Deposition of William V. Mayer - Page 2
Q. It could be either then?
A. It could be either simply because I
don't know. If you envision a god as an
omnipotent being, an omniscient, omnipotent being,
this is so far beyond my comprehension, there is
no way that I can envision omniscience. I have a
difficult time with envisioning abstractions.
Infinity, for example, bothers me. My
mind boggles at the concept of something that goes
on forever. I like to think of a boundary out
there, but there can't be, and therefore I simply
throw up my hands and say I can't explain this.
Now maybe ultimately -- 50 years ago
there were a lot of things that I couldn't explain
that are now explainable. Maybe ultimately these
will be explained, maybe they won't.
Q. That infinity concept, is that a part of
the one theory of origin you mentioned earlier,
which is there is no beginning, there is no end?
Q. The creator as you defined it -- again,
what was your definition? I'm sorry.
A. I would just refer to a governing
principle that I can't understand.
Q. The fact that you cannot understand it,
however, does not necessarily make it supernatural?
A. Not necessarily. But, on the other
hand, it doesn't make it science either.
Q. In your classes in your professional
teaching career, have you ever taught or discussed
the evolution model of origin?
A. The evolution theory of origin.
Q. All right, theory.
Q. How did you go about discussing it?
And in particular as it relates to man or life or
earth or plants.
A. I presented the evidences that indicate
the unity of living things, the structures, the
chemical processes, and so on, that are inherent
throughout the living system and indicate that
this is undoubtedly an indication of relationship.
The more things have in common, the more we
normally think of them as related one to another
and the changing of organisms through time and the
implications of this for making a synthetic state
of the art explanation of classification of
organisms, their diversity, and their
Q. Is it accurate to state that the
results achieved by any scientific inquiry into
any area are only as good as the underlying
A. The underlying assumptions based on the
available factual evidence, yes.
Q. Have you written any papers, articles
or books other than those which I have copies of
which deal with the subject of origins in
particular? I think you have given us everything
we asked for.
A. I am not sure that I have, that is what
is bothering me.
Q. All right.
A. I am not sure what you have in all of
this pile of things.
Q. Take a minute and look at it.
A. I am sure that I have more than this.
One of my big problems was that I got back to
Colorado Saturday night 9 o'clock and left my
house about 6 a.m. the next morning and didn't
really have much time to pull all of this material
I would say this. These materials here
certainly present an accurate summation of
whatever it is I have written.
Q. What are your underlying assumptions as
to the general theory of evolution?
A. First of all, it is a part of science
in the sense that it is derived from the processes
of science. Science is a way of knowing, Science
is a way of finding out. Its assumptions are based
on observation initially, experiment latterly, and
those assumptions, I think, are fairly well
grounded, but mot immutable. All are subject to
change. If a better scientific explanation for
organismic diversity were to come along, there
isn't a scientist I know who wouldn't jettison the
theory of evolution and go with the better thesis.
So the important thing to remember is
that all of these are state of the art explanations
and are all subject to change.
Q. If these are state of the art
explanations subject to change, then are what you
are telling me that science is presenting two
models or three models or four models as to the
evolution process or the theory of origins -- you
enumerated, I think, four principles -- that
compete with each other within that body of
science for acceptance, I guess, as being fact.
Those models as advanced by a scientist which
chooses one theory over another, is any of that
predicated on a statement of faith?
A. No. It is predicated on the evidence,
which presents the better evidence. It is like a
court case. The side that presents the best
evidence is going to win the day. And it is the
same in science. The thesis that is best supportd
by the evidence is the one most likely to be
Q. But where there is room for debate, as
there is in the theory of origin, as you have
enumerated at least four theories that you have
said you have taught, when one chooses among those
four -- or go back to the first question. I won't
presume anything. Does a scientist choose among
those four as to the one that that scientist
accepts or believes has the most validity?
Q. When a scientist then makes that
judgment as compared to the other three, is there
some statement of faith associated with that?
Q. Then what is the basis for that
A. The facts of the case.
Q. I am having a hard time, Dr. Mayer. I
asked you to advance theories of origin that you
had seen taught or you talked about. You talked
about cosmic, you talked about -- I forgot the
four. There were four that you mentioned.
As a scientist, do you accept or prefer
one of those theories of origin above others?
A. The evidence weighs me to accept the
Q. The evidence weighs you to accept that?
Q. If one of your colleagues in science
were to say the evidence persuades that person to
accept another one of those theories, is that
A. If he picks the theory that is least
well supported, I would say he is wrong.
A. He is betting on the wrong horse.
Q. Why? Because he disagrees with you?
A. Not because he disagrees with me but
because he is not considering all of the evidence.
