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

Kansas Evolution Hearings

Part 9


DR. ABRAMS: If you could take a seat, please. Also, I would like to remind you to shut off your cell phones again. I suspect most everybody turned them on over the noon hour. Shut them off. Mr. Calvert, please proceed.

MR. CALVERT: Thank you. Thank you. Chairman Abrams, members of the Committee, Mr. Irigonegaray, members of the media and the public, I would like to introduce to you Dr. Warren Nord, who is a professor of theology and religion at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Nord, welcome, and I appreciate your coming across the country to testify today.

DR. NORD: I'm happy to be here.

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


Q. I wonder if you could elaborate a bit upon your background to sort of get your testimony started.

A. I would be happy to. I received my bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and then my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I liked Chapel Hill so much, I decided that I was going to stay there if there was some way that I could, and so far I've managed to stay there.

For 25 years, I directed the inter- disciplinary program called the Program in Humanities and Human Values, which was an effort to bring people together from various humanity disciplines and, in fact, people in the humanities, together with people outside of the humanities in the professions and sciences and particularly in education to talk about human values and those fundamental concerns that we have that are part of being human. And certainly, that experience has shaped my world a great deal. I place a tremendous amount of emphasis on interdisciplinary discussion, and that will shape my response to the concerns we have here this weekend.

Q. Dr. Nord, could you give us a little bit better description of perhaps the associations you are connected with, affiliations, education with regard to the issue of education? If I understand, your degree is in philosophy, but you also have an emphasis on education.

A. Yeah. I teach philosophy of religion and philosophy of education, and some time ago I developed interest in the relationship of religion and education. And that, in fact, has become my specialty.

I started to write a book back in the mid '80's on the humanities and the importance of the humanities in education, and the book was to have one chapter in it on religion, or more specifically, on religious science as one of the disciplines of religion. When I started writing that chapter, it got longer and longer, and before long, it took over the whole book, and that became my first book called "Religion in American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma." The book has the merit-- I'm not sure that everyone would consider it a merit-- regardless of its merits in terms of quality, it does have the questionable merit, I suppose, of being the most comprehensive study ever done, I think, of religion and education, particularly secondary and higher education.

I then followed that with a book called "Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum," which I co-wrote with Charles Haynes of Freedom Forum First Amendment, in which we try and explain why religion should be taken seriously across the curriculum of public schools and how to do that properly.

And since I think understanding that provides a good deal of perspective on how I come at this issue, it's worth my saying just a little bit about those kind of arguments that I've made in those two books and in 30 or so articles and book chapters. I was surprised. I hadn't thought much about this issue in relationship with religion and education at all until I started working on this book on the humanities. And as I started to do my research, I was surprised because a whole new way of looking at education emerged.

One of the things that I've done is read over 80 high school textbooks in the sciences and history, in economics, in health, in home economics, and virtually all the National Content Standards that were issued primarily in the 1990's, and what I discovered was that neither in textbooks nor in the National Standards was religion taken very seriously at all. Certainly, history textbooks and history standards include a fair amount of religion in the context of the fairly distant past, not in the context of the 19th and 20th Centuries, and textbooks and standards in all other disciplines really ignore religion.

To give you just one example that I'm going to draw on later in my remarks, economics. I think we have something to learn from instructive example. I reviewed the National Economics Standards, which only make one reference-- let me say this. I think any religious person knows that religion has a great deal to do with economics and how we understand human nature, how we understand society, how we understand the economic domains of life, how we understand morality and our obligations.

One might expect that within an economics text or Economic Standard there would be some reference to religious foundation of thinking for economics. Of course, that's not the case. In 4,000 pages of ten economics texts which I reviewed, if you add up all the references to religion, they total two pages, and none of the references are pertaining to any period later in time than the Protestant Reformation. So religion has no role to play at all in economics texts, nor does it in the Economics Standards, which only made one reference to religion in 45 pages, and that was an example of a nonprofit institution.

Well, what does that mean? The problem is compounded, I think, by the fact that the National Economic Standards say that students should only be taught neoclassical economic theory. Some of you will know what that is. Neoclassical economic theory is the view that human nature-- human beings are essentially self-interested utility maximizers, that the economic domain of life is a realm of competition between animistic individuals, that moral judgments have to reduce across cost benefit equations in which there's some effort to maximize preference satisfaction.

Well, none of that's compatible with any religious tradition in the history of the world, and yet the National Economics Standards say that's the only view of economics that students should be taught in American public schools, for if they introduce any other view, it would only be to confuse students and teachers. There may be an analogy between that-- and I think there is-- and the problem that we're talking about this weekend. Part of my concern is to put this issue that we're discussing this weekend in a much larger perspective.

In effect, what we do in public schools is conduct a kind of serial socialization, that is, within each discipline-- we don't teach subjects. Subjects are open to various interpretations. We teach disciplines. Disciplines provide a single way of understanding the world, and science is shaped by methodological naturalism, and economics by neoclassical economic theory. You can make the same kinds of arguments on how we teach literature, how we teach the arts, how we teach history, how we teach health. Students are not exposed to the wide range of issues that would be required if they were to be-- to have a truly liberal education. And in fact, there are three reasons why this is deeply wrong.

The first is a liberal education should introduce students to the major ways humankind has developed of making sense to the world. Some of those ways are conservative, some liberal, some secular, some religious. Right now, public education is incredibly parochial. It basically only introduces students to secular ways of making sense of the world, leaving religious ways out of the discussion.

A typical way of thinking about liberal education is in terms of introducing students to various disciplines. We have distribution requirements in college and in public schools that require students take history and literature, history and English-- now we call them social studies, communication, arts, communication skills-- and science and math. But there isn't any requirement that within each of those areas of study students be required to understand different ways of interpreting the subject matter. We simply introduce them, initiate them, into a series of disciplines, what I call serial socialization.

A liberal education would require interdisciplinary discussion. What is the relationship between what students learn in a science course and in an economics course, what they might learn about religion, what they might learn about morality in a philosophical ethics course, what they learn about human nature in a literature course? We never ask those questions. The whole structure of education is set up to keep students from being reasonable. Being reasonable requires us to make judgments about the relationships of what we learn within various disciplines.

Think if we only taught students how Democrats think about the world and never mentioned how Republicans think about the world. We all agree that would be-- well, maybe we don't-- most of us, a bad education. To be educated about politics, you have to understand how Democrats and how Republicans think about the world. To be educated about economics requires understanding not just how neoclassic theorists understand the world, but how economics is understood in various political, ideological, and religious traditions as well. We don't do that. Education isn't truly liberal. We make a feeble effort toward it.

