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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

Line Numbered Transcripts Index - P134-166


1 THE WITNESS: (Continuing) couldn't follow your line of

2 argument.

3 MR. WILLIAMS: That was a statement. That was not a

4 question. Let, me ask you the question now.

5 THE WITNESS: All right.

6 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

7 Q "The Man, A Course of Study", could you just give me

8 a brief sketch of the sort of issues that were being

9 present to fifth and sixth graders in that curriculum?

10 A This is an effort to teach students about values.

11 It did have an evolutionary component because it made

12 assumptions that there, were genetic relationships between

13 man and animals, and it looked at animal behavior. It was

14 widely considered to be an interesting course.

15 Its methodology was somewhat controversial because it

16 allowed—It was not rote teaching. It was teaching which

17 involved a lot of participation, a lot of discussion by

18 students.

19 Some of the major concerns came up about whether this

20 was an appropriate methodology through which to teach

21 students or whether children should be simply told by

22 their teachers what is right and what is wrong. That was

23 a controversial aspect of that dispute.

24 Q And the scientists who formulated that based on your

25 studies felt this would be an appropriate course of study


1 Q (Continuing) for fifth and sixth graders; is that correct?

2 A Yes.

3 Q They didn't feel that fifth and sixth graders were

4 too impressionable to handle these questions; is that

5 correct?

6 A No. I think it was the assumption that fifth and

7 sixth graders are pretty intelligent and thoughtful human

8 beings and could, yes, deal with it.

9 Q The controversy over "Man, A Course of Study", do

10 you know whether—Well, first of all—that course was ever

11 protested in Arkansas?

12 A I don't remember. It was protested in a number of

13 states. Arkansas could have been one of them, but I

14 really don't remember whether Arkansas was, in fact a

15 state in which it was protested.

16 Q Isn't it true that you don't necessarily see "Man, A

17 Course of Study" in the creation-science movement, as you

18 have termed it, to be one and the same? Those are

19 interrelated in terms of the same people were involved?

20 A There is some overlapping in the people involved in

21 the two studies. John Conlan, for example, the

22 representative, got involved and was also very supportive

23 of the creationist movement. And his aide, I can't

24 remember, a British guy, also got involved. Yes, there

25 was some relationship. The Galbraiths in Texas also got


1 A (Continuing) very agitated about that, similarly

2 agitated about the teaching of the evolution theory. Yes,

3 there were some connections.

4 Q The groups you previously identified as being the

5 leading creation-science groups, did any of them take a

6 formal position on "Man, A Course of Study", to the best

7 of your knowledge?

8 A I don't believe so, but I am not sure. I don't

9 remember.

10 Q In your article entitled Science-Textbook

11 Controversies, which has been previously admitted as

12 Plaintiffs' Exhibit 1 for identification, you state that,

13 referring to textbooks published by the Biological Science

14 Curricula Study Committee, you said, quote, All three

15 reflected the fact that modern biological research is

16 based on evolutionary assumptions, close quote?

17 A Yes.

18 Q So, you mentioned earlier in your testimony that

19 somehow creation-science was based on some sort of a

20 priori assumptions. Is not evolution also based on some a

21 priori assumptions?

22 A What is the beginning part again?

23 Q You were talking about three textbooks. Three

24 textbooks were developed, each emphasizing a different

25 aspect of current biological research. Molecular biology,

137. Page Missing


1 A (Continuing) data and to understand.

2 Q Let me ask, you, in Exhibit 1 you state that

3 creation-scientists believe, quote, that all basic types of

4 living things, including man, were made by a direct

5 creative act of God during the creation week."

6 A Yes.

7 Q Can you tell me where does creation-science, as it

8 is defined in Act 590, say that all living things were

9 created in one week.

10 A Act 590 denies—

11 Q I am asking if you can tell me where.

12 A I think it does not state that exactly in that way,

13 and it does not also want to use the word "God", but I

14 find it very difficult to distinguish the notion of a

15 creator and world by design without— I mean, I think that

16 is the semantic equivalent.

17 Q But you studied this, not from you own personal

18 opinion but you studied it as a social science, did you

19 not?

20 A Yes.

21 Q So I want to ask you, not your personal opinion but

22 what you have been able to determine from studying this

23 question.

