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

Kansas Evolution Hearings

Part 8


CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Mr. Calvert, please proceed.

MR. CALVERT: Thank you, Dr. Abrams. I'd like to present as my next witness Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, nationally recognized for his work on the scientific, philosophical, educational and legal aspects of the biological origins controversy. Dr. Meyer is currently director and senior fellow of the Center For Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

STEPHEN MEYER, Ph.D., called as a witness on behalf of the Minority, testified telephonically as follows:


Q. Dr. Meyer, I really appreciate your joining us this morning. And we have in the room here the science committee of the Kansas State Board of Education consisting of Dr. Abrams, Ms. Morris, Mrs. Martin, and then counsel for the majority, Mr. Pedro Irigonegaray. And we have lots of media and the public and so forth. So I appreciate your joining us this morning. To get our conversation started, I wonder if you could amplify a bit on your background.

A. Sure. Can you all hear me? I apologize for appearing by phone.

Q. I believe so. People are nodding their heads.

A. I will continue, then. My educational background begins with a bachelor's of science in physics and geology. I practiced as a professional geophysicist with the Atlantic Richfield Company for four years. After that I went and I had a Rotary Fellowship to study the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University where I ended up doing both my master's and my doctorate. My doctorate dissertation was on the origin of life issue, in particular, the methodology of historical sciences and the history of origin of life biology, sometimes called origin of life research. Since completing my doctorate, I taught for twelve years at college in the philosophy department focusing on the philosophy of science, and I am published in both the scientific and the philosophical aspects of the issue of the origin of life on (unintelligible) theory. I focused on the question of the origin of first life and the origin of the Cambrian phylum, sometimes called the Cambrian Explosion. In the philosophical area, I have written on the question of the definition of science, the-- and the-- what are called demarcation arguments that purport to define science that-- arguments that are used to define science normatively and to justify what's called methodological naturalism. My expertise in that area was acknowledged by an invitation to contribute to a book by-- that was published by Garland called The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition. It's an encyclopedia and I was asked to contribute to the article on the demarcation of science and religion, which I think will be relevant. I also co-authored an article with David DeWolf of Gonzaga Law School and Professor Mark DeForrest also of Gonzaga Law School. It was published in the Utah Law Review, which examined the constitutionality of discussing theories, in particular the theory of intelligent design as an alternative to neo-Darwinism and chemical evolution theory in the public schools.

Q. Dr. Meyer, I believe you've also written on your recommendations regarding science education policy, is that correct?

A. That's right. I forgot to mention that. In 2003 I co-edited and contributed several chapters to a book called Darwinism, Design, and Public Education which was published by Michigan State University Press. My co-editor and contributor to that volume was John Campbell of the University of Memphis, one of the leading rhetoricians of science in the country and the leading expert on the rhetorical argument and structure of Darwin's Origin of the Species. In the book we advance a model of scientific education which will be called Teaching the Controversy, and true to our pedagogical recommendations we included critiques of both the scientific articles and the policy proposals that we have made in the past from leading Darwinian figures, Michael Ruse and William Dembski.

Q. Would you perhaps summarize briefly, Dr. Meyer, your recommendations for a science-- an appropriate science education policy for a public school?

A. Well, I know that the focus of your discussion is the question of biological origin and the question of evolution, and so I'll focus my remarks on that, although our recommendation that the controversy and disagreement among scientists be incorporated into the curriculum, I think, can apply to other disciplines as well. But very simply, we recommend that the neo-Darwinian evolution and the standards called biological evolution, that the standard received theory of biological evolution today is still neo-Darwinism, although there are many competitors among scientists, but the standard proven theory called neo-Darwinism is something that we think students should learn about. They should learn about the main-- the two main parts of the theory, the theory of universal common descent and also the idea that natural selection acting on random variation and mutation has the power to generate new biological forms. And further, students should also learn the current scientific criticisms of the theory as they assist in the scientific literature. So we think that students should learn the theory, they should learn the strengths, they should also learn the scientific weaknesses, and that the mode of instruction should be based on evidential concurrence. That is to say the starting points should be the evidence that scientists are using to support or challenge the theory. And we in the book also discuss the existence of alternatives; in particular, the controversial alternative of the theory of intelligent design. And our recommendation-- my recommendation at the Discovery Institute, we are recommending the same thing, and that is that the students be required to learn the perceived theory of neo-Darwinism and should be required also to learn the current criticisms of the theory. They should be permitted to-- actually, teachers should be permitted on a voluntary basis to discuss alternative theories, whether that's self-organization, structuralism, intelligent design or punctuated equilibrium. So that's our recommendation. I understand that you-- that in the minority report there are criticisms of the standard textbook theory of biological evolution introduced, and that's entirely in line with the recommendations that we have made. I think it's important, however, to make sure that as you proceed in developing a-- the science education policy, that you make sure that the policy is based very much on the scientific evidence on both sides of the question. I understand from media reports and also some of the reports from colleagues submitted for the hearing that there has been quite-- there has been some discussion among some of your witnesses about their religious beliefs. I understand that some of that has been coaxed out of them. I think the-- as you evaluate the value of the testimony you get - I am now speaking mainly to your board members - it will be important to realize that not all the testimony you have received these last two days or receive today has the same value. I think that your hearing, to me, was to be properly framed around the question of whether or not there is significant scientific criticism of neo-Darwinism in the scientific literature. I think that's the correct question to be asking. It's unfortunate that the Darwinian biologists didn't appear to defend their side of the argument, but in the sense that's not really that important because you're on a fact finding mission to find out whether or not there is a significant criticism in the literature and in the wider scientific community. And I think some of the distinguished biologists you had this week have no doubt made a good case for that. I certainly think there is a tremendous amount of criticism of the theory that students should be permitted to know about. By the same token, I think it's important as people have had religious-- their religious views coaxed out of them to realize that that is possibly irrelevant. And whether it's irrelevant is that everyone who is thinking about this issue has to think about the issue in a larger philosophical and world view context. And people on both sides of the question have ideas about how their scientific theory might fit in with the larger religious world view or philosophical perspective. From our standpoint, my standpoint as a scholar that's worked on the-- not only the philosophical end, but also the questions of what is an appropriate public policy, I would strongly recommend that you base your policy on your-- the scientific evidence and the things that you have found in your hearings this week that establish there is a scientific basis for criticism of the theory and therefore something that students should know about that they are probably not being told about in existing textbooks and that you properly disregard testimony about the various religious views or non religious views of your witnesses and participants.

Q. Dr. Meyer, I would like to go to-- in particular, go to the provisions-- by the way, I take it you have reviewed the minority report?

A. I have reviewed the minority report and the majority report as it applies to the topic at hand, your standards for evolution.

Q. Great. And in particular, have you reviewed the provisions that appear on page 9 relating to--

A. I have, and I will turn to it now, if that will be helpful.

Q. What I would like to do is direct your attention to discuss the proposed changes in the minority report that relate to the historical-- the issue of student understanding of a distinction between historical sciences and a more experimental based science. And when I'm talking about the historical sciences, I'm talking about the sciences that deal with remote historical events where it's difficult by experiment and direct observation to confirm or validate, you know, a particular hypothesis. And the provisions in particular appear on page 9. And the 12th grade-- grade 8 through 12 standard for Benchmark 2. That's an earth science benchmark. And, in particular, indicator 2, and the additional specificity, and then also on page 10, there is a paragraph that provides a teacher's note that explains the issues to help the teacher understand the implementation and the indicators. Then on page 13 under the Standard 1, 12th grade Benchmark 1, this deals with the issue of science as an inquiry. And it deals with the way in which essentially students are to understand how scientific hypotheses are tested. And the minority has added an additional indicator which again focuses on methodology for testing these kinds of historical hypotheses. And in particular, I'm referring to Indicator 6.

A. I see the-- yes.

Q. And what I would like you to do-- and I believe that the reason-- one of the reasons we're calling you as a witness is because of your work in the historical sciences. And so I would like you to do a couple things. At some point comment on the propriety of the proposed changes, but also comment on why you believe these changes are scientifically appropriate for the education of students within the science framework.

