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is a non-profit, non-political, educational organization dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of state
and church. We accept the explanation of Thomas Jefferson that the "First Amendment" to the Constitution of the
United States wits meant 'to create a "wall of separation" between state and church.
American Atheists is organized to stimulate and promote freedom of thought and inquiryconcerning religious
beliefs, creeds, dogmas, tenets, rituals, and practices;
to collect and disseminate information, data, and literature on all religions and promote a more thorough
understanding of.them, their origins, and their histories;
to advocate, labor for, and promote in all lawful ways the complete and absolute separation of state and church;
to advocate, labor for, and promote in alllawful ways the establishment and maintenance of a thoroughly secular
system ofeducation available to all;
to encourage the development and public acceptance of a human ethical system stressing the mutual sympathy,
understanding, pod interdependence of all people and the corresponding responsibility of each individual in
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Atheism may be,defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at
establishing a:life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and the scientific method, independent of all
arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.
Materialism declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own
inherent, immutable, and impersonal laws; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that man finding his resources within himself --,.can and must create his own destiny. Materialism restores to man his dignity
and his intellectual integrity. It teaches that we must prize our lifeon earth and strive always to improve it. It holds
that man is capable of creating a social system based on reason and justice. Materialism's "faith" is in man and
man's ability to transform the world culture by his own efforts. This is a commitment which is in its very essence
life-asserting. It considers the struggle for progress as a moral obligation and impossible without noble ideas that
inspire man to bold creative works. Materialism holds that humankind's potential for good and for an outreach to
more fulfillingculturaldevelopment is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.
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American Atheists - P.O. Box 2117 - Austin, TX 78768-2117

October 1986

Vol 28, No. 10

American Atheist
A Journal

of Atheist

Editor's Desk
R. Murray-O'Hair

Director's Briefcase
Jon G. Murray

News and Thought

The Probing Mind

Frank R. Zindler


Careful reading throws "Daniel In The

Debunker's Den."

Report From India

Margaret Bhatty

Willtoday's Americans ever understand

- or be exposed to - the meaning of
"Science - Unabridged"? Or has scientific illiteracy advanced too far?


Asian religion and "The Girl Child" -an

all too tragic combination.

Ask A.A.

A potpourri of topics: Village Atheists,

reactions to sneezes, duplicate officers,
spiritualism, and logical syllogisms.

A Special Section on Creationism



American Atheist Radio Series

Madalyn O'Hair


"Charles Smith - Atheist" was one of

evolution's earliest defenders.

The creationist's battle against "evolution-science" is no laughing matter, not with a new suit in front of the
nation's highest court. The American Atheist examines the history
and future of that battle in a special
forty-page section.
For details, see page 2.




Press Conference
Brian Lynch


The U.N. decrees "no man or people

may achieve national liberation at the
expense of another," and that is "Why
Zionism Is Racism."

Blasphemy! (part I)


Liberty of speech and an Atheist stood

trial one hundred years ago in New Jersey. And as The Truth Seeker's original
account shows, Christian tolerance was
even then not a pleasant thing to behold.

Me Too


Letters to the Editor


Classified Advertisements


Cover Art by Christopher Dunne

Second Printing

Fourth Printing 8-1997

Please notify us six weeks in advance to ensure uninterrupted delivery. Send us both your old and new addresses.

NEW ADDRESS: (Please print)

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Mail to: American Atheists P.O. Box 2117 Austin TX 78768-2117

Austin, Texas

October 1986

Page 1

American Atheist
Editor/R. Murray-O'Hair
Editor Emeritus/Dr. Madalyn O'Hair
Managing Editor/Jon G. Murray
Assistant Editor/Gerald Tholen
Poetry/Angeline Bennett, Gerald Tholen
Non-Resident Staff/John M. Allegro, Burnham
P. Beckwith, Margaret Bhatty, Nawal EISaadawi,
Merrill Holste, Lowell Newby, Fred Woodworth,
Frank R. Zindler
Production Staff/Laura Lee Cole, Christina Ditter, Shantha Elluru, Keith Hailey, Brian J. Lynch,
Jim Mills, John Ragland, Jes Simmons
Officers of the Society of Separationists,
President/don G. Murray
President Emeritus/Dr. Madalyn O'Hair
Secretary/R. Murray-O'Hair
Treasurer/Brian J. Lynch
Chairman of the Board/Dr, Madalyn O'Hair
Members of the Board/don G. Murray (Vice
Chairman), August Berkshire, Herman Harris,
Ellen Johnson, Scott Kerns, Minerva Massen,
Robin Murray-O'Hair, Shirley Nelson, Richard C.
O'Hair, Henry Schmuck, Noel Scott, Gerald
Tholen, Lloyd Thoren, Frank Zindler.
Officers and Directors may be reached at P.O.
Box 2117, Austin, TX 78768.
Members of the Board/Merrill
Holste, John Marthaler
The American Atheist is published monthly by
American Atheist Press, an affiliate of Society of
Separationists, Inc., d/b/a American Atheists,
2210 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX 78756-2596, a nonprofit, non-political, educational organization dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of
state and church. (Non-profit under IRS Code
Copyright 1986 by Society of Separationists, Inc.
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in
part without written permission is prohibited.
ISSN: 0332-4310. Mailingaddress: P.O. Box 2117,
Austin, TX 78768-2117.
The American Atheist is indexed in IBZ (Internatiorial Bibliography of Periodical Literature, Osnabruck, Germany).
Manuscripts submitted must be typed, doublespaced, and accompanied by a stamped, selfaddressed envelope. A copy of American Atheist
Writers' Guidelines is available upon request. The
editors assume no responsibility for unsolicited
The American Atheist Press publishes a variety of
Atheist, agnostic, and freethought material. A
catalog is available free upon request.

The American Atheist is given free of cost

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incident of their membership. For a schedule of membership rates, please see the
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American Atheist alone are $25 a year for
one-year terms only. The library and
institutional discount is 50%. Sustaining subscriptions ($50 a year) are taxdeductible.

Page 2

EDITOR'S DESK / R. Murray-O'Hair

hen you picked up this issue of the
American Atheist, you might have
noticed that it's is just a bit thicker than
usual, with seventy-two instead of the usual
forty-four pages. And you might have wondered why American Atheists, a cause organization with little money to spare, went to
the extra expense of a special issue on
We did it because it was time that some
periodical give a history and overview of the
legal battle over creationism. Various organizations, periodicals, tracts, leaflets, and
books had "debunked" creationism - but
seemingly all had ignored the application of
the concept to our school system.
American Atheists deals constantly with
reality, and the reality of the current situ a-

tion is that the U. S. Supreme Court not

alone reconvenes in October, but it has
already accepted for review the Louisiana
case in which that state has prescribed that
the Genesis record of creation of the universe, world, and man must be given equal
time, equal treatment, and equal credit in all
of the public schools of that state right up
through university graduate school level.
You need to know what is going on when
it comes to Rehnquist's first big chance to
turn the nation's education back a century
or two. If you know what went on regarding
creationism in other courts from 1925 forward, you will be intellectually braced to
accept what is going to happen in the highest
court of the nation. And American Atheists
thinks it won't be-good.