24 A My opinion is based on what I studied.

25 Q But where in Act 590 does it state that man was


1 Q (Continuing) created within one week?

2 A It does not go into that kind of detail.

3 Q Where in Act 590 does it say that, quote, God, close

4 quote, did the creating?

5 A No, Act 590 does not go into the absolute details.

6 Q It doesn't say that, does it?

7 A No.

8 Q You further state in Exhibit 1 that many

9 nonscientists believe that science is authoritative, exact

10 and definitive?

11 A Yes.

12 Q And, further, that few textbooks are careful to

13 stress the distinction between facts and interpretation?

14 A Yes.

15 Q —Or to suggest that intuition and speculation

16 actually guide the development of scientific concepts?

17 A (Nodding affirmatively)

18 Q First of all, that's an acknowledgment by you, is it

19 not, that things such as intuition and speculation do lead

20 to scientific concepts?

21 A I think there is a great deal of speculation in

22 science, and then it's tested, systematically tested;

23 approached with skepticism and tested, yes.

24 Q Can't the shortcomings you have pinpointed on

25 textbooks lead to false impression that what are


1 Q (Continuing) scientific theories are facts?

2 A I think there is a lot of room for improvement in

3 science popularization. I've written a great deal about

4 this. I think it's a very difficult thing to do to convey

5 both the subtlety and the complexity of science and yet

6 convey it at a level at which it can be understood and

7 which the innuendoes and the procedures and the kinds of

8 insights that go into science are conveyed. It's a major

9 challenge to the scientific community.

10 Q Who was Julian Huxley?

11 A Julian Huxley was a biologist in the nineteenth

12 century.

13 Q Would it be fair to say he was a proponent of

14 evolution?

15 A Well, and he and other people have used—There are a

16 lot of people who have used evolution theory for

17 purposes—special purposes. I am not sure scientists can

18 do anything about that. Scientific theories are amenable

19 to being exploited and used.

20 Q So evolutionary theory can be abused?

21 A Every science and every religious theory can be

22 abused by the public if somebody cares to do so, yes.

23 Q As you understand or what you know about Julian

24 Huxley, was he someone who adopted or adhered to the

25 theory of evolution?


1 A I believe so.

2 Q Are you aware that he called the concept of

3 evolution a naturalistic religion?

4 A (Nodding affirmatively)

5 Q So, at least, Huxley saw some sort of religion being

6 based on evolution, did he not?

7 A There were a lot of nineteenth century scientists

8 who really looked to religion as a way to document the

9 existence of God, yes. That was characteristic of a lot

10 of Darwin's contemporaries and, in fact, his

11 contemporaries in the scientific community were—had a lot

12 of problems with Darwinian theory, yes. In the nineteenth

13 century, definitely.

14 Q In your article that I just quoted from, is not one

15 of you conclusions, "that questions which have normally

16 been resolved by professional consensus are being brought

17 into the political arena"?

18 A Yes.

19 Q Is your conclusion not further that, "The processes

20 resulting in democratic values such as freedom of choice,

21 equality and fairness enter into science policy"?

22 A Yes, and when it comes to the determination of

23 scientific theory—

24 Q I am asking if that is your conclusion?

25 A No, because you are taking it out of context.


1 Q I don't want to take it out of context. Let me read

2 you the quote.

3 MR. CRAWFORD: What are you reading?

4 MR. WILLIAMS: Exhibit 1, page 30, the last sentence.

5 Q "As questions that are normally resolved by

6 professional consensus are brought into the political

7 arena, and as democratic values such as freedom of choice,

8 equality and fairness enter into science policy, the

9 consequences of such resistance to science may be

10 painful." First of all, is that correct?

11 A Yes. I want to underline the word `policy'. I

12 don't want that to be shown in the record to say science .

13 Q I think I read `policy', did I not?

14 A But I want to emphasize that.

15 Q You didn't emphasize it in your article.

16 MR. CRAWFORD: If Mr. Williams intends to

17 interrogate Professor Nelkin at some length about this

18 article, I would like to give her a copy of it for her

19 reference.

20 MR. WILLIAMS: I've just finished my questioning on

21 the article, Mr. Crawford.

22 THE WITNESS: May I add a point to that, because I

23 think it,- again, is out of context. I do not think that

24 values of democracy and fairness enter the judgment as to

25 what is valid scientific theory.


