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Deposition of Dorothy Nelkin - Page 3
Submitted by Peter Burns on Fri, 2010-02-26 21:03.
but I really could not calculate how much or what,
Q Other than your time, which you say was
Q Are we now in an antiscience age?
I get some of those overtones from reading
A There is a lot of discussion, a lot of question-
I think the creationists reflect this. Although
Q Why do you say that?
A I think they are almost overwhelmingly scientistic
I don't want to question their beliefs. I think
beliefs in scientific terms and by declaring those
Q Do you have an opinion as to whether
A Well, there is certainly a lot more pop science
There has been a proliferation of a kind of
I think there is a tendency generally to put a
Q You say there is a tendency for a great
Do you think religion can be based on
A No. Based on faith.
Q Can religion be based on science?
A Yes, but I think people have a lot of faith in
justify them in terms of science, and if they do
Q Do you think that it would be possible to
A It would be inappropriate. It would be possible.
It would be inappropriate.
Q Have you seen anything or done any reading
A Well, yes. There are lots of groups that use
Q Have you seen anything where religion is
A Not quite, no. Not in those terms. I suppose
Q But there may be some minor ones which
A Sure, but I am saying it is not appropriate.
Q Are you familiar with the Society of
Q Have you ever heard of it?
A Yes, but the title is somewhat -- somewhere in
Q Since your husband is professor of physics,
A Well, there are people who say there are parallels
Q Tau, of physics?
A Yes, but I don't know much about that, and I
Q But that doesn't mean that they are not
A These are self-definitions. They define them-
Q Directing your attention to page 2 of
"Why has the old resistance to evolution
theory gathered into momentum? What issues have con-
"How have small groups of believers been
Is not there a thread running through
A This is a question -- I think it is quite explicit
Q What is a fundamentalist?
A Again, a religious fundamentalist, as I am
Q Directing your attention to page 9 of your
innumerable battles for over a hundred years."
What are the metaphysical assumptions
A The inerrancy is denial that God created the
The moral implications are, people have drawn
Q To be an implication it must be, to begin
A Any theory that explains nature I the develop-
Q Can you be more specific as to what the
A Well, the moral implications -- it may be in
It is a kind of theory prone to have people
Carnegie drew implications about survival of
Q That is more of an inference than implica-
A I suppose so.
Q Do you recall what you had in mind when
A I had in mind what a lot of people have from
Q On page 13, you state that, "Julian Huxley
How did Huxley do that?
A One of the interesting things about the history
I think that is one of the problems I see in
Q The theory of evolution has been viewed
A Yes, but that is not to preclude you should
Q On page 23, to paraphrase, you discussed
some of the pedantical techniques in science education.
A That has more to do with another course called
Even in science teaching there has been an
Q MOCOS was designed, was it not, for
A MOCOS was fifth and sixth grades.
Q It really involved asking some fairly
Q Questions about what implications do
A One of the reasons that I titled the book as it
I am not sure the MOCOS dispute is relevant to
Q I was curious about the MOCOS concept.
That was a program or curriculum which,
A It was designed by both scientists and science
Q Spoon-fed is the term that was used.
It is better not to spoon-feed them but
Is part of the idea there that the students
A -- make up their own minds.
Q Not just that, but that students will have
Q As your book mentioned, doesn't it exercise
A There are some things appropriate for students
are best told what the understanding of the scientific
It depends on the subject matter.
Q Who has to make that decision?
A I think to some extent in society one has to
I think there is abuse of expertise, but to some
Q The MOCOS course of study is premised on
A I don't think so, no. Not on what you are driv-
Q What were some of the issues that the
A The nature of maternal relationships, for example,
been working on for years, but to try to relate to
I don't know of any scientist curriculum where
Q You state on page 31, and I think you are
Who is Bruner?
A Jerome Bruner is a Harvard University psycholo-
I don't want to be put in a position of defend-
Q It also was drafted by the experts, so-
A Yes, but not all experts are equal.