You can prove almost anything if you wish to
select the evidence. If you are being truly
objective and look at the vast panoply of evidence
and look at all of it, then certain theories are
best used to explain all that evidence.
Q. Then why do these other theories exist
in science and are referenced in science by
reputable persons as yourself if all the evidence
leads to support objectively this one theory as
being correct and the others as not?
A. You want to acquaint students with how
we came to know what we know. For example,
Lamarck's theory of acquired characteristics is
accepted by almost no scientists at the present
time. But we nonetheless present it to show the
development of an idea. This person thought this,
that person thought the other, and yet with the
passage of time we can say that these theories
have not stood the test.
Q. May I interrupt for just a second,
though. You said virtually no scientists accept
that theory. Do you know of any who do?
A. Yes. In the Soviet Union Tropf n
Lysenko, who was a great favorite of Joseph Stalin's
was what you would call a Lysenkoist. This became
involved in the politics of the state because it
fit the state social model very well and did more
to set back Russian biology than any single thing
I can think of. With the passage of Stalin,
Soviet biology is attempting to recover. Mr.
Lysenko is out now. And this was an example of a
person embracing an idea or a theory that simply
didn't stand the test.
Q. I was asking in terms of diversity of
thought among the body of science and scientists
as to theories. When a scientist takes a position
differing from that of the majority of those in
science, does that necessarily indicate that
position held in science by that scientist is
inaccurate or incomplete or wrong?
Q. That gets me back to this question of
statement of faith. The fact that a scientist
takes a differing position from that of the
majority and the fact that that does not guarantee
PAGE 59 MISSING
present you any evidence at all. I just tell you
this, I believe thus and so.
Q. Taking the definition of faith as being
a statement that does not require proof, then if
there is diversity of opinion within a body of
science as to a theory, as to the accepted theory,
those scientists who do not agree to the
predominant or accepted theory base their belief
on something that is proved?
A. No. We have another problem here with
"proof." No thing in science is ultimately proven.
Let me give you an example that doesn't have
anything to do with biology so it is kind of
For a long time Newtonian physics and
the Newtonian explanation for gravitation were
regarded as almost givens. In other words,
Newtonian physics was the physics, and there were
no serious alternatives. Until Einstein came
along. Now Einstein explained things differently
from Newton. He used a theory of relativity.
Instead, therefore, of Newtonian physics accounting
for gravitation, we have changed to a relativity
theory of gravitation.
But in the meantime, all apples fell to
the ground, none of them ever fell up. In short,
the gravitational observation that things fall
toward the center of the earth is a valid
observation. Our explanation of it changed not
based on faith or belief but on the fact that
Einstein could demonstrate that his was a better
explanation than Newton's. That is what I mean
when you discard one theory for another. You do
not have to realign the whole universe to do so.
Q. Would that be your definition on the
basis of better proof?
A. Better explanation. Because, as I say,
some people would have told you at the end of the
last century that Newtonian physics had proven
thus and so. I dislike the word "proof" because,
let's face it, science is a tentative thing. This
is the idea. No matter what I tell you today, it
is subject to change tomorrow. When I went to
school I was told that human beings had 48
chromosomes, and that was a fact and I memorized
it, and I know it today despite the fact that it
is wrong. They have 46 chromosomes.
Q. Let's go back to my original question.
If there are four theories of origin --
A. There may be a lot more. I only gave
Q. I understand, you only gave me four.
Using those four theories of origin, if I as a
scientist choose to believe as a scientist that
one other than the one you suppose is a better
explanation, am I wrong?
A. If you tell me you believe it, you are
wrong. If you tell me that you find it supported
by certain kinds of evidence, we now can have a
discussion. But if you just tell me you believe
it, I am powerless to argue with your belief.
Q. I don't want to argue semantics with
you, but I understand what you are saying.
A. I think one of the problems that we
have in this whole arrangement is a semantic
problem. We are using words a little bit
differently. Not you and me, but the contestors
here are using words differently and they are
talking this way (indicating). It would be very
helpful if we could get kind of a little
dictionary of what we mean and stick with it.
Then we could talk about the same thing. But I
have a hunch we are using the same words to mean
different things to ourselves.
Q. Does the occasion arise or would it
arise where a scientist in support of an
explanation of a scientific phenomenon has a
vested interest in promoting that explanation as
the best explanation?
A. Scientists are human like everyone else
and they are subject to the same frailties as we
are all. And there are evidences not only that
scientists have used certain things for their own
self-agrandizement, there have been unfortunately
a few instances where the facts have been
falsified to make it even better. Fortunately,
science is a self-correcting process and these
things are exposed after a while.
Q. Have you ever lectured on the subject
of origins on evolution versus creation?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was the title of that lecture, or
titles if more than one, where and when?