1 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

2 Q But they do into valid science policy?

3 A Into science policy, where money should be allocated

4 for science, et cetera. But into theories of science,

5 science is not a democracy. It is a meritocracy.

6 Achievement, bodies of knowledge, an acceptable set of

7 procedures, these are the things that define science, not

8 democracy, not audience applause.

9 Q I want to refer you now to Exhibit 2 for

10 identification of the plaintiffs' case. This is your

11 article entitled, "Science, Rationality and the

12 Creation/Evolution Dispute".

13 Do you not state in this article that an argument that,

14 quote, science is natural, close quote; it is simply not

15 convincing on historical grounds?

16 A Yes. The argument the scientists make, I think, is

17 a defensive one that exaggerates the total neutrality and

18 objectivity of science, and it allows people to abuse

19 science by having, by taking political recourse to that

20 concept.

21 Q In fact, you go on to say that "Neutral—"

22 MR. CRAWFORD: Your Honor, I am sorry to keep

23 intruding, but if he could just identify where he is

24 reading—

25 MR. WILLIAMS: Page 12 of the article.


1 Q That, in fact, "Neutral, apolitical criteria have

2 very little meaning in the context of science education";

3 isn't that right?

4 A Historically, yes.

5 Q You state, do you not, that in discussing, at the

6 top of page 15, the conflict between creation science and

7 evolution, you state, quote, "As each side defends its

8 position and criticizes the other, their arguments are

9 strikingly similar. Indeed, the debate often sounds like

10 a battle between two dogmatic groups as the anti-dogmatic

11 norms of science fade with the effort to convey the

12 validity of a scientific theory. At times, in the course

13 of the dispute, it becomes difficult to distinguish

14 science from politics and ideology, a fact which only

15 reinforces creationist claims"?

16 A Yes, because the dispute has taken—

17 Q First of all, let me ask you a question about that.

18 A Sure.

19 Q What you are saying here, is it not, is that there

20 is a parallel between the arguments made by the

21 creationists and the evolutionists?

22 A Yes. What I'm saying, though, in a larger sense is

23 that scientists have not, because they have been somewhat

24 isolated from such political challenges, are not very

25 experienced in dealing with such challenges, and I think


1 A (Continuing) that is a real problem in this day and

2 age.

3 So that when they tend to get confronted by a great

4 number of attacks, they tend to respond very, I feel, much

5 too defensively and instead of just sticking to their

6 guns, essentially fall into the trap of creating parallel

7 arguments.

8 MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, this has been previously

9 marked as Plaintiffs Exhibit Number 2. Unless the

10 plaintiffs have some intention of offering it into

11 evidence, I would like to offer it into evidence as a

12 defendant's exhibit.

13 MR. CRAWFORD: I have no objection.

14 THE COURT: It will be received.

15 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

16 Q Ms. Nelkin, are you aware that some scientific

17 journals have established a policy of refusing any

18 consideration of any articles on creation science?

19 A I am not aware it is policy. I know there's been

20 problems in peer reviewing them.

21 Q Let me refer you back to Exhibit 1, Plaintiffs'

22 Exhibit 1—Excuse me. Do you recall an article you wrote

23 on "Creation vs. Evolution: The Politics of Science

24 Education"?

25 A Yes.


1 Q Do you recall in that article you discussed the fact

2 that the National Association of Biology Teachers, their

3 journal stopped publishing any creationist articles by

4 November of 1972?

5 A Yes. It was deluged with articles that stated from

6 preconceptions that simply—

7 Q I am not asking where they came from. I am asking

8 if you are aware whether, in fact, they stopped accepting

9 articles?

10 A Yes, I remember the article and the debate at that

11 time.

12 Q Thank you very much.

13 Ms. Nelkin, you do not believe in the existence of a

14 God, do you?

15 A No.

16 Q But you believe that a religious person can be a

17 competent scientist, don't you?

18 A Certainly.

19 Q in your study of science, have you come to a

20 conclusion that we now have a purity of science so that

21 society no longer affects science and the scientific

22 method?

23 A Do I believe that?

24 Q In your studies, have you come to that conclusion?

25 A That the purity of science no longer—No, I have not


1 A (Continuing) come to that conclusion.

2 Q As a matter of fact, would you say the opposite is

3 true, that society to some degree does tend to affect

4 science?

