Deposition of Margaret Helder - Page 2
you add to your definition or refine it or include what
connotations you want to assign to the definitions or
in any way accept whatever transcription or review
would be full enough for you to expect to have it
understood and to answer the questions that I have put.
A. I'm not going to equate the two. You can
talk as long as you like.
Q. Well, Doctor, I'm not asking you to equate
the two. I would be happy to have you answer the
question yes or no, but I wonder if you are willing to
answer the question.
Can you distinguish for me your understanding of
the difference between the concept of a series of
prior assumptions and the concept of a series of beliefs
which make up a religion?
A. I'm not going to do it. You can go on to
[Discussion off the record.]
MR. WOLFE: In view of the witness's refusal to
answer questions, I'm going to move on to another topic.
I want to make it clear that plaintiffs reserve
the right to move to preclude the witness from
testifying at all in view of her refusal to answer
what we certainly regard as proper questions.
I would be happy to hear from the witness or from
counsel a legal ground for the refusal to answer, if
you are aware of one or want to advance one on the
MR. CHILDS: We realize that she would not be
waiving any rights by proceeding on to any other
different subject matter, and we merely point out for
the record that whether or not the series of beliefs
and series of assumptions are the same has the same
semantic difficulties inherent in it as would at least
the semantic difficulties in it as determining how
many angels could dance on the head of a pin; and we
suggest that because this witness has to leave at 3:00,
that we move on to substantive aspects of her proposed
testimony at trial.
MR. WOLFE: I certainly would not accept the
contention that this is not a substantive area, that the
questions have no more than semantic content.
The witness has stated that she expected to
testify among other things about the definition of
One of the central issues of the case, arguably
the central issue of the case, will be the distinction
between the definition of science and the definition
There is some question as to whether or not the
witness can testify about any of these areas if she
is unwilling to discuss her definitions of science
and religion, and it certainly must be obvious that
she is not entitled to testify at trial about the
definition of science if she is unwilling to distinguish
science from religion, which, after all, will be one of
the things on which this case turns.
I certainly do agree with you that we do not waive
any of our rights to object to her being able to
testify in any way or indeed to testify at all by
virtue of moving on to other questions when she refused
to answer questions in this area.
- - -
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1981 12:35 O'CLOCK P.M.
- - -
[Also present, in addition to those present
during the morning testimony, were:
RICK CAMPBELL, PHILIP KAPLAN and BENU
EXAMINATION BY MR. WOLFE [RESUMED]:
THE WITNESS: I will volunteer to answer your
question this morning.
To my mind, the two are not the same thing. I
can't explain why, but they aren't.
MR. WOLFE: Q. That is, when you say "the two," you
mean a series of prior assumptions and a series of
A. I thought you were talking about religion.
Q. Well, let me withdraw the last question and
ask you, when you said that, to your mind, the two are
not the same, what do you mean by "the two"?
A. Religion and a series of prior assumptions.
Q. Doctor, I will just try to cover this
Then you believe that the Creation Science Associa-
tion of Alberta is not a religious organization?
A. I do believe that, yes.
Q. And the statement of principles of that
organization is a series of prior assumptions?
Q. But that is not the same as a series of beliefs
which are religious?
A. That is correct.
Q. And is it correct that you don't know the
ground for your belief they are not the same, but you
believe they are not the same?
A. That is correct.
Q. Dr. Helder, would you say that a series of
beliefs which are a religion embody faith or spring from
A. Embody what?
Q. Do you believe that any of the principles from
the statement of principles we've been discussing embody
A. I would say that they could.
Q. Do you believe that any of them do?
A. It depends on the person.
Q. Does the statement of principle of the
Creation Science Association of Alberta embody your
A. Personally, no.
Q. Doctor, I am sorry, I think I have asked you
this before, but I have forgotten your answer.
Do you regard Creation Science as a religion?
A. No, it is not. It doesn't deal with religion;
it deals with natural phenomena.
Q. Are you familiar with books and periodicals
that are written by or published by Creation Science
A. I have seen a number, yes.
Q. Have you read such books and articles about
A. I have read some.
Q. Doctor, are you aware of Dr. Duane Gish?
A. Dr. Duane Gish in --
He has a PhD in biochemistry?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. Have you read any of Dr. Gish's published
A. I cannot recall anything specific.
Oh, yes, I can. Yes, I have.
Q. Would you regard Dr. Gish as a Creation
A. Yes, I would.
Q. Would you say that he is a leader or an
authority on Creation Science?
A. I would say he is very articulate.
Q. Would you consider him as an authority on
A. Well, if you can tell me he is an authority
on evolution, I will tell you if he is an authority on
Q. I am merely trying to find out whether you
would regard Dr. Gish's work in Creation Science as
giving him a knowledge or expertise such that he could be
considered an authority in the field.
A. I would say that Dr. Gish is widely published.
Whether I would regard him as an authority on every
aspect of what he writes, I would say probably not,
because scientists -- you can get any two scientists and
they don't agree on everything. It doesn't matter what
two scientists you get together.
So if you are asking do I subscribe to everything
Dr. Duane Gish says, I would say probably not.
Q. Well, Doctor, without regard to whether or
not you might agree with Dr. Gish in any given matter, is
he recognized as an authority in Creation Science?
A. By whom?
Q. By Creation Scientists, generally.
A. I would say he is well-known.
Q. Are you able to give a yes or no answer to
Is Dr. Gish recognized generally by Creation
Scientists as an authority on Creation Science?
