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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Kansas Evolution Hearings

Part 1




CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: On behalf of the State Board of Education, I welcome you to these hearings. My name is Steve Abrams, I am chair of the State Board of Education and also chair of the science subcommittee. My fellow board members with me here on the subcommittee are Mrs. Connie Morris, Mrs. Kathy Martin.

The purpose of the hearings that will be held over the next several days is to assist us as board members in understanding the complex and oftentimes confusing issues regarding science education.

A brief history of how we arrived at these hearings may be helpful. In June of last year a state-wide committee appointed by the Commissioner of Education and comprised of 26 public and private educators spanning elementary, primary, secondary and post secondary levels, retired educators, curriculum coordinators, and private practice physicians began the process of reviewing and revising the state science standards.

The writing committee met several times between June and November and presented a draft of the standards to the State Board in December of 2004. At the same time eight members of the writing committee submitted what is now referred to as the Minority Report asking the State Board to consider some changes to the draft. Through much discussion at the state board subcommittee, the three of us, were formed to further examine the issues contained in the Minority Report. Also, after much discussion it was decided that the best forum to address the issues was via hearings, such as these we'll have over the next several days.

In order to conduct the hearings in a reasonable time frame and in a civil matter there are a few house rules and procedures that you, the audience, and indeed all of us need to be aware of. First, we're on a very tight, tight schedule. We have more than 20 experts appearing before the subcommittee within the next three days, it is critical that we stay on schedule. In order to do this I request that no comments come from the audience. The expert witnesses have come from quite a distance to present their information, we should allow them every courtesy.

We ask that you do not display signs of support or opposition by yelling, applause, and so forth. We would also ask that each of you turn off your cell phones, please. Each experts' testimony has been given an allotted amount of time as determined by the presenters. Following the expert's presentation the legal counsel for the opposing viewpoint will be given half that amount of time to ask questions. Following that we, the subcommittee members, will be given half of that time to ask questions. For example, if an expert testifies for 20 minutes, the opposing counsel will be given ten minutes for questioning and the subcommittee members will be given five minutes for questioning. The time for questions will be adhered to, therefore the questions should be succinct and not sound like a speech. We will take one ten-minute break this morning at 10:40, break for lunch at 12, resume at 12:55, with another ten-minute break at 3:30, and adjourn for the day at about 5:30. We'll follow the same schedule for the next two days and also on Thursday, May 12th.

If you leave for the day we'd ask that you please give your name tag to the KSBE staff at tables outside the auditorium. Additionally, please note that Memorial Hall does not allow food or drink in the auditorium. We would ask that you kindly abide by this policy.

Before we begin I'd like to make some introductions. Right here to my immediate right is Mr. Pedro Irigonegaray and Mr. Evan Kreider, they're legal counsel for the mainstream viewpoint. On the other side just facing me is Mr. John Calvert, legal counsel for the members who wrote the Minority Report, and assisting him is Doctor Bill Harris, and also Mr. Edward Sisson. Additionally, a court reporter is recording all of the proceedings and a transcript will be made available to the public at a later date. Thus, to those that are speaking, speak clearly. Also if she has problems, and she's going to notify us, we're going to ask you to slow down or to repeat and try not to talk on top of each other. I thank you for your interest in Kansas education. Thank you. Mr. Calvert, attorney for the first witness.

MR. CALVERT: Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, authors of the Minority Report, and members of the writing committee, Mr. Irigonegaray, members of the press, and the public, I want to thank you for this opportunity for the public and the committee to view the scientific reasons for the Minority Report and the basis for it. I would like to introduce briefly by colleague, Mr. Ed Sisson is a lawyer from-- with Arnold and Porter from Washington, D.C. and came all the way out here to assist. Unfortunately Ed's job was to examine the opposition witnesses, which we know now will not be with us, so he is assisting me today.

At this time I would like to go immediately into the examination of our witnesses. I'm going to save any of my remarks about the proceeding for my testimony, which will be expected at the end of the proceedings on Saturday. Also, Doctor Harris, who is our first witness, Doctor William Harris, will provide a brief overview as to what our witnesses will be expected to show to the public and to the committee. Doctor Harris.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Calvert. Is it on now. Great. Thank you. Thank you all for having us here and for this hopefully very interesting three-day-- three, four days we're going to be sharing together.

I want to begin by discussing what I think we would like to accomplish with these hearings, at least from our prospective. First of all, we hope to show that there is a scientific controversy over two major aspects of evolutionary theory. Chemical evolution that is the arrival of life from nonlife and macroevolution, which is the development of complex life forms from simple life forms. Those two issues, I think, are what's on the table.

What's not on the table is what we call and many call microevolution, also part of Darwin's theory that species adapt to changes of environments by natural processes only in this occurrence within certain limits. The question is what are those limits. We anticipate demonstrating that there is really a scientific controversy.

Secondly, we want to make the point that this controversy has profound implications for religion and philosophy. If this didn't have implications to religion this room would be far emptier today. Because it impacts religion and the reason that this issue does impact religion is because we're dealing with what we call origin science. Origins, the beginnings, where did things come from, where did we come from, where did life come from. These are issues which ever major religion in the world has a story to tell. They all have a perspective that's part of that faith.

When the State, via public education, asserts an answer to that question from a scientific, or whatever, point of view they have entered a religious arena. They are offering an answer that may be in harmony, that may be conflict with religious issues, religious perspectives. And because of that we now have a religious issue being in the public education system. Now, I think part of our overall goal is to remove the bias of religion that is currently in schools.

We have an obligation we think to teach origin science in the most neutral way possible without religious bias, without naturalistic, or philosophical bias and that way we can do the best science and end up neutral with respect to the constitution. In order to accomplish that we require that all the data that's relevant to-- the scientific data that's relevant to the issues of chemical evolution and macroevolution be put on the table. That the presentation of one side of that controversy data supporting one side of that controversy without presentation of data that's contradictory to that hypothesis is not scientifically acceptable and also bias for discussion. So in a word our hope is that at the end of these hearings we will be allowed to teach the controversy that does exist over origins.

We will also remove tension that's present in classrooms across the state to varying degrees. Parents have perspectives, teachers have perspectives, children have perspectives, administrations have issues. And there is tension regarding this particular area like perhaps no other that needs to be resolved. And we think that our suggestion in the Minority Report will go a long way toward addressing that tension and allowing an open, evenhanded perspective on these issues.

This is already-- the Kansas action actually is not the first to do this. Ohio a couple of years ago, the State of Ohio accepted standards for their public education that allowed critical evolution-- excuse me, critical analysis of the evolutionary theory. I would note that there still is bio-science alive and well in Ohio, despite that event. There are still graduate students in Ohio despite that.

The Minority Report does not introduce religion into this discussion. This is not to introduce creationism. Creationism, of course, is a view of the fact the way it is traditionally held, a literal understanding of the first nine chapters of Genesis. That is not what we're interested in. I'm not interested in having a religious perspective applied to science education. I just want the data to speak as it speaks. To my view the data are not clearly in support of the naturalistic world view.

The Minority Report does not mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is not a code word for creationism. Teaching the arguments against evolution is not a code word for creationism. It is simply good science education. At this point, however, we do not think it's appropriate to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. It's a fairly new science, it's a modern science of Intelligent Design, it's a maturing science and perhaps in time it would be there, but at this point we think mandating it is inappropriate.

We do not, on the other hand, think that it should be forbidden that every student teacher feels interested or wants to bring up the issue didactically in a science setting, that should be up to them and they should be allowed to do that, if they want to do that.

The strategy of our opponents has been to mischaracterize our position and actually to malign some of us who were presenting that position. They have consistently and remarkably, in my mind, refused to engage in a discussion of the scientific substance of the issue. They continually avoid actually addressing the questions of the data regarding the origins of life experiments, the data regarding the difficulties, the actual-- in fact, it has never been shown that a single cell procreate can convert to a single cell ucreate. There is no mechanism known, but yet that is the theory, that is the way it is taught, in fact, in school. The evidence does not support it and it disturbs me that we do not discuss the science, all we discuss is people's opinions. And sometimes those of us who present in this position are characterized and labeled unfortunately.

The fact that this hearing is not going to be six days again is remarkable to me because the-- our opponents have three days in which to spend to educate the citizenry of Kansas, to educate the Board on what the overwhelming evidence is for their position. They've chosen not to take that opportunity because in my view, this is just my opinion, they are concerned that when held to the light of public scrutiny it will be clear that the emperor is not very well dressed.

Our opposition has chosen to fight this battle with name calling, ad hominem attacks instead of discussing science. Mr. Calvert, do you have a display I'd asked you to put up?

MR. CALVERT: Doctor Harris, I believe you provided copies of this to the members of the committee.

MR. HARRIS: This is a posting on the Kansas Citizens for Science web site dated February 10th, 2005. It was written by Liz Craig, who is a member of that organization, and involves some of the public relation. It is a discussion with someone named Pat, who I don't know who that is. In this discussion she points out what the strategy-- she says, "My strategy at this point--" of course, Kansas Citizens for Science is the organization principally that's opposing our Minority Report. "My strategy at this point is the same as it was in that 1999. Notify the national and local media about what's going on and portray them," not the media, the opponents, "in the harshest light possible as political opportunists, as evangelical activists, as ignoramuses, as breakers of rules, as unprincipled bullies, et cetera," and I'm glad she stopped. "There may be no way to head off another science standards debacle, but we can sure make them look like asses as they do what they do. Our target is the moderates who are not that well educated about the issues." Not that well educated, we're talking about education here. "Most of whom probably are theistic evolutionists. There's no way to convert the creationists."

Our witnesses will be in front of you the next few days and you will be able to see and hear for yourself and you will be able to judge. Are our witnesses political opportunists? I think not. They are advocating a point of view that about 80 percent of the public in the United States believes in. When polls have been taken about 80 percent of those responding favor a balanced view, teach both sides, present all the data. Now, this country is not 80 percent one political party or another, so that's got to include republicans and democrats. Is that me? Okay. So I don't think this is political opportunism. Are they evangelical activists? Well, some like myself do have a religious belief. All of us are dissenters from Darwinism, some of us don't have religious beliefs. All of us are professional scientists who have really committed, as I think as most scientists are, to follow the evidence wherever it leads regardless of its religious implications. That is the crux of science. Are we ignoramuses? Well, you'll have to decide. Are we rule breakers? Well, yes, we are. In a sense we are rule breakers. We are willing to break the unwritten rule of science that says only natural explanations are allowed. The natural explanations are proven by scientific experiment to be inadequate and we are happy to break the rule and to follow the evidence where it goes. Are we unprincipled bullies? The dictionary definition of a bully is a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller and weaker people. Now, you may see some bullying these next few days, you'll have to decide who is doing the bullying.

The motivation of our witnesses is to follow the evidence, to open up the study of the origins of nature to scientific explanations whether these are currently defined as natural or not and that is what I hope we will accomplish.

MR. CALVERT: Thank you, Doctor Harris.

WILLIAM H. HARRIS, Ph.D., called as a witness on behalf of the Minority testified as follows:


Q. Would you please describe to the committee and the public a bit about your background and professional experience?

A. Yeah. I have a Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry received from the University of Minnesota in 1978. I have an undergraduate in chemistry from Hanover College in Indiana. I went to high school in Prairie Village, Shawnee Mission East High School.

My post doctoral work was done in the area of cardiovascular disease and nutrition at the Oregon Health Science University for four years with Doctor William Connor. After that I moved in the mid 1980s back to Kansas City to take a job at the University of Kansas Medical Center, the Department of Medicine doing-- running the lipid research laboratory there in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. And in 1996 I moved to the University of Missouri, Kansas City in St. Luke's Hospital where I have the Daniel Lauer/Missouri Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Research. I also serve as the chairman of the ethics committee at our hospital.

Q. Have you published papers?

A. I've published a few papers. I have published about 90 peer-reviewed studies in the medical literature.

Q. What is your interest, can you tell us a little bit about what your focus is?

A. In my-- my day job?

Q. Yes.

A. Yeah, I thought I had a day job. My interest is in the prevention of heart disease by nutritional approach. My particular interest is in fish oils, omega-3 fatty acids. I've been a fan of omega-3 fatty acids for many years.

We have discovered I think in our research and others that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and fish in the blood are a profound risk factor for reduced risk for sudden cardiac death. And we are continuing our studies now to document that a blood test of omega-3 fatty acids should be added to cardiovascular risk panels just as they measure cholesterol and your triglycerides and LDL, they ought to measure your omega-3. It's a fantastic indicator of risk for heart attacks. That's what I do.

Q. Do you also supervise a laboratory that's engaged in that research?

A. Right. My laboratory contains about 14 individuals. We do that type of research. We also do clinical trials in the area of lipids, diabetes, and metabolism for the pharmaceutical industry. We're currently conducting about 25 studies in human volunteers.

