Deposition of Senator James L. Holsted - Page 3
for students and parents, because it undermines their
religious convictions and moral or philosophical values,
compels their unconscionable professions of belief, and
hinders religious training and moral training by parents."
Did you or did anyone to your knowledge or on your behalf
or on behalf of the legislature consult with the Attorney
General before including this finding of fact?
Q Again, that finding of fact was not based upon any independ-
ent research or legal memoranda or testimony or evidence
presented to the legislature, was it?
Q Can you tell me how presentation of only evolution-science
without any alternative model of origins compels uncon-
scionable professions of belief?
Q Do you think it does?
A I don't know what the word, "unconscionable", means.
Q If it means intolerable or immoral or something to that
effect can you tell me how it compels a belief - period?
A Evolution-science, as I have stated before, and we seem to
disagree back and forth, presupposes no Creator. If,
through the study of evolution-science you arrive at that
assumption that there is no Creator, that man is sufficient
for everything, then you have a system with no absolutes.
It's my belief that any system without an absolute is going
to be a declining system, whether it's moral values, whether
it's anything to do without an absolute there. The standards
are always going to be declining, and that's how I feel
that teaching only something that presupposes no Creator
could develop into an unconscionable profession of belief.
Q But you're not aware of any textbook or teaching materials
that state a conclusion that there is no Creator or that
even presupposes the absence of divine creation or anything
of the sort, are you?
A The Origin of Species by Darwin presupposes that it was all
created from nothing by natural forces. I mean, that's the
basis of Darwin's theory of evolution.
Q But Darwin doesn't say that there was no God, does he say
that, in the Origin of Species?
A He says it was created out of a natural process.
Q And you feel that creation-science should present some
absolutes and standards in this area?
A No. No, I think ... I don't think it should present any
absolutes or standards. It's to present scientific data.
As you study scientific data on either side, that's what
you base your beliefs on, what you study in school and learn
and acquire from your parents and as you go through all
Q It further says that teaching that hinders religious
training and moral training by parents ... How does it do
that when it does not address the existence or non-existence
of a supra-natural Creator? Is that answered the same way
you responded ...
A How could that develop ...? Yes, the way I responded before.
Q And your response is that evolution presupposes the non-
existence of a God or creation. Is that your response?
Q "(f) Public school presentation of only evolution-science,
furthermore, abridges the Constitution's prohibition against
establishment of religion, because it produces hostility
toward many theistic religions ..." Can you tell me how
it does that?
A No. That was in the model legislation and I left it there.
Q "... and brings preference to theological liberalism,
humanism, nontheistic religions, and atheism, in that
these religious faiths ..." -- I assume that should be
"generally" -- "... include a religious belief in evolution."
How does it do that?
A (No response.)
Q We don't know what nontheistic religions are, we've estab-
lished that, so what we're talking about is giving a preference
to theological liberalism, humanism, and atheism. Do you
know that these three lines of thought include a religious
belief in evolution?
A No. Some do, some don't. I'm not familiar with all those;
same thing I've said on the others.
Q This was a part of the model bill and you don't know why
it's in there.
Q "(g) Public school instruction in only evolution-science
also violates the principle of academic freedom, because it
denies students a choice between scientific models, and
instead indoctrinates them in evolution-science alone."
I seem to be asking the same questions over and over again.
A I think we're going to get down to that over and over again.
Q This is a restatement of what appears earlier in this bill.
There was no testimony taken, no hearings held to support
A Correct. I presented that to the legislature, and apparently
they agreed with it.
Q "Presentation of only one model, rather than alternative
scientific models of origins is not required by any
compelling interest of the State..." Do you know why that
statement's in there?
Q "... and exemption of such students from a course or class
presenting only evolution-science does not provide an
adequate remedy because of teacher influence and student
pressure to remain in that course or class." Do you know
why that's in there?
