Testimony of Dr. Langon Gilkey
Testimony of Dr. Langon Gilkey Professor of Theology, School of Divinity, University of Chicago (Plaintiffs Witness) - transcript paragraph formatted version.
Direct Examination by Mr. Siano
Cross Examination by Mr. Campbell
Redirect Examination by Mr. Siano
MR. SIANO: Yes. Plaintiffs call Professor Langdon Gilkey.
a witness called on behalf of the plaintiffs, after having been first duly sworn or affirmed, testified as follows:
BY MR. SIANO:
Q: Will you state your name for the record?
A: Langdon Brown Gilkey.
A: **** ***** ****** ******, Chicago, Illinois.
Q: What is your present occupation and place of employment, please?
A: I am a professor of theology at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.
MR. SIANO: I offer into evidence Plaintiffs' Exhibit Number 90, Doctor Gilkey's resume.
THE COURT: That will be received. (Thereupon, Plaintiffs' Exhibit 90 received in evidence.)
MR. SIANO: (Continuing)
Q: Doctor Gilkey, can you give us some background on your area of research and scholarship at the University of Chicago?
A: My main responsibility is to teach protestant theology, but I have taught the historical, that is to say, the history of Christian theology. I teach a number of protestant theologians of various sorts, both contemporary and ones who preceded us.
I teach a history of the development of modern theology since the middle of the eighteenth century. I've been particularly interested in the relations of religion and culture, not as a sociologist or historian, but as a theologian; the relations of religion to science, the relations of religion to politics; relations of religion or the Western religions to the ideas of history, and so forth.
I teach courses on those subjects, as well as courses on particular theologians.
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, I would offer Doctor Gilkey as an expert in the field of theology.
THE COURT: Any voir dire?
MR. CAMPBELL: No voir dire.
MR. SIANO: (Continuing)
Q: Doctor Gilkey, did I engage your services in 1981 as an expert?
Q: With respect to what subject matter?
A: With respect to, first of all, the Act 590 and to
A: (Continuing) the relation of that act to the general subject matter of religion, and to the subject matter of Christian theology and particularly the subject matter of the doctrine or idea of creation.
Q: Have you written any books or periodicals on the topic of creation?
A: My thesis and my first book was on the subject of creation, a book called Maker of Heaven and Earth. I have subsequently found myself reinterested in that subject over and over again since creation remains with us, fortunately. So it keeps arising.
In the context of science it has come up repeatedly, needless to say. And I have written some articles on that subject and now find myself involved in it again.
Q: Doctor Gilkey, getting to your area of expertise, would you please describe for us what is religion?
A: Definitions of religion are famous for being difficult to produce. That everybody will agree with. That is partly because of the wide variety of religions and partly because, obviously, there is a certain perspective on defining religion.
I will offer one here that is on the basis of my own study and reflection, and I propose it as an adequate one. People may disagree with it but I will be willing to discuss that matter.
A: (Continuing) I will propose that religion involves three different elements or aspects. First of all, in order for anything to be called a religion has these three. Anything that we ordinarily call a religion does illustrate these three. First of all, a view of reality, especially of ultimate reality; a view that emphasizes, first, the basic problem of human existence—for example, death or sin, or rebirth in some religions. Secondly, and perhaps most important, has an answer to that fundamental problem, an answer that is very clearly connected with what is regarded as ultimate reality.
These answers are expressed in a number of ways, depending on the kind of religion we are talking about. They can be expressed in myths or stories at certain levels.
They can be expressed in what are called truths, for example, in Buddhism. They can be expressed in teaching, they can be expressed in doctrines, and, finally, in dogmas.
Q: That is the first element?
A: That is the first element. The second element is that there is a way of life and then a mode of behavior that is involved. Generally, it finds its source in what is regarded as ultimate reality, to which every person in
A: (Continuing) the religion submits themselves, assents, promises to participate in. Obviously, how much they do or how little is a different matter, but that is part of it.
Q: Let me ask you, do creeds form a part of this ethic?
A: Some religions have creeds, some don't, but that's not universal. I suggest that every religion has something like that. They may call it teachings, truths, this, that and the other, and some religions will have definite creeds. That comes more under Number 1, so to speak, with regard to their view of reality.