Q. Have you received grant monies and so forth to support your research over the years?

A. Yes. We receive-- of course, we receive from the pharmaceutical industry to do these clinical trials that are mandated by the FDA. And I have received grants from the National Institute of Health, three grants to pursue my work on lipids and omega-3 fatty acids, and several smaller grants from the heart association and some foundations.

Q. And about what would be the total?

A. Total dollars?

Q. Uh-huh.

A. Somewhere between three and four million.

Q. And how-- if you were to put that on a scale and you were to put on the scale all researchers, how would that--

A. You mean--

Q. -- compare?

A. It's not bad.

Q. Could you tell us, Bill, if you had to describe your primary contribution to the work, the science you're doing now, what would that be?

A. Well, I think my-- my work-- this is a bad joke. I'm a big fish in a little pond in the area of fish research, fish oils. Having been in it since the late '70s I've-- I'm pretty much recognized as a world expert in the omega-3 world in cardiovascular health in that area. So I-- I'm doing really well in a really small field.

Q. Would it be fair to say that you're the inventor of a test, the omega-3, omegametrix test--

A. True.

Q. -- that actually allows somebody to measure the level of omega-3s in the blood and from that information have an appreciation for their relative risk for heart attack?

A. Yeah, that's what I've done.

Q. Okay.

A. Most recently.

Q. How is that-- and I guess you're also lead guitarist and a singer in a band. Is that right?

A. You didn't say you were going to ask me that. I am part of a small rock and roll band, that's true. I did not bring enough CDs today.

Q. Okay. And how many CDs have you produced?

A. About 16. When you don't have to write the music they go pretty fast just pirating, but we don't sell them, okay, so there's no copyright issues.

Q. Okay. What is it that caused you to develop a critical thinking about evolution, tell us about that?

A. When I was in my graduate work I did my Ph.D. work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, at that time, pretty much through college and through my graduate work I was agnostic. I grew up Presbyterian, but that didn't last past high school very well. And so when I got to college and undergraduate school I-- my faith lapsed rather quickly.

Later on in graduate school I met a girl who I was interested in. She was interested in taking classes in the bible. I thought, well, I haven't really looked at the bible since I was a teenager, maybe I ought to look at it and maybe get a little better look at her as well and ended up marrying her 27 years ago. But through that experience I had, I think, a new look at Christianity and I became a Christian so my world view changed at that point. And although I was not in my particular-- in my research I was not doing anything that had to do with evolution, I was studying really what almost all scientists study, which is what I call operational science, how does the world operate today, how does it work. Not where did it come from, but how does it work. In that work I had no need for evolutionary theory or paradigm, so it never really occurred to me to think about it. But when my world view changed I started getting interested in looking.

So I think my change caused me to get interested in the topic of origins and I started reading about it and began to see that the-- what I thought was good evidence because everybody believed it was tremendous leaps of faith that were being taken in the absence of scientific data. And it began to strike me as this is not the way you do science. When you don't know, you say you don't know. You don't make up a story and say that's the way it was. And so, you know, you start to get mad a little bit when you see people messing with science.

In my own field in omega-3 I have that same issue. People that I think misrepresent the data to have it say what it does not say. So that's how I became interested mid '70s, late '70s and didn't really do anything with it, read some books became more engaged in the early '90s when I read Phillip Johnson's book "Darwin on Trial", then I read Mike Behe's book, "The Biochemical Challenge to Darwinian Evolution", I found that compelling and it made less sense. And here we are.

Q. What was it about Phil Johnson's book that pricked your interest?

A. He-- I think he-- for me he made it very clear that the science has become a naturalistic philosophy. What I thought science was was simply the unbridled search for the truth using objective means, experiments, hypotheses, the things we all know is science. But it became clear when it came to this area of Darwinian evolution, particularly chemical evolution, macroevolution, those two big pieces of evolutionary theory, that there was a tremendous lack of data and the stories were driven by a philosophy that said everything had to have a natural explanation, you can't let anything non natural get in. And I said we don't know that, we don't know that's the truth and so it makes sense to me that you'd say we don't know as Johnson points out in the academy at higher levels of the universities, et cetera, that this is taken as dogma and dogmas have no place in science in my mind.

Q. Is there a name for that bias?

A. The fancy name is methodological naturalism. And I have never counted the syllables, but I don't want to say it again. I'll just call it naturalism. Basically it's the use of-- the way it's typically presented is that scientists use the methods of natural investigation. They don't invoke spiritual forces to account for what they observe in the world, they look for natural causes. And that's fine to look for natural causes, but when you don't find any natural causes it's time to fess up and say we don't know instead of saying there was a natural cause, we don't know what it was, we have faith that's what happened.

So methodological naturalism really puts blinders, I think, on the search for truth, particularly-- particularly in the area of origin science.

Q. Why in the area of origin science?

A. Because that's a historical science. It doesn't get much more historical than billions of years ago. Nobody was there to know what happened. Nobody watched it. We cannot say with any certainty how anything came to be.

They have every experiment particularly in the origin of life field where they attempted to use, quote, natural environments to produce even some of the simplest chemicals of life. They consistently failed. Since the 1950s they have failed and failed and failed and failed and yet they are still in the textbooks presented as the plausible explanation for how life arose. But those experiments have failed. Dishonest in my view to portray failures in the laboratory as successes in the textbook. So methodological naturalism forces that view, in my understanding.

Q. Does it effectively-- how does it affect the testimony of the evolutionary claim?

A. You can't test the evolutionary claim because there's only one answer. In historical science you have to have at least two possible explanations for what you're trying to explain. How did that happen in the past? You have looked for clues that are left over in the present, recognizing-- and you should recognize that you may not have all the relevant clues in the present to make your decision about what happened in the past. The clues you may have are going to be incomplete; therefore, your conclusion about what happened has got to be tentative. And, again, you generally have two competing hypotheses to explain what happened. Again, we're talking about origins, where things came from. And if you have-- then you look to see which the data supports better. That's the way it typically goes. Of course, there could be a third hypothesis you didn't even think of that is the truth, then you would have missed it.

So if you have a naturalistic point of view in applying to historical sciences, you immediately eliminate the other option that some-- what we would now call nonnatural process was involved. And we don't know that's the case. But if you assume that from the beginning you know where you're going to end up before you even start. And, again, that's a philosophical restrictor around science-- historical science. I don't think this is appropriate.

Q. How does that-- you explained how the rule which affects the scientific conclusions, how does it affect the religious issue?

A. If you only have one solution allowed to the question of where did we come from and the answer to that question is, in broad strokes, we came by some naturalistic undirected, unguided process that essentially is an accident. This has been clarified by Jacquest Monud, the Noble Prize winner, says man has to understand he is merely an accident.

Now, I understand that many of us in this room may be accidents, but not in the sense he was talking about. That view is a naturalistic world view that presumes that undirected, unplanned causes were at work from the very beginning and what we have here today on earth is simply luck acted upon by law. It's just-- we're just lucky to be here. It's just a chance thing.

Now, that, of course, is an explanation for origins, where we came from, that I said religious-- you know, every religion has a statement about, has a view about. They're not all the same of course, but they all weigh in on that issue. And if science weighs in with a-- one perspective only, based on a philosophy that says it had to be by natural processes, otherwise it's not science, then they're presenting data that's, I think, philosophically driven, not scientific and data driven. And so that's a problem and you run into an immediate religious conflict.

Q. Okay. I want to bring you back to--

A. Could I get a drink of water while you think about that?

Q. Sure.

A. That's the way water is going to work today, folks.

Q. Doctor Harris, you are representing yourself and seven other authors of the Minority Report, are they-- would you like to introduce some of your colleagues that are here today?

A. Four of my colleagues that were able to come, Greg Lassey, raise your hand, Wayne Stringer, Dick Unruh, and John Yost. Thank you for coming guys. There are two others who could not make it today, Rick Reeser was unable to come and Doctor Tim Crater had patients today so he could not make it.

Q. Could you explain, you know, how you got involved in working on Kansas Science Standards and a little bit about the process?

A. I got involved in kind of a-- well, certainly not as directly as I am now, in 1999 when the board was considering science standards back then. I saw what was happening in the newspaper, I decided I'd write a letter about my opinion that it really should be a balanced view, that we shouldn't eliminate by definition one perspective on origins. And through a series of events I ended up coming over to Topeka, just down the road here, to one of the public comment times. I gave my two-minute talk right after you did, John, and then I left after my two-minute talk and you followed me out of the room and said we have some things in common, let's talk. And at that point we-- you as a lawyer with a background in geology and me as a scientist, we thought we had something to bring to the table. So we, along with Jody Shogreen, who was a zoologist, who we also met through the hearings, formed Intelligent Design Network and made some kind of Johnny come lately suggestions to the board regarding how we thought objectivity ought to guide science education. The horse was pretty well out of the barn at that point. So our suggestions were-- generally fell on deaf ears.

In 2001 we made some suggestions again following the same theme. So I got a little bit inculpated in this idea of science standards back in 1999 and 2001. In 2004, in the summer, I was contacted by Mr. John Bacon from the State Board, asked if I would be willing to serve on a science writing committee. I said sure with some trepidation knowing we'd end up here. And began-- that's where I met my colleagues here and 20 some other members of educators, scientists, professors around the state. We met in Salina on a monthly basis. And we began hammering through science standards and found that we really had quite a congenial time of it most of the time until we hit some rocky areas and this particular area here. I'd say probably 95 percent of the standards we were in absolute harmony. It's this particular issue of origins and how it's to be presented has been a sticky point.

I knew Doctor Jay Nicholson, who I forgot to mention is not here as well, he is the eighth member. I knew Jay from 1999. He was again on the science writing committee. As we got together and talked we found that we-- each of us knew other people who shared our views and that's how pretty much the eight of us came together over time. Over several meetings we found that we agreed on how the origins ought to be presented and saw that we were a minority so we just began having discussions about how we can-- what proposals we can bring to the table that would correct what we think were the deficiencies in the science standards as they were being proposed by the majority. So that's really how we came to be and we continued through that.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the way in which you processed your proposals.

A. Well, our proposals began I think-- I guess you'd say they were actually born in 1999 when you and I and Jody and others looked at the science standards at that time and made suggested changes. And that was somewhat the baby that came with me to the science standards meeting in 2004. And that was the framework around which we built and kept modifying and addressing issues that came up.

So the-- what we now call the Minority Report, at the time it was originally submitted we didn't know if it was a minority or not, but now we know it is. That report is simply a collation of the specific pages out of the draft science standards that we would like to see changes in-- specific wording that we would like to see changes in and we just put that all together in one document and called it the Minority Report and submitted it to the Board for their consideration.

Q. Why did you submit it just to the Board?

A. Just to the Board? We didn't actually just submit to the Board. Actually, we submitted it to our science writing committee a number of times in a variety of forms. In written form in August and September and we submitted 25 handout copies of our proposals. In October we submitted it as well. When the-- when it came to the end of October there was a meeting on the 28th, I was out of town unable to be there, but my colleagues put into motion on the floor a motion to discuss formally at the committee level all the proposals that we've been circulating. For procedural reasons the chair ruled that out of order and did not-- we did not get a vote on the Minority Report. The report-- at that point we had hoped to be able to find out if there were others that shared our views, but without a vote we really couldn't know.

So eventually at the next meeting we went through it step by step and-- at the urging of, I think, this committee and discovered that, yes, indeed in several of the cases we were a minority; some of the things we recommended were accepted.

Q. You mentioned that you formed Intelligent Design Network, and you are the managing director of ID Net?

A. Yes.

Q. I want to show you, and I believe you handed to members of the committee, the brochure that ID Net has been using for the past four or five years. And on the front of the cover is an image?

A. At least on your computer.

Q. There we go. Would you explain briefly what the mission of that organization is about?

A. Right. The mission of Intelligent Design Network has, from the beginning, been seeking institutional objectivity - emphasize objectivity and institutional - in origins science. The image that we use is simply a balance. And the idea is to place the evidence for a design in one of the pans, place the evidence for undirected blind evolution or no design, which is essentially what evolution is, in this pan and see how the data weighs. And don't come to the balance with any religious preconceptions, don't come with any naturalistic preconceptions, and simply let the data fall where they will and allow the implications to be as they are. So this balance is objective. It's not got a-- one side should not be heavier than the other, that's the way we want it in science.

Institutional objectivity, everybody has their own personal bias and you can't get around that. And scientists need to recognize their own biases and put them away when they're doing their work, but-- institutions of science too have biases. And public education is an institution, public science education is an institution and we think it should not have any biases the way origins is presented. So that's what the institutional has to do with it.