5 A That is not the opposite, but to some degree there

6 is, yes, certainly.

7 Q You also have looked, have you not, at the way

8 courts have generally handled scientific questions?

9 A Yes.

10 Q And you have some doubts personally about the

11 ability of a court to handle a scientific question, don't

12 you?

13 A That is a very complicated question to answer

14 briefly. I think there is a tendency for a lot of

15 technical questions that come to the court to be

16 translated into scientific and technical terms; that a lot

17 of these cases, Vermont Yankee, for example, for one

18 thing, have become very difficult in terms of the ability

19 of the courts to gain sufficient technical competence to

20 make judgments as to whether, in fact, the agencies are

21 doing their jobs.

22 I am very familiar with the Bazelon-Levanthal argument

23 as to the extent to which courts should be buttressing

24 their technical competence or whether they should simply

25 refer these cases back to the agencies that do have the


1 A (Continuing) technical competence or to the

2 legislature to handle them.

3 I have generally come out on the latter side, the

4 Bazelon side to this, that the practical notion of

5 training lawyers to be both scientists and lawyers at the

6 same time, and judges also, to have them technically

7 competent in all fields that are going to come before

8 them, really doesn't work out very well.

9 Q So you've come up on the side of referring it back

10 to the administrative agency or the legislature where it

11 came from?

12 MR. CRAWFORD: I object.

13 MR. WILLIAMS: That was her testimony, I believe.

14 MR. CRAWFORD: I heard the word `legislature' that I

15 had not heard before.

16 THE WITNESS: That was in the Vermont Yankee case.

17 I don't think that applies to every —I certainly don't

18 think it applies to this case, but I'm looking at the

19 Vermont Yankee case in particular.

20 MR. WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Ms. Nelkin. First of all,

21 we have an objection. Your Honor, if I could ask the

22 witness—

23 MR. CRAWFORD: I heard what she said.

24 MR. WILLIAMS: All right.


1 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

2 Q Do you think academic freedom includes necessarily

3 the freedom to teach anything an individual wants to teach

4 at any particular time?

5 MR. CRAWFORD: If your Honor, please, I am going to

6 object. We have not tendered Professor Nelkin as an

7 expert on academic freedom. We tendered her as an expert

8 on sociology of science and controversies involving

9 science. I think to take her into the field of academic

10 freedom and areas in which she doesn't necessarily claim

11 expertise is inappropriate.

12 MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, she is a professor at

13 Cornell University. I am not asking her for a legal

14 judgment; I am asking her as a member of the academic

15 community.

16 THE COURT: That's fine. That's overruled.

17 THE WITNESS: So the question is, do I think—

18 Would you repeat the question, please?

19 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

20 Q Do you think that academic freedom includes

21 necessarily the freedom to teach anything that an

22 individual wants to teach at any particular time?

23 A No.

24 Q Do you think that a teacher has to agree with a

25 theory before they can effectively teach it?


1 A No.

2 Q In fact, you teach theories you don't agree with?

3 A Let me quality that. I teach in a private

4 university, at the university level only. I have never

5 taught in the public schools, and I really do not want to

6 comment—I cannot comment on the question of academic

7 freedom in the public school context. There is nothing

8 either in anything I have studied or my own personal

9 experience that would allow me to do that with any

10 confidence.

11 Q But in teaching concepts, many times a university

12 like Cornell would be similar to any public institution,

13 would it not?

14 A I teach mostly graduate students over the age of

15 twenty. I would imagine, having never taught but having

16 had teenage kids myself, there must be some difference in

17 the way one teaches.

18 Q Do you think the evolution model of origins should

19 be subject to criticism?

20 A I think all science should be subject to criticism.

21 It's fundamental.

22 Q You are using it in its nonreligious sense, I take

23 it?

24 Yes. That's an unintended pun. Excuse me.

25 Q Do you object to the creationist or creation science


1 Q (Continuing) position of origins being discussed in

2 a humanities or social science class?

3 A I have no objection do the history of religious

4 theory being taught in a history course.

5 Q Don't you believe it is possible for a scientist to

6 do superb scientific work, and then someone else label it

7 as religion?