There's also a civic justice argument, and that is that in public schools in particular, there's an obligation to take the public seriously and not to disenfranchise people because of their views. I think there's a justice argument to be made for including the voice of all major groups within our culture, including religious groups. We don't do that. A few years ago we thought that it was all right to leave blacks and women out of the cultural conversation. I think we now all realize that's wrong, but what we still haven't come to realize is it's wrong to leave religious voices out of the discussion. The problem is the same. It's disenfranchising people. It's saying, "We're not going to take your values and your views seriously."

There's also a constitutional problem here, and that is the Constitution requires, ever since 1947 in Everson versus Board of Education when Justice Black said, and the Court has agreed with him ever since, that education-- that the state must be neutral between religion and non religion, not just neutral among religions, but neutral between religion and non religion. The Court has applied that idea to public education any number of times. There's never been any serious dissent with that idea within the Court.

Now, does it mean being neutral with regard to religion and non religion? Well, the only way I can make sense of that is in terms of being theoretically alternative. There isn't any such thing as a neutral point of view. Rather, neutrality must mean fairness, taking different people, different cultures, different traditions seriously.

Now, to wrap up this part, where this leads is to the idea that public education must take religion seriously, must include religious voices in the conversation, not just in the context of the distant past, but now as live alternatives, as a matter of liberal education, as a matter of civic justice, as a matter of constitutional neutrality.

These notions are all secular arguments, are not arguments as an issue taken seriously for any religious reason whatsoever. This is all from the middle way in our culture wars, that is, I'm supposed in most areas to leave religion out of the discussion and that the idea that religion should be promoted. Religion should be taken seriously among the various alternative ways of making sense of the world.

I tell you this because I want you to know where I'm coming from. And now I'll be addressing more particularly the problem before us at these hearings. I made these comments not because I have any particular vested interest in Intelligent Design theory. I have my views, and they will become clear. But I come at this problem really out of my background concern to further an idea of liberal education, civil justice, and constitutional neutrality in the public schools.

Perhaps the most important implication of my view is that we completely misunderstand what science education should be. The purpose of science education should not be to train scientists. That's proper in upper level undergraduate courses and in graduate school, but it's not proper in introductory courses in high school or, indeed, in undergraduate school. The purpose of science education should be to further the liberal education of students. This has a number of significant implications.

Think again about neoclassical economic theory. Is it proper to teach students just one way of thinking about the economic world, particularly when that way of thinking about it diverges so deeply and profoundly from other ways people think about the economic world, obvious or not. Similarly, it seems to me a part of science education in a liberal education should be to locate science within a larger interdisciplinary discussion that has to do with the major human problems that we all confront as we think about the meanings of our lives and the nature of reality. That is, science education as part of a liberal education should have a much broader purpose than what is ordinarily recognized.

The Majority Report, which I have read in totality, says that it does encourage critical thinking, but certainly, within the context of the report, the idea is critical thinking within the domain of establishment science. There's nothing at least explicit about the idea of critical thinking about science and its relationship to other aspects of life and other disciplines within our intellectual life.

The philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, I think, would be by clear consensus viewed as the greatest philosopher of science, the most enjoyable philosopher of science of the 20th Century, said in his most important book, "Structure of Scientific Evolutions," that scientists are educated the most dogmatically of any group in our society with the exception of theologians. He's wrong, of course. They're educated much more dogmatically than our theologians. No theologian can get through college or seminary without encountering a lot of science. Most scientists get to their Ph.D.'s without ever encountering any kind of religious studies like theology or philosophy. Science education is typically highly illiberal, and that is a huge problem.

A number of speakers before have mentioned the fact that nowhere in their educations were they ever encouraged to think critically about science. Rather, they were simply encouraged, initiated in the scientific ways of thinking rather uncritically.

Okay. Now to dig on just a little bit deeper. Methodological naturalism. And let me say right here I think Professor Menuge did a marvelous job. I agree entirely with him about methodological naturalism. It short circuits critical thinking within science. So it's not only the problem of thinking about science from outside, but then there's the question of how we think critically about science from within the inside. What, in fact, should students cover in science? And we, in fact, in effect, on critical issues accept a kind of methodological naturalism.

By holding out for a naturalistic explanation, as the Majority's Standards suggest that we ought to do or presuppose that we ought to do, design explanations and ideological explanations of nature are ruled out of bounds a priori. Let me put it this way. If there is a God, and God created nature, there must be design somehow or another in the world. That is, given most conceptions of God, God is good, and God would create, God did create, God would create nature to fulfill God's purposes. There must be design inherent in nature.

Methodological naturalism does not, as Professor Menuge said, allow us to find any of that evidence for design. It rules design out a priori. It perverts science from being an empirical discipline to a dogmatic discipline, one which is passed on to other scientists and other students really as a matter of faith.

Now, this isn't totally unreasonable. Naturalistic science has worked quite well in a lot of regards. It's not surprising that scientists have a fair amount of faith that it will continue to work well in the future. But by excluding design explanations and ideological explanations, it asserts a priori that it will continue to work well, and that really is a matter of a kind of faith. That is a trust that what has worked well in the past will continue to work well. Now, of course, some people would say it hasn't worked all that well in the past.

We can distinguish between methodological naturalism and a philosophical naturalism and overt atheism. The problem is that that distinction, in effect, collapses, given the way that we teach science. It's true that the Majority Report makes no reference to methodological naturalism, but I don't think that makes any difference to the points that I'm making and Professor Menuge made this morning. First of all, the response that Mr. DeHart made yesterday. The-- well, let me back up just a moment.

The counsel for the Majority has pointed out to a number of witnesses that the Majority Report has a statement in it that science students will understand that 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. Presumably, the argument is that because the Majority Report makes that statement, it doesn't advocate methodological naturalism. I don't find that a convincing argument.

First of all, as Mr. DeHart said yesterday, the fact that discrimination was viewed as wrong as the result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn't mean that discrimination doesn't go on. The fact that the Declaration of Independence says all men were created equal doesn't mean that we treat all people equally. The fact that there's a single statement like that in the Majority Report doesn't mean that everything else in the report doesn't undercut that particular statement. So that's one problem with it.

The second problem with it is that many intellectuals in the 20th Century-- and I suspect a whole lot of other folk-- have accepted that view, said yes, science can't tell us anything about morals, ethics, values, or spiritual beliefs, but what science can do is tell us everything about the world, about nature, and about reality. And what was the response to that? The response to that is therefore, morality and values and ethics don't have anything to do with the world. They're things that we make up.

So one way of reading the statement is to suggest that, yes, it's true, science can't account for morality and ethics, but since science can account for everything in the world presumably-- there's no critical suggestion that it can't-- in nature, that means that morality and values can't be grounded in nature or grounded in reality. So it can lead to a view which is very deceptive of most moral and religious beliefs.

