Deposition of Senator James L. Holsted - Page 2
Q You indicated, according to the reporter, that that meeting
really enlightened you about what the issues were going to
be in the lawsuit. I assume that you discussed the issues
in the lawsuit.
A Yes, sir.
Q Is that when you were enlightened about your ability to
demonstrate the legislative intent?
A Yes, I kind of got, you know, pulled off my high-horse
at that point in time about that issue.
Q The next article appeared in the GAZETTE on June 10, 1981.
The headline reads: "Lawyers Offer to Help Defend Creation
Law, Attorney General Says." You're quoted over on the
right column at the top as saying, "They don't want to be
in the position of seeking publicity. In fact, they were
wondering how the media found out that they would be here."
I assume that you were talking there about Bird and White-
A That's correct.
Q You indicated to the reporter that in the meeting you had
with the Attorney General they wanted you to do the talking
and they just wanted to be there. Was that in essence
what their position was?
A In visiting with the Attorney General?
A Well ...
Q I guess you met with Mr. Campbell here, did you not, and
A They came in town and I was informed that they were here
and asked if I'd like to meet with them; said they were
going to stop by and make a call on the Attorney General,
and I felt like it would be a little easier for them to
visit if I was along, and wanted to meet them and wanted to
hear what everybody's ideas were in the lawsuit, but I didn't
do any talking at all, hardly. They're the ones that did all
Q Did you all discuss to any extent making statements to the
press about this lawsuit?
A They advised me at that time it was best that I didn't say
Q Does that account for your relative silence about that since
A Yeah. You haven't heard me say anything else from that
point, have you?
Q Look, if you will, Senator, at the next article, which is
another article appearing in the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT on
June 10, 1981, with the headline, "Lawyers offer aid in
defending creationism law." It basically reiterates what
appeared in the earlier article I just asked you about,
and gives some explanation consistent, I believe, with what
you've said ...
Q ... about how this bill was placed in your hands. On
the right side under an Associated Press byline headlined,
"Sponsor of bill denies any religious overtones", you're
quoted as saying that you never said that this was a
religious issue. As a matter of fact, the quotation reads:
"It's not a religious issue", he said. "I never said that.
At least I don't think I did. But I've been interviewed so
many times." Do you know whether you said that?
A No. You get confused by what they interpret as saying it's
a religious issue or it's not. I do not see it as a religious
Q And the rest of the quotation that's attributed to you in
that article is consistent with what you've already said,
that the bill doesn't have anything to do with your religious
Q You are quoted as saying: "Creation-science can be presented
in the classroom with no references to a creator, completely
void of any religious references."
A That is an improper statement.
Q You didn't say that or ..
Q ... that's wrong?
A I said that, but what I meant in stating that was a Creator
in the religious sense, as espoused by one religion,
Methodist, Baptist, whatever. The presupposition of
creation-science, of course, is there was a Creator that
started the process.
Q How would you define that, a Creator?
A A supra-natural power.
Q Supra-natural or supernatural?
A Supra, s-u-p-r-a.
Q And in your view teaching creation-science and attributing
the existence of life to a supra-natural Creator does not
introduce religion into the schools?
A That's correct.
Q You're quoted also in that article as saying that you can't
speak for the intent of the other members of the House and
Senate and I can certainly understand your saying that. I
wonder the extent to which you had conversations with other
members of the Senate when this matter was debated in the
Senate. Did you have many conversations other than the
discourse on the floor of the Senate?
A With every senator.
Q Did you go around and talk with every senator personally?
A I visited at one time or another with every senator about
the piece of legislation.
Q Did you inquire about why they were going to vote for it
if they indicated they were going to vote for it?
A No, sir. I presented it as an issue of a balanced treatment.
Q And if they told you they were going to be for or against
they didn't say why?
A You never ask anybody that. All you want to know is what
they're going to do.
Q You don't care why.
A It's all based on their beliefs, see, everything that anybody
Q The next article, Senator, is under date of June 10, 1981,
in the ARKANSAS GAZETTE, with the headline, "Religion
Isn't at Issue, Holsted Insists." It basically reiterates
what was in the DEMOCRAT on the same date and quotes you
as making the same statements that are included in the
DEMOCRAT article. Do you have any dispute about the quota-
tions that appear there? You again state it's not a
A Correct. Yes, I think most of those statements are correct.
I don't see anything I have any problems with.
Q Look, if you will, at the next article in sequence, Senator
Holsted. It's an article that appeared in the ARKANSAS
Democrat on June 14, 1981, in which you are quoted as
saying with regard to the Seagraves case in California, or
the judgment that was rendered there: "I think that's in
our favor because that's all that is taught in Arkansas -
evolution - that's what all the furor's about. The majority
of the science teachers and educators say, 'You can't tell
us what to teach, and all we want to teach is evolution.'"
Is that an accurace quotation from you?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is that your feeling, that that's what the furor's all about?
Is there a furor in your opinion between evolutionists and
A Apparently there is.
Q What makes you think that the majority of science teachers
and educators say you can't tell us what to teach; all we
want to teach is evolution?
A Because that's all that's being taught in the school systems
Q What do you base that conclusion on, Senator? Do you
know what's being taught in all the school systems around
A Just in checking with some textbooks to see what material
is presented and visiting with school teachers, and they're
knowledgeable. They have meetings during the summer. They
know what's being taught around the state.
Q Are you aware of textbooks on the approved list of the
state for science texts in teaching materials that do in
fact have some mention or some portion of them dealing with
creation or creation-science and stating what that view is?
A No, I'm not, but I have not seen all the textbooks that are
on the approved list.
Q You're not aware of that now or weren't at the time, or both?
