Deposition of Dr. Stephen Jay Gould - Page 4
Q. According to your column here that only after — it says, "at this point," I guess that's between the court battles of '75 and '78, "creationists shifted gears and began to argue that creation-science was a purely scientific alternative to scientific evolution." Where did you establish that that is the dividing line between two different approaches taken?
A. I just remember that when I used to read creationist literature a while back there were numerous explicit references to God, religion and Christianity, and those have been notably absent in the last few years, and I made inference, that this was in recognition of a different legal strategy to pass the same kinds of laws.
Q. You further state in your article that "As a sidelight to a correct perception (and cowardly decision) about the politics involved, I was originally scheduled to testify for the State in this trial but was dropped as a witness by the Attorney General because he felt that my leftist political" — I see. The light has struck. You're talking about the California trial?
A. Yes. No, you never called me.
Q. Let me finish the - let me start again to get the entire quote in. "As a sidelight to a correct perception (and cowardly decision) about the politics involved, I was originally scheduled to testify for the State in this trial but was dropped as a witness by the Attorney General because he felt that my leftist politics might enhance the impression that evolution is some kind of Commie plot."
MR. ENNIS: Is that a statement or a question?
MR. WILLIAMS: That's a statement, and I am going to ask questions about the quote.
Q. Briefly describe for me your leftist politics, if there are such?
A. It was all moot because I never got to testify because as you know in the California trial the grounds were so narrowed that none of the scientists were —
MR. ENNIS: Again, let me just note for the record that we would object to this line of questioning if it were attempted to be used at the trial on the ground that it's irrelevant, but for these purposes I will let the witness answer the
A. It's too vague.
Q. You are the person who used the term "leftist politics."
A. Yes. My political views tend to the left of center.
Q. Could you be more specific about your political views?
A. I don't know how to be. I am not a joiner, so I am not a member of any organization. So I have always resisted labeling. But if you read my other book, THE MISMEASURE OF MAN, which is not included because it is not about evolution, you will get a sense of my political views.
Q. What do you talk about in THE MISMEASURE OF MAN?
A. It's a book about the history of measurement of intelligence.
Q. But it makes the argument, you were saying?
A. It makes the argument that the primary — it makes the argument that attempts to measure intelligence have been politically motivated and represent a misuse of science in
order to support existing social distinctions as biologically inevitable.
Q. Have you done much reading in the area of political philosophy?
A. I have not made an intensive study. I expect I have read some.
Q. What books would you say were most influential on you in the area of your own political philosophy?
A. I think the most influential book I ever read was C. Wright Mills. THE POWER ELITE. Some of Chomsky, who is not a political philosopher but writes politics. In fact, over the last many years I have not read widely in this area. It does not hold as much interest for me as it once did.
Q. You go on to say, just to paraphrase, that you are less concerned about the court strategy than the school board strategy, as you refer to it. Why are you more concerned about the so-called school board strategy?
A. Because I think that's where creationists may be more effective in persuading local school boards to adopt creationist texts.
Q. Do you know how many schools have adopted some form of creationist text?
A. No, I don't
Q. You also make a comment about the textbook publishers who you say will incorporate almost any nonsense to win orders that may mean millions of copies. Do you think that if this law and others like it should be upheld, that the textbook publishers would meet the need for books which incorporate creation-science without religious references?
A. I assume the main thing they will do is what they have always done, kick evolution out.
Q. That's assuming
MR. ENNIS: You asked the witness a question.
A. It's a justified assumption that happened after the Scopes trial and it's happening now.
Q. How can they kick it out if they require that both be thought? [probably should be "...both be taught?" - MvADP Editor]
A. Or neither. That's an alternative. One way to make it neither is not to include either.
Q. Given your views as to the, call them good business sense of textbook publishers, don't you think they would also have volumes of text which would incorporate both?
A. I think the primary thing they will do based on previous experience and things that have happened already, and if you contact Wayne Moyer, he has been monitoring the decrease of information about evolution in textbooks. Based on previous experience, the primary effects of this law will be to decrease the coverage or eliminate the coverage of evolution in textbooks.
Q. So you see that as a result of the law?
Q. If you had an alternative of either trying to get balanced treatment or eliminating both, which would you prefer?
A. That's very hard to decide between two reprehensible alternatives. I don't know. They are both really frightening to me.
Q. You have no opinion, you wouldn't make a decision on that?
A. I think the human psyche is generally a jolly thing and likes to postpone considering bad
things that may not happen.