And then finally, as I said, unless students-- unless a lot is done to make students aware of the difference between methodological and philosophical naturalism or atheism, a single statement like that just isn't going to make much difference. And again, Professor Menuge talked about that a great deal this morning. The inevitable idea that they will acquire from their studies is that science can explain everything about the natural world. And as he also pointed out, it's somewhat more dangerous and pernicious when that assumption is not made explicit but simply becomes part of the background understanding that people acquire unconsciously without being able to think critically about it.

And then maybe one other argument, too, is that even if that statement is in the Majority Report, still, teachers use the standard textbooks and curricula, where that distinction is completely lost sight of, and that has to be assumed, that the context within which biology or the life sciences will be taught is one in which a kind of purposeless Neo-Darwinism is the assumed way of thinking about the world.

One other comment about the Majority Report. I must say that John Calvert misled me about one thing, and that is when I did read the Majority Report, I discovered that it was rather worse than he had led me to believe. It's worth noting that the Majority Report leaves out mention of all those aspects of scientific understanding of nature which are deeply problematic and which are incredibility important to our understanding of the significance of science.

So for example, even though the Big Bang isn't mentioned by name, there's certainly reference to the Big Bang, but there's no mention to the problem of the origins of the Big Bang. There is a fierce debate raging about whether or not there's fine tuning in the aftermath of the Big Bang, and many cosmologists, philosophers, and some theologians have come to believe there is fine tuning, that the Big Bang was set up in a certain way in order to lead to life. This is an incredibly important argument. There's no mention of that.

There's no mention of the origins of life or the ability of science to currently account for them. There's no mention of possible alternatives-- granted, when you think critically, but-- to Design theory or any alternative explanation for evolution, there's no mention of the huge problems of how consciousness comes to be. This is a problem which has concerned many philosophers, which is completely unresolved, and all the many philosophers have come to believe that science simply can't account for consciousness or rationality, which Professor Menuge touched upon this morning.

Moreover, even though there's a standard devoted to, could be, the personal perspectives, certainly the most important personal perspective for most people with regard to science is its implication regarding religious beliefs. There's no mention of that. Certainly, the most important, culturally, implication of science is its relationship to religion and morality. This is a debate that's been going on ever since the origins of modern science in the 16th and 17th Centuries. That's the most important thing to understand about the history of science. There's no mention of that.

There is one reference to the idea that technology poses risks instead of benefits, but it doesn't raise the huge problem that we have in our culture and our society today of technological thinking. Part of what gets us in so many problems today is we inevitably think technologically about the world rather than morally or spiritually. No reference to that.

Oh, gosh. I've got a few more things I could say, but maybe, John, this is a place to stop and let you ask me any questions you want to. I do want to say something about Intelligent Design theory, but you might want to ask me about that.

Q. Well, one thing. Would you just again express your view as to the extent to which, in practice and effect, methodological naturalism crashes into a philosophical naturalistic view?

A. Well, I think Professor Menuge stated it beautifully this morning. It limits a priori, it limits as a matter of definition the kind of evidence that's available to students or indeed to other scientists that kind of get trapped into the Darwinian paradigm. And when that's the case, they aren't in a position in which they can critically assess the accepted theory. It's no different from saying if we only taught students what Republicans believe about the world, how in the world could they think seriously about Democrats or whether or not Democrats should be taken seriously?

On ideological economic theory or anything else, if you only have one view available to you, that view then becomes passed on more or less as a matter of uncritical faith and trust that at some point in the past, it was able to handle these kinds of problems, but who knows, because we aren't introduced to the problems. And so by failing to take seriously the idea that there are alternatives, the conventional wisdom becomes maintained as a matter of authority and faith rather than critical reason from a liberal education.

Q. Would you comment a bit about your views on the Standard on page 4-- well, first of all, I assume, based on what you say-- well, first I want to move to this provision that according to many scientists, core claims that evolutionary theory is apparent is not a brilliant system to believe, and other scientists disagree. These standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching of this scientific disagreement. Do you agree-- what are your comments about that statement?

A. I believe, actually, that something stronger is required ideally. That is to say, I think as a part of a liberal education and, indeed, a part of sorting out what is reasonable to believe within science, students need to be introduced to these kind of boundary questions about what's really science, the controversy about whether it's really science, and then given whatever significant alternative theories there are for making sense of whatever evidence is available.

Leaving it-- making it a matter of permission is probably all right now, in part because many teachers aren't prepared to do this. But the ideal towards which we should be working is a more liberal conception of making sense of science, one that fits better within the liberal education model that I suggested, and so that I think in the long run, if we take this ideal seriously at some point, given-- when resources become available and teachers are properly educated to deal with these kinds of questions, it should be required that students learn something about Intelligent Design theory, which is, after all-- I mean, this is not-- sometimes this is portrayed as just a minor skirmish on the borders of science, but it isn't. Again, that's because we're thinking basically in terms of traditional science education rather than in terms of liberal education.

This is simply the latest variation on a huge intellectual battle that has gone on, goes all the way back to Greek philosophy and to the Bible, about how we make sense of nature. Students need to be initiated into that discussion. That's a somewhat broader discussion, but that's the proper context for understanding why Intelligent Design theory is important now, not just as an alternative to Neo-Darwinian evolution, but as part of a longer and tremendously important story, narrative, in western civilization about how we make sense of nature.

Q. Do you believe that discussion of Intelligent Design should be accomplished within the context of the biology science classroom?

A. Yes. Where one handles other kinds of religious claims is tricky business. Simply the title of my second book, "Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum," suggests that religion should be taken seriously in most all disciplines. I used to say except mathematics and driver's education, but the Amish let me know that driver's education is religiously very important. And, actually, a case can be made for mathematics because the philosophy-- well, I'm not going to get into that.

Sure, it should be done in science courses because that's where-- I mean, you can't relegate it to a history teacher. What in the world does a history teacher know about the relationship of Intelligent Design theory to Neo-Darwinian biology? So it's got to be in science courses. It doesn't have to be approached as an equal competitor, but it has to be included in the discussion. Students need to be made aware of the fact that there are alternative conceptions, alternative theories for making sense of the evidence that are out there and available.

Q. Would you agree with me that in order to discuss Design theory, and upon any scientific basis, that would require the disciplines of science, biology, paleontology, geology, even to some extent statistics and mathematics? And the question that's always troubled me about the idea of putting Intelligent Design in a different forum such as a class in religion and philosophy, there are two concerns. One is that you bifurcate the discussion, and there's no guarantee that the audience that hears one will be the audience that hears the other. And the second problem is that, you know, how can a theologian or a philosopher or a sociologist have the expertise necessary to, in any rational way, explain the criticism for and against that?

