genesis. Having come to that position, I decided that the only way which I could rationally live with myself
would be to undertake a research project and attempt to determine, if possible, whether what I had tentatively — or had accepted was indeed based on reality or evidence or, indeed, whether it was fiction. So in a roundabout way, my answer to your question is that my inquiries into the Biblical record, first of all, from the standpoint of prophecies being fulfilled, led me to believe that the scriptures were of sufficient credibility to investigate more further to see if the record of Creation also did not have evidence which would support it, of which I was at that time and had been completely unaware.
Q. Doctor, just to clear something up, near the beginning of your last answer, you said, my note says, this research. Did you mean, by that, your research on radio halos?
A. I began looking into the subject of radio halos approximately 19 years ago. Before that time, I was reading books, but had nothing definite in mind as to how to pursue the questions that would relate to the very fundamental issues at stake, and that is, as far as I can tell, the conventional viewpoint which I had learned, accepted, been educated in in college was one concerning basically one singularity followed by a long period of uniformitarian development.