Q. But if you had to make a decision, what decision would you make?
A. I don't know. I don't have to make it, thank goodness.
Q. The Act 590 does say that you ought to teach the scientific evidences and inferences for both creation-science and evolution science.
A. There aren't any for creation-science.
Q. All right. Assuming that, why are you so opposed to the act, if there is no scientific evidence for creation-science and the overwhelming scientific evidence is all for evolution?
A. Because the act nonetheless requires that what is not science be taught as science.
Q. I think the act says in section one that you ought to give balanced treatment to both if you teach either, then in section 4 it says the scientific evidence—
A. You're not really telling me that one conceivable interpretation of this law is no creationism will ever be taught anywhere in any of the schools?
I am not telling you that, I am just
referring you to what the bill says. It says "the scientific evidence and inferences therefrom."
MR. ENNIS: Is your question that if a teacher concludes that there is no scientific evidence for points 1 through 6, then a teacher does not have to say a word about creation-science?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am talking about the act does require balanced treatment for both. But then it says that you defines creation-science as to be the scientific evidence and inferences therefrom for creation.
MR. ENNIS: Your question is if there is no scientific evidence, then what?
Q. If you feel there is none and you feel the overwhelming authority of scientific evidence is on the side of evolution, then what are you afraid of?
A. Because a public school teacher in the state of Arkansas, that despite that conviction I would be compelled to present some pseudo evidence as it exists in books that I think have no intellectual stature, but are published nonetheless for creation-science. I don't read this bill as giving freedom to every teacher to
assess the evidence as he sees it.
Q. Would you agree that your, and by your I am talking about your position personally, concerning you don't want this taught, that you oppose this law, does it rise to the level of censorship?
A. No. It is a just a proper separation of disciplines. I have never said that I think parents or creationists shouldn't tell their children what they want. I teach science and I don't want to be told by the State Legislature that I have to teach in a science course that something that in my professional judgment is not science.
Q. What if there is a teacher out there who has reviewed all the scientific evidence in the literature and has concluded that creation-science is a science, should he or she be able to teach it? I'm not asking it legally.
MR. ENNIS: You're not asking for a legal conclusion and you're not asking whether there is a need for a statute to permit a teacher to do that?
MR. WILLIAMS: I am not asking anything
A. I have to ask you a question. Before this law was passed what stopped them from doing it?
Q. Those are some of the issues for the trial. I am asking if someone out there thinks it should be taught, do you think they should be prohibited from teaching it?
A. I can't give a yes or no to a question like that. There are grounds for dismissal on competence occasionally. I suspect that if a teacher of physics did insist the earth were flat and presented it as dogma and failed school children who said otherwise, there might be cause. One can be too dogmatic about anything.
But in general, as far as I understand it, the statute should leave teachers free to make their own professional judgments. I will disagree with many of them. What I don't like about this statute is it dictates what a teacher must do.
Q. So if a teacher absent and apart from this statute should decide that creation-science has some validity and wants to teach it in the classroom to balance the treatment, if you will,
that you would not want the teacher to be prohibited from doing that?
A. That's a funny hypothetical question. I can't respond to hypothetical questions like that.
Q. Are you aware that one teacher in another state has been fired for teaching creation-science?
A. I don't quite understand the relevance of that to this particular act. I am not on the school board in the state of Arkansas anyway. And that is a different and very difficult issue.
Q. As a matter of academic freedom, should the teacher be able to teach the course?
THE WITNESS: I am still looking for guidance.
MR. ENNIS: I think probably the reason the witness is having trouble answering that question is that would depend upon the particular facts of each case of exactly what's being taught, how much is being taught. If the teacher is supposed to be teaching a course on social studies and teaches creation-science instead, that's irrelevant. If it's a biology course, so forth.
I would have trouble answering the question because on those kinds of academic freedom grounds you need to know all the facts and circumstances. The hypothetical doesn't state what they are.
THE WITNESS: If they were lying, that would be one thing.
Q. I thought my question was specific on that. Let me restate it. You have a high school teacher of science in the area of biology who has reviewed all the scientific literature that he or she can get his hands on. Reviewed it and has determined that creation-science is a valid scientific theory.
A. Let me tell you the problem I have. I would not consider such a person any more to be operating as a scientist. That I will be clear on. Whether that constitutes grounds for firing is another matter. There will be some teachers who might not be good teachers and are not teaching the best material, and I don't know whether that's always a grounds for firing.
Grounds for firing have to be quite lenient in my view. I can clearly say that such a person is no longer a scientist or operating as a
scientist if they accept a theory that's patently not a science. But whether they should be fired, there is a whole question of tenial laws I don't understand.