A Special Section on Creationism

About Creationism - A short guide
to the need for this issue, its contents,
and THE issue. - 7
Creationism: High Jinks and History
- Born in the Enlightment, nursed by
American Protestantism, "Fundamentalism" has grown to be a threat to
science. Here is the history of its development. - 8
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
-- A small organization's reponse to
creationism's claims. - 11
The National Academy of Sciences
- An excerpt of an untimely response to
the militarism of the creationists. - 14
Proposed National Bill - Ready and
waiting for signatures, this document
could seal the future of biological education. -- 23
Arkansas' Scientific Creationism Forty years of terror: The original creation/ evolution skirmish began in Arkansas in the 1920s and finished in the
1960s. - 24
Tennessee, Satan, and Antievolution
- The 1970s saw Tennessee's attempt
to keep the Devil (and evolution) out of
the schools. - 26

October 1986

A No-Win Situation - How California was nearly saved from science. - 27

Arkansas - The Second Go-Round
- A review of the much-hailed "Monkey Trail II." - 29
The Texas Story - The attorney
general of Texas, the nation's largest
textbook purchaser, gave his opinion
on creationism - only to be ignored by
the textbook commission. - 32
Making a Monkey Out of the United
States Supreme Court - The Supreme
Court reviews Louisiana's "Balanced
Treatment" Act this month. Will it be
convinced by the "experts" that creationism is perfectly good science? - 33
Kenyon's Contentions - Willa briefcase full of credentials and slick arguments convince the Supreme Justices
that "evolution-science" and "creationscience" are equal? - 42
A Creationist Upsets the Evolutionists at La Trobe - The creationism
contagion is not confined to the U.S. by
any means. - 46
Academic Backs Evolution Theory
- An Australian Atheist responds to
his nation's creationists. - 48

American Atheist



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e receive many articles on many subW jects

from newspapers and maga-

zines from around the country here at the

national American Atheist Center. We
received a couple of them recently that were
the kind of articles that contain information
that one suspects on one's own for some
time, and then suddenly is confirmed by an
actual report or study or happening. Such
were two articles from the Washington Post
(June 2, 1986) and The Courier-Journal
(Louisville, Kentucky; ,June 7, 1986) reporting a variety of survey statistics concerning
the knowledge of basic scientific concepts
by a sample of American adults. I have
attempted below to summarize the material
reported in these two newspaper accounts.
They were different versions of an article by
Cristine Russell, a Washington Post staff
writer. I was not able to secure an actual
copy of this survey from Northern Illinois
University, the institute of origin of the
report, prior to the writing of this column.
An aside is needed here. One of the phenomena of American journalism is that a
given reporter or writer will do a story and
submit it to his or her editor, who willprint a
"version" of the original in the paper for
which the writer works and then have a different "version" put on the wire service. If
you look at a particular wire service-carried
article that has been published in more than
one newspaper and closely compare the
two, or three, or more versions, you willsee
that each local paper always picks up different parts of the entire wire service release,
which in turn differs from the paper that
originated the story,
In order to comment on these findings, I
must first "share" them with you. That is a
Christian key word that usually makes my
skin crawl because religious persons always
say that they want to "share" something
with me before they proceed to try to convert me to "the Lord."
Excerpts From A Science Report
The American Association for the Advancement of Science held a meeting during
the week of May 26 of this year in Philadelphia. The principal speaker at that meeting
was Mr. Jon D. Miller, who is the head of the
Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, Illinois.The topic
of his presentation concerned a survey that

Austin, Texas

he conducted regarding the relative levels of

understanding of basic science concepts by
a cross section of American adults. The findings were based on a random telephone survey of a representative sample of two thousand adults during November and December 1985. Mr. Miller indicated that the margin of error in his sample was about two and
one-half percent in either direction. The following is a listing of the results, rounded off,
of the key survey questions as it appeared in
The Washington Post of June 2, 1986.
Self-reported understanding of DNA
Clear understanding
General sense
Little understanding


Belief that astrology is:

Very scientific
Sort of scientific
Not at all scientific


Acceptance of evolution:
"Human beings as we know them
today developed from earlier species
of animals."

Not sure

Belief in lucky numbers:

"Some numbers are especially lucky
for some people."
Not sure


Belief in extraterrestrial visitors:

"It is likely that some of the unidentified flying objects that have been
reported are really space vehicles
from other civilizations."
Not sure


Attitude toward scientists:

"Because of their knowledge, scien- .
tific researchers have a power that
makes them dangerous."
Not sure


October 1986


What It Means

In addition to the chart above, a number

of findings were enumerated in Mr. Miller's
speech to the AAAS.
(1) Seven percent of those surveyed said
they had changed their behavior because of
advice in an astrology column, and 20 percent who had dropped out of high school
said astrology had influenced them. In addition, nearly half of the least -educated agreed
with the statement that "it is not wise to plan
ahead since many things turn out to be a
matter of good or bad luck anyway," while
only 6 percent of college graduates agreed.
(2) One-third of those surveyed claimed to
have a clear understanding of what a molecule is. Forty-eight percent (Post, The Courier said 40 percent) had a general understanding, and 28 percent said they had little
(3) Fewer than one-third surveyed had a
clear understanding of radiation, and one in
five admitted to little or no understanding of
the term.
(4) Seven of ten participants agreed with
the theory that "in the entire universe, it is
likely that there are thousands of planets like
our own on which life could have developed."
(5) Eight out of ten surveyed were in
strong agreement with the scientific view of
"plate tectonics."
(6) In general, the study reported that 15
percent of American adults, or about twentyfive million, did not complete high schoo!.
With respect to the question in the chart
concerning attitude toward scientists, 71
percent of high school dropouts and 38 percent of college graduates were the subsets of
the total of 53 percent who agreed that
knowledge makes scientific researchers
dangerous. In spite of this, 57 percent of
those surveyed agreed with the statement
that "in this complicated world of ours, the
only way we can know what is going on is to
rely on leaders and experts who can be
trusted," while 81 percent of the leasteducated believed they had to depend on
experts, but a majority of college graduates
rejected this notion.
(7) On the basis of his findings, Mr. Miller
concluded that "a substantial majority of
Americans do not have a sufficient vocab-

Page 3

ulary or comprehension of concepts .to utilize a wide array of scientific communication .... If terms like molecule and DNA are
not acquired during formal schooling, it is
unlikely that they will be acquired later
through the media or other informal education channels." He also said that greater
misunderstanding of science and more
superstition among those who did not complete high school have contributed to a feeling that they have "little control over their
own fate." Mr. Millerbased his survey on the
principle that one indicator of the degree to
which the public feels comfortable with
science is in understanding of its basic
vocabulary. Mr. Miller also feels that his findings are an indictment of the public precollege educational system's preparation of
Americans for an increasingly scientific and
technological world.
So What?
These findings from Northern IllinoisUniversity did not come as a total surprise to
me. I have been doing radio and television
interviews for years and dealing with the
public and students at colleges, universities,
and social group forums. In so doing, I had
come to the conclusion on my own that
science and science concepts are rather foreign to most of the population. I try not to
include scientific vocabulary in my presentations, as I know that the average reading skill
level for general audiences in this country is
about sixth grade. I find that appalling in the
twentieth century, but it is nonetheless a
fact. The main impact of the statistics I have
just shared with you is that they reaffirm my
personal experience in a major way. One of
the things that Mr. Miller pointed out - and
I want to particularly emphasize - is that a
misunderstanding of science, combined with
superstition, contributes to feelings that
people have "little control over their own
One of the bedrocks or religion in general,
and Judeo-Christianity in particular, is the
notion that we all have "little control" over
our "own fate." It is the task of religionists to
foster this mind-set in upcoming generations
so that they will continue to be part of the
"churched," as the statisticians say, rather
than the "unchurched." Science, on the
other hand, is nothing but the application of
human reason, in a systematic way, to problem solving. I used to have a mathematics
instructor during my public school days who
told her class that even the poorest student
could usually do the arithmetic from a given
problem after someone else defined the variables and set up the equation. She often
said, "Don't worry about being off with your
addition or subtraction, make sure first that
you have defined your variables correctly
and assigned the relationship between them
properly." It always amazed me that most of

Page 4

my fellow students in this particular class

had the most trouble, of everything we did
that year, with "word problems." We have
all had them on tests. They are the sort of
problems that usually say something like, "If
a train leaves Boston at X time and is going
at Y speed and a train leaves New York at Z
time and is going at B speed, when willthey
meet?" I always found it easy to set up the
equation and solve a problem of that type,
but many of my classmates were lost. To
me, that is the difference between a scientific
and nonscientific mode of thinking. It may
also be why I am an Atheist and most of my
classmates of that year gone by are not.
I have also come to notice that many persons are afraid of or dislike science or
mathematics because they are "dogmatic"
and "harsh" subjects. These are not terms
that I would apply to these disciplines, but I
have had conversations with many an individual who has told me that he or she doesn't
like subjects in which, in most cases, there is
only one "right answer." I can see why
someone would feel this way, particularly
about mathematics. The multiplication table
that we all had to memorize in school simply
had to be committed to memory, and there
was no other way. One cannot have his own
opinion and have it based on mere intuition
only in a science context, as persons certainly do in social or political contexts every
day. So, in a sense I suppose that many
aspects of mathematics are "dogmatic" from
an extradisciplinary
viewpoint. Among
mathematicians the better term is "consistent."
The Nemesis Of Religion
We all know that science has been the
nemesis of religion for centuries. This is
because religion developed in its infancy as a
series of "Uncle Remus"-type stories about
the origin of everyday phenomenon (like
how the leopard got its spots or the camel its
hump), and science began to provide contradictory answers based on actual data
rather than mythological supposition. Religionists have been faced, since the time of
the first crude experiments, with the difficulty of explaining their way around the discoveries of factual bases for natural events
or cycles. If the application of reason in a
systematic and logical way produces conclusions that blow one myth, then the natural inclination is to apply the same reasoning
to another myth. It is this inclination or
native curiosity of which religion has always
been wary.
One of the great disappointments that has
befallen religion is that science and technology have grown exponentially despite the
presence of contradictory dogma, particularly among those who have been exposed
to their methodology. That is the rub. Religion must stand between science and the