Q. Why is it important for the institution to have no bias?

A. Well, it's kind of like a-- kind of like a football game. The institution-- the school is like a football game. It appoints a teacher to be sort of a referee among ideas that he or she is going to present to classes in a variety of different disciplines. And you've got-- if the teacher is unable to-- or is biased toward one team or the other that's on the field, then you're not going to end up with a good outcome. Nobody would tolerate a football game where the referee was obviously biased. In the same sense in origin science an institutional bias from the top can produce unsatisfactory results.

Q. And this has, I think you testified, had an unavoidable impact on religion?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you give us-- you've handed to the committee a copy of the Humanist Manifesto. Can you explain how the tenets of that religion influenced or impacted the origin story that you showed on the scale, the design, no design image?

A. Well, sure. The Humanist Manifesto-- this is taken from the web site. Humanism is a progressive-- I don't remember it, let me read it. Progressive philosophy of life without supernaturalism. So it begins with the philosophy that there is no-- nothing beyond nature. So that's-- to me that's a bias that you just begin with because you don't know that to be a fact, you just assume it to be a fact. So right away we're outside the realm of science here. We're not doing good science.

They do say that-- things I am happy with. The knowledge of the world is derived by observations, experimentation, and rational analysis. Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Best method for it is using the knowledge to develop and help solve problems.

I think here's an interesting statement and this is-- again, this I think is a clear reflection of the fundamental point that humans are an integral part of nature, the result of an unguided, unplanned evolutionary process, evolutionary change. This is foundation of current evolutionary theory.

Many times I think it's-- evolutionary theory is presented to the public as meaning change over time and that's that and nobody has any problem with change over time. Everybody agrees that change over time has happened. If that is all evolution is, the room would be empty. Unfortunately, evolutionary theory is not just that things changed over time, but they changed over time by total accident. Everything that we see today simply showed up by the random interaction of matter and energy, law and luck. And that is how we all got here. That is what is at issue, that particular piece of evolutionary theory. That is what we think children need to know is the definition of evolution. Not just that things changed over time because that's the part that's particularly contradictory.

Q. The manifesto is signed by a number of different people, could you point out anybody in particular that's embraced this particular philosophy that's relevant to the discussion?

A. Yeah, there are people that some folks recognize, Richard Dawkins, a professor of public understanding of science at Oxford, who is a valid anti-- or valid evolutionist who fights very hard against folks like us. Anthony Flew is an interesting story. Doctor Flew is a philosopher of science who just last month decided that he was going to follow the evidence wherever it went and he decided that he was not an atheist anymore. He wants his name taken off, he's not an atheist, he's not a theist. He says I don't believe in that personal God stuff, but he said the evidence of design and makeup of the world is overwhelming and I can no longer say that this just happened by chance.

Eugenie Scott, is also-- she's the director of the National Center for Science Education. She is an-- I guess one of the leaders of the opposition to our point of view. She is a signator of that document.

Q. Did Mrs. Scott have any input in the Kansas science standards?

A. Mrs. Scott did have some input to the Kansas science standards. I did not know this-- of course, it was not made clear to anybody at the meetings, but it was interesting when draft two was sent out to the full committee for us to see what the final document was there were buried-- you know, if you turn on your track changes, turn on your comments, buried in the document in draft two of the science education standards.

Q. This is the March 9, 2005 draft?

A. Right. If you look here, mission statement-- we're in the mission statement area. If you'll hover your mouse-- you know, how this works, if you hover your mouse over a comment and the person who made the comment-- on whose computer the comment was made, I will not say Eugenie Scott necessarily made these comments, but somebody got access to her computer and made comments on this document. This phrase is a good one to retain from the 2001 standards as remains useful if the ID'ers make a move. That's us, we're the ID'ers. And there are several other yellow spots. There are about nine comments that are in this document that have Eugenie Scott's fingerprints on them. So she does have input in the science standards of Kansas. While you're thinking I'm going to get more water.

Q. Doctor Harris, would you-- we heard about Intelligent Design and it's discussed in this debate and although the Minority Report does not propose that that concept be taught or tested, it is relevant because the Minority Report suggests that it is an idea that should not be prohibited?

A. Correct.

Q. Would you explain why you believe-- what it is that you believe should not be prohibited?

A. Well, what is basically Intelligent Design?

Q. Yes.

A. Well, I guess at it's core, the way that I would describe it, is sort of by contrast. In my view, and I think this is true, evolution really is a claim-- evolutionary theory or Darwinian evolutionary theory is a claim that all the apparent design in life, and most everybody recognizes that things look like they're designed, but that it is only apparent, that it is only an illusion, that really law and luck, chance and chemical interactions are really responsible for all this what looks like design, but it really isn't design. A design has intent and purpose and it's put together in forethought. That's a long definition. Intelligent Design is simply a scientific disagreement with that respect.

Q. And what's the disagreement based on?

A. Data.

Q. What is the data?

A. There's a tremendous amount of data in scientific literature, particularly in biochemistry, but also in cosmology and many other places, that points-- that has identified I think certainly since 1953 when DNA-- the code was cracked by Watson and Crick, what they-- Watson and Crick discovered was a code. They discovered a code. Every other code in the world that we know of came from a mind. To conclude that DNA at some level somewhere originally came from a mind is not an irresponsible deduction from the data.

When we look at some of the biochemical machines that are in cells and some of our witnesses will attest to this and maybe even show some pictures and how we understand that some of these fantastically complex machines that work inside the simplest cell, we can see them now, we understand them now. The advanced and modern molecular biology has shown us a world that can only be explained, in my view, by depositing some kind of plan in a direction. I don't know who did it. I don't know how it was done. I don't know why it was done. I don't have to know any of that stuff to detect design.

If I walked into my garage today and I found a six-foot bacterial flagellin laying there and spinning at 100,000 RPM I would have no idea what it was, but maybe my weed whacker going nuts, but I would have no question in my mind it was a designed object. I would just have no idea what it was. You can infer design just by examining something without knowing anything about where it came from.

Q. Does an inference of design entail a belief in a supernatural?

A. Of course not. Of course not. Everything you see in this room was designed by an intelligence for a purpose, that's not supernatural. We're talking about-- where supernatural comes into it is when we're talking about prehistory, origins, where did we come from. As far as we know there wasn't any intelligence there. So in that situation you don't know if there was intelligence involved by direct observation. All you can do is look at the effects of what were left behind. In the same way that an archaeologist finds a stone and says is this a tool or is it a rock. They're looking for an inference to design based on the data without knowing anything about the originator of that artifact.

The same way in biology, bringing that same thinking mentality into biology when we find what looked like designed objects. To me the onus is on those who would say it is not designed, let me show you how that can happen by data, by scientific experiment let me show you how that can happen without any plan. That's great. When I see the data I'll believe it. Until that happens the onus is on them to show us, otherwise all natural inferences should be made.

Q. Will science ever be able-- from a scientific standpoint ever be able to prove that life was designed or not designed?

A. No. You can't prove anything that happened in history. You can only find the inference to your-- the best explanation you got and hold it tentatively. If all the data in the world went that direction, it still would not prove that's what happened.

Q. So ID is simply a scientific inference that competes against another one?

A. Right.

Q. Yes?

A. Yes. A materialist inference, right.

Q. Okay. What do you mean by the word "prove"?

A. What do I mean by the word "prove"? You really can't even do that in science. You can't-- you can reach a consensus of the data that is overwhelmingly compelling that cannot be explained any other way and that's probably as close as we got in operational science to proving. I mean, I can't really prove gravity to us, but it seems to work every time I try it. So prove-- if you're going to be philosophical-- and we certainly have philosophers of science who will be up here you can ask that question to.

Q. How do you differentiate science from religion?

A. Well, religion is fundamentally based on dogmas that are unquestionable. One just accepts the view of whatever religion you're talking about and says that's the way it is. And data is, to some extent, irrelevant.

Q. So when we go to the section of Humanist Manifesto we were looking at dogmas there, right?

A. Yeah, sure. If you assume from the outset there's no supernaturalism, well, that's an assumption, that's dogma, that's not proven.

Q. And I think you previously mentioned in your opening about why you don't believe it's appropriate to include it in the standards now?

A. Yes, I did. I think it's-- I think it's still a developing, maturing field that needs to be flushed out. There's no curriculum developed for it at this point. There's just a lot of infrastructure I think that needs to be put together. The inference is obvious to me. I mean, it's very simple. But the way you actually get it into the science standards and then get it in the classrooms, there's a tremendous amount of work that's involved there. I don't think we're ready to do that at this point.

Q. Doctor Harris, what I want you to do is to explain to the committee and the public the work that-- go through the proposals in the Minority Report. And then also I believe that there were 12 scientists that submitted a-- reviews of those proposals and I would also like you to talk about that. And I believe you've handed to the committee an exhibit that perhaps will aid your presentation and I will turn the pages as you direct me.

A. This will not perhaps help us, it will be a tremendous help. And this is part of the necessary beginning of this thing to layout what the actual proposals in the Minority Report are without reading all 19 pages of it, which many of you have. So I have in this table an overview. Over here is the section of the report where it's found, introductions. This will be grade 8 through 12, S standards for standard, B-M standards for benchmark, so this is where they are in the standards. This is the issue summarized and then this is a brief description of the issue that we've raised.

The first issue that we've recommended is that in the mission statement the word "informed" be added. That we would aim to equip students to make informed and reasoned decisions. The current standards say equip students to make reasoned decisions. I think that if a decision is poorly informed, it's not going to be well-reasoned. And you can come to the wrong conclusion if you haven't got good information. We asked that these two words "informed" and "and" be added to the standards. The committee voted it down. Which totally amazed me, but they did it.

Okay. Secondly, we proposed to replace a naturalistic definition of science, which was instituted in 1999 in Kansas, with a more traditional definition that we've taken from the Ohio Academy of Science that was approved by that state board of education. And that one I can't do from memory, but I think I need to read. The current standards read that science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. We would suggest that change to science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument, and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomenon. That is the recommendation that we would make that that definition be put in. We have been accused of challenging the very foundation of science by proposing such a radical unheard of definition. And it just amazes me that anybody would think that's not a definition of science. That's what I've been doing for 25 years and that's what it is.

The third point, permit critical analysis of controversial issues. Here this is in the introduction, this is embodied in the Sanatorium amendment, this was based by the U.S. Senate and included in the No Child Left Behind conference report. This is language that suggests that-- or actually that directs-- I can't do that one by memory either. The conferees recognize - and this is the language like in the introduction - that a quality science education should prepare the students and distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological evolution, the curriculum should help students to understand the full range-- the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discovery can profoundly effect society. And we would ask that that language be put in in a sense of the Kansas standards that we agree with that attitude.

Number four, acknowledge major unanswered questions. There are many unanswered questions in science. We think it's important that students recognize that science is not a closed book, that there's nothing left to do, that there are many things that are challenging and these are indeed questions on origin of the universe-- origin of the fundamental laws of the universe. Where did gravity come from, where did the mass electrons come from, where life came from, where the diversity of life-- these are deep questions that still need to be answered. Science has no good answer for them at this point.

Eighth grade, evolution is a theory here. There has been some effort to remove the word-- and successful effort I may add, to remove the word theory from biological evolution and we think it's clear that evolution-- Darwinian evolution, macroevolution, and chemical evolution, which, of course, is not part of Darwinism, but it is part of the greater overarching spectrum. Those are theories and need to remain as theories. To teach them as fact is irresponsible.

Eighth grade historical sciences. Children need to understand that there is a fundamental difference between the conclusions we draw from historical science, where do things come from, how did things come to be, versus what we'll call, for lack of a better word, operational or maybe experimental empirical sciences where many of the-- most of the variables are controllable and they operate in the real world today. So historical sciences are very different than operational sciences and students need to understand it.

Institutional bias, we discussed that bias can exist in institutions. We recommend teaching historical sciences a little bit more in-depth at the higher grades. Nucleotide sequence is not determined by-- are you trying to tell me something, John?

Q. Oops, excuse me.

A. It's fine if you want me to-- I'm sorry. We have-- in serving the area of genetics that the nucleotide sequence, sequence of the basis in DNA, is not determined by any robot. That is a profound mystery. The language-- the information carried in a DNA molecule is something that cannot be explained by the laws of chemistry and physics. Where do you get information in biology is a deep unsolved question that is fundamental to biology.

Definition of evolution. We want to make it clear that the true definition of Darwinian evolution turns upon the question of it being planned guided or unguided-- excuse me, an unguided process. It's not-- and any view of evolution that causes a guiding, whether it's a long time or a short time, is a-- I think an intelligent design perspective, it is not a Dawinistic or materialistic perspective.

We have a minor clarification here regarding natural selection genetic drift. We have a formatting problem that needs fixed. Random mutations are usually deleterious. We want to make it clear that the beneficial mutations that are the base of the Darwinian, macroevolutionary theory are exceedingly rare and that is not perhaps as clear as we would like to make it and so we've added this.