Q: What is the third element?
A: The third element is the community, a community structured in a quite definite way with differences of authority, differences of responsibility, a community that meets at particular times, and as a part of a way of life comes into some kind of relationship with what is regarded as ultimate reality.
This may be meditative; it may be esthetic; it may be what we call in our tradition worship. It may be prayer; it may be this, that and the other. There are all kinds of ways.
Q: You used the phrase "our tradition", I take it you are speaking of Western religion?
A: I am speaking there of religions of the West and, in
A: (Continuing) particularly, of Christianity, though the word `worship', of course, applies to many other types of religion, but if one said, `What do we do to come into contact with God', we think immediately of worship and prayer.
Q: Is there an additional element to religion when you focus on Western religion?
A: Well, one of the essential elements of Western religions, and I am thinking here particularly of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, if you wish to call that Western, is that they are monotheistic.
The meaning, the functional meaning of monotheism is that everything relative to the religion focuses on God.
Q: Monotheistic is one god?
A: One god, that's right, and focuses on God and one God. That is to say, God is the ultimate reality; God is the source of the ethic; God is that power that legitimates the community.
Q: Could you describe for me in a little more detail how Western religion is related to God and God related to Western religion?
A: Well, as I say, God here in Western religion is regarded as the source of ultimate reality; that is, God dominates the view of reality and of ultimate reality as the creator, as the divine source of all that is.
A: (Continuing) God is the source of the revelation on which the religion is based; God is the source of the law which those within the religion support or wish to follow; God is the source of the salvation that is the answer to the deepest human problem.
And the deepest human problem in our tradition is regarded as separation from God.
Q: Would it be fair to say that in Western religions what has to do with God is religions and all that has to do with religion has to do with God?
A: Yes. All that is religious, the meaning on monotheism, `Thou shalt worship no other God', all that is religious is related to God. Correspondingly, what is related to God is religious.
Now, this includes not only the acts of God in revealing himself or in saying, but also very specifically the acts of God in creating and preserving the universe. For this reason, it is quite appropriate that the first book of our scriptures has within it as its first part a story of the creation of the whole visible universe by God. And the first article of the traditional Christian creed, the Apostles Creed, reads, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth", stating this point as well.
Q: You described the first book of our scripture. Are
(Continuing) you referring to the Genesis Book in the Old Testament?
A: I am referring to the Genesis Book in the Old Testament. It is the first book of the Christian scripture and it is also the first book, of course, of the Hebrew Scripture, the Torah.
Q: Is it your testimony, sir, that a creative being is necessarily a god in Western tradition?
MR. WILLIAMS: Objection, your Honor. He is leading the witness. He has not said that before. I don't think he has indicated or alluded to that.
MR. SIANO: I will rephrase my question.
MR. SIANO: (Continuing)
Q: Do you, sir, have an opinion, to a reasonable degree of professional certainty, as to whether or not a creative being is necessarily a god?
A: A creator is certainly a god; that is, a being that brings the universe into existence.
Q: Why, sir, is a proposition that relates to God or to creator a religious concept?
A: Well, as I've said, in the Western tradition all that relates to God has to do with religion and vice versa. Secondly, the idea of a creator, that is, one who brings the world into existence, fashions it, creates a system of causes within which we find ourselves, is a
A: (Continuing) being who transcends that system of cause, is not a finite cause, is not merely a part of nature— This has been very deep in the traditions of both Judaism and Christianity—transcends both nature and the human society and human history, and as its founder, in this sense this is a transcendent, a supernatural being, such a being is God.
Q: Would the source of our understanding of creator also relate to this religious character?
A: The idea of a creator, particularly the idea of a creator out of nothing, has its source in the religious traditions of Judaism, subsequently of Christianity, and then subsequently to that of Islam. And the form of the concept has its source there.
In fact, one might say this is where all of our ideas about what God is or who God is comes from this book and subsequently from that to this tradition.
Q: Do Western notions of God differ significantly from anyone else's, any other group's notion of God as the creator?