A. I do not know. I haven't discussed it with
Q. I see.
Then your answer is, you are not able to give a yes
or no answer?
A. That is correct.
Q. Are you aware of any writing of Dr. Gish in
which he has stated that Creation Science is a religion?
A. I'm not aware of any statement like that.
Q. If Dr. Gish had stated that Creation Science,
or if he had written that Creation Science is a religion,
would you agree or disagree with him?
A. I would disagree.
MR. WOLFE: I will ask the reporter to mark, as
deposition Exhibit 2, a letter by Dr. Gish to the editors
of the magazine, "Discovery," published in that magazine
in fall of 1981.
[Copy of one-page published letter
to the editors of Discovery
Magazine, marked for identifica-
tion as Plaintiffs' Exhibit No. 2]
MR. WOLFE: Q. Doctor, I will give you this
exhibit in a moment.
The letter begins,
"In his essay, Evolution as Fact,
Stephen Jay Gould states the
Creationists claim Creation is a
scientific theory. This is a
false accusation. Creationists
have repeatedly stated that neither
Creation nor Evolution is a scienti-
fic theory (and each is equally
That is the first few sentences in the letter?
Q. Would you agree with the statements that I
have just read into the record?
A. I would like to have you define what Dr. Gish
means by "religious" there.
He is, I presume, talking about metaphysical presup-
positions such as we discussed this morning. He means
that they are prior assumptions. He chose to use the
I would not use the term, "religious." Therefore,
in that I would not use the term, "religious," I do not
agree with him.
MR. CHILDS: Steve, could I say something on the
MR. WOLFE: Certainly.
MR. CHILDS: I'm not going to tell you how to run
your lawsuit, and I do want to compliment you and David on
your thoroughness. I think that, in all practicality,
today is going to be the only opportunity that you will
get to depose Dr. Helder, because we are going to strenu-
ously oppose any further deposition; and I am not going
to tell you what your issues are, but if you want to get
to the substance of her scientific testimony at all, I
would strongly urge you to do it soon, because I just
don't believe that Judge Overton is going to make us
make this witness available to you other than today.
MR. WOLFE: Well, all right. I will try not to
waste a great deal of time.
MR. CHILDS: You are not wasting time. I really
sincerely believe that today is it, however.
MR. WOLFE: I would have to say, as a practical
matter, I am inclined to agree with you.
The difficulty is that the witness list we were
given states that Dr. Helder will testify as to certain
matters which, by their most expansive interpretation,
could only apply to two out of the three that she has
told us this morning she is going to testify on, and I am
confronted with either confining myself to the two in order
to get through them as fully as I can in the time that
is available before she must leave at 3:00 o'clock, or
trying to delve into the third, which is a complete
I agree that delving into the third, which is a
complete surprise to us, as I say, will make it less
likely that I can be thorough as to the other two, but,
on the other hand, I don't like being completely sur-
I appreciate your contribution in making me aware of
how little time I have left and I will accept full
responsibility for making the choices as to what areas I
I do appreciate your concern.
MR. CHILDS: Okay. I understand.
I am not trying to be critical at all.
MR. WOLFE: I understand that, too.
MR. KAPLAN: Okay. Let's go.
MR. WOLFE: Q. Doctor, do you know of Dr. Henry
A. I have heard of him.
Q. Would you regard Dr. Morris as an accepted
authority in Creation Science?
A. My remarks on Dr. Gish would go for Dr.
- - -
Q. Doctor, could you tell me who you, yourself,
regard as the leading authorities on Creation Science?
A. I do not read the writings of Creation
Scientists and take their remarks for what I believe
I read scientific articles almost exclusively or
things exclusively by evolutionists and I make my own
conclusions, so that I do not read Dr. Gish's work; I do
not read the other people's work and say, "Oh, they say
such and such. How interesting."
I read original articles.
Q. Doctor, I don't wish to be rude --
A. So I don't have any authorities.
Q. I would appreciate if you would confine your
responses somewhat more closely to my questions.
Q. If it's true you do not recognize any authori-
ties in Creation Science, it would be enough if you
simply said, "There aren't any," or "I don't recognize
Is that your response, that you do not recognize
any authorities in Creation Science?
A. It is true that, from my understanding of
science, I read science and make my own conclusions.
Whether there are authorities or not, I do not know.
Q. And that is true as to both, let's say,
botany and Creation Science?
Q. Doctor, would you recognize any authorities
on aquatic fungi?
A. Again, I can tell you that there are people
who have published widely. There aren't many. It's a
very narrow field. But there are some who have published
widely, but I would not say there is any one authority.
Q. Well, can you give me the names of some of
those you have referred to who have published widely on
A. There is a big book put out by Dr. F. K.
Sparrow that is widely read by the aquatic fungus
There's another gentleman named E. C. Cantino, who
has published widely in the physiology of some aquatic
Those are the two --
Oh, there is a lady in England, Dr. Hilda Canter-
Lund, who has published widely in the field.
But I do not think anybody would say any one of
those is the leading authority. They are widely
published. That is all I would say.
Q. Are there any other standard or accepted
texts on aquatic fungi in addition to the one by Dr.
Sparrow that you have mentioned?
A. There is a big book called "Recent Advances
in Aquatic Biology," edited by Gareth Hardin,
H-a-r-d-i-n. Well, I am sorry, it's not Gareth Hardin.
Could I see my vitae? Is this my vitae
MR. CHILDS: Yes.