A. Sure. Their scientific appropriateness, the methodological appropriateness, the distinction between the historical and the experimental or what I call the (unintelligible) oriented sciences is really a matter of differences in method. And I think that your indicator in Indicator 2 is a national statement of precisely how historical science hypotheses are tested and by-- precisely by formulating competing hypotheses. In my Cambridge dissertation on this I actually argued that there was a clear methodological distinction between the historical sciences and what I call the non-logical sciences, sciences that are concerned with formulating laws and describing repeating patterns in nature. And I argued for that on three grounds, namely that the historical scientists ask different types of questions than non historical scientists. They're asking what happened in the past or what happened in the past to cause a particular event to arise, whereas an experimental or non-logical scientist will be wanting to know what ordinarily happens in nature and what might be responsible for those regular repeating patterns that can be-- or that might describe those patterns with mathematical laws or equations. Historical scientists are also concerned to make different types of inferences and make different types of explanations. The explanations in particular tend to focus on some kind of past causal event or event concerning cause and effect or causes in sequence, whereas in the non historical sciences, either there is an attempt to describe phenomena mathematically or the explanations that are offered are in terms of some structure or pattern. So there's a clear, I think, sensible distinction between the historical sciences in those three areas. And further, in the area of testing, it is often alleged that historical sciences-- historical theories cannot be tested because the events cannot be replicated in the laboratory under controlled conditions. And that's true. In the historical sciences you cannot often replicate the event you're interested in under controlled laboratory conditions, but that does not mean that hypotheses in the historical sciences cannot be and are not tested. In fact, they are tested by comparing the explanatory power of the hypothesis against its competitors, and you have captured that very nicely in your Indicator 2 and-- as well as the part that has additional specificity. I would also respond to one criticism that I read of your discussion of the historical sciences from Professor Ken Nord, a Brown biologist. He points out correctly that sometimes in the non historical sciences there is-- there are competing hypotheses that are proposed, but I don't think that in any way detracts from the accuracy of your description about historical sciences are tested. Historical sciences are always tested in that manner. There is debate among philosophers and scientists as to whether or not the prediction under controlled experiment ideas, for example, Carl Hopper, is sufficient to test theories or whether there is a-- to test non historical theories, or whether there is indeed an element of comparative explanatory evaluation in those types of sciences as well. I think Miller may be on to something, but it's really irrelevant as to whether or not you have captured the methodological practices of the historical sciences correctly. I think you have. Whether or not non historical sciences have an element of comparative evaluation - I think they probably do - is still completely irrelevant to whether you guys (unintelligible).

Q. Would you also-- you've been speaking specifically about Indicator 2. Would you also turn to page 13?

A. And I also would point out that I have-- having done this dissertation on this whole topic, Carol Cleveland's article appeared in theology in 2001 and I was extremely interested in this and I thought it was an excellent discussion and I think that's a very good source to cite. Another good source on the nature of the historical sciences is actually the famous evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould, who has written a number of excellent essays on it and whose conclusions support the-- your Indicator 2 as well.

Q. Dr. Meyer, I appreciate those remarks, but would you also comment briefly on Indicator 6 over on page 13? And would you-- are your remarks with respect to that indicator similar as your remarks as to Indicator 2?

A. This is the indicator that reads "understand methods used to test those historical hypotheses cannot be confirmed by experiment and/or direct observation"?

Q. Exactly.

A. It goes on from there. Yeah, I think that's-- you're saying that that-- is it something that applies to the historical sciences, the hypotheses cannot be confirmed by experiment or direct observation. They cannot be confirmed by direct observation of the cause involved, but they-- the historical hypotheses are tested by-- it doesn't mean that they don't have evidence that's relevant.

Q. Exactly.

A. My Cambridge dissertation was entitled "Of Clues and Causes" and a subtitle that no one wants to hear, but the point is that when you're reasoning in historical sciences, you reason from the clues back to the causes. You can't observe the cause itself directly, but you try to infer what it was from the evidence left behind. Stephen Jay Gould said it very well when he said that in the historical sciences you must infer history from its results. The results are actually pieces of evidence that you may have in front of you, but you have to infer what happened in the past to have caused those pieces of evidence to come into existence, and the cause is the part that is not directly observable. And I think the way your indicator has worded that is-- it looks to me to be accurate because you're saying that historical hypothesis cannot be confirmed by direct observation. The hypothesis would refer to the cause, and that is the thing that can't be directly observed. There are plenty of things that can be observed, that's the evidence that's left behind.

Q. Yes, and would you also comment on additional specificity on A, B, C and D on the right hand side of the page under Indicator 6? That begins--

A. I'm just briefly rereading it here. Actually, I think that's excellent. Even your indicator-- well, yeah, A, B, C, D, I think, all support my understanding of the methodological practice of the historical sciences. There's a subtlety that you captured in Indicator 6b where you say, "Historical sciences may predict the kind of circumstantial evidence that one would observe under each hypothesis." Typically historical sciences are not tested by prediction under controlled laboratory experiments, they're-- under controlled laboratory conditions rather, but they do make weak sort of predictions about the kind of evidence that you would expect to find if a particular hypothesis were to be true, and there is some confusion about that. The way you put that is really very precise and consistent with the practices of historical sciences.

Q. Well, thank you very much. I would now like to move to-- by the way, do you believe that these indicators are designed for student learning in the high school level up through grades 12, do you believe these are age appropriate?

A. Are you saying that you would actually-- the indicators would be something the students would learn in the process of learning the content of their textbooks or are they-- I'm unclear as to how these will be used. Are they things that will guide the teachers in forming the lesson and therefore probably be reflected in the lesson in some way?

Q. Guide a teacher in forming a lesson.

A. I think they're perfectly appropriate for that purpose.

Q. I'd like to turn to page 15, and in particular, the indicator benchmark-- or the benchmarks dealing with evolution. And this is in the high school, grade 8 through 12, Standard 3, Benchmark 3, where students are to understand-- and we've added major concepts of the theory of biological evolution. And I would appreciate your commenting on the proposed revisions there and their appropriateness, and is this consistent with your view of how educational policies should implement--

A. In this case you're talking specifically about the definition of biological evolution and the proposed changes that your minority report has included in that definition?

Q. Yes. And that includes-- in addition to an expansion of the definition of biological origins, we would also add additional requirements that students understand those aspects of biological origins that are particularly scientifically controversial.

A. Yes. I would first start by pointing out-- well, a little background that I maybe didn't mention. I co-authored an article called The Meanings of Evolution in the book Darwinism, Design, and Public Education, and that book was peer reviewed by a biologist and a philosopher of science and a rhetorician of science. And I think that the contents of that article, the meanings of evolution, is important for understanding what should be specified as to the definition of evolution. If you're going to teach students about the contemporary theory of biological evolution, it should be defined clearly. I would be extremely critical of the definition in your majority report. I think it's a very inadequate definition, the one that reads biological evolution descendent modification is an explanation for the history of the diversification of organisms from common ancestors. It's inadequate for a number of reasons. First of all, it only addresses one of the two main strands. There are two main parts, separable but related parts, in both Darwinian and contemporary neo-Darwinian biological evolutionary theory. And one part is the idea not just of descendent modification, but actually of universal descendent modification. And the definition did not capture that because descendent modification could have occurred in very limited groups within the biological classification scene. So there's an ambivalence, rather an equivocation in that definition from the get-go. But secondly, the theory-- the contemporary theory of biological evolution also has a mechanism involved. It's perhaps the most important part. And that mechanism is natural selection acting on random mutations and variations, and there is no discussion about-- in the-- the definition in the column on the left which comes from your majority report. So there's a huge missing element, a separate meaning element, a separate aspect of the theory of biological evolution that is not addressed. I can't imagine anyone on either side of this controversy accepting that definition as adequate. The neo-Darwinian and contemporary biological professors and evolutionary biology experts would find that an extremely inadequate definition. I think your additional specificity remedies that to a large degree, but I would recommend a couple of other things be added. I think the natural selection should be named.

