Testimony of Dr. Michael Ruse - Page 2
Q Is creation science falsifiable?
A: No. I'm sorry. As I was saying, there's basically nothing one can think of that creation scientists couldn't fit in. And I'll go even further than this, the creation scientists themselves are quite explicit about this in their writings.
They state time and again that, "Look folks, we start with the Bible, this is our framework. If it doesn't fit in, then we are not going to accept it."
Q And do you have any examples of that?
A: Yes. I think I could give you some examples of that.
Q And what is that specific example?
A: Well, one thing is the oath or the pledge that one has to sign or accept if one's going to become a member of the Creation Research Society, which is, I think, a society out in California, founded in California for creation scientists with masters or other degrees. And it states quite explicitly in that--
Q Excuse me. Do you have a copy of that oath?
A: Yes, I do. Do you want me to read some of this?
THE COURT: Is that different from the oath that was read yesterday?
MR. NOVIK: No, it's not, your Honor. I'm not going to have him read it.
THE COURT: You don't need to read it again for me. I heard it yesterday.
MR. NOVIK: Yes, sir.
A: Also, if you look in the literature itself, you find explicitly time and again stated that one must follow the limits set by the Bible.
Q Doctor Ruse, does this also bear on whether creation science is tentative?
A: Yes. Well, as I said earlier on, I mean, these are all really very much a package deal, these various features we are talking about. And it's obviously the case that nothing is going to shake the position of creation scientists about their fundamental claims.
Q Do you have an example in the creation science literature of creation science not being tentative?
A: Yes. In, I think it's Kofahl and Segraves' _The Creation Explanation_ there is several cases.
MR. NOVIK: Your Honor, the book, The Creation Explanation: A Scientific Alternative to Evolution, written by Kofahl and Segraves has been identified as an exhibit for identification, number 87.
MR. NOVIK: (Continuing)
Q Doctor Ruse, would you identify for us the portion of the book you are referring to?
A: Yes. Referring to the book, _The Creation Explanation: A Scientific Alternative to Evolution,_ on page 40 we find the following statement: "Ultimate historical evidence always involves human eyewitness testimony or documents left by eyewitnesses, but no such testimony or documents are available for the early history of the earth."
"One document, however, purports to give authoritative testimony about the early earth from a Person -- Capital P, Person -- who was present. This document is the Bible, and its contents are to be classified not as scientific evidence but as divine revelation. Such revelation is either accepted by faith or rejected. Christians by faith accept the biblical revelation in all of its details, including its reports of early earth history. Thus the Christian student of origins approaches the evidence from geology and paleontology with the biblical record in mind, interpreting that evidence in accord with the facts divinely revealed in the Bible."
That is not tentative and that is not science.
Q Doctor Ruse, do you find that creation science measures up to the methodological considerations you described earlier as significant in distinguishing scientific from nonscientific endeavors?
A: No. My feeling is that really it doesn't. I think
A: (Continuing) that, for example, they play all sorts of slights of hand; they quote all sorts of eminent evolutionists out of context, implying that evolutionists are not saying quite what they are saying, implying they are saying other sorts of things.
In other words, what I'm saying is, I think that the creation scientists do all sorts of things that I teach my students in introductory logic not to do.
Q With respect to the quotation out of context, do you have an example of that?
A: Yes. For example, if we look at Parker -- this is the recent book--
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me, Doctor Ruse. Your Honor, the witness is referring to a book by Gary Parker entitled Creation: The Facts of Life. It has previously been marked for identification as exhibit 84.
MR. NOVIK: (Continuing)
Q Would you identify the page you are referring to?
A: Yes. I'm looking now at page 144. And incidentally, what we're talking about and what Parker is going to be referring to is the article by Lewontin, your Honor, which is in the book you've already got upon your desk, Evolution, and it's the page exactly opposite the picture of the moths.
And what I'm suggesting is that Parker takes Lewontin
A: (Continuing) right out of context. It certainly leaves the impression that Lewontin is saying something other than what he's really saying.
Q The Lewontin article is on what page?
A: It's page 115. 1 don't think it's numbered. Just as a little background, Lewontin is not an eminent evolutionist, but he states quite categorically on that page that he is, that he accepts the evolutionary theory. If you look at the final column there half way down, beginning at the paragraph, Lewontin talks about the modern view of adaptation is the external world has certain problems and so on and so forth.
Q You were going to identify an out of context quotation?
A: Yes. Now, what Parker says, and I quote, is: "Then there's 'the marvelous fit of organisms to the environment,' the special adaptations of cleaner fish, woodpeckers, bombardier beetles, etc., etc., -- what Darwin called 'Difficulties with the Theory,' and what Harvard's Lewontin (1978) called 'the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer.'" The quote is "the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer." In fact, if you look at the original, you will see that this actual passage occurs in the second column. And what Lewontin is saying in the old days before we
A: (Continuing) taught Darwin, people believed that adaptation was the evidence of a designer. The first paragraph, "It was the marvelous fit of organisms to the environment much more than the diversity of forms." That was the chief evidence of a Supreme Designer.
Q So Lewontin was referring to the belief in a Supreme Designer prior to Darwin?
Q And it's quoted in Parker as if he believed presently in the evidences of a designer?
A: That's right. Personally, that strikes me as a rather sleazy practice.
Q Doctor Ruse, you also mentioned honesty as a methodological type attribute of science. Do you believe that creation science approaches its subject honestly?
A: I really don't. I think that one gets all sorts of--
THE COURT: Who wrote the Creation book?
A: This is Creation: The Facts of Life by Gary E. Parker.
MR. NOVIK: (Continuing)
Q Doctor Ruse, do you believe that creation science approaches its subject honestly?