Q Professor Nelkin, you think, do you not,
Q And that probably little or no scientific
A I am reluctant to call it a science.
Q In view of that, why would you have any
A If it was just a matter of that, I would say,
I think the creationists are out for bigger
Q We are not dealing with the creational.
Do you have a problem with that?
A I have a problem with that, the same old problem
get this across to their own children in a private
When they are dealing in a public school, I
Q Is your concern then the idea that in
Q In the teaching of evolution, do you know
A I think it is not discussed, although it is
Q Do you have any reason to think, if in
A I think that the notion of a creator is so
to enter into their teaching.
The notion of changing in origins with no discus-
Q From your statement, if the teaching of
MR. CRAWFORD: That is not what she said.
MR. WILLIAMS: I think it is.
MR. CRAWFORD: We can have it read back.
Q Correct me if I'm wrong --
A I suggested that the so-called scientific data
Q Your other answer will stand, and we can
Assuming Creation Science is more than
A We are playing word games. The point is, the
Q That is your conclusion, is it not?
MR. CRAWFORD: Everything she says is her
A I am testifying to my opinions, yes.
THE WITNESS: Is that appropriate or not?
MR. CRAWFORD: Certainly. That is why
Q Have you ever been to Arkansas?
A No. Why?
Q Why you have never been?
A Why are you asking the question.
Q I am just curious if you have ever been
A No. I have never been to Arkansas.
Q I would assume that in writing your book,
A I tried hard.
Q You state on page 19 that in Little Rock,
On what basis do you make that statement?
A I can't remember. There is no footnote on that
quote, but it was -- in the writings I read, if I
Throughout the book I suggested that science
Q How many times did Governor Faubus make
A In doing research one tries to do some historical
Q I take it you do not know what you relied
A Let's see. No, I was not there. There is
I took the next quote from the science teacher.
I don't know. One reads a lot and gets an idea
Q You kind of got an idea that was what was
A If I put it in quotes, I looked at some discussion.
Q Perhaps Governor Faubus said at one time
it was the will of the people.
Q The fact you said he defended throughout
A It apparently was discussed through the '60s,
Q Were you aware whether that statute was
A I don't know. I know it was not until the
I believe that was 1968.
Q I think the record will reflect that that
Let's look at the quotes you have there:
"The truth or the fallacy of arguments
Do you agree with that statement?
A Let me read it.
I'm not sure. I'm seeing double by now.
"Teachers have a constitutional right to discuss."
I suppose that could be an academic freedom
The question is, whether the State Legislature
I don't know details of the constitutional rights
Q We are not asking for a legal judgment.
Do you agree with that statement?
Q If a teacher in his or her professional
A If an individual teacher does?
A I suppose they have -- I think it would be
You are asking me a legal question and I leave
Q No, I am not asking as a matter of law,
A I believe -- don't ask if they have a constitu-
What is a constitutional right and what is not
I think a teacher has a responsibility, as I
Q If a teacher feels the best available
A I don't know. I would really have to think
The question really can be translated if a
MR. CRAWFORD: The problem is, on the one
the plaintiffs' religious viewpoint. Balancing
I think the witness is appropriately
THE WITNESS: It is a legal --
A Personal judgment on a legal matter is in a way
Q All sorts of things have legal implications.
A Yes. But some are more clear-cut than others.
Q To restate the question: if a teacher,
A I guess so, but I would say he or she has not
Some questions just can't be answered yes or no.
Q You say you think they should but they
You are making a judgment on that profes-
A Answered at the most theoretical level, yes,
Q You use the term "textbook watchers" a lot
Q Were you aware as to any, quote, textbook
A I don't know. I have not followed the details
Q Were you aware that Act 590 does not
A I am aware of that, yes.
Q You state on page 42: "But just as scien-
A Where? The middle?
Q The first whole paragraph.