A. I agree with you entirely. There is one fairly easy way of doing it, and that is textbooks. Most science textbooks include a perfunctory chapter on scientific method but hardly ever deal with the relationship of science and religion unless it does in the crassest and most simple minded ways. Those chapters could be well written to raise all kinds of-- well, not all kinds of-- but several important philosophical questions about-- demarkation questions about the relationship of science to other disciplines and controversies that are going on. That could be done easily, but it isn't because, of course, the scientific establishment won't allow it. The science establishment insists on humanism religion. Oh, that reminds me. Can I say something about liberals?

Q. Sure.

A. Liberals and this whole question. All right. Let me tell you off the bat I'm a liberal. Politically I'm a liberal, theologically I'm a liberal, I'm a liberal in every sense. Some people would say worse than that.

One of the things that really disappoints me is how this issue has gotten framed in terms of conservatives and liberals. The position I'm arguing for, interestingly, is the more liberal position. Science is notably illiberal, the scientific establishment and science courses. The idea of liberalism is including everybody in the discussion. And that's what we went to with women and blacks and various ethnic groups. You include them in the discussion. We left them out, we've been illiberal, and now we've come to see through multiculturalism and all other kinds of movements within education over the last several decades that that was wrong. It was wrong. It's tremendously important to include them in the curricular discussion. That's the liberal position, not the conservative position.

The liberal position with regard to science education should be inclusivity, including more people into the argument. Why aren't they? Why aren't good liberals saying yes, let's take Intelligent Design seriously? Part of it is naivete. Part of it is a kind of principle commitment. So it's naivete about education. I mean, most scientists just don't think about these questions, I think. Instead, they have a kind of principle adherence to a philosophical naturalism and not thinking really about the differences between methodological and philosophical.

Part of it is simply fear. It's the fear that the religious right is going to get its big foot in that door and all kinds of trouble is going to come. That's not a very principled argument. The principled position is making-- drawing the circle more widely, including more people in. This is finding common ground, and this is what we have to do if we're actually going to save public education. It's giving everybody a place at the table, giving everybody a voice in the discussion.

One of the things that's amazing to me is how the scientific establishment hasn't realized yet that its policy doesn't work. That is to say, you know, the Gallop polls show that only nine percent in the last one I saw believed in what comes closest to being Neo-Darwinian evolution. Science education isn't working to make the point of view of the scientific establishment. People are deeply suspicious of science, people are deeply resentful of science because they feel their points of view aren't taken seriously. I actually think that if the conversation were broadened to be a reasonable discussion, people might actually take the idea of Darwinian evolution a little bit more seriously, although since I myself do believe more for philosophical reasons, I guess I would say, than because of the Intelligent Design movement, I think that Neo-Darwinian explanations of the world are inadequate.

Oh, and maybe-- since I suspect my time is almost up-- let me say one other thing. That is I know that the counsel for the Majority Report is going to ask me several questions in a few moments, and since he will not give me the opportunity to explain myself, I will do that right now. For the record, I believe the world is 4.5 billion years old, give or take a few hundred million.

Secondly, descent from a common ancestor, the question here is: What does descent from mean? If that means that neo-- if Neo-Darwinian mechanisms are adequate, fully adequate for the explanation, I don't believe that. But if design or theological explanations are allowed to account for explaining at least part of what happens in evolution, then I accept that. And the same regarding our descent from prehominid ancestors. Yes, of course, I think that's true, but I think it's true only in the sense that I think we need to appeal to ideological explanations because Neo-Darwinian explanations aren't adequate to account for all of that evolutionary development. All right. Well--

Q. I have one other thing that we wanted to get into, and that is the definition of science and what is your comment on-- I don't have much left.

A. I was wary of doing this. One of the things that convinced me to do it was that Mr. Calvert told me I didn't have to agree with him about everything, I could simply say what I thought, which is what I have done. And one of the places I disagree-- I suppose not greatly, but some-- is with regard to the definition of science. That is to say, my view is that rather than have any definition of science, it would be better for the Standards to say the definition of science is controversial. I would be inclined to say let's let scientists decide how to define science, but part of the problem is scientists disagree. There's certainly a majority group and a minority group, but there's a significant disagreement about how to define science.

So it seems to me what's important is to at least initiate the controversy, and this is what a liberal education requires. Let's let students know that the definition of science is controversial for the following reasons, here are the different positions people take, rather than insisting on a particular correct definition of science.

MS. POSNY: Two minutes.

A. (Continued) If one has to pick between the Majority report view and the Minority Report view, I certainly favor the Minority Report view.

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

DR. ABRAMS: Mr. Irigonegaray, it's 19 minutes.


Q. I want to make sure, sir, that I understood your suggestions for a liberal education. Do I understand you to suggest that in order for science to truly be taught liberally, that it must include religion in its teaching?

A. The question is what you mean by "include." On one meaning yes, on another meaning no. Science texts, like texts in economics or history or any other discipline, should locate students within an ongoing interdisciplinary discussion about how we make sense of the world. There should be an introductory text-- chapter in textbooks which locates modern science within this kind of broad cultural conversation that's historical, that should introduce them to something of the history of science.

The National Science Standards and Kansas Standards all have a history standard in it, but that history is not really taken, I think, very seriously, certainly not taken seriously in any kind of organized or systematic way. So that should be part of it. What is the history of science? How did science come to be what it is, and how does it relate to other ways of making sense of the world, and what other contributions--

Q. Excuse me, sir. I was just asking for a yes-or-no answer, since I only have 19 minutes, and all I wanted to know was a yes-or-no answer.

A. I think that's impossible because it depends on what you mean by "include."

Q. Then just tell me that. I understand you to say that you believe Intelligent Design is a-- or will be a valid hypothesis some day to be taught in colleges and university science curriculums.

A. No. I will explain.

Q. Would you be so kind, sir, as to tell me whether or not it is your opinion that the Standards in Kansas, particularly as they're reflected in draft two, include 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. That is included in the Standards, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And it is your opinion that that does not go far enough.