A Only an assumption on my part, and I assume because if
someone, say, objected to evolution-science as the only
think being presented, they can't drop out of the biology
course because they object to that or it goes against
Q "(i) Attendance of those students who are at public schools
is compelled by law, and school taxes from their parents
and other citizens are mandated by law." I can't quarrel
with you there. The rest of these, the next two, (j)
and (k), the same thing is true; those were in the model
act and they're not based upon any independent investigation
or research or testimony?
Q (l) says: "Most citizens, whatever their religious beliefs
about origins, favor balanced treatment in public schools
of alternative scientific models of origins for better
guiding students in their search for knowledge ..." You
simply don't know whether that's true or not, do you?
A Based on the telephone calls I had, the contact I had with
my constituents, that is true.
Q Did you know that at the time this bill was passed?
A I know it by the time it was passed. I didn't know it
when I introduced it, but I knew it as soon as I introduced
Q And when this was written you didn't know that?
A I didn't know it personally. Perhaps the people that wrote
it knew that.
Q The legislature did not have access to any survey, opinion
poll, or anything of the sort to support this finding, did
A Only their exposure to their constituents.
Q "... and they favor a neutral approach toward subjects
affecting the religious and moral and philosophical convic-
tions of students." Could we make the same statements about
that, that you don't know if most citizens favor that or do
not favor that, do you? You just know ...
A Just the ones I've contacted.
Q ... the ones who called you?
A That's correct.
Q Did you at the time this act was passed or do you now have
any reason to believe that some teachers might refuse to
Q Has anyone discussed that possibility with you?
A No. They've just discussed the curriculum and how to
implement the bill.
Q I assume that you would view that a violation of the mandate
of Act 590 if a teacher refused to teach creation-science?
A Only if she refused to teach one. Teach neither, that's fine.
Q In other words, if a teacher or a school system makes no
reference whatsoever to origins of life or of man in all
of these various disciplines in humanities and sciences
and so forth, then they don't have to teach creation-science.
Q Do you know what the term, "secular humanism", means?
A Not really.
Q Do you have any idea other than what you gave as a definition
Q You indicated earlier that after a review of some materials,
that you satisfied yourself that there was scientific
evidence that supports creation-science. Can you be more
specific and tell me what supports creation-science?
A One of the definitions talks about the age of the earth.
There are scientific evidences that are held by scientists
that can show that based on the cooling of the earth and
the gathering of cosmic dust on the moon or something,
something like that, that they can show how the earth is
not as old as other scientists believe it is, and that's
all I was trying to determine, if there were really valid
scientists, PhDs in Education, and ...
Q I can see how that might refute the proposition that the
earth is 4 1/2 billion years old. I don't see how that
supports the believe that it's 6 to 10,000 years old. Are
you telling me that it does?
A That's just ... I presume that's where they get the 6
to 10,000 years, by some sort of dating method that they
Q Are you referring to statements and evidence presented in
the textbooks that you reviewed that were given to you
A Jimmy Dyer?
Q ... Jimmy Dyer or Carl Hunt?
A Not anything that was given to me by Mr. Dyer. The data
that was given to me by Carl Hunt, as well as the information
that Larry Fisher furnished me.
Q And you don't recall the names of any of those texts
or publishers ...
A No, I'm sorry, I don't.
Q ... but you're going to furnish that to Mr. Williams or
A (Affirmative nod.)
Q Are there any other scientific evidences of which you are
aware that tend to support creation-science that you were
relying on in presenting this bill?
A There are scientific evidences that support the catastrophism
theory of the flood.
Q Are you looking to the same sources for that evidence?
Q The Governor announced to the public that he would include
a repealer in the special session only if the sponsor asked
for it. It didn't happen. I assume you didn't ask for it.
Q In view of all the controversy surrounding this bill, do
you have any feeling one way or the other whether it might
be a good idea to open the thing to debate before the legis-
A Yeah, I've got a view.
Q Is that what's stated in the newspaper?
