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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

Deposition of Reverend William S. McLean - Page 2


A Right.

Q During that thirty years, you have heard the word
creation, I'm sure, used many times, and you have used
the word yourself in sermons, have you not?

A Oh, yes.

Q In all those thirty years when you used the term
creation, it necessarily had a religious connotation to
you, did it not?

A You say all the times. That's a rather encompassing

Q Well, okay. You could talk about, I suppose, creating
a work of art. You may have used that term. But
generally, when you talk about the term creation in a
sense of origins of life, the origins of man and this
earth, and life as we know it, in those thirty years
that would have had a religious connotation for you.

A In relation to Genesis and theology, yes.

Q And when you think of the term creation now, in terms of
it's relation to the origins of life, it necessarily
has a religious connotation to you, does it not?

A Yes.

Q So, if you had a competent scientist with credentials
as a scientist tell you that there was scientific
evidence to support the theory of creation science,
because of your thirty years dealing with it as a


religious doctrine, you would have some difficulty with
doing that, would you not?

A Difficulty in doing what?

Q In accepting that. In changing the thirty years of a
religious connotation and trying to accept the new
meaning. That it might have some scientific connotation.

A I'm still not sure exactly what you're trying to say.

Q Well, my point is this. The thing that I'm struggling
with is that you say that the whole effect of this is
religious, the overall effect. But you're dealing --
we have to speak from our frame of reference, you would
agree, would you not?

A What I'm saying is --

Q But I want to make sure that you understand my point.
You speak from your frame of reference, as I do.

A Yeah.

Q And that your frame of reference for the word creation
for at least thirty years, and seminary before that,
and undergraduate before that, has been a religious

A Yes. In terms as God as the creator. But I want the
theology of God as creator to be taught in my home
and in my church and not in the public school classroom.
And I'm saying the whole thing when you get into it,
there is no way to avoid getting into theological and


Biblical interpretative issues.

Q What you are saying, as I understand it, is that if you
presented these scientific evidences, and we will assume
for the moment that they are scientific evidences to
support the theory of creation --

A I cannot assume that.

Q Okay. Well, that will be one of the issues in this
trial, obviously.

A Well, I'd rather let the scientists do that.

Q All right.

A I have read several things that I feel are not competent
scientists, and I cannot assume that. I can't even
talk from that point of view.

A Any discussion of origins which uses the term creation
would be in your estimation inherently religious?
Is that not correct?

A (Affirmative nod)

Q The court reporter can't record your nodding.


He's just saying, answer orally.


Q You did nod yes, did you not?

A Ask the question again, please.

Q Would any -- is it not true that any discussion of the
theory of origin which mentions the term creation be in


your estimation inherently religious?

A Yes, and in particular when it is followed with the
term Creator with a capital C.

Q The theory of creation science, if it should happen to be
consistent with some of the doctrine of religious
creation, as found in Genesis, that in your mind causes
violation to your own theological framework and the
concerns that you have in your Exhibit #1. Correct?

A Let me repeat what I think I have said or inferred.
Genesis is not a scientific account of creation.

Q I understand your statement on that. But if it happened
to be consistent with it -- if a scientific theory
happens to be consistent with something which is stated
in the Bible, that causes you problems, doesn't it?

A Well, my theology of Genesis is that a sovereign God
is ultimately responsible for creation. And I think
the challenge of the science classroom is to explore
scientifically all the things we can get, and then the
church can say theologically to the extent that this is
truth, and truth is continually evolving. God did it.
God is sovereign. Don't worry about it and don't try to
go back and read literally Genesis I, which has two
creation accounts and get yourself all screwed up in your
faith. Geneses I, II and III are theological affirma-
tions. God did it no matter how long or what process.


Q All right. I don't think that's really responsive to my
question. That being, that if a scientific theory on the
origin of life coincides or is consistent with the
account of creation in Genesis, that that causes you
some concern about the possible violation of separation
of church and state -- excuse me, that causes you concern
about the mixing of science and religion, or a religion
masquerading as science.

A Yes.


Let's take a short break here.

A short recess was held after which time the
deposition was resumed.)


Q Going back to your major concerns. As a result of our
discussion --

A Let me say, number three would be double starred.

Q That's the real major thrust?

A Yeah.

Q All right. Let me just mention number one first of all
again. Can we now modify this to the extent that the
content of the public school curriculum being dictated
by the legislative body is not of itself one of your
concerns with Act 590, but just the particular curriculum


being dealt with here?

A No, I would say that would be a general principle. I
think that we have a process whereby you have a Board of
Education and a school board and the whole thing. And
I do not feel, and to me it might sound strange, I think
of ethical conviction which is the first cousin to
theology. I do not feel that the State Legislators
ought to sit up there and tell public schools teachers
what to teach. I don't think they're trained for that.
I think it's a bad scene. And I think if you start it,
you can get into all sorts of things. We might even
get into the Germany of the 1930's.