A. Yes.

Q. Do the terms "Neo-Darwinism" or "Darwinism" appear in the Standards?

A. I don't believe so.

Q. Does the term "methodological naturalism" appear in the Standards?

A. I don't believe so.

Q. Draft two also does not mention either "guided" or "unguided." Correct?

A. Correct.

Q. Do you believe it is appropriate-- strike that, please. Are you familiar with Mr. Paul Nelson?

A. I have a vague understanding of who he is, yes.

Q. Would you tell me if you would agree or disagree with this statement? "Intelligent Design proponents offer nothing to the scientific community upon which a scientific program can be developed. They don't even have clearly defined definitions of critical terms that can be understood and applied by others. For example, they have provided no objective basis upon which others can apply concepts such as irreducible complexity or specific complexity. They focus on critiques of evolutionary theory that either attack straw man views of evolution, misrepresent current science, or are simply based on flawed reasoning. They also point to areas of frontier science in which the scientific community is yet to reach a consensus. None of this constitutes any challenge to the predictive and explanatory power of evolutionary theory. With regard to Intelligent Design, there is simply no theory or anything approaching it. It is not used in scientific research, even by its primary proponents. All Intelligent Design is, is a series of failed and rejected criticisms of evolutionary theory. Easily the biggest challenge facing the Intelligent Design community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don't have such a theory right now, and that's the real problem. Without a theory, it is very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we've got a big, powerful-- we have a big bag of powerful intuitions and a handful of notions such as irreducible complexity and specified complexity, but as yet no general theory of biological design." Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

A. No. If someone had read that statement to Copernicus, we never would have gotten to geocentric-- or to etiocentric view of the world.

Q. And if Copernicus would have been held back by the then dogmatic view of those that controlled the faith, we would still believe the earth was the center of the universe, wouldn't we, sir?

A. My point was that even the kind of science that Copernicus used had to start somewhere, and one could have very well said, using the conventional wisdom of Copernicus' day, "Hey, there's no research program here. This isn't anything worth taking seriously." Every effort to develop some kind of science has to start somewhere.

Q. Is it also your opinion, sir, that intelligent-- strike that. Is it also your opinion, sir, that it is important to have religion taught in economics?

A. Oh, for sure.

Q. Mathematics?

A. That's a harder case, but you can actually make a case for that. I'll be happy to do it if you like.

Q. Are you familiar with the Clergy Letter Project?

A. No.

Q. I have in my hand an open letter concerning religion and science which, as of May 3rd, 2005, had 3,352 signatures collected to date, and it reads as follows: "Within the community of Christian believers, there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible, the creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark, convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation, expressed in the only capable truth of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey information, but to transform hearts. We, the undersigned Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a fundamental scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny, and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth is to treat it as one theory among others. It's to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God's good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God's loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different but complementary forms of truth." Do you disagree with that?

A. I agree with some of it and disagree with some of it. I would be happy to comment on it.

Q. In human history, can you think of any particular aspect where the combining of-- or excuse me-- the combination of faith with science has created detrimental problems for humanity?

A. Innumerable times.

Q. And do you think that perhaps the one lesson that history has taught us is that it is important to keep science neutral so that no individual faith in any particular nation determines what is or is not appropriate science?

A. Absolutely not.

Q. Do you believe, therefore, that it is the Christian faith that should determine what specific Intelligent Design might have been involved in the universe?

A. Absolutely not.

Q. So you would not limit it just to the Christian faith?

A. Of course not. Of course not. My whole comments were that education has to be neutral among the religions as well as between religion and non religion, that it should be liberal, including all the major ways in which humankind has developed to understand the world, and that it should politically just in the sense of not disenfranchising huge numbers of American citizens. And that is not exclusive, that is inclusive. And, of course, evolution should be taught. Of course, it should be taught. Neo-Darwinian evolution should be taught as the dominant view of scientists, but it shouldn't be the only view. That leads to all kinds of problems simply with regard to whether or not students are in a position to assess whether Neo-Darwinism is a reasonable position.

Q. Are you familiar with the National Science Teachers Association?

A. I know what they are.

Q. What they are?

A. Yes. I know what it is. I don't know what you're asking what I should be familiar with.

Q. Do you disagree with their concept of keeping science neutral, or is it your opinion that because science involves itself with the study of natural phenomena, that that in essence makes science a religion?

A. No. Science-- again, Professor Menuge did a marvelous job of explaining that Neo-Darwinism isn't the same thing as atheism. Of course, it isn't, because one can believe that there are other things going on in the world. But when you teach only Neo-Darwinism, the inevitable conclusion to draw is that doesn't explain everything. Design theory does not require God-- or a Christian God--

Q. Kansas doesn't teach Neo-Darwinism. What are you talking about?

A. Certainly--

Q. Kansas does not teach it.

A. Of course, the Majority Report-- unless the Majority Report specifically says, "We don't mean to teach Neo-Darwinism," the inevitable conclusion of any reasonable human being is that you teach the dominant view of scientists, the one written into all the textbooks, the National Science Standards, and all the other documents, and that's Neo-Darwinism.

Q. And could it be perhaps that the reason that all major national and international science organizations believe in the theory of evolution is because the overwhelming majority of all scientific research suggests that it is the truth?

A. No.

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: No further questions.


Q. Dr. Nord.

A. Yes.

Q. When you talk about religious groups, I would like to go back and explore that just a little bit more. There's obviously all forms of religion, there's theistic religion, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, as well as non theistic religions. How would you-- what are you saying when you say, "incorporate religious groups into," how you were defining that?

A. There are problems. The problems stem from the fact that there are many, many different religious groups and religious traditions. So the question is: What in the world can it mean to be constitutionally neutral among them, or if liberal education requires kind of inclusivity of points of view, how many points of view do you have to include?

That's, of course, the problem that educators face all the time. Which points of view get into the textbook? Which historical events and movements? Generally, it's done in terms of influence. What are the influential views? So there has to be a kind of winnowing process whereby we decide how many points of view can we take seriously, and the more points of view we take seriously, the less time we have devoted to them, so the more superficial the understanding of the students will be, and we try and find some kind of a happy medium. So that we say in the study of economics, or in the study of history, or in the study of whatever field, we certainly need to introduce students to the ways in which various, several important religious traditions have understood what's at issue.

I'm not saying that every course-- economics, science, history, whatever-- should become a course in theology or moral theology and philosophy. All I'm saying is that within each of those courses there must be a kind of introduction in which that-- the discipline, the conventional wisdom of that field, is put into a larger context and related to the various philosophical and religious concerns and questions. And maybe at certain key points of deep controversy, such as evolution, or the Big Bang, or relationships of the First World to the Third World, or poverty, then these kinds of moral and religious questions and concerns should resurface in the text, and it should be pointed out to students that what they're learning is deeply controversial.

Q. I'm just trying to clarify this. I don't mean to belabor the point.

A. Yeah.

Q. But are you suggesting that, for instance, with the concept of origins--

A. Mm-hmm.

Q. -- that the idea of the Christian origins and Jewish origins and Muslim and Wiccan and Native American and so forth would be briefly described?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that what you're suggesting?