THE WITNESS: It's Gareth Jones, G-a-r-e-t-h, Jones.
And I wrote a chapter in that book, Chapter 19, to
MR. WOLFE: Q. Doctor, could you tell me who might
be some of the authorities or some of those who have
published widely on green algae?
A. Green algae? Yes. You have a large number of
those papers in the file that I gave you.
The green algae are such a broad topic that it
depends on -- you could be an expert on green algae and
never have heard of an awful lot of people writing on
green algae. It depends on what field you are in.
But if you are talking the field I am talking about
Q. Yes, please.
Dr. Jeremy Heaps wrote a book on the green algae.
I can't recall any other books that refer only to the
Q. Doctor, could you describe for me your
specialization within green algae?
A. My research interest, is that what you are
Q. Well, yes.
The area in which you have studied and read and
done your work.
A. Well, specific research interest is, of
course, narrower than what I have read and taught in the
As to my research interest, for example, you have a
paper there that deals with aquatic fungus parasitizing
a green alga oocystys, o-o-c-y-s-t-y-s, various oocystys
Now, that fungus is new to science and I named it,
so I was studying the ecology of the alga and the
I studied the ecology of all of the algae that I saw
in the specific bodies of water that I was sampling, so
it wasn't just green algae, it was all of the algae I
When it comes to lecturing, I lectured in the
ecology of green algae and of all algae. I also lectured
in the taxonomy of green algae and all algae.
Q. Doctor, can you tell me the specifics of the
testimony that you expect to give on the nucleus of green
If evolution is a correct model, then there are
certain predictions that have to follow from that model.
Now, one prediction is that the nucleus is going to have
a conservative character.
That is, the nucleus controls genetic characteris-
tics of the cell, the inheritance and also the function-
ing of the cell. Now, that involves a wide array of
genes, so that, because it involves a wide array of
genes, any one mutation is going to have a small effect.
Also, because it's so important to the cell, the
chances that any one mutation will have a bad effect is
Because of these reasons, then, one would make the
prediction that the nucleus would not change greatly
over time, that it would be -- that of all characteris-
tics, I would expect that one to show the least change,
so if you look at the nucleus, you should be able to
trace or get an estimate of what the common ancestors
Now, as one looks at the algae as a whole, within
the past few years it has been discovered that the
nucleus has -- there are amazing differences in the
character of the nucleus in algae as a whole.
Now, of course, you can explain that by saying there
were long periods of descent after they diverged from a
common ancestor; but when you get to the green algae,
which is one specific group, the finding has been that
there is an amazing amount of variation within the green
Now, even more interesting is the fact, the finding,
that the nuclear division process in the green algae is
not that typical of the higher plants. Now, the theory
is that higher plants come from the green algae. There
has been only one alga found that has cell division the
same as the higher plants, and there are some green algae
which have been found to have a process that remotely
resembles what is found in the higher plants.
Now, on the basis of this finding, on the assumption
that the nucleus is a conservative characteristic, the
taxonomy of the green algae has been drastically changed
and those two algae with the nuclear process remotely
similar to the higher process have been now said to be
on a different line of descent from the majority of the
Now, another prediction of evolutionary theory is
that you can't look for relationships just of one
characteristic, that there should be several characteris-
tics. You should be able to trace ancestry with several.
Descendants of a common ancestor you would expect to be
similar in more than one characteristic, presuming there
are conservative characteristics other than one. And
biochemical products is another characteristic that is
assumed to be conservative.
Well, it was stated that there were other criteria
which did not support this drastic separation of the two
groups of algae, but upon looking at the papers, recent
papers, I have found that not one of those criteria is
found only in the one so-called "line of descent," so
they have separated green algae on the basis of one
characteristic alone, and this is a very small group of
algae, it's drastically, it drastically goes against
patterns that would be assumed to be correct on the
basis of other characteristics.
So that the only conclusion one can come to is that
the nucleus is not a conservative characteristic, so the
predictions of the theory of evolution don't hold up.
Q. Doctor, could you please describe for me the
specifics of your expected testimony about the system-
atics of algae?
- - -
A. Well, again, experts look at the experts of
a group of organisms like the algae, and they try to
pick out patterns of common, similar characteristics
which could suggest a common ancestor.
Now, when one looks at the algae as a whole and
looks at the characteristics that would be thought to be
conservative or involve a wide array of genes, things
like pigments, storage products, wall materials, this
sort of thing, no pattern can be detected.
There was a paper that came out in 1967, a fat
paper, like this [indicating]. It's in the file. It
was by Klein and Cronquist.
And they tried to look for patterns of relationships,
and they say in that paper that one reviewer of their
paper stated that to look for relationships was a
sterile and futile intellectual process because no
relationships could be found.
Two algae might be similar in one characteristic
and drastically different in other characteristics,
and in these other characteristics they might be similar
to totally different algae.
There is another paper by a chap called Taylor,
and he looked at motile organisms in general, not only
algae but protozoan, and he entitled his paper, "A Study
in Conflicts," because, again, he could not detect any
patterns of relationship.
So my conclusion is that, seeing it is not
possible to detect patterns of relationship, it is a
valid conclusion on the basis of present evidence to
say there is no relationship as far as we can see.
Q. Doctor, have you ever written any papers
embodying the material you have just given me about
your likely testimony on either the nucleus of green
algae or the systematics of algae?
A. No, but I taught it.
Q. I see.
Are your views, as you have just stated them, on
the nucleus of green algae or the systematics of algae
accepted by any other workers in your field?