October 1986

average citizen to minimize that exposure. It

has done so by levying the criticism on
scientists that they are too dogmatic and
opinionated and do not tell "both sides" of
the story. The other side is presumably the
so-called spiritual or mystical side of any
question. The fact that spiritualism and mysticism are based on faith, which is acceptance without evidence, and science is matter of conclusion based on analysis of
evidence or data, does not seem to deter the
religionist. The two thought systems are
mutually exclusive, as they are based on
totally different premises. If an individual is
to be both scientific and religious at the same
time, he or she must mentally compartmentalize one of those premises. If one is a
scientist by profession and still adheres to a
religion, those religious concepts must be
kept outside of the logic that one applies to
one's work on a daily basis and be accessed
only when appropriate, such as within a
church or social setting. Ifa scientist by profession, or a lay person who thinks scientifically, applied that type of thought process to
his or her religion, it would in every case fail
the test of rationality. It would need to be
abandoned as one abandons a theory that
the data does not support and forms a new
one based on the new information. The
scientific community for many years thought
it knew of what Saturn's rings were composed until a space research vehicle was
actually placed into Saturn orbit, and then
those early theories had to be abandoned in
light of new data. The scientists had simply
been wrong. Where the religionists differ is
that they will not admit to being wrong in
their dogma when new data becomes available. The creationists are a case in point.
When faced with the new data, all they can
do is to try to undermine that information's
credibility among those who are not
schooled sufficiently in the area in question
to recognize that the attack is specious.
The reason that creationism is experiencing a revival in this country is that most
Americans are not sufficiently conversant
with the scientific method to understand
why creationist logic is flawed. The survey
by Northern IllinoisUniversity demonstrates
this. The higher the educational level, the
less likely an individual is to be misled by
wrong or misused information. Instead of
educators realizing this, they back off from
teaching science altogether to simply avoid
controversy or attack by ill-informed parents. This is definitely the wrong approach.
Even textbook publishers feel that the solution is to simply leave science out of texts
altogether or skip entire areas of investigation because they are too.icontroversial.
Controversy or not, the scientific method
simply has to be a required part of education, for it is upon this method that our entire
modern culture has been built.
It is also incumbent upon our elected offi-

American Atheist

cials to see to it that teaching science is

made a priority. I am not saying that the
humanities subject area is less important,
but I am saying that science courses cannot
be looked upon as "controversial" and
humanities courses as "safe."
Unfortunately, science has been inextricably linked to the military in the minds of
politicians for years in this country. President Eisenhower created the White House
Office of Science and Technology Policy in
the 1950s to attempt to bring the nation's
best science advice to Washington. Behind
it all was military use first, naturally, but at
least it gave the public a new image of the
"worth" of science to the nation as a whole
by the president endowing it with its own
White House spokesperson.
Even this
"executive blessing" for science has now
fallen on hard times. President Reagan is the
most popular president, cosmetically, that
we have ever had and is at the same time
probably one of the most scientifically misinformed, as his Strategic Defense Initiative
(SOl or "Star Wars") demonstrates. Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson kept up the
White House blessing for science until
Nixon came along and scuttled the position
of science adviser to the president, making it
necessary for Congress to restore it by
The choices for science adviser by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson were persons such as Jerome B. Wiesner and Lee A.
DuB ridge, who were well-qualified and
respected by their peers. Wiesner was a
respected educator in electrical engineering
who held the presidency of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.LT.) and
was presidential advisor to Kennedy. DuBridge was a physicist specializing in photoelectric phenomena during the Johnson
administration, and he held the directorship
of the radiation lab at M.LT. and the presidency of the California Institute of Technology. In Gerald Ford's administration, H.
Guyford Stever became science advisor,
having expertise in the fields of mechanical,
aerodynamic, and marine engineering and
naval architecture, heading those departments at various times at M.LT. Under
Jimmy Carter, Frank Press got the science
advisor job. Press, as an educator and geophysicist, headed that department at M.LT.
from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s and was
a Columbia Medal of Excellence recipient.
President Reagan has had trouble since he
checked into the oval office. Several distinguished scientists turned him down during
his first term, so he had to appoint George
A. Keyworth II, a little-known neutron physicist with the Los Alamos National Laboratory since 1973. Keyworth quit in January of
this year to go into consulting, and Reagan
has now appointed William R. Graham, formerly the deputy administrator for the
National Aeronautics and Space Adminis-

Austin, Texas

tration at the time of the space shuttle disaster. Graham has been on the research and
technical staffs of various military contractors since 1961and is hardly a luminary in his
field. Needless to say, these kinds of appointments by Reagan of political kindred
rather than field leaders are not going to set
a very good example for the nation or the
nation's educators.
The Solution Is No Problem
I also think that the solution is not to
blame the public school system for declining
interest and proficiency in science, as did
Mr. Miner in his address to the AAAS in
Philadelphia. Instead, the public schools and
the educators and administrators who run
them need to be encouraged about teaching
science and asked to teach more instead of
being intimidated into teaching less by a
bunch of religious fanatics. We as Atheists,
particularly because we base our worldview
on the scientific method, must initiate and
sustain pressure on the educational system,
both public and private, to increase the
teaching of science and make more science
topic areas available to young people.
We can no longer afford to take a backseat to the Gablers of Longview, Texas, or

the Creation Science Research Center of

Southern California. Atheists need to be
present to speak up at school board meetings, textbook selection hearings, and the
Atheists among the faculties of major educational institutions need to speak up instead
of keeping a low profile. Tenure be damned!
The scientific community failed to speak up
against its breakthroughs of the 1940s and
1950s being used to make bombs, and now
we have an arms race of staggering proportions. If this generation of scientists fails to
speak up and lend credence to the concept
of increased science education, there may
be no more science education at all. The
backbone of the publishingindustry, educators, and legislators need to be strengthened, and Atheists are in just the position to
take some of the heat off of them by doing
battle with the religionists face-to-face.

A second generation Atheist,
Mr. Murray has been the Director
of The American Atheist Center
for ten years and is also the Managing
Editor of the American Atheist. He
advocates "Aggressive Atheism."

Stop The Press!

As this month's "Director's Briefcase"
was being written, the Austin American
Statesman of Saturday, August 2, had an
article appear entitled "Students Show
Lack of Science Education." This article
concerned two professors and surveyors
who teach at the University of Texas at
Arlington (UTA). The two professors, who
teach sociology and archeology, conducted
a study of "scientific history knowledge"
last fall of 409 UTA undergraduates and
found some of the following results:
(1) 41 percent believe man and the
dinosaurs coexisted.
(2) 22 percent believe aliens have
visited Earth.
(3) 34 percent believe in black
(4) 38 percent think communication with the dead is possible.
(5) 35 percent believe in ghosts.
The two professors have also surveyed
undergraduates at the University of Southern California, Texas Christian University,
and Central Connecticut State University.
They are in the process of writing a book on
the results of the these surveys. The UTA
results were first released in an article coauthored by the two professors in Youth
and Society, a professional journal.
The statistics gathered by these UTA
professors are even more frightening than

October 1986

the general public surveys that formed the

basis for this month's "Director's Briefcase," because they involve college students and not just a general group including
persons who never graduated from high
school. One of the professors was quoted
as saying, "I think we've seen that part of
our society is left with one foot on the moon
and another in a cave. I thought that would
be harder to say about college students."
The two authors of the study said that
they did not "consider results concerning
religious beliefs as evidence of scientific illiteracy." This obviously stems from the
rationalization on their part that one can
have bizarre or unscientific notions with
respect to religion that may not necessarily
spill over into other aspects of their lives. I
don't agree, as an Atheist, with that rationale. I have never thought that one can
compartmentalize thought patterns and be
rational in one area and irrational in the
other without the irrationality spilling over
and influencing rational behavior.
Historically, scientific illiteracy has fostered increased reliance on organized religion and mystic or faith solutions to life
problems. I would like to think that our
culture has grown out of that stage of
human development, but with the results of
all these surveys at hand it would appear we
are now regressing.
- Jon G. Murray

Page 5


In "Letters to the Editor," readers

give their opinions, ideas, and information. But in "Ask A.A.," American Atheists answers questions regarding its
policies, positions, and customs, as well
as queries of factual and historical
What is the origin of the phrase "The Village Atheist"? Do you think it was somehow
derived from the 1848 expression "the idiocy
of village life"? (l do not mean to relate Atheism to idiocy!)
M. Stone
In every middlesex, village, and farm
community there is usually one person who
is smarter than the rest. Traditionally, he
has been the iconoclast in every culture.
When the world became religiously saturated, he was the Atheist, that is to say, the
person who was the "thinker" and the critic
of the dominant culture. We would not be
surprised if the expression was given birth in
the Age of Reason and probably someone
like Voltaire was its author. How about
some help in research on this one?