A: They differ very significantly. of course, it is obvious and we all know that the word `god', that is to say the words which we would translate `god' into that English word are not confined to the Jewish, Christian, Islamic traditions, the People of the Book. But the idea
A: (Continuing) of a creator out of nothing, the idea of a creator at an absolute beginning is a unique conception confined to that tradition.
There are many creators. There are creators in Hindu mythology and religion. There are creators in Chinese and Japanese traditions. There, of course, were creators in the Babylonian tradition, the Greek tradition, and so forth. None of them have quite that character. That is characteristic of our tradition and has its ultimate source in Genesis.
Q: Does whether or not this creator is named god, is that relevant to whether it is a religious concept?
A: No. As I say, if one specifies a creator being one who has supernatural power, intelligence, will, and those are both involved in the concept of design; that is, the power to bring it into being and the will and the intelligence to shape it into our world, such a conception is what we mean by god and a large part of what we mean by god. It is not all of what we mean by god in our tradition, but if you say this much you are talking about a deity and, therefore, this conception is that of a deity.
Q: Can you translate the meaning of the phrase "ex nihilo" for me?
A: Yes. The phrase "ex nihilo" appeared in the first centuries—Actually, as far as I know, at the end of the
A: (Continuing) second century—in the Christian tradition. It came as an interpretation on the meaning or the implication of the Genesis account, of a number of Psalms and some references in the New Testament where the word `creation' was used and where the idea of making was used. This was what it meant. It means that God created the world out of nothing, not out of God, not out of matter, but out of nothing. That is to say, everything was produced by God. That is the fundamental meaning. It means, also, an absolute beginning.
Q: Is it your opinion, sir, that the phrase "creatio ex nihilo" is a religious concept?
A: Yes. In the first place because it refers to God. And I have made that point as clearly as possible that what refers to God, particularly in our tradition, is religious. Propositions of that sort are religious propositions.
Secondly, one might make the argument, and I am prepared to do so, that of all statements about God, that is the most religious. What I mean by that is that by various definitions there are not other actions there; all other actors are brought into existence by this act. There are no other forces at work.
For example, in the concept of the incarnation, there is, let us say, Mary present already; there is a needy
A: (Continuing) human race, and so forth and so on. God acts, but there are other actors on the scene. The same with the Last Judgment, the same with other doctrines 4 or teachings of the Christian religion.
However, creator, God is the only actor. One is only talking about God at this point. The only agent is the divine. In this sense it is the paradigmatic religious statement.
Q: I show you what has been previously admitted as Plaintiffs' Exhibit 29, Act 590 of 1981. I ask you, sir, have you ever seen that statute before?
Q: In fact, I conveyed the statute to you?
Q: And asked you examine it; is that correct?
Q: I ask you, to a reasonable degree of professional certainty, do you have an opinion as to whether the creation-science model as set forth in Section 4 (a) of Act 590 is a statement of religion?
A: I find it unquestionably a statement of religion.
Q: What is the basis for that opinion?
A: The basis for that is that, with the possible exception of Number 2, that is to say, the insufficiency of mutation in natural selection, which is predominantly a
A: (Continuing) negative statement, the other statements, 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6, imply, entail, necessitate a deity as the agent involved in what is being said. The sudden creation of the universe from nothing requires there be a being there who preceives the universe, though the word `preceives' is interesting at this point, who preceives the universe, who is self-sufficient, who is necessary, who is eternal and who has a design, an intelligent design, in mind and the power, above all, to do that.
The conception of species, kinds of plants and animals created at the beginning means that they were not evolved from anything else or created from anything else but created by a precedent creator.
Separate ancestry of man and apes, as has been pointed out, has the same implication.
If the Flood is regarded as the catastrophe referred to, the Flood has a divine origin. That is to say, if the meaning of the word `catastrophe' is forces and causes far beyond any normal, natural causes, then number 5 implies the same.
Now, mind you, that depends on what is meant by the word `catastrophism'. We could talk about Saint Helens as a catastrophe. That is not what I'm referring to. Something quite beyond the ordinary causality or the
A: (Continuing) recurring causality of our experience with the universe.
Q: You don't find a definition of catastrophism anywhere in that section, do you?