Q The next article is under date of June 24, 1981, from the
ARKANSAS GAZETTE, headline reading, "Test Creation-science
Act in Court, Not Special Session, Holsted Urges." It
simply states that you were opposed to having the legislature
take this up in a special session, as I recall ...
Q ... and that you thought it ought to be tested in the courts.
Q That's your feeling, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q Look now, if you will, to the final article that appeared
in the SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD on Sunday, June 14, 1981. You
are quoted on page 2 of that article down at the bottom,
and I think I've marked it for your reference, "They're
discriminating against my children's rights to freedom of
speech by not allowing them to teach both theories," said
Holsted, sponsor of the bill. Is that an accurate quotation?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is that your feeling?
A Yes, sir.
Q Explain that to me, if you will.
A Evolution is not a proven fact. Evolution is a theory,
a model, so to speak, that they have taken scientific data
and the scientists have said, "We believe that it fits
this model." When you only teach one model in a school
system to children from grade school through junior high
and high school and even through college, a model and a
theory tends to become a fact because there's no other
alternative presented. I know my daughter had it presented
in her science class last year in the 8th grade. The only
thing presented was evolution, and while they do say it's
a theory, after you hear this over and over again as you
go through your school years, a theory tends to become facts,
and it's not a fact, and to allow for the freedom of
education for my children and other children, they ought
to be presented alternatives, and say, "These are the facts.
They perhaps fit this model. Some facts fit this model,
but they're all theories. You make up your mind based on
what you believe in and what you want to believe, based on
these facts." By not doing that they're discriminating
against my children's rights in the school system.
Q I assume, then, that line of thought in a way was one of
your motivations for introducing Act 590?
A Yes, sir.
Q What about the people that don't believe in either one of
A That's all right.
Q Do you think they ought to have the right to have their
views mandated by state law to be taught in the public
A I don't care how many theories they present in the public
schools. They can present fifteen different theories if
they want to. That is what education is for, and you may
throw all of them out and not agree with any of them. But
at the moment only one is being presented, and if that one
is correct and it is subjected to comparison with many other
theories and it in fact is the only good one, then it will
survive and there won't be any problem.
Q What right to freedom of speech was discriminated against
with regard to your children, or would be discriminated
against if just evolution theory was taught?
A Well, i guess in a sense that perhaps they would like to
discuss another theory. Perhaps my children believe in
the creation-science theory and would like to have that
discussed and those views presented, but they would not be
able to do that in the classroom because the only thing
discussed would be evolution. In that sense I was thinking
of freedom of speech -- more of freedom of education, I think.
Q Do your children know what creation-science is?
A What I have tried to explain to them. My children believe
in my beliefs, in the Biblical account of creation as
written in Genesis, but that's not what's going to be taught.
Q Do you find the teaching of evolution theory or do you
find evolution theory offensive to those beliefs?
Q Is that why you think there ought to be a balanced present-
Q You're not a scientist, Senator ...
A That's correct.
Q ... I know that, and you don't pretend to be. You haven't
made any attempt to weigh all of the scientific evidence
or to make any study to determine how widely accepted the
views that are presented by the creation-scientists are
in the scientific community, have you?
A This debate has been going on before my birth.
Q I understand.
A I did not attempt at all to even get into in the legislation
saying what particular scientific data would be taught and
would not be taught.
Q Senator, with reference to the copy of Act 590 that's in
front of you, I'd like to go through that Act in some
detail and ask you about the language that appears. Was
the title of the Act the creature of the Legislative Council
or did you title the Act or was it titled already in the
model legislation submitted to you?
A It was titled in the model legislation.
Q The title reads, "To protect academic freedom by providing
student choice." That's the second phrase in it. What
does that mean exactly?
MR. WILLIAMS: I object to that question.
That calls for a legal conclusion, I think, on the part of
Q What did you mean by including that language in the title
of this bill?
A The same that I've discussed earlier, by allowing students
to see alternate views.
Q "To ensure freedom of religious exercise." What did you
mean by using that language?
A Well, I really didn't have one feeling one way or another
on that. That's the way the bill was drawn. The language
was put in there by presumed attorneys, and attorneys read
it at the Legislative Council, so I just left it the way
it was. I felt like that was the best thing I could do,
since I was not an attorney.
Q So you didn't have any particular belief about that,
to ensure freedom of religious exercise?
A That's correct. I looked at the whole thing on the issue
of what I want to accomplish, and then I expect the people
that draw the legislation to tell me legally how we accom-
plish the idea that I want to accomplish. I don't get into
the specifics of each little sentence, because, not having
a legal background, I don't feel like I'm qualified to do
Q Is it your feeling that the teaching of just evolution as
it's defined in this act abridges some right to the freedom
of religious exercise?
MR. WILLIAMS: Again I'll object to the
question on the grounds that it calls for a possible legal conclusion
MR. CEARLEY: I'm just asking for his
reaction to it. I know he's not a lawyer.
A No. I never associated religious exercise with anything in
the school system. I have religious exercise in whether
I want to go to church or not.
Q I understand, but is it fair for me to conclude, Senator,
that you find the teaching of evolution alone offensive
to your religious beliefs?
Q Isn't that in fact what this language addresses, and, if
not, tell me what it means, if you know, and what you meant
by including it in the title of this bill.
A I left it there because it was there to begin with and I
figured they had a good reason for putting it in there,
perhaps a reason that I didn't know about, and so I left
it like that.
Q Let me read to you several following phrases: "To guarantee
freedom of belief and speech; to prevent establishment of
religion; to prohibit religious instruction concerning
origins ..." To prevent establishment of religion, how
does this bill in your mind do that?
A Specifically prohibits any religious materials being used
in the classroom.