What should we Atheists say when someone sneezes?
John Sikos
"Do you need a tissue?"

Several months ago, you changed the
format of the magazine's listing of the editor
and the entire staff of the magazine.
Very good and very professional looking.
However, under the heading "Members of
the Board," the name "Richard C. O'Hair" is
Who is this? Is this the same person who
died several years ago and was buried at
Or are you iisting the name to check to
see ifanyone troubles to read this part of the
Otherwise, the magazine is better than
William Axelrod
What a long memory you have!
You are thinking of Richard Franklin

Page 6

OHair, figurehead president of American

Atheists from 1965 to 1975. He did die on
March 13, 1978, and was later buried in
Arlington National Cemetery. As a sidenote, his was the first headstone in that
cemetery to have an Atheist symbol on it.
The legal battle to obtain that resulted in a
Veterans Administration regulation which
lists the American Atheist symbol as one
that is available for veterans buried in any
national cemetery anywhere. The U.S.
government pays the cost of the headstone
and the chiseling of the Atheist design.
The individual currently serving on the
Board of Directors of the Society of Separationists, lnc., is his son, Richard Craig
OHair. Many, many years ago there were
no persons brave enough to sign on as
Board of Director members of American
Atheists. The state of Maryland, in which
American Atheists is incorporated, required
five board members. As soon as someone
with a limited amount of bravery was found
and his name was published - panic followed, as did a resignation. This was not so
with Richard Craig OHair, who is the stepson of Madalyn OHair. He owned his own
business (and stilldoes) and hence was fearless. At a time when courage was needed
(about 1969), he was there with his. He has
been an active board member since that
time. He is alive and well and lives in the
Phoenix, Arizona, area.

A talk show hostess recently, when asked
if she were religious, replied, "No, but I am
spiritual." I hear this double-talk often.
Alcoholics Anonymous tells us they are not
a religious organization but one that is "spiritual." Ifone is "spiritual," doesn't that mean
they believe some supernatural entity invested in them a spirit? Doesn't it mean they
subscribe to some religious supernatural
spiritualism? Why the doublespeak?
Herb Ault
Very often individuals who are reared in a
religious home or environment upon maturity realize that the formal religion which they
were taught is not fully compatible with reality. They therefore reject that "orthodox"
But religion is very often like a tick - you
cannot get it out of your skin without some
Such persons may be able to divest themselves of the surface symptoms of religion
(genuflecting, saying the rosary, going to
church, praying), but not the mind-set. They

October 1986

have been taught carefully from infancy that

humans need to believe in a god and that
they need to have a supernatural entity
floating about. They have been conditioned
to be unable to accept a creator-less
So, they speak not of Jehovah, but of a
"life-force. "
We would doubt that most individuals
who claim not to be religious but to be "spiritual" are deliberately trying to deceive.
They just do not know the proper terminology. The proper word for what they accept
is deism.
The alternative word for spirit is soul, and
all these good folks harbor the delusion that
they have one. Deprogramming of such
persons is extremely difficult. Since there
are so many people in the nation who have
jettisoned all these religious ideas and are
yearning to discover that American Atheists
exists, we don't waste precious time, energy, or money needed for literature to
"convert" them out of their ignorance. We
pass them over as we look for Atheists who
followed a do-it-yourself plan to mental
Is this syllogism correct?
God could not cause causality.
Causality presupposes existence.
God could not cause existence.
Timothy Giesehen
South Dakota
Here we go again with an illustration of
just exactly what is wrong with so-called
formal logic. If one accepts an a priori
statement premised on nothing but the flat
statement of it, and adds a minor premise,
or a major one, what can be deduced fits the
requirement of the formula for the formal
logical argument, and it is still garbage
in/garbage out.
You take a first premise of "god could."
This supposes, a priori, that there is a god,
that "he?" has or has not certain attributes
and that with those attributes (or powers)
he has certain capabilities.
My gawd man! Excuse the expression!
Why go into these incredible and asinine
projections to begin? Since your first statement has a minimum of three false premises
in it, all is lost in the first line of the syllogism.
Atheists never put garbage in. In that way
they never need to worry about what comes
out. Have you tried Socratic dialectic argumentation instead of the Aristotelian syllogistic type? You should.

American Atheist

Supreme Court reconWhenvenestheinU.S.
October 1986, one of the
cases on its agenda willbe titled Edwards v.
Aguillard, which concerns itself with the
question whether or not the biblical story of
the creation of the universe and humankind,
should have equal treatment with evolution
in the public schools of the nation.
In order to introduce the Judea-Christian
mythos, the presentation of it to the legislature of Louisiana (the source of the case)
and to the Supreme Court has been couched
in terms of "science." The claim, currently,
is that creationism is supported by the principles of science as well as by a group of
professional scientists in the nation. This
group relies on educational credentials and
upon the theorists' of evolution attempts to
clarify points for which solutions are stili
being sought. The latter is interpreted by
creationists to be signals of the failure of the
principal underlying the Darwinian "theory
of evolution," and extensive negative analysis is made of each.
Both the legal and the political outreach of
the creationists has become more sophisticated and more intense with the passage of
time. The financial stability of the organized
groups of creationists now being assured,
their position as an institution in the culture
having been attained, the threat that they
pose becomes more and more awesome.
The case in Louisiana - currently before
the U.S. Supreme Court - has not been
seriously viewed as a threat. The law at issue
was identical to that which had been thoroughly discredited by a federal district court
in Arkansas in 1982. There, an antievolution
law had been passed on March 19, 1981, and
immediately challenged by the American
CivilLiberties Union on May 27 of the same
year. The trial was had in December 1981,
and an opinion was issued on January 5,
1982, declaring that the antievolution law
was unconstitutional as an establishment of
religion. Later in 1982, the governor of
Arkansas seized upon creationism as a
campaign issue estimating that "75 percent
of Arkansas supports Creation Science." If
he had it to do all over again, he would sign
the Creation Science bill again.
A senator in Louisiana, also in 1981, after
simply making some minor modifications in
it had introduced the same law in the Louisiana legislature. A challenge was also, immediately, made to the Louisiana law. The legal
proceedings there, however, were somewhat more complicated since the challenge
was made in a state rather than a federal
court and media coverage attendant to it
was not as great as that given to the same
law in Arkansas.
When the case in Arkansas was lost by