Q. Dr. Meyer, turn to page 16.

A. Yes.

Q. And look at the Indicator 2. One of the problems with this is that a lot of the definition is incorporated in five or six different--

A. Yes, I see that. I would just add one recommendation to your column of additional specificity. I think you should say that biological-- when you talk about the idea that biological evolution possibly is an unpredictable and unguided natural process that has no discernible direction or goal, that is a correct understanding of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. The neo-Darwinists (unintelligible) like George Gaylord Simpson, have made that very clear from the beginning, that it was purely an unguided process. But I think you should name it right up front there. That would be my recommendation, the name of that unguided process is natural selection acting on random mutation. And, of course, there are other mechanisms that neo-Darwinist evolutionary biologists would want to mention in addition to that, but they are also unguided. But the main one is natural selection acting on random variation and mutation. And I think in your Indicator 1a there with your additional specificity, that when you say, "Biological evolution postulates unpredictable and unguided natural process," I would put in a-- amend that to say, "Namely, natural selection acting on random variation" - and then continue - "that has no discernible direction or goal." I think the glaring absence in your majority report definition could be more fully remedied, but I think that the way in which you have attached the definition with the additional specificity I think is on the whole excellent and altogether needed. I just think there's a little bit more that you could add.

Q. Okay. We have about seven more minutes, and so what I would like you to do is very briefly conclude your comments on the additional-- the additions to this evolution benchmark, and then I would like to move to the definition of science.

A. That's fine. We can move there now. I think-- well, I would make one more comment, and that is I think your Indicator 3d, which makes a clear distinction between micro and macroevolutionary changes is excellent and altogether needed, and I understand that it's criticized in the media and with-- I believe it was in the criticism-- the critical report I read of this from Ken Miller, the distinction between micro and macroevolutionary is kind of a fiction created by anti-evolutionists. I have-- I published a peer review paper last fall with the proceedings of the Biological Society in Washington published out of the Smithsonian Institute, and in the opening section of that article I cited a number of papers in the evolutionary biology literature that make precisely the distinction that you're making. This is not some kind of creationists fiction or construction, nor is it something that only critics of Darwinian evolution discuss. This is a well established distinction within the literature of evolutionary biology, and the problem is well noted that the (unintelligible) and effect of microevolutionary processes does not seem to be sufficient to explain the macroevolutionary changes and innovations that appear in the history of life. So processes of speciation are not sufficient to generate the new organism, body (unintelligible) and to correspond to the (unintelligible) level of changes and other level changes that appear in the history of life. So I would commend you for that particular additional piece of specificity and I would also add my voice of-- in response to your critics on that, I don't think it stands up to the literature. When we testified-- that is, when Dr. John Wells and I testified before the Ohio State Board of Education, we provided them with a bibliography of supplemental resources. This was a list of some 40 to 45 peer review scientific articles, and these were not written by advocates of design or even people who would define themselves as anything other than evolutionary biologists, but they were-- there was several articles in that group that were making precisely the point that this indicator makes, that there is clear distinction between micro and macroevolution, and that it is at the present an important problem and needs to be solved. It is an unsolved problem as to whether microevolutionary processes can be extrapolated to account for macroevolutionary innovation.

Q. Thank you. Dr. Meyer, could you turn your attention to page 4? And in particular, would you please comment on the proposed minority proposal to substitute the definition of science that essentially was adopted by Ohio in place of the definition in Draft 2 which is science as a human activity seeking natural explanations for what we observe?

A. I just-- I know time is short. I think that the definition of your minority report is much preferable, and I'll tell you why. You have made clear that you are neither mandating nor prohibiting the discussion of intelligent design in your science standards. You take a neutral stance on that. There is, of course, however, a debate about the theory of intelligent design going on within the larger scientific community. Michael Behe has famously advanced a paper designed in his book Darwin's Black Box that was critiqued by scientists such as Ken Miller, Brown University, and I-- they design arguments in peer review publications, William Dembski has, and others. One of the attempts to answer our argument is not an empirically based argument or an argument that there is a better explanation of design based on certain analysis of evidence, but instead it is a response that is in essence philosophical in character which says that the design hypothesis cannot be considered as part of science. It is unscientific by definition. And so the-- and the nature-- this was-- when I published this article last fall with the Biological Society in Washington, one of the-- or the council that oversaw the journal there tried to distance themselves from the article and criticized it not on the basis of any scientific evidence or inaccuracy but by citing a definition of science that would make the design hypothesis lie outside the domain of science. And so what you have here in the definition of science within your majority report is actually something that is not innocuous, it's not neutral. It's actually taking sides in a debate that you have properly remained neutral about. And so it is actually part of the debate about the design, to say that the design can't be considered within science. And I think you should-- you are much better served to go with the definition in the minority report which remains neutral about the argument between those who favor the design hypothesis and those who oppose it. Secondly, the definition that claims that all explanations of natural phenomena must be tendered by reference to natural causes-- or must be explained by reference to natural causes is not consistent with the history of science. The-- for example, by that definition, Sir Isaac Newton could not be considered a scientist. For instance, the general (unintelligible) in the introduction to the Principia, arguably one of the greatest works of physics ever written, Newton makes a very elegant design argument from the fine tuning of the planetary system. He does the same thing in the Opticks. Moreover, when Darwin develops his case for-- his theory in the Origin of the Species, he argues specifically against various ideas of design and he does so in a manner that concedes that these are scientific. That is, he tries to show that they're inconsistent with the scientific evidence, and you can't critique a theory by scientific evidence that is at least presumptively scientific. So by the definition that you're adopting in Kansas, students would not be able to read Darwin's criticism of either the design hypothesis in the Origin of the Species, and therefore they would have to read the book in the classroom. So it's not consistent with the history of science. And then thirdly, this idea that these-- to be scientific you must limit yourself to a naturalistic explanation, the so-called principle of methodological naturalism cannot be justified by any non circular criteria of scientific method. The so-called demarcation criteria and-- that were first proposed, for example, in the (unintelligible) trial of 1981 by Michael Ruse. Professor Ruse famously distanced himself from those criteria and the-- the philosophical literature, I think, is-- and that is to say, the literature of the philosophy of science that is the discipline that has the-- sort of appropriate jurisdiction over this question, philosophers of science study methods of science in the same way that scientists study nature. And when Michael Ruse proposed demarcation criteria in the (unintelligible) trial in the eighties, he was criticized very severely by other philosophers of science showing the demarcation criteria could not do the work that he was trying to get them to do; namely, the demarcation criteria to be scientific-- a theory must be-- must involve prediction or it must explain by reference to natural law or must exclude non observable elements. These criteria invariably-- what I've learned in my own studies, in my own writing, is that demarcation criteria if applied consistently either excludes both Darwinism and design or they allow design to be included under the definition of science. They do not effectively discriminate between those two competing hypotheses. And that makes sense because Darwinism and design are not two different types of things; they're two different answers to the same question, namely, how does life arise on earth.

MR. CALVERT: Dr. Meyer, thank you so much for your testimony. Our time is up. And so now it's the turn of Mr. Irigonegaray to ask you some questions for about twenty minutes.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: The Chair will decide that.

DR. MEYER: I met Pedro before. Pedro, you were the moderator of the debate at Washburn University in 1999 that I participated in. I don't know if you remember that.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Oh, of course I do. I'm here in a little bit of a different role.

DR. MEYER: Well, actually it was-- you were a moderator--

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Steve, hang on a second. Whoa, you're taking up my time. Hang on a second.

DR. MEYER: It's not that different of a role for you.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Dr. Meyer, please proceed.

DR. MEYER: I can't hear you very well. I don't know if you--

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Dr. Meyer, can you hear me?

DR. MEYER: I can hear you, but it's very muffled.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Mr. Irigonegaray, would you move down to the chair, please? And you have twenty minutes. John, he can't hear us very well, so will you tell him that Mr. Irigonegaray is moving down to the chair?

MR. CALVERT: Dr. Meyer, Mr. Irigonegaray is moving down to my chair, so he'll be-- so you guys can talk a little bit better and hear each other better.


Q. Can you hear me now?

A. I can indeed.

Q. I have a few questions for you first that I want to establish for the record. In your opinion, your personal opinion, what is the age of the earth?

A. Do you want my personal-- why are you asking me about my personal--

Q. You're here to answer my questions. First of all, what is your personal opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. I understood I was being called as an expert witness.