A: No, I don't.
Q Would you explain that, please?
A: I think that they pretend to be scientific and they are not going to be scientific at all. They know they are not going to be scientific. And I think that they are putting up a facade of being scientific when they know perfectly well that they are pushing a religious belief.
Q Do you have any examples of the dishonesty of creation science?
A: Well, again, it's— Well, I think, for example, they take things out of context like this. I think that's dishonest.
I think, for example, in Morris' book, Scientific Creationism, where they are talking about homologies. They deal with it somewhat dishonestly. It's a general position.
Q Doctor Ruse, do you have an opinion to a reasonable degree of professional certainty about whether creation science is science?
A:Yes, I do.
Q And what is that opinion?
A:That it is not science.
Q What do you think it is?
A:Well, speaking as a philosopher and speaking, also, as one who teaches philosophy of religion, I would say that it is religion.
MR. NOVIK: Your Honor, I have no further questions.
THE COURT: We will take a recess until 10:30.
(Thereupon, Court was in recess from 10:15 a.m. to 10:38 a.m.)
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q Doctor Ruse, isn't it true the last time you were actually enrolled in a course in biology was at the age of approximately thirteen or fourteen?
A: Probably more like thirteen or fourteen.
Q That's what I said, thirteen or fourteen.
Q And you have not made any independent examination of the scientific data to determine whether there are scientific evidences which support creation science, have you?
Q You stated that all scientists that you were aware of believed that evolution happened?
Q Do all scientists that you are aware of believe that life evolved from non-life?
Q So to the extent that's part of evolution, all scientists don't agree with that, do they?
A: Well, to the extent that's evolution. But of
A: (Continuing) course, as I said in my, earlier on, I don't conclude that in evolution. I say I don't. I don't think that evolutionists do.
Q Do not some scientists include that?
A: Well, creation scientists.
Q Do not some scientists say that life emerged from non-life?
A: Well, the word "emerged", of course, is a bit of a funny word.
Q Evolved, I'll use that word.
A: Certainly some scientists would say that. But as I said, that's not necessarily part of the theory of evolution.
Q But it is a scientific theory, nonetheless, isn't it?
A: Well, it's a scientific hypothesis.
Q It is science?
Q And do some scientists say that, or have theories about how the universe was formed?
A: They do.
Q And is that science?
Q How it was formed initially? The ultimate origin of the universe?
A: Well, you know, you'd have to tell me what exactly
A: (Continuing) they are saying at a particular time. I mean, scientists, a lot of them are very religious, and certainly, I'm quite sure that some scientists have made claims that I would certainly judge to be religious and have then gone on to make scientific claims.
Q Are you aware of what is commonly referred to as "the big bang theory"?
A: I've certainly heard of it, but, no, this isn't my area of expertise.
Q I understand that. But you consider that to the degree that you are aware of the theory to be a scientific hypothesis?
A: To the degree that I'm aware of it, yes.
Q Does the theory of evolution state exactly where man evolved from?
A: Not really. The theory of evolution shouldn't be confused with sort of phylogeny, the actual path of evolution. A theory is something to do with the actual causes, the processes, rather than what actually happened right down the line like that.
Now, certainly, I would say that evolutionists today believe that man evolved naturally. And I'm sure we all know that there is an awful lot of speculation about how this occurred.
A: (Continuing) But I wouldn't have said that the actual point at which man evolved was part of the theory, per se. It's something that you are going to try to explain through the mechanisms.
Q You mentioned, I believe, was it Kant, is that correct?.
A: K-a-n-t. Immanuel Kant.
Q And he spoke of, perhaps, evolution of the world from some sort of clouds?
Q Would you consider that to be a scientific hypothesis?
A: Well, I'd say it's a scientific hypothesis. Certainly at that point it wasn't much more. In the nineteenth century, quite a bit of work was done on the nebular hypothesis, and certain aspects of it seemed to work and others didn't.
Q So again, that is science?
A: Yes. I would want to say so, yes. At least I would want to say that it was something which could be dealt with as science.
Q So generally, then, in terms of looking at theories of origin, we are talking about ultimate origins of the universe, the planet earth, and of life; that there are what you consider to be theories or hypotheses of science
Q (Continuing) which address these questions. Is that correct?
A: No. I don't like your words "ultimate origins". I think you are trying to slip that one in there. Talking of origins, yes, I think that they can be scientific theories. If you're going to start talking about ultimate origins in the sense of where did it all begin way back when; start wondering what was before time started, then I don't see that this is necessarily going to be scientific at all.
Seems to me you are really getting into metaphysics or religion.
Q In other words, when you say ultimate, do you consider that to mean, for example, where matter came from, the inorganic matter from which life later evolved?
A: I think you certainly could. But you are talking about the nebular hypothesis, for example.
Now, Kant, as it were, took the gases. I mean, he said, "Look, we start with these gases, and there seems to be evidence of these. Now, how could these, as it were, develop into a universe like ours?"
Now, in that sort of sense of origin, I would say that we could certainly have a scientific theory; we can have a hypothesis. I'm not sure, though, that I'd want to talk about that as ultimate origins.
Q I understand that your theory of evolution, as you have articulated in your testimony here today, takes life as a given; that there was life?
A: Well, it's not my theory.
Q Well, the one that you have articulated and we have adopted?
A: Yes. I would say it takes life as a given. I'm certainly not denying it, but there is going to be obvious interests in, well, where did life come from before that.
Q And that can be a question of science?
A: It certainly can, yes. Not that it can be, but certainly is.
Q Then how can we, first of all, test those theories? For example, the nebular hypothesis, how the world was formed from clouds.