A: Right, but I suspect from the history of these ideas, that it has the reference that I've implied, though I am not sure.
A: relatively recent inception of the earth certainly requires a divine creator.
Q: Are you aware—Your testimony earlier was that a creative force is necessarily a deity of some kind. Is that a fair statement?
A: I would think that the moment you say "force"—I think I said "being"—I think that when you say "a creative force"—that I am not necessarily maintaining that this involves a deity or is involved in religion, though creative forces have the kind of attractiveness, let us say, that we begin to get religious about. So I don't want to exclude creative forces from religion. For example, in a good number of so-called primitive religions, the creative force of fertility was certainly an object of very intent religious belief and of religious interest.
Q: So you, are saying `a creative being' then?
A: I would rather put it this way. Not all creative
A: (Continuing) forces can be regarded as religious.
A: good number of them, in fact, have been regarded as religious.
A: creative being, that is, a being who brings things into being, who shapes the universe as we know it, is a religious concept, has appeared in that. And I might say that the reason the study by people, as has been pointed out in this courtroom, in a religious context is that that is where it is. It doesn't appear anywhere else.
It comes up in all kinds of ways in human history. Such kinds of concepts always involve with deities, always involve with what we call religion.
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, I have placed before the witness, but I will not mark as an exhibit unless my adversaries feel it is necessary, the Defendants' Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
I direct Doctor Gilkey's attention to Proposed Finding Number 35.
Q: I will ask you if you will please read that.
A: "Creation science does propose the existence of a creator to the same degree that evolution science presupposes the existence of no creator." I would dispute that, but that is neither here nor there.
"As used in the context of creation-science as defined by Section 4 of Act 590, the terms or concepts of
A: (Continuing) `creation' and `creator' are not inherently religious terms or concepts. In this sense, the term `creator' means only some entity with power, intelligence and a sense of design."
"Creation science does not require a creator who has a personality, who has the attributes of love, compassion, justice and so on which are ordinarily attributed to a deity. Indeed, the creation-science model does not require that the creator still be in existence."
Q: Doctor Gilkey, I would like to ask you, as a theologian, are you aware of a concept—As a religious premise, are you aware of the concept of a creator-deity who was not also not loving, compassionate and just?
A: There are a number of them, of course. In many—
Q: If I might, sir, in Christianity particularly.
A: Right. Well, I was going to back up just a moment. That is to say, there are a number of polytheistic faiths which have spoken of a creator deity, who may or may not be the deity who saves.
In a monotheistic faith, of course, this is impossible. Actually, it is interesting to me that this conception of a creator being who is not the god who saves—I would say the creator being is inevitably a deity—but a creator being who is not the god who saves has appeared within Christian history as its first and most dangerous major
A: (Continuing) heresy.
Now, I am hoping that was intended by counsel here, but this was the Marcionic heresy and the Gnostic heresy, which the church with great vehemence reacted against in the first two centuries.
Q: Would you spell the names of them?
A: Yes. Marcion is Capital M-a-r-c-i-o-n. The Gnostic, capital G-n-o-s-t-i-c. Both of them were not very friendly to the Old Testament for various reasons, wished Christianity not be associated with it, presented a picture of malevolent or, at least, not very benevolent, deity who created the world and of another god who came in to save it.
The main thrust of the earliest theology of the church and the source of the so-called Apostles' Creed in a Hundred and Fifty, which is the first example of it that is known, was to combat this and to say that the god we worship is the maker of heaven and earth, and the god who made heaven and earth is the father of the being who saved us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Thus, comes out, "I believe in God, the Father, the maker of heaven and earth and in his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord."
Q: So what you are saying then, Doctor Gilkey, is that as a result of these two heresies, Marcion and Gnostic heresies, the Christian church developed what we now know
Q: (Continuing) as the Apostles' Creed?
A: It is pretty clear that there was a teaching summary that was used quite consistently, probably from Eighty, Ninety and so forth, on. This became more and more consistent because there are hints of it in the earliest documents at the turn of the century.