Austin, Texas

the creationists, the monetary result was an

award to the American Civil Liberties Union
attorneys of $357,768 for legal fees. Since a
dispu.te had occurred over this amount, an
appeal having been taken to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the final award, one
year later on January 5,1983, (including 8.75
percent interest of$31,771) was $389,539.18.
In addition, it was estimated that the state of
Arkansas had perhaps spent as much as
$250,000 to defend the law. The Arkansas
antievolution law fiasco cost one million dollars in taxpayers' money.
Louisiana's law, as indicated, also had
been immediately challenged and that state
also had the problem of its defense. The
attorney general, in addition to the expenses
incurred by his staff working on the case,
had spent $75,000 initially before he went to
the legislature, in 1982, to ask for $100,000 in
addition in order to appeal an adverse decision to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals. The Louisiana legislature, thinking
that it had a lost cause on its hands, refused
to appropriate the necessary funds. The
margin was close, just six votes short of the
necessary two-thirds needed, but nonetheless the Louisiana legislature did not have
confidence enough in the constitutionality of
the law which it had passed to want to play
the game further as the case continued up
the appellate ladder. Funds were sought
from private, mostly religious, sources.
Later, the Fundamentalists went after
state money again as this case, already in
litigation for five years, worked its way to the
U.S. Supreme Court. InJuly 1985 they were
able to convince the Louisiana House to kill
another bill which would have forbidden the
state to again pay for an appeal, this time to
the U.S. Supreme Court.
No stretch of the imagination would have
warned anyone in the nation that the U.S.
Supreme Court would seriously consider a
review of a law which had been so expensively repudiated in Arkansas. All of common sense would have suggested that Louisiana would have stopped its relentless
pursuit of affirmation of the antievolution
law by an appellate court when the Arkansas
case was determined, with its attendant publicity, against creationism in the public
This, however, was not to be. Early in
1986 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to a
full review of the case. Since that time, of
course, the makeup of the Court has
changed with Chief Justice Burger stepping
down, Rehnquist taking his place, and Scalia
being added. That the Court agreed to
review it is ominous enough.
Consequently, American Atheists felt it
important that you become aware of what is

October 1986

happening and why. The evolution-creation

struggle, in its legal phase, is before the highest court of the nation. Behind it all is a
history of three important cases, two in
Arkansas and one in Tennessee, which have
already been decided in federal courts, including one decided in the U.S. Supreme
Court in 1968, almost twenty years ago. All
three are analyzed in this issue of the American Atheist. An important historical review
is also given. Additional items include a
glimpse of the difficulty in Australia where
American Atheist member Dr. Ian Bock,
LaTrobe University, traded remarks with
one of the creationists in that nation. An
American Atheist Radio Series program
reviews what happened to a lone Atheist in
the 1928 evolution-creation fight in Arkansas. It is the hope of American Atheists that
this extensive review of the evolutioncreation debate willprepare you for a devastating attack on science in our times by the
U.S. Supreme Court's upholding the "equal
access" concept to introduce creationscience into the public schools.
In the literature and media reports reviewed for the writing of this issue, the finest
summary statement was that of William J.
Bennetta, a scientific consultant, a professional editor, and a research associate of the
California Academy of Sciences. This cogent excerpt is from his "Bold Aspirations"
written in 1986:
The religious right is fundamentalism's
political arm .... It seeks objectives
that are depicted in fundamentalist
literature as being derived from, or
consonant with, biblical prescriptions
and prophecies. Statements of these
objectives vary considerably, but the
principal goals are constant and prominent: a fundamentalist theocracy that is, a government operated according to fundamentalist readings of the
Bible; an economy of capitalism, more
or less unrestrained; a foreign policy
based on nationalism and chauvinism
reinforced by militarism; a social
organization in which women would
be subordinate to men and would
focus their lives on reproduction; a
system of education that would discourage analytical thinking in all
realms except the purely technical
ones; a system of science that would
serve only to support commerce and
to generate sophistic demonstrations
that facts of nature confirm biblical
narratives; and theocratic suppression of cultural, intellectual, ethical, or
sexual departures from the prescriptions of biblical authorities. ~.

Page 7

The origins and evolution of the creationist movement .

the when and where of the anti-science lobby.



is not just a pejorative
word one hurls at the know-nothings of

our day and age. It describes a mind-set

which is distinct. It is the proud appellation
of a specific group of persons who have
come together to group themselves under
certain historical, theological, and philosophical banners. The sad part of it is that they
are so dumb they do not even know whence
they derived, or why. This article is to
enlighten them on their own history and to
provide to Atheists an explanation of the
Fundamentalists' beginnings and harmful
Actually, historically, for well over 1,500
years, there were only a handful of intellectuals who dared, sub rosa, to have opinions
in respect to religion which did not fit the
standard patterns of Christianity in power
throughout the Western world. The intellectual movement called "the Enlightenment"
gave birth to "rationalism" within the
church. This concept, or thought style,
owed much to the English deists, to the
German Pietistic movement, and to the
French esprits forts, all of which had made
subtle attacks on the supernatural origin of
the Scriptures. The argument that developed was between "revealed" and "natural"
religion - the "Nature and Nature's God"
concept of our own Declaration of Independence, wherein the Bible was freely
attacked, as with Thomas Paine's Age of
Reason versus god's absolutes "revealed" in
the book he had written. In rationalism,
which was in the final analysis an attempt to
save the Christian religion, Jesus Christ was
viewed as a moral teacher, not as a god, and
the intellect-affronting and absurd miracles
of the New Testament were "rationalized"
as natural events, misinterpreted or exaggerated. The creation story in Genesis was
reduced to a poetic or symbolic account.
This religious rationalism (the earliest proponent of which appears to have been J. S.
Semler') was held by German theologians
and Bible scholars roughly between 1740
and 1836.
Later, of course, the Tubingcn school was
founded by Ferdinand Bauer, professor of
theology. The work there, primarily an
attempt at reconstruction of early Christian

!Johann Salomo Semler, 1725-1791, University of Halle biblical critic and "the father of
German rationalism."

Page 8

history, continued from 1826 to 1860.

After the Civil War, the apostasy began to
be felt in the United States. News of the
European critical study of the Bible by the
methods of historical and literary analysis
came to be known as "higher criticism." It
was necessary, in America, to keep it out of
the reach of both laypersons and inquiring
scholastic minds. But, in 1859, Charles
Darwin published his Origin of Species by
Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for
Life, and that event was to shatter religion.
In the U.S. churches themselves, conser-

vative opinions in respect to the Protestant

religion were almost uniformly held until the
middle of the nineteenth century. It was only
then that what came to be termed "modernism" began to corrupt the ideological power
structure of Christianity. As this menace
(the "secular humanism" of those times)
grew,. organized opposition began in the
form of "Bible Institutes" and "Bible Conferences" as the conservatives attempted to
cling to the old.
Five-Point Formula
A Bible conference was held at Swampscott, Massachusetts, in 1876; a prophetic
conference was held in New York City in
1877. One such interdenominational "prophetic" conference was assembled in Niagara Falls, New York, in 1876, and held annually thenceforth. By 1895 this Niagara Bible
Conference, as it came to be known, framed
the famous five-point formula of creed which
it desired to see as a requisite for belief in
Protestant Christianity. This held to:
(1) the inerrancy and infallibilityof Scriptures, i.e., the Bible;
(2) the complete deity of Jesus Christ;
(3) the virgin birth;
(4) the substitutionary atonement, i.e., the
atoning sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ
for the sins of the world;
(5) the (literal) physical resurrection of
Jesus and his bodily Second Coming return
to the earth.
The dissenters to modernism held that an
unqualified belief in these dogmas was
essential to declaring of one's self as a Christian. A book, Jesus Is Coming, by an
unknown author, was printed in three million copies, two million of which were distributed in the United States and one million
Meanwhile, open-air, public-assembly-

October 1986

type Methodist-Episcopalian religious campmeetings began to be held in Fair Port, New

York, on 200 acres of land which that
denomination owned. These were initiated
by (later Bishop) John H. Vincent and Lewis
Miller. The idea was that the acreage would
be an excellent place for Bible study and the
training of Sunday School teachers. The first
assembly was called in 1874. Vincent held
the theory that all sound learning was sacred
and that secular life should be pervaded by
religion. On this basis, he began soon, in
addition to Bible study and Sunday school
training, to offer many subjects at Fair Port.
Since this Methodist camp was located near
Chautauqua, the lectures came to be known
by that name. The Chautauqua idea of
enriching adults with religious-based lectures spread throughout the United States,
with many cities establishing their own
Chautauqua programs. The lectures supported the fundamental rather than the
modern approach.
Dwight Lyman Moodv.? a boot and shoe
merchant, was finding the same problems
with Christianity in general. He was thoroughly upset by the "higher criticism," the
social gospel movement, and the theory of
evolution. He quickly became an important
figure in the YMCA movement, holding a
position of power from 1861 to 1873. By
1889, he had opened his own Bible Institute
in Chicago to train workers in Bible study.
Moody, as others, was funded by businessmen who hoped that his work with young
men would lead them, through fundamentalist Christianity, to a lifeof employment characterized by "honesty, sobriety, industry,
and piety."
It would not be incorrect to state that
Protestant Christianity, as known today,
originated in the United States circa 1900. It
was then that Fundamentalism was just
beginning to stabilize as a possible movement. By 1904 a "circuit chautauqua plan"
had been devised with religious spokesmen
traveling with a standardized program of lectures, music, and entertainment. One of
these was William Jennings Bryant, who
gave six hundred speeches in twenty-seven
states, the most famous of which was his
lecture on the "The Prince of Peace."
Then in 1909, two California oil million-

2Dwight Lyman Moody, 1837-1899, American evangelist.