Q Are you aware that there are other things which are
dictated to be contained within the curriculum by the
Arkansas Legislature, other than Arkansas History?

A I am really -- no, I'm not aware.

Q Such things as drug education or alcohol education,
Fire Prevention Week. Do those cause you the same
sort of concern?

A No. But to me it's not the same. They have never made
a law for a teacher to teach Fire Prevention when the
teacher thinks the school ought to be burned down.
You're passing a law in which I know very few -- well, I
don't know all the biology teachers, I know some. The
ones I know feel that their academic freedom is being


breached. So, I think there's a whole realm of
difference in terms of state history and all.

Q Let's look at number two, or one (b). You think it's a
breach of academic freedom to instruct a teacher to give
balanced treatment to a particular theory which has not
been a part of his or her academic training, and which
he or she believes to be untrue. First of all, would
you consider this still to be a breach of academic
freedom is the local school board took this action?

A Yes, I would.

Q What if the department head of a particular -- the
biology department made this decision in planning the
curriculum for the biology department?

A I would be very much against it. But I haven't seen
that arising from any educational resources. It is
arising in state houses throughout the country.

Q But as it relates to generally requiring a teacher to
give balanced treatment to a particular theory --

A I missed out on that.

Q Okay. Your statement is that it's a breach of academic
freedom to instruct a teacher to give balanced treatment
to a particular theory. And then you qualify that by
saying, which has not been a part of his or her academic
training, and which he or she believes to be untrue.
Let me give you an example of something else besides


science. If a teacher has not studied math. Do you
think it would be a breach of academic freedom for a
teacher who had not had that as part of his or her
academic freedom to teach that?

A I do not see the relation of the question.

Q Well, as I understand your objection, part of your
objection is your concern with the general principle
that it's a breach of academic freedom to require
teachers to give balanced treatment to a particular
theory which has not been a part of his or her academic

A I am assuming that the teacher is teaching the discipline
of his or her training.

Q All right.

A My wife teaches English at Central High. If they would
ask her to teach math, she might do it, but she would
not do it except on the basis of the educational process
that teaches what math is and how you teach it. And
she would probably go back up Conway and get it and come
back and teach math. If she was going to be called upon
to do biology, she would go back to some accredited
school and learn biology and teach it according to those
guidelines. That's what I'm referring to. But that
statement is a teacher who was trained to be a science
or biology teacher, has got a Bachelor's, a Master's,


or whatever, and then the creation science law comes
along and there is nothing in their background and
training that says there is anything to this. To the
contrary, it says it's untrue. And they are told by the
State Legislature to teach something that they feel to be

Q To be untrue as a matter of fact, or to be untrue as a
matter of theory?

A Fact and theory.

Q What if you have a biology teacher who, based upon
readings in the area, feels that the theory of evolution
is untrue, and believes that the theory in creation
science is true?

A I would have to have a pretty good knowledge of the
person. And my own particular feeling is that this type
switch about would be based either consciously or
subconsciosly on a spin off on a particular Biblical
interpretation or theological stance, and I could not
accept it.

Q That's what your inclination would be. That's what you
would expect to find. But if in good faith this teacher
believed that creation science is true and evolution is
untrue, would you then give your seal of approval, if you
will, to them teaching creation science?

A Personally, no.


Q So, can we then modify your statement to, when you say
which he or she believes to be untrue, as long as it --
and after that, as long as it is consistent with your
own beliefs as to what is true and untrue? Isn't that
what you have effect done?

A I'm not sure that that's exactly what I have done. I
think that my own beliefs in the whole area match up
my own convictions about the origin of creation science
and my own respect for the discipline of science in the
field of biology, and the integrity in terms of the
findings in the biology of man. You match those two
things together and it just doesn't mix. So, I would
hesitate to put myself up as judge as to what is true
science. But I think you add those two together and
you will find something which to me is unacceptable.

Q My point is that on the one hand you are, as I understand
it, -- when a teacher is saying, "I think creation science
is bunk, and I believe evolution is the accepted or
preferable theory by which life came into being", that
you would say to that teacher that because they believe
that, they should be allowed to teach it. On the other
hand --

A As a matter of academic freedom.

Q As a matter of academic freedom.

A But as a matter of -- what separation of church and


state perhaps.

Q But I'm understanding that -- I understand that's implicit,
I think, when Mr. Crawford uses the term academic freedom.
On the other hand, when the teacher believes in good faith
that creation science is correct and evolution science
is the much less preferable or is not correct, and they
believe that to be true, then you would deny them the
freedom to teach that. Is that not correct?

A I would question their credentials in science.

Q Okay. But --

A And if my child was in that classroom, I would make that
question known. Because once again, you can't teach
creation science without getting into theology and
Biblical interpretations. There is no way in the world
that I can see.