Whether you can extrapolate the micro evolutionary process to macroevolution is a huge leap of faith in my view for scientists and it needs to be made clear that we cannot yet make that claim. Microevolution is a wonderful research perspective. It is a scientific theory that is working well. All of us agree and understand that microevolution works tremendously well. That is the part of evolution-- we say evolution is essentially for agriculture and medicine for bio-science. When you hear that evolution is essential to those things, what they're talking about is microevolution. Whether we arrived-- let's see, how we came to be is irrelevant to agriculture, it's irrelevant to medicine. How do genes work and how bacteria can mutate in response to different environments, that is relevant to medicine today and that is microevolution.

Common ancestry, a fundamental role or a tenet in Darwinism. Students learn that there is some evidence that's inconsistent with that theory. They need to hear that if they're going to make an informed decision. Similarly with origin of life. There's no comment in the current standards about origin of life. That is the beginning of biology, that is the basis for all of us. Why would we not talk about it? We don't talk about it because we haven't got a natural explanation for it, so it's not in the standards. But it is in the textbooks in spades. And the naturalistic scenario is laid out for the children to see even though the evidence is extremely weak and contradictory. Children need to know it. This is teaching part of the controversy. Understanding does not mandate belief. This is in a teacher note. Use of scientific knowledge. These are not powerful or terribly important.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Doctor Harris, you have two minutes.

A. Thank you. Next slide. This is a chart, John, you mentioned that there were 12 individuals who wrote critiques of the draft of the Minority Report. I have given here the issues that they were concerned about, the names of the individuals. And if there's a red dot they disagreed, if there was a yellow dot there was some ambivalence, if this was a green dot they generally agreed with the perspective we have there. As you can see most of the squares are filled with nothing. No comment on most of our comments. The predominant color there is red meaning disagreement.

I've had 90 papers in the peer review literature. I know what peer review is. I peer review papers. I don't come with a bias to a paper that I'm asked to review. These individuals were advocates, in my view. They were here to write bad things about this. The folks who sent them the draft knew their opinions already and they were asked to criticize, not to evaluate objectively. So I don't take much of this--

Q. Doctor Harris, can I interrupt just a second.

MR. CALVERT: The time keeper I believe is clocking this at 60 minutes, but actually Doctor Harris, because he took the ten minutes for the opening remarks, has 70 minutes and that would give Mr. Irigonegaray 35 minutes and would give you guys about 15. And I think that if Doctor Harris concludes his remarks at a quarter to ten we'll be able to satisfy that.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: No problem. Time is noted.

A. The next slide, please. Just a few examples of internal contradictions among these reviewers. I have just two or three examples of individuals who-- this guy thought this and that gal thought that. Next slide, please. Just to outline briefly what these are. Under adding informed to the mission statement, Doctor Hurd said it creates several errors and hazards. Now, you let me know what you think the hazards of adding the word informed to the mission statement. Doctor Heppert said this proposed change is fine. Acknowledges major unanswered questions. Doctor Wiley said certainly we know the actual causes of the origin of all the fundamental laws. I think that's fantastic. We know the actual causes. And then Doctor Edis comments, there is no settled answer to these questions. Well, okay, I might be a little more inclined to believe that.

Eighth grade historical science. Should we teach historical science? Doctor Bartlett says great idea. Doctor Theobald and other says there's no difference between historical and experimental science so don't bother with it. Then there's this on nucleotide sequence is not determined by any owe known law. Doctor Miller says, well, of course, nobody has ever suggested otherwise. So in a sense he agrees. I mean, he doesn't agree with anything we've talked about, but he said there's no disagreement. Everybody knows that nucleotide sequence is not determined by law, except Doctor Brande and Doctor Wiley who say, yeah, sure the nucleotide sequence we know that there are-- he says, sure, there are laws, we understand them. Doctor Wiley says, however, the order of the nucleotide basis is governed by biological laws. I don't know what those are, but he seems to think there's law.

Next slide. I believe we may be-- we're not going to go over every individual. I'm done with that section.

Q. Doctor Harris, during your work and the work of the authors of the report, were you successful in getting some changes accepted?

A. Yeah, there were several things that over the season from the summer time to Christmas we, I think, were able to get in and you have a list of them here. Just quickly, there was a-- we were able to get the elimination of the implication that was found in the fourth grade benchmark that implied that natural phenomenon, which included living systems, lacked the attribute of design. That's what made them natural, they didn't have design. So we got rid of that and I think that's important.

We deleted the reference to the natural world as being only a material world because material world does not adequately explain the natural world. The natural world involves things like biological information and consciousness, which are not material objects. Indicators which encourage students to understand personal bias and preconception, we were able to add that.

And the important one that has a lot of implications, able to get a comment in, that the role of teachers is to reinforce normative parental and legal expectations regarding unhealthy adolescent behaviors instead of letting kids make their own decisions about their health and everything else irregardless of what their parents or teachers might have to say about it.

Remove the suggestion that human behavior may be due to natural selection rather than choice. Humans make choices and it's not because nature made me do it it's because we made choices. Revision of introduction to eliminate a mechanism that would suppress students discussing questions deemed by the teacher to be outside the realm of science because we don't know what the realm of science is.

These are other proposals that did not get in draft two that did receive significant support when we had our vote in November. Students understand institutional bias may affect explanation. There were 14 in favor of that one and three against it, six abstentions, this did not pass because the chair ruled that this is not a two-thirds majority.

The definition of science that we proposed here. The vote was 10 for it 12 against it and one abstention. So there was more than usual support for that.

Q. Why do you think the Board should adopt the ideas in the Minority Report?

A. I think for three reasons. Number one, I think it's good science. I think it is good didactic science. We need to teach kids to take the data regardless of its philosophical implications, follow the data where it leads, then we're going to make good science. If we have-- put blinders on them and say you can only look over here and you must find an explanation in that box, that's not good science. And that box might be a religious box and I don't-- that's not the way to do it either. You don't have philosophical bias, you don't have a religious bias that the data all has to fit into. That's good science. Number one-- I think it's-- I'm not a lawyer and you told me, and I believe it, the Constitutional neutrality will be served by presenting both sides of the view.

Q. By doing good science?

A. Exactly. When you do good science you get-- you remove the concern about bias and you bring neutrality to public education. And then it also removes this tension that is present among teachers and parents and kids about how we're going to teach this. It lays it all out, just teach the data and move on.

Q. Thank you very much, Doctor Harris.

MR. CALVERT: We don't have any anything further to present with this witness. He's open to questions.

THE WITNESS: I'm going to get a drink.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Just a moment, please. Mr. Irigonegaray, you have 32 minutes.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Could you clear the board, please?


CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Doctor Harris, if you would like to-- if you want to get a drink or-- he needs a moment to organize his thoughts he said, so if you'd like to get a drink now would be an opportune time.

THE WITNESS: I'll get another drink.


Q. Sir, I have only a few questions for you. As it was stated earlier, my name is Pedro Irigonegaray, I represent the majority. You've told us a little bit about your beliefs and your opinions and how you came to those. I'd like to ask you for the record, first, can you tell us how old you believe the earth is?

A. I don't know. I think it's probably really old.

Q. How old is really old?

A. I don't really know.

Q. You have no idea how old the earth is?

A. There's theories around that the earth is 10,000ish years old. There are theories around that it is four billion years old. If it was a multiple choice test and I only had two choices and I couldn't check "I don't know," and I wanted to get credit for the question, I'd check old.

Q. I understand, sir. But in all the work you have done, in all the research that you have done, in all your experience to this day you still don't have an opinion as to how old the earth is?

A. I have an opinion, I just don't really know. My opinion is it's probably fourish billion years old.

Q. Four billion years old. All right. Would you specifically tell us, sir, where specifically in the standards is the term "humanism" mentioned?

A. It's not in the standards.

Q. Where in the standards is the term "naturalism" mentioned?

A. Naturalism? I don't know that it is mentioned, I think that's part of the problem.

Q. You don't know if it's mentioned?

A. I can't think of a place. Natural is mentioned a lot. Naturalism I don't think is mentioned.

Q. The fact is it's not mentioned at all, correctly-- correct?

A. I think that's true.

Q. You know that's true, don't you?

A. That's a lot of words there. I couldn't-- I would say it probably is not there.

Q. Would you care to take the time to find whether or not it's there or--

A. If you wouldn't mind if I took 32 minutes to do that, that would be fine.

Q. Or are you comfortable with the opinion that that term is simply not there?

A. Yeah, I'm comfortable with that.

Q. Where in the standards does it say that teachers and students cannot discuss criticisms of evolution?

A. It doesn't say that. I think it's implicit in the way-- in the language that presents evolutionary theory, particularly the two aspects, macroevolution presented as a fact as --not as a theory and that's what I think opens the door to that.

Q. You then would have to agree, would you not, sir, that nowhere in the standards are teachers and students denied the opportunity to discuss criticisms of evolution?

A. Correct.

Q. If this is all about science and not about philosophy or religion why do you keep bringing up atheism, materialism, naturalism, and humanism to this argument?

A. Well, in my remarks I said it's not all about science. This is a scientific controversy that has powerful theistic implications. So it's not all about science. It's-- the core is about science, but there is a penumbra, there's an umbrella out here that's philosophical and religious and that's where it comes in.

Q. You would agree, would you not, that the purpose of science or the guiding light for science should be neutrality as it deals with faith?

A. Exactly, yes, neutrality.

Q. You would agree with science should not involve itself with accepting a particular theistic view, but rather to use the rigorous scientific process to search for answers?

A. Or atheistic view.

Q. Where in the standards do you find any reference to atheistic views to be the practice in the state?

A. I don't find them written explicitly in the standards.

Q. Are you aware that there are many people, millions of people throughout the world that believe that God acts through natural process and that science does investigate the natural process and that it is not incompatible for someone to be both a scientist and a religious person?

A. Yeah, I'm aware there are a lot of people like that.

Q. Not a problem with that?

A. Well, I have-- I think they don't understand evolutionary theory very well. And I think the position that God invented evolution to make all of this is a faith statement, it's not a scientific statement.

Q. Where do the science standards say anything about unguided or undirected?

A. That's the problem, they don't.

Q. So you're suggesting that because the standards don't say that, that is a problem?

A. That's why we're-- that's why we asked that it be added because that is the fundamental theory and it needs to be exposed and it needs to be disclosed.

Q. Whose fundamental theory is it?

A. Well, I could read some quotes from evolutionary biologists who write textbooks that say it is a completely unguided process.

Q. Referring to the science standards?

A. No, the science standards do not say that.

Q. And that's what this is about is science standards?

A. Exactly. It's what's left out of the science standards.

Q. Should science be involved with the process of attempting to ascertain how the natural world around us functions?

A. Yes.

Q. And is it your opinion that it is appropriate to teach students supernatural answers for that process in the science curriculum?

A. No.

Q. So you would agree with me that supernatural or miraculous explanations should not be allowed?

A. Not in science education.

Q. Would you suggest that any time that we don't have a natural explanation, we ought to stop looking for it and invoke a miracle?

A. No. If we don't have a natural explanation we can keep looking for it, but there has got to come a point, just as it came with the alchemists of the middle ages when someone said enough is enough, we're not going to make gold out of lead. If you have discovered via experimentation that your hypothesis is supported you're meandering.

Q. And is it your position that evolution is just simply not supported by the evidence?

A. My position is that microevolutionary theory is very well supported by the evidence.

Q. Your position--

A. Macroevolution theory is not well supported by the evidence. One can build the story, but the evidence, I think, is lacking for a firm conviction.

Q. You talked earlier about bias. Is it your opinion that the American Association of Science is biased toward Intelligent Design?

A. Yeah.

Q. Is it your opinion that the National Association of Biology Teachers is biased against Intelligent Design?

A. They're biased against non naturalistic explanations of anything, so yes.

Q. Is it your opinion that the National Academy of Science is biased against Intelligent Design?

A. I don't know to what you're referring there. Can you help me out with that?

Q. I'm just asking you, sir. We talked about--

A. I'm not aware of that. I'm aware of statements of those other two groups that specifically address that issue, but not from anyone else.

Q. In your presentation you talked about the overwhelming amount of bias that Intelligent Design faces. Is that a bias that, in your opinion, is as a result of the lack of scientific processes that Intelligent Design fails to present, the lack of research or is it, in your opinion, simply that those particular institutions discriminate against you because of a particular bias that they may have?

A. There's a tremendous amount of data supporting Intelligent Design. Every biochemical journal you would open would find evidence for Intelligent Design. It's there on every page. It's just that the people that write those have blinders on and they don't want to discuss, they don't want to see it. That's my view, my opinion. That if one were to look at the data objectively and ask where did that protein come from and address that question, you would be forced into-- if you're objecting to say, well, I don't know, it sure looks designed.