Q You're not maintaining, then, that teaching evolution
establishes a religion somehow?
A No. My personal beliefs on whether it does or not establish
a religion have nothing to do with what I tried to do in
Q And yet you find that the teaching of evolution is offensive
to your religious beliefs?
MR. WILLIAMS: I think he said evolution
Q Evolution alone.
A That's correct.
Q I stand corrected. "To prohibit religious instruction
concerning origins." Had there up to the time of the passage
of this act been religious instruction concerning origins
to your knowledge?
Q What does that phrase address, then?
A I could see someone teaching creation-science from the
Bible or from some other materials, and I could see someone
teaching evolution-science from some other particular
religious beliefs that hold up evolution as their fundamental
religious belief, and I didn't want that.
Q Do you know of a religion that holds up evolution as a
A I think there are some. I can't tell you off the top of
my head, but in visiting with Wendell Bird I was informed
there are some.
Q But this bill is designed in your mind to prohibit religious
instruction concerning origins. That's one of its purposes.
A I wanted to be sure that nothing was used except scientific
Q Senator, how, if you know, can you talk to students about
creation by a supra-natural Creator - your term - without
talking about religion and teaching a religious belief?
A In the same way you can say that there is no Creator;
therefore, you believe in man as the start and essence of
everything that happens. That is as much religious as
saying that there is a supra-natural.
Q Is that what you think students were being taught?
Q It comes kind of as a surprise to me. Have you seen
statements in any biology books or something of that sort
saying that there is no God, there was no Creator? I
don't believe that any such statements exist.
A No, not saying specifically in black and white there is
no God. When you teach creation void of any reference to
a Creator, you're teaching that there was no God.
Q You mean when you talk about origins of life and of man
without reference to a Creator you are teaching that there
is no God? Is that your view?
A Correct. In the original Origin of Species in Darwin the
creation of an evolution that he speaks of came from a
one-celled amoeba that came from a combination of amino
acids, et cetera, in a pool of water.
Q But there's not a statement there that there is no God ...
A That's correct.
Q ... and there was no Creator.
A That's correct.
Q That's a conclusion that you're reaching, is it not?
A Finish that up.
Q Well, what I want to get at, Senator, is evolution theory
as it's presented in most biology texts, that I have seen
anyway, says nothing whatsoever about creation. That word,
if it appears at all, only appears in explaining what
creationists believe, and, certainly, the word, "God" or
lack of a God, the absence of a God, does not appear in
any biology texts.
A Statements about absence of a God, but the whole evolutionary
process as presented in biology texts presupposes that it
started and is all contained in itself, that there was no
Q Well, now, that's your conclusion, is it not?
A And it's the conclusion that you reach as you look at the
material, but that is my conclusion, that's correct.
Q In fact, there are a lot of religious people and religious
leaders that find no problem at all in reconciling those
Q Is that true?
A That's true.
Q At least they say they fit together rather nicely.
A That's true.
Q But you personally don't believe that, and that's a
religious belief, is that correct?
A That I personally don't believe that they do fit together
A I believe there can be evolution within a species.
Q Well, how about man evolving from lower forms of life ..
Q ... from sea water?
Q And you base that, I am assuming, on your religious
convictions and your literal interpretation of creation
as it appears in Genesis?
A That's correct. If there are any scientific data to back
that up, then that ought to be presented. If there's not
any scientific data to back it up, then it ought not to be
Q Back to my original question. How can you teach creation-
science -- that is, creation of man and the universe --
referring to a supra-natural Creator without teaching
A How do you define religion? You believe in something.
You have a religion that you believe in. Everyone has
some kind of religion they believe in. It may be a Creator
or it may be a God; it may be no God; it may be indifferent
to that part of it.
Q Or you may not have thought about it at all.
Q On the other hand .... Well, let me get back to my question.
A In the absence of academic freedom this causes them to
think perhaps there is.
Q I understand. What I'm trying to get at, Senator, is
the interjection of a supernatural being here, supra-
natural Creator, to use your terms.
Q The fact of the matter is, the way I read this, you cannot
present this data to students without also presenting to
them the existence of a supra-natural Creator, can you?
A That's correct.
Q The balance of the Title to the act goes on to say that
it is to bar discrimination on the basis of creationists
or evolutionist belief; to provide definitions and
clarifications; to declare the legislative purpose and
legislative findings of fact; to provide for severability
of provisions; to provide for repeal of contrary laws; and
to set forth an effective date. Were those phrases that
were all included in the model act also?
A To the best of my knowledge they were.
Q Look, if you will, at Section 1. The term, "balanced
treatment," is that your term or is that from the model act?
A From the model act.
Q Do you have a firm opinion or a firm position on what that
A It'll be difficult to actually define what "balanced
treatment" is, because in everybody's mind balanced treatment
will be different. To me balanced treatment is not presenting
an hour of one theory and 5 minutes of another, saying,
"Well, here's the other theory that some people believe.
You can believe it whether you want to or not." Balanced
treatment is to give the same emphasis by the teacher as
all theories are presented, and it is their professional
duty and they're professional people and they do that.
They say, "These are the facts. These are the theories. You
make up your mind on which one you feel ..." But a balanced
treatment does not necessarily mean that you have to spend
the same number of minutes on each theory.
Q Does it mean in your mind that you have to treat the two
things with equal dignity?
Q Does it prohibit in your mind a statement by the teacher
that he or she may think that one is right or wrong?
A I would think a teacher would never make that statement.
That would be very unprofessional.
Q Would it prohibit in your mind a teacher from expressing
to his or her students that one of these theories is more
widely held or supported by scientific data than the other?
A If that could be proven, I think a teacher could state that.
Q How could she give balanced treatment to it if she did that?