Q. I am asking whether they should be free to teach it?
A. No. Because who is to stop them. What's the penalty of not firing.
Q. For example, they can say you can't teach that.
A. And then if they did they are fired. So I mean it is fundamentally about losing one's job.
But you're placing something in my hypothetical that's really not in there. Let's approach it this way. Define academic freedom.
MR. ENNIS: Not the law of, his own view?
A. My personal view of academic freedom is the right for teachers to shape the subject matter of their courses according to their competence and own judgments within the confines of that subject matter as understood by the community within that profession.
If a teacher of classical music decides that he is not interested any more and only teaches painting, I think it would be right to say that they are no longer teaching that subject and if that were the only teacher of classical music in the school, and someone moves against that teacher because the subject matter is not being taught, that would not be abridgement of my definition of academic freedom.
Q. How can academic freedom then properly be limited, if it can?
A. I don't regard that as a limit. You contract to teach a certain subject. One has an understanding of what that subject is and within the confines of that subject one does it one's way, as Mr. Sinatra says.
Q. Can the state prescribe curricula for the secondary schools?
MR. ENNIS: Are you asking for a legal conclusion?
MR. WILLIAMS: No.
A. I don't know very much about how a school curricula is set up. I know what academic freedom usually means on a college level. I don't
really know much about high school law and how it works.
Q. Do you think a teacher has to agree with a theory personally before they can adequately teach it?
A. Oh, no. I mean, after all, I teach — when I teach alternate theories I may have my preference but I hope I can give an adequate account. However, as a science teacher I only teach scientific theories. Very much different from teaching a theory that is not part of the profession that I agreed to teach.
Q. Have you made any personal studies concerning evidence for evolution?
Q. You mentioned your dissertation I think. Would that be one?
A. I am a research biologist, sure. I work on the evolution of Western Indian land snails. I am sure you don't want to hear about them, but I would being glad to tell you.
Q. Would all of the research that you have done fits within the evolutionary theory?
A. It certainly does.
Q. You provided me with a copy —
A. Wait a minute. The evolution theory fit within the general theory that evolution — that there must be some mechanism for it. I said I don't know what the mechanism of evolution is. All my work certainly fits the conviction that evolution occurred, that it is a fact. As to the mechanism by which it occurred, we have much to learn.
Q. What's your opinion of the creation-science materials that you have read, I am talking about reference to the books that you earlier referenced and this article on Cephalopods.
A. It's not science. In fact, I think it's primarily based on rhetoric and misquotation.
Q. You think it's valid criticism of some of the shortcomings of evolution, or problems?
A. Occasionally within the forest of rhetoric and misquotation they will raise in a tangential way a legitimate point. But the essence of the argument is unscientific and unfair in most of the publications I have read.
Q. Do you think that the evolution theory of origins is an unquestionable fact of science?
A. There is no such thing. My definition of fact confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.
Q. Does evolution presuppose that no creator exists?
A. For what? No, of course not. But wait. This goes back to about 10 o'clock this morning. I mean evolution is a statement about general logical connections. If there was a creator and he made matter 177 billion years ago and then set up the laws of nature, such that they yielded this result by natural laws, and if he even smiles down upon it and says it's good, that's all right. It's occurring within natural law. What is inadmissible in science is the suspension of those laws in order to introduce by fiat creation of life from nothing.
Q. Bear with me for a second. If you would, let's say, go back to the first life and you had these chemical reactions, and as I understand it those are very complex chemical reactions which would have to occur for this first life to arise. If you had all these natural laws operating, and a creator, whatever that might be,
kind of intervened but only to the extent to cause it to happen —
A. If God sticks his finger in the soup by suspending the laws of nature, it's not science. It's like a little bit pregnant. Not even a little suspension of natural laws. However, I emphasize many evolutionists believe even in very personal notions of God, but it's a God who doesn't break his own laws. I mean, evolutionists from Asa Gray to Dobzhansky have been atheists, no problem.
Q. But to consider evolution and try to make it consistent with a belief in a creator, does present problems, doesn't it - let me be a bit more specific.
MR. ENNIS: Object to the form of the question because when you say to consider evolution and try to make it consistent with the belief of a creator, I don't think the witness has testified that there is anything at all about evolution and that belief.
Q. I will be more specific. Is one of the essential characteristics of evolution that it has occurred more or less in a random and chance way?