A: Well, do you mind if we talk about how we test, say, a theory, a biological theory, because, as I say, my area of expertise is not positive physics.
Q But you have said this is a science theory, so I'd like to know how—
A: Sure. Well, what you're going to do is a number of things. First of all, for example, with nebular hypothesis, you might see, for example, whether it's happening elsewhere in the universe, whether something analogous is occurring. That's one way. It's sort of a natural
A: (Continuing) experiment. Alternatively, what you might try to do is run some controlled experiments of your own. I mean, for example, you might try to set up some sort of model which you think in some respects is very similar, and then sort of run it and see whether this comes out.
Today, obviously, you are going to be working with, say, computer simulated models and so on and so forth. I mean, clearly you are not going to go back to the original point in time of our universe and start again and see if it works.
Q Why not?
A: Well, because we don't have time machines.
Q You can't do it?
A: You can't do it. That doesn't mean to say that it's not scientific or that the scientists can't make any scientific claims about it.
And of course, to continue, this is the sort of thing which is occurring today on the origins of life. This is the sort of work scientists are doing, running experiments, what they think would be closely analogous, these sorts of things, looking for evidences.
Q Closely analogous?
A: Closely analogous. What they think would be closely analogous.
Q How it might have happened?
A: Well, yes. I mean, the point is, look, we were not there to see it happen. I mean, if we had been, I doubt if you and I would be arguing like — well, we're not arguing — talking like we are at the moment.
But what the scientist is going to do is clear up some sort of hypothesis. For example, suggestion that maybe the earth originally had certain gases, certain sorts of compounds, certain sorts of electrical discharges and so on and so forth.
Now, the hypothesis is that if you start with something like this, then possibly way down the road, life might be naturally produced.
And so you are going to start to think about the sorts of stages in which life might be produced. First of all, you are going to start with inorganic molecules, and then put these people together into, say, amino acids or certain more complex models, so on and so forth. And what the scientist is going to do, what scientists, in fact, have done is say, "Okay, here's my hypothesis. Let's try running experiments to see if this works. Let's mix these various compounds together; let's put some electric sparks through; let's see if the sorts of things that I would like to see occur, my hypothesis predicts, do, in fact, attain."
A: (Continuing) This, of course, is what they've done, and sometimes it hasn't worked. But sometimes it certainly has.
Q How do scientists know what gases there were when the world or the earth was formed?
A: Well, there are various ways in which you can do this. I mean, for example, you can study what there was, you know, what's on other planets, what's on other universes.
Q How do we know what was on this planet?
A: Well, when we look at what the properties of the earth are, these sorts of things, we can calculate what is going to be thrown out from the sun or if something exploded, what sorts of things are on our earth, what sorts of things are on other planets, calculating with gravity what sorts of things would have been lost, say, from Jupiter or Mars but not from our earth, and so on and so forth.
Q And from that we'd know what was on this planet?
A: No. I don't think anybody is talking about `we know what's on this planet.' In fact, you may well know that there's quite a controversy at the moment among scientists. So again, I do want to emphasize I'm not a philosopher of physics. But I read an article in Science I think about this time last year where there's some controversy
A: (Continuing) now about which, exactly which processes or which products, in fact, were on earth. But one's inferring back, as one always does, one is working analogically from other planets and so on and so forth.
Q So if we don't really know what the elements were, how can we test or falsify that?
A: Well, I think you are using the word "know" in either `I know it or I don't know it.' It's sort of black or white. Now, I mean, there's a lots of sorts of shades of gray in between. I mean, we've got certain sorts of hypotheses, these sorts of things. Some things we know or we feel more reasonably assured about than others. And certainly if I've given the impression, for example, that, what shall I say, of beliefs about the origination of life here on earth, it's something that a scientist today would want to claim, "Now I know; now there's no doubt," then I'm sorry. I've certainly given a false impression because that's not so.
This is the way that science works. You try out hypotheses. You throw them up, you work with them. If they seem to go for a while, then they enter as they were in the community of science for a while.
If there seems to be things against them, then you put
A: (Continuing) them on the back shelf, so on and so forth.
Q You've stated that since shortly after Origin of Species was published, evolution had never been questioned, is that correct?
A: No, I didn't say that. What I said was shortly after the Origin of Species was published, credible scientists, certainly scientists working in the field at all interested in the topic — I'm not talking, now, about creation scientists, obviously — were won over almost completely to an evolutionary position. Now, certainly, there were one or two old men who died believing in sort of God's instantaneous creation. Adam Safley, for example.
But my point and the point I certainly want to stand by is that the scientific community was won over incredibly rapidly, certainly, in Britain, which, of course, is what I've written about most, but also, I think, in North America to a great extent.
Now, for example, there's one well-known American, Swiss American, Louie Agassiz, at Harvard who never became an evolutionist. I think he died about 1872, 1873. On the other hand, interestingly, his son, Alexander, became quite a fervent evolutionist.
Q You stated, though, that in looking at Darwin's
Q (Continuing) Origin of the Species that all scientists don't agree on natural selection. Some would argue natural selection. Some would argue random factors such as genetic drift. Is that correct?
A: Well, no. Again, I didn't quite say that. What I said was that there's quite a bit of debate both at the time of Darwin and today about the causes of evolution. My feeling is, and I think I can go so far as to say that this is a very professional feeling, is that there weren't many evolutionists who denied natural selection role.
I think increasingly they've allowed natural selection an important role. And I think — I say even today — I think today that this would be general consensus that natural selection is extremely important.
People from Darwin on have always said that there are other causes, and there is quite a controversy today. But is what is not often known is that there was a great controversy at Darwin's time.