A She's only presenting the data. Maybe you have ten different
facts or supporting documents on one thing and only two on
another. Balanced treatment is that you give as much
respect and emphasis to one theory as you do to another.
It may take you a lot longer in time to explain that, and
you say, "There's more data that supports this theory than
the other," but you still present the other theory.
Q Do you think that a teacher could do this and, consistent
with the mandate of this statute, tell his or her students
that in that teacher's professional opinion one of these
is scientifically acceptable and the other is not -- that
is, evolution theory as opposed to creation theory?
A I don't think a professional teacher would say that, because
that particular point has been debated all my lifetime and
they haven't come to a solution yet, so why would one teacher
stand up and say, "I've arrived at that conclusion now"?
Q Are you saying that you don't think a teacher would say that
or that it would be improper under the language of this act?
A I don't think a teacher professionally would say that.
Q Well, let's assume we had a teacher who would say that.
MR. WILLIAMS: Bob, just for the record
I want the record to reflect a continuing objection on my part to
all the questions going to what the act means. I understand you are
saying what you think it means, but I still think you are in
essence trying to draw from this witness a legal judgment which
he is not competent to make and should not be called upon to make.
Q I'm trying, David, and Senator, to find out what was in your
mind and what was your intent in presenting this bill to
the legislature for passage, and by way of determining
that I think it's necessary to find out what you meant by
the language that you used, and this was your bill ...
Q ... regardless of the source of it. I have great difficulty,
frankly, in determining for myself what it means, and I'd
like for you to help me to the extent that you can by telling
me what you think it means and what you thought it meant when
you presented it in the Senate and explained it to your
fellow senators and to the Governor.
A You understand, we pass a lot of legislation that sometimes
does exactly the opposite of what we thought it was going
to do, once the courts interpret it or it gets on the books.
Balanced treatment would be up to the teacher to determine.
We don't sit out there and look over their shoulder, and
it's quite natural for teachers to bring their biases and
their viewpoints into the classroom, and you can't help that.
As a professional I think they would do their utmost to
give it what they consider balanced treatment, and that's
all I can ask for.
Q Back to my question ... Do you think that a teacher could
in compliance with this act present evolution theory,
present creation theory, and then offer an opinion to a
class that one or the other is acceptable on a scientific
basis and the other is not?
A I would hate to see them do that, but I think they could.
Q You think they could under this act and that would still be
A They would just be expressing their own viewpoint at
that point, based on their knowledge and their beliefs.
Who's going to know the difference?
Q The bill has no teeth in it that I can see to police the
enforcement or implementation of it.
Q Is there any reason for that?
A You have to rely on the integrity of the school teachers
in the school system. They'll comply in the best way they
can. We do the same way in all the other rules and
requirements that the schools are supposed to adhere to.
Q Would you consider, in light of this act, that a school
district could require a teacher to abide by the provisions
of Act 590?
A Certainly. It's a law.
Q And could then terminate or non-renew that teacher for
failing to do that?
A I would think so.
Q You said balanced treatment was difficult of definition, I
think. I'm paraphrasing what you said. With perhaps a
teacher's job being in peril or hanging in the balance,
how is the teacher to make that judgment of what is balanced
treatment and what is not?
A The local school boards determine what the curriculum will
be in the school system. They review the textbooks, local
committees do. They determine the material to be presented,
and then they rely upon the teacher to do that in all areas.
Q And they will be the judge of whether the teacher was doing that.
Q I assume, then, also, in your mind anyway, they would be
the judge of whether it would be proper for a teacher to
offer an opinion that one of these is scientifically
unacceptable and the other is not?
Q Section 2 says, "Prohibition against Religious Instruction.
Treatment of either evolution-science or creation-science
shall be limited to scientific evidences for each model
and inferences from those scientific evidences, and must
not include any religious instruction or references to
religious writings." The presence of the word, "creation",
bothers me ...
A I've determined that.
Q ... in the context of this bill, and I wonder how you can
instruct in a public school on creation-science based on
the concept of a supra-natural Creator without getting
into religious instruction.
A You're not going to use any religious writings. It's going
to all be scientific data that may fit one model or may
fit another model or may fit both models.
Q And then you're going to tell the students that these six
things here listed under "creation-science" mean scientific
evidences for creation, are you not, or that they are
scientific evidences for creation?
A The scientific evidences would be presented. It says,
"Here is the way we date the earth, that shows that perhaps
the earth was created suddenly and not as old as others
would believe. This fits this model. This fits another
Q And the model that you're referring to has a name...
Q ... creation-science, which is defined as - and I'm quoting
from the bill - "... the scientific evidences for creation."
Back to my question. How do you get around religion there?
You're talking about creation, which implies a supra-natural
A I think it has been ruled by the Supreme Court that because
a theory or a model is consistent with a religious belief
does not make that theory or model in itself religious.
Q Regardless of what the Supreme Court may or may not have
ruled, how do you get around reference to a supra-natural
Creator with a definition like that -- "...means the
scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those
scientific evidences"? That's the only reason for teaching
this stuff, isn't it?
A Is to say, "Okay, suppose you have a Creator ..."
Q This supposes the theory of a divine creation or a supra-
A That's correct.
Q That's the reason for teaching these things.
Q Okay. We agree on that, then, do we not?
A Yes, but it is not religious.
Q I understand that's what's in issue in this lawsuit.
A And you think I'm going to decide it here as we sit around
Q No, but I'd like to know very honestly what you think and
what you thought when you passed the bill.
A I do not see it as religious. I see it as religious as
teaching one religious viewpoint. We mention a Creator
in the Declaration of Independence two or three or four times.
Q I understand, but I'm not attacking the Declaration of
Independence. We're talking about this bill here.