Q. Why not?
A. That's not part of most evolutionary theories. See, in Darwinism for example, and of course there are other theories of evolution, randomness is only called upon to produce variation, to produce raw material. In fact, the direction of change is imposed by natural selection, which is a deterministic force that adapts organisms to prevailing local environments. That's one of the common misunderstandings of evolution. That most theories regard what happened as due to chance. That's not true.
Q. If you are a theoristic evolutionist, and as I understand you would think that would mean that someone who believed that had a creator or some supernatural power set up the laws of nature at the beginning. And if he didn't - if he just set up the laws and just let them operate, does that mean or do we know - strike that. That's incapable of resolution.
Do you think that the theory of evolution is contrary to the religious convictions or moral values or philosophical beliefs of some
A. I don't think they can be contrary to properly constituted morality and ethics, because that's a whole other realm, and evolution is about the facts of the world. I don't see how the world's facts can be contrary to ethical and moral belief. That doesn't mean that it ought to be. If you asked me as an empirical fact whether some people feel that evolution runs contrary to what they feel is the foundation of what loosely is called their philosophy, I guess the answer is yes.
Q. Do you think the theory of evolution or the theory or the facts, however you would like to describe it, has affected society beyond the study of biology?
A. It caused a lot of people to think about a lot of things. Whether the theories have actually promoted social change or merely been used to or usually misused to rationalize that social change is going to occur, I don't know.
Q. Do you think that the theory of evolution can be presented in the classroom without reference to any religious doctrine?
A. It usually is. By the theory of evolution it varies. I present it without reference to any religious doctrine. Religion to me is about ethics and morality.
Q. How do you define religion?
A. It's about as hard as asking me to define God. I know what it's not, but it's one of those subjects hard to put in a few sentences. To me religion is the set of ideas that fundamentally deals with the way we should conduct our lives in ethical and moral terms. It tries to provide justifications for moral precepts.
Q. Does religion necessarily require a God?
A. Not under — depends on what a God is. It doesn't require some supernatural force that intervenes to break the laws of nature, no. And there are people who call themselves religious, as you know, particularly in non-Western cultures, who do not have a belief in anything that by the Western vernacular would be called God.
Q. Do you think atheism could be a religion?
A. Why are you asking that?
Q. I am just curious, sir.
A. I mean, atheism simply means a lack of a belief in God. Atheists have moral values. In fact, ethical values don't come from the lack of a belief in God. That's merely a statement. They derive their moral principles from elsewhere. But evolution does not speak to this issue. There have been atheists who are evolutionists, devout Christians who have been evolutionists.
Q. Do you think that religion can be based on science?
A. No. They are a different sphere, simply different.
Q. Do you know whether anyone has articulated the possibility of basing religion on science?
A. Insofar as people have, I think they are fundamentally mistaken. You can find people to say almost anything, of course.
Q. So while you personally don't think it could be, there are people out there in the scientific communities, for example, who —
A. Not very much and they are wrong and we will try and show them why they are. I have been in a lot of evolution classes in my life, and I
don't think I have ever heard any of my teachers make pronouncements about the nature of God with the material in the classroom.
Q. Do you have a definition for faith?
A. Not really, because the word I think means too many different things. If you give me a context, I will give you a definition.
Q. Do you think it means scientists have faith in evolution?
A. Not in the usual vernacular sense of that term, which I take to mean a belief held so strongly that in the absence of evidence it is still accepted. To that extent, evolutionists don't because their acceptance of evolution is based on hard information.
Q. In your article in SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE, you state that this creation battle or creation-science is one part of the coherent political program of the Evangelical right, including anti-ERA, anti-abortion, anti-military and anti-Communism. Is that a correct —
A. Sounds right.
Q. Is that one of reasons why you oppose creation-science?
A. As I said, from my own personal history, since my opposition has become no less intense since before these ties arose, my opposition is not caused by that. I would not say that my feelings — that those points are irrelevant to my feelings about it. But I assure you my opposition was as intense before these connections were clear.
Q. Have you provided the attorneys for the plaintiffs with any reports or any written documentation, have you written anything for them other than what you have given me today?
A. No, I haven't.
Q. Do you know at this point what your testimony will consist of, for example, what opinions you will give?
A. We have not discussed that except in the broadest outline. That as a paleontologist, I will deal I imagine with those areas that are closest to my competence, namely the question of how creationists explain the facts of the fossil record, and particularly the issue of gaps in this record.
Q. Could you just briefly summarize how you do view the way the creationists treat the
fossil record and the gaps therein?