A. There have been so many I would have a
hard time reconstructing them all. But let me
just give you several. At the 1980 Toronto
meeting of the AAAS -- excuse me. That was 1981,
it was early this year. My time is off. I gave a
presentation called "The Reaction of the
Traditionalist Movement," which is here in this
paper, and I contrasted the creationist and the
I have given others. I just gave one
in the NABT meeting in October of 1981 that dealt
with theory, its use and misuse. This was on the
semantic problem, but how one got to the area here.
I gave one just this last past Saturday
at the NSTA meeting in Nashville, called "The
Falacious Nature of Creation Science." And I have
done numerous others to primarily education and
Q. The lecture of last Saturday, do you
have a copy of that?
A. It is right here.
Q. Could you summarize for me just the
general thrust of those lectures?
A. The major thesis is that we are being
asked to put into science classrooms things that
do not meet the test of science. To me this
constitutes a confusion and a muddying of
intellectual waters, to call things by the wrong
names and introduce them in the wrong situation.
Also, it is one biblical literalist
view to have access to classrooms at the expense
of all others. This is not an open kind of thing
but, rather, it is a closed kind of thing. When
we speak of opening the classroom to a variety of
discussions, this limits the classroom to one
specific religious view and eliminates all the
I don't feel this is an argument
between science and religion, I don't see it as
that at all. It isn't that kind of an argument.
What it is is an attempt to smuggle a specific
fundamentalist viewpoint into classrooms as
I am perfectly willing to let these
people have access to schools and courses of
comparative religion where their views can be
compared with other similar types of explanation.
But to put them in a science classroom when they
don't follow any of the processes of science
bothers me a very great deal.
As I said earlier, even if they are not,
theirs does not constitute a scientific
explanation. It might be the world's greatest
theological explanation, but I am not sure that
the world's theologies are willing to follow it.
Q. Again can you state for me, just taking
the assumption that they, as you used the term to
apply to fundamentalist or the Genesis account of
creation, are correct, why it would not be science?
A. Because it is subject to none of the
processes of science.
Q. Dr. Mayer, may I ask for your opinion
on the origin of man or life? What is your
A. I would have to say that as far as I am
concerned, there is nothing in the Bible that
prevents me from accepting evolution as God's way
Q. That is really not what I asked. Let
me be a little more specific. What is your
opinion of the origin of man, as a scientist?
A. Based on the scientific evidence, I
would have to say that man is related to all of
the other organisms, more closely related to the
primates than any others, more closely related to
mammals than to, let's say, fish or whatever, and
that the evidences seem to indicate that man is a
derivative of a long line of ancestry.
Q. What about the origin of life, the
existence of life, the first life?
A. It is conceivable to me as a scientist
that that could have been derived through
mechanistic processes. But this does not mean
that, as I said earlier, that these aren't the
methods that God used. The bible is moot on the
methods that God used.
Q. Can you define for me a little better
what you mean by mechanistic processes?
A. Mechanistic processes are ones that do
not require or propose any supernatural or extra
Q. What about the origin of the earth?
What is your theory in science or belief in
A. The evidence indicates that the big
bang theory, as it sometimes is called, is an
explanation that is supported by the facts as we
know them today.
Q. Is that an explanation that you
personally accept as a scientist?
A. I would accept it as a scientist, yes.
Q. What are the assumptions that underlie
that explanation in terms of the big bang?
A. I am not a cosmologist, but I presume
to speak out of my field. The problem is that the
condensation of matter in the universe, one
assumes that originally there was a kind of an
even dispersal of materials which then condensed.
As they condense, they get hotter and hotter, and
finally what has been termed a cosmic egg, because
of the implosion of all this material, simply by
the heat in the process simply explodes and blows
this material all over the universe, which then
begins to coalesce in aggregations outside this
initial egg of matter/energy, and there is a lot
of scientific evidence that supports this.
I don't say it is the correct version,
but it is the version which at the present time is
best supported by the evidence.
Q. There could be other versions, but this
is the one that is best supported by scientific
A. Yes, sir, today.
Q. Have you ever done any consulting work
as a biologist, as a zoologist, as an educational
Q. For whom?
A. For a variety of organizations. I have
consulted for the Federal Government, for example,
with the National Science Foundation, and with a
number of other organizations at the state and
federal level. I have consulted on a kind of an
ad hoc basis with industry on a variety of
products or processes. I have consulted to states
and to local school boards on educational matters.
Q. The consulting work you did with the
National Science Foundation, what area was that?
A. It was primarily in the area of
curriculum development in education.
Q. For biology specifically?
A. For biology specifically.
Q. When was that done?
A. That was done in the early 1960's. I
can't remember the date. It was about 20 years
Q. Are copies of that work still available?
A. I would try to find it. I will just
write it down here, copies of NSF studies to which
I contributed. I will try to dig them up. They
are kind of out of date right now.