A I understand, and I'm using Creator in the same sense as
that. I'm not using the Creator in the sense of what the
Baptists believe, the Jews believe, or Methodists believe.
Q Okay. Section 3. "Public schools within this State, or
their personnel, shall not discriminate by reducing a
grade of a student or by singling out and making public
criticism against any student who demonstrates a satisfactory
understanding of both evolution-science and creation-science
and who accepts or rejects either model in whole or part."
Now, the question that I would ask you about that is in
implementing Act 590 do you envision that students will be
presented -- if either is taught, both will be taught ...
Q ... and that they will be tested on both theories?
A I would imagine so.
Q And they can't reduce the grade?
A If the biology teacher so decides to do that. Perhaps one
of the students should get up and make a presentation in
the classroom for evolution, and the majority of the students
and the teacher believe in creation-science and don't believe
the evolution theory. They are not allowed to discriminate
or reduce his grade or to do anything because of that.
Q Let me go through Section 4. First, we've dealt somewhat
with the definition, "Creation-science means the scientific
evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific
evidences. Creation-science includes the scientific
evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden
creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing ..."
Did you have in mind any particular scientific evidence
or any particular text or information to be presented to
students under that subheading?
A No. This definition was in the model act, and at that
point I did not know how to define creation-science from
a legal definition. In reading this definition I assumed
that that was the best won that could be done, so I included
it in the bill.
Q Is the belief in sudden creation of the universe, energy,
and life from nothing consistent with your religious beliefs?
A Well, yes.
Q Is it consistent with the account in Genesis of the creation?
Q (2) says: "The insufficiency of mutation and natural
selection in bringing about development of all living kinds
from a single organism." Do you know what the word "kinds"
A No, I don't.
Q That was also a word in the model act?
Q Is that criteria or that phrase, that statement, consistent
with your religious beliefs?
Q It seems to me to be a refutation in part of the theory of
evolution. Is that what it is?
A The basis of the theory of evolution is a mutation and
natural selection from a single cell to man.
Q Creationism, on the other hand, would espouse the belief
that all life forms were created instantaneously at the
same time and there are no transitional forms. Is that
A I don't know about instantaneously all at the same time.
Q Well, over a period of six days, according to Genesis.
A Yeah, but a day could be a million years.
Q It could be?
A Who knows? You know, I don't get bogged down in minor
details about what a day meant in Genesis. I know what
this was intended to say was that there is no evolutionary
change from species to species.
Q Are you talking about man developing from a lower form of
Q And this statement here would be contrary to that proposition?
A (Affirmative nod.)
Q So it would require that you reach whatever evidence there
is that mutation and natural selection would be insufficient
to bring about, for instance, man as man currently exists
in the world?
Q (3), "Changes only within fixed limits of originally created
kinds of plants and animals." Did you just address that
by saying that there's some evolution or some change within
species but not otherwise?
A Yes. I think I addressed that in the other statement. I
really don't have a handle on what that particular statement
means. In the definition I assume they included that in
there because it needed to be there.
Q Do you make that assumption for this entire body of this
definition, that these six elements would tend to support
creation-science as it's defined, and that the others
would tend to refute it or would tend to support evolution-
science as it's defined?
A I'm not sure I understand that. I assume ...
Q You said you made no independent examination or did no
independent research about these particular elements. Are
you assuming that each of these six elements under the
definition of creation-science would support a belief in
divine creation consistent with that reflected in the Book
A I wouldn't assume that. I did not make that assumption at
all. I assumed that they put these in here because legally
that was the best way to define what you were talking about
in the bill.
Q I guess I get back to what we're talking about. If that's
not what we're talking about, what are we talking about?
A We're not talking about anything to do with Genesis.
Q We're talking about creation by a supra-natural Creator,
are we not?
A That's correct.
Q That happens to be consistent, is it now, with the view
that's presented in Genesis?
A Oh, no, other than you have a God, a Creator. That's in
Genesis, and that's in this bill, but everything else is
not necessarily consistent with Genesis.
Q Do you know that to be the case?
A Do I know that to be the case?
Q Do you know that these six elements are not consistent
with a literal interpretation of the creation as presented
A From my understanding they are not all consistent with that.
Q (4), "Separate ancestry for man and apes." Again, I'm sure
that came from the model act, did it not?
A That's correct.
Q And that would include presentation of whatever scientific
evidence there is to show a separate development of man
A Yes, I would assume that ... You're right.
Q Do you know what we mean by the use of the word, "ancestry",
A No, other than what I would interpret it to mean, like a
family tree, how you trace back your origin.
Q It wouldn't end up tracing back the origin of any man to
something that you couldn't call a human being?
A I would presume that's what they're meaning by "ancestry".
Q That's one of the points, is it not, of creation-science,
to establish a separate ancestry for man and for apes?
A That is part of the theory. That is one of the parts of
the model theory of creation-science.
Q No. 5 deals with, "Explanation of the earth's geology by
catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide
flood." Do you know what we're talking about there or what
you're talking about?
Q Is that what is referred to as the Noachian Flood?
A I don't know that.
Q Is that the great flood that's reflected in the Bible, a
flood of the entire world where all of the animals were
placed in the ark?
A I assume that's what it is. I don't know much about that.
I just know that that is one of the basic tenets of the
creation-science theory, that there is scientific evidence
that can show that the world was flooded at one time
Q Is that consistent with your religious belief?
Q "(6), a relatively recent inception of the earth and living
kinds." Tell me what that means, relatively recent inception.
A I have seen the explanation of that in writings, and they're
talking about the earth maybe being thousands of years old
and not billions of years old.