A. As I understand it, the foundation of the view of those creationists I have read is that the fossil record, with its ordered sequence, is a product of deposition after everything got mixed together in Noah's flood. As for the gaps in the fossil record, creationists cite them as evidence that evolution is in trouble, and I believe those gaps to be a result of those imperfections in this record and the fact that evolution proceeds more by punctuated equilibrium than by gradual change within lineages.
Q. The article on Cephalopods and the creation of the universal deluge, how do you plan to use this in your testimony?
A. Perhaps only to talk about what I regard to be a misapplication of a quotation from one of my works, perhaps as an example of an attempt to explain a fossil sequence by flood geology, but probably only in the first sense.
Q. Are you speaking with specific reference to a quote which says "paleontologists and evolution biologists are famous for their facility in devising plausible stories but they
often forget that plausible stories need not be true."?
A. That's the quote, yes.
Q. What do you anticipate your testimony about that quote might be?
A. That statement comes from a paper in which I was with several other authors referring only to stories that paleontologists tell that attempt to interpret in adaptive terms the facts of an evolutionary tree. It is cited in that context to make it appear that I believe the existence of the tree itself to be tentative.
Q. Do you have any idea who John Woodmorappe is?
A. I do not, no.
Q. Your article from PALEOBIOLOGY which is entitled "Punctuated Equilibria, the tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered," do you plan to rely on this in your testimony?
A. Yes. Well, I plan to use it.
Q. Could you describe for me how you will use it?
A. To explain the theory of punctuated equilibrium.
Q. Does this article fairly give your views, current views?
A. Yes. That's the most extensive statement ever published on the theory of punctuated equilibrium.
Q. Are there any assumptions which underlie your punctuated equilibrium theory?
A. That's too broad a question. All science has certain assumptions like the uniformity of natural law.
Q. Anything peculiar to any assumptions which are peculiar to —
A. I wouldn't use the term assumptions. Let me say it's based on certain premises which I don't regard as assumptions but I regard as fairly well documented evolutionary principles. First, that evolutionary change occurs during events of speciation. Secondly, that events of speciation, though slow on the scale of our lives, are geologically instantaneous, tens of thousands of years. Thirdly, that most species during the course of their history tend to change vary little.
Q. I am sorry, what was the third one?
A. That most species during the course of
their history tend to change rather little.
Q. Go ahead.
A. That's call stasis. That's all.
Q. So the change comes in essence at the point where the species changes to a new species, as you view it?
A. When one species branches off from another, the ancestor usually persists.
Q. What happens to the ancestors?
A. They usually persist for a while, anyway.
Q. Would they then more often than not die out or would they more often than not continue?
A. Oh, I don't think — it's probably about 50-50.
Q. When you talk about, for example, that the record of human evolution seems to provide a particularly good example that no gradualism has been detected within any hominid taxon, does that not provide — would that not be consistent with creation-science?
A. It would not.
Q. Why not?
A. In the sense that there is a very good
evolutionary trend, it just doesn't proceed by slow and steady alteration. But there is a very good evolutionary trend as seen through successive speciation towards hominids with larger brains and larger bodies and if all forms life simultaneously weren't mixed up in the flood, I don't know why they would then sort out in such an ordered sequence of increasing size of brain and body from the australopithecines to Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens.
Q. Your article — or maybe perhaps it is part of a book on punctuated equilibria, what book is this from?
A. A book called MODELS AND PALEOBIOLOGY, 1972.
Q. Is there anything in here that is not in the first article that I mentioned?
A. That is the first article. No, I don't think there is anything in there that is not covered, but I gave you that because that is the original statement of the theory.
Q. What is meant by the term "world view in relation to Darwin"?
A. What's the context?
Q. In this particular copy reference it says "aside from natural selection itself, gradualism became the most pervasive and controlling aspect of Darwin's world view?"
A. It's a translation of a German term weltanschaung, which is used by scholars to signify — as an informal term to signify the basic assumptions that people make about the nature of the world and life, what is in the vernacular often called one's philosophy.
Q. That implies to me, that for example if you're talking about Darwin as part of his world view that evolution as he viewed it was not limited to the neat confines of evolutionary biology.
A. Yes, I would include other things in his world view on gradualism to Darwin was an important part of the way he looked at many other things besides science.
Q. Do you think Darwin's ON ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES can be studied in a public school classroom or should be?
A. Why not, it's one of the great books of Western history.
Q. Are you aware that he calls upon a creator in that text?
A. What he says — first of all, he doesn't even use the word in the first edition. But in later editions he uses the term creator much in the essence of a scientist. What is the last line? He says there is a grandeur — "with its several powers have been freed," and I guess he adds "by the creator" in later editions, into a few forms or into one, which would be consistent with the notion of Newton's clockwinder God.