For example, Darwin's supposedly great supporter, T. H. Huxley, who was well-known for getting up and debating with the Bishop of Oxford, in fact, always had quite severe doubts about the adequacy of selection.
Q Also, are not some scientists today arguing something which is commonly termed the "punctuated equilibrium
Q (Continuing) theory of evolution"?
A: They certainly are. In fact, I can see at least two or three of them right here today watching us. I hope they are enjoying themselves.
Yes. Because they are punctuated equilibrists — I suppose that's the sort of term — you might want to slap a subpoena on them and find out exactly what they do believe.
Because they believe it, I would say that they also believe that selection is important. I mean, what they are saying is selection is not everything.
Q And is one of the people who you would identify with that group, in fact, one of the leading authorities on that Stephen J. Gould, one of the plaintiffs' other witnesses?
A: Yes. And furthermore, I'd want to say one of the most important and stimulating evolutionist writing today, a man for whom I've got a great deal of admiration.
Q You've talked about how the creation scientists quote evolutionists out of context, using one sentence. Yet, if an evolutionist should quote a creation scientist out of context, would that be any less dishonest, in your opinion?
A: I think that I would have to say that it would be no less dishonest if one sort of played fast and loose with
A: (Continuing) that point there.
Q And when you quote from some of the books you mentioned earlier, specifically, Doctor Gish's book, you didn't point out to the Court, did you, that Gish goes on to talk about how neither, under the pure definition as articulated by Karl Popper, neither evolution nor creation science can qualify as a scientific theory?
A: I thought it was—
Q Did you point that out? If you did, I didn't hear it.
A: Well, if you didn't hear it, then I expect I probably didn't. But I, you know— Let me add very strongly that I want to dispute the implication that I'm being dishonest at this point.
My understanding was it wasn't evolution on trial here; that it was, if you like, creation. That's the first point. And secondly, as you know, I personally don't necessarily accept everything that Popper wants to say. So I've don't think that I've quoted Gish out of context at all. I was asked to give an example of a passage in scientific creationist writings where the scientific creationists quite explicitly appeal to processes outside the natural course of law.
Now, I'd be happy to reread it, but I think that's what I did, and I think I did it fairly.
Q Doctor Ruse, you and I can agree, can we not, that that book does specifically talk about how in the author's opinion if you used the criteria which you have used this morning of testability, falsifiability and the other criteria, that neither creation science nor evolution science can be classified as a scientific theory?
A: I think we can agree on that. I think I can go further and say that this is a very common claim by the scientific creationists that neither side is— I mean, I don't think they are altogether consistent at times. I mean, for example, I've got a book by these people, what is it, Kofahl and Segraves, who talk about a scientific alternative to evolution.
Sort of on page one, on the cover, I'm told that it is scientific. And then, you know, later on we're told, well, neither is scientific. I mean, you know, to a certain extent, pay your money, take your choice.
Q Don't the creation scientists make the claim that creation science is as scientific as evolution science?
A: Well, you know, it's like—
Q Excuse me. Can you answer my question? Do they make that claim?
A: What? That it's as scientific?
A: No. They make so many different sort of fuzzy
A: (Continuing) claims. What they say is that, they quite often say that they are the same status. Now, sometimes they want to say they are both scientific; sometimes they want to say they are both philosophical; sometimes they want to say they are both religious, which is certainly true. And of course, this is one of the things I was talking about with Mr. Novik, that the creation scientists want to put evolutionary theory and creation theory on the same footing.
My understanding, that's what the bill is all about.
Q You also quoted some works, a book by Parker?
Q That was by Gary Parker, is that right?
A: That's right, yes
Q It was not Larry Parker?
A: No. It was Gary Parker, Creation: The Facts of Life.
Q You testified on: direct examination that Section 4(a) of Act 590 as it, defines creation science is identical to— Act 590 is identical to the creation science literature, the definition used. Is that correct?
A: Yes. In the sense that this is one paragraph, and creation science literature is, you know, there's an awful lot of it. Pretty Victorian in its length.
Q The creation science literature that you have read, some of it does rely upon religious writings, does it not?
A: It does.
Q And Act 590 specifically prohibits the use of any religious writing, does it not?
A: Yes. But if you will remember, I was very careful to state and, furthermore, to keep the sorts of references I was dealing with to public school editions as much as I could.
For example, Scientific Creationism, the book that I referred to, that comes in a Christian edition as well. And I deliberately didn't use that one. I wanted to use a nonreligious version.
Q Within Act 590, is creation science ever identified or called a theory?
A: Well, I don't see the word "theory" there, just as I said earlier. I see the whole passages as being written very carefully to avoid the use of the word theory. But as I went on to say, in my professional opinion, I don't think that one can read this without understanding "theory."
And if you remember, I drew this particularly on the analysis of the first two sentences. In other words, 4(a), creation science means the scientific evidences for creation, et cetera. Evolution science means the
A: (Continuing) scientific evidences for evolution. And my point is, was, that it doesn't make any sense to talk about scientific evidences in isolation. I mean, scientific evidences mean, well, what? Scientific hypothesis, scientific theory.
Q How about data, the facts?
A: What about the facts?
Q Cannot scientific evidences mean the scientific data?
A: Not just a naked fact on its own, that's not scientific. I mean, it could just as well be religious or metaphysical or anything mathematical.
You see, the thing is, science is a body of knowledge which you try to bind together to lead to scientific understanding. Facts disembodied on their own are not part of science. It's only inasmuch as your bringing together within a sort of framework that you start to get science.
And that's precisely why I want to say that creation science means scientific evidences for creation is meaningless unless you are talking about a theory of creation.
Q What is a model?