Q. I understand, yes, sir. You said you
did some consulting work for private industry.
What was the nature of that work?
A. It had nothing to do with evolution,
obviously. For example, as my specialty in my
thesis had to do with mammalian hair, I consulted
with industry on the best ways to use hair for a
variety of products. I was an expert witness for
the Federal Trade Commission on bogus furs and
things of that nature. This had nothing to do
with what we were talking about, but it was an
Q. You said you did consulting work for
various state and local school governing bodies?
A. School boards, yes.
Q. What was the nature of that consulting
A. The most recent one was in Lemmon,
South Dakota, in a case that dealt with a teacher
of biology and his competence. I was called in as
an expert to evaluate the work of this individual.
Q. What was your evaluation?
A. I thought he was not doing a proper job.
Q. Was the issue in this instance the
teaching of creation or evolution or both in the
A. This was primarily one of creation, yes.
Q. Can you give me some of the facts that
led you to conclude that this biology teacher was
not doing his job?
A. Yes. The school board was extremely
generous in the sense that they did not prohibit
the teaching of creationism and asked him to take
about a week of his time and sort of, as they said,
get it out of his system and then go on with
teaching biology. They were not against his
teaching creationism. However, he took this as a
mandate to throughout the year do this, and
admitted in testimony that he spent 30 percent of
his classroom time dealing with creationism. This
meant that the time that the students were
supposedly getting other biological information
that would allow them to pass college entrance
exams, and so on, they were not getting.
I felt that his emphasis on this
subject was so excessive as to present a skewed
course that did not allow the students graduating
from the school to compete well with other
students whose time had not been so taken.
Q. The individual involved only taught
biology or only taught science, he did not teach
A. I can't say that for sure. It was a
small school, and I would assume he had taught
others. He was not doing that at the time, but I
I assume that sometime in the past he had. In
little schools, people double in brass very
Q. You were retained by the Lemmon --
A. Lemmon school board.
Q. Have you done other consulting work of
the same nature where you make evaluations of
teaching skills or competence?
A. Very seldom do I make evaluations of
teachers. That is not something I like to do. I
have been with the North Central Association
evaluation systems. I do not like to evaluate
individuals. I am very uneasy with doing that.
Q. Just for my information, what was the
outcome of your recommendation in Lemmon, North
A. I am not sure it was an outcome of my
recommendation. I was only a small part of this.
But the man was terminated as a teacher in the
Q. Did you in that work evaluate the
creation materials and/or subject matter that was
offered by the instructor?
A. As much of it as was available, yes.
Q. Did you make any written findings in
your professional judgment as to its scientific
basis or merit.
A. No, I was not asked to make written
findings. I did testify.
Q. In a court of law?
Q. What was the style of that case, do you
A. I'm sorry, I don't understand what you
mean by that.
Q. Name of the case. I'm sorry. What was
the name of the case?
A. I have this all written down, but I am
very sorry, I don't know whether it was Dale
versus the Lemmon School Board, or how it was.
But if you would like, I could get you that.
Q. I would appreciate that.
MR. CEARLEY: It is a reported case.
MR. CLARK: That is what I wanted to
Q. You testified as an expert?
Q. As a science expert or as an education
Q. What other consulting work have you
taken in regard to school districts or school
boards? Not North Central, but I mean
specifically with an entity.
A. Orlando, Florida, I was down there
consulting on their science curriculum. I am
trying to think of all of these. They kind of,
unfortunately, blend. I was just up at Dickenson,
North Dakota, at the request of the university
there, to look at their science curriculum and
make recommendations there. I have been consultant
abroad in the Philippines and other countries on
educational systems. But these consultantships
really have nothing to do with creationism, it
just has to do with the structure of their science
Q. The structure of their curricula?
Q. Does that include the courses that
should be taught and the content of those courses
or does it go that far?
A. It normally doesn't go that far. But
basically it does say these kinds of things: Does
this curriculum meet the needs of the student in
that particular community? For example, in
Dickenson, North Dakota, it is changing from a
farming community to an energy-oriented community,
as oil, coal, and so on are found. It would seem
reasonable that the curriculum in science focus
more on energy than it has in the past when this
was not an issue in the area, energy, environment,
and the things that are correlated with that
particular new activity. So that would be the
kind of recommendation I might make.
Q. Have you ever testified in any other
legal proceedings than the one you just mentioned?
A. Yes. I was a witness in the California
Seagraves case that was earlier this year.
Q. That was a creation versus evolution
Q. Could you sort of summarize your
testimony for that.
Q. I had asked you, I think, to summarize
your testimony in the California case where you
said you testified.