A. What I have stated is what is in the
scientific papers. The authorities on the topic, and
this can't be denied, of course, differ.
Q. Are you aware of any workers in your field
who agree with your conclusions?
A. No. I have not discussed it.
Q. Have you ever seen any publications or heard
seminar or symposia presentations which indicate any
workers in your field who agree with your conclusions?
Q. Doctor, do you know of any workers in your
field who disagree with your conclusions?
A. Well, in that the workers that I quote
support the evolution model, of course, they disagree
with me in my conclusions.
Q. Are you aware -- I will withdraw that.
Doctor, I will give you now a copy of Act 590,
the Arkansas statute which is at issue in this action.
I will ask you to refer to Section 4 of the act,
which is headed "Definitions."
Q. It includes in Section 4(a) a general
definition of Creation Science, and it goes on to list
six items which it states are included among Creation
Could you read those six numbered items and tell
me whether you agree with the accuracy of those
A. I would agree.
Q. Can you tell me which of the "originally
created kinds of plants and animals" green algae are in?
A. Well, I haven't thought on that topic. I
just haven't speculated on that.
Q. I see.
Do you agree that there has been no change or
evolution or transition between kinds in nature?
A. Are you saying "has been no change"?
Q. No change between kinds; that is, change in
which a plant or animal representative of one originally-
created kind has become a plant or animal or another
A. I would agree.
Q. Are you able to define "kind" for me?
A. Well, I will say that change within kinds
would deal with change in complexity. There is change
in detail, big or little, black or white, variations
in color, but when it comes to change in the degree of
complicatedness of an organism, I would say that has
Q. Is that the only definition you are able to
give of your understanding of "kind"?
Q. Given that definition, would you say that
green algae belong to one kind only or to more than one?
A. I do not know.
Q. Doctor, are you aware of any transitional
forms between kinds?
Q. Would it be your view that there are no
such transitional forms between kinds?
Q. Doctor, would you regard procaryotic cells
and eucaryotic cells as being in different kinds?
Q. Are you aware of the existence of any
intermediate forms between procaryotic and eucaryotic
Q. Are you able to describe to me what a
transitional form between a procaryotic and a eucaryotic
cell, if one were to exist, might look like?
A. I can't speculate. The sky is the limit.
Q. Well, given your understanding of the
essential nature of procaryotic cells and of eucaryotic
cells, are you able to say what the intermediate
characteristics might look like?
I mean, I appreciate your imagination may well be
infinite, but we are, after all, talking about two
kinds as to which there must be some knowledge.
Are you able to describe what an intermediate form
between them, what character such an intermediate form
There are two drastically different theories as to
how there might have been that transition; that is,
among Evolution Scientists.
They wouldn't agree on what transitional forms
would look like.
And I might mention that the difference between
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells is said to be the
greatest discontinuity in living organisms.
Q. Are you able to describe for me the
characteristics of an organism which, if it were
discovered, would cause you to believe that procaryotic
and eucaryotic cells are not different kinds?
A. You mean that the one descended from the
other' is that what you are saying?
Q. Well, I would accept that modification,
A. In that one cannot see one organism changing
into another, it is hard to say, given any scientific
organism, whether it descended from another one.
If there were characteristics in common, an
assumption that the one came from the other would be one
Q. I am not certain that I altogether understood
You are saying that you cannot imagine any newly
discovered evidence which would cause you to believe that
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells were not different
A. There is none.
Let's start with that.
What a transitional form is is a matter of
Are you saying that if I saw a transitional form,
would I change my mind?
Q. I am asking you if there is any transitional
form or any form, any organism which you can imagine,
the discovery of which would be enough to cause you to
change your conclusion?
A. What a transitional form is is a matter of
definition in that we cannot go back and watch it
changing, so if someone said something is transitional,
that is their assumption about it, so it cannot be known
if it is transitional.
Q. Perhaps my questions are poorly constructed
by virtue of having the phrase "transitional form" in
Can you imagine any organism or any datum at all,
the discovery of which would cause you to change your
A. I don't think that is a fair question in
that if you said that to an Evolutionist, I am sure they
can't imagine anything that would cause them to change
their mind, so why should you ask me?
Q. Well, Dr. Helder, at the cost of being
wearisome, you are the only witness available for
deposition today, so I cannot ask these questions of an
Evolution Scientists because none are being deposed
A. But do you do it when they are here?
Q. Ma'am, none have been deposed in the case.
I would appreciate it, however, if you would be
willing to answer the question that I put.
A. I do not know of a transitional form that
would cause me to change my mind.
There could be some, but I don't know of any.
Q. That is, you do not know of any presently
known to science?
A. That is correct.
- - -
Q. Are you able to describe the characteristics
of an organism that, if it were conclusively shown to
have been discovered tomorrow, would cause you to change
Q. Is there any discovery you can imagine that,
if it were demonstrated to you, would cause you to
change your conclusion?
A. I think there are, but I can't tell you of
Q. Doctor, would you describe for me, please,
what you regard as the essential characteristics of
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells.
A. A procaryotic cell is one that does not have
a defined nucleus. The structures within the cell are
not membrane-bound. There are membranes within the
cell, some cells, but they are not bound within
membranes. The genetic material is in a long strand.
It's defined as a circle or a loop. There are not
discrete chromosomes and there are no histone proteins
on the genetic material.