A That's right. The best way to establish whether this law
is constitutional or not is through this procedure we're
Q You made a statement in one of the newspaper articles that
we went through that you were surprised that a number of
religious leaders are plaintiffs in this lawsuit, and you
said you didn't think they represent a cross-section of
the Christians of the state. That's what was attributed to
A That was in one of the articles that you had here previously.
Q Yes, sir. Do you recall that statement?
Q Is there anyone you can point to or any organization that
represents a cross0sectino of the Christians of the state?
Q Had you had any communications with -- and you just stop me
if I hit one --- The Institution for Creation Research?
A I've received letters from them, you know, a letter
congratulating me on the passage of the bill when it first
passed. That's all.
Q Did they furnish any materials to you?
A Subsequently afterwards I have received materials from them,
but not in the initial stages.
Q What have you done with those materials?
A Nothing. Read them, stuck them in the file.
Q You must have a great big file on this or a closet full of
A Most of the books I've gotten rid of, because I'd never in
my lifetime be able to read all of them. I have one of
those large display briefcases about this thick and about
this long full of press clippings, just articles that were
written in Arkansas papers only.
Q Do you recall who wrote to you from the Institution for
A There are two Creation Research institutes, and I get them
confused. I communicated with Dwayne Gish. I have a brief
that he wrote that I had used some excerpts from in my
testimony in the Senate, and that was one of the things
that was furnished to me by Larry Fisher that I'll get to
Q That you're going to furnish to David?
Q Have you had any communication from Henry Morris, from a man
named Wysong, from Richard Bliss, from the Creation Research
Society, from Moody Institute of Science, the Bible Science
Association, or the Creation Science Research Center at
A Some of those, but not all of them.
Q Can you tell me which ones?
A Start at the top again and I'll tell you.
Q Of the men it would be Richard Bliss ...
A I have not.
Q ... Henry Morris, Dwayne Gish ...
A Wait just a minute. Morris I have received communications
from. Bliss, is he head of ICR? I recognize that name.
I've heard it so many times.
Q Richard Bliss, Senator, has been in the state to conduct
some seminars on how to teach creation-science.
A That's it. Yeah. Yes, I've received a letter from him.
Q Have you received any materials from him?
A I don't think so, but I may have. I'd be surprised if I
had not received something from him material-wise.
Q Henry Morris?
A Henry Morris I've communicated with.
Q How about W. L. Wysong?
Q The organizations I mentioned, you just don't remember the
names, but you remember the names of individuals?
A No, I remember. You just went over them so fast I ...
Q Creation Research Society of Ann Arbor, Michigan?
A I have not received anything from them.
Q Moody Institute of Science?
Q Bible Science Association?
Q Creation Science Research Center in San Diego?
A Is that Seagraves'? I received a letter from them.
Q Are those communications or materials among those that I
previously asked you to furnish to Mr. Williams?
Q And you'll do that, I take it?
Q Do you know anything, Senator Holsted, about the scientific
background of any of the people that furnished you with
Q I've got another list here. Has anyone communicated with
you from the Committee on Openness as a Principle of Science,
El Paso, Texas?
Q Citizens Against Federal Establishment of Evolutionary
Q Creation Science Society of Milwaukee, Wisconsin?
Q The Fair Education Foundation, Claremont, California?
Q The Christian Heritage College?
Q Do you know what the Creation Science Legal Defense Fund is?
Q What is it?
A It was a fund set up to pay expenses for a group of
lawyers and defendants that wanted to intervene in the
Q Is that the group that was formed here locally to support
Mr. Bird's intervention?
Q Do you have anything to do with that?
Q Has any representative of that organization contacted you
other than Mr. Bird or Mr. Whitehead?
A I've attended their meetings and attended the organizational
meeting they had. So you might say I had something to do
with it in that respect, but I'm not ...
Q Is that group in existence right now?
A To my knowledge it is.
Q You are aware, I assume, of the response that Don Roberts
made publicly to the legislature's meddling in his business...