A. The thesis that I presented was the
nondogmatic nature of science. In the judge's
opinion that he rendered he quoted what he
considered to be the salient features of this
testimony. I don't have that with me.
MR. CEARLEY: That portion is quoted in
the written opinion.
A. Beyond that, the case did not really,
strangely enough, end up dealing so much with
creation/evolution as with the structure of the
state's science framework and what constituted
Q. What was your testimony as to what
A. I indicated that science was a body of
changing knowledge, that it was tentative, that it
was a group of state of the art explanations that
were derived by a certain methodology, and that it
was not dogmatic, was the main thrust of the
Q. In that lawsuit or in any other lawsuit,
if a scientist could give an explanation for the
creation theory of origin that was a state of the
art explanation, would that be science?
A. First of all, there is no such thing as
a creational theory. The creationists themselves
have admitted this. So to use the term "creation"
and "theory" together is a nonproductive thing in
the sense that you are describing something that
doesn't exist. So anything that began with a
reference to the creation theory I would have to
say would be inappropriate.
Q. For the sake of discussion, assume that
there could be a creation theory. Then if that
theory could be offered as an explanation, would
that be science?
A. No, it still wouldn't, because the
theory would not be based on any scientific
evidence. The problem I have with this is that
the creation explanation not only doesn't account
for the data, it demands that you reject data, and
that I find intolerable from the scientific
Q. That you eject data?
A. Reject data.
Q. Specifically what?
A. Specifically radiometric data, for
example. Radiometric dating is a completely
legitimate, well-supported, documented, useful bit
of scientific evidence and process that the
creationists tell me is wrong, that basically you
are not supposed to use that. They give me
explanations that I can't regard as effective for
discarding that data.
Q. Have you had the opportunity to read
the Arkansas Act 590 of 1981?
A. I have read it.
Q. When did you first read it?
A. It came out in the spring of this year,
was that it? Someone sent me a copy of it in some
early form. I don't even know that it said Act
590 on it when I got it. Then I received
subsequent, I don't know if they were editions or
whatever. But I have seen this document.
Q. The first time that you read Act 590
was when someone sent you something. Do you
remember who sent it to you?
A. I can't remember who sent it. But
someone in Arkansas sent me a copy of this Act.
Q. To Boulder?
A. To Boulder, yes.
Q. When was the last time that you read it?
A. Several weeks ago.
Q. Having read that Act as recently as a
few weeks ago, what does "balanced treatment" mean
A. It is exceptionally vague. I don't
know. That was one of the first things that
bothered me, what is balanced treatment? Is it
balance of equal number of words or equal amounts
of written material or equal hours or minutes or
days? I cannot define "balanced" and I don't
think anyone else can either.
Q. In the Lemmon, South Dakota, case in
which you testified as an expert, were hired as an
expert, you stated I think earlier that you felt
that the treatment that was given to the creation
theory by this one teacher was not balanced.
A. I don't think I said it was not balanced.
I think I said he spend 30 percent of his time
dealing with creationism.
Q. Did you make a judgment as to the
propriety of that much of classroom time being
devoted to this one theory or this one issue?
A. I don't see there is a single bit of
subject matter in the whole field of biology that
I would devote 30 percent of my classroom time to.
Q. Do you as an expert or can you as an
expert identify portions or proportions of time
that should be identified for the teaching of any
issue in biology?
A. Most programs come with what they call
a scope and sequence chart, which shows various
topics and the amount of time that is devoted to
them or can be devoted to them. These vary a
great deal, depending on the emphasis of the area.
For example, in an agricultural community you
probably spend more time on plants and
fertilization of plants and growth of plants and
development of plants than you would, let's say,
in the urban area of New York. So there is a
fudge factor in there.
America, unlike other countries, has no
central education authority, and this is at the
same time the strength and weakness of our
educational system, that it is completely local.
One of the strengths is that it allows us to
tailor the course to the given needs of a
Q. The words you used were what?
A. Scope and sequence. It is a bit of
educational jargon that tells you how much time
and emphasis you give to certain things.
Q. Your efforts at BSCS, do those go to
defining the scope and sequence of the teaching of
A. In a way, yes. We identified a dozen
major themes that we felt should be pervasive
throughout the study of biology, and one of those
twelve was evolution.
Q. That scope and sequence for those dozen
major themes would be twelve issues to be taught
over the period or a semester, a school year?
A. A school year, which is at very best
150 days. When you look at a student's school
experience and you say I have 150 days to tell him
all there is to know about biology, you are in
trouble when you make the statement, and you try
to do the very best you can to do what you think
is most important in 150 days.
Q. Does the scope and sequence set out
what professionals in the field consider a balanced
treatment of issues that must be presented or
should be presented?