Now, do you want the definition of a eucaryotic
A. A eucaryotic cell has membrane-bound struc-
tures. The genetic material is in discrete chromosomes.
In most cases there are histone proteins on the genetic
That is a very sketchy outline of the difference.
Q. Did you omit from the definition of eucaryotic
cells that they have a defined nucleus?
A. Did I omit that?
A. Okay. It does have a defined nucleus, you
MR. CHILDS: Which does?
THE WITNESS: Eucaryotic cells.
MR. WOLFE: Q. Doctor, do all procaryotic cells
have the -- I made them out to be four characteristics.
Do all procaryotic cells have the four characteris-
tics that you mentioned, and do all eucaryotic cells
have the corresponding state of the four characteristics
that you mentioned?
A. In the case of the procaryotic, to the best
of my recollection, yes.
As far as the eucaryotic, no. There was one group
or some groups that do not.
Q. Are you able to tell me which groups among
the eucaryotic cells do not have all of the four charac-
teristics that you mentioned?
A. The dinoflagellates, among the algae, do not.
That is d-i-n-o-f-l-a-f-e-l-l-a-t-e-s.
Q. Doctor, which of the four characteristics of
the eucaryotic cells do dinoflagellates not have?
A. The nucleus is very different. They lack
histone proteins. That is one of the major differences.
Q. Doctor, in what respect is the nucleus of
dinoflagellates very different from that of eucaryotic
A. Well, in cell division -- the appearance is
different, for a start, in that the chromosome, the
nuclear material is not granular in appearance when the
cell is in a resting state. The chromosomes are con-
densed. So there is a difference in appearance there.
And the process of cell division is quite different.
Q. Can you tell me in what respect -- I'm
I didn't hear clearly whether you said that the
process of chromosome division or the process of nuclear
division is quite different.
A. Nuclear division.
Q. Could you tell me in what respect the process
of nuclear division is quite different?
A. The process does not involve a spindle, as
such, a spindle being a structure of little tubes that
sort of looks like a diamond.
Now, in the dinoflagellates, also the nuclear
membrane does not disappear, and -- well, it's quite
complicated, but the chromosomes are thought possibly to
attach to the nuclear membrane and to be pulled apart as
the nuclear membrane grows.
Q. Doctor, is it correct that the description
you just have been giving me of the dinoflagellates and
the respects in which they differ from other eucaryotic
cells is accepted by most workers in the field?
Q. And is it correct that you accept the descrip-
tion that you have been giving me as well?
A. That is correct.
Q. Doctor, are you aware of whether there are
forms presently known to science that other workers in
your field regard as intermediate between procaryotic
and eucaryotic cells?
A. I didn't say these were intermediate.
Q. Yes, Ma'am. I haven't suggested you have.
A. You said, "Are there any other forms that are
Q. I am sorry. Let me --
My question is: Are you aware of forms presently
known to science that other workers in the field regard
as intermediate between procaryotic and eucaryotic cells?
A. I would say that other workers in the field
do not regard those as intermediate.
Q. I am sorry. Either I am not making my ques-
tions clear or perhaps you are not --
A. You are suggesting these are intermediate.
Q. Doctor, I am not suggesting anything.
Q. I am asking you, are there forms presently
known to science which other workers than yourself in
your field regard as intermediate between procaryotic
and eucaryotic cells?
Let me be explicit. I am not assuming that these
forms are so regarded.
Q. Are there any forms?
A. Not that I can recall like that. I would be
interested to hear you name some.
Q. Are you aware of whether or not other workers
in the field regard -- I will withdraw that.
Is it your understanding that other workers in the
field do recognize some forms as intermediate between
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells, whatever those forms
A. I can show you quote after quote from estab-
lished authorities in the field that say there is a
tremendous leap between the two. To my knowledge, they
do not have any idea as to what, amongst present-day
organisms could represent an intermediate form.
Q. Then it's your testimony that your understand-
ing is that no workers in the field recognize any
presently known organism as intermediate between
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells?
A. I would not say that. I would say that I do
not know of any. I would not say that no workers
recognize some. I do not know that because I haven't
read every paper in the scientific literature, but I
can't recall any just like that.
Q. Doctor, are you aware of any dinoflagellates
which do possess nuclei that divide in what might be
called the "typical fashion"?
A. Some dinoflagellates have two nuclei. I have
seen only one paper discussing the characteristics of
that second nucleus, but in that paper the one nucleus
that I saw referred to did not divide in a typical way.
So if you showed me a paper that said there was
one, I would go along with it, but I don't know of any.
Q. Would you regard a dinoflagellate that had
two nuclei, one of which divided atypically by the
process you described a few moments ago and one of which
divided in typical fashion, as intermediate between
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells?
A. No, it can't be. It doesn't fit any of the
Q. Any of which criteria?
A. Well, dinoflagellates, the nucleus has been
said by some to be primitive and the term,
"mesocaryotic," has been applied to it,
Now, the same workers who talk about a mesocaryotic
nucleus in the dinoflagellates also say that, in all
other characteristics, the dinoflagellates are not at all
what they would say is primitive, they are very compli-
cated. The term, "advanced in the other characteris-
tics," could be used, so that the dinoflagellate, as it
stands, cannot be said to be transitional.
The other nucleus does not resemble the typical
eucaryotic nucleus. Therefore, if someone says it's
transitional, they are reading that into it and in no
way does it resemble it.
Q. Would you regard it as unreasonable, that is,
scientifically unreasonable, to regard a form which was,
let's say, primitive in certain respects and advanced in
others, as a transitional form or an intermediate form
between primitive and advanced groups?