Q You're trying to conjure up and think about how it could
be done, and you can't conceive of it. Is that correct?

A (Affirmative nod)

Q You are aware that that is what Act 590 requires. And
to my knowledge, and please correct me if you have some
different knowledge, that has never been attempted to
teach creation science absent --

A Well, of course --

Q -- any religious reference.

A I think it's calling on something that's impossible to do.


I think the statement about protecting religious and
independence and all, I think that statement is one of
those paragraphs, I think it's just a flip flop. I think
it's saying something and it doesn't validate it at all.

Q Well, you have a belief that it can be done, but we have
no data, if you will, that it can be done, that you're
aware of?

A No, because it has never been tried.

Q What of a teacher --

A But once again, you wouldn't call this empirical data
but creation science, the whole rise in this movement
stems in a theological orientation and Biblical
interpretation. And in one of these books, it says
that Seagraves say, unapologetically, that's what we're
about, to propound this theoretical position. And I
just do not see how -- I think in the classroom of science
they teach the findings of science that they have learned
at the University of Arkansas, or Harvard or anywhere
else, and I think creation science is an intrusion that
is not really from the field of science per se. I think
it's an intrusion that is based upon theological concepts
and Biblical interpreted practices. And I don't think
there is anyway you can teach it and get away from that.

Q Are you aware in the science community, generally, as
to whether there is any bias against anything which smacks


of religion, either directly or indirectly?

A You'll have to explain your question. What do you mean
by a science community, and what do you mean by bias?
Are you talking about the classroom scene, their
training, their thesis, their home life, their church
life. That's very vague.

Q In terms of -- well, do you know what those terms mean
when I speak of the science community? Do you have a
meaning for that term in your own mind?

A You asked the question. You better explain to me what
you mean.

Q Well, are you not aware that science professionals --
some science professionals look askance at anything
which might be related to religion because it is
unscientific in their own mind?

A Are you telling me that that's a fact?

Q I'm asking you, are you aware of that fact?

A Not as a broad generality, no. I know a lot of
scientists who are very devout people in terms of

Q In terms of trying to teach something which a particular
teacher believes to be untrue, are you aware that there
are, for example, alternative or -- not alternative but
several theories of economics? For example, there is
Keynesian economics. We heard a lot lately about something


called Supply-side economics.

A Oh, I studied that in college, but don't ask me to
define them.

Q All right. But because an economist believes that one
theory is true and the other is untrue, and one will
help the economy and one will hurt it, do you think
that they should not be allowed to teach those that they
do not believe in as being true?

A No.

Q So, that would be a modification from your statement

A Let me say, that statement there refers to Act 590. To
me the great difference in this is that you teach
different theories of economic and that's one thing.
You get into a religious thing, and all of the sudden
you're getting into the heart and soul of the life of
the church. My denomination has said, there is absolutely
no inconsistency with evolution and our thelogical
heritage. Everything I read about creation science
says that you choose one or the other. And that puts
us in a position where it's not the same thing as teach-
ing the different theories of economics. You are teach-
ing theories that enter into the vital issues of church
life and belief and practice. And my children can be
taught any number of economic theories and they will


probably have a hard time getting along no matter which
they believe. But when you get into matters of religion,
as far as the Presbyterian church is concerned, we cannot
enter into religious teachings in the public classrooms.

Q Is the establishment clause of the first religion a
theological belief on your part?

A You know, we have gone over this several times, and I
don't know what this is going to sound like. I have
told you that I have a systematic theology. When I
was examined to become a member of the Presbyterian
church, like a Bar examination, I stated that, and it
had nothing to do with what you're talking about now.
I have a theological framework which is a formal
theological framework. But I think that all of my major
decisions come under that and I'm motivated by it.
So, no, this is not my formal theology, but yes, this is
a result of my theological convictions. And that's
about as clear as I can be about it. You have not
understood it, I'm afraid.

Q Do you think it's -- well, if in a science classroom
you're teaching only about evolution, and some inquiring
student raises his hand and says, "Teacher, I remember
reading something about that God created man and all
that, and Genesis says that God created the earth, and
did it in seven days", how would the teacher have to


respond to that in your opinion?

A I would expect the teacher with scientific integrity
to say, "My friend, that is a religions question. Go
ask your parents or your pastor. I am teaching the
findings of my educational process at the University of
Arkansas, major in biology. We didn't learn a cotton
picking thing about that".

Q But the point is, even in teaching evolution can bring
up the question of creation, can it not?

A But teaching science creation is based upon it. That's
the difference. That's the vital difference.

Q But you're not aware of what scientific evidence there
is to support the theory of creation science are you?

A To the extent that I give validity to some pretty good
names in science, you know -- I don't want to say much
about science. If I want to find out something about an
area that I'm not acquainted with, I'll try to get
some information that I feel to be trustworthy, but
there are too many people coming up say that creation
science is not science. And if I have to choose the
field in which I play, that is it, one hundred percent.