As far as we know, it was formulated into a creed at Rome against Marcions to say, `No, we do not believe in two gods, a creator god is distinct from a saving god. We do believe in one god.' They regarded that, of course, as within the Jewish tradition. They regarded it as the Christian way of speaking of that, and so that became the thrust of that creed. That is the main article of the creed.
Q: Is it, none the less, your view, Doctor Gilkey, that the concept of these two heresies are, none the less, religious concepts?
A: Oh, yes, absolutely.
Q: Directing your, attention to Section 4 (a) of Act 590 again, do you, in fact, there have a model of creation if you extract from that-the concept of the creator?
A: As I have indicated, each one, with the exception of 2—
MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, I think we have to object to that question. I think that calls for, at least, a
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing) legal if not a scientific conclusion as to whether you have a model of origin in the scientific sense, and this witness is testifying only as a religious expert as to whether there would be a coherent scientific model.
MR. SIANO: I don't think I quite understand the nature of the objection. Let me speak to both sides of what I think I hear.
It is the plaintiffs' argument, your Honor, that the model of origins being proposed as scientific creationism is, in fact, a religious model from Genesis.
We propose to have the witness testify on whether or not this model exists without the deity. And the witness has already testified that a deity is an inherently religious concept. I think he is entitled to testify whether, without the deity, there is a model of any kind.
MR. WILLIAMS: Model of religious origin, perhaps, but he is not competent to testify as to whether it's a scientific model of origins because, as I understand it, he has not been qualified as an expert on science. I think the term is somewhat ambiguous. He is talking about a model of origins. He needs to make clear whether he is talking scientific or religious.
THE COURT: Are you talking about a religious model
THE COURT: (Continuing) of origins?
MR. SIANO: Let me ask a few more questions and see if it clears up the problem.
Q: Doctor Gilkey, Section 4 (a) sets forth what it describes as a creation-science model. In your view, is that a religious model or a scientific model?
A: My view is that, for various reasons which I will be willing to spell out, but as will quickly be pointed out, and which my expertise is slightly less than what I like to talk about, this is not the scientific model at all. I am willing to talk about that.
As I have indicated, I think there is no question but that the model in 4 (a) is a religious model. I have already testified to that effect.
The question as I understand it now is, is there a model there that is not a religious model, and I think that is a legitimate question considering what I have just said. It follows up from that.
And I would like to argue that there is simply no idea there at all without the figure and the agency of a supernatural being. - In this sense, there is no explanation. There is a claim that it can be shown that the universe appeared suddenly. There is the claim that species are fixed and change only within those fixed limits.
A: (Continuing) There is the claim for the separate ancestry of man and of ape. There is the claim for the explanation of the earth formed by catastrophism, and a relatively recent inception of the earth.
These are all, so to speak, claims. I don't think they are true but that's neither here nor there. They are claims, but they are not a theory.
In order for there to be a theory, in each case, as I've said, there must be an agent. The moment you have the agent, you have deity. If there is no deity, there is no theory. If there is a theory, it is religious.
Q: Doctor Gilkey, have you written on the topic of the difference between religion and science?
A: I have.
Q: Could you describe to me briefly what the nature of those writings have been?
A: I have written several articles on this subject. I have written a book called Religion and the Scientific Future on the interrelations of religion and science.
Q: Could you, therefore, state for me in your professional opinion what the differences between religious theories and scientific theories are?
THE COURT: Wait a second. I am making a couple of notes and I would like to finish these before we go any further.
Q: Doctor Gilkey, can you state for us, please, in your professional opinion what the differences are between religions theories and scientific theories?
A: Well, let me begin by saying that I think that all theories which purport to explain or seek to explain, and that is he general use of the word `theory' that I presume we are using here—all theories do have certain things in common. They appeal to certain types of experiences and certain kinds of facts. They ask certain types of questions and they appeal to certain authorities or criteria.
Thus, they have a certain structure. That is, they go by the rules of the road. They have in what in some parlances are called canons. That is to say, rules of procedure. I would like to suggest that while both religious theories and scientific theories have this general structure in common, they differ very much with regard to the experiences and facts that they appeal to, to the kinds of questions they ask, the kinds of authorities they appeal to and, therefore, to their own structure.