A. Not only I, but other people in the field,
would also regard it not as a reasonable transitional
Q. Are you aware of any in your field who might,
in fact, regard it as a transitional form based on the
fact that it has both primitive and advanced character-
A. I'm not aware of any.
MR. WOLFE: Could you read back the next to the
last question and answer?
MR. WOLFE: I am sorry.
Give me the question and answer before that.
[Record further read]
MR. WOLFE: Q. Dr. Helder, would it be your view
that someone looking at the dinoflagellates, who says
that they are not intermediate or transitional forms, is
also -- I think your language was, "reading that into
A. Could you repeat that?
THE WITNESS: I'm not certain what you want to
MR. WOLFE: Q. Well, I believe you stated in the
answer that was read back that dinoflagellates cannot be
said to be transitional.
A. That is right.
Q. And I think you went on to say that someone
who was looking at them and says that is simply reading
that into it.
Q. Now --
A. That was with reference to the second nucleus.
Q. I am asking whether you hold the opinion that
someone who looks at the evidence and has the other
view, namely, that they are not transitional, is also
reading that into the evidence.
A. I can tell you that the opinion of some
people in the field is that that second nucleus repre-
sents a golden alga which has invaded a dinoflagellate
more recently. That is the opinion of people in the
For example, Dr. Taylor, in his paper, A Study in
Conflicts, mentions that. And Dr. Dodge. Both of these
gentlemen study dinoflagellates and Dr. Dodge also
mentions that the second nucleus could be a golden alga
that had invaded it.
Now, the character of the nucleus does not support
their supposition, but I have not seen them suggest that
it's transitional between eucaryotic and procaryotic
because golden algae are just ordinary eucaryotic algae.
Q. Doctor, once again, I'm afraid I have asked a
poor question or you haven't responded to the question.
What I wondered is this. I take it that you regard
the view that dinoflagellates are transitional as a con-
clusion or interpretation.
A. The conclusion or interpretation that dino-
flagellates are transitional is not even supported by
the majority of algae experts, so why should I support
Q. Well, my question was only this. I take it
that you regard that view.
A. I do not think them transitional?
Do you regard that view, if held by anyone, as an
Q. Do you regard your own view as an interpreta-
- - -
Q. Is it then true that the basis for your
statement earlier that dinoflagellates cannot be said to
be transitional is that your interpretation and
conclusion is they are not?
A. That is my conclusion based on people's
who are working with dinoflagellates.
Q. Doctor, would you regard a cell which had a
defined nucleus --
A. A what?
Q. Would you regard a cell which had a defined
nucleus but which did not contain mitochondria as a
eucaryotic or procaryotic cell?
A. There are such cells, and they are regarded
by the experts as eucaryotic cells which have lost
their mytochondria, so why should I quibble?
Q. So that is your own view, as well?
A. That is my own view, as well.
Q. Do you know whether any workers in the area
regard such forms as perhaps transitional between
procaryotic and eucaryotic cells?
A. I have never read that suggestion.
Q. What would be your view of that view if it
were held by someone?
A. My view would be they would have to look at
more than mitochondria.
MR. KLAPLAN: Could we have a quick five-minute
MR. CHILDS: Sure. We need one about now.
[Short recess taken.]
MR. WOLFE: Back on the record.
Q. Doctor, again referring to Act 590, the
statute that is at issue in the case, and looking at
Section 4 once more, is it your view, as stated in
Section 4(a)-6, that the inception of the earth and
living kinds was relatively recent?
A. That is my personal view.
Q. Is that your personal view as a scientist?
A. As a scientist I don't have any evidence
from my own work on that, so that from my scientific
work I cannot make any judgment.
Q. What is the basis then for your belief that
the inception of the earth and living kinds is
A. That is outside my field of expertise.
There are other people who have looked at the topic
and talk about evidence for a relatively young earth.
From my own work I can't give you any.
Q. Doctor, do you accept that the inception of
the earth and living kinds was relatively recent as a
matter of faith?
A. It is a prior assumption.
The age of the earth, it doesn't really matter.
You could pick any age, and if you had evidence for
defending that age, I would go along with it.
Q. Well, do you have a view or an opinion as
to what in fact the age of the earth is?
A. I have an opinion.
Q. What is that opinion.
A. My opinion is that anywhere between 100,000
and 10,000 years would be a reasonable assumption.
Q. And why is it that you would be willing to
accept some other suggested age, as I believe you
stated you would in your last answer?
A. Whether there is a supernatural agent who
has created the universe is one issue. How long ago it
was is another.
My opinion is that long ages are not needed if
creation occurred, so therefore, seeing as they are not
a necessary condition of creation by a supernatural
being, I do not need to believe in long ages; whereas
But I am agnostic. I don't know.
Q. Do you believe that a Creation Scientist
has need to disbelieve the age of the earth?
Q. I believe you stated earlier that -- I will
I will ask the reporter to mark as Helder
deposition Exhibit 3 the pages containing drawings of
[Two pages of drawings of algae
were marked Plaintiffs' Exhibits
3A and 3B for identification.]
MR. WOLFE: Q. Doctor, I will ask you to look at
The originals here.
Q. Could you tell me with reference to Exhibits
3A and 3B how many kinds of algae you would regard as
represented here, that is, the kinds which were
especially created by God?
A. I must plead ignorance. I do not recognize
all of these algae.