Q. Well, to say I don't know, in your opinion, then the alternative that should be taught is that it was designed?

A. I think we can determine that something was designed with great alacrity, most anybody could do that.

Q. Who is the designer?

A. That, I don't know.

Q. Would the designer imply a supernatural being?

A. If you could define supernatural for me.

Q. Something other than human.

A. Other than human?

Q. Something other than the biological processes.

A. Something-- I think that it's conceivable that something like that could exist.

Q. When you talk about an intelligent designer, to you personally what does that mean?

A. To me personally I-- because I hold the Christian faith I believe that we be guided by the Bible. That's a faith position, that's not a scientific position.

Q. So the designer, according to you, would be a Christian type designer?

A. Well-- and if I was a Muslim I would say the designer is Allah. If I was any other faith I might say-- you know, that's-- again, that's a faith position, that's not science. That's my opinion outside of the science classroom.

Q. So you would agree with me then that when we cannot find an answer in science at this moment that it would be appropriate to teach as science that since we don't know the answer right now it is appropriate to assume that it was by intelligent design someone?

A. No, I don't think that's necessarily the case. I think the first thing we say is something you said earlier is we don't know. And we would go a long ways in this discussion by simply having the majority view say we don't know, instead of saying we do know and this is what it is, it's a naturalistic process. I'd prefer "we don't know" because that's honest.

Q. You don't-- you don't suggest that science says that they have answers for everything, do you?

A. No, not everything. We have quite a list on the Minority Report.

Q. You understand that science is a quest for knowledge?

A. Quest for knowledge, right.

Q. Where in the standards do you find a definition or indication in any way whatsoever to atheism or philosophical materialism?

A. I see it between the lines. I don't see it written anywhere.

Q. You see it between the lines?

A. Yeah. In the presentation of unproven theories to fact.

Q. Unproven theories according to you?

A. According to me, exactly.

Q. Do the standards state anywhere that science or evolution theory is based on atheism or in any way in conflict with belief in God?

A. No, the standards do not address that.

Q. Is it your opinion that to believe in evolution one must adhere to naturalism?

A. If you would define evolution for me.

Q. Evolution as it is in the mainstream of scientific understanding.

A. That's what I need to have defined.

Q. You don't understand what I mean by evolution?

A. I know that that's the slipperiest term in town today and that term can mean change over time, which I agree with completely. That term can mean all that we have in the world today is an accident and I disagree with that. So I need a definition.

Q. Is evolution defined in Draft 2?

A. It's defined in toto, yes. It's described-- actually evolution is-- I don't think it's described quite like that as a definition like a dictionary definition, but it's certainly benchmark three, standard three, the 8th through 12th grade is all evolution.

Q. And is it your opinion that that definition stands for naturalism and some sort of religion?

A. The uncritical acceptance of a perspective that says all of life is here by chance, which is, I think, what the minority-- excuse me the majority report portrays.

Q. Where does it say that?

A. That's what I see it in toto. In words it doesn't say it, that's what I see.

Q. So once again, you are assuming that that's what it says? (Reporter interrupts). Just please hang on. You are simply making an assumption that that's what it means even though that that is not what it says, correct?

A. I am making the assumption based on working on those standards for the last nine months, yes.

Q. The question is, that's not what the standards say, correct?

A. We think they need to say it more clearly what evolution is, that's why we have the Minority Report.

Q. And is it your opinion that mainstream science today is, in fact, analogous to religion?

A. No, no, no, not at all. We're just talking a tiny sliver of science today that concerns itself with the origin of life. The origin of the universe, that area, I think is fundamentally driven by a naturalistic philosophy, but that is a very, very small piece of science.

Q. Based on your interpretation, is it your opinion that the majority are atheists?

A. No.

Q. You would agree, would you not, that there is absolutely no conflict between individuals possessing a particular faith and their ability to work in science?

A. I agree.

Q. And you would agree, would you not, that it is exceedingly important that science - for the betterment of humanity, for the education of our children, and for the separation of church and state - should not include atheistic views?

A. I think it shouldn't include any philosophical or religious views.

Q. I have nothing further for you.


MS. MARTIN: Thank you very much for being here, Doctor Harris. I think you've clarified for me and I hope for some of the spectators what our controversy is really about. I just want to tell you that I have three daughters who are all in science fields, a doctor, a veterinarian, and high school science teacher. And I was cleaning out my closets and found their old textbooks so I thought, well, I'd just look and, yes, I found four different types of definitions concerning evolution. And I agree with a lot of what you have said. I have no problem with the definition of evolution where it applies to microevolution. Thank you very much for your explanations.


Q. Doctor Harris, what is the purpose of science?

A. The purpose of science? I think science is to understand the natural world.

Q. I heard you agree a few minutes ago that it was a quest of knowledge?

A. It is that as well. That's kind of the way we get there, but the goal, I think, is to understand how the world works.

Q. Is science a search for truth?

A. Yes, regarding the natural world.

Q. Is there a difference between evolution that we can observe and evolution that we cannot see?

A. Sure, yeah. Evolution you cannot see, you don't know is actually-- again, there's that slippery term, but we're talking about-- hypothesis about how different life forms came to be if that's what you mean by evolution and we weren't there to see how it happened, we don't know how it happened. We have to leave it at that.

Q. That's commonly called microevolution, macro evolution by some?

A. Micro I think we do see. We can watch that in the laboratory. That's very well substantiated. The responses of bacteria to media with antibiotics and developing resistance, that's fine. They don't become a new bacteria. It's a change in a particular part of the cell membrane that allows them to live in that environment. That is not evolution, that is adaptation to the environment.

Q. Does mainstream science differentiate between micro evolution and macro evolution?

A. Not clearly in my view. I think that needs to be more clear. To me the smearing of those two together is the problem that brought us here today.

Q. Why does mainstream science of today not differentiate between them?

A. Well, I think that's a philosophical choice that's been-- that's a very complicated question. Since the mid 19th century there has been a move to make science only natural processes and define it that way and I think that's wrong. It's not-- science to me is not a list of allowed and disallowed explanations. It's a search. It's a method. It's a process, a systematic process where you control variables and have a measured outcome and draw conclusions that don't go beyond the data.

Q. I hear implicit in your answer - I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but I am trying to understand - that that is a bias. Is that a fair analysis of what you just said or is that incorrect?

A. Well, that's a-- it was a very general statement I just made. I think one would have to look at a specific situation. But in general when one-- when we're dealing with origins, which is a topic in the Minority Report, which is where the things come from, experiments done today in real time today can form that question. It can bring us closer to understanding perhaps ways that we could have come to be. But even if you could-- by an undirected natural process produce life in a test tube without an investigator manipulating anything, if that even happened, that would still-- I mean, that would be an impressive accomplishment. That would still not prove that's how it happened in the first place. It would only show that it happened there. One could not conclude logically that, therefore, you have explained and proven where life came from. So even the most wildly successful experiment conducted today would not prove what happened in history.

Q. I heard you say earlier that one of the goals is to achieve scientific neutrality?

A. I kind of mean constitutional neutrality. But the neutrality as I'm talking about, as I understand the constitution, when the state endeavors or touches upon an area of religion it's required to be neutral and not to advocate or support or denigrate any view, simply neutral.

Q. So what is the best way to avoid-- to achieve that-- what is the best evidence that you're trying to achieve to achieve the neutrality?

A. That you allow all relevant perspectives to be voiced. That all the data that hinges upon a question on the table is considered and you haven't, by definition, eliminated some perspective actually meaningful things to say about the question at hand. So you just present all the data. You allow chips to fall where they will.

Q. One of the things that I have promoted is the idea of imperical science and I define that as what is observable, measurable, testable with people, unfalsifiable, have those criteria, because I believe that that is the best way to avoid bias, the best way to achieve neutrality, is that something that many scientists ascribe to or few scientists or how would you say that?

A. I think the vast majority of scientists ascribe to that in the day-to-day work because the vast majority of scientists work in the-- what we call operational science today. They study the world as it works today from what I understand. When people get sick, why do they get sick. When crops won't grow, whey they-- when the oceans warm, why are they warming, what can we do to cool them down. Most scientists work in and they operate in exactly those characteristics that you described.

It's when we get into questions of origins, historical sciences that falsifiable, for example, is impossible. You cannot strictly falsify something that may have happened 30 years ago or a thousand. So historical science is a different character. I think they're a valuable type of science, but we have to be more careful with the way we treat their conclusions.

Q. You stated earlier that in many biochemistry journals the idea that a code is implanted in DNA and what makes that-- what defines the idea that that is a code of design?

A. Well, I didn't say a code was implanted in DNA. I said DNA is code.

Q. Okay.

A. It contains a sequence of chemicals that in common parlance spell out something. They spell out the shape of proteins and the proteins that they produce have functions and produce living reproducing organisms, so there's function. And simply the identification of a code-- I don't know of any code, there may be a code. I don't know of codes-- which is where one set of symbols corresponds to another set of symbols and is used to communicate a message. I don't know any example of a code coming from a nonintelligent source. So to me it's not irresponsible. It is not-- I mean, it's perfectly logical to say the code in DNA may have come from some intelligence, but that's where I think I have to stop.

Q. Why do many mainstream scientists, evolutionists, if you will, refuse to accept the idea that that code is-- that DNA is a code?

A. Oh, no, I don't think anybody refuses, I just don't think they think about it very deeply. Everybody knows it's a code. In my opinion, they haven't sat down, taken a deep breath and said where did that come from and really think about the fact that the bonds along the back bone of the nucleic acid are sugar phosphate bonds, every bond is identical. There's nothing chemically that's different between the bonds between a nucleic and a nucleotide containing a nucleus. So the fact that they form this chain is kind of like letters on a page. The letters don't have to be in that sequence. When they are in that sequence they communicate information, but they don't have to be that way. The same way in DNA, the letters don't have to be in the sequence that they are. By the chemical-- and the natural cause that we know of, therefore, just like text in a book the code in DNA has the fingerprints of intelligence, but the nature of that intelligence, the purpose of that, the-- how it happened, I don't know. But I can come to a conclusion-- at least a tentative conclusion of design, without knowing anything about where it came from.

If a Coke bottle fell out of the sky into an African desert and I was a native-- you know, the movie I'm talking about "The Gods Must Be Crazy." Those people knew that that Coke bottle was a design, but they had no idea what it was.

There's an entire wing in one of the museums in DC that's dedicated to objects that we don't know what they are, but we know they're objects made by humans. I mean, you don't have to know where it comes from, you don't have to know who did it, you don't have to know where it was done, you don't have to know when it was done to come to the conclusion that something was designed.

Q. When DNA is injured somehow or another, what is the tendency for that DNA strand to do?

A. To cease to serve its purpose well. It generally will totally depend on where the mutation is and the intensiveness of mutation. But in the same way if you garbled the letters in a paragraph you would lose the sense of the sentence of that paragraph.

Q. You talked about earlier that mutations that are beneficial versus harmful.

A. Uh-huh.

Q. What are those mutations that are beneficial?

A. There are in some-- there are very few, but one that I would mention is there's something we call a gain of function mutation where a gene or a particular organism at one time lost a function then had another mutation that brought it back. That's not really advancing anywhere, it's sort of returning to ground zero again from being in the basement. So that kind of mutation can happen. But by in large, I'm not a geneticist, but as I understand genetics and mutations-- I work with them, almost all mutations are considered either neutral or harmful to the existence-- for the existence of the organism.

Q. Okay. I thank you very much for your time.


Q. Doctor Harris, I want to also thank you for coming. I wish I had had you in my office to answer all the e-mails that came our way from across the circuit. You did a great job. Thanks. I just have one question. If you recall-- and I apologize I don't have Draft 2 in front of me, but if you recall grade eight, it would be standard three, benchmark three, the definition of evolution. Was this an assessment item?

A. We have not-- to my knowledge, we have not yet decided-- because this is still somewhat up in the air this section on evolution, we have not decided what is going to be tested, what's going to be assessed and what's not. So nothing is marked at this point on the assessment.

Q. Is it your feeling that the committee believes that that should be an assessment item?

A. I think that kids need to understand Darwinian evolution, they need to understand spades. And the problem we have here is people don't understand it. And so I would hope somebody would put a great big red "X" by this and test it because it needs to be really highlighted.

Q. Okay. Then grade seven, evolution as a theory. Do you recall if that is an assessment item?

A. That, I don't believe is. Actually I think that is part of teacher notes, as I recall, something that would not be assessed. Because-- you know, just kind of--

Q. Okay. My point is that the way these are written, wouldn't you agree, that the assessment-- state assessments are written around the standards and that it's very critical that we get every word correct and reflected in appropriate scientific inquiry?

A. Yeah. No, I agree with that.

Q. Okay. And then to add informed to the mission statement, what were some of the reasons not wanting to add the word informed?