American Atheist

aires, Lyman and Milton Stewart, financed

the "Los Angeles Bible Institute," fashioned
after the Niagara Bible Institute. The two
also financed the publication and distribution of twelve volumes called The Fundamentals. These were edited by A. C. Dixon
and R. A. Torrey. Over three million copies
of these books had circulated by the time the
last one was published. The idea then was to
wrest control of denominational machinery
from the more liberal elements, or to set up
rival organizations. Jehovah's Witnesses
during this period were flooding the nation
with prophetic literature concerned with the
Second Coming. Almost five million copies
of that church's Divine Plan of The Ages
were distributed between 1890 and 1915,
and during the decade of the 1920s perhaps
as many were distributed of Millions Now
Living Will Never Die. This was at a period
when the U.S. population was stillunder one
hundred million.
The term fundamentalism was first used
by Dr. C. L. Laws, editor of the WatchmanExaminer, a Baptist publication. He was one
of a group of Baptists who, in 1920, joined
the protests. "Modernism" was given the
term "liberalism." This evil was seen as
spreading in certain of the Protestant denominations and subverting the "faith of the
fathers." The word soon came to be attached to all those who held to the Niagara
Five-Point Formula of creed.
The controversies concerned with modernism and liberalism developed into two
bitterly opposed factions of Protestantism.
The term fundamentalism and the central
fivedogma ideas came to characterize those
who were, indeed, "Fundamentalists." With
its new name, Fundamentalism grew primarily around several basic disputes. One was,
of course, the continuing issue of "higher
criticism" received in the United States in a
very lightweight form. The other. was the
issue of "evolution."
Following 1920, Fundamentalism spread
to bodies other than the Baptists and Methodists from which it was first derived, most
notably the Presbyterians, later also to the
Lutherans, the Disciples of Christ, and the
Protestant Episcopal Church. Always the
doctrines held by the Fundamentalist faction caused rifts in the church.
Several new denominations had come
into existence in the United States, also.
They were so extravagant in their claims
that their doctrines could be classified as
belonging to the Fundamentalist class. They
were Joseph Smith's Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints (1830), Joseph Bates'
Seventh-Day Adventists (1860), Charles
Russell's Jehovah's Witnesses (1874), and
Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Scientists
(1879). Each of these had a long, hard beginning history.
The members of the Fundamentalist faction, scattered throughout the geographi-

Austin, Texas

cally large United States, most often forced

to operate within their own church denominations, had many major concerns: Women
were being so bold as to attempt to attain
suffrage; cities in their growth were attracting young men who needed to be spiritually
monitored; saloons were everywhere; criticism of religion continued, even within the
church; evolution - no longer confined to
college-level study - was creeping into the
public schoo! system. Their battles were to
defeat the Equal Rights Amendment; to set
up a system of protective boarding places in
cities through the Young Men's Christian
Association; to force the passage of antisaloon or Prohibition laws; and to seek legislation to stop the teaching of evolution.
The Fundamentalists were wholly successful with their prohibition fight. During
the period 1906 to 1917, twenty-six states
enacted prohibition laws at the urging of the
Anti-Saloon League. The Methodist church
was in the forefront of this effort to keep the
working man sober so that he could be more
efficiently used by the growing industries of
the nation. The League had tried to gain a
federal prohibition law in 1846, again in 1869,
and again in 1893. The Eighteenth Amendment was voted by the House in 1914 and
ratified in 1919. Titled "Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors," it read:
Amendment 18
SECTION 1. After one year from the

October 1986

ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation
thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof
for beverage purposes is hereby
SECTION 2. The Congress and the
several States shall have concurrent
power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
After the old demon rum and the saloon
scourge of the nation had been defeated,
there was another target: evolution.
A New Devil: Evolution
Evolution had always been a prime enemy. It had but slowly made its way across
the Atlantic. During the first two decades of
the twentieth century there were, in fact, but
two evolution texts available for use in public
schools. Biology, a ten-volume set by Caroline Stackpole, appearing in 1909, was only
for the general reader. A Civic Biology, by
George W. Hunter, was published in 1914 by
the American Book Company as a highschool text and it was far from thorough.
Biology for Beginners, by Truman J. Moon,
was published in 1921 by Henry Holt and
Company. Both texts were available to the
public school systems. This latter was by far

Page 9

the best.
Immediately after World War I, a World
Bible Conference
was called for Philadelphia. During this conference,
the World
Christian Fundamentals
formed. The Fundamentalists
were adamant
that the Five Points of Fundamentalism
were indispensable
elements of the true
faith. This larger association,
however, could not hold itself together and
during the Depression
simply ceased to
exist. The Fundamentalists
then continued
to exist as dissenting and dissatisfied factions within each denominational
Most of the established churches had been
forced to reconcile their faith with science,
accepting evolution as compatible with the
god idea. Incumbered as the Fundamentalists were with a fight against their own specific "liberalized" denominations,
they yet
saw the need to repudiate evolution, and
they managed to go to the attack. They
determined that the arena of the fight was
. going to be in the public schools, and it was
there that they struck.
Their chief spokesman was William Jennings Bryan." During the entire decade of
the 1920s he stumped the country demanding that antievolution
laws be adopted to
protect the nation's public schools from evolution, or any doctrine which would be in
conflict with the Genesis story. He had
model laws which he introduced to the legislatures. Often he asked, and gained permission, to address the legislative bodies himself. The speeches were of the revival genre.
He was one of the so-called "silver-tongued
orators" of the day, a speaker of considerable impact. Hitting the southern states, he
found defeat in Kentucky - but only by one
vote. It was then 1922, and the debate was
hot when Kentucky was chosen as the posSIble state for the first antievolution
which read:
It shall be unlawfu! in any school or
college or institution oi learning maintained in whole or in part, in this state,
by funds raised by taxation for any
one to teach any theory of evolution
that derives man from the brute, or
any other form of life, or that eliminates God as the creator of man by
direct creative act.
On March 9, the defeating vote was cast by a
member of the legislature who viewed antievolution as "an infringement on personal
It was in 1922, also, that in Fort Sumner,
New Mexico, a superintendent
of schools
lost his job for teaching evolution. No other

3William Jennings Bryan, 1860-1925, American lawyer and politician.

Page 10

than Woodrow Wilson attempted to come

to his rescue, writing a reply to a letter which
the superintendent
had sent to him:
August 29, 1922.
May it not suffice for me to say, in
reply to your letter of August 25, that
of course like every man of intelligence and education I do believe in
organic evolution. It surprises me that
at this date such questions should be
Sincerely yours,
Woodrow Wilson
The private letter did not help at all in the
battle which began to be waged.
In 1923 the Commission on State Affairs
of the Texas House of Representatives
reported unfavorably on a bill which would
prohibit the teaching of either evolution or
creation. In Florida, an antievolution measure did not pass. In Oklahoma, such a measure did.
In 1924, with Fundamentalist
agitation to
exclude fifty textbooks that recognized evolution, publishers were treating evolution
very cautiously or explicitly excluded it.
There was no discussion of the origin of man
at all in textbooks of the day. In some there
was cited in the preface a report by the
College Entrance Examination Board that a
thorough treatment
of evolution might be
too difficult for high school students. The
governor of North Carolina felt constrained
to publicly announce that he was opposed to
the teaching of evolution.