Q. What is your personal opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. I'm unclear. I understand--

Q. The question is simple. What is, in your opinion, the age of the earth?

A. Well, I'm just wanting to clarify the ground rules here. I thought I was being called as an expert witness, so why are you asking me about my personal--

Q. That's not the issue. Now, please answer my question. What is your personal--

A. I would like to understand the ground rules first. Why am I being asked about--

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Mr. Chairman, if he's not going to answer my questions, I'd ask that his testimony be stricken from the record.

A. I'm happy to answer your question. I'd like to know why you're asking about--

Q. (BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY) The "why" is not for you to determine.

MR. SISSON: Mr. Chairman, I understand Mr. Meyer's request to reflect some confusion about the ground rules, and it is quite appropriate for him to ask that the chair of the committee, namely yourself, speak to him concerning the appropriate ground rules. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Dr. Meyer, can you hear me now?

A. Yes, sir.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: My name is Steve Abrams, chairman of the science subcommittee. And even though these hearings have been called about the Kansas science curriculum standards and particularly how they relate to the minority report and particularly to the question of the philosophical claims and the religious claims of science and how to teach science in Kansas, we are allowing the counsel for the majority and the counsel of the minority great latitude in trying to establish their case. And Mr. Irigonegaray has elected to ask virtually every question-- every witness questions about their personal opinions about certain things. And so we have granted him that latitude, and so I would say that's where we're going.

A. You would like me to cooperate with that?

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: You can either answer "yes," "no," or "I don't know," or whatever you want to do, but that-- yes, I'd like you to cooperate.

A. It's a transparently obvious strategy to impeach the credibility of your witnesses, but I will cooperate. So my answer to your question, Pedro, is that I-- my personal opinions and my professional opinions are the same. I think the earth is 4.6 billion years old. I think the universe is--

Q. (BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY) No, just the earth. I didn't ask you about the universe.

A. My opinion of--

Q. Mr. Meyer, please just answer my question. I'm not asking you other opinions.

MR. SISSON: I'd simply request to make a point here, ask the Chairman if I may make a point. Mr. Chairman, would you instruct the witness that there is no subpoena power here and that he is under no compulsion to answer and he would suffer no penalty if he chose to decline to answer.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: He can answer the questions to his extent. However, we would like you to answer them.

A. Does that mean I can say something else about the age of the earth?

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Mr. Irigonegaray is going to ask the questions that he thinks important and he may repeat the question. And he will ask-- my guess is it will be a yes or a no answer or some side of an answer like that. If you feel comfortable answering that, say "yes," or if you don't know, say you don't know, whatever it is. I mean, be truthful and answer however you feel comfortable answering.

A. Right. But may I say anything more about the age of the earth, then?

Q. (BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY) I'm the one asking questions here, Mr. Meyer, and all you need to do is to answer my question.

A. Okay. I think the age of the earth is 4.6 billion years old. That's both my personal and my professional opinion. I speak as someone who is trained as a geophysicist--

Q. I'm not asking you about that. I just asked you for a number, and you have given it to me.

A. Okay. That's all you want is the number?

Q. My questions are pretty clear, Mr. Meyer.

A. You're not interested in the answer, you're interested in the--

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life, yes or no?

A. I won't answer that question as a yes or no. I accept the idea of limited common descent. I am skeptical about universal common descent. I do not take it as a principle; it is a theory. And I think the evidence supporting the theory of universal common descent is weak.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors, yes or no?

A. I'm not sure. I'm skeptical of it because I think the evidence for the proposition is weak, but it would not affect my conviction that life is designed if it turns out that there was a genealogical continuity.

Q. Based upon your understanding, do you have an alternative explanation for the human species if not common descent from prehominid ancestors?

A. That is not my area of expertise. I work at the other end of the history of life, namely the origin of the first life in the Cambrian phylum.

Q. Do you have a personal opinion as to the question I have just proposed to you, which is if you do not believe that human beings have a common descent with prehominid ancestors, what is your personal alternative explanation for how human beings came into existence?

A. I am skeptical about the evidence for universal common descent and I'm skeptical about some of the evidence that has been marshaled for the idea that humans and prehominids are connected. But as I said, it wouldn't bother me (unintelligible) stronger than I presently think.

Q. What is your personal opinion at this time?

A. That I'm skeptical about the Darwinian accounts of such things, but that it wouldn't bother me if it turned out to be different. I think my-- I also would tell you that humans and the rest of the non human living world, that humans have qualitatively different features that I think are very mysterious and hard to explain on any materialistic account of the origin of human life.

Q. You think it's wise for science without a supernatural model to attempt to answer those questions that we still don't understand?

A. You know, I don't really work in that area, so I'm not going to venture any more opinions about the topic.

Q. Were you provided the minority report for your testimony here today?

A. Yes, I have it in my lap.

Q. Were you also provided with Draft 2, the majority opinion?

A. I have the majority opinion insofar as it applies to your evolution standards.

Q. My question was, were you provided Draft 2 of the majority opinion in total, yes or no?

A. I do not-- I don't understand your question, sir. I have something in my lap call Proposed Revisions to Kansas Science Standards, Draft 2. Is that what you're referring to?

Q. Is that the only document that was sent to you, proposed revisions?

A. I also received Ken Miller's critique of it. Is that helpful?

Q. Are those the only two documents that Mr. Calvert sent you?

A. Yes, I suppose it is.

Q. Did you read the grade 8 through 12 standards in Draft 2?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you review the standard of inquiry which is part on how science should be taught?

A. Yes.

Q. Where does Draft 2 say in any place that teachers should not or cannot discuss critiques of evolution and alternative perspectives?

A. It doesn't. What I like about the minority report--

Q. No, just-- no, Mr. Wells (sic), all you need to do is--

A. -- criticisms--

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: This is just inappropriate.

A. No, you're inappropriate, sir.

Q. (BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY) Listen, all you have to do is answer my question.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Would you please put up page 1-- would you please put up on the screen page 1 and 2 of the standards for 8 and 12 education, please, Mr. Calvert? Mr. Wells (sic), we'll get along better if you just answer my questions.



A. I'm really not interested in getting along. I'm interested in the truth. And your mode of questioning doesn't seem to be directed in that vein. You're trying to impeach my credibility with yes and no answers, and I'm not going to allow you to do that.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Just answer the question. That's all you need to do.

MR. CALVERT: Which one do you want?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Standards for 8 through 12, please. Page 1 and 2 of the standards.

MR. CALVERT: Page 1 and 2 of what?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Of the standards. Since they're apparently having difficulties with that--

MR. CALVERT: Why don't you go to another question?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: I'll stay on this subject, Mr. Calvert.

Q. (BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY) Let me read to you, sir, from Draft 2 relevant parts of the high school standards. And the reason I want to do this is I want to make it perfectly clear that our standards do encourage critical thinking, open discussion and the entertainment of alternative hypotheses.

A. Super. More power to you. The additional changes that make clear some of the criticisms that should be presented to students are then building on that already sound foundation.

Q. From the standards, number one, "actively engages in asking and evaluating research questions." You would agree that that is important, do you not?

A. Oh, I do.

Q. Number two, "actively engages in investigations, including developing questions, gathering and analyzing data, and designing and conducting research." You would agree with that, would you not?

A. I do, and that's one of the reasons that I think the specificity of the minority report is very desirable because it lays out some of the criticisms of Darwinian theory that students should know about.

Q. Do you see anywhere in the standards the use of the term Darwinian theory?

A. Well, I see your term biological evolution which, to anyone who knows the current literature, means neo-Darwinism.

Q. So your testimony to this committee and to the nation that's listening to your testimony is that biological evolution equals Darwinian theory?

A. My testimony is that the current orthodox theory of biological evolution is still neo-Darwinism. It is-- my testimony is also that there are-- there are amendments and alternative versions of evolutionary theory that are also in the scientific literature, and they are in the scientific literature precisely because of inadequacies in neo-Darwinism that students need to learn about. But their textbook version of the theory is still neo-Darwinian evolution.

Q. Number three, "actively engages in conducting an inquiry formulating and revising his or her scientific explanation or model (physical, conceptual or mathematical) using logic and evidence and recognizing that potential alternative explanations and models should be considered." You have no problem with that, do you?

A. No, I think that's good.

Q. Four, "actively engages in communicating and defending the design results and conclusion of his or her investigation." You have no problem with that, do you?