8 A Do I think—What was the double negative?

9 Q Do you think it is possible for a scientist to do

10 superb scientific work and for someone else to label that

11 as religion?

12 A Well, it depends on the nature—You are putting such

13 a loaded word on `superb'. On what criteria are you using

14 the word `superb'? I mean, what's `superb'? I can't

15 answer the question because of the way it's framed.

16 Q Do you recall during your deposition when I asked

17 you a question to that effect, and you said, quote, I can

18 very well conceive of a first rate scientist doing superb

19 science, and somebody else comes along and says, "No, I

20 think that is a religion"?

21 A Yes. I believe that was at the end of six hours of

22 grilling in a hot room at LaGuardia Airport, and I think

23 by that time I am really not sure what I said, but that's

24 all right.

25 Q Would you say that you, in writing your book on


1 Q (Continuing) Science-Textbook Controversies, ever

2 made a scientific judgment about the validity of

3 creationism or evolution theories?

4 A Have I ever made a scientific judgment on the basis

5 of biological science—Its validity in terms of—I have

6 not, no. I am not a biologist.

7 Q But isn't it true that you actually began with the

8 presupposition that creation-science was not science and

9 was religion?

10 A Yes.

11 Q So you did make a judgment, did you not?

12 A It is not a scientific judgment in the sense that—

13 Yes, I did make a judgment.

14 Q The organizations you mentioned, ICR and some of the

15 other acronyms, do you have any personal knowledge as to

16 whether any of those groups had any input in drafting Act

17 590?

18 A I gather there was an effort on the part of ICR to

19 have an input. I don't know whether Ellwanger or any of

20 his people actually talked —No, I don't know. I don't

21 know the specifics of the relationships that went into

22 drafting that legislation. It's very clear from the

23 language that Ellwanger had certainly read material by

24 Bird and had certainly read the material in ICR. Whether

25 he had personal contact with the individuals who wrote


1 A (Continuing) those articles, I don't know.

2 Q So in other words—I am not sure I understand your

3 testimony. In terms of what happened here in Arkansas in

4 1981 as opposed to what you were studying back in 1977,

5 A No, no, no, no. You asked about Act 590.

6 Q I am asking about 590. I am asking about the passage

7 of 590.

8 A Okay. In the passage of 590—In the drafting of

9 590, it is completely evident to me from looking at the

10 text that Ellwanger had drafted it or whoever had drafted

11 it had seen creationist material from the California

12 creationists.

13 Q So you think from looking at it—

14 A Whether he talked to the people there, I don't know

15 whether he actually was on the telephone or met with those

16 people. I don't know the personal relationship. I know

17 that he would have had to have seen the documents and used

18 them because they are almost word for word.

19 Q What you are doing there—I asked you a question, do

20 you have any personal knowledge. You are trying to, on

21 the basis off comparison and somewhat conjecture you are

22 trying to-say what you think happened; isn't that correct?

23 A No, no, no. Personal knowledge can come from

24 reading.

25 MR. CRAWFORD: I object to the argumentative nature


1 MR. CRAWFORD: (Continuing) of the question. I believe

2 she answered it.

3 MR. WILLIAMS: I asked her if she had any personal

4 knowledge.

5 THE COURT: I thought she had answered it. I gather

6 she does not.

7 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

8 Q You will agree you are not qualified as an expert to

9 make a decision as to whether creation-science is a valid

10 scientific model?

11 A I would rather that the discussions of the

12 scientific content be left to biologists who are much more

13 competent than I am. They will be here in droves, so I

14 think I would rather leave all the scientific questions to

15 them.

16 Q I am not asking you a question as to whether you

17 would. I am asking you a question—perhaps you didn't

18 hear—that you would agree that you are not competent to

19 make a decision—You are not qualified as a scientific

20 expert to make a decision as to whether creation-science

21 is valid science?

22 A That's right.

23 Q According to your studies, is it not true that what

24 constitutes science can be either a question of

25 philosophy, sociology, or history, depending upon whose


1 Q (Continuing) study you look at?

2 A Say that again.

3 Q According to your studies, is it not true that what

4 constitutes science, depending upon whose study you look

5 at, is a question of philosophy, sociology or history?

6 A Have I ever said that? I don't, I really don't

7 understand your question.