Q Would it be accurate to say they generally speak in terms
of six to ten thousand years old rather than four to four
and a half billion years?
A I think I've seen that.
(Off the record.)
Q The word, "supra-natural", came up earlier through you,
Senator Holsted. What do you mean by supra-natural
Creator? I looked it up during the break in Webster's
Third New International Dictionary.
A What does the definition say in the dictionary?
Q It says: "Transcending the natural, meaning supernatural."
A Correct, outside the natural, but I didn't use supernatural.
I used supra-natural, meaning outside what we comprehend
as being natural.
Q And that's what you mean by the use of that word?
A That's correct.
Q Does that dovetail with your belief in a Creator? You,
I think, used that as an adjective, supra-natural Creator.
Q We were on No. 6, a relatively recent inception of the earth
and living kinds. The materials that I have seen from the
various publishers of creation-science material speak in
terms of six to ten thousand years...
Q ... as the relatively recent inception. Is that your
A Yes, that's my understanding in there, in that time frame.
Q Is that consistent with your religious beliefs?
Q If you have a religious belief on that particular point, what
A I've never worried about it. That's not, as far as I'm
concerned, of material consequence to me in my religious
Q Whether the earth is 4.5 billion years old or 10,000 years
old makes no difference to you?
A It doesn't make any difference to me at all.
Q You volunteered earlier that the length of a day as
presented in the Book of Genesis is of no particular
consequence to you, whether it's a million years or
Q "(b) Evolution-science means the scientific evidences for
evolution and inferences from those scientific evidences.
Evolution-science includes the scientific evidences and
related inferences that indicated: (1) Emergence by
naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered
matter and emergence of life from nonlife." What are we
talking about there, do you know?
A It was my thought that we were referring to the Darwin
theory of species, where man evolved from a one-celled
animal, which happened to be somehow come into existence.
Q Is that inconsistent with your religious belief?
Q Is it your religious belief, Senator Holsted, that man did
not evolve at all, that man was created in the form that
man appears in today?
A I believe that man could have evolved within the species.
Man may not be ... could have perhaps been harrier or
different texture of skin, or whatever.
Q But always a man?
A Always a man, always the capability of reasoning thinking.
I believe that we were created in God's image, but
physically that doesn't have anything to do with it.
Q And did not emerge from nonlife or from one-celled
Q "(2) The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in
bringing about development of present living kinds from
simple earlier kinds." We're just really stating the
converse of No. 2 up in the definition of creation-science,
are we not?
A Correct. I think each one of them probably will be the
converse as you go through them.
Q And I assume, then, that you are talking about there the
scientific evidence that would tend to support the
evolution theory, natural selection and so forth?
Q "(3) Emergency ..." I assume that means emergence ...
A Yes, sir.
Q "... by mutation and natural selection of present living
kinds from simple earlier kinds."
A Pretty much the same thing.
Q Isn't that pretty much the same thing as No. 2?
Q Does it mean the same thing in your mind?
Q "(4) Emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes."
What does that mean?
A That's my understanding of the theory of evolution, that
we evolved from simpler - from a one-cell - and through
that we evolved into a fish that crawled on land that became
an ape that became man.
Q Roughly speaking.
A Very simplistic, right.
Q Would it be a correct conclusion for me to reach that each
of these six elements outlined under the definition of
evolution-science are repugnant or offensive to your
religious beliefs in the origin of man and of the universe?
A You used the words repugnant and offensive and ...
Q Well, inconsistent.
A Yes. I have no problem with what anybody wants to believe.
Q I understand that. I'm trying to find out how the teaching
of these specific elements that tend to support evolution
offends or abridges a First Amendment right, as you've said
publicly it does, and you've said that each of these things
is inconsistent with your religious belief in creation ...
(1) Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe
from disordered matter and emergence of life from nonlife,
you've said that is repugnant or inconsistent with your
belief that man has always been man ...
Q ... and was not created or did not evolve from non-living
matter. (2) and (3) you've said that your religious beliefs
are inconsistent with the notion that mutation and natural
selection account for man in his present stage or for animals
in their present stage.
A Correct. However, there are people - and I'm sure some
plaintiffs in the lawsuit - who may believe in a Creator
that used steps (2) and (3) to create man.
Q I understand, but you don't believe in that?
A No, I do not.
Q And then (4), Emergence of man from a common ancestor with
A I do not.
Q ... that notion, I take it ...
A I do not believe that.
Q ... would be inconsistent with your religious belief and
your belief in a supra-natural Creator.
Q Is that right?
Q "(6) An inception several billion years ago of the earth
and somewhat later of life," you don't care much about?
A That could be consistent with my religious beliefs and it
could not be.
Q Is it to your knowledge inconsistent with a lot of funda-
mentalist belief and with the view that's espoused in the
various creation-science textbooks that you've seen?
A You talk about fundamentalist beliefs, and I have a hard
time defining what fundamentalist beliefs are. Most of the
creation-science textbooks present their scientific evidence
with the model that the earth is young.
Q Six to ten thousand years old?
Q I have no problem with the definition of "public schools."
A We agree on something. We'd better watch out.
Q Section 5. "This Act does not require or permit instruction
in any religious doctrine or materials." I think you have
stated that you simply don't view it as instruction in
religion to refer to a supra-natural Creator ...
Q ... as the natural conclusion one would reach from these
six elements being taught under creation-science.
Q And I think we have also established, Senator, that neither
you or I know exactly what "balanced treatment" means, and
that's a decision that will have to be made on an ad hoc
basis by teachers and school boards, is that correct?
A That's correct.
Q No. 6. "Legislative Declaration of Purpose." Does this
appear verbatim as it was in the model act presented to you?
A I don't recall. I think it does but I'm not certain.