A. No.

Q. Do you see anywhere in the standards the word "unguided"?

A. In your original standards, no.

Q. It is a fact, however, that in the suggested modifications, the minority has interjected the word "unguided," correct?

A. Correct.

Q. And the word unguided is interjected in the minority report by the minority writers, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. And that is a word that you disagree with?

A. No. I think that is a correct description of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory.

Q. Do you see neo--

A. Let me tell you why, sir.

Q. No, just answer my question, please.

A. No, I'm going to tell you why.

Q. No, listen, Mr.-- you're not listening to me. You're not here to direct the questioning. I am. Do you see anywhere on the standards written by the majority of the writing committee for the State of Kansas Board of Education on behalf of Kansas children the words "neo-Darwinism" written anywhere?

A. No, but if your standards are accurate, then that is the presumed context for understanding biological evolution.

Q. Presumed by you, right, sir?

A. No, by George Gaylord Simpson and the entire evolutionary biology community from the 1940s onward that has set the perceived theory of biological evolution. It is now being challenged, but that's one of the reasons that you need the criticisms that are in the minority report to give the-- your curriculum a more complete balance.

Q. You say that religious-- it is important in your opinion that religious views should be kept separate from science?

A. I think the basis of your curriculum should be the scientific evidence.

Q. My question was, do you agree that religious views should be kept separate from science?

A. I think the basis of the curriculum that is-- you're not going to allow me to give a full explanation of my views on that. I think there are some scientific topics that are incorrigibly philosophical and origin is one of them, and that's one of the reasons that almost everyone in this discussion has a take on what the science-- the implications of the sciences are.

Q. Is it your opinion--

A. May I continue, sir? If you're going to badger me, you're not going to get any understanding of what I really think.

Q. I just want you to answer my question, and you did. Is it your understanding and your position that science--

A. Your question, sir--

Q. -- that as evolution--

A. I'm not going to allow that to stand. I have expertise in this area. You need to hear a full answer.

Q. I don't need to hear what you think is your expertise, sir. That's not the issue here.

A. But it is the issue.

Q. You're here to answer my questions. Is it your opinion that the way evolution is taught in mainstream science classes across America today, that it is based on a theistic view?

A. It is based on a theistic view?

Q. Yes.

A. I didn't hear your--

Q. Yes. Is it your opinion that as mainstream science today teaches across America evolution theory, that it is based on a theistic view?

A. I am not understanding whether you are saying the word "theistic" or whether you are saying the word atheistic, sir.

Q. Theistic.

A. Say it again.

Q. With a "T".

A. Do I think it is based on a theistic view, evolution?

Q. The way it is taught in mainstream science classes across America today.

A. No, I don't think it's based on a theistic view.

Q. Do you believe that it should be free of supernatural implications?

A. What is "it"?

Q. Evolution teaching in mainstream science curriculums across this country.

A. I think your question is ill formed, sir.

Q. Well, it may be to you, but my question-- and I'll repeat it. Should the teaching of science-- and let's say with Kansas. Should the teaching of science curriculum in Kansas as it relates to evolution be free-- completely free of supernatural causes?

A. I don't think anyone is proposing a supernatural cause.

Q. So your answer is yes?

A. Well, I think you should teach the scientific evidence for the two parts of neo-Darwinian theories that I mentioned before. That's what the-- and I think you should teach the scientific evidence that critiques it. That's what I think you should do.

Q. What is your definition of neo-Darwinism?

A. It's the idea that-- of universal common descent plus the idea that the change that occurs during the history of life is produced by natural selection acting on random variations and mutations of various sorts.

Q. And you would disagree with that?

A. I disagree with that, but I would also insist that that is the canonical received standard version of evolutionary theory that is taught in the textbooks in this country and which is advanced by most evolutionary biologists.

Q. Is it your opinion that Draft 2 represents a materialistic and atheistic perspective?

A. No, it's my opinion that your majority report does not adequately inform students about the scientific criticisms of biological evolution that exist in the scientific literature. And that your minority report partially remedies that deficiency.

Q. And you would agree, would you not, sir, that those views that you are suggesting compose a very tiny minority in today's scientific community?

A. I don't concede that. I don't have data on the number of scientists who are skeptical of Darwinism. No one has ever surveyed that, but we know that 400 scientists at least have signed a statement of dissent from the idea that natural selection is sufficient to produce the complexity of life. Of the 400 scientists who signed yesterday as members of the Russian National Academy of Embryologists, there is significant scientific dissent from Darwinism. The proposition before this Kansas State Board is whether or not students should be permitted to know about that, and I think that is-- the answer to that should be an obvious yes. You talked a minute ago about whether or not--

Q. There is no question--

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Would you please tell the witness that there is no question?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: There's no question on the floor, sir. Just hang on a moment. I have no further questions of you.


Q. Dr. Meyer, this is Steve Abrams.

A. Hello, sir.

Q. I have a couple of questions. I heard you say earlier that-- I understood you to say that there are some different methods of testing historical science other than that which has been posited by Dr. Popper. Did I understand correctly and, if so, would you comment on those other methods?

A. Certainly. The Popperian idea of falsification by conviction under controlling drug has been criticized in-- by other philosophers of sciences as being inadequate, and whether or not it is universally inadequate for all of science, it is, in my opinion, clearly inadequate for capturing the methods that are used by historical scientists. And what historical scientists do is precisely what your amplification in the minority report amplifies. They test theories by (unintelligible) explanatory power of their predictive capacity, but mainly their explanatory power against their-- against competing hypotheses.

Q. So that's the reason that you feel it is inadequate, is because of the explanatory power?

A. That what is inadequate, sir?

Q. That you were saying that the idea of falsification is inadequate? Is that what you're saying?

A. Yes, that-- there's a wealth of literature in the philosophy of science now showing that scientific theories-- that explanation of already known facts is as important or more important to testing of scientific theory as predictions. Prediction plays an important role in some sciences. In the historical sciences, explanation of already known facts and comparing the explanatory power-- competing explanatory power with their hypothesis is the main way of testing, although as your minority standard-- was it 6? I don't-- let me get the exact page-- I think correctly captured the idea that historical theories do make predictions about the kind of circumstantial evidence that should be present or that might be found. And so there is a kind of weak sense in which prediction still plays a role historical-- in the testing of historical hypotheses, but the most important mode of testing in historical scientific hypotheses is by assessment of comparative explanatory power.

Q. Earlier you talked about the demarcation between science and religion. You have some work in that area, I take it?

A. Yes, I've published several articles on that. I mentioned The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition as edited by a panel of distinguished figures of historical science, and my article titled the Demarcation of Science and Religion with the encyclopedia entry on that topic.

Q. So is it important in your mind that we should be able to prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from those of religious and philosophical claims that are made in the name of science?

A. You're referring to the-- some of the language in the (unintelligible)?

Q. Yes, and the question to which we are addressing at the science committee here.

A. Yes, I think that it's important to the extent that that is possible, but there are some scientific theories, as I mentioned, that have incorrigibly philosophical elements. And that is-- you know, that's where demarcation gets difficult.

Q. So the line is rather blurred, is what you're saying?

A. Well, what I would say-- was unable to say in response to your previous question there was that I think that Darwinian evolution is a scientific theory. It's an historical scientific theory by my study of the methodological patterns of the (unintelligible), but it also is a scientific theory that raises larger philosophical issues. The theory of intelligent design, as I understand, you're not inquiring, but we endorse that decision as a policy decision. Also, is an historical scientific theory that raises larger philosophical implications, so the two are equivalent in that respect, and they are, in fact, with respect to their attempts to explain the appearance of design in biological systems, they are competitor hypotheses.

Q. How would you differentiate between the idea of what might be considered testable theories of science versus those that are not testable theories of science?

A. Well, I think any proposition where-- well, let me back up. Where you have evidence that bears on the truth or falsity of a proposition, there is usually a way to test the proposition. If the proposition cannot be adjudicated by evidence, it becomes untestable.

Q. So if it's untestable, is that-- what is that?

A. That would be an untestable proposition.

Q. Okay. Do you think that it's important, therefore, to make certain that our students understand the range of the controversy and why the controversy is generated?