The top one is a diatom, d-i-a-t-o-m.
Q. Doctor, I don't like to interrupt, but in
referring to the exhibit, each of the examples has a
number and a letter assigned to it. Perhaps you could
refer to them that way so it will be clear on the
record what you are referring to.
A. No. 468 is a diatom.
269, these are green algae from the group
The next is 330, which is a green algae, a desmid,
probably two desmid species. I am not sure.
326 is also a desmid. That is micrasterias,
The next one is also a desmid, causmerium. That
The next one is a desmid, No. 328.
I don't know if they are all the same genus.
Certainly some of them are staurastrum, s-t-a-u-r-a-s-t-
Exhibit 270 on page 3B -- or Exhibit 3B -- is also
a member of the chloroccales.
No, 329 is another desmid. I'm not sure of the
357 is also a member of the chloroccales. I'm not
sure of the genus name.
272 is a member of the chloroccales, and it's
No. 258 is, I suspect, also a member of the
chloraccales. There are two parts to No. 258.
Now, you asked me a question earlier about the
green algae. Most of these are green algae with the
exception of the top one, which is a diatom, which is
not a green algae.
Q. That is No. 468.
I declined to define kinds with reference to the
green algae previously. I don't see why I should
Q. I see.
Doctor, is it your opinion that algae were
A. It is my opinion.
- - -
Q. And is it your view they were created within
one or more kinds originally and that there has never
been evolution of algae from one or more of the created
kinds into any other since that time?
A. There has never been any change in complexity.
Q. Is it correct, then, that, while you believe
that algae were created within specially-created kinds,
you have no view as to what kinds or how many they were
A. I do not speculate.
Q. Well, have you made any scientific study
about what kinds of green algae were created or how many?
A. I have not made a scientific study of that
Q. Do you believe that it's possible to study
scientifically which kinds green algae were created in?
A. I believe it is possible to look for degree
of variation within organisms.
Q. Doctor, do you believe it's possible to study
scientifically what kinds green algae were created in?
A. One must look for patterns of similarity.
Q. Are you able to answer yes or no as to whether
you believe it's possible to study scientifically what
kinds green algae were created within?
A. It's possible to look to see if organisms are
similar or not.
Q. That is, it's possible to look and study
whether or not green algae were created within one or
more special kinds?
A. It is possible to make assumptions based on
data that one gets now; but as one was not around, one
cannot make definite conclusions.
One can, on the basis of degrees of similarity,
make hypotheses, but one cannot know for sure whether
they are correct or not.
Q. Then are you saying it's impossible to deter-
mine what kinds green algae were created within?
A. I would say that.
Q. Do you regard it as necessary to accept on
faith that they were created within kinds?
A. That has nothing to do with scientific
Q. I see.
That is, you are saying that the question of kinds
and whether or not green algae were created within them
or within one or more is not subject to scientific
A. One cannot establish it scientifically. One
can make hypotheses, but you cannot know whether your
hypotheses are right or not.
Q. Have you made any hypotheses about the kinds
in which green algae were created?
Q. Have you made any study at all in your study
of the systematics of algae about the kinds in which
they were created.
Q. Have you made any study about whether or not
the algae may have evolved from the kinds, one or more,
however many, whichever ones they were assumed to be
created in, into some other kind other than those in
which they were originally created?
A. All I can do is what other people do: Look
at the characteristics of the green algae and I see a
lot of variation.
As we discussed earlier this morning, there are
different theories as to how the green algae could have
descended from common ancestors, but there is no agree-
ment on those patterns of relationship between special-
So if there isn't agreement by the specialists as
to what the patterns of relationship are, then there
can't be obvious evidence.
Q. I see.
Then is it correct that you regard it as impossible
to determine within what kinds green algae were created?
A. I am not saying that. I am saying that, on
the basis of the evidence we have now, we cannot see
Q. What evidence would you seek in order to
determine what kinds green algae were created within?
A. I would say on the basis of the evidence we
have now, the evidence --
I asked what evidence you would seek. You have
already said it's impossible to put them within kinds
based on the evidence we have right now.
Q. What evidence would you seek in order to make
A. Well, the evidence at present is so contra-
dictory that it would be difficult to imagine what
criterion one could look for that would override the
previous evidence, because you need several characteris-
tics the same in a pattern, you need conservative char-
Now, they have already looked at those.
Q. Are you saying, then, that the present evidence
makes it impossible to determine what kinds were
specially created and that you cannot imagine any
discoverable evidence which would make it possible?
A. I cannot imagine any discoverable evidence
that would show the green algae to be descended from a
Q. Doctor, that wasn't my question.
My question is: What evidence would you look for in
order to determine scientifically what kinds green algae
were specially created in?
A. Well, the evidence they are looking at now.
Q. But did you not just tell me that it was
impossible to make the determination of kinds from the
Q. Are you then saying that it's impossible to
make the determination at all?
A. On the basis of known characteristics of the
green algae, it would appear that way.
Q. Can you imagine any evidence discoverable in
the future by scientific means which would render it
possible scientifically to place green algae in the
kinds within which they were specially created?
A. I can't imagine any. It's possible somebody
could suggest some to me, but I can't imagine it.
Q. But is it your view it's not possible to
determine scientifically what kinds green algae were
A. I would suspect it.
Q. I'm sorry.
A. I would suspect that to be the case. I would
not state categorically.
Q. Then what is the source of your belief that
green algae were in fact created within kinds if it's
impossible to determine what kinds or in fact if they
were within kinds?