A: In my opinion, a model is — it's one of those words which is very commonly used I think of a model as being a sort of subpart of a theory.
A: (Continuing) For example, another of the witnesses, Doctor Ayala, has written a book called Evolving: The Theory and Processes of Evolution. And presumably, I assume what he's doing is, in the overall context, talking about a theory, and then later on he talks about models where what he's trying to do is set up specific little sort of explanations to deal with specific sorts of situations.
Q So a model is more narrow than a theory? A theory is broader? Is that generally—
A: Well, let me put it this way. That's the way which I would use it as a philosopher of science. And I think most philosophers of science would know what I'm talking about
Q Can you have scientific evidences for a model?
A: Well, a scientific model is certainly something that you use in the context of scientific evidences, but certainly.
Q You talked about the use of the word "kind". You said that's not an exact term?
Q In taxonomy are the terms species in general and other classifications, are they fixed? Has there been no change in them?
A: What do you mean by "fixed, has there been no
A: (Continuing) change in them"?
Q Well, has the definition of the species or the particular classification of animals, for examples, into species, has that been unchanging through time?
A: Well, you know, that's a very interesting question from a historical point of view. And certainly, I think one can see differences in emphasis.
But I think it's very interesting, for example, that you talk about species that, in fact, you see a concept of species being used, say, in the early nineteenth century, before Darwin, which is very, very similar in many respects to the concept of species today.
That's to say, a species is a group of organisms like human beings which breed between themselves, don't breed with others. And certainly this was a notion of species which certainly goes back, as I know it, a couple of hundred years.
Certainly, again, genera and higher orders, perhaps higher orders are, as we all know, brought up a lot more arbitrary in the sense that it's a lot more place for the taxonomist to make his or her own decisions.
Q Species, you said, though, are groups which interbreed and do not breed with other groups?
A: Basically, yes.
Q For example, is a dog a different species than a wolf?
A: I guess so.
Q Do they interbreed, to your knowledge?
A: Sometimes you get this. But of course, the point is, you see, you can't turn this one against me because I'm an evolutionist and I expect to find that. This is the whole point about the evolutionary theory.
Q But the definition for species that you gave me breaks down in that one example, does it not?
A: Oh, listen, that's the whole— Any definition you give in biology, you are going to find conflicts. For example, what I'm doing is I'm giving you the point about biological concepts, is that they are not like triangles. If I give you a definition of triangle, then if it hasn't got three sides, it ain't a triangle. On the other hand, when you are dealing with concepts in the biological world, then you are dealing with things which are a great deal fuzzier. Now, that doesn't mean to say we don't have paradigm cases.
I mean, for example, humans don't breed with cabbages; we don't breed with horses; we are a good, you know, classification of the species.
Now, of course, as an evolutionist, my belief is that
A: (Continuing) one species will change into another or can split into two different ones.
Of course, I expect to find species all the way from being one species like human beings to being sort of two separate species like, you know, say, some sort of species of fruit fly and human beings. So the fact that we find, you know, borderline cases, it doesn't worry me at all.
Q You testified concerning kinds, that that concept did not have any fixed definition. But your definition of species does not apply to the just one example I mentioned. Is that not correct, Doctor Ruse?
A: Well, I think you are twisting my words, Mr. Williams.
Q I'm just merely asking you, does your definition of species, that they interbreed within themselves and do not breed with others, does that fit the example of the species of a dog and wolf?
A: No, it doesn't. But—
Q Thank you. You had discussed the example of these peppered moths as an example of evolution. Did those peppered moths— There were peppered moths and what was the other, a darker colored moth, is that correct?
A: Yes. There's light and dark.
Q Now, did the peppered moths become dark colored? Did they change into dark colored moths?
A: No. You mean, did the individual moth change?
Q Or the species changed?
A: The species, yes. Certain races or groups, populations within the species did indeed, yes.
Q Are you aware that in discussing that example in the introduction to the Origin of Species, L. Harrison Matthews stated that these experiments demonstrate natural selection in action, but they do not show evolution in progress?
A: Am I aware of that passage?
A: I have glanced through it. I am quite sure you are reading correctly, and I know those are the sorts of sentiments which he expresses in that introduction.
Q Is L. Harrison Matthews, to your knowledge, a creation scientist?
A: You certainly know perfectly well that I know that he isn't.
Q Was any new species created — excuse me — evolved in that peppered moth example?
A: To the best of my knowledge, no.
Q So you had two species when you started and you had two species—
A: No. You've got two forms within the same species.
Q All right. Two forms. And there were still two forms, correct?
Q Now, you mentioned that, in discussing the definition of creation science in the Act, that they — "they" being the creation scientists — talk about a relatively recent inception of the earth, and you take that to mean six to ten thousand years?
A: Well, as I say, I interpret that against the scientific creationist literature. As I said, if you just look at the sentence right there, it could be anything from, well, let's say, a hundred million years to, as I said, a week last Friday.
Q So it could be several million years old and still be relatively recent on the scale of the several billion year age which some scientists think the earth is?
A: Yes, I think it could be.
Q You also talked about the two model approach, which you say it polarizes. It's either/or?
Q And just looking at the origin of life and of man and the universe, can you think of any other options besides there was some sort of creator at some point and there was not?
A: Well, you know, I find that very difficult to answer because that's a sort of religious question or at least a metaphysical question.
And I think one would have to specify a little more definitely what you meant by creator in that sort of context.
I mean, now, if you say to me, "Well, by creator, I mean Yahweh of the Old Testament, then, yes, I would say that, for example, I could think of some sort of life force or world force, like, for example, Plato suggests in The Timaes.