MR. CEARLEY: Let me ask you if you
would clarify what you mean there. One of the
issues here is what "balanced treatment" means, so
I would prefer if you can use another word so Dr.
Mayer can understand.
Q. To try to rephrase that question for
Mr. Cearley, scope and sequence, is that a
recognition of a priority or establishing a
A. Yes, it establishes priorities. It
says certain things are more important than others,
Q. Does it establish in that priority
either, as its name suggests, the sequence or the
amount of time that should be spent on each of
A. It does both. Because biology is a
progressive discipline, certain things need to be
covered before certain other things. You need to
know a little bit of chemistry, for example,
before you can understand nutrition. You need to
know a little bit about cell structure before you
can understand heredity, and also the time is
Q. Where in that sequence in terms of
priority does evolution fit?
A. In terms of priority, evolution is
usually one of the latter subjects discussed. You
tend to talk about organismic diversity, you tend
to talk about a number of other things before you
get to evolution. In the bulk of the
presentations, evolution is always late in the
Q. In response to my question earlier, you
have no opinion as to what "balanced treatment"
means under Act 590?
A. I probably have a dozen opinions as to
what it means, and none of them are clear. One of
them is a time balance. If you spend 5 minutes on
A, you spend 4 minutes on B. Another would be
equal emphasis. Another would be text material.
If we have a paragraph on A, we have to have an
equal paragraph on B. The balance requirement
just bothers me so much because I don't see how
you can handle it and I don't see how it can be
Q. In Act 590 there is a phrase
"Prohibition against religious instruction." What
does that mean to you in that Act?
A. If I read it correctly, it says that
there will be no reference to religious writings.
Unfortunately, everything that I have seen that
has been put out by the creationists makes
reference to religious writings. If this is
actually correct, you couldn't use any of the
creationist materials in the classroom.
Q. Are there materials that you are aware
of that could be used in the classroom if the
scientific explanation of creation were to be
A. I have seen none.
Q. In the Act there are definitions of
evolution science and creation science. I would
like to go through the Act with you on each of
those definitions, starting with the evolution
science definition first, and ask you what each of
the parts of these definitions means. If we could
start with evolution science meaning the
scientific evidences for evolution and inferences
from those scientific evidences, includes
scientific evidences and related inferences that
indicate, 1, the emergence by naturalistic processes
of the universe from disordered matter and
emergence of life from nonlife. What does that
mean to you, Dr. Mayer?
A. The thing that bothers me, this is an
exceptionally awkward thing. It is almost
tautology: Evolution science means the scientific
evidence for evolution. That doesn't say anything
to me. It is a bad and awkward wording. The
people who wrote this Act did both the Edgar
Bergen and Charlie McCarthy parts. They have
written both sides of the issue. I am not sure
that they have given this side at least a fair
I have no objection scientifically to
saying that evolution science could include
emergence by naturalistic processes of the
universe from -- I don't know what "disordered
matter" means, but I would certainly buy emergence
by naturalistic processes and life from nonlife.
These are types of scientific explanations, and
they exist, I could say that.
Q. What about the second one, the
sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in
bringing about the development of present living
kinds from simple earlier kinds?
A. I am not sure I buy the sufficiency.
Certainly mutation and natural selection are parts
of the processes of development of living kinds
from simpler earlier kinds. I assume that means
simpler earlier living kinds, although it doesn't
say so. The only word that would bother me there
was the "sufficiency," because there are other
processes involved here.
Q. How about No. 3, the emergency by
mutation and natural selection of present living
kinds from simple earlier kinds?
A. I am just trying to distinguish 3 from
2, because it seems to say the same thing. First
of all, I don't know what it means by "emergency."
Maybe it means emergence. "Emergency" is an
improper word at that point.
Present living kinds from simple
earlier kinds seems to be a recapitulation of 2.
I don't know why it is separated out.
Q. What about No. 4, the emergence of man
from a common ancestry with apes?
A. Emergence of man from a common ancestry
with apes. The wording is awkward. Does this
imply that man descended from apes? If it does,
it is not correct. If it says somewhere that
primates had a common ancestor, I would buy that.
Q. As a scientist, do you have an
explanation of that common ancestor?
A. There are postulated ancestors. It
depends on how far back you would want to go. But
there are hiararchies of ancestry that are in the
literature and are fairly well accepted, although
I wouldn't say they are incontrovertible. They
probably will change as we get more data.
Q. What are some of those postulated
A. The most frequently postulated one
would be some kind of insectivorous mammal,
probably something very similar to what would
today be regarded as a lemur because of the
generalizable structures that are involved in a
Q. Let's go back to the definitions in No.
5, explanation of the earth's geology and the
evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism.