Within just several years, Tennessee and

Mississippi passed Bryan's new pro-Genesis, antievolution bill by almost unanimous
vote. Governor Peay, of Tennessee, wanted
to veto it, but frankly, was afraid to do so.
Instead, he stated that no prosecutions
under the law would take place.
The law was passed, nicknamed
Monkey Law" by the press, and captioned
as follows:

Public Act, Chapter 37, 1925. An

act prohibiting the teaching of the
evolution theory in all the universities,
normals, and all the public schools of
Tennessee which are supported in
whole or in part by the public school
funds of the State, and to prescribe
penalties for the violation thereof.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the
General Assembly of the State of
That it shall be unlawful
for any teacher in any of the universities, normal and all other public
schools in the State, which are supported in whole or in part by the public
school funds of the State; to teach any



theory that denies the story of the

divine creation of man as taught in the
Bible, and to teach instead that man
has descended from a lower order of
SECTION 2. Be it further enacted,
That any teacher found guilty of the
violation of this act shall be guilty of a
and upon conviction
shall be fined not less than $100 and
no more than $500 for each offense.
SECTION 3. Be it further enacted,
That this act take effect from and after
its passage, the public welfare requiring it.
Although now billed as a Fundamentalist
nut, William Jennings Bryan was one of the
most important men of the era. He began his
career as a lawyer, later becoming a state
circuit judge. When he moved to Nebraska,
he became the First Congressional
for that state in the U.S .
Congress from 1891 to 1895. In Congress he
was on the influential and important House
Ways and Means Committee.
He was the
editor of the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. As a candidate for the presidency of
the United States in 1886, with a 46.7 percentage of the popular vote (6,516,722), he
won 176 electorial votes against McKinley's
271. After that election he remained the
leader of the Democratic party for a score of
years. He was a colonel in the SpanishAmerican War. In his second try for the
presidency in 1900, against McKinley again,
he received 45.5 percent of the popular vote
(6,358,160) and 155 electoral votes against
McKinley's 292. After that election he established a weekly political journal, The Commoner. He was again nominated for the presidency by the Democratic
Party in 1908,
when he lost to Taft but still held 43.0 percent of the popular vote (6,410,665) with 162
electoral votes against 321. He used his
influence to swing the 1912 nomination of
Woodrow Wilson as presidential nominee
for the Democratic Party, and his speeches
for that candidate were partially responsible
for Wilson's win. As a reward for that work,
Wilson appointed
him to the position of
of State in 1913. Bryan was
in influencing the nation toward what was then called "progressive politica~ positions." Without his work, his oratorical and editorial abilities, it is now thought
that those measures would not have come
to fruition. He fought for the popular election of U.S. senators, a graduated income
tax, female suffrage, national prohibition,
and the creation of a Department of Labor in
the federal government.
In the 1920s, another organization
coming to birth in our nation: the American
Civil Liberties Union. Struggling for finances,
hoping for media coverage,
it issued a
statement that it would give $1,000 toward



legal fees for any person who would challenge the Tennessee antievolution law, the
first one passed in the nation. When no takers came forward, it contrived with two
members to have them swear out warrants
in May 1925 against John T. Scopes, a
science teacher in Rhea County High
School. He was using George W. Hunter's A
Civic Biology in his class as a textbook. Hunter was the former science chairman of the
DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.
His text hardly could be said to have a thorough explanation of evolution, but it was
enough to bring an indictment against
Scopes. It is difficult now to admit that the
famous trial had as its raison d'etre a bid for
publicity. The warrant for arrest was a
scheme to force a trial. Although it has never
been spelled out, it is apparent that Scopes
agreed to have the arrest warrant sworn
against him. Few historians or reporters
emphasize that what followed was a criminal
trial of Scopes. He retained for his attorney
the former dean of the University of Tennessee Law School, Judge Randolph Neal. William Jennings Bryan, since the law involved
was one which he had sponsored, volunteered to represent the World's Children's
Fundamental Association as chief religious
prosecutor. Clarence Darrow was in New
York when he heard of Bryan's decision. Of
it he says, in his The Story of My Liie:"
At once I wanted to go. My object,
and my only object was to focus the
attention of the country on the programme of Mr. Bryan and the other
fundamentalists in America. I knew
that education was in danger from the
source that has always hampered itreligious fanaticism. Tome it was perfectly clear that the proceedings bore
little semblance to a court case, but I
realized that there was no limit.to the
mischief that might be accomplished
unless the country was roused to the
evil at hand. So I volunteered to go.
The American Civil Liberties Union got
what it wanted: publicity. Darrow, however,
thought that the media handled the case "as
a farce, instead of a tragedy." The Baltimore
Sun newspaper dispatched H. L. Mcnckento cover the trial. Reporters came from
around the world, and it was estimated that
about 150 of them were in residence to cover
the event. Later it was calculated that two
million words were dispatched, via Western
Union, by the media in the twelve days of the
trial. Eight telegraph operators were called
to the job. At least 175,000 words were

4New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934.

SHenry Louis Mencken, 1880-1956, American editor and misogynist.

Austin, Texas

tapped out a day in order to handle the load.

WGN radio of Chicago broadcast coverage
of the trial on the first national radio hookup.
William Jennings Bryan arrived accompanied by his son, William, who was then the
assistant district attorney for Los Angeles,
California. Darrow had hoped to have local
counsel, but every attorney in the town was
afraid to be associated with the case.
When the trial began on July 10, 1925,
Darrow found the judge sitting beneath "a
monster sign, saying, 'Read your Bible
daily.' " The judge, to begin the trial, read
from the Bible and asked a local minister to
"invoke the Divine blessing" with a prayer.
Darrow objected both to the sign and to the
trial being opened each morning with a
prayer, and he was - of course - overruled
by the judge. During the trial Bryan managed to speak at all of the eleven churches in
The judge refused to permit Darrow to
call any evolutionist as a witness in support
of the need to have evolution taught in the

public school. At that time it was generally

accepted in the scientific community that
evolution was the linchpin principle which
had transformed biology from a science of
description and enumeration into a science
of analysis and explication. Without such
testimony, Scopes had no chance. In fact, he
would have had no chance with such witnesses. Darrow did the only thing he could
do. He called upon Bryan to consent to be a
witness. On July 20, he agreed. Darrow's
legendary destruction of Bryan's fundamentalism has its basis in fact. Darrow shattered
the man and his ideas before the world.
The judge, of course, found Scopes as
guilty as sin and fined him $100. The Baltimore Sun newspaper paid the fine. The case
went on to appeal. Bryan died in Dayton,
just several days after the trial finished (July
27). Darrow went on to continuing national
fame. And the ACLU received the publicity
needed to give the infant organization a


At its summer 1982 meeting, the

board of directors of the Astronomical
Society of the Pacific unanimously
passed a resolution concerning creationism. Again, it is a compelling indictment of science organizations of
the nation that a small astronomical
society was the only one having members with sufficient courage to speak
out, although not in a timely manner,
against creationism. Media coverage
of the statement was minimal. It was a
small, lonely, and late offering to the
nation. Although hard-hitting, the proposed reason for its announcement
obscured its actual message.
The statement was made to "increase public understanding of astronomy."
Resolution Passed By
The Astronomical Society
Of The Pacific
As scientists and educators, we are concerned that a religious doctrine called
"scientific creationism" or "creation science" is being advanced as a scientific
alternative to the evolution of the physical
and biological world.
Among its many dubious tenets, creationism proposes that the age of the universe is only a few thousand years, an idea
that flatly contradicts both the physical evidence that has been accumulating for centuries and its logical interpretation. An
examination of that evidence clearly indicates ages for the Earth, the solar system,

October 1986

and the Milky Way Galaxy that are vastly

older than a few thousand years.
The radioactive dating of materials from
the Earth, the Moon, and meteorites shows
the age of the solar system to be at least 4.6
billion years. The abundances of heavier
elements and the evolution of the great
globular clusters of stars show that our
Galaxy is substantially older. Moreover,
these methods of age determination (while
they are major ones) do not stand alone;
there are many other independent strands
of evidence that point to similar conclusions. In fact, the vast sizes of astronomical
systems virtually demand that we think in
terms of millions to billions of years. The
light from distant galaxies, for instance,
requires more than a billion years just to
reach the earth.
The evidence further indicates that evolutionary change is not merely a biological
process,. but one that characterizes the
entire physical universe. It is clear that
large-scale and long-term changes in the
cosmos as a whole had to occur to produce
the stars, the heavier elements, and ultimately the planetary system in which we
live before biological evolution on Earth
could even begin. To deny this process of
cosmic evolution is to deny centuries of
scientific evidence and thought and to turn
back to a world view based in superstitution
and ignorance.
Creationism is not a science, but rather
an expression of the religious beliefs of a
small minority. As such, it has no place in
museums, science classes, or science