So I can think of lots of different notions of creator. And same of the others were talking about some of these yesterday, so I certainly think there are lots of options that are open.
Q But if we talk about creator in the broad context of that word, can you think of any other options besides having a creator and not having a creator?
A: I don't really think I can. But as I say, not having a creator, does that mean that the earth is eternal or that it just was caused by nothing?
Q I'm not asking you what significance you would attach to it. I'm asking if you can think of any other options?
A: Well, I'll tell you something, I'm not altogether
A: (Continuing) sure that I know what the disjunction means. So if I say no, I can't, I have to confess it's at least partly predicated on the fact that your question— And I'm not trying to be clever, now. It's just so fuzzy that I'm really not sure what you're talking about.
Q If there are two approaches, two models, and if they should be mutually exclusive, would not evidence against one be evidence for the other if they are mutually exclusive?
A: If they are, then, of course, I would agree with what you're saying. However, you've got the if in.
Q I understand that.
A: And if wishes came true, then beggars could ride.
Q You also talked about the other theories on, as I understand, the creation of life or how life came about, let me put it that way. And you mentioned one that life was generated by some slow processes. And you mentioned a theory or hypothesis espoused by Crick. And then you mentioned one espoused by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe. Do you consider those to be scientific hypotheses?
A: Well, I'll tell you, I haven't read Crick's book, to be quite honest about it. I just saw a review of it in the New York Review of Books. I have read rather quickly Hoyle and Wick—whatever it is, book. 25
A: (Continuing) I thought, and this, was my opinion, that at least parts of it were acceptable as scientific hypotheses. Personally, I thought that they ignored an awful lot of evidence, but I thought parts of it.
On the other hand, I think that finally there are parts of their book where they certainly seemed to me to slop over into religion.
However, I would want to say that at least as far as life coming here on this earth is concerned, I would have thought that this is at least a form that science could be. I mean, it's not well confirmed science, as far as I know.
Q Directing your attention to Act 590, again, let's look at 4(a)(2) which mentions the insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism. First of all, do you know whether there is any scientific evidence to support that portion of the definition?
A: Well, I don't like the term "single organism" there. I don't know that there is any scientific evidence to suggest that it's a single organism or many organisms. And I'm not sure that anybody else does.
Q All right. Let's look at the first part?
A: The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection
in bringing about development of all living kinds. Yes.
A: (Continuing) I would have thought that, for example, there is good evidence to suggest that certain random processes are also extremely important.
Q And could there be natural laws which would be utilized in looking at that aspect of the definition?
A: I would have thought so, yes. Of course, it doesn't necessarily— I mean, part of the excitement is we don't know all of the laws. And if we knew all of the laws, there would be no jobs for evolutionists.
The excitement of being a scientist is that a lot of the laws we don't know at the moment, but we are working towards them.
Q And science is a changing—
A: It's an ongoing process, yes.
Q And when we look back now at some of the things which were considered to be scientific years ago, in light of our present-day knowledge, they don't seem very scientific, do they?
A: You know, again, that's an interesting question. They certainly wouldn't be very scientific if we held them, and certainly there are some things that we would count out.
We'd say today, for example, "Well, that's not scientific; that's obviously religious. On the other
A: (Continuing) hand, there are some things I think we'd want to say, well, no. Obviously we wouldn't hold them as scientific today, but they certainly were validly scientific by our own criteria in the past. I mean, for example, the Ptolemaic system belief that the earth was at the center, and in my opinion, was a perfectly good scientific theory. It made a lot of sense.
Q As we, to the extent that we can, look into the future, do you think that people will look back on this day and age and look at what we consider now to be scientific and have the same sort of impression that that is not scientific as they look at it, although it may have been today?
A: Do you know, that's a very interesting question. I hope I'm around two hundred years from now to answer that. I hope we are both around.
But I'm not sure I agree with you there. I think in the last two, three hundred years the notion of science has started to solidify, and that, for example, at the time of Newton, people were getting to the point where they could have a good feel for what science was.
Now, certainly, I think you are right to suggest that, say, a couple of hundred years from now people will look back at us and say, "Well, how could they have believed all those sorts of things?" And I, you know, I hope very
A: (Continuing) much that's the case. It's going to be a pretty boring future for our grandchildren, otherwise.
Q If we are not, science will be—
A But I don't think they are going to say we are not scientists.
MR. NOVIK: Your Honor, Mr. Williams on a number of occasions interrupted the witness' answer, and I would appreciate it if he could be instructed not to do that.
MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, my understanding is he's finished the answer. Also, the witness has interrupted me on a couple of occasions, too.
THE WITNESS: I'm sorry, your Honor. You know, professors talk too much.
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q Now, looking back at the definition in 4(a) again, if you look at 4(a)(3), "changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals," if we start looking at the degree of change, is that not something we can look at by resort to natural laws?
A: That we can use— That we can look at— Now, I'm not quite sure I'm following you.
Q (3) speaks of the degree of change that there is.
A: We can certainly look, for example, at how much change has occurred since certain times in the past and
A: (Continuing) using laws, of course.
Q Does that require miracles to study that?
A: No, I certainly don't think it does, because evolutionists do this and they don't use miracles.
Q And (4), looking at the ancestry for man and apes. It says "separate" there. But separate or not separate, did that require the implication of miracles to study that?
A: No. But of course, it does require the willingness to be prepared to take counter-evidence to what you find. And as I pointed out earlier, I don't think creation scientists would be prepared to take counter-evidence. Again, for example, one could talk about Parker's book where he flatly denies or twists every finding by paleoanthropologists in the last ten years about human ancestry.