And I would like to make some comments at the end, the experiences and facts that science has, so to speak, in its own consensus come to agree this is what we appeal to are first of all, observations or sensory experiences.
A: (Continuing) They are, therefore, repeatable and shareable. They are in that sense quite public. Anybody who wishes to look at them and has the ability and training so to do can do so. These are objective facts in that sense, and experiences are somewhat the same.
I would say that most religions, and certainly our traditions, when they appeal to those kinds of facts appeal to those facts rather as a whole to the world as a whole, as illustrating order or seemingly to a purpose or goodness, and so forth. So, they can appeal to those kinds of facts. That isn't quite so public, because someone might say, "It's very disorderly to me," and so on. It's not quite so public.
But also religions appeal to what we call inner facts, facts about experience of guilt, facts of being, facts of anxiety, death, and the experience of the release from those anxieties or miseries, or what have you.
These are public in the sense that they are shared by the community but they are not public at all in that sense. They are not objective in that sense.
The kinds of questions that they ask are significantly different, it seems to me. That is to say, science tends to ask `how' questions. What kinds of things are there? What kinds of relations do they have? What sort of processes are there? Can we find any laws within those
A: (Continuing) processes? Can we set up a set of invariable relations if P then Q, if this, then that. This is the kind of question. These are `how' questions, process questions, if you will.
Religion asks, might ask some of these questions, but basically it is asking `why' questions. It is asking questions of meaning. Why is the world here? Why am I here? Who am I? What am I called to do? What is it my task in life to be? Where are we going? How are we to understand the presence of evil? These are quite significantly different kinds of questions.
Correspondingly, science appeals to the authority, and this is decisive, of logical coherence and experimental adequacy. It also appeals through coherence with other established views and to some things that are called fruitlessnesses. There is also a sense of elegance. Now, when you work that out in terms of its cash value, you have, as has been said before, the consensus of the scientific community on these matters. And there almost always is a consensus of the community making such a judgment.
This is an earned authority. It is not granted by some other power. It is earned by expertise, by training, by excellence at work. Religions generally appeal to revelation of some sort, not always to the same sort, but
A: (Continuing) some manifestation of the divine or some place where the divine is encountered.
For example, in Buddhism, what is called the higher consciousness might be a very important authority. Subsequently to that, of course, are those who mediate that authority, to the interpreters of the Book, to the spokesman for the church, for the community, to those who have an intimate and direct and unique relationship to God. It can take all kinds of forms—To a particular kind of religious experience and so on. Notice these are not in that way public. They are not generally earned. They are given; they are granted.
Q: The authority in Christianity, is there one particular reference or source of authority?
A: Well, of course, this has been the subject of a good deal of friendly debate. That is to say, this was an issue with the Gnostics we were speaking of, whether the apostolic churches—The scriptures were not then canonized, but whether the apostolic churches were the authority or just anybody.
Later it came to be agreed the scriptures, the apostolic scriptures, and they were given authority because they were believed to be written by the Apostles, the apostolic scriptures and the apostolic church were the dual and not separable authorities.
By the time one gets to the Reformation, there is a real argument over this. Are both tradition and authority an ascription authority or solely scriptural, that is, scripture alone, which, of course, was the Lutheran and then the Calvinist position, and has been a basis for Protestantism. So that in each case the authority appealed to is regarded as the place where the divine is in some way manifesting itself or is speaking, and that is the basis of the authority.
Q: Does modern protestant Christianity include the Bible as the scriptural source of authority?
A: I would say it better.
Q: Is that a yes answer?
A: That is a yes answer.
Q: As a religious source of authority, do the concepts inspiration and revelation also form a part of it?
A: Yes, and there is a good deal of debate about what they mean. Revelation is a fairly consistent word throughout the history of Christian, and I think I could say Jewish, thinking.
The meaning of inspiration has varied a good deal. Now, we were talking about the kinds of questions. I wanted to go on and talk about the kinds of theories. In science, theories are generally laws; that is to say,
A: (Continuing) universal, necessary, automatic, impersonal, "if P then Q" kinds of statements. One of the most basic rules of scientific inquiry is that no non-natural or historical cause, that is, no supernatural cause, may be appealed to.