A. I definitely think it's important for them to do that, although our specific recommendation for how to do that is that students should be taught the evidence for the biological evolution and they should be taught the current scientific evidences and arguments against them as they-- as those arguments appear in the scientific literature and as they are promulgated by scientific critics of the theory. And they should be permitted to know about alternative theories if a student or a teacher raises a discussion point about alternatives in the classroom. But those alternatives at this point should not be mandated.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: I have no further questions. Just a moment. Mrs. Martin has a question for you.


Q. Dr. Meyer, my background is as a teacher, and I have not taught high school biology, but I have had several high school teachers give me this concern that the current textbooks now are seeming to present historical science as a fact, especially where this evolutionary issue is concerned.

A. Can you rephrase your question? I'm not quite sure I understand what you're asking me.

Q. Are you aware that any of the textbooks in high school science are presenting this historical science of evolution as a fact rather than as a historical science?

A. Well, I think they are presenting it as an uncontested theory. And I don't accept that-- and most people believe that Darwinian theory is theory, but the problem is they don't present the scientific-- they only present the scientific evidence to support. They systematically exclude by omission the scientific evidence that challenges it. Very few textbooks do have anything, for example, about the Cambrian Explosion until very recent scientific literature includes Cambrian Explosion as a significant challenge to the neo-Darwinian consensus, and that is to say the (unintelligible) textbook theory of biological evolution. And the one or two sections that mention it do not explain that the Cambrian Explosion creates significant evidential challenge to the theory. So the-- I think the way some textbooks frame it as theory versus fact, I think that's the wrong way to frame it. I think everyone understands that biological evolution is a theory. The question is, is it a well supported theory and are there criticisms of the theory that students should know about. I think there are sufficient criticisms and I think your hearings have been probably structured to decide whether or not such criticisms exist.

Q. So if a student does receive only one side, he might infer himself that this is a fact rather than just a theory?

A. He might infer that it is an contested truth in science. And I understand that many students would possibly phrase it that way, that it was a fact. But the structure of the theory itself is such that I'm reluctant to call it-- to say that anyone claiming that it's a fact, that they claim it's so well supported that no one doubts it, that sort of thing. When I say someone, I mean people within the scientific community.

Q. And that's been making it hard for a lot of teachers to understand what their position should be on this. So thank you.

A. Exactly. I think-- and what you're getting at and what I-- if I may interrupt your questioning, is a theory that's presented in an uncritical and dogmatic way in most textbooks-- and I think that is absolutely correct, it's presented that way. There's vibrant scientific discussion of the theory that includes some very significant criticisms of the theory, I know you've heard about from other witnesses this week. Really the only proposition before you, I think, is whether or not the students should be required to learn about some of those criticisms if they're also going to be required to learn about the theory. And I think the answer is clearly yes.

MRS. MARTIN: Dr. Meyer, that's the end of the questions. Thank you very much.


MR. CALVERT: Mr. Chairman, our next witness is Dr. Angus Menuge, a professor of philosophy at Concordia University.

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


Q. Dr. Menuge, would you please educate us on your background and qualifications to speak to the philosophical issues relating to the minority report and the Kansas science standards?

A. Yes. I have a bachelor of arts from Warwick University in England and I did my master's and

Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. And the focus of my research was on intelligence action agency in the case of human beings. And since then I've done research on action theory, agency, philosophy of science and science and religion issues. In 2000, Concordia University, where I have worked for the last fourteen years, posted the design and critics conference which matched up the leading proponents of intelligent design and their best critics on the defense of Darwinism. And out of that conference there then emerged the Cambridge University Press book Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA, which is a peer review book and it shows the different views on origins, including standard Darwinian evolution, self-organization, theistic evolution and intelligent design as one piece of evidence, but, of course, there is an ongoing controversy. And all of this really relates to the topic of methodological naturalism, which I'm going to explain about.

Q. As sort of a preliminary question, I believe-- would you agree that at some point I sent you an e-mail that had attached to it the minority report?

A. You sent an e-mail which had the website for the Kansas science standards, and I was able to access the minority report and the majority report. I did look at it. In fact, I have read the whole majority report, but most of it is completely irrelevant to the questions that we are discussing today because it's only in the higher grades that issues of evolution are really being discussed.

Q. Do you know of any instance where any information was withheld from you regarding the Kansas science standards?

A. No information whatsoever was withheld, and I imagine that with people's business schedules, some people just stayed on task and looked to the information that was within their expertise.

Q. Would you please-- I believe you have prepared written testimony, and if that has not been distributed--

A. It has.

Q. It has been distributed, okay. What I'd like you to do-- and I believe we have a Power Point that we will bring up. Do you want me to bring that up now?

A. Not yet. I'll tell you when to bring it up.

Q. What I might do is get it started anyway, but what I would like you to comment on is the extent to which the standards-- the extent to which Draft 2 standards incorporate implicitly or explicitly the idea of methodological naturalism--

A. All right--

Q. -- and-- let me finish. And I would like you to comment on the distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, whether in practice there is any real distinction. In other words, in terms of the objective observer, the person who is receiving information, would the effect of methodological naturalism be less than, equal to, or greater than the effect of the observer being, you know, educated in a philosophical naturalistic world view, and then the effect that it has on religion.

A. Okay. First of all, philosophical naturalism, that is a metaphysical thesis. One definition, the one used by the Supreme Court in the Webster Dictionary, "doctrine of cause and effect laws as of physics and chemistry are adequate to account for all phenomena and theological concepts of nature are invalid." Theology basically means design. So that's saying that the undirected cause and effect laws of physics and chemistry suffice to account for anything in reality. Methodological naturalism is a role of scientific matter that says that scientists should proceed as if philosophical naturalism is true. Now, if that's assumed, what that means is that students will only be provided with the evidence that supports the idea that there are no causal designs in nature. So in its effect on students, methodological naturalism is not significantly different than philosophical naturalism because they will only be presented with that evidence that supports a naturalistic position. This is-- the first slide here is the power of methodological naturalism depends on the fact that teachers are dealing with a student, a student who thinks he's doing a science and has no notion that theology and politics are all at stake. It is a theory they put in the student's mind, an assumption that ten years hence is already forgotten. Its presence is unconscious and will condition the student to take one side in a controversy which the student has never recognized as a controversy at all. That's adapted from a quote that C.S. Lewis made about the teaching of English. But the same point applies that we have here a philosophical assumption that will bias the presentation of evidence without the student realizing that that assumption is operative. And to go to the question of is it in the standards, in the full report on Roman Numeral page 10 of the Kansas science standards, there is discussion of the nature of science, and the first sentence-- this is also cross-referenced on page 4 of the minority report. "Science is human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations." Okay, so it's saying that you can only look for naturalistic explanations, which is what methodological naturalism says you should do. The words methodological naturalism are indeed not in these standards, but the concept is. It's also repeated at the end of the paragraph saying, "As it's practiced in the late 20th and early 21st century, science is restricted to explaining only the natural world using only natural cause," okay, which is simply a statement of methodological naturalism. It comes up again as well in page-- on page 99 of the Kansas standards, discussing knowledge, Standard 7, history and nature of science, Benchmark 2, understanding scientific knowledge described to explain the physical world in terms of matter, energy and forces. Well, that basically means in the terms of naturalism as defined by philosophical naturalism. In other words, scientists must proceed as if philosophical naturalism is true. Now, by not disclosing that assumption it may, in fact, be even worse than if the assumption was used but it was disclosed because then it could be discussed, and then all those who, for example, have a theistic world view could at least see that this view was, in fact, biased against their view because it means that they can never consider any evidence that could possibly support a theistic world view. They can only see the evidence that would tend to support secular religion such as secular humanism or ideologies such as naturalism. They can never see any evidence that might possibly even indirectly support a theistic religion. Now, what I'd like to do-- can I continue with the various problems that methodological naturalism--

Q. Yes.

A. If you go to the next slide, okay, I want to deal with three sets of problems, okay. First of all, there is a problem because methodological naturalism is being used in the context of a controversy. Cut down to its absolutely most basic central claim, Darwinian evolution claims that all apparent design in nature is an illusion, it's something to be explained away. Things look designed, as author Richard Dawkins admits, but he feels his job is to explain away that as an illusion that's caused by undirected causes. On the other hand, for example, intelligent design, it's not the only opponent, by the way, of Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design provides empirical scientific criteria for detecting design in nature. Detecting design but not detecting the designer. It's quite true that science doesn't have to be in the business of saying who the designer is. But even in the human case, we can frequently identify-- for example, here's an artifact. Even though we don't know who the human designers of that artifact were, or we can have a murder case and we never do actually find who the murderer is, we can still distinguish between murder, accidental death and natural death. Now, whether, in fact, that designer is supernatural is certainly another question. But scientists don't need to answer that question in order to detect design in the first place. They're separate questions. So anyway, that is the scientific controversy, and what I'll be arguing is that methodological naturalism is a bad thing because it basically denies the controversy and therefore prevents students from being informed about both sides of the evidence. Students above all should be informed. So what does it take to be informed? Full disclosure of the evidence is one of the most important things. I'm going to look at the effect of methodological naturalism in science education.