A. Well, I look at the evidence and there is no
evidence they were created within kinds, so therefore
I don't see any need to make a conclusion that they
were descended from a common ancestor. There is no
evidence to suggest that they were.
Q. Doctor, I'm afraid I don't altogether under-
stand your last answer.
Would you read back the last answer, please, Mr.
THE WITNESS: I am sorry. That first part was a
slip of the tongue.
There is no evidence they were descended from a
The first part he read was a slip of the tongue.
MR. WOLFE: Are you aware of other workers in your
field who believe there is some evidence they were
descended from a common ancestor?
A. There are, of course, Pickett, Heaps and
Stewart. These workers I referred to earlier, who indeed
do believe that the green algae are descended from a
common ancestor, so I am aware.
Q. Would it be fair to say that the general
belief of people working in your area is, they were
descended from a common ancestor?
A. There is that general belief.
Q. And I understand you to have said earlier
it's your belief they were not descended from a common
ancestor, but rather were created within special kinds.
Q. Can you tell me the basis for your belief?
A. My basis is that they are not following the
conclusions that come from their evidence. They are
making conclusions in spite of their evidence.
Q. I also understood you to have said in the
last short while we have been talking that you do not
know of any presently-known evidence which could show
the kinds within which algae were specially created.
Q. Nor could you imagine any future discoverable
A. Kinds within which --
Q. Within which algae were created.
A. I thought we were talking about green algae.
Q. You are right.
Nor would you know or imagine any future discover-
able evidence which could show the kinds within which
they had been created.
Therefore, I am asking: On what evidence do you
base your view they were created within special kinds?
Have you any scientific evidence as a basis for that
A. There is no scientific evidence to the
- - -
Q. That is your view, but didn't you say just
a moment ago there are other workers in your field who
believe there is scientific evidence to the contrary?
A. I said they have that belief in spite of
the evidence, not derived from it.
Q. Did the persons you mentioned, Pickett,
Heaps and the others, hold that belief, the belief they
hold, despite the scientific evidence?
Q. Then it's your view that while they believe
there is scientific evidence for it, you do not believe
it, and you believe they hold their belief in descent
from a common ancestor despite the evidence?
A. That is a perfectly valid position in
Q. Are you able to tell me on what scientific
evidence you base your belief?
A. The lack of evidence for a common ancestor.
They can't defend their belief in a common ancestor.
Q. If you won't mind answering my question, I
understood you to have testified there are scientists
who believe in descent from a common ancestor and they
have a basis satisfactory to themselves in scientific
evidence for that belief; and I also understand you to
have said that you have a belief that algae, green
algae, were created within special kinds but that you
do not know of any scientific evidence which is the
basis for your belief.
Is that right?
A. Well, there are within the green algae or
have been up to the last few years an idea on what the
relationships in the green algae have been.
Now, based on studies of the nucleus, some workers
are questioning those relationships which are typically
assumed to be correct.
Now, Picket-Heaps made one suggestion based on
one aspect of nuclear division. Stewart and his
workers made an alternative suggestion based on the
Now, Stewart and his workers have since decided
that Pickett-Heaps' arguments were more valid, but they
have been looking at the same evidence and drew
different conclusions, so there is no evidence.
Q. Doctor, I understand that there is some
evidence more or less for the belief that it descends
from a common ancestor which is accepted more or less
by the persons who have that belief but it's not
accepted as scientific evidence by you; but I am asking
again and again if you could tell me what scientific
evidence there is as a basis for your belief in kinds?
Is there any evidence, aside from the fact that
you don't accept the evidence for the other belief; is
there any evidence which supports the belief that you
A. As there is no evidence for the alternative,
as authorities in the green algae differ as to what
the pattern of descent is, I can say there is no
evidence for descent from a common ancestor.
Therefore, it is as valid for me to reject the idea
of a common ancestor as it is to accept it.
Q. What is the basis for your belief in
creation in special kinds?
A. Negative evidence.
Q. That is, you are not compelled by the
scientific evidence to believe in descent from a common
A. That is correct.
Q. So you are free to believe in creation
within special kinds for some other reason.
Can you tell me what the other reason is?
A. Well, it's a valid alternative hypothesis.
Q. But we have already agreed there is no
scientific evidence for supporting it. You have told
me that there is no scientific evidence supporting
the evolutionary alternative.
Q. And you have told me there is no scientific
evidence, or you have been unable to point to any that
support the special creation alternative.
Q. What is the source of your belief in the
special creation alternative if it's not from science?
A. I am as free to pick one alternative as
Q. Yes. I am simply asking if you can tell
me what the basis for your choice is.
We seem to have established that it doesn't have
to do with scientific evidence, and I wonder then what
it does have to do with.
A. Well, we already defined at the beginning
that topics about origins are metaphysical. That is,
they are not open to test. And there are two possible
One is that a supernatural agency could have been
involved, and another is that everything has to be
explained on mechanistic grounds.
Now, it is my contention that the characteristics
found in the algae are such that no possible pattern can
be detected. Therefore, there could have been no
Q. I understand you have told me several
times that you see no convincing scientific evidence
for descent of green algae from a common ancestor, and
I understand that you believe algae were created within
one or more special kinds, although you cannot identify
Is it correct to assume then or -- is it correct
that you believe that green algae were created within
the special kinds on some basis other than naturalistic
A. I just told you that the pattern of
characteristics is such that it is not possible to trace