Thus one could say, I would rather take the canon as the scientific inquiry. It's not a presupposition; it's a canon; it's a rule of the road.
MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, I will have to interject an objection on the grounds that this witness has not been qualified as an expert on science. He is qualified as a theologian. His testimony has gone at some length now, and I thought it was going to be brief. Therefore, I would have to object to this line of testimony and move to strike the previous testimony to the extent he is discussing what is science.
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, the witness has written on the differences between science and religion, and speaks as a philosopher on this topic. His resume so reflects those topics.
THE COURT: That's what I recall. I think he is qualified to offer his opinion.
MR. WILLIAMS: He is offered only as a theologian, your Honor, by the plaintiffs.
MR. SIANO: I might broaden that offer if that
MR. SIANO: (Continuing) might give Mr. Williams some comfort, your Honor.
THE COURT: Go ahead.
MR. SIANO: (Continuing)
Q: You were taking about theories.
A: Yes. It reflects, as I said, a universal necessary concept of law or separate and variable relations. It does not and cannot, and I think this is also true in the discipline of history and, perhaps, of the law, cannot appeal to a supernatural cause in its explanations. It is verified by a particular shamble, objective, sensory kind of experiment and has its origin in that, or as better put falsified. Non-falsifiable by those. And where religious theories concern God in our tradition they use a quite different kin of language, a symbolic language, about God. They invoke personal causes, intentions, will. God created the world with a design, God created the world in order that it be good, God created the world out of compassion or out of love, and so forth and so on. These are familiar ways of speaking of these kinds of acts.
Above all, perhaps most important, they have to do, religious theories have to do with the relation of God to the finite world and to human beings.
If they specify only relations between persons or only
A: (Continuing) relations between forces of nature, they cease being religious theories.
But when they specify the relationship to God, then they become religious theories and obviously God is very much in the picture.
This is very different from a scientific form of theory. They are testable, if that's the right word, in terms of experience and, perhaps, in terms of a new mode of living. That is to say, being released, being redeemed, having a new kind of courage, a new kind of benevolence, and so forth and so on. That is the kind of fruitfulness that religious ideas have where it's quite different than anything scientific.
Q: Now, are you, sir, aware of the field of religious apologetics?
A: I am.
Q: Could you please state for me what your understanding of the concept of religious apologetics is?
A: Apologetics has been used for a long time to describe certain kinds of religious speaking and religious writing, or writing by religious persons, with a religious purpose.
It refers to an argument by members of a community to those outside the community, seeking to show the meaningfulness and the validity of the doctrines, the
A: (Continuing) truths, the position of the community. This is a very old tradition. One finds it, of course, in the earliest writings, some of the earliest writings of the Christian church in a group who were, in fact, called the apologists, and quite deliberately sought to speak to the Roman empire and to argue for Christianity on the basis of what Romans could accept.
One finds this in the medieval period. Saint Thomas Aquinas was probably the great example of this in some of his documents. They are not theological documents; they are arguments to the world about the truth of certain elements, particularly the truth of the Creator. Certain elements, one finds them in Jewish documents as well. You find them also in the modern world.
Q: The purpose of apologetics is that one purpose of it—to spread the faith?
A: Yes, yes. I am not sure that `evangelize' is quite the right word. Generally, we use the word `evangelize' with preaching. This is argument. It is certainly to convince people, persuade people, and so forth, of the validity of the faith, that one represents.
Q: Does religious apologetics always speak with a religious framework or does it use language and concepts from other fields?
A: Well, in seeking to speak to those without the
A: (Continuing) faith it must find some kind of common ground. This may be a common ground in morals; it may be in the customs of a community; it may be in certain forms of philosophy; it may be—And in the scientific age, this may be the best way to do it—It may be science. That is to say, when it seeks the common ground of scientific facts in order to persuade others of the validity of one's own idea.
In that case, one could say the ideas do not arise out of the facts, but they are brought to them to show the ideas made more sense of the facts than any other idea.
Q: Is what you are, saying, Doctor Gilkey, that even though a religious apologist may speak in science, his purpose is religious?