A. Yes. I think an introductory textbook that deals with the Big Bang, for example, cosmological evolution, or biological evolution, there should be an introductory chapter in which modern scientific views are put into the context of this old historical and ongoing historical discussion about Design in nature and about the relationship of God in nature so that students see that what they're learning is part of this larger, ongoing historical and philosophical conversation that has been so tremendously important in western civilization-- in eastern civilization, too, in somewhat different ways.

It's not to convert the science course or the economics course into a course in moral theology, but to show them that there are alternative ways of making sense of the subject matter and locate them in that discussion so that bridges are built, so that education becomes a conversation rather than, as I said, a serial socialization being more or less indoctrinated into one view in economics courses, one view in science courses, another view in history courses, and so on.

Q. Would that make it exceptionally difficult for the teacher?

A. It would make it-- definitely, it would make it very difficult for the teacher, and there needs to be much consciousness, there needs to be much better resources. Teacher education is utterly tone deaf to this problem, and so there needs to be much improvement in teacher education. A tremendous amount needs to be done, but let's be clear about what the ideal is and what we should be looking for.

Q. To switch topics just momentarily. Excuse me. You defined a liberal education as something that is exploring all viewpoints of a particular topic. Is that how--

A. Well, let's say all major viewpoints on the most important issues, because there's only so much you can do.

Q. Okay. How?

A. A liberal education--

Q. Explain that.

A. -- is usually viewed as the opposite of a narrow or a parochial education. That's an education you simply get kids to think in one way about the world. A liberal education-- "liberal" comes from "liberty"-- is a long tradition of the idea that students should be introduced to various ways of thinking about the world. We take that so far as to say they should be introduced to various disciplines, but we don't include religious or philosophical education among those disciplines in public schools, and we make no effort to relate the disciplines to each other to see where they complement each other, where they conflict with each other, what the tensions are. That leaves them uneducated.

Q. I have been-- my impression, my understanding of what a liberal education was, was something that had a broad range of topics, the arts as well as the academic reading, writing, so forth, as well as physical education, mental education, fine arts. Is that just the tip of it, as I understand you're saying?

A. Yes. I think that's the most common view. Let's introduce students to a number of subjects. The problem is subjects can be interpreted in various ways. We don't introduce them to subjects nearly so much as we introduce them to disciplines, particular ways of making sense of the world. The National Counsel for Economic Education, which wrote the National Economic Standards, said students should only learn to think of economics in terms of neoclassical economic theory, even though hardly anybody except economists think that way. That's a deeply illiberal kind of education. So saying students need to study economics to be liberally educated, but then saying all they need to understand is neoclassical economic theory, is to undercut the whole idea that liberal education should be introducing the various ways of interpreting each of the subjects that we deal with.

Q. You said earlier that it should be free of constraints in a specific discipline. Would you talk about that?

A. I don't know what I might have meant if I said that, free of constraints.

Q. That's what I was trying to-- I didn't fully understand when you were talking--

A. No. I think the curricular conversation should to some considerable extent mirror the larger cultural conversation. That is to say, the purpose of a liberal education isn't simply to initiate students into the way Ph.D. economists understand the world or Ph.D. scientists understand the world. It should be to initiate them into a larger cultural conversation. A lot of the voices in our cultural conversation are left out of the curricular conversation. That leaves students unable to understand the culture they graduate into. So to a considerably greater extent than we now do, the curricular--

MS. POSNY: Two minutes.

A. (Continued) -- conversation should make students aware of and understand the larger cultural conversation and not be so narrowly disciplinarily focused.

DR. ABRAMS: Thank you, Dr. Nord.

DR. NORD: Thank you.

DR. ABRAMS: Mr. Calvert.

MR. CALVERT: I'd like to introduce to the Committee my next witness, Mustafa Akyol. Mr. Akyol is a columnist in a Turkish daily newspaper, freelance writer in the U.S. media, and Director of International Relations at the Intercultural Dialog Platform, headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey. Mr. Akyol, thank you very much for coming so far to testify today.

MUSTAFA AKYOL, called as a witness on behalf of the Minority, testified as follows:


Q. And I would-- could you give us a little bit on your background?

A. Thanks for having me here in Kansas, and I will deeply appreciate the State of Kansas for inviting me to give this testimony, which I hope will be a contribution to this very important debate here.

As you said, I'm a writer. I'm a political science graduate from the Bosphorus University, which is an American University in Istanbul. I had my master's in the history department there, but since 1997 I have been working as an independent writer or columnist in the press.

I have been also working with some Muslim organizations who are interested in the debate between Intelligent Design and Darwinism, and that's why I had-- I read the literature-- the literature of the debates totally, and I have a great understanding of this, so I'm here. In all the years I attended debates on national TV, I have given seminars in many universities in the United Kingdom, in Turkey, about these issues, and I believe Intelligent Design theory is a scientifically valid understanding of origins.

When I was informed about the debate, I just read the Minority Report, and I also took a look at the Majority Report which was available on the web site, and I think I completely agree with the Minority Report that you have presented.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about your involvement in the Intelligent Design issue? Go into that a little bit more in depth.

A. Okay. Well, actually, to go into it, maybe I could give a few more personal background too. When I was a child, I loved watching documentaries in Turkish TV about nature, about animals, about plants. And actually, these were American or European made films which involved education, and I loved watching them. And I had a great grandfather that I loved, and he was a pious Muslim, and he said to me one day, "Well, watch these films. They're good, they're beautiful, but be careful. These films always talk about the wonders of nature. They never talk about who made those wonders. They never talk about the Creator of nature." So that was a message that I found important.

And my grandfather-- they don't like-- and I asked my grandfather, "Why don't they talk about the Creator of those wonders in nature?" And he said, "Well, the westerners are people who are blind to the reality that there is a God. They are completely materialistic related to issues like that. Be careful about it." And I was-- I said, "Here's a point that I should be careful about."

But later on in the 1970's, I just, you know, by reading and writing and searching the Internet, I discovered that there are some people in the west, especially in the United States, some scientists who don't have that approach, who don't have that materialist bias my grandfather told me about, but who are objectively looking into nature, and they are tracing the evidence of Design, which you cannot see if you have a materialist bias.

So then I just-- at the same time I met some-- an organization in Turkey, the Science Research Foundation. They were interested in these issues, and I joined them. And I never became an executive or an official part of an organization, but I just-- I gave-- I started to-- at first I'd learned and written about this, and I engaged in debates, and in 1990 we started to give seminars in Turkey.

In one instance I remember that in a Turkish university I was quoting Michael Behe in one of these speeches, and there were some very conservative Muslims there. I was a Muslim, but they were ultra conservative, I could say. One of them again asked, "Well, you quoted American scientists. Why?" Well, I said-- and I said, "Well, what is strange for you when you find it here?" He said, "Well, aren't all of them materialistic?" I said, "No. As you well see, some of them are not." And I just sensed that that started a change in his perception about America. And actually, this is one of the reasons I find very important to me why I'm here.