A. Uniformitarianism implies that all of
the processes of the past are similar to the
processes of the present. Within limits, that is
reasonable. But if carried to the extreme, it is
unreasonable. Let me try to enlarge on that a bit.
We know, for example, from the evidence of geology
that at one time volcanism, lots of volcanoes and
all were present in greater numbers than today.
Now it is true we have volcanoes today
and we had volcanoes in the past and as such we
could say that is uniformitarian because the
situation today is shown in the past. But is it
uniformitarianism when you have so many of them
this time and so few of them at that time?
I am not trying to play semantic games,
but it is the kind of thing you think of when you
say uniformitarianism. If you assume that
uniformitarianism is just a kind of even
progression kind of thing, I would say no. If you
are saying that the processes might be similar but
in different degree, then I would say yes.
Q. No. 6, an inception several billion
years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life.
A. I would say yes.
Q. Are any of those definitions consistent
with your own religious beliefs?
A. None of those would in any way offend
my religious beliefs.
Q. Now let's go through the definition of
creation science, if you will. The Act states
that, "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: (10) Sudden creation of the
universe, energy, and life from nothing." What
does that definition mean to you?
A. It bothers me a very great deal,
because I don't see how you get something from
nothing, and I don't know any scientific
evidence -- remembering that this says that this
is based on scientific evidence, I know no
scientific evidence relating to the origin of
something from nothing.
Q. "(2) The insufficiency of mutation and
natural selection in bringing about development of
all living kinds from a single organism."
A. First of all, I have never seen the
establishment of a single organism as the
progenitor for everything. But secondly, I can't
agree that mutation and natural selection are
insufficient. Maybe their interpretation of it is
insufficient, but I have not seen scientific
evidence that would support that statement. I
haven't seen any scientific evidence that
postulates a single organism, for example.
Q. You are not aware of scientific
explanation that refutes the sufficiency of
mutation and the natural selection process? Is
that what you are saying?
Q. No. 3. "Changes only within fixed
limits of originally created kinds of plants and
A. I don't know of any scientific evidence
that supports that. Besides that, it bothers me
in being similar to an explanation of a little bit
of pregnancy. If you can allow certain changes,
why can't you allow other changes? This seems to
be terribly restrictive. You can have these kinds
of changes but not those kinds of changes, and I
don't understand that. I think if you can have
changes, you can have them in any quantity.
Q. No. 4. "Separate ancestry for man and
A. I know of no evidence for it.
Q. No. 5. "Explanation of the earth's
geology by catastrophism" --
Q. -- "including the occurrence of a
A. There is no scientific evidence for a
worldwide flood. That is the Noachian flood of
the Bible. The assumption is that the world was
covered above the tops of the highest mountains by
a flood whose waters came from I know not where.
Q. No. 6. "A relatively recent inception
of the earth and living kinds."
A. To me that requires that we simply must
reject radiometric dating, all of cosmology, all
of paleontology, all of the fossil record, all of
sedimentation. That I simply can't buy for one
instant. There is no scientific evidence that
shows that the earth is young. Normally they
figure about 10,000 years.
Q. Are any of the parts of the definition
of creation science inconsistent with your
A. Yes, they would be.
Q. Which ones and why?
A. First of all, as I say, there is
nothing in the Bible that tells me that God started
with nothing. I don't recall anywhere reading
that. Now the insufficiency of mutation and
natural selection is just poor science, and as
poor science it offends my science and makes me
believe that these people are not playing with a
Changes only within fixed limits. I
would say God created all of these things with the
potential to change to any limit. I don't see
anything in the Bible that says God created things
and ordered them within fixed limits. That isn't
Separate ancestry for man and apes, I
think the Bible was moot on this.
Worldwide flood I have regarded always
as allegorical, and there isn't a single date in
the Bible, nothing is dated.
Q. I don't want to be trying to trick you
or anything, but I want to go back to my question.
My question was whether any of these parts of this
definition of creation science was inconsistent
with your own personal religious beliefs. You
answered yes and went through all of the six. The
first one you said you did not belief something to
the effect that God created something from nothing.
A. That's right.
Q. But you went on and referred to God in
several other instances. Were you speaking of
your own personal religion or were you speaking
academically from the standpoint of those too?
A. I am speaking from my own personal
religion. I thought you were asking me how I felt
Q. That is what I was asking you. I just
wanted to make sure of your answer.
A. That is how I feel.
Q. In your review of Act 590, do you find
anything in that Act which prohibits a teacher
from expressing his or her professional opinion
concerning the relative scientific strength or the
weakness of either model or origin?
A. If we can pause for a minute, I have to
go back and take a peak at this.
A. I'm sorry. I really did find something
offensive in here, and I am trying to go back and
find it again.
