Deposition of Margaret Helder - Page 3
a common ancestor because you can't have a similarity
to one algae over here and a similarity to a drastically
different algae over there and trace a nice path of
Therefore, that negates the idea of a common
Q. I understand that you do not believe the --
A. I am saying the present evidence negates the
idea of a common ancestor.
Q. Is the present evidence for Creation Science
only metaphysical evidence or extranaturalistic evidence?
A. I just told you: It is natural; it is in
the algae themselves.
Q. No. You have told me that the present
evidence, based on naturalistic phenomena, does not
convince you they could have been descended from a common
ancestor; but you told me earlier you did not know of
any naturalistic evidence or scientific evidence that
is not counter to that theory but rather supportive of
If there is no scientific evidence, is there some
nonscientific evidence or metaphysical evidence that
supports this belief of yours in special kinds?
A. I told you that the patterns of
characteristics within the algae make it impossible to
hypothesize a common ancestor.
Q. Doctor, I understand you do not believe
the doctrine of descent of green algae from a common
ancestor. I understand you will not accept that
alternative as being based on scientific evidence. We
are trying to talk about what you do believe.
You have told me you do believe they were created
within special kinds.
Q. But you haven't been able to tell me, no
matter how many times I have asked, what scientific
evidence there is for that.
If there isn't a scientific basis for the belief,
what is the basis?
A. I just told you that within the scientific
evidence, as you look at the algae, the characteristics
are such that is it not possible to hypothesize a
common ancestor from a logical point of view. Therefore,
it is based on science.
Q. Is it true then that you are convinced by
virtue of the fact that you don't see any scientific
evidence for alternative A, descent from a common
ancestor, that you regard yourself as free to choose
any other alternative?
Q. Why have you chosen to choose alternative B,
if I may, that is, the portion of it that supports
creation within special kinds?
A. Well, there are two logical alternatives.
One is descent from a common ancestor and the other is
separate creation. Those are the two logical
alternatives. If you don't accept one, you accept the
Q. I see.
So all of your scientific bases for creation
within special kinds is simply negative inference from
the arguments of Evolution Science?
A. I would say basically.
Q. Doctor, do you believe in the six-day
- - -
Q. Do you believe that fungi were created during
A. On a personal basis, I do.
Q. Do you believe as a scientific matter that
fungi were created during the six-day creation week?
A. I don't have any scientific evidence to the
Q. Do you have any scientific evidence that
supports it other than the absence of evidence to the
A. I have not studied the systematics of fungi
very closely. I know what the basic outline is, but I
do not have evidence to negate my personal belief.
Q. Doctor, do you believe that the fall of Adam
and Eve from grace or from perfection and their departure
from the Garden of Eden is literal truth?
A. On a personal level.
Q. Do you believe that death or decay existed
prior to the time of the fall?
A. On a personal level, I would suspect not.
Q. Do you know of any scientific evidence on the
A. I do not know of any.
Q. Is it true that fungi require death or decay
of some fashion in order to exist?
A. Fungi grow on organic matter. You can grow
fungi in a Petri dish with glucose and amino acids which
you have synthesized artificially, if you like.
Q. Excepting vitro or laboratory conditions, is
it true that fungi require death and decay or the
products thereof for life nature?
A. Fungi grow on living organisms. They do not
require death and decay.
Q. Are there any fungi which live only on prod-
ucts of death or decay?
A. To my knowledge, fungi that grown on dead
organisms can usually, to my knowledge, be grown in
vitro. So to my knowledge, I don't know of any.
Q. My notes say that you testified earlier that
you studied fungi which either parasitized live algae or
lived on dead algal material, is that correct?
A. That is correct.
But you are asking, do they need to grow on dead
I take it your view is that it's not the case.
A. No, they don't need to grow on dead algal
Q. Would you say that is the generally accepted
view of people working in your field?
A. The generally accepted view of people in the
field is that saprophytes can grow in vitro. Not all of
them are grown in vitro, but technically they should be
able to do it.
Q. Doctor, if you don't mind my interrupting, I
suggested earlier we might except in vitro conditions
and try to talk about conditions existing in nature.
Is it your view that saprophytes are able to live
on live hosts in nature?
A. No. Saprophytes don't live on live hosts.
They live on organic material. But whether that material
has to come from a previously living organism or not,
that is your question, and I am saying no.
Q. What do you imagine might have been the
source or organic material on which saprophytes created
during the six-day creation week might have lived if
they did not parasitize live hosts or if there had not
been death or decay prior to the fall?
A. That is a very speculative question. There
is no scientific evidence for that.
If I were speculating, I would say that there were
organic materials present.
Q. What organic materials were there that were
A. I'm not saying they weren't created. I'm
saying they didn't necessarily have to be the products
of living organisms.
Q. I see.
Are you aware of any organic material created during
the six-day creation week which was not living at the
time and alive until at least the fall?
A. That is all speculation. I mean, you can
What does it matter if there were sugars around or
Q. Well, then is it your view there may very
well have been things created during creation week that
aren't mentioned in the Bible?
Q. Then you wouldn't regard such an omission in
the Bible as an error?
A. What Genesis has in it has no relevance to a
discussion of scientific evidence.
Now, on a personal level, from an opinion, of
course, Genesis does not list all of the kinds or organ-
isms or all of the things that were made. It's a very
Q. Doctor, is it your view that parasites were
specially created during the six-day creation week?
A. I do not know.
Q. Do you have any opinion at all?
A. I do not even have an opinion on that.
Q. How would you account for the presence of
parasites today if they were not created during the six-
day creation week?
A. They are here. They were --
Q. Is it your belief they were evolved from other
forms or that they evolved to parasitic behavior from
some other type of behavior?
A. They were here. Therefore, if they have not
evolved, they must have been created. That is the
extent of my opinion on the matter.