Maybe I should explain that. I'm coming from 6,000 miles away, and I live in Istanbul, and why a debate on the science standards in the state of Kansas is interesting for me. Well, it's very interesting. It's very important for me because I think this is an issue which will have implications beyond Kansas, beyond even the United States. It is-- it will have an impact in the minds of the people, and it will create a sense of what America is in the minds of people.

And I could say in recent years, I can claim to be an expert on Islamic radicalism. That's what I write especially in the United States in the media, in Turkey. We know that view that we have is a problem, Islamic radicalism. Why is there hatred of America and the west in general in the Islamic world? And it's because of many reasons, sociological reasons it has about Muslim failure of Muslim world in the 20th Century.

But one reason of the widespread resentment is that Muslims think the west and, of course, the United States is completely a materialistic civilization. They think that when they watch western films, when they read western media, and when the kids take western education, they think that they will be poisoned by an ideology, materialism. That's why they just don't like it. They just want to get away from it. And at the very extreme, it creates what we have, anti-American sentiment among those populations. And I remember that, for example.

But when people get a sense of the U.S., and where they see that it is not like that, it is not completely materialistic, they might think differently. And again, in my childhood, I remember that one of the most popular TV series in the 1980's was The Little House on the Prairie. Muslim culture with families all loved it, and they said, "Oh, look at these American values, and they're so noble values," and they just admired it. And now times have changed. Now they see MTV, they see Hollywood, and I mean that's, of course, materialism in a cultural sense, in terms of hedonism and just caring about profit and don't have any ethical values.

But it also has a philosophical side, and that philosophy, as we all know, is also called naturalism, the idea that nature is all there is. And when that idea, when that philosophy, which has no scientific justification at all, becomes the dominant force in science education in the United States, what you have is that you will have alienated people. You will-- for example, Muslims. They will feel alienated. They will think that there's a school system which imposes on them, on their kids, a philosophy which they don't believe, and which they find to be poisonous, and which doesn't have any scientific evidence at all. That's the important point.

I mean, materialism could be very bad, but it could be scientifically true. Then you should have to come through with it. You could say, "Well, if it is a fact, maybe we can adopt several of our beliefs." Well, that's not the case. It doesn't have any scientific evidence. I mean, you have listened to experts here in the last few days. I mean, look at the old fossil record, the Cambrian explosion, the irreducible complexity in the cell. It is clear that blind chance and natural law cannot create complexity of life. It's very evident. And this-- while it's evident, if you insist that, no, we will never, ever allow anything besides this in our textbooks, in our culture, in our country, then people will think that, oh, this is a nation under materialism.

Now, what I-- I mean, and I also-- I should say that it's not-- I'm not just the only Muslim here thinking like this. We have two guests. I have my two friends. Can you please show your hands? These, my friends, are living in Kansas state, in Kansas area. They're here to support the Minority Report today. And there are many Muslims out there who think like them. And as I said, this is not just about Kansas. This is about the whole-- this is about the whole civilization issue. And I think-- I don't mean that science education should be changed in order to change the hearts of-- in order to win the hearts and minds of Muslims. No. It should be saved from bias. It should be saved from dogmatic materialism. It should be just objective.

I mean, there were Muslim theocracies in the world which wouldn't let any materialistic theory. For example, in Iran, in Tel Aviv, you can't probably learn about Darwinian evolution, and I find that terribly wrong. What is true, what is needed is just a science education which doesn't try to indoctrinate kids, children, with any philosophy. That's good, that's necessary for science education, and it's also necessary for just getting rid of some stereotypes, getting-- some misconceptions about the United States.

Q. Mr. Akyol, are you familiar with the way evolution is taught in Turkey? And as I understand it, Turkey is a secular Islamic country. Is that correct?

A. Yeah. It's a secular republic. I mean, most of the people in Turkey are Muslims, but the state has no-- doesn't have any Islamic identity. It's completely secular.

Q. And how does the Turkish school-- public schools teach origin science?

A. They don't have as much focus as you would have here, as you could find in the Kansas summits, but there is a fair approach. The school curriculum talks about the theory of evolution, Darwinism, methodological materialism, and it says it will present other views of life scientists that life is designed. So there's, you could say, a fair approach.

Q. Do they teach criticisms of evolution and essentially teach both sides of the evolution controversy?

A. You can say that. I mean, since they acknowledge that there's another theory held by some scientists and according to some scientific evidence, and there's also mentioning of the abrupt appearance of some species and lack of transition forms between different taxa, they mention that. I mean, there's a more-- I could say that there's more emphasis on Darwinism, but it's also saying that there's an alternative understanding and it has scientific evidence, and they also mention that scientific evidence as well.

Q. Do you think the Minority Report would-- how do you characterize the Minority Report in the context that you're seeking an objective approach?

A. I would describe the Minority Report as a very sophisticated, intelligent attempt to save the education standards from materialist indoctrination and to give a fair and objective understanding of science.

Q. Thank you. Is there anything else you would like to mention?

A. Well, yeah, a few points. Maybe a few preemptive answers to the enemy counsel. While the belief in the scientific establishment, I mean, counsel just-- Mr. Counsel just said that major scientific organizations in the United States accept the Neo-Darwinian theory and just the emphasize is that. That's a fact. But what we should care about is not the opinions of scientists, but the scientific evidence on the ground, because scientists, yes, sometimes become misled.

If you were just a century ago-- living a century ago, you would find that most of the major established scientific institutions, most prestigious scientists, would be believing that some races are inferior. Racism was very much popular at the turn of the century. And also you can find eugenics was preached among scientists. So scientific opinion might be shifted because scientists are people, scientists are humans, and they're affected by the cultural trends in society, so they might go along. And what we have had to do is just to follow the evidence, not what necessarily a group of scientists claim.

And also there's the fact that we have scientists who criticize Darwinian evolution too. I mean, do we have to just close our eyes to their arguments, to their books, to their sophisticated arguments, their compelling evidence? It's true that there's scientific controversy, and the controversy should be taught, otherwise, I would say it would be bad for the education standards of Kansas.

But besides that, it could bad for-- it could be bad for the understanding between people, especially of the Islamic world and the United States. I assure you, your debate here will be on the news in Turkey in a few days when you have a decision. It will be all in the news in Turkey, in the Arab world, in many countries. People are following this, watching this very closely, and they know that the people who argue for the Minority Report here are not saying, "Well, we are against evolution because it is our-- it is against our beliefs." No. They know that there's scientific evidence for it. It is clear. I told that scientific evidence to thousands of Muslims in Turkey. They know it well on TV.