Q. That's all right. Take all the time
THE WITNESS: I have now forgotten the
Q. The question is, do you see anything in
this Act which would prohibit a teacher from
expressing his or her professional opinion
concerning the relative scientific strength or
weakness of either model of origin?
A. Yes. Because it requires instruction
in both scientific models. That is in Section 5.
This makes the assumption first of all that there
are only two scientific models. It makes the
assumption that the creation model is a scientific
model. And it is putting a gun at the head of the
teacher to teach something that is science that
the teacher would know was not science. This
leaves the teacher with the alternative of saying,
I am going to present you with a nonscientific
scientific model because the State of Arkansas
asks me to, and I think that is bad teaching and I
think that does affect the teacher.
Q. Dr. Mayer, in a recent publication of
yours, you noted that the creation theory of
origin was contained in textbooks, biology
textbooks approved by the textbook committee for
the State of Arkansas. I believe those are your
A. Did I say creation theory?
Q. Scientific creationism, excuse me.
Currently in the State of Arkansas, and I am
reading from, by the way, Creationist Impact is
the title, Creationist Impact on Science Teaching
in General and Biology Teaching in Particular, by
William Mayer, chairman, NABT, et cetera. I don't
know when this was presented.
A. It was presented in late October.
Q. Of this year?
Q. "In this effort they seem to have been
successful in only 20 percent of the cases in
getting creationism into textbooks. Currently in
the State of Arkansas, 20 biology texts are on the
list for grades 9-12. Of these, four include
creationism, but in no case can the inclusion be
considered to give equal time to the
anti-evolutionist." It goes on to say, "The
maximum number of pages devoted to creation is 3
in one book where 49 pages are devoted to
evolution," and so on and so forth, it finishes
out that paragraph.
Based on those remarks that you gave, I
want to go back to my question again to ask you,
do you see anything in this Act which would
prohibit a teacher from expressing his or her
professional opinion concerning the relative
scientific strengths or weaknesses of either model
A. Yes, I do, because it consistently
comes back to balanced treatment. If you are
giving a balanced treatment to nonscience, I think
that you are preventing a teacher from giving his
or her honest opinion. If you allow the teacher
the option of presenting this, then you might have
a different situation. But you are not giving
them an option, you are giving them a requirement.
Then you say does this prevent them from
exercising their abilities as teachers to
interpret, and the answer is yes, I think it does.
Q. In the four textbooks that are on the
approved list in the State of Arkansas -- that you
have reviewed, I assume?
Q. -- is it your judgment that they
reflect balanced treatment?
A. No. But remember, I never know what
balanced treatment is.
Q. Is it your judgment that should a
teacher in Arkansas using one of these texts
assign that material for reading and include it in
a discussion, that they would be acting in
violation of this Act?
A. They would if somebody said it wasn't a
balanced presentation. It would seem to me that
they are leaving themselves wide open to a problem
of balance, and the Act gives me no indication of
how this is going to be monitored in the first
Q. Let me go back then to an earlier
statement you made about scope and sequence.
Scope and sequence goes to the priority of
subjects to be taught and the amount of time spent
on those issues within that subject taught. Is
that not also subject to the same sort of inquiry
and challenge based on the development of those
priorities -- I am trying to stay away from the
words "balanced treatment," you understand -- but
in terms of those priorities so that one could
question the validity of the priority and the time
assigned under that priority system for each
A. Absolutely. Everything you do in a
classroom is subject to revision and command and
criticism. The difference here is that this is a
state piece of legislation, this is law. A
teacher can't get in trouble legally for giving a
little more time, let's say, to plants than to
animals, because there is no legal requirement
that they give balanced plant/animal treatment.
But this is a different matter entirely. This is
introducing the force of the state into what the
Q. What is your definition of academic
A. My definition of academic freedom is
the ability of a teacher to teach a discipline as
outlined by its practitioners without fear of
Q. Ability to teach a discipline as
outlined by its practitioners without fear of
A. That's correct.
Q. Does academic freedom in your opinion
guarantee a teacher the right to teach without
qualification whatever he or she desires in the
Q. What is that qualification?
A. The qualification is the teacher should
be competent in the area for which he or she is
Q. Is a further qualification the
discipline as it is outlined by its practitioners?
Q. In every instance?
A. This is where the content of discipline
comes from. The individuals are doing the
research who are involved in the discipline. In
other words, biology is what biologists do.
Q. Can academic freedom, in your judgement,
ever be limited?
A. If a teacher gets into an area in which
he or she is not qualified, for example, if a
mathematics teacher decides instead of mathematics
he wants to teach art, I think he has overstepped
the bounds of his academic freedom, because the
school requires that mathematics be taught.
Q. In the Lemmon, South Dakota case, had
the instructor in that case spent less than 30
percent of the class time on teaching a creation
theory of origin, would that have been a violation