Q I guess an examination of that would disclose it, but you
don't recall any change?
A No, I don't. I tried to make as little change as possible,
because I assumed that the legislation I received, the
model act I received, had been thoroughly examined and
drawn up in a way to be proper.
Q The first phrase says, "This Legislature enacts this Act for
public schools with the purpose of protecting academic
freedom for students' differing values and beliefs." We've
already talked about that, and I think you have stated your
position, that it's unfair or improper just to teach
evolution if it tends to negate or makes any statement
about the existence or non-existence of a supra-natural
Q Is that fairly stated?
A Basically that's correct.
Q "... ensuring neutrality toward students' diverse
religious convictions." We've touched upon that also.
"... ensuring freedom of religious exercise for students
and their parents." Do you view it as an intrusion on the
freedom of religious exercise for evolution theory to be
taught without creation-science?
A I think in the past teachers have been afraid to teach
creation-science because they were afraid of being
disciplined for teaching religion in the school system.
Q Do you have any evidence of that?
Q "... guaranteeing freedom of belief and speech for
students." We're kind of restating the same thing we've
said before, aren't we?
Q "... preventing establishment of theologically liberal,
humanist, nontheist, or atheist religions." What do you
mean by that language?
A I don't have any idea. That was in there and I left it
there, because I assumed they put it in there for a
Q Is there something theologically liberal, humanist,
nontheist, or atheist about teaching evolution theory or
any of these things that appear numbered (1) through (6)
A There are so many different theories under evolution, under
the title, "Evolution," you can have all kinds of different
theories under that. You might have a theory picking up
two or three of the definitions from creation-science and
using four of the definitions out of evolution, so it's
difficult to just say yes in answer to that question. I
don't know why they put it in there. I assume they put it
in there to again emphasize it's not mixing religion in the
Q At least it's not mixing these four things that are there.
It doesn't say anything about Islam or Buddhism or
Shintoism or any of a thousand other religions. Is there
any particular reason that these four beliefs, whether
they're religious or not, are picked out here?
Q Do you think that a belief in evolution-science as it's
defined in the act is a theologically liberal belief, or
is theological at all?
A I've never thought about it. What do you mean by
Q I don't have any idea.
A I don't know.
Q It's out of your bill.
A I don't know. I assume that they put that in there for a
particular reason. It needed to be in there.
Q The use of the word humanist here, theologically humanist,
I assume that means Humanism as a religion. Would that be
Q Do you know what that is?
A What Humanism as a religion is?
A Yes, I've read some things on it.
Q Can you give me a capsule definition of Humanism?
A To the best of my knowledge Humanism believes that man is
the ultimate in the universe and he is totally responsible
for where he came from and where he goes, and there is no
Q Do you think that that is established by teaching evolution-
A Oh, I think you could establish anything by teaching any
theory if you wanted to do that. Some people have said
that. I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree. It just
depends on how you want to present certain facts.
Q Do you know what a nontheist is?
Q Do you know what an atheist is?
Q One who denies the existence of God?
A Denies the existence of God.
Q But you don't know what a nontheist is? Somebody who's
against theism, I assume.
A I would assume so.
Q Is it your opinion that teaching evolution-science as
defined in the act establishes theologically liberal,
humanist, nontheist, or atheist religions?
A I think it could if the teacher wanted to, or it could not,
just as on the other side you can carry the other side to
Q This bill is specifically designed, though, to prevent
that, and that's what I'm getting at. That's the language
that appears in it.
Q "... preventing discrimination against students on the
basis of their personal beliefs concerning creation and
evolution." Do you think there is discrimination against
students on the basis of their personal beliefs concerning
creation and evolution?
A No, but there always could be, on either side.
Q But you have no evidence of current discrimination against
students on the grounds of their belief in creation or their
belief in evolution?
Q "... assisting students in their search for truth." What
did you mean by that language?
A Oh, that was in the piece of legislation. I thought it
really expressed ... My intent and purpose was in allowing
students to seek all theories. In searching for the truth
of what they believe in, have an opportunity to view
Q Did I understand you to say - I may have forgotten what you
said - ... Did I understand you to say that it would be
proper in your view under this act for a teacher to present
both creation-science and evolution-science and then to
offer a professional opinion that perhaps creation-science
is not acceptable on a scientific basis?
A No. I don't think that would be proper at all.
Q It would be unacceptable to you under the wording of this
A Yes. I think that would be very unprofessional.
Q Well, without regard to whether it's professional or not,
do you think that would be non-compliance with this act?
Q That would be failing to give balanced treatment, equal
A I think if they were doing that in the North Little Rock
School System, I believe I would address that to the
Q Do you think that would be grounds for terminating a
A No, unless they were told not to do that and they persisted
in doing it.
Q If they persisted in saying to their students, "Creation-
science is something that I don't believe is scientifically
A (Affirmative nod.)
Q Then that would be grounds for termination?
A If they were told not to say that and they continued to do
that, they'd be in direct violation of some school board
MR. OSTERLOH: I think just to show I'm
here I will object to the form of that question. I believe you're
asking Mr. Holsted to make a judgment that he is not prepared to
MR. CEARLEY: What I'm asking Senator
Holsted to do is to tell me what the intent of this act is and
how it can be implemented and what is required of a teacher and
what is prohibited by a teacher in this act.
MR. OSTERLOH: Well, when you get into
the area of what is grounds for termination of a teacher, you're
getting into an area which certainly Mr. Holsted is not
Q Well, let me rephrase that. Do you think that a teacher
telling his or her students, after presenting creation-
science and evolution-science, that creation-science is not
good science and not acceptable on a scientific basis,
would be non-compliance with Act 590? That's a long
question, I know.