Q. Then are you aware of any scientific facts
on which you can base a determination of whether or not
they were evolved or created?
A. As I said, I haven't studied the fungi that
closely so that the fungi aren't my area of expertise
when it comes to systematics.
Q. Doctor, have you an opinion on whether or not
the green algae can live without sunlight?
A. Green algae that are around today, some of
them can live in the dark with organic compounds
Q. Are there any green algae which cannot live
A. Most green algae cannot live without sunlight,
Q. Doctor, have you any view on how the green
algae which cannot live without light did in fact live
during the creation week prior to the creation of the
A. I have no opinion on the matter.
Q. Is it your opinion that they did, in fact,
live prior to the creation of the sun during creation
week, during the time when organisms were created until
the sun was created?
A. It is my personal opinion that they did live.
Q. I see.
Do you have a scientific opinion on that question?
Q. Do you believe that a scientific opinion on
that question is possible?
A. As we can't go back there, that comes in the
area of metaphysics.
Q. Doctor, if I may return for a moment to some
testimony that you gave earlier about the definition of
science, I believe you spoke of two groups within
science, one group which assumed that there was no
phenomenon explainable by naturalistic processes --
Q. -- and that there was a second group which
assumed there are phenomena which are not explainable
by naturalistic processes, is that correct?
A. I said, "which I assumed that there could be
phenomena which are not explainable by naturalistic
Q. And it's your view that the second group, the
group recognizing that there may be phenomena not
explainable by naturalistic processes, is nonetheless
A. Well, if you go back and look at somebody
like Newton, he had some theories on evolution of bodies
in astronomy. Now, Newton is highly thought of in
astronomy even today; but Newton was also a believer in
a supernatural creator.
According to today's definition of "scientist,"
such as is in Nature, that editorial I mentioned earlier,
anybody who believes in a supernatural agency in nature
would not be a scientist, but Newton is revered as a
Q. Let's except historical instances and discuss
current practicing scientists.
Would you regard scientists practicing today who
assume there are possible phenomena which are unexplaina-
ble by naturalistic means as scientists nonetheless?
A. People who believe that supernatural processes
can explain what we see today, would I regard them as
scientists, is that the questions?
A. Yes, I would.
Q. Are you able to enumerate any phenomena which
cannot be explained, in your view, by naturalistic
A. Well, of course, the topics we have been
talking about, in my view, cannot be explained by
Q. Doctor, I don't mean to interrupt, but could
you tell me which processes or what you mean by
"processes," as we have been talking about them.
A. Well, the characteristics of the green algae
as we see them today is one example; the characteristics
of algae as we see them today is another example. Out-
side of my field of expertise, just as a matter of
opinion, I would say that things like where matter came
from can't be explained by naturalistic processes.
MR. WOLFE: All right. I make the time to be 3:00
o'clock and I understood we were to cease at 3:00
MR. CHILDS: Yes. We will note your objection to
concluding at this time and all that.
One thing I would like to put on the record,
though, is this: I just want to say that the counsel
for the defendants will cooperate in every way possible
to make sure that the witnesses are promptly given an
opportunity to read their testimony and make any correc-
tions or changes they think are necessary, and that we
will go so far as to provide Air Express service of the
original copies or exchange correction sheets or what-
ever to make sure that is done.
And I want an agreement on the record as to the
mechanics of how this is going to be accomplished,
because I get the impression I'm a lot more concerned
about it than you are, and I don't know if that is
because you all haven't given it any thought or what.
The alternative seems to be that the court reporter
can keep the originals and copies can be sent to the
witnesses and they can send change sheets back and the
originals can be sent to the witnesses, and the change
sheets executed at that point and notarized where they
But we will do whatever you all want to do to
assure that is done.
MR. WOLFE: Off the record.
[Discussion off the record]
MR. KAPLAN: On the record.
Pursuant to an off-the-record discussion, the
parties have agreed on the following mechanism for the
exchange rapidly of the depositions:
With regard to the original, the deponent will be
sent the original by the court reporter by Federal
Express or some other convenient air courier. Enclosed
will be a return air courier envelope, and the deponent,
after having made the corrections on the original, and
after having signed it and secured a notarization, will
thereafter mail the original, if it is the Attorney
General's witness, to the Attorney General; the Attorney
General will make whatever corrections are necessary on
their copy and immediately, the same day, will forward
the original to Mr. Cearley, who will make the correc-
tions and the same day will forward those depositions to
the Attorney General's Office in Little Rock.
Is that a fair and correct understanding of the way
we will do it?
MR. CHILDS: That is fair.
I would also like that the witness initial any
changes that are made by line through the deposition.
MR. KAPLAN: That is fine, and each of us will
instruct our own witnesses as to the procedure to follow.
MR. CHILDS: The fact that that is not done would
not be a reason to keep it from being used, but that will
be what we will request our witnesses to do.
MR. KAPLAN: We will do it, also.
MR. WOLFE: Thank you.
DR. MARGARET HELDER
STATE OF CALIFORNIA )
CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO )
I hereby certify that the witness in the foregoing
DR. MARGARET HELDER
was by me duly sworn to testify the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth in the within-entitled
cause; that said deposition was taken at the time and
place therein stated; that the testimony of said witness
was reported by
CAROLINE ANDERSON and DEAN MC DONALD,
certified Shorthand Reporters and disinterested persons,
and was thereafter transcribed into typewriting, and
that the pertinent provisions of the applicable code or
rules of civil procedure relating to the original
transcript of deposition for reading, correcting and
signing have been complied with.
And I further certify that I am not of counsel or
attorney for either or any of the parties to said
deposition, nor in any way interested in the outcome
of the cause in said caption.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand
and affixed my seal of office the ____ day of