A: At this point, I would say the religious apologist probably tends to disagree with some of the theories of science, seeks to except the facts that science has developed and to show that his or her own idea makes more sense of those facts.
Q: His or her own religious idea?
A: Yes, his or her own religious idea, correct.
Q: Do you have a view, sir, an opinion, sir, to a reasonable degree of professional certainty, as to whether creation-science is engaged in religious apologetics?
A: I certainly do have such an idea. I look at the
A: (Continuing) logic of it, and it seems to me precisely what I have described. And there is a concept here of a sudden creation at the beginning of separate kinds by a deity. That is an old traditional conception within the Christian community, given here a particular interpretation, I may say, which is presented as making more sense of the various facts or some of the facts that are claimed to be scientific facts.
This is the structure, the logical structure, of apologetics. Now, let me say there is nothing wrong with apologetics. I've done it, and I'm not at all ashamed of that. I don't know how good it was but I have done it. I think the only problem with apologetics is when you seek to dissemble that you are doing apologetics, when you quote an authority, when one has two hats on and hides one of them. This is what's the problem on it.
Q: Now, are you aware, sir, of whether or not —Strike the question.
Is the sectarian nature of the creation-science argument in any way related to this opinion you have of its apologetic nature?
A: Yes, though let me say, apologetics are not necessarily sectarian. That is to say, a good number of apologetics take the very general position that is shared by all members of a particular religious tradition.
A: (Continuing) In that sense one could say the tradition as a whole is sectarian vis-a-vis other traditions, but that is not the usual meaning of the word.
In this case I would say that is definitely the case. The apologetic that is carried on here in the name of creation gives, and insists upon giving, a particular interpretation of that concept of creation. In a sense it is doubly particular, so to speak. It is particular to the Christian tradition as opposed to others, though Jewish persons may agree with it but on the whole they know this is a Christian idea. It is significantly different from ideas in other religions, for example, Hindu ideas, Buddhist ideas and, not least important, American Indian ideas. But also within the Christian tradition it is particularistic, and that is why I am happy to be a witness. It is particularistic in that it identifies the concept of creation with a particular view, sets it over against evolution and says, `This is what creation means.' And it is a very particular view. It's been made evident here, a literal interpretation of creation, of creation in recent time, of fixed species, and so forth and so on.
Q: In your examination of Act 590, Doctor Gilkey, are you aware of whether or not the Act sets up a dualist
Q: (Continuing) approach to origins?
A: It seems to me it very definitely does. And that is to say, I agree with the testimony that said its kind of neutrality presupposes that there are only two views and these are mutually exclusive.
I think on both counts, that is to say that there are only two views and on the account that they are mutually exclusive, are both factually wrong.
That is to say, there are many other views of origins than these two views. There are other views within the history of religions; there are other views within philosophical speculation, although those don't have a deity, as I've said.
One could list any number of views of origins that are significantly different than either one of these. This is simply wrong.
Secondly, the view that these two are mutually exclusive, it seems to me, is, in fact, false. There are people who believe in God who also accept evolution. Now, that possibility depends upon something that I think is not evident in the document. That is to say, that science is our most reliable way of publicly knowing. — I certainly believe that. I couldn't come by airplane and leave by airplane if in some sense I didn't believe that.
A: (Continuing) On the other hand, it is a limited way of knowing, and I am speaking here as a theologian, as well as a philosopher. That is to say, it can't and doesn't wish to and doesn't purport to speak of all things, of all the things that are.
It is difficult for science to get at our inner-personal being, which I firmly believe. It is, as I said, by its own rules, rules out discussions of a deity. In this sense it is not at all saying, as a science, there is no deity. It does not presuppose there is no creator. It presupposes that a scientific statement cannot speak of such a thing. Now, that's a quite different matter. Some may conclude that is no creator. That is a religious or philosophical judgment, not a scientific judgment. The limitation of science is very important in this whole case. One might say science asks questions that can be measured, shared, mutually tested in certain ways, but doesn't ask a number of important questions. Personally, those are the questions that interest me. That is why I am a theologian.
MR. SIANO: One moment, your Honor.
No further questions.