Q. Is the concept of a creator an inherently religious concept in your mind?
A. Depends on how you define it. Again, as I understand —
Q. Is the creator as referenced in Darwin, is it inherently a religious view?
A. The whole question of Darwin's religious views is an interesting one. The best book on that is by Neal Gillespie, published a few years ago, and a very complex one.
Q. But when he uses that term that life having been breathed into the first few forms by a creator, do you take that to be a reference to a
creator in the religious sense?
A. One doesn't know, but no, I don't necessarily take it as such. It could be for Einstein's view that what we call the creators, wherever produced, or Spinoza's view, the creators of the laws of the universe. That's a metaphor and the book is full of metaphors. Every book is.
Q. So a creator is not an inherently religious concept?
A. The use of the word creator is not. What becomes inherently nonscience is when you call upon the creators to suspend natural law to put creatures on earth.
Q. Do you think in studying Darwin's ON ORIGIN OF SPECIES that you have to dwell on his references to the creator, talk about that, what does that mean at great length?
A. First of all, if you use the first edition it won't even be there. Secondly, it's a word here, there, whose meaning is ambiguous. I don't know — and thirdly, if it is studied in the science classroom, that's not what you talk about.
Q. So it really brings us back to that question again of first life. And what Darwin
seemed to say there was a creator had breathed life into —
A. There is all sorts of metaphor in THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES. It's a great work of literature. He says so many times in metaphor — what's the greatest one that's a metaphor of the tangled bank, the metaphor of the tree of life, and the best of all, nature appears to us bright with gladness, he says. But behind that we see the war.
And the book is full of metaphor, and I think it's really clear in the context that that is a metaphor to state that he doesn't know how first life got here. I think the best proof of that is that the phrase "by the creator" is added the into some subsequent editions.
Q. It was added by Darwin, wasn't it?
A. Yes. See, because the creator can be the laws of nature.
Q. Do you recall whether he used the creator with a capital C, if that makes any difference?
A. I don't know. And that's really a typographical issue.
Q. So whether it's an a capital C or not doesn't make any difference to you?
A. I don't think so. In Victorian times many things were capitalized that we wouldn't today. I think laws of nature are often capitalized in literature of that time. In fact, nature itself is often written with a capital N.
Q. I want to make sure I understand. Invocation of a creator is not inherently a religious concept?
MR. ENNIS: Are you asking whether in the sense Darwin used it or are you talking about in Act 590?
MR. WILLIAMS: First of all, in the sense that Darwin used it. I think I am talking about in any concept, inherent is an invocation of a creator.
A. What's unscientific is to talk about the suspension of natural law to invoke that concept of a creator. To invoke a creator to state unfalsifiable hypotheses.
Q. Is the indication of a creator by Darwin an inherent religious concept?
A. When Einstein says God doesn't play
dice with the universe, a famous metaphor, what he says is that he believes that deterministic laws were discovered to render what we now consider chance. It is clearly a metaphor, as is Darwin's usage in that paragraph.
Q. In summary, what is your defense of Teilhard —
A. My case? My defense?
Q. There is a reference here in PILTDOWN IN LETTERS, and a letter, I think, from you among others concerning a defense, according to the editor, of Teilhard de Chardin.
A. I think he played a role in the Piltdown fraud.
Q. What role did he play, as you see it?
A. I think it quite likely since he was at Piltdown and reasonably friendly with Mr. Dawson, who I think clearly was the primary instigator of the hoax, that he played a role, probably a small one, in it.
Q. What is this paper?
A. That's an untitled essay which will appear in NATURAL HISTORY next February, which I included under your request for unpublished
documents because, as you will note, the last page contains some reference to creationism.
Q. Do you intend at this time to rely on this essay?
A. No. I presume that doesn't bar me if it should come up.
Q. I said at this time. What was the article you wrote for the New York Times "on Mankind Stood up First and Got Smart Later"?
A. That's a little commentary from section 4 one Sunday, probably some 700 words or so, on Johanson's DISCOVERY OF LUCY.
Q. Essentially, what was your comment on that?
A. That was a long time ago. That the DISCOVERY OF LUCY fairly well proved what in fact we have pretty well known since the 1920's, that the australopithecines, though quite small brained, only slightly larger than the ape brain, nonetheless walked fully erect.
Q. "Evolution: Explosion, not ascent"?
A. That is a very badly named article, not mine, giving a very short explication of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Nothing there
not covered in more detail in the two articles you have.