If you'd like to go to Slide 3, please. Basically methodological naturalism says scientists should proceed as if there is no design in nature. So that prevents the Darwinian claim that design is an illusion from being tested. If you make the claim that design is an illusion, the only thing that could prove that you are mistaken is some evidence that would show that at least some of the design is real. If there can be by definition no such evidence, then there is no way to ever refute the claim that design in nature is an illusion. It's not, by the way, that the Darwinian claim itself is unscientific. It's perfectly scientific and it's perfectly testable. It is rather joining the Darwinian claim to methodological naturalism that insulates it from being tested because it means that only the evidence that supports the theory can be presented, not the evidence that would count against it. So-- and by the way, I am appealing here in some standards of education to the standards that come from the National Assessment Governing Board under the auspices of the No Child Left Behind Act. They argue that education should be secular, neutral and nonideological, and they define all of those terms. Secular means that they don't favor or oppose any religious perspective. They stay neutral as between religions, so that would mean neutral between theistic and atheistic religions. And neutral and nonideological means, among other things, that they will not advocate a single perspective on a matter of controversy. That's what it means to be neutral and nonideological. So the argument I'm going to make here is that methodological naturalism does not properly inform students. The only way you can properly inform students on a matter of controversy is to inform them of both sides of the controversy, but, in fact, you have a single perspective. This would be analogous to what-- some companies like Enron where you provide only positive financial indicators about the company and allow people to conclude that your company is, in fact, healthy, or notorious tobacco company scientists who presented only that evidence bringing out the beneficial results of tobacco. This is a failure of full disclosure, okay. It's what's known in logic as a fallacy of suppressed evidence where you make a conclusion seem much more certain than it actually is by only presenting that evidence which supports the conclusion while suppressing the evidence which points in a contrary direction. So that's how it relates to education. I think students should be informed of both sides and then be allowed to make a decision on the basis of the evidence.

And I'd like to, as well, comment on two other features. How does methodological naturalism adversely impact scientific explanations of origins? Well, as we just heard from the previous speaker, Stephen Meyer, the origin science, what we're looking for is inference to the best current explanation. That is, there's a variety of data available and there are a variety of competing explanations, and what the scientist does is select that explanation which gives the best account tested against its competitors. Now, the crucial thing here is this inference is only as good as the range of competition that you allow. It's not good saying, "Yes, yesterday I again won my footrace which I run by myself." Oh, because there weren't any other competitors. This inference is only as good as the range of competitors that you have. The rival explanations, we should look at those, compare them, and then select the best. Well, there are indeed more-- there is indeed a variety of possible naturalistic explanations. There can be more than one naturalistic explanation; however, all the same, methodological naturalism does reduce, it artificially restricts the pull of competing explanations. And as a result, it weakens the conclusions that you draw. Students aren't being asked to do an inference to the best explanation but rather an inference to the best naturalistic explanation with naturalistic defined in the way that we have discussed. It's very important here to see that when abduction or inference to the best explanation is used explanations are tested against each other, not just against the data, so it's no good saying we have overwhelming evidence for this view if no other views are being compared. They're tested against each other, not just against the data. And also, we have to realize that inference to the best explanation is unstable. New evidence can overturn it, and there's some very good stuff in the Kansas science standards about that, which I appreciate. But also, it can be overturned by new explanations. And the important thing is to keep that pool of explanations open.

Now, the third thing I want to comment on is the issue-- you asked me at the beginning about the issue of the impact upon religion. Basically here it's very, very important to emphasize that it's not the case that being religious means being theistic. That's simply a fallacy. According to the consensus, philosophers of religion such as you have, for example, the work of people like Tillich who talked about the ultimate concern that people have, a great theologian and philosopher of religion, but also according to the United States law, there are certainly humanistic religions. You can certainly be religious without believing in God. Atheism is just as religious a position as theism, and certainly secular humanism is being recognized as being religious for First Amendment purposes. The Smith case in 1987 is particularly important there. So in that environment, what does it mean for science to be taught in a secular way as defined by the National Assessment Governing Board? It seems to be a pluralistic context. You can no longer be neutral by saying, "Here's a neutral position." Neutrality, rather, is obtained by not taking sides with respect to those various religious perspectives. You can't side with any one one of them. That isn't neutral. Well, I would argue that methodological naturalism, in fact, does side with non-theistic religions. There isn't any direct logical implication between scientific evidence and religious view; however, if science is taught in such a way that you can only be presented with that evidence which is consistent with naturalism, it's natural for students to conclude that all the evidence points there and that no evidence points or could even gently suggest that the theistic religious claims about the world could be true. Those views are not allowed to be provided with any evidence. Now, it's quite true, of course, that science needs to generate its evidence and not worry about the fallout. It might be that some evidence of science that is generated makes theists uncomfortable because it looks like the world is undirected. It might be that some evidence that is generated by science makes secular humanists uncomfortable because it looks like the world is in some respects designed. Neutrality here is achieved by not prejudging the outcome of that evidence. The evidence needs to be allowed to speak for itself. And if it happens to sometimes favor one religion or another, that's what it does, but the important thing is that education and the State should not by its assumption-- by a philosophical assumption from the get-go favor certain religions. Even if it's not intentional, it should be avoided. There shouldn't be any favoring of secular humanism from the assumption, and I believe that is what is occurring if you use methodological naturalism.

Let me-- let's see. I could now move to a-- the summary slide. I want to go through that. Or do you have some other questions that you want?

Q. Well, at some point, Dr. Menuge, would you comment on the propriety on-- you know, the way in which the minority report deals with this and is that an appropriate way to deal with it and an appropriate way to solve the problem?

A. Right.

Q. Do you want to go to the next slide now or do you want to cover that first?

A. No, that's the last summarizing slide. Let me just talk about this. The proposed changes to the nature of science paragraph that you've made on page 4 of the summary in the minority report I think are very good because they are neutral. The sentence saying that science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations observable around us struck-- and we have a neutral account of science in terms of its methodology. Empirical methods, hypotheses testing, measurements, all those kind of things which good scientists do, but with no reference to a methodology that tends to screen the evidence so that it will favor certain metaphysical and religious explanations. I think it's an excellent revision.

Q. Would you also comment on the provision on page 22?

A. Yes.

Q. Here it is. I have it on the screen.

A. Yeah, that's very good. No one objects to the fact that science is about the natural world. It's just that we may-- in studying the natural world, we don't necessarily end up there, at least if nature is being defined in those terms. As we heard from Mr. Barham earlier, some people have a wider picture of what nature is. But even so, it's important to say that plenty of scientists don't think matter, energy and forces exhaust reality because they believe in information, the obvious fact that human beings intentionally design things, and that in my area, philosophy of agency, most philosophers do not believe that the human ability to design things can be reduced to those kind of naturalistic causes. I think that becomes quite astute because no one denies, for example, that there is a science of forensics that can determine whether or not somebody was intentionally murdered. There's a design inference that's being used all of the time. And it can be done, notice, without settling the metaphysical question of whether people have souls or not. It's a complete red herring to suggest that the only way that you can make design exist is by loading in lots of metaphysical conclusions about which obviously scientists will disagree for their personal and religious reasons. So I think that that's an excellent simple correction to the standards.

Q. I'd like to take you back just briefly to page 4 and-- actually the bottom of page 4 and the top of page 5 and the sentence "According to many scientists the core claim of evolutionary theory is that apparent design of living systems is an illusion." I believe you testified to that already. Other scientists testified to that. Do you generally agree with those proposed changes?