8 Q Let me refer you back to your deposition where I

9 asked you this question: "Is it correct to say that what

10 constitutes science is a philosophical question", and you

11 gave me this answer: "Well, it depends on whose study.

12 It can be a philosophical, a sociological question or a

13 historical question".

14 What was the context of that, because I really don't

15 understand what I said at the moment?

16 MR. CRAWFORD: If your Honor please, from what page

17 is he reading?

18 MR. WILLIAMS: Page 89.

19 THE WITNESS: What was the context of the—What were

20 we talking about at that point?

21 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

22 Q I was asking you what constitutes science.

23 A All right. Science constitutes a body of knowledge

24 and a set of procedures that are widely accepted by the

25 scientific community at a given time. In terms of


1 A (Continuing) historical, this may change, in terms

2 of history, but at this point, at any given point in time

3 it is the body of knowledge that exists and a set of

4 procedures that are widely accepted by a scientific

5 community.

6 Q In other words, if you told me that answer on

7 November 22, 1981, you are now changing that answer as to

8 what constitutes science?

9 A I don't think it contradicts what I said there. I

10 said that there are historical— I mean, I think if you

11 asked that question as to what constituted science in the

12 nineteenth century or the eighteenth century, the body of

13 knowledge and the set of procedures at that time might

14 have been somewhat different, yes. Certainly the body of

15 knowledge would have been different than two hundred years

16 ago.

17 Q You have looked at science and you have to

18 understand science to write about it, to some degree,

19 don't you?

20 A I understand methodology, the approach to science.

21 I do not understand all the technical details of it.

22 Q To the best of your knowledge, based on your study,

23 are theories of origin testable?

24 A A science is not defined only in those terms.

25 Q I am asking you the question now: Are theories of


1 Q (Continuing) origin testable, to the best of your

2 knowledge?

3 A To the best of my knowledge, they are not directly

4 testable by observation.

5 Q Is evolution based on the presupposition of no

6 creator?

7 A It is based on the presupposition that there are

8 natural processes at work. It is totally irrelevant as to

9 whether —Nobody would ever ask that question.

10 Q I asked it on November 22nd. I asked you this

11 question on your deposition on page 94: "Is evolution

12 based on the presupposition of no creator?" Answer:

13 "Yes. Evolution theory is based on the supposition that

14 there is no creator who at a given period of time has

15 created the world, close quote. Do you recall giving that

16 answer?

17 A Okay, yeah, I suppose I did give that answer but,

18 possibly, I guess I was confused. There is really no

19 presupposition. It's almost irrelevant, but I think, yes,

20 if you ask biologists whether they presuppose underlying

21 evolution theory that there was a creator that created the

22 universe in six days, they would say no. They would

23 assume that does not exist.

24 Q But at the time you gave this answer, that was

25 correct to the best of your knowledge, was it not?


1 A I guess, yes.

2 MR. CRAWFORD: If your Honor please, may I pass the

3 witness a copy of the deposition? She was asked to

4 elaborate on the answer.

5 THE WITNESS: I would like to see it in context.

6 Again, it's page 146 of 147 pages.

7 MR. WILLIAMS: I'm not asking you the question that

8 was asked there, Ms. Nelkin.

9 THE WITNESS: And I said, "I think the existence or

10 non-existence" — I am reading from the-same thing you are

11 reading — "is not relevant."

12 MR. WILLIAMS: I am going to ask, your Honor—I

13 asked her about the specific question, and she said she

14 gave it. Now if Mr. Crawford wants to bring up anything

15 else on redirect, I think that's entirely appropriate.

16 THE WITNESS: I did not give—

17 THE COURT: Wait a minute.

18 MR. WILLIAMS: I will object to Mr. Crawford

19 referring Ms. Nelkin to a page in the deposition which I

20 did not refer to. If he wants to bring it up on

21 redirect, I think that's certainly appropriate.

22 THE COURT: Well, it doesn't make any different when

23 it's brought up if it's convenient. We are not trying it

24 before a jury.

25 MR. WILLIAMS: I understand that, your Honor.


1 MR. CRAWFORD: Your Honor, may the witness continue?

2 THE WITNESS: May I ask my lawyer a question?

3 MR. CRAWFORD: Just answer the question.

4 THE COURT: I think it's probably best, Mr.

5 Williams, if you go ahead and ask the questions, and she

6 can answer those. Then, Mr. Crawford, you will get a

7 chance to ask her some questions.