A. Yeah, that's a good question, why would you not want to add that word. I think in the discussions, as I recall it, Mr. Krebs said-- and, Jack, you correct me if I'm wrong.

MR. KREBS: I will.

A. I trust you to do that. That on its surface there is nothing wrong at all with adding the word inform. But what Jack objected to was all the explanation and verbiage below it and that was some kind of Trojan horse coming in with it. Is that a fair assessment, Jack?

MR. KREBS: Are you giving me the opportunity to answer that?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Wait a minute. I think in all fairness he's asked a question of Mr. Crab and Mr. Crab should be permitted to answer it.

MS. MORRIS: We're probably down to one minute.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: It's not fair.

MR. KREBS: I'll hold a brief press conference at break.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Fair enough.

MR. CRAB: I'll be glad to do that.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Fair enough. Thank you, sir.

MS. MORRIS: That's all I have. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: We've completed this session a little bit early, so we're going to take a ten-minute break starting at 10:20 we will respond and be back at 10:30.

(THEREUPON, a short recess was had).

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: We need to go ahead and get started again, please. There are a couple of points I need to bring out. Please be aware of the following. This has been given to us by the security personnel. Security asks that all cameramen and photographers stay behind the blue lines. We just have room in the aisles as a safety precaution, this is fire code, allowing people to move in and out. Anyone that is reentering is asked to take a seat and not stand in the back or the side of the room. Again, we must have an open pathway throughout the room, this is for the fire code. Anybody not abiding by these will be asked to leave. And may I have your attention, please. Just hold it down. We're ready to go with the next witness. Mr. Calvert.

MR. CALVERT: Doctor Abrams and members of the committee, I'd like to introduce you to Doctor Charles Thaxton.

CHARLES THAXTON, Ph.D., called as a witness on behalf of the Minority testified as follows:


Q. Doctor Thaxton, I want to thank you for taking the time to come and visit with us today on, I guess in particular, the origin of life. Would you please introduce yourself a bit better about your background and your qualifications to speak today about chemical evolution.

A. You want academic background?

Q. And could you-- just a second. Please use the microphone. Is the microphone turned on?

A. Yes. I have a Ph.D. in chemistry from Iowa State University in Ames and I have studied beyond that. Post doctoral degree in history study at Brandeis University and also Harvard University where I studied history of science in the molecular biology labs at Brandeis. And academic background, my undergraduate was in chemistry and, of course, all my graduate degrees were in chemistry as well.

Q. So how did you get interested in origin of life?

A. I got interested in the origin of life during graduate school days. We had a visiting professor from-- I'm not sure what university he came by. The American Chemistry Society on a regular basis sent guest speakers to university campuses and this was on one of those occasions we had a seminar for our department and the full house attended the subject of the origin of life. And I thought it was quite interesting because the discussion was very animated. And that was my first introduction professionally to anything like chemistry dealing with these evolution subjects.

So I was fascinated from the point of view how evolution had come to my department in chemistry, so I was included in and listened. And then, of course, over the years after that I listened to other professors and talked to them and graduate students who were doing research on one level or another that related to the subject of origin of life and I asked questions.

But it really happened in a profound way when I-- in 1967 when an article appeared in the chemical engineering news magazine, front cover was "Life Transcending Physical Chemistry" I think was the title. And I read this with great interest. It was all about the message sequences in DNA and the unusual properties that they seem to have the capacity to communicate information, but they're not related-- but they cannot be accounted for by the rules of physics and chemistry. Hum, that was fascinating. So I continued to be of interest and interested in that.

And then after I finished my Ph.D. in chemistry, I went to the post doctoral program in the history of science department. At Harvard they gave great latitude to pursue interests in a lot of areas and one of my areas of interest was I was beginning to read in a very serious way the literature on the origin of life. And in those next two years I not only read quite a few papers on the subject, but also talked with professors at Harvard and MIT, both who were doing research in these areas. So I began to get more and more interested. And then when I went to my post doctoral program, well, we had people in our department who were actively involved in areas of the origin of life.

Q. Where was the post doc?

A. This was at Brandeis University. And then later I met a man by the name of Walter Bradley who was a professor at Texas A and M University and his interest was also in the area of origin of life. And we compared notes and discussed and eventually we teamed up with another man, a geochemist, Roger Olsen, and we wrote a book on our analysis of chemical evolution.

Q. Doctor Bradley is an engineer. Is that correct?

A. Yes, but on material science.

Q. How did that impact the origin?

A. Well, his expertise was in thermodynamics. And every chemical reaction includes the energy process by which the transformation takes place. So he was a very valuable addition to our effort.

Q. So the three of you, Doctor Bradley and Doctor Olsen, and yourself--

A. Yes.

Q. Doctor Olsen being a geochemist?

A. He provided the geological aspects.

Q. And so Bradley had the thermal dynamic perspective and you the chemical perspective?

A. Yes.

Q. And what was the product of your work?

A. The book was called, "The Mystery of Life's Origin," published in 1994. And that was followed up by quite an extensive lecture program. In fact, even prior to that, for five years before we wrote the book I was giving lectures on that same subject in universities throughout America. So when the book came out it was really a final written down expression of what we had been lecturing on for the previous four or five years.

Q. The book is titled, "The Mystery of Life's Origins," are you going to tell us more about that later on?

A. Yes, what the book is.

Q. How is this going to proceed-- and maybe you might also comment, has it been updated since 19-- I believe you said it was published in '84?

A. Yes, it was reissued, but not reedited, but reissued in 1992. We had-- we wrote an update chapter in 1998, not for English publication, but for the Hungarian edition and also the Czech edition of our book. So the English version of it has not been made available, but it has been updated.

And the book was at first, like we were, very anxious to see if anybody noticed it. And after seven or eight months it seemed no one had. And then there started to appear a few reviews in biological journals and chemical journals and these were mostly negative. And that gave us the notoriety at that point. The negativity produced thousands of situs. And so otherwise it might have been a total failure.

Q. Do you know Robert Schapiro?

A. Oh, yes, Bob and I have been friends for some years.

Q. And he also is interested in chemical evolution?

A. He is-- really he is an expert on DNA chemistry.

Q. What does he think about your book?

A. Well, he liked it. He wrote a blurb on the book. When I first-- we knew he didn't agree with our total point of view as a critical analysis, but we also knew he understood the chemistry involved and felt like he would probably give a fair assessment, at least from what I knew of reading several articles he had written at that time.

So we sent Bob a copy of the manuscript and then a few weeks later I talked with him on the phone and he basically said that he was writing a book also. In fact, his book came out a couple years later called, Origins of-- I forget.

Q. "Origins, A Sceptic's Guide to the Origin of Life."

A. Right, that was his book. He said he was going to write a more popular level book because we had written what he had wanted to say on a more technical level. So he wrote a popular book.

Q. Have you reviewed the Minority Report?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. And I believe there is an indicator that covers issue of origins. Let me see if I can't bring it up on the screen here. Indicator seven in the evolution benchmarked as standard three, benchmark three, grades eight to twelve. And you've reviewed this particular proposal?

A. Yes.

Q. And why do you believe that science standards should cover this particular issue, the origin of life at all?

A. Well, first of all, chemical evolution is the chemical preamble to biological evolution. So not only logically, but because it is important. But the-- as far as the curriculum goes I think it needs to be in there because textbooks already mention something about it, they mention about the origin of life. So what these guidelines do is give some kind of evaluation of it and that's why I'm here to give testimony.

Q. The purpose of the standards is to give set standards for what students are to know--

A. Yes.

Q. -- about a particular subject. And this particular area we're talking about is biological evolution and you believe that in order for them to, quote, understand that idea they also need to understand chemical evolution?

A. Yes. Chemical evolution, according to the overall evolutionary theory, needs to have something that can evolve and chemical evolution tells the story of where that came from.

Q. Have you reviewed the textbook descriptions of chemical evolution?

A. Yes.

Q. And could you characterize those as being complete, not complete?

A. Highly incomplete. In fact, at some point I have a few minute presentation to give that would cover this and maybe that question as well. So at some point I should do that.

Q. Okay. Indicator seven seeks to cover the issues that you're going to discuss here-- well, actually maybe this is-- is this the time to get into your power point discussion?

A. Yes, it covers that exactly.

Q. Okay. And I think at this point we're going to transfer the computer to Doctor Thaxton's table so he can manipulate it.

A. Okay. I'm going to begin with a letter that Francis Crick wrote to his son in 1953. This was just a matter of weeks before his famous publication about DNA appeared in the journals.

In his letter to his son he was trying to describe it-- notice that in red DNA is a code-- and he went on to describe, but it works just like newsprint to convey a message. He clarified in a very famous paper a couple years later-- a few years later what he meant by information as the precise determination of sequence either of a nucleic acid base or of the amino acids in a protein. So that's what he meant by information.

But since this has become over the years the essential feature and cart of the whole origin of life discussion, it's very important to keep these three words in mind and clearly as to what it is that, according to Crick, needs to be accounted for in the origin.

So the first-- I have three letters-- three arrangements of letters. The first one is on order arrangement. And by definition order is periodic. So these letter arrangements of X, Y, Z and spaces repeat across the page. An actual example of this would be a wallpaper pattern or a floor tile pattern and that's an example of what is meant by order.

The second letter arrangement is a complex arrangement. And by definition these are nonperiodic or aperiodic. Now, that set of letter sequences is all jumbled up letter sequences, no particular order or arrangement. And that is like the amino acids in a polymer that are gradually linked together. So that's a complex arrangement.

Now, there's a third arrangement that is also complex, therefore aperiodic. But this one, unlike number two, is said to be specified. Now, the letters look random like the others above until you figure out that they're a code and-- if you know how to read it. And so this was the stunning feature that Francis Crick had talked about in his letter to his son.

Now, from this we have a progress immediately to the chemical evolution scenario that is not only in the textbooks throughout the world and really in quite a few different levels of education we find this scenario taught in the books. Originally the idea was that the chemicals in the atmosphere reduced gasses would react under the influence of ultraviolet light from the sun, electrical discharges in the atmosphere, produce amino acids and they would crawl into the ocean or the water bodies of the earth. And then the amino acids would chemically react and eventually produce proteins and the heterophysycic basis or the nucleic acid basis would react with appropriate sugar and phosphates to make nucleic acids. And eventually through this kind of reaction process in the sea or the ocean, the water bodies, small lagoons, lakes, whatever, eventually life as we know it would have formed through a chemically-- I mean, a biologically able to sustain and go on and give the evolutionary process. That's what I meant by a chemical preamble to biological evolution.

And, of course, to illustrate the scenario-- Francis Crick did his work in '53. Same year another publication by Stanley Miller included the famous diagram with his name usually associated with it, The Miller Experiment, in which these reduced gasses were put in glassware and chemicals were reacted under the influence of spark discharges and the chemicals produced collected in the water. Upon analysis it was found that there were some amino acids that are known to be in living proteins. At the time this was quite dramatic and amazing. No one really expected to find it quite like this. It had been talked about since the '20s, but this was an experimental demonstration it seemed of just what those who wrote about it 30, 40 years before had written about it and here it was getting experimental confirmation that were on the early stages of this very process to produce life. So it was written up in all the books, as well as all the newspapers and magazines across the country.

But what is not usually known and what is not usually given in textbook analysis, although all the various data-- not all of it, but enough to give you the idea that there's a great deal of support for this hypothesis. What is usually missing in textbooks and what I believe this benchmark number seven was trying to address is any kind of an appropriate response to this. So here are the kind of things that are usually not mentioned in textbooks. It's usually not mentioned that there is no evidence that there was ever a reducing atmosphere on the plant earth. Nor is it ever mentioned that there is no geological evidence that there was ever prebiotic soup on plant earth.

The question of optical activity, which means that amino acids that are produced in Miller's reaction flasks appeared both right handed and left handed forms, but in-- I mean, amino acids of proteins only the left hand amino acids are actually formed.

Also the idea of a question of a shrinking time frame. In 1960s we thought there was on the order of a thousand or a-- a thousand million years or a billion years for these chemical processes to produce life. Even at the time our book was written in 1984 that figure had shrunk from a billion years to only a 170 million years as a time frame. But more and more has been learned about the planet and now a few years ago it was declared that, well, there's probably no more than 10 million years at the outside for which life could have produced and that has been gradually shrinking down. You go to origin of life conferences and you hear people talking in numbers below a million and some even suggest thousands of years. In other words, a very quick process, too quick for geological time measures to deal with. So, in effect, as soon as we have the earth cooled enough to bear life, there's geological evidence that life already exists. So that's what I mean by the shrinking time frame.