Q So, you're relying upon what other people have told you
in the field?

A Well, let me say, it's not a blind reliance. I have had
enough, and have been to enough museums and have talked


to enough Christians scientists to know that the affirma-
tion of creation ten thousand years ago is the type
thing that if my child started learning about it, they
might have a crisis of faith and a denial of faith
when they learn some other facts that seem to be pretty
well colaborated in a college science course. So, it's
not just a blind trust. You know, when I read in some
of these textbooks I referred to about references to the
Noah's flood, my blood runs cold. Because if you want
me to read about Noah's flood, if you've got three hours,
I can go through that there and I think maybe we'd find
some inconsistences that sort of blow your mind. So, --

Q One of the definitions given to creation science in Act
590 is that it includes scientific evidences and related
inferences that indicate the insufficiency of mutation and
natural selection in bringing about development of all
living kinds from a single organism. When you hear that --

A Who wrote that?

Q I'm reading from Act 590.

A That's what I'm saying? Did these legislatures study for
five weeks and determine that that's true?

Q Well, that's another part of this case which we had
discussed. Please understand, I'm not trying to be
antagonistic. I'm merely trying to ask you some questions.
But I'm asking you the questions now. When you hear that


statement, does that necessarily implicate religion
to you?

A Read it again, sir.

Q All right. Creation science includes the scientific
evidences and related inferences that indicate the
insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in
bringing about development of all living kinds from a
single organism.

A You know, I cannot answer that question. If you will
read all six then I will give you my answer.

Q Well, I'm asking you just about that one now.

A I cannot answer that.

Q So, it does not?

A I'm giving no answer. It's kind of like being asked
does an all American guard make a winning football team.
My answer is, what surrounds that guard? So, I'm not
answering that question. I'll answer when you read all
six and I put them together.

Q My question is, does that alone -- I'm not trying to be
difficult, but I'm just asking you to look at that one
thing. Does that implicate religion in your own mind?

A In the framework of the total, yes.

Q But you're relating to the total and not taking it

A I cannot relate it to any other but the total. The


total Act is what we're considering.

Q All right.


Let's take a break just a moment.

A short recess was held after which time the
deposition was resumed. During said recess, Mr. Crawford
excused himself from the remainder of the deposition.)


Q Rev. McLean, I have several documents that you have here,
and I'm going to ask you to identify them. First of
all, this document which I will mark as McLean Exhibit #4.
This is an Article entitled, "God and Evolution: The
'Creation Science' Issue. I'm going to surmise that it
came from the Arkansas Gazette. Is that correct?

A Correct.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean Exhibit No. 4, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 97 .)


Q What is your opinion of this article and why did you clip
this article?

A You know, when this thing became a fact, I just started
keeping a file. And frankly, I would have to take
fifteen minutes to read that article. I just kept them


all for information.

Q You don't recall this being particularly -- by Jay
McDaniel, as to whether that was --

A I just did it, as I recall, I thought it was a good
article and I wasn't sure that he was speaking to all
the issues that I was concerned about.

Q So, would you agree or disagree or could you say?

A I think basically for myself, agreed.

Q Now, this will be McLean Exhibit # 5, it's an article by
Isaac Asimov, concerning the Evolutionary Theory and

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 5, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 98 .)


Q Do you recall your opinion concerning that article?

A You know, this I just filed it for the sake of interest.
I'd rather not say one way or the other.

Q You don't have an opinion as to whether you agree or

A I found basically that it was helpful, but I would not
want to go on record saying that I agree or disagree.

Q What about Creationism and Evolution, The Real Issues,
by N. Patrick Murray and Neal D. Buffaloe?

A Very good.


Q You would agree with this?

A Yes, sir.

Q You would find this compatible with your own belief?

A Right.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit #6, and is
attached hereto under separate


Q I have two documents here which I will mark as #7 and #8,
Creation/Evolution. What are these?

A A friend of mine wrote me and said that this institute
in Buffalo had been doing a series of studies on it,
and I have read them. I think if you would ask me
generally, I would find that they were helpful, and that
my position agrees with them. If you ask if I agreed
with them specifically, I would beg the question.

(Said documents were so marked as
McLean's Exhibit #7 and #8, and
are appended hereto and appear
under separate cover.)


Q Okay. Do you know -- it says here that Creation/Evolution
is a nonprofit publication dedicated to promoting
evolutionary science. Do these magazines generally take
a view of favoring evolution science over creation


A Let me look at them.

(Counsel hands documents to witness)

Q If you don't know, that's fine. I'm just trying to
understand what --

A Yes. That is my understanding that this is basically
their point of view.

Q So, you understand this to be essentially a pro-
evolution publication?

A Yes.

Q Any articles in here that you recall reading which
particularly struck you?

A No. Once again, I was reading this primarily to read
from someone -- doing it not from the theological
perspective but from a scientific perspective. I just
found it to be helpful.

Q All right. I'll mark this as McLean Exhibit #9, and
it is a document marked Resolution.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 9, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 102.)


Q Could you identify this document?

A Yes. Three Presbyterian ministers in the Little Rock
area are Plaintiffs. At the last meeting in June
just an on the floor resolution from the commission, and


let me say that I am not in this to represent the
church. I'm in as an individual. But the church court
went on record as approving the actions of these three
individuals. It's sort of a supportive thing. It has
no meat or meaning, except it indicates where I am.

Q This is McLean Exhibit #10, and it's a letter dated
May 29, 1981, to the Honorable Frank White, Governor
of the State of Arkansas, from you. And attached to
that appears to be a previous letter from Governor White
to you.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit #10, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 103.)


Q What was the occasion that you wrote this letter?

A We have an outfit up in Clarksville, the Ozarks Area
Mission that's done a very valuable services. Frank
White very much appreciated and recognized the good that
the Ozarks Area Mission was doing, and wrote a letter
saying that he was so pleased. His final sentence was,
If I can ever do anything to help you, please call on
me". I wrote a letter to question capital punishment
and 590. He did not honor that by responding. I think
maybe he was a bit insincere when he said, "If there's
ever anything that I can do for you".


Q Then McLean Exhibit #11 is something which appears to be
entitled, "Evolution and the Bible", and it also has
minutes of the General Assembly.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 11, and is
appended hereto and appears
on page 104 .)

A That is a statement by the General Assembly, 1969,
Presbyterian, U.S., stating in effect that there is
nothing -- well, you have the final phrase there. You
can probably read it yourself. There is nothing
contradictory about holding the basic tenets of
Christian faith and holding some evolutionary theory.
That would be the official position of the Presbyterian
church. The General Assembly is our highest judicatory.

Q I notice down here in the footnotes the mention of the
General Assembly of 1886 in the case of Rev. James
Woodrow. This was the earlier position of the Presbyter-
ian church?

A Yes.

Q All right. And the position in 1886 included the
following, that Adam and Eve were created by an immediate
act of Almighty Power --

A This wipes all that out. Theologically, in terms of
Biblical interpretation, we were in error.

Q Well, then, up to and including 1969, was it the


position of the Presbyterian church, that part to which
you affiliate yourself with, that in fact Adam and Eve
were created by an immediate act of the Almighty Power?

A That first case was a General Assembly trial, and it was
not a mandate. It was on the judicial records. But as
long as I have been in the ministry and my father before
me, there was nothing in the church that made evolution
a heresy. Someone, in a certain context said, you know,
this is the only thing we have on our whole records
about evolution. Let's get it off. So, they appointed
a study committee. So, this is an act of the General
Assembly. The other was a trial by a commission.

Q Well, I note here that one of the things said that the
General Assembly of 1886, in reply to a number of over-
tures concerning evolution, answered, and then it gives
that position.

A Okay.

Q That would not be a trial would it?

A No. You're right. I did not read that far.

Q So, in terms of the weight which you would now give to
the 1967 General Assembly, the statement on evolution and
the Bible, the previous 1886 statement, up to 1967,
would be entitled to the same weight that this is now
entitled. Am I correct?

A Technically. What happened was, it no longer became an



Q All right. This is McLean #12, and it's an article from
the New Republic, by Niles Eldredge.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 12, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 105 .)


Q What is your opinion of this article?

A Once again, no real approval, but I think it makes a
pretty good case. That creationism isn't science.

Q And then finally, McLean Exhibit #13, what did you say
this was?

A That is from the textbook, The Mighty Acts of God, by
Dr. Arnold D. Rhodes, which has been for a long time a
part of Presbyterian curriculum. That's the section
that just sort of gives some insight into what we
feel to be a valid interpretation of the creation story
or Genesis.

Q This is how Presbyterians would view the book of Genesis?

A This is how our official approved literature --

Q All right. Very good. I appreciate the difference.

(Said document was so marked as
McLean's Exhibit No. 13, and is
appended hereto and appears on
page 106.)


Q Are you familiar with a Presbyterian minister by the name


of Richard Halverson?

A Say more about him. I may be familiar.

Q Well, he is now the chaplin for the United States Senate.

A Oh, I know of him by name.

Q You don't know anything about his own theological views
or beliefs?

A No.

Q You don't know whether you would be compatiable?

A No.

Q Would you agree that there might be individuals within
the Presbyterian church, who minister in the Presbyterian
church, who would hold a different view surrounding
this controversy than you do?

A You know, you're asking a question there that I can only
answer in one way. I don't remember meeting a minister
in the Presbyterian church in the past twenty-five (25)
years who would disagree with where I am now. Maybe
there are a few lay people, but I don't recall any.

Q I guess my question is, not have you ever met anyone,
but would the church discipline a minister or someone
who felt differently on this? Within the Presbyterian
faith, would a minister be entitled to believe that
creation science had a valid scientific basis?

A That's a very hypothetical question.

Q I know there are different branches of the Presbyterian



A I'm talking about the one I'm in.

Q All right. That's what I'm talking about also.

A If someone started teaching or preaching creation science,
nothing probably would be done about it, unless someone
was offended by it and brought charges. Therefore, we have
a process by determining, and I don't know how the outcome
would be. They would say certainly, this is not in
consistency with where your church is. What they would
say or do, I have no idea.

But let me give you this answer. In terms of the
Presbyterian seminaries in both systems, there is no
one who can graduate that believes that.

Q I'm sorry. I did not hear that answer. Could you say
that again?

A In the Presbyterian seminaries of our system, I don't
believe anybody would graduate who feels that. Anyone
that feels that strongly is coming from the type
quarter, and I've seen it happen, that they say, "This
ain't true as to the Good Book,and I'm quitting".
Usually you're ordained as a Presbyterian minister
because you are comfortable with our tradition and our
Biblical interpretations.

Q To become a Presbyterian minister, do you have to come
from a Presbyterian seminary?


A No.

Q Are you aware of Fuller Theological Seminary?

A Yes.

Q Where is that?

A It's in California. I am aware of it because we had a
sad experience in accepting someone from Fuller, name
to be unmentioned. And he completely bombed out,
because he was laboring in another century.

Q When you say another century, which century was he
laboring in?

A Well, I better quit now, because I'm talking about
things that refer to relationships with a pastor.

Q All right. I really don't recall the names of some
of these, but isn't there a Gordon Cromwell in

A Yes.

Q How would you view that seminary?

A If at all possible, I would encourage our candidates
to go to Princeton or Union or McCormick or Austin.

Q That really was not my question. How would you view
the seminary Gordon Cromwell as --

A As an adequate preparation for the Presbyterian ministery.

Q Would it tend to be more conservative than some of the
others you mentioned?

A They try to be all things to all people. So, therefore,


a minister doesn't get training in terms of particular
Presbyterian emphasis in theology and tradition, and
view of the sacrements, plus the fact, they are prone
to be more conservative in Biblical interpretation.

Q Are they supported by any one denomination or faith
that you're aware of?

A I don't know are they are supported. I think it's an
interdenominational seminary.

Q If Act 590 should go into effect, could you tell me what
personal harm you think you would suffer, if any?

A Would you explain that?

Q Well, I'm really just wanting to know how you are going
to be adversely effected, if at all, if Act 590 goes into

A What do you mean by personally?

Q Well, I mean, I don't know what effects you personally,
so I can't give you a definition to that term. I'm
asking you how it would effect you personally?

A Oh, gosh, I can answer that in several ways. For one
thing, it would effect me the same way, when in South
Carolina I heard about it, I was terribly embarrassed,
especially when it was spread over the headlines how
our dear Governor didn't read it before signing it.

Q That embarrassed you?

A That personally effected me. I was very ashamed of


Arkansas. Just like I was ashamed of Arkansas in '57.

Q Okay.

A It would effect me because I think it would, as an
executive officer of the Presbyterian church, I think
we have to think very seriously about what steps we
would take. In that in the classroom, things are going
to be occurring that violate what our church is trying
to teach. And I think personally we'd have to gear
up to see -- I don't say what would be done, but I can
say there's a good chance that we would have to very
seriously consider --

Q Could you relate to me how this would violate what the
church is trying to teach?

A Well, everything I have read, in terms of creation
science in those sample textbooks, and I know they're
not the textbooks, say, "Man, you've got to make a
choice". Our church has said that there is nothing
contradictory between some theory of evolution and the
sovereignty of God, as long as you believe that God did
it. They are teaching -- and this comes out of everyone,
ten thousand years is the earliest possible date.

Q That's your belief. The act says a relatively recent
inception of the earth and living kinds, whatever that

Q Well, let me say, that is what I have read about creation


science. It could set up a framework of reference
whereby if they really found out that maybe something
was happening a million years ago, you have a crisis
of faith that's really uncalled for. But primarily,
going back to point three, I don't see how it can be
taught without engaging in a public school classroom,
with who knows as teacher, the discussion of theology
and Biblical interpretation.

Q Well, your concern in that regard goes to whether
we can expect professional competence from our
teachers, in terms of excluding religious matters?

A No. No. Just the opposite. I know teachers who are
professionally competent in their field, and I want them
teaching my child math or English or what have you, but
I don't want them to touch issues of Biblical inter-
pretation and theology.

Q The act requires that only scientific evidence and
inferences therefrom specifically be taught, and that's
all you can teach.

A I don't think, you know, in reading one paragraph of that
Act, it's talking about that, but I don't see, as I've
said several times, how you can teach it without getting
into that in which it is rooted, and that is a particular
viewpoint of Biblical interpretation and theology. That
is what brought the whole thing to the surface.


Q Again, we're getting into an area where that's your

A Right.

Q But --

A But we can only have opinions now.

Q Well, we can have some facts, hopefully, concerning the
scientific evidence. But in terms of teaching the
scientific evidence, if you teach scientific evidence
that does not implicate teaching -- whatever it might
be, that does not or should not implicate necessarily
religion, should it?

A Once again, I don't see how you can teach creation
science without getting into religion.

Q I'm not talking about creation science. I'm talking
about teaching scientific evidence for anything,
concerning any theory.

A Right. Stay in scientific evidence but not creation

Q That's my question at this point. If you teach scientific
evidence, that should not implicate necessarily religion,
should it?

A I do not think it should.

Q Do you believe --

A Because in my own view of science, the classroom is where
you talk about science. And when you get into Creator


with a capital C, then you're out of that ballpark.

Q Well, do you believe that only one theory of origin
should be taught?

A I think every theory of origin that comes into their
academic training, as long as it does not deal with
theology in a science classroom, ought to be taught.

Q So, if a biology teacher had training in creation
science, then they could teach it?

A No. Because I would have to, as a citizen, question
whether or not that was true science, and whether or not
my child was still not being subjected to theology.
I cannot accept creation science as a science. That's
one of the reasons why my name is on the Plaintiff list.

Q I understand your position. Are you -- you are aware, are
you not, that much of what we learn in school is
necessarily rooted in some sort of religious tradition
or consistent with a religious tradition? Laws
against stealing, against murder, that they are rooted
in that?

A I'm very glad that's true. Yes, I'm aware of that.

Q And merely because those are consistent with religion,
you don't want them excluded from our schools, do

A I think the process is entirely different there. I can't
even answer that question. You shall not steal, kill,


transgress, that's not just Christian ethics, that is a
common denominator of human decency and all religions.
So, therefore, that is something that is roofed in our
society, and I don't see that we have these on there
because the church has said that you've got to put that
on your statute books. I think that arises out of the
American culture, which is a combination of a lot of
things. Creation science arises out of pressure from a
group that has a theological, Biblical interpretative
stance, and I see no relationship in your question.

Q What about teaching about a creator in a science course
at all? Do you think that's possible?

A I do not, because you have to get into your own view
of who and what that creator is and everything else.
I think they ought to teach science and --

Q And no reference should be made to the creator?

A Not at all.

Q Have you ever read Charles Darwin's, Origin of the Species?

A No, I haven't.

Q Are you aware that he, in concluding that book, he states
that the first few forms of life, having had life
breathed into their body by the Creator. He used that
term himself.

A I was not aware of that.

Q If that is true, which it is, would you want to exclude


Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species from the

A No. As long as you quote that as Darwin.

Q Well, so, if Darwin says it, it's okay, but if someone --
a creation scientist uses the word creator, it's not

A Let me back up and put the context to this. We are
in a different ballgame since the rise of the pressure
of creation science. It's an entirely different ballpark.
I find it even hard to answer questions in the same way.
I think they have put sort of an onus on things that
would have been very natural and normal.

Q So, in other words, what I hear you saying, I think, is
that this is such a political question that it has kind
of altered your view of how you can relate the questions
about the creator generally. Is that what you're

A Yes, I think that's true. I hadn't thought about it,
but you know, once again, Charles Darwin's statement --
I didn't even know he said that. I'm proud of him for it.
That is all right. But it is not the type statement that
gets into the type discussion that I see of necessity
would arise out of all the factors that I see entwined
in creation science. You know, a person in the classroom
might be teaching evolution and mention creator and go on,


but I don't think it would cause near the rumpus that
a teacher would have because the State Legislature says
that I have to give balanced treatment. Therefore, we
get into what is balanced treatment, how do I treat
this in which I don't believe. And it gives it such a
spotlight. An evolutionist in a classroom could say
creator and slide by. But now you have balanced time
and what is creation science and who is this capital
C, Creator? I think the Act makes it -- I think the Act
makes it more difficult to deal with. I think this
Act is going to spotlight it in such a way that you're
going to have a division that makes it impossible to have
freedom. I think the Act will just do a lot of things
that are counter to what it is proposed to do. I think
instead of making academic freedom, it's going to tighten
up on it.

Q If a teacher -- if there was no law covering creation
science and a teacher wanted to teach it, would you defend
their right to teach it as a matter of free speech?


Wouldn't you consider that a legal question. Not
being a lawyer, I'm afraid that he doesn't have that
ability. I'll have to object to that question.


My question does not go to the nature of a legal


conclusion, but just to his own personal philosophy.

A I would have objections, because I think freedom of
speech is something we bend around. I've been to football
games and some drunk behind me is using free speech and
I want to hit him in the mouth because my wife is beside
me. That's a rather dramatic illustration of free speech.
Free speech in the classroom can injure my own child's
relationship to the Presbyterian church. If you teach
biology without any reference to God, which I think
science creationism is rooted in, you can teach anything
you want to and let the church sew it together theolo-
gically. But there is no way you can approach from
this point of view, creation science, and not have a
theological and Biblical interpretative outgrowth of
classroom discussion.

Q If you have an indepth of evolution and you try to trace
back the origins of life, back from life to nonlife,
there is that -- if you will pardon the term, leap
of faith which must be made, that at some point, matter
evolved from nonlife to life. Is that not a natural
point for students to ask about who made that? Was that
the creator? Was that God?

A Yeah. He could say, "In my own personal opinion, yes,
but this is not a part of our classroom material. Go
to your church to find out how they put theological


handles on this." But see, creation science gives you a
whole packet of material that doesn't let you give it that
way. In three of those textbooks, if that's a sample
of them, I saw references to Noah's flood as having some
great impact on the progress of mankind. If that is the
direction, you have some builtin perimeters that cause
freedom of the type discussion we're talking about to

Q In large part, your views on this subject from your
statements, Rev. McLean, seem to have been influenced
by these books that you have looked at that Seagraves

A No. I don't thing they influenced me at all. My views
have been with me for twenty (20) years. This is just
an instance where my views have become concretized in
something I see as being opposite my views. Seagraves
hasn't changed my views at all. he hasn't influenced my

Q He hasn't made you a bit more vehement in your opposition?

A Yes. Because I see what this could do to our public
school system and to our state.

Q So you were considering books which would violate the
Act itself? You know that they would violate the Act?

A Excuse me?

Q You were looking at books which have influenced you in


your position and books which you know from reading the
Act yourself would violate Act 590?

A I don't know that. That's my fear. I think that the
books could go in under 590, but I don't think there is
anyway you could teach them without violating what
Act 590 says.

Q Well, you're obviously a very intelligent individual,
you've read Act 590, and you know, do you not, that it
specifically prohibits reference to religious writings?
Does not permit instruction of any religious doctrine
or materials, and treatment is to be limited to the
scientific evidences for each model, and must not
include any religious instruction or references to
religious writings. And those books contain numerous
references to religious writings and would violate the

A No. The textbooks do not necessarily. They use
creator with a capital C. Seagraves, in one book, he
gives his thesis and then he does a clever job of
editing, but still with the capital C, Creator, et al,
and of course, the part you're reading me from Act 590
is one reason why I'm so against it. I don't think that
it is possible to teach creation science and conform
with those guidelines.

Q Your own review of the book points at several times where


scriptures, Psalms, Genesis, other scriptures are

A I think these are supplementary books. These are the
books -- I don't know, but if I were Seagraves, I would
not have considered myself to smart sending them to
Arkansas. But he did and they had them down there.
As I see it, starting here, there is a series of eight
books, and I might not have notes on all of them. These
are supportive things that somehow or another he was
foolish enough to send. And he's editor and he very
cleverly keeps the obvious out, but in his basic book
he tells right here what is his purpose. Once again,
we don't know which curriculum they are going to choose.
But the guy who has edited has let it be known why he
is doing it.

Q When you talk about a creator and creation, wouldn't
you agree that in evolution that the laws of nature, if
you will, the forces of nature are the evolver. Would
you agree with that?

A I think that the laws and the forces of nature are set
into process by an omnipotent God. You know, in a
classroom, a teacher could say that end then say, "in
terms of how God did this and when and where, ask these
questions of your parents or your church".

Q You think they couldn't do the same thing with creation


science? If they asked the question, "Isn't the
creator God?" and you couldn't say, "Go to your parents
and ask them. Go to your church and ask them"?

A No, because you are into an area of curriculum which
is predicated on Biblical interpretations, and sooner or
later that is going to come out just as sure as we are
sitting here.

Q And you make that statement as you have several times,
and you overlook the basic fact that Act 590 allows
teachings only in scientific evidences and the inferences
therefrom. I mean --

A I'm saying that's the great inconsistency.

Q Because in your thirty years of experience in considering
creation, you can't conceive of how that can be done,
although that's what is required to be done?

A Yes. And I think -- well, no I don't.

Q I don't understand the answer then.

A Well, I started to say something and you didn't ask me
that question. Excuse me.

Q But you don't think it can be done?

A I don't think it can be done.


All right. That's all the questions I have.

(Witness Excused) (Signature Waived)



The taking of the deposition was completed at the
hour of 5:05 p.m., on Friday, October 2, 1981.