8 MR. CRAWFORD: Thank you, your Honor.

9 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

10 Q Is the presupposition of no creator subject to being

11 tested, to your knowledge?

12 A No, it's not subject to being tested.

13 Q Is that presupposition based an a priori assumption?

14 A The presupposition there is a creator?

15 Q That there is no creator in evolution.

16 A As I said in my deposition, it's totally

17 irrelevant. It would not even come up.

18 Q I am asking a question. Is that presupposition of

19 no creator in evolution based on any a priori assumption?

20 A Ask it again carefully at this point.

21 Q Is the presupposition of no creator in evolution

22 based on an a priori assumption?

23 A Some scientists that I know do believe in God and

24 others do not.

25 Q I am not asking you that question. I am asking you


1 Q (Continuing) if the presupposition of no creator in

2 evolution theory is based on an a priori assumption?

3 A But there is no creator. It's a tautology.

4 Q I am asking you a question. Is it based on an a

5 priori assumption, Ms. Nelkin?

6 A Yes, I guess it's an a priori assumption. If one

7 believes there is no creator, then one believes there is

8 no creator.

9 Q To the extent that there may be some scientific

10 evidence in support of the creation-science model of

11 origins, would you favor its discussion in the classroom?

12 A That's a big if.

13 Q But I am asking you if there is.

14 A My own belief is that it is fundamentally a religion.

15 Q I didn't ask you if it was a religion.

16 MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, I would ask that the

17 witness be instructed to answer my question.

18 THE WITNESS: My belief is that it is a

19 contradiction in terms. It's very hard to answer a

20 question in which I believe there is a contradiction of

21 terms. It's too hypothetical for me to be able to answer.

22 Q On November 22, when I asked you that question—On

23 page 95, I asked you this question: "If there were some

24 scientific evidence in support of the creation-science

25 theory of origins, would you favor its discussion in the


1 Q (Continuing) classroom?" You gave me this answer:

2 "If there were really valid material, again that is not an

3 effort to prove the existence of God, of course."

4 Is that the correct question and answer?

5 A That is in the testimony, and after reading that I

6 was kind of appalled at being led into saying that.

7 Q Did I drive you to say it?

8 A No, but again that was pretty fatiguing

9 circumstances and one gets clearly sloppy at that time.

10 I don't believe, again, that it's relevant. It's too

11 hypothetical when you are talking about religion.

12 Q Do you recall when I took your deposition I told you

13 if you didn't understand any question I asked, please tell

14 me and I would rephrase it?

15 A Yes. That is why I am being careful to do so now.

16 Q Do you agree with the creation-scientists who say

17 that evolution is not a fact but a theory?

18 A Evolution is a theory, yes.

19 Q Do you think that religion can be based on science?

20 A No. I think it is a separate domain, a separate

21 domain of belief.

22 Q Let me refer you to page 102 of your deposition

23 where I asked this question: "Can religion be based on

24 science?" Answer: "Yes, but I think people have a lot of

25 faith in science." And you continue.


1 A I said no, based on faith I didn't say yes. At

2 least in the copy I've got. Is there a discrepancy in the

3 copies?

4 Q Would you look at the next line, line 21 and 22?

5 A Question: "Do you think religion can be based on

6 science?" Answer: "No, based on faith. " Question: "Can

7 religion be based on science?" Answer: "Yes, but I think

8 people have a lot of faith in science."

9 Q So did you not tell me in answer to my question that

10 yes, religion can be based on science?

11 A There are a number of typographical errors that have

12 come through in this. I can't believe that inconsistency.

13 The first thing, I said no, it's based on faith, and

14 then the second, I said yes. Apparently, the same

15 question, at least, as it was typed. But I said, "Yes, I

16 think people have a lot of faith in science, not as a way

17 to justify it. I believe people who have religious

18 beliefs should not have to justify them in terms of

19 science, and if they do justify them in terms of science

20 it is a way to gain a wider credibility and to try to act

21 as missionaries and convert others to those beliefs."

22 The question may have been distorted or I may have

23 interpreted it the second time in a different way.