There's also the difficulty of the problem of interfering cross reactions. And this simply means that in the-- in the reaction flask, for example, that Miller performed, yes, there are amino acids present, but in a real earth, in a real water body environment, you would also find amino acids reacting with sugars, reacting with other amines, reacting with our amino acids even, different ones that are living biological amino acids, as well as other types of chemical reactions. The end result would be what I call interfering cross reactions that would lead to nonproductive dead ends. And as the end result of all that they take the amino acids out of the soup of chemicals effectively very early on. And so even though number two up there I said there's no prebiotic soup, no evidence for one, every theory still talks about a dilute soup. But how dilute, how dilute? Perhaps and probably no more concentrated than today's oceans in amino acids. That is what I mean by very dilute.

Other situations-- another issue or another problem that needs to be addressed or mentioned in these textbooks, I believe, curriculum, is the fact of undirected energy flow. Yes, there's a lot of energy around, but-- and it goes into the chemicals to make chemical reactions, but they are not directed in any way to give something meaningful.

To illustrate, if you had a pile of bricks here and put a stick of dynamite right under it, yes, you would have a lot of energy liberated, but it would not produce anything effective like a house. And so the same would happen in these on the early earth according to the way energy is used in an undirected way. But the most difficult of all is there's no abiotic source of information. Now, that was the number one feature that Crick mentioned in that letter to his son. And he defined it as what he meant needed to be explained and there's no abiotic, there's no nonbiological source, there's no way chemically, physically, biologically, nonbiologically to produce that information.

Now, over the years there's no shortage of theories to try to do it. I won't go into these, I'll just mention them here. But on the next there's also the same kind of thing, no shortage of theories dealing with different ways in which to suggest how the information may have or might have been produced. One of the more common ones is what is called here the RNA world. RNA is a variant of DNA, it's another nucleic acid, but it's become very important. But I want to mention-- just show you what is involved here without getting into the specifics.

In order to make RNA you have to first of all have the nucleotides, the nucleotides have to come together. I only show this to emphasize the fact that even at this simple level there is 2,160 different nucleotides and there's only one of them that appears in a biological system. Well, of course, that number grows big time by the time you get to the hundreds that are in RNA and even more when you have DNA. So the point is that it's not a trivial problem and the undirected energy flow and those-- and those interfering cross reactions would virtually guarantee that those chemical soups would be virtually deficient in any-- missing even any of these kind of chemicals like this. And by the way this is one of the principal arguments that you mentioned-- you mention Bob Schapiro earlier. This is one of the things that he and I talked about. It's just this very reaction. He's probably written some of the definitive material on how adolene, for example, and other substances like ribose here, the sugar, would be virtually absent from the chemical soups.

So what do I advocate? One, a clear presentation of chemical evolution, including supporting evidence and the criticism. And, second, I advocate a view of science that keeps an open mind and uses an open method that follows evidence where it leads.

Now, there is a perspective that says science proceeds by only examining natural causes. The natural cause only view. Well, in my experience and certainly in this case of origin of life that we're going to see, I think it's an especially applied rule or principle-- it's not really a principle, it's just adhered to in these origin areas because it's easy to demonstrate in the general case that it's false. For example, a case of Jones lying dead on the floor. We consider natural causes only. Oh, really. We cannot consider the possibility that there was-- that there was murder or suicide. What about the case of the exploding space shuttle? You mean to tell me we cannot consider the idea of sabotage. And what about a burning building? There's no way to consider that maybe arson was involved, we have to consider natural causes only. What about those signals from space we've been hearing about? There's no way to consider that maybe extraterrestrial intelligence had anything to do with this. Of course, this was all done within science, but it wouldn't be possible to carry on this investigation if we practice rigorously this idea of natural cause only.

Also what about this, natural cause only, well, maybe those random typing monkeys produced it. But we know from experience there's a code that can spell this out. What about the situation of Eoliths? Eoliths were stones that were discovered and for many years they were thought to be indicators of early human activity, but it so happens with-- what I call the method of following experience where it goes you were free to consider other possibilities besides human activity. And eventually the assignment of cause was changed and now we recognize that these were just the result of stones tumbling in a river, or something like that, naturally produced.

So I have this up here, I have-- somehow it doesn't come out quite right. But the end result is that we're going to follow the evidence where it leads. That's the problem. So what's the ultimate response to all of this. Just say no to natural cause only and follow evidence where it leads.

So how do we in a real case, a real situation follow the evidence where it leads. We know, for example, if we find a fossil in the ground we know how to work backwards to the cause, we know how to account for this by making proper inference and so we infer that there was some creature that produced the fossil. And we've also, since the great molecular biological revolution, have learned to make a further inference and we know that somehow it's related or connected to the informational information in the DNA and RNA. So the big controversy is what we put here. What I'm urging this committee to do and in other places is to not close off the possibility. Don't just impose a natural cause only perspective that would force the answer to be natural process when not only did Francis Crick not know any natural process that could produce it, no one else in the world today knows a natural process that could produce it. And you can tell, I believe, what Crick himself was thinking as other possibilities when he said biologists when considering DNA must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.

So the purpose of my testimony here is not to advocate or promote Intelligent Design, but simply to point out that the guidelines, if they are-- if you're not careful in avoiding some decision that would adopt a process or a methodology that would prevent acquisition of humanology in the future that might counter the natural cause answer. So that's the thing that I would say and the end.

Q. Thank you, Doctor Thaxton. Indicator seven section, to cover the issues of your talk, you believe the indicator states an appropriate goal and so why is it necessary to complete a student's understanding of biological evolution?

A. Well, let's see here, where are you, on number seven?

Q. Yeah. Maybe if I could have the computer back.

A. Yeah.

Q. Okay. Here's the indicator seven I just asked you about and the question was, is that an appropriate goal for the standards that students will be able to explain the proposed scientific explanations of the origin, as well as the scientific criticisms of those explanations, is that an appropriate goal and why is it that students should be introduced to that subject in the standards? Maybe you've already covered that.

A. Yeah, I think I did. I think it is an appropriate goal, yes. But my understanding was that there's nothing like this in the standards now. Is that correct?

Q. That's correct.

A. Well, that's why I'm here to urge the Board to-- or the committee to add this because I think it is important to know about chemical evolution. But the big danger is this, that this is a highly speculated theory and if you have a highly speculated theory that is unchecked by criticism there's a real danger there, especially with student minds, to draw the wrong conclusion and think that speculation is really solid knowledge when it isn't. This is a highly speculated theory.

Q. The word "understand" as the dictionary defines it means to comprehend and appreciate the subtleness of and so forth, and the word understand prefaces the idea that students will understand biological evolution. So are you testifying that in order to fulfill the goal of true understanding and comprehension students need to receive this information?

A. I think the problem-- yes, that the problem-- the question of where the cell came from is relevant to the study of biology itself.

Q. What would-- in your opinion, what would it take to development curriculum for this particular standard?

A. Well, there would need to be an accurate statement of what chemical evolution is and a presentation of legitimate data in support of it, as well as criticism of it. That's the-- that's what I think needs to be done. It hasn't been done yet to do that because there's some of the textbooks already that give a fair job of reviewing, at least on high school level and other levels, what is involved in the origin of life and what that theory is. But if-- my purpose for being here would be adequately covered if there was also enough of a criticism to suggest to the students that, well, maybe this is not subtle knowledge after all.

Q. So your curriculum would, in a sense, envision perhaps some supplementation to the current standard textbook?

A. Well, if there's no textbook available, yes.

Q. Do you have any suggestions for improving the indicator?

A. Well, I think maybe some of the terminology in the language in different places might be typed up, but overall I think it's okay. I haven't analyzed every word carefully, but I think it's fine.

Q. Doctor Harris talked earlier today about scientists that had peer-reviewed the Minority Report and specifically made comments on this particular proposed addition to it. Did you look at any of those peer reviews?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did you have any comments on those?

A. Well, just a general one. I really think that what we're doing is looking at this Minority Report, I was focusing in primarily on the origin life part. But I would say they were so focused using the lens of a natural versus supernatural way of thinking that they perceived any criticism of evolution or chemical evolution as tantamount to attacking science and, of course, that is false. There is no science without an adequate criticism and so this is-- this is part of the science is criticism. And any science that weathers the criticism and survives, the better theory for it. So yes.

Q. I'd like you to switch to focus on this one indicator-- or this one benchmark to indicator one which describes evolution-- biological evolution descent with modification is a scientific explanation for the history of the diversification of organisms from common ancestors and then the Minority Report would add a couple of sentences under A that would add to that. And the first sentence is, "Biological evolution postulates an unpredictable and unguided natural process that has no discernible direction or goal." My first question is, do you believe that sentence is scientifically accurate and valid?

A. I think it describes the Darwinian thought, yes.

Q. Do you think that is information that students should understand in order to have or comprehend biological evolution?

A. You mean that there's no guidance?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes. If they're going to understand the theory, they need to know that part of it too.

Q. Okay. The second sentence is, "It also assumes that life arose from an unguided natural process." Is that also a scientific valid statement and perhaps something the student should understand?

A. Yeah. In chemical evolution the only guiding that's been done, if there is any, is chemical law and chance, chance chemical reaction through natural processes and natural law. All that was there involved Darwinian thought to do it, so evolution entails that.

Q. Sort of an overview, what is the current status of the scientific thinking about the origin of life? I mean, are we closer to an answer or is it-- have we gone back a step; I mean, how could you explain that position?

A. Chemical evolution is some-- it depends on who you read obviously. But in many ways it's become a stagnant field in the sense that the essential issues or problems, like the information problem I talked about, there's been hardly any advance on that. Do we have theories? Yes, more all the time. And for that it's-- there's enough new material or new things happening, being talked about to fill up many conferences.

But there are certain areas in-- like, for example, our book was written in 1984, you wanted to know why we haven't revised it maybe since, that's a part of the problem in that in some of these areas there's not much need of a revision because there hasn't been that much of a change. There's other areas where new theories have come in. Like when we wrote our book the RNA hypothesis wasn't discussed, but it is now. But the point is the same level of what goes on in that soup is the same as before and general-- generally there's not been a great advance beyond where things were even back then. New theories, but they don't solve the essential basic problems. If that helps.

So review-- in other words, review articles still come out today that say we are a long way from solving the problems. And perhaps one of the greatest illustrations of how little progress has been made comes from people like Stanley Miller who have been at it from the beginning and they say--


A. How little progress has been made.

Q. (BY MR. CALVERT) Do you think-- well, let me ask you this, what is, in your mind, evidence of design in natural phenomenon?

A. Well, this is the-- if you want to look at it there's been a lot of discussion and I would say even things like in physics areas, astronomy areas, as well as biochemistry areas a lot of this has been discussed and talked about whether it be a carbon atom itself, there have been people who have talked about them even the carbon atom was designed. I think what they mean by that is do you need relevant plays among all the atoms in its role in life processes. But in addition it's part of what became known later as the fine tuning problem of the universe. All the physical constants have to be just so in order to have life as we know it. So that is generally what I consider the design feature of the universe.

Now, you don't have to be a religious person to draw that conclusion. I mean, there are plenty of people who are not religious who are amazed as anybody else is by these design features. That they're apparently real, they're not just made up. Not just religious people do it. And I think it's the same thing in biology, more and more people are recognizing that area as well.

Q. Do you think the State Board should make it as a policy that Intelligent Design should not be allowed to be discussed in a science classroom?

A. Oh, I would say in a science classroom if it comes up-- the subject of intelligent design comes up, I would revel with the chance of having a discussion. Yes, that's great inquiry, discussion.


MR. CALVERT: Thank you very much. Doctor Thaxton has provided the committee with written testimony which covers some of the remarks that the time would not allow.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Mr. Irigonegaray, you have 20 minutes.



Q. Sir, I have just a few questions for you. First of all, what is your opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. My opinion-- it really wouldn't matter to me if it was one hundred billion years old.

Q. That wasn't my question.

A. I don't know.

Q. My question is, sir, what is your opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. Well, I generally say, when people ask me that, it's probably between 10 or 15 billion years old.

Q. Between 10 and 15 billion years old?

A. The universe.

Q. I asked you about the earth.

A. Oh, four-and-a-half million years. [It is likely that Thaxton probably meant to say 4.5 billion years which is the is the mainstream geology age of the earth or that court reporter made an error -- editor.]

Q. Four-and-a-half million years. Do you believe in common descent?

A. You mean, common ancestry?

Q. Common descent, yes.

A. Well, I have difficulty with common ancestry and maybe that's what you mean by common descent.

Q. Do you believe in common descent in humans, such as the fact that there were prehominids before homo sapiens?

A. Are you asking me if I accept evolutionary thought on this?

Q. I'm asking you if you accept prehominids as the ancestral line to homo sapiens?

A. Personally I don't, no.

Q. You what?

A. I personally do not.

Q. You do not?

A. Yes. I mean, I'm not an expert on this. I don't study those things in terms like I have done this.

Q. I understand. Do the science standards anywhere mention the word "atheism"?

A. The ones I read did not.

Q. Do the science standards anywhere use the word "materialism"?

A. I don't see it.

Q. Do the science standards anywhere use the term "humanism"?

A. No, not to my knowledge.

Q. Do the science standards anywhere use the term "unguided" or "undirected" or "accidental"?

A. I don't recall seeing that.

Q. Do the science standards anywhere limit the ability of teachers to discuss criticisms of evolution with their students?