A. Yeah, they are very good changes and it's important to understand, you know, what they mean. The reason that Darwinian evolution implies the apparent design of living systems is an illusion is because it doesn't have the resources to produce anything that is actually designed. So obviously there are going to be people who disagree with that conclusion. If something appears designed, one view is it only appears so, and the other view is it really is. The same issue arising all the time with human action, depending on whether it's accidental or intentional, which is an area of my expertise. So I agree with that and also very much with the fact that you need a mandate in order to prohibit teaching about the scientific disagreements. People need just simply the freedom to present the information that they believe is relevant on both sides of the controversy, and the goal is to properly inform students. You cannot have properly informed students on a controversy unless they know both sides of the controversy. And that's what it means to be neutral and nonideological.

Q. Did you want to conclude with this slide or--

A. Yes. I will argue that methodology naturalism, though those words do not occur there, the concept does. And the strikeouts that have been proposed by the minority report do remove that. They are correct to remove that because methodological naturalism prevents students from being properly informed on matters of scientific philosophy, a failure of full disclosure. It's not neutral and nonideological because it advocates a single perspective on a controversial issue, and it fails to be secular because it will favor-- even if that's not its intention, it will favor secular humanism and other naturalistic religions of theistic and other non naturalistic religions by only allowing the evidence that favors the former religion to be presented.

MR. CALVERT: Thank you very much, Dr. Menuge. Mr. Irigonegaray, your witness.

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



Q. Sir, I have a few questions that I'd like to ask you for the record, please. What is your personal opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. I don't know. And that's my final answer.

Q. Do you have an opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. I'm not giving an opinion.

Q. I didn't hear you.

A. I am not giving an opinion.

Q. You don't have any personal opinion as to what the age of the earth is?

A. I have no opinion.

Q. Do you find that to be rather an oddity since you consider yourself an expert on all of these areas?

A. Absolutely not, because my understanding of historical sciences has led me to-- studying them from the perspective of philosophy of science has led me to believe that inference to the best explanation is much less certain than other areas of science. And so the conclusions are much more tentative and there are other competing explanations that can be provided.

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life?

A. Not as defined by neo-Darwinism, no.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors?

A. I doubt it.

Q. What is the alternative explanation?

A. Well, there are a number of alternative explanations. Right now, as this book shows, there are views looking at self-organization, which don't necessarily agree with that viewpoint. They may or they may not. But there is also the idea of design.

Q. And your opinion as to when that design occurred?

A. I don't know.

Q. It is true, is it not, that nowhere in Draft 2 is the term naturalism mentioned?

A. That is absolutely correct. That term doesn't occur, but the concept does.

Q. Where in Draft 2 does it say or imply that a student cannot hold a theistic view about the results and process of science?

A. It doesn't say that, but methodological naturalism will only give them the evidence that supports non-theistic religions. I'm not accusing the State of Kansas in any way of trying to establish religion. I'm simply saying the standards as written now will tend to favor those who have certain religious persuasions by allowing only their evidence congenial to those views to be presented.

Q. Where in the standards does it mention methodological naturalism?

A. It does not use those words. As I mentioned before, the concept does appear on Roman Numeral page 10 and on page 98 of the Kansas science standards.

Q. Would you agree with the following: "There are many issues which involve morals, ethics, values or spiritual beliefs that go beyond what science can explain but for which solid scientific literacy is useful." Would you agree with that?

A. Yeah, I think that's a perfectly fine statement, but it does not deal with the issue which is deletion of something in the standards. This is a good addition, I'm glad you have it, but what we're discussing is deletion of statements that imply methodological naturalism.

Q. Draft 2 clearly states what science is and what science isn't. Draft 2 does not mention either guided or unguided, leading the student to have a theistic view. It's the minority report that adds an atheistic definition of science and drafts that addition.

A. I don't think the minority report does that. It simply explains to the student how the term biological evolution is understood by the majority of scientists.

Q. Then let me ask you this. How do you explain the large number of theists, including evangelical Christians who are scientists that do not see the methodological naturalism as a conflict with their faith?

A. Well, there's a couple of issues here. One is that the mere fact that you have somebody who holds two beliefs, A and B, does not show that they are logically consistent, so it might be some of these people are confused. The other issue is, as this debate shows, this area is extremely controversial. So I expect they've worked it out because they've adjusted other of their assumptions in various areas, and some of my friends hold exactly the view that you hold. I don't think they're bad or stupid people.

Q. Are you familiar with Mr. Michael Denton?

A. Yes, sir, I am.

Q. I'm going to read you something and I want you to tell me whether or not you agree with this. "In his advocacy of special creation, I believe Johnson-- and you know who Phillip Johnson is, don't you?

A. Yes.

Q. "-- is merely the latest in a succession of vigorous creation advocates who have been very influential within Christian conservative circles, particularly in the United States during the 20th century. None of these advocates, however, has had any lasting influence among academic biologists. This is not because science is biased in favor of philosophical naturalism, but because the special creationist model is not supported by the facts and it is incapable of providing a more plausible explanation for the pattern of life's diversity in time and space than its evolutionary competitors. The reason why no current member of the United States National Academy of Science is a special creationist is because of the facts-- the same facts that in the 19th century convinced Wallace, Darwin and all leading Christian biologists, including Georges Cuvier, Asa Gray and Charles Lyell of the reality of descent with modification." Do you disagree with that statement?

A. I think it mischaracterizes Johnson's position.

Q. You cited in your discussion the Smith case. Were you referring to the Smith case out of Louisiana?

A. No. The Board of Commissioners of Alabama.

Q. Of Alabama?

A. Let me refer to that. I have to recall where I referenced that in my report. Smith vs. Board of Commissioners of-- is that correct, of Alabama? You're a lawyer. I saw that and numerous other sources when I was researching the legal side of it. Yeah, here it is. It's Board of Commissioners of Mobile County, 655

F.Sup 939 SD Alabama, 1987.

Q. Would you read that cite again, 6 what?

A. 655 F.Sup 939, and this was Alabama, 1987.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: All right, thank you very much. Thank you. Nothing further.


Q. Dr. Menuge, I heard you state that methodological naturalism is basically equivalent to philosophical naturalism. Did I understand that correctly?

A. Yeah. In fact, they are not equivalent as philosophical theses, but in its educational effect, methodological naturalism is going to present only the evidence which supports philosophical naturalism. So its effect on education, it is going to be the same.

Q. Do most philosophers-- you're a philosopher of science?

A. Well, that's one of my areas. Really my main focus is agency.

Q. Then still, since we're dealing with science, do most philosophers of science agree with you that they are basically the same in their effect, how they interact at the education level?

A. Well, I haven't surveyed them all sociologically, but it seems to me it's just a logical inference. If you only present the evidence in favor of something, you are advocating it, even if you then say, "Oh, but you're free to believe otherwise." In other words, you're free to believe otherwise but with no evidence.

Q. So is neo-Darwinian evolution as most evolutionists understand it, does it have religious connotations?

A. Yes, it has religious implications because if it's taken to be a full account of everything that we observe, it implies that nothing is designed or has a purpose, that human beings in particular are just occurrences, we're products of this random process and that we have no preordained value, meaning, or significance.

Q. Therefore, would you say that by adding elements of the minority report that would more adequately prepare students to distinguish between those religious and philosophical claims?

A. Yeah, I think that's very important. The important thing is to disclose where an assumption is made, what its consequences are, and then allow discussion of the arguments for and against. The worst thing is not to disclose it, have everybody assume it's a fact when, in fact, it's a controversial philosophical thesis. Get it out in the open and then people can discuss both sides of it.

Q. So as many-- perhaps that's the wrong word. As some evolutionists propose neo-Darwinian evolution and as they would present it, would you classify that as a dogma?

A. Well, the dogma is really methodological naturalism because it's meaning that they can only present one-sided evidence. So it converts what is inherently a perfectly scientific theory into a dogma.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: Dr. Menuge, I thank you very much for your time. We're going to break for lunch. Mr. Calvert and Mr. Irigonegaray, do you have a problem coming back at one o'clock instead of 1:05?


CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: We're going to break and be back promptly at one o'clock.

(THEREUPON, a recess for lunch was taken.)


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