"-- associated 'technological decadence'
Could you explain what you mean by that?
A That the textbook watchers have been concerned
about immorality, about the decline of the family,
Q On page 42, you have a quote there set
A "The decadence of science --"
Q Right. That's a quote from a letter in
Q Why did you quote a letter from the Medford
A It was characteristic of a lot of quotes I came
Q How did you make a decision that a letter
A It was simple in its tone and expression involved
There are many, many other quotes that could be
turgent language. It struck me as being a kind of
Q Where is the Medford Mall Tribune?
A The clippings from newspapers all over the
Q What do you know that the Medford Mall
A It is not a local newspaper. I can't remember
Q I assume it is a paper published by a
A It sounds like it. I don't remember. It was
I could have used a dozen others.
Q Do you know if the person who wrote this
A I don't know. The context of it -- there are
Q That they were a Creation Scientist, or
A (No response.)
Q You have textbook watchers and Creation
A There are certain similarities.
Q There may be similarities. The textbook
A A lot of the people who are concerned, not all
I would guess most creationists are opposed to
There are a lot of people opposed who are not
Q Isn't it true that you are painting a
A In the first chapter on scientific creationists
I am painting, yes, a very broad brush here in
Q Do you know how many districts adopted
A I don't know. I think 17 states have introduced
Q Do you know how many states have acts,
Do you know how many states in one form or
A It depends on the structure of textbook selec-
As far as I know, there are only two states
As in most policy issues, it depends upon the
Q On page 61 of your book, midway through
"Creationists argue that Genesis is not
Q Does Act 590 allow use of Genesis in
A From what you have said today, no, not directly.
Q Did you know that before today?
A I read it a while ago, yes, but -- again, I am
Q On page 61 of your book, at the bottom,
Does 590 mention five to six thousand
A I don't remember. As I mentioned, I did not
This is the last two weeks of the semester,
Q I understand.
On page 82, you state at the beginning of
"Clearly creationists are faced with a
A Yes. I think they are in a heck of a dilemma.
Q If there is formidable evidence that
A That's a big "if."
Q I am asking you to assume that.
A If there really were formidable evidence, yes,
Q When you look at people like Gould, who
A That's a healthy debate within science, yes.
Q There does appear to be, even within the
evolution community, if there is such a thing, there
A No, but it is not against the theory of evolu-
There is a disagreement as to how evolution
Even to a nonscientist, it is obvious that the
Scientists have been in dispute over that a long
Q We already established there are certain
A -- underlying every work.
Q -- underlying evolution?
Q On page 63, about five lines down, you
"Groups committed to particular assumptions
Q That statement is made without qualifica-
Is that statement true, according --
A That is a basis of research in psychology by a
Q That statement would be equally applicable
A I suppose you could twist it that way.
Q I am taking it at face value, not twisting
A All right. Let's go back to where we all started.
When a scientist assumes assumptions, they assume
assumptions they were trying to challenge. It is
That's fundamentally the way science operates.
Q The problem I have with that is, according
A It's hard to explain this.
People are fundamentally trying to tell their
When a theory becomes well-established in a
There are several levels which we are talking
about, I mean, what is going on in the arguments that
Q I hope to.
A That's what's happening at this point -- just
Again, he can speak to that.
Q Do you personally know whether the American
A I don't know.
Q Do you personally know whether the Creation
A I don't know. I have not followed the creation
Q Where is the Bob Jones University?
A Is it in South Carolina?
Q I don't know. I know it is not in Arkansas,
A I said other Bible schools, on page 70, in South
Q Would you like to see mine? It says in
A What page are you on?
A That's unbelievable. That's the same edition,
MR. CRAWFORD: Sometimes corrections are
A (Continuing) Here. Bob Jones University, just
Q Do you recall writing that?
A I don't remember that. It may have been that
Q Did you at one time think it was in Arkansas
A I must have.