Q Looking, then, at (5), explanation of the earth's geology, is explanation of the earth's geology something which we could study by resort to natural laws rather than miracles?
A: Yes it is.
Q And (6) "a relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds." There we are talking about the age of the earth and how long life has been on the earth. Can we look at that or resort to natural laws without looking at miracles?
A: We can. However, what I do want to suggest is that
A: (Continuing) very frequently the creation scientists do not. They argue, for example, that the laws change or speeded up or grew in certain intensities and so on and so forth.
So, certainly, I think one can study the age of the earth naturally by using laws and inferring back. I'm quite prepared to accept that.
I'm not prepared to accept that creation scientists do do it.
Q You said that something which can explain everything is not a scientific theory?
Q If that statement were true about the theory of evolution, it, therefore, would not be a scientific theory, would it?
A: Well, it's another of your hypotheticals, Mr. Williams.
Q Well, I'm asking you if it were true?
A: But I'm just saying, accepting the hypothetical that if it were the case, then your consequent follows. However, once again, we've got, "if it were the case." Now, what I'm saying and what I've said earlier is that "it's not the case", so I argue that the consequent doesn't follow.
Q You also talked about creation science or about the
Q (Continuing) quality or attribute or criteria of science as being falsifiable. And you said that creation scientists, they start with the Bible and if it doesn't fit in there, we don't accept it?
Q As you look in Act 590, does it limit the scientific evidence which can be brought in to support creation science to Biblical references?
A: Act 590 says nothing at all about the Bible in the sense that Act 590 does not use the term "the Bible" anywhere.
Q What does Act 590 say you can use to support creation science?
A: Well, the words are "scientific evidences."
Q All right. Thank you. The books you have referred to, do you happen to know whether those have been accepted by the Arkansas Department of Education for use as textbooks in implementing Act 590?
A: No, I don't.
Q Many of them, in fact, based upon your own knowledge, would not stand the scrutiny of this law because they do rely upon religious references, is that not true?
A: That's the problem, Mr. Williams.
Q Excuse me. Could I get an answer to my question first?
A: Yes. The answer is yes. But of course, if I just finish by saying yes, I've only said half of what I want to say.
Q I'm not trying to cut you off
A: I've just said what you want me to say. Fine.
Q And you state finally that creation science is not a science; it is a religion. And you base that in part upon your own experience in teaching the philosophy of religion. Is that correct?
A: I do, yes.
Q Does the science curriculum in secondary schools have an effect one way or the other for good or ill on a student when that student enters a university to study science?
A Is this sort of a general question?
Q You can take the question as you will. It's a question.
A: I would have thought so, yes.
Q Do you recall that you told me in your deposition that you said, "I don't know," in answer to that question?
A: Well, as I said, you don't— I think it's a very general sort of question which is so general, I mean, you could put it at different levels. And in the context of
A: (Continuing) our discussion earlier, it could have been much more specific, in which case I would have said I don't know.
Q Is creation science taught in the public schools of Canada?
A: My understanding — and again, please understand I do not speak as a professional educator at that level in Canada, but my understanding is that in some schools it is certainly taught and not simply in private schools, but in some of the public schools.
I believe, for example, that in the Province of Alberta it is taught.
Q Have you ever made any effort to find out how creation science is taught in Canada?
A: Have I made any effort?
A: In fact, interestingly, since you took my deposition, I have certainly talked to some of the evolutionists on campus. I confess I haven't found out very much yet, but I intend to.
Q Has the teaching of creation science ever been a matter of much great debate in Canada?
A: It's growing debate. For example, like that of the event of welcoming Doctor Gish onto my campus in February, I think it is.
A: (Continuing) And certainly, for example, about two months, ago I debated with one of the creationists, in fact, one of the co-authors of Doctor Morris' book on the equivalent of public television.
Q But in the past, has it been a matter of much debate or controversy in Canada?
A: I wouldn't say it's been a matter of great debate, great controversy. I confess, you know, an awful lot of Canadian news tend to be about you folks, and you polarize things much more quickly than we do. That's not a criticism, by the way.
Q When you teach your courses in philosophy, do you try to give some sort of balanced treatment to different is theories, different types of philosophy?
A: I certain try to give a balance treatment to what I teach. But it doesn't follow that I should teach every particular philosophy that every particular philosopher has ever held or anybody else has ever held.
Q But you do teach some philosophies which might be conflicting or at least not consistent with each other?
A: I certainly do, in a historical context. I mean, I teach— Look, I teach creationism in a historical context. I mean, I teach history of science, I talk about creationism as it was up through the 1850's and this sort
A: (Continuing) of thing. So, I mean, of course, I'm teaching it in a historical context.
Q But you try to be fair in teaching these different philosophies, don't you?
A: I certainly do. For example, I'd like to think that I'm being fair to the creationists, for example, in my book on The Darwinian Revolution.
Q Do you have any objection to all of the scientific evidence on theories of origin being taught in the public school science classroom?
A: Well, you used that term "scientific evidence" again. I'm not prepared to accept scientific evidence without talking about the theory.
If you say to me, do I have any objection to all theories which I hold as, what shall I say, which are held by the consensus of scientists being taught, I don't have any objection, with the proviso that, of course, at the high school level, at the university level, undergraduate level, you are certainly not going to try to teach everything.
And in fact, as I see it, high school level and also at the university level, one is going to be teaching the basic, the fundamentals. Certainly, one is going to talk about some of the controversies, some of the ideas, this
A: (Continuing) sort of thing. But as far as, for example, teaching the latest thing in punctuated equilibria at the high school level, somebody said, "Oh, well, we are going to spend, say, six weeks on punctuated equilibria."