Q ... if that's a fair summary of his view. He seems to think
that the legislature shouldn't be meddling around in the
curriculum of the schools.
Q I assume that your view is to the contrary.
A Mr. Roberts fails to realize that he's a government employee
employed by the State of Arkansas. We are elected repre-
sentatives elected by our constituents, hopefully reflecting
the views of our constituents from the districts that we
serve. If you want to get public input into what's being
taught in the school systems, the best way is through the
elected representatives, and apparently that reflected the
views of the majority of the constituents in the State of
Arkansas, because every person in the legislature had to
vote on that bill one way or another, and every one of them's
got to run for reelection this year.
(Off the record.)
Q Do you know what that is?
A ACBEO, yes, Arkansas Citizens for Balanced Education in
Q What is it?
A It's a group that was formed to assist in defense of the
lawsuit, if possible, that's concerned about having balanced
treatment in the school systems on the Education of Origins.
Q Who started that organization? Who are its leaders?
A I don't really know.
Q Are you a member of it?
A No. I've just attended a couple of their meetings because
they wanted to ...
Q Is it of relatively recent inception?
A I don't know.
Q Not within the last six to ten thousand years, but in the last
month or so.
A I don't know how long. I think they've been in existence
Q Do you know the name of a single person, individual?
A Ed Gran.
Q Ed Gran is the one who would know something about it?
Q He was also one of the prime movers in the group to come
up with a defense fund, was he not?
Q Do you know what the Arkansas Citizens for Fairness in
Q You've had no contact with them?
A I don't think so. I may have received a letter or something
from them, but I have not attended meetings with them.
MR. CEARLEY: You can ask anything you
MR. WILLIAMS: I have no questions.
(Whereupon, at 1:15 P. M. the taking of the captioned
deposition was concluded.)
(Witness excused.) (Signature not waived.)
* * * * *
C E R T I F I C A T E
STATE OF ARKANSAS )
COUNTY OF PULASKI )
I, Della Lu Hall Tyson, a Notary Public within and for the
County of Pulaski and State of Arkansas, duly commissioned and
acting, do hereby certify that the witness, JAMES L. HOLSTED, was
first duly sworn to testify the whole truth and nothing but the
truth, that the foregoing deposition was by him given and his
statements were by me taken down in shorthand and by recording
and thereafter transcribed, and that the foregoing 115 pages contain
a true and correct transcription thereof.
I FURTHER CERTIFY that the said deposition was taken at
the time and in the place hereinbefore set forth, and that the
taking of said deposition was commenced and completed as previously
I FURTHER CERTIFY that Mr. Bob Cearley, 1014 W. Third,
Little Rock, Arkansas, and Ms. Laurie Ferber, 919 Third Avenue,
New York, N. Y., appeared as attorneys for the plaintiffs; that
Mr. David Williams and Mr. Rick Campbell, Justice Building,
Little Rock, Arkansas, appeared as attorneys for the State of
Arkansas; that Mr. Henry Osterloh, 300 Spring Building, Little
Rock, Arkansas, appeared as attorney for the Pulaski County
Special School District.
I FURTHER CERTIFY that I am not attorney or counsel for
any of the parties, nor am I a relative or employee of any
attorney or counsel or party connected with the action, nor am
I financially interested in the action.
WITNESS my hand and seal as such Notary Public on this
15th day of August, 1981.
Della Lu Hall Tyson
My Commission expires:
January 10, 1985.
C E R T I F I C A T E
STATE OF ARKANSAS )
COUNTY OF PULASKI )
I, JAMES L. HOLSTED, the witness in the foregoing deposition,
do hereby certify that I have read the transcript and that it is
true and correct with the following additions and corrections (if
any), or with the following changes which I wish to make, if any,
for the reasons as indicated:
JAMES L. HOLSTED
Subscribed before me, a __________________________, this
________ day of _______________________, 1981.
My Commission expires: