McLean v. Arkansas Documentation Project

These (ACLU) notes from the collection of McLean materials donated to the NCSE by plaintiffs witness William V. Mayer. They document the testimony of State's witness Jim Townley.

Please note  that this is not an official trial document.

Jim Townley, p.1

Jim Townley:


Secondary school educator educational background B.S.E., M.S., teaches general chemistry I & II; responsible for committees. Taught in U.S. Government schools overseas for 14 years.

Currently teaches beginning chemistry (10-12th grade); honors chemistry.

Act 590: What does he think of "balanced treatment"

If you utilize any part of evolution theory or creation theory, you would have to teach that part as completely as you could - he would teach part of c-s theory relating to polyatomic molecule.

He has not ever taught creation-science, due to school board's ruling; if he taught creation-science, he would be afraid of disciplinary action. Act 590 would allow him to teach it.

Why is studying creation-science important?

Has doubts about evolution re inability of / improbability of organic material to come from inorganic matter.

Act 590 and academic freedom: It will allow him to teach something he can't now teach; high school teachers are limited in what they can teach

"Balanced Treatment" teach completely each theory - cover them "in their entirety." Feels he can give balanced treatment to the two models; that he can teach creation-science in a secular, nonreligious way; doesn't think c-s is a religion; will have no adverse effect on students - make them more interested in science.

First heard of creation-science - 1 year ago. Can he prepare himself to teach it? --- Yes. Believes other teachers can also; teacher doesn't have to agree with a theory to teach it.

CROSS: by Cearley

 He teaches the brighter students, around 80% go on to college.

Q: "balanced treatment" - present corollaries?

A: just the part triggered by subject.

Q: Would Act allow one to say c-s was not science?

A: Yes.

Q: Equal time? When did he change opinion?

A: Att'y General's office - equal time not necessary.


Townley    2.


Q: Statistical probability re: origins of life---

A: Now, he avoids that aspect of science; doesn't get around to it in class (lack of student interest) - didn't go into statistics or probability because school (board) said to avoid it.. (Board said this one month - six weeks ago.

Does textbook require teaching abiogenesis in dogmatic fashion; he has not been prohibited to teach anything. Last year, he asked Dr. Owen if he could bring it into next year's curriculum. Looked into it but Board said to hold off. They had discussions among the teachers.


Q: Why can't he teach statistical improbability now?

A: Evidence leads to no other solution than external factor - Creator

Q: Radioactive dating?

A: Ages; other information indicates same doubt about radioactive ages not being as old -- this gives credibility to creationist ideas.

Judge: Why isn't it logical to teach scientific study showing young age of rocks?

A: The ideas are intertwined with creationist theory.

Judge: Why can't you simply teach the studies without reference to creation?

A: Because he wants to teach creation -- thinks people should experience these two thoughts on the origin of life.

Judge: What scientific evidence outside of creationism shows radioactive dating to be inaccurate?

A: What alternative does one give to students sudden creation or evolution.

CROSS: Cearley con't

Q: Is your testimony based on belief that there are only 2 possibilities - evolution; creation?

Q: Does science deal with supernatural explanation?

A: No - with what can be proved or disproved.

Q: Can cs be taught without reference to creator?

A: No.

Q: CS-supernatural creator beyond our knowledge?

A: Yes - not a scientific concept.

We can't prove many things taught in science classes suppositions called science. "Creation-Science" not a religion. Is "creator" a religious concept? (no answer Neither model can be proved?


Townlev    3. 


Q: Explain "creative force".

A: It is beyond my knowledge -- like other things in science;

Concept of a "creator" -beyond his knowledge; beyond understanding of man: his experience of a creator is from Sunday school; and in creation science. In his Christianity, his God has traits we have given him, as creator, not necessarily applicable to creationist creator = undefined; could be, literally, a force beyond our knowledge.

Where in creationist literature does this creator appear? He has never seen anything but a characterless creator.

Authorities in Creation science?

Duane Gish

Act- 590: meaning of "kinds"?

Can't think of any creation-science material that does or doesn't have religious references.

Q: What scientific evidence could convince him that life did arise from evolutionary process?

A: Examples of abiogenesis.

Q: His belief re age of the earth?

A: Not definite: "recent" -- 10,000 - several million years different things to different people.

Q: How will teachers know what "kinds", "sudden creation" and "recent" means?

A: "Kinds" -- doesn't know "recent" - evol theory: millions, tens of million

      10,000 years? - most teachers accept that earth

      is old; 10,000 - several million is recent


Creation science: much earlier - doesn't know enough creation science literature to know time-range.


He wouldn't have any trouble teaching solely the scientific evidences from c-s material with religious references; wants to teach possible explanations for what we see in nature. Would not teach anything other than scientific evidences.

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