Q For it to get into the book, you must have
A Yes, and then realized at some later point that
At this point, I know it is not Arkansas. It
Q On page 70, you mention that Creation
Q Are you aware of any other universities
since this time that have presented courses on
A I don't know. I have not been following it.
Q Doesn't the fact that secular universities
A No, of course not. The fact that somebody can
Given a tenure system, one does not have control
Q Do you think these professors should be
A I think there should be a sense of responsibil-
Q To your knowledge, was the MOCOS course
A I don't know.
Q In your book, you have some comments con-
is one of the statements you make; is that correct?
A Yes. There is a lot of money in the textbook
Q You also mentioned that Creation Science
Do you have any opinion as to whether the
A I presume so.
Q You say they are in it to make money?
A Do I think -- I think they would reduce their
One of the big problems is, these books are
Q If there is a market out there, the text-
A It depends on the publisher, yes.
Q How many copies of your book were sold?
A Very little. It was published as an academic
Q How many of the hard book?
A Three or four hundred. It was not widely pub-
This project has been nothing but a pain in the
Q How many articles have you written on this
A Yes. It was a mistake to publish it in a
Q Do you know approximately how much finan-
A Well, you figure 495 paperbacks, six percent
Q Would you say that your writings on Creatio
A The book got excellent reviews and was appre-
One generally in academicia does not expect to
get rich or make money out of one's writings.
Q If Creation Science should be found by
A I am not sure it is terribly relevant. With 800
Do I have a stake in this?
Q I am not talking about sales. I am talk-
A My reputation does not rest on this book. No,
I don't have any stake in the whole issue person-
Q Your article in "Scientific American,"
A No. Nor do the other articles. I haven't done
I have done no research, except some recent
stuff sent by the authors of creationist writings,
Even the recent talk I gave, under some pressure,
The "Scientific American" article is essentially
Q Have you ever heard or studied a concept
A I have no idea what you are talking about.
Q Do you have any documents concerning Act
A It may be on one of the things sent to me by
I can't remember in the material sent whether
Q Have you ever been part of any planned
A Have I --
Q Have you written letters or taken action.
A No. I have not personally been involved in that.
Q Did you have communication with any such
A When I was doing research, I received letters
After the "Scientific American" article was
MR. CRAWFORD: We have miscellaneous mail
Q Are you a member of the A.C.L.U.?
Q Have you ever written any articles on
A Yes. As a matter of fact, I wrote one for "The
to them. "The Humanist" rejected the article because
Q Do you recall how they said you were too
A No. I had that on a phone call. They wanted
Q What kind of advocacy were they looking
A I think they wanted somebody to dump on the
Q You said "The Humanist" is --
A It's a journal.
Q I think you say they are proevolution?
A I think the journal or the editors or whoever
Q Is that the American Humanities?
A No. If you said the name of it, I would remember.
MR. CRAWFORD: American Humanist Association
A (Continuing) They took a proevolutionist posi-
They decided not to run it and ran something
Q Do you remember the article they used?
A I can't remember. You can look it up. Around
Q Have you had any other article rejected
A In the course of my career?
Q On Creation Science, first of all.
A No, I haven't. I haven't written any others
Q Have you had any other articles in the
A In the course of twenty years of writing, yes.
Q How many were there?
A I have been lucky. Not many. I can't remember.
More than often, they say, we will accept with
As you will note, I have had a lot of articles
Q Is the concept of peer review an objective
A There has been a lot of discussion recently.
Q What are some of the flaws that you see
A There is a tendency for well-known people to be
Generally, it is a system which by and large
Q Do you plan to rely on any documents in
A I don't know. We haven't discussed that. I
Q Have you prepared any?
A No. There was some discussion as to whether
No, I was not. I have not prepared any.
MR. CRAWFORD: We will provide you with
I would expect that there might be some
MR. WILLIAMS: Do you know at this time
MR. CRAWFORD: I would expect if we can
Q How do you determine what is representative
A That is judgment after reading a lot of material.
Q How many books on Creation Science have
A I don't remember. I can't give you a number.
Q More than ten?
A No. A lot of articles. I did a lot of inter-
I also talked to biologists and schoolteachers.
Q Have you kept a list of everything that
A No. I don't have many materials.
The book was published in '77. Research was
I never dreamed I would be getting into it again.
Q Have you ever given any speeches on the
A I have given a couple of talks from these lectures
Q How do you decide when it is appropriate
A When there is a significant problem that needs
The issues raised -- we engage lawyers in the
Q Is an idea of an interdisciplinary approach
A Problem oriented.
Q There has to be some overlap between
A They have to have some kind of focus.
Q Have you ever thought about the concept
origins, taking for the moment the idea that perhaps
A No, I have not contemplated that.
Q Since you have done some work in the area
A It is not the kind of issue -- I am studying
Q I thought you said you did some work on
A Yes, on the kind of teaching programs and every-
Q If you look at the basic guidelines that
A I think they are talking past each other. I
Q Do you have any other communications other
A I did get a letter -- but it was sort of --
MR. CRAWFORD: That's another attorney in
A (Continuing) Another attorney in Arkansas. I
Q Other than the questions I asked you and
A Not that I know of. I happen not to have done
MR. WILLIAMS: Have you had a chance to
MR. CRAWFORD: Only one. I will finish
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions at this
MR. Crawford; The witness will be in
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions at
EXAMINATION BY MR. CRAWFORD:
Q Mr. Williams asked some questions about
Would you explain to me what you mean by
A I think the question of the existence or non-
There are evolutionists who do believe in God
Q If one accepts evolution, that would be
A It would be inconsistent with it.
Q Is that how you used the word "creator"?
A Yes. The existence or nonexistence of God does
MR. CRAWFORD: No further questions.
(Time noted: 3:30 p.m.)
* * *
STATE OF NEW YORK )
We, Joseph Quiroga and Dorothy Grumberg,
That DOROTHY NELKIN, the witness whose
We further certify that we are not related
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set
I N D E X
Witness: By Mr. Williams Mr. Crawford
Dorothy Nelkin 3 146
Page 8, Line 24
Page 46, Line 21
Antievolutionists Say the Darndest Things
Antievolutionists often express outrage over alleged incivility from those who oppose their efforts to evade the establishment clause of the First Amendment. But they have no difficulty in dishing out the abuse themselves. Here is a sample from the Invidious Comparisons thread that documents egregious behavior on the part of the religious antievolution advocates.
One thing that Jack Krebs and I agree with is that Pratt can be likened to an outpost under siege in a cultural war.
My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited Bastogne where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German attack was led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners.
What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying proportions. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics and that teleological or design explanations are not valid. Naturalism is not science. It is a belief system.
In the same manner, the defenders in Pratt are fighting against Naturalism, although they may not realize it. Rather than fighting against science, they are actually fighting for science. They are fighting for science that is driven by logic and critical thinking rather than by a philosophy that teaches to the exclusion of all other teachings that we are the products of only chance and necessity. They are fighting for science that is driven by the scientific method rather than science that is driven by a philosophy of Naturalism.
Rather than using logic and good science to support its assault on the brave contingent in Pratt, the KCFS is using tactics one would expect from those that besieged Bastogne: scare tactics, misinformation and no substantive discussion of the real issues.
So, we are back looking at Pratt as the bombs fall. The question is whether the Board and the Community will be supported by the rest of us as they have had the guts that General McAullife and the other brave Americans had that cold winter day in Bastogne 54 years ago. McAullife's reply was very simple when asked to surrender: "Nuts!" McAullife and the 101st were subsequently relieved by elements of Patton's Third Army. In the same way we all need to rise up and put our hands together for the Pratt Board and Pratt Citizens that have just characterized the outrageous censorship by the science establishment as "Nuts!"