MR. OSTERLOH: I know, and I hate to be
interrupting. You were kind enough to invite me, but if he
understands that question, I certainly have the greatest respect
for him, because it is so long and vague and ...
MR. CEARLEY: Let me back up, Senator.
MR. OSTERLOH: ...I had forgotten the
first of it by the time you got to the last of it.
MR. CEARLEY: I'll address your
objection, Mr. Osterloh.
Q This act makes it mandatory that balanced treatment be
given to two subjects, creation-science and evolution-
Q It also stated under the Declaration of Purpose that it
has several purposes. One is assisting students in
their search for truth. My question to you is would it
be acceptable for a teacher to present creation-science
and evolution-science, and would it be consistent with
the requirements of the act, for the teacher after those
two things are presented, to say, "In my professional
opinion creation-science is not valid science"?
A First of all, I don't think that's up to me to decide.
School boards set the policy. Second of all, I think the
teacher would present the material as it's presented in the
textbooks, and I have never seen any textbook say, "Here's
some scientific data, but it's not valid scientific data."
If it's valid scientific data they're going to present it.
If it's not, they're not going to present it. If it's a
valid scientific theory they're going to present it with
scientific facts. Otherwise, it's not going to be in there.
Q There are, in fact, Senator, some textbooks that say just
about that, that belief in creation-science is a religious
belief that one is free to espouse, but that it's not
A That is not balanced treatment.
Q So in your view if a teacher said creation-science is really
not science and "It's unacceptable to me as a professional
scientist", they would not be complying with Act 590.
MR. WILLIAMS: Your question presupposes
that they are saying that creation-science is a religious doctrine ...
MR. CEARLEY: No.
MR. WILLIAMS: ... the way it's
phrased, because you referenced back to the textbooks which state
Q Let me back up. This question is important to me, Senator.
I want to know if in your view a teacher would be out of
compliance with Act 590 if the teacher did everything
required, taught creation-science and then taught evolution-
science, or vice versa, and at the end of it told his or her
students that he or she did not believe that creation-science
had any valid scientific bases, or was unacceptable to a
A She would not be out of compliance with the act.
Q Would not be out of compliance?
A Would not be, no. That is an editorial comment by a
teacher, and as long as she presented both theories and
the facts, that's all I'm after. If she wants to
editorialize from that point ...
Q And the teacher's free to say that one is hogwash and the
other is okay?
A If she wants to do that, she can do that.
Q Section 7, "Legislative Findings of Fact." Is it customary
in the Arkansas Legislature to include findings of fact
in the body of an act?
A No. Generally we do not do that.
Q Were all of these findings of fact present in the model
bill to your recollection?
A To the best of my knowledge they were.
Q Let me run through them quickly. "(a) The subject of the
origin of the universe, earth, life, and man is treated
within many public school courses, such as biology, life
science, anthropology, sociology, and often also in
physics, chemistry, world history, philosophy, and social
studies," Do you know that to be true?
A I do not recall it being presented in any of my World
Q How about in Physics?
Q Would a teacher in any of those courses have to balance
any comment that's made that would tend to support evolution-
science with ...
Q ... an explanation of creation-science?
Q Do we envision, then, supplemental teaching materials or
new textbooks for all of these courses that are listed?
A Supplemental materials. That's quite common in the school
Q "(b) Only evolution-science is presented to students in
virtually all of those courses that discuss the subject of
origins." What's the basis for that finding of fact?
A That was based on what I had determined from talking to
school teachers and reviewing some of the textbooks that
Q But it was also a statement that was already included in the
model bill that was presented to you?
A Correct. Now, you understand that any of these statements
could be amended out if anybody disagreed with them... by
"anybody", in the legislature.
Q But there was not, however, any hearing as such during which
these matters were inquired into and evidence presented or
testimony presented as a basis for any of these findings
of fact, was there?
A To present factual data and say, "This is a fact"?
Q Yes, for the legislature to look at a body of data or
testimony and say, "We find as fact the following:" There
were no hearings ...
A No. Here it's just based on their experience of what they
had observed in growing up in Arkansas and serving or
Q "Public schools generally censor creation-science and
evidence contrary to evolution." Do you know that to be
A I know it to be true in the sense that that's all they
teach is evolution. They don't teach anything else.
Q Well, they don't teach Arabic in the public schools, either,
but it is not censored. I'm getting at the word, "censor."
Do you know of a school board censoring creation-science
or evidence contrary to evolution?
A Oh, not by any public policy, no.
Q And there certainly is none in the Department of Education,
A Not to my knowledge.
Q "(c) Evolution-science is not an unquestionable fact of
science, because evolution cannot be experimentally
observed, fully verified, or logically falsified, and
because evolution-science is not accepted by some
scientists." You're not a scientist, Senator.
Q Do you know that evolution-science as it's defined here
cannot be experimentally observed, fully verified, or
A That is what I have been advised by scientists.
Q But you don't know that yourself?
A I have no ... based on what limited scientific ...
Q And again ... I cut you off, I'm sorry.
A Based on what limited scientific knowledge I have, I would
not be qualified to ...
Q This finding is not based on any testimony or evidence,
documents presented to the legislature?
Q And that's true of all of these findings, is it not?
Q "Evolution-science is contrary to the religious convictions
or moral values or philosophical beliefs of many students
and parents..." Do you know that to be true?
Q I guess that would depend on how many are many?
A That's correct. Two may be many.
Q "... including individuals of many different religious
faiths and with diverse moral values and philosophical
beliefs." Do you know that to be true?
Q "(e) Public school presentation of only evolution-science
without any alternative model of origins abridges the
United States Constitution's protections of freedom of
religious exercise and of freedom of belief and speech