And so if the outcome is not-- if the outcome is biased in terms of biased for materialism, that will-- I think that will feed the misconception about the United States that it is a completely materialistic nation.

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

DR. ABRAMS: Mr. Irigonegaray, you have eight minutes.


Q. Sir, I have a few questions for the record that I need to ask you.

A. Sure.

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

A. Four-point-six billion years.

Q. Do you have a belief in the general principle of common descent, which is that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life? Do you agree with that statement?

A. I agree with limited common descent, but I don't believe in universal common descent because I don't see any scientific evidence for it, compelling evidence.

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

A. I'm skeptical about it because I don't see any compelling evidence that there's a lineage between prehominids and humans.

Q. You've mentioned ID theory. Would you please tell us precisely what ID theory is?

A. Intelligent Design theory is a scientific theory which argues that life on earth can be explained as a result of natural laws, chance, and intelligence. So it's a theory which argues that intelligence can be detected in nature and, yes, it is being detected. So-- and it's also a theory which disagrees with Neo-Darwinian theory, which argues that life on earth is the product of chance and laws.

Q. Would you please point to the Standard in Kansas that expresses the philosophy of naturalism?

A. The term "naturalism" doesn't appear in the Standards, as you mentioned many times, but it is implicit there, and especially in the phrase which defines science as the way to explore-- the way to explain nature as just by natural forces. I think it's very obvious there.

Q. So by attempting to understand the world in which we live through a better understanding of nature, it is your opinion that that represents naturalism, which is an atheistic practice?

A. Can you repeat the question?

Q. Absolutely. Is it your position that by studying science, looking for natural answers to the processes around us, that those who follow that path are atheistic?

A. Definitely no. I think that science should look for natural causes, but if there is compelling evidence that something in nature is not the product of natural causes, if there's an evidence that an intelligent cause was at work, science should not be blind to that, and it should be able to infer Design there.

Q. You said, "compelling evidence." Correct?

A. Yes.

Q. I'm somewhat concerned about some of the comments you made about how we are perceived in the Muslim world. America has historically taken the path that religion and government should be separated. Are you familiar with--

A. The First Amendment?

Q. No. I appreciate you advancing my question but, no, that's not where I was going. Are you familiar, sir-- and let me find my note. (Pause.) I had made some notes that I'm having a bit of a hard time finding. Give me just one second. (Pause.) Well, I'm going to have to go off the cuff, as we say here. I read with great interest a book not long ago by Professor Bernard Lewis. Are you familiar with Professor Louis?

A. Yes, I own one.

Q. And the book that I read was "What Went Wrong." Are you familiar with that book?

A. Yeah, I've got the book, and I've read it.

Q. You've read the book. Well, then, perhaps this will be an easier conversation. You will recall that Professor Bernard Lewis had a conclusion to what he perceives to be the present problem that is creating difficulties in the Muslim world. Do you recall that?

A. He points to several problems, but--

Q. And do you remember what he concluded as the solution to the problem in the Muslim world as far as his understanding?

A. Modernization is generally what he argues for.

Q. No, no. I think you're wrong, sir. My recollection of Dr. Louis' conclusion was that, unfortunately, the Muslim world somewhere in the mid point of the last millennium decided that it was going to abandon its quest for broader knowledge and to become involved more with the concept of the inclusion of religion in every aspect of the Muslim world.

MS. POSNY: Two minutes.

Q. (By Mr. Irigonegaray) And it was Dr. Louis' proposition, was it not, that the cure to the problem was to follow the American model, that is, the separation of church and state?

A. Yes.

Q. You do recall that?

A. I do recall that, and I agree with that.

Q. And you agree with that?

A. Yes. But the problem I see here is that the American principle of separation of church and state is being violated by materialistic indoctrination. When you define religion as just Buddhists, you just miss the picture. Religion includes materialistic, atheistic philosophies. And I just want a fair separation of church and state.

Q. So your suggestion is that when scientists attempt, to the best of their ability, to find answers within nature, without a supernatural position, that that is, in fact, a religious practice?

A. No. That's a very rational and good practice that I acknowledge.

Q. And--

A. The problem, I think, starts when despite that effort, they see the evidence for intelligent cause and when they deny it-- start to deny it. The problem starts there. Otherwise, you can explain nature in terms of natural causes. But what if there's an intelligent cause that you are blind to?

Q. Do you believe that just because somebody suggests a hypothesis, that it deserves serious attention, or would you rather suggest that for us to teach a hypothesis in science, it should be based on solid research, the scientific process, and a clear understanding of what we're going to be presenting to our children?

A. You're very right. It should. That's why the Minority Report doesn't ask for the inclusion of ID theory in the curriculum, but it just asks for the evidence against Darwinism to be mentioned, which is out there, which the curriculum doesn't want to see currently.


THE WITNESS: I thank you.


Q. Mr. Akyol, am I saying that correctly?

A. Akyol.

Q. Akyol, thank you. You're saying-- did I understand you to say that the public perception in Turkey is that they have an understanding and that they know that these hearings are going on about the discussion of science standards in Kansas? Is that what I understand you to say?

A. Definitely.

Q. Do I further understand you to say that they are aware that this is about trying to achieve the best science standards, free of religious and philosophical problems, that-- the best we can achieve? Is that--

A. Yes. That's a good description of the perception in Turkey. I would say, of course, not every person on the street knows about it, but it's been in the newspapers, and it will be more in the newspapers when there's a decision about this.

Q. In Kansas, if the perception generally is that we're trying to insert religion into the science standards-- and that is categorically not what I'm trying to do, and I just find that I'm a little bit amazed that the media in Kansas doesn't seem to be able to portray that and yet the media in Turkey is able to get that perception across. I just wanted to make sure that I understood what you were saying.

A. Well, there's a phrase I like a Chinese professor said. In China you can't criticize the government, but you can criticize Darwin. In USA, you can criticize the government, but you cannot criticize Darwin. So the same thing might be appropriate too, although America's liberty and, of course, diversity is appreciated. But I think there's a problem in the main-- some of the mainstream media in the United States. They're extremely biased about this subject.

MS. POSNY: Two minutes.

A. (Continued) So I think Turkey's media is really diverse, too, but there's a general sense that what is being done here is-- I mean, the Minority Report, they don't know the term "Minority Report," but the attempt here is to save the textbooks from a religion, which is materialism.

DR. ABRAMS: Thank you, Mr. Akyol.

THE WITNESS: I thank you.

DR. ABRAMS: We're going to break now, and we will reconvene at 2:45.

(THEREUPON, an intermission was had.)


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