I'd say, "Well now, listen, fellow, maybe you should be spending a bit more time on Mendel's laws."
Q What you are saying, then, is because of a limited amount of time, choices do have to be made in curriculum?
A: Not just because of a limited amount of time, but because of the whole general philosophy of proper education that educators must select. Education isn't sort of an indifferent—
THE COURT: Where are you going with that?
MR. WILLIAMS: Pardon?
THE COURT: What is the point of going into that?
MR. WILLIAMS: The point of that is that in teaching all scientific evidence and that curriculum has to be, he will concede that you have to make some choice of curriculum.
THE COURT: That seems so obvious to me.
MR. WILLIAMS:Well, to some degree. It's not obvious in the plaintiffs' pleadings, your Honor. They want to state that apparently the state has no right to make any choice of curriculum; that, it falls to the
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing.) individual teacher to teach what they want, when they want, how they want.
THE COURT: I don't believe they make that contention, but let's go on to something else.
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q What is your personal belief in the existence of a God?
A: I would say that today my position is somewhere between deist — that's to say in believing in some sort of, perhaps, unmoved mover — and agnosticism. In other words, don't really know.
I mean, I'm a bit like Charles Darwin in this respect. Some days I get up and say, "You know, I'm sure there must be a cause." And then other days I say, "Well, maybe there isn't after all."
Q There must be a cause?
A: There must be something that— There must have been something originally.
Q The term "cause", what do you use that in relation to your concept of a God?
A: I'm talking about in the sense of some sort of ultimate religious sort of reason. It doesn't necessarily mean cause in the sense of a physical cause. It could well be final cause or something like this.
Q Is your conception of a God some sort of world
Q (Continuing) force? Is that one way you would describe it?
A: As I say, I don't say my conception of a God is some sort of world force. My conception is, perhaps, sometimes there is more to life than what we see here and now.
Q But you did tell me in your deposition that your conception of God would be that there might be some sort of, quote, world force?
A: There might be because, as I say, I'm not even an expert on my own beliefs in this respect.
Q Do you have a personal belief as to whether a creator, in whatever form, had a hand, figuratively speaking, in creating the universe, the life or man?
A: Not really. It's all so foggy to me.
Q Do you feel a religious person can be a competent scientist, Doctor Ruse?
A: Oh, certainly.
Q As you look at the definition in the Act of creation science, Section 4(a)(1), "Sudden creation of life," et- cetera, is that consistent with your own religious beliefs?
A: Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing. I, you know, to be perfectly honest, to me it's almost a meaningless question. You say, is it consistent. I think that one— This sort of level, I prefer not to talk in terms of consistency.
A: (Continuing) As I say, the whole thing is simply, a mystery to me. And if I say, well, is this consistent, then already I'm starting to define what my position is more than I'm prepared to do.
Q Well, you have earlier equated Section 4(a) to some sort of supernatural intervention by a creator?
Q And is that consistent with your religious beliefs?
A: That some sort of supernatural thing way back when— I don't think it's inconsistent. I don't think, on the other hand, that that's a very exciting part to me. I mean, quite frankly, what concerns me is not how did it all start, but how is all going to end.
Q But did you not tell me in your deposition, Doctor Ruse, that that was— I asked you the question, "Is that consistent with your religious beliefs," and you said, "No." I'm referring to page 52, lines 7 through
A: Okay. I'm prepared to say no. As I say, it's so, foggy that I'm no, yes. We're really getting to the borderline here where if you insist on an answer, I would have to say, "Well, I'll give you an answer if you want it, but it's, you know, it's not something I feel very confident about."
I mean, if you ask me, "Are you wearing glasses," I can
A: (Continuing) say yes, and I'll stand by it. If you ask me, "Was there a creator," I'll have to say, "Well, possibly." And if you say, "Well, do you really think there is, are you not an atheist," and I'd have to say, "Well, no, I'm not an atheist." That's definite. Do I accept 4(a)(1), could I accept 4(a)(1), well, I guess possibly I could in some respects, but other respects, possibly not.
Q Would you look at the definition is 4(b) of evolution science, 4(b)(1), for example. Would that be consistent with your religious beliefs?
MR. NOVIK: Excuse me, your Honor. I've allowed the questioning to go an without objection because I thought the relevance would become apparent. To me, it has not. And I object on the grounds that this line is entirely irrelevant to these proceedings.
THE COURT: What relevance is it?
MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, if the plaintiffs want to stipulate that the religious beliefs of the witnesses on these matters are not relevant, we will stipulate to that, and I can go on to other matters.
THE COURT: I think the religious beliefs of the witnesses could be relevant on the issue of bias or a question of bias of a witness. I think they are relevant. I just wonder how relevant they are to go into
THE COURT: (Continuing) all this kind of exchange of words. It doesn't seem to get us any place.
MR. NOVIK: That was precisely my point.
THE COURT: It seems to me like you've got about as much out of that as you can. If you want to continue to beat it, that's fine with me.
MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, I want to make sure that the record is clear that, for example, in this witness' case, that the theory or the part of the Act, the definition section, that he personally thinks is more correct is also consistent with his own religious beliefs.
THE COURT: Okay. If you can ever make that clear.
MR. WILLIAMS: I think I'd like to try, at least.
THE WITNESS: Your Honor, it's my soul which is at stake, so I don't mind keeping going if we can find out what—
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q Doctor Ruse, looking at Section 4(b) generally, 4(b)(4) and 4(b)(6), is it not true that when you talk about man coming from a common ancestor with apes and you talk about an inception of the earth several billion years ago, those are consistent with your own religious beliefs?
A: Oh, certainly. Yes.
Q Do you think that evolution is contrary to the religious beliefs of some students?