A. Do they prevent the teachers from discussing it with them you mean if--

Q. Let me repeat the question so you're clear, sir. Do the standards limit the teachers' and students' ability to discuss criticism of evolution?

A. I don't think so, no.

Q. Should, in your opinion, science include references to the supernatural?

A. Oh, I don't believe so.

Q. Should science include references to miracles?

A. No, not as science, no.

Q. Should science in any way advance a theistic view?

A. Atheistic view?

Q. Theistic.

A. Well, not theistic and not atheistic.

Q. Should science be absolutely neutral as it relates to theism?

A. If it was possible.

Q. Would you please tell us where specifically in the standards is the origins of life addressed?

A. Is the origin of life addressed in the standard?

Q. That's what I'm asking, yes, sir.

A. Well, I don't know that they are.

Q. All right.

A. I'm here to suggest that they be put in.

Q. Do the standards prohibit a teacher from bringing up in class the origins of life?

A. No.

Q. Is there anything in the standards that would prevent a teacher from discussing the difficulties associated with research into the origins of life?

A. A teacher?

Q. Let me repeat the question if you did not understand it.

A. Well, I'm thinking about--

Q. Is there anything in the standards--

A. Oh.

Q. -- that would prevent a teacher from discussing the difficulties associated with research into the origin of life with his or her students?

A. I don't know that it specifically addresses that.

Q. It is possible, is it not, pursuant to the standards for a teacher to discuss current research into the origins of life with a clear understanding that the field is still wide open?

A. I guess it's possible.

Q. You would agree with, would you not, that the science standards provide a foundation for the development of a curriculum and they do not limit the scope of knowledge?

A. Well, I think they do limit the scope of knowledge.

Q. In what manner, sir?

A. They adopt the natural cause only perspective and I think that limits them.

Q. And you're suggesting that supernatural causes should be inserted?

A. That's an example of precisely the kind of thinking that I said the majority report put in that I thought was the problem.

Q. Well, if it's limited to the natural and you suggest that that is inappropriate to limit it to natural, wouldn't logically that would require us to teach the supernatural?

A. If you're talking about metaphysics, yes, but we're not talking about metaphysics.

Q. We're talking about science?

A. Natural does not mean naturalism unless you exclude the possibility that-- not exclude, if you say only natural causes are permitted that, in effect, is saying-- it's what's tacit naturalism. Even though you haven't used it, you're saying natural cause only.

Q. Sir, please don't put words in my mouth. I have not used the word naturalism. Naturalism is something completely different.

A. That's true.

Q. Naturalism implies that the individual with that belief excludes the possibility of a God in any process. I am talking about the natural process which is involved in science. Do you believe that in an appropriate scientific curriculum for the children of the State of Kansas supernatural theistic opinions should be included, yes or no?

A. No.

Q. Is there any part of the curriculum that do not allow children or teachers to criticize any aspect of science?

A. Excuse me, will you repeat that again?

Q. I'll be happy to. Is there anything in the science standards that would not permit teachers from criticizing with their students any aspect of science?

A. No, I don't think so.

Q. Is there anything in the standards that would deny a teacher and student, if they chose to so do, to discuss Intelligent Design?

A. You mean a student can probably ask a question.

Q. Listen to my question carefully. Is there anything in the standards that would prohibit a teacher from discussing Intelligent Design with her students?

A. I think there is.

Q. Where?

A. When it talks about natural cause only.

Q. Where it talks about natural cause only?

A. There are statements that I read in it that I--

Q. Would you show me specifically where you suggest that that exists?

A. I don't have it here with me. But if you want to provide me, I can look.

Q. You're the witness, sir, I'm asking you. You say that it limits it that it cannot be discussed.

A. I recall-- I recall reading in the standards that the implication of a suggestion that we're dealing only with natural processes and so it is--

Q. Don't the standards also allow a teacher to discuss issues raised by students in the classroom without denying them the opportunity to do so?

A. They can ask questions, sure.

Q. Okay. And if they can ask questions isn't Intelligent Design perhaps one of those questions they could ask about?

A. And be in strict accordance with the guidelines.

Q. The guidelines do allow for students and teachers to discuss any criticism they may wish about science, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And that would include Intelligent Design, correct?

A. Well, yeah, this is the troubling thing because the standards don't talk about Intelligent Design.

Q. No, they don't. But the sciences do permit a broad range of activities, including questions from children to their teachers, and there's nothing in the standards that says Intelligent Design cannot be included in that discussion, correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. I wanted to go back for a moment to the DNA and its code. Is it your testimony that DNA is evidence of an Intelligent Design?

A. No, that is it not my testimony. I am using it only as an illustration to show the error of limiting to natural process only. The inference is to something other than natural process and what that is--

Q. Yes, sir. I apologize, sir.

A. I said and what that is is where my question was. I'm suggesting that if you're going to go beyond that then you're dealing with matters that the guidelines don't want you to talk about.

Q. You would agree with the proposition that because we may not have an answer today that explains in a natural manner an issue, that we should not stop looking for a natural answer, you would agree with that, would you not?

A. Well, I think we should look for natural answers-- natural cause answers.

Q. And you would agree with me that historically we have seen in our world significant problems when a theistic view is imposed on observations of the natural world, you would agree with that, would you not?

A. When you're talking about theism and the classroom then I'm saying that it is not part of the science program.

Q. That wasn't my question. You would agree with me that the world is replete with many occasions in which theistic views imposed on the scientific process have created significant concerns for humanity, correct?

A. Concerns?

Q. Problems.

A. Well, what do you mean by problems?

Q. Do you-- can you think of any issues at all, based upon your knowledge, where theistic views either denied science to progress or punished scientists for attempting to develop a natural explanation to that which was surrounding them?

A. Well, in the history of science there's all kinds of examples of those, yes.

Q. In the history of--

A. History of science.

Q. You would agree with me, for example, at one point we believed that the earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around us?

A. At one time, yes.

Q. And you also would agree with me that at one time individuals that spoke out against that proposition were considered heretics, correct?

A. It was defined as a heretical view, yes.

Q. And you would agree with me further, would you not, that through the process of science, the search for understanding of the natural processes around us, we've learned that the earth was not the center of the universe, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Correct?

A. That's correct, yes, we learned that.

Q. And you would agree with me that to have allowed a theistic control of those processes would have stifled scientific growth?

A. In that case it was Aristotelian, not theistic necessarily.

Q. You will-- you would further agree with me, would you not, that it is important to allow science therefore to remain absolutely neutral as it goes forth in attempting to find answers?

A. That would be great.

Q. And you would further agree with me that it is totally unfair, inaccurate, inappropriate, and intellectually dishonest to paint all scientists with a broad brush that says unless-- unless they abandoned the natural process and accept design they are not really Christians or able to have a theistic faith?

A. There was a lot in that question, can you unpack it individually for me?

Q. I have no further questions of you, sir. Thank you for being here.


Q. Hello, Doctor Thaxton.

A. Hello.

Q. Nice to have you here. Welcome to Kansas.

A. Thank you.

Q. I'm an elementary teacher and I'm humbled by the intelligence before me, so bear with me. I'm a little confused about the prebiotic soup. Now, did I understand correctly that either-- well, help me understand, either we don't have any-- we have no evidence of the soup or at best it was an unenergized diluted water?

A. Yes, that was a little perhaps confusing because I had two different points on there. No, there's no geologic evidence there was ever a soup, but all the theories talk about it.

Q. Okay. So I can go out of here and people will say to me you've been saying there's evidence that refutes the-- Darwin's theory of evolution and so I've been hoping these hearings would help me have some good hard evidence that I can repeat. So I can say with certainty there is no evidence of the prebiotic soup?

A. In all my reading and talking with experts about it, I've never heard anyone say they have evidence of prebiotic soup. As far as I know there's plenty of statements to show that there's evidence it did not exist.

Q. Isn't that a critical problem for the theory of evolution, didn't we need that nutrient rich muddy pond to--

A. Well, this is precisely one of the major factors that led some people to think life was dumped here by comets.

Q. Great. Thank you.


Q. Thank you. And I think part of the naturalistic view is in the induction under the nature of science and that's where it comes out. So almost not allowing any other view would almost be not allowing this soup idea because it's not really naturalistic as far as I'm concerned. We can't see a soup in nature acting now, so how can we allow it as a part of this theory even-- I mean, I just see a lot of complications here if we don't allow other things besides strictly naturalistic things. You have to use imperialism when you deal with science and I'm not going to ever say that, but I think in the historical sciences we have used a lot of assumptions so that we have to be careful. And if we're going to keep it all to natural explanation maybe we have to get rid of these assumptions that were made in historical science.


Q. Regarding the chemical soup.

A. Yeah.

Q. Generally that is thought to be-- from what I understand, it's generally thought to be a generally in a reducing atmosphere and that would be comprised of carbon monoxide, dioxide, nitrogen, ammonia, and so forth. Am I understanding that correctly, is that what most theories propose?

A. Well, a reducing atmosphere would be one of methane ammonia, but overall it would be-- they would say it needs to be reducing. In effect, if it's oxidizing you won't get the chemical reactions that Miller got in his reaction flasks. So he's done it with nitrogen and carbon dioxide and not much comes out of it, not much in the way of productive things come from it.

That's why in the early days chemical evolution was much more positively received than it is now, in my opinion, because they were dealing with methane and ammonia atmosphere. But the difficulty with even that atmosphere has been that there's no-- there's no justifiable way to account for methane in that atmosphere. So they've given it up and what would-- what would now they think be out of the atmosphere might have been in it. Pretty much the same kind of thing that comes from volcanos today, mainly carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, but not-- but not methane and ammonia.

Q. With that in mind, then the energy that might be associated with that might be from UV light. Is that correct?

A. Yes, they still hold that view. That's still correct.

Q. But in the presence of UV light what happens to the organisms that might be formed?

A. Well, according to the theory, by the time organisms themselves would have formed, if they-- if they formed immediately they'd be destroyed because of all that ultraviolet light. There's kind of a conundrum there, an enigma. There needs to be some way to generate an ozone layer to protect the living organism from lethal rays of ultraviolet, but not before it has time to form. So that's a problem also. And you don't have an ozone layer unless you have oxygen and where does the oxygen come from. So that's been a difficulty.

Q. That's my point about that is that obviously oxygen has problems with the reducing atmosphere and also the UV light not only is the source of it, but also destroys it without the ozone and that is an increase in oxygen in that layer up there. So you're correct in my understanding also of what I read is that that is a conundrum.

I'd like to talk also about the idea of science, the best way to avoid bias. And I have been a proponent of imperical science as defined by observable, measurable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable. And is that something you believe is in the realm of good science?

A. Oh, yes, I do. Difficulty in practice over the years, however, in dealing with any-- any subject like chemical evolution has a time component to it where you're extrapolating from what we see in the lab today to the past. And the problem is that you can have-- the best you can ever achieve is a highly plausible theory. Highly plausible theories may not be accurate, but they can be an indicator of what probably took place. And so that's the reason why, technically speaking, falsifiablity doesn't work. You cannot disprove something unless you can test it. But you can-- this is what we wrote had-- we had to persuade a lot of people that there's legitimacy to the field of chemical evolution because it deals with events you hypothesize that took place three to four billion years ago. So how can you do that if you can't disprove it? You can possibly generate a plausible scenario of what did happen. And then the experiment in the laboratory today may give credibility or add plausibility to that.

What I'm suggesting is that I think the students and the curriculum need to know about it, the possibility, in fact, what has happened is that more and more of these experiments have been done, you narrow the speculation down because of your new knowledge. And so I would say the chemical evolution theory is highly implausible rather than plausible, but not falsified.

Q. But that's also the reason that is-- going back to the science curriculum standards, that you are suggesting that the critical analysis of biological evolution, chemical evolution is a good thing to do?

A. Yes, exactly.

Q. Okay. Thank you very much.

A. You're welcome.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: We're going to break for lunch. We will return at about 12:55. Please wait, do not leave, I have an announcement. Those participant screenings via metal detectors was a precautionary measure we had considered in the planning of this hearing. At the time we had-- didn't know anything about any problems, but for the safety and security of the participants and the audience Capital Police will have metal detectors stationed outside the auditorium throughout the remainder of the hearings. We expect them to be here by about 12:30. So all people coming back after lunch will go through the metal detectors. Please expect some delays. Thank you.

(THEREUPON, a luncheon recess was had).




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