24 Q On page 103, you continued, I asked you the question

25 again: "Do you think it would be possible to base a


1 (Continuing) religion on science?" Answer: —

2 A And I said it would be inappropriate. It would be

3 possible—Anything is possible, but I said it would be

4 inappropriate.

5 Q So your answer there was that religion can be based

6 on science; isn't that correct?

7 A No, my first answer was—

8 MR. CRAWFORD: If your Honor please, the testimony

9 has been brought out and your Honor can draw your own

10 conclusions about it. This is going on at some length.

11 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)

12 Q Do you think religion can be based on evolution?

13 A No. I would like to separate the two domains.

14 Q Do you recall that I asked you about that and you

15 said that there were some minor religions that you think

16 might be based on evolution?

17 A I thought you asked me whether it should be.

18 Q Could be?

19 A Yeah, I think that there's lots of people who can

20 make and use science in any way they choose, and there are

21 religions who do base themselves on—Transcendental

22 meditation, for example, calls itself a science of

23 scientific intelligence, yes. There are a lot of

24 religions that claim to base themselves on science, yep.

25 but that doesn't mean I am saying it's appropriate.


1 Q I understand you are not putting your imprimatur or

2 saying that's a correct thing to do, but you are just

3 acknowledging that it has, in fact occurred.

4 Do you think a teacher has a right as a matter of

5 academic freedom to profess his or her professional

6 judgment in the classroom?

7 A Again, I would rather—There is a whole section on

8 this, I believe, on academic freedom, and I would rather

9 have that kind of question delayed to that section of the

10 trial.

11 Q Attorneys for the plaintiffs have made that

12 objection, and it's been overruled. So I would like you,

13 if you could, to answer my question.

14 A You are saying at the college level at which I

15 teach—Yes, we are allowed to interject our own opinions

16 in classrooms, yes.

17 Q Do you think if a teacher has reviewed the data in a

18 field and has done so in a responsible fashion, and has

19 concluded there is support for the theory of creation

20 science, that that teacher should be free to discuss it in

21 the classroom?

22 A At the public school level, no. In biology class,

23 no.

24 Q I asked you that question, and you gave me this

25 answer: "I guess so, but I would say he or she had not


1 (Continuing) done his homework very well."

2 But you did say, "I guess so", so that they should as a

3 matter of academic freedom be able to teach that; isn't

4 that correct?

5 A Well, I hadn't thought that through very well at

6 that time. A lot of these questions came rapid fire over

7 six hours.

8 Q Your research on creation-science, you say, as I

9 understand it, that creationists argue that Genesis is not

10 religious dogma but an inerrant scientific hypothesis

11 capable of evaluation on scientific procedures; is that

12 correct?

13 A Say that again. Creationists—

14 Q —that Genesis is not religious dogma but an

15 inerrant scientific hypothesis capable of evaluation on

16 scientific procedures.

17 A That evolution theory is not scientific? No, it's

18 not scientific dogma.

19 Q No, no.

20 A All right, repeat the whole question right from the

21 beginning.

22 Q Has your research shown that creationists argue that

23 Genesis is not religious dogma but an inerrant scientific

24 hypothesis capable of evaluation on scientific procedures?

25 A That's what creationists claim, yes.


1 Q Does Act 590 allow Genesis to be used in the

2 classroom?

3 A Yes. Not—If it's scientifically—Apparently, —It

4 is based on the assumption that one can create textbooks

5 that will document the scientific validity of that.

6 Q Could you show me in Act 590 where it says they can

7 use Genesis?

8 A In their definitions, they don't use the word

9 `Genesis' but they essentially lay out the definitions of

10 creation-science based on Genesis.

11 Q That's your opinion; is that correct?

12 A That's my opinion, yes.

13 Q Have you read Section 2, which prohibits any

14 religious instruction or any reference to religious

15 writings?

16 A Yes, but I find the whole thing so internally

17 contradictory that I have real problems with it.

18 Q Do you consider Genesis to be a religious writing?

19 A Yes.

20 Q One of the studies quoted - in your book, or

21 referenced, says that, "Groups committed to particular

22 assumptions tend to suppress dissent evidence and

23 criticism, only encourages increasing activities in

24 support of the existing beliefs." Do you recall that?

25 A Yes, I recall that.