Q. Are you aware of any other articles on which you might rely?
A. I might rely on the essays in Darwin and THE PANDA'S THUMB, which you have.
Q. Any particular ones in there?
A. I can't anticipate. It will be a cross-examination, I think, more than direct.
Q. Is it fair to say from your essay on Velikovsky and collision that you will not object to Velikovsky being studied as a science although you don't agree with him?
A. Velikovsky stated his hypotheses in a falsifiable way, and they were falsified. I would not teach Velikovsky now because I think the argument is beyond doubt, but I would certainly answer questions about it and would not regard it as inappropriate material for courses studying scientific methodology.
His hypotheses were testable, therefore they were science or formulated in a scientific way though they have been falsified, in my view.
Q. Your curriculum vitae includes articles
only up to 1980, I notice. Your writings. The one that I have stops at '57, which is —
A. That's B. Yes, there is an A part and a B part. That's not the main part. I know you had it. That's in fact the small — let me see that.
Q. That's the one I was handed this morning.
A. No. That is everything. See, this is the main part, articles. It's in two parts. And that goes through 1981. I just haven't updated the B part that has little notes and letters and things. There may be one or two items that are not there just because I haven't updated it in recent months. But the A part is the main part. Those are the articles. Too many people iflate(?) — off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
Q. "Darwin Novelized"?
A. That's a review of Irving Stone's biography of Charles Darwin called ORIGIN.
Q. Are you familiar with Pergamon Press?
A. I know it.
Q. It's not a creation-science publisher,
Q. I don't know if I can say it. ONTOGENY AND PHYLOGENY, I haven't had a chance to look at it in detail, what is it?
A. It's a history of the current status that old individuals in the course of their growth and embryology repeat the evolutionary stages of their ancestry. It's not true, but it was historically an important point. That is my major technical book. I thought you might want to see it. I rather suspect you won't want to read too much of it.
Q. But that concept has been discredited at this point?
Q. Is that different than the idea that an embryo passes through all of the different stages and supposedly had gills and that sort of thing?
A. We have gills, that's correct. But the evolutionists have a different interpretation today.
Q. What interpretation is that?
A. That it represents — that the gills
represent not the fish ancestor, from which we descended, not the adult fish ancestor, but rather a common, stage in the embryology of all vertebrates which mammals have preserved and therefore it indicates conservative heredity.
Q. What's the Cecilia Society?
A. It's a course.
Q. What is "History versus Prophecy" in AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE?
A. That is an article commenting on the work of a geologist whose name I forget, it was a long time ago, who claimed that the book of Isaiah described correctly certain aspects of geological processes. It has nothing to do with the creation debate. It's whoever wrote Isaiah knew a lot about processes of erosion, and I argued that in fact what those passages are about is not geological. It's not relevant. You can have a copy if you like.
Q. I would like to have a copy of it.
A. It's my one exercise in biblical exegesis.
Q. What is the article that you wrote in the American Journal of Science called IS
A. The very first article I ever wrote. How nice of you to go back to it. It's an analysis of the principle of uniformitarianism.
Q. What's the answer to the question?
A. Pardon me?
Q. What's the answer to the question?
A. As among all academics, the answer is yes or no, that uniformitarianism means several different things. Some aspects of which are part of the definition of science, and others of which are testable claims that are wrong.
Q. Are you aware in geology of any sort of trend, to use that term roughly, toward greater discussion of catastrophes?
A. Oh, yes, and we welcome that. But it's not the kind of catastrophism that creationists talk about. As you know, it has a lot of interest now in the asteroidal theory of Cretaceous extinction. This has nothing to do with — there is nothing in the correct application of uniformitarianism that precludes the idea of local catastrophes, or even occasionally global ones produced by impact of extraterrestrial bodies, for
Q. So you would not necessarily as a geologist necessarily deny that there have been worldwide catastrophes?
A. The earth is 4 billion years old, and it must have been hit now and again with large bodies like asteroids and comets, but the creationist account calls upon all the strata to be produced by one single such catastrophe. And that is not part of the theory of any geologist.
Q. Where does it say that in the act, that all of that has to come from the one?
A. It doesn't. The act could be read differently, but in the major literature the explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophe is including the occurrence of a worldwide flood. That does indicate that all the earth's geology can be explained by catastrophism.
Q. You're really superimposing what you think it means from other literature into the act, aren't you?
A. It says explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, which indicates that if there was more than one that still the record has
to be the record of its catastrophes and it clearly is not. At least not worldwide catastrophes, which is what the ordinary sense of catastrophism is. And the evidence for a recent worldwide flood is nonexistent, by the way.
Q. Are you familiar with Boyden at all? You're not familiar with that name at all?
Q. Can you think of other theories which are not falsifiable or testable which are taught in the science curriculum?
A. Other theories than what?
Q. I think you said you felt like that creation-science is not—
A. Creationism is not taught, it shouldn't be.
Q. But can you think of others which have been taught?
A. Do you have an example?
Q. I don't know. I am trying to recall. I have read something about that. It seems like perhaps some of Newton's laws — I really can't
recall, but are you aware of any others?
Q. Have you made any effort to read all of the creation-science literature?
A. You can't read all of it. There is too much. I read a lot of it.
Q. How have you made a decision as to what you would read?
A. There are works cited more than others by people that are in the news more than others. It seems best I read the people whose work seems to be discussed most. And that is certainly most representative.
Q. Have you made — you mean it's been just kind of a subjective decision? Have you provided any specific criteria as reading every fifth book on creation-science that comes out?
A. The major cited works of the people most in the news, which I think is the way you go about reading in any new subject.
Q. Some of the criticisms which have been leveled even by you during this deposition at the creation scientists, have not some criticisms been leveled at you by some other proponents of the
modern synthesis theory?
A. Such as?
Q. For example, set up a strawman, unfairly trying to abstract or summarize a theory.
MR. ENNIS: Do you have any particular example?
A. Modes of argument are similar. The question is whether they have validity.
Q. The modes of argument are similar?
A. Yes. People may say the same thing, but I am prepared to argue the characterization in the case of Mr. Gish is fair. It isn't so much that Gish sets up straw men, it's mostly that he doesn't discuss most of the literature at all. I have never been accused of that.
Q. For example, to my earlier question, are you aware that — I forget what the — Ledyard —
A. G. Ledyard.
Q. — and Stebbins has said that "We object to Gould because he misrepresents the synthetic theory." Are you aware of that quote?
A. Sure. That's from his article — maybe it's from a news report. That's a matter for
friendly debate between two people who are friends, me and Ledyard, that is. After all, one can characterize a theory in many ways. He thinks I haven't characterized it fairly and I think I have. And I will meet him in Washington this January and maybe we will resolve it and maybe we won't. But we will stay friends and colleagues on the same side of whether or not evolution occurred.
Q. Stebbins has also said, to paraphrase, that while such sudden erratical changes might grow mutations or — macromutations are common, they almost never spread through further generations to become established. Are you familiar with that?
A. I agree with that. That's not the theory of punctuating equilibrium. That's talking about the theory of hopeful monsters that is not a theory that I have pushed.
Q. Do you think that —
A. But I do emphasize that Ledyard and I have no disagreements with whether evolution occurs.
Q. Do you think that Archaeopteryx was a link between reptiles and birds?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Do you think any modern birds existed at the same time as Archaeopteryx?
A. It's possible — more modern? No. That's a funny question. You mean modern species? Of course. If you mean anatomically more modern, the answer is probably yes because evolution is a branch of a bush and ancestors tend to persist so you always have the more primitive forms while advanced descendants are around. So it's very likely that it would be true.
For example, the genus Australopithecus in the form of Australopithecus robustus, lived on until it became contemporaneous with Homo erectus. It don't mean the genus itself is not ancestral.
(Continued on following page)
Q. Is part of your objection to creation-science a notion that it's based on something which is not tentative and not revisable?
A. Yes. It seems to me what's not revisable is the basic belief that a document, namely Genesis, must contain literal truth.
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions.
MR. ENNIS: We have no questions.
(Time noted: 4:50 p.m.)
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this ____________ day of ________________1981.
C E R T I F I C A T E
STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF NEW YORK )
I, HELAINE DRIBBEN, a Notary Public within and for the State of New York, do hereby certify:
That STEPHEN JAY GOULD, the witness whose deposition is hereinbefore set forth, was duly sworn by me and that such deposition is a true record of the testimony given by such witness.
I further certify that I am not related to any of the parties to this action by blood or marriage; and that I am in no way interested in the outcome of this matter.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 27th day of November, 1981.
WITNESS EXAMINATION BY PAGE
Stephen Jay Gould Mr. Williams 4
DEFENDANTS' FOR IDENT.
1 Article from the May 1981 DISCOVER Magazine, an article entitled "Evolution as Fact and Theory" 42
2 Article entitled "Born Again Creationism," by Steve Gould 143