Page 11

Science's Loss
Although the publicity battle was won, the
war was lost. Scopes was found to be guilty,
and this made a marked impression on the
school textbook industry of the .day. The
year following, Hunter rewrote his textbook
to delete all mention of evolution. The word
did not even appear in the glossary. It was a
symbolic beginning. After 1926,Moon's pub
lishers began to emasculate the treatment of
evolution in his book, Biology for Beginners.
Antievolutionist laws began to find acceptance, the next being passed in 1926 in Mississippi. Arkansas followed in 1928. The men
of science in the nation were not about to be
embroiled in the issue. It continued to be
fought out only on the legal and political
A quote from the Scientific American
magazine of August 1929, which illustrates
well the timid, albeit knowledgeable, position of the scientists, reflects well that they
knew what was occurring.
Many have sincerely been misled
into the belief that there is a broad
cleavage between scientists who accept evolution and those who do not.
To them our reader may find it advantageous to show the following statement quoted in part: "The Council of
the American Association for the
Advancement of Science has affirmed
that so far as the scientific evidences
of the evolution [of] plants and anima!s and man are concerned there is
no ground whatever for the assertion
that these evidences constitute a
'mere' guess. No scientific generalization is more strongly supported by
thoroughly tested evidences than is
that of organic evolution. The Council
of the Association is convinced that
any legislation attempting to limit the
teaching of any scientific doctrine so
well established and so widely accepted by specialists as is the doctrine
of evolution would be a profound mistake, which could not failto injure and
retard the advancement of knowledge
and of human welfare by denying the
freedom of teaching and inquiry that is
essential to all progress."
The statement, of course, was ignored.
In the 1930s the Fundmer:talists had
already begun to approach teachers, textbook publishers, libraries, and local communities with their concerns about and
attacks upon evolution. By 1933 the schools
of the nation were using evolution-free biology books, placating the Fundamentalists.
The 1933 edition of Moon's Biology for
Beginners did not mention the word evolution. Even the index did not list it.
In the 1940s there was some mention of

Page 12

evolution in the texts, but one-third of American teachers feared being identified with
evolution as the content in biology books
decreased. In the 1950s there was again a
slight de-emphasis in the texts, probably
because of McCarthyism. At this time, the
general statement could be made that the
schools focused on drill teams, band, and
football instead of scholastic achievement.
Communism And Evolution
Everything changed in October 1957
when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik,
the first artificial earth satellite. There was an
immediate outcry for greater emphasis on
the teaching of science in the public high
schools. Later biologists were to state that it
was only then that they became aware of
how disastrously school administrators and
textbook publishers had sabotaged biology.
In response to it, the National Science
Foundation funded several programs to
modernize the teaching of science in the
nation's schools. The Biological Sciences
Curriculum Study (BSCS), a nonprofit
organization, was hurriedly put together and
was among those receiving grants for curriculum study and textbook revision. Working with scientists and teachers, the BSCS
developed a series of fivehigh school biology
texts-which, although emphasizing different
aspects of biology, incorporated the theory
of evolution and natural selection as major
themes. The Texas State Board of Education, naturally, asked for a special edition for
that state that would mitigate these frightening ideas. The Biological Sciences Curriculum Study refused to compromise. The fat
was in the fire, and ironically it was the
U.S.S.R.'s space program which saved the
science programs in American schools.
Three of the BSCS texts which were developed received acceptance by biology teachers, generally.
The Fundamentalists leapt to the challenge. Henry Morris published his Genesis
Flood in 1960 and invented the term "scientificcreationism," which by the middle 1960s
had gained currency in the nation. He was
primarily responsible for the organized creation science movement. In doing so, he
found enough allies from the Missouri Synod
of the Lutheran church to make up a third of
the original steering committee for an organization which he founded.
Rather than attacking evolution, the Fundamentalists now took a different tact. The
grand strategy which they developed was to
make the biblical account of creation appear
to be rational and meritorious. They asked
for "equal time" in the apparent hope that
the school systems would refuse to teach
evolution rather than to introduce the Bible
as a text into the schools. From antievolution laws the move was toward laws that
would forbid teaching of evolutionary biol-

October 1986

ogy unless equal treatment was given to

"scientific creationism." Such laws were
immediately introduced into legislative bodies again, and the first such was enacted in
Tennessee in 1967, and in Arkansas and
Mississippi in 1968.
Once again there was a decline in coverage of evolution, one publisher from 1968 to
1977 cutting in half the amount of the text on
the subject; words were more cautious and
The 1970s decade was disastrous. Efforts
to gain positive access for creationism were
soon made. These efforts at first were coordinated by the Creation-Science Research
Center (EI Cajon, California), the Institute
for Creation Research (San Diego, California), and members of the Creation Research
Society. In 1963 the Creation Research
Society was formed from a schism in the
American Scientific Affiliation. It is an organization of literal Fundamentalists who have
the equivalent of a master's degree in some
recognized area of science. A purpose of the
organization is "to reach all people with the
vital message of the scientific and historic
truth about creation." Similarly the Creation
Science Research Center was formed in
1970 from a split in the Creation Research
Society. Its aim has been "to reach the sixtythree million children of the United States
with the scientific teaching of Biblical creationism." The Creation Science Research
Center, CSRC, was founded on the campus
of fundamentalist Christian Heritage College (itself having been founded by Tim La
Haye). Opposition was weak, poorly organized, and consisted mostly of individuals
attempting counterefforts where and as they
could. There was no coordination, no communication. The media - inexcusably did not cover the continuing issue, even on
local levels. The single, but small, sane effort
to hinder the progress of the Fundamentalists was that of the National Association of
Biology Teachers (NABT), Wayne A.
Moyer, executive director, with a membership of high school and junior-college teachers. Yet, this organization made a serious
tactical mistake by "refusing to dignify the
position of the creationists" by challenging
them. College administrators and the American Association of University Professors, in
effect, because they declined to dirty their
hands in the fight, turned the students of the
nation over to the nuts everywhere. The far
from adequate excuse of the AAUP was that
it needed to shy away from the issue for fear
of infringing on "academic freedom." Meanwhile, the creationists felt no qualms about
forcing biology teachers to use Genesis fora
text. Actually, the unwritten policy of the
traitorous AAUP was one of "total aloofness." In that way, they could assure that
their jobs were safe even if the minds of the
youth of the country were despoiled in the

American Atheist

The California Board of Education was

prevailed upon by the creationists to include
in its "science framework" for the public
schools language to the effect that evolution
was "one of several theories," another of
which - necessary to explain the origin of
life - was "creation in scientific terms." It
also agreed that the "philosophy of origins"
should be discussed in social-science texts.
The creationists, riding high, thought the
concessions were inadequate.
The New York State Education Board
was also approached with a request that
evolution be considered "one of several theories" and that creation instruction be
included in the new science syllabus in preparation for the public schools. The State
Education Department sought the opinion
of individual scientists and the New York
Academy of Science on the matter.
There was violence over the issue in West
In 1970, Hal Lindsay wrote his totally irrational The Late Great Planet Earth, which
within four years would go into thirty-seven
printings of 3,750,000 copies. The book was
generally concerned with Biblical prophecies "involving this generation."
Henry H. Morris' book, The Remarkable
Birth of Planet Earth, was published in 1972
by the Creation Research Society. The thesis of the book was:

Steven Jay Gould (Harvard) felt goaded into

launching a new theory of "punctuated equilibria" to counter the claims of the Fundamentalists as to "gaps in the fossil record."
They were later joined by Steven Stanley of
Johns Hopkins University as they struggled
with the theory. Evolution proceeds by rapid
fits and starts punctuating long periods of
relative stasis, or equilibrium, they explained. They depended on their claim that
most evolutionary change occurs in association with speciation, that is, the formation of
independent species by the splitting of lineages into reproductively isolated populations. Speciation is thought to be achieved
rapidly in small, geographically isolated
populations where chance can exert much
greater influence on genetic change in form
than is otherwise possible. Also, they

claimed that rapid or dramatic evolutionary

changes cannot occur in the absence of
Scientists holding this theory are usually
designated as punctuationalists, or even
neocatastrophists. The conclusions to which
they come is that in macroevolution an episodic pattern of change is the expectation.
This challenges the assumption of the "phyletic gradualists" that most evolutionary
change occurred as a by-product of slow,
ceaseless natural selection acting on variation in well-established populations. Additionally, evolution by chance is called neutral, or non-Darwinian, evolution. This has
been promoted by computer simulations of
David Raup and his colleagues at Chicago's
Field Museum of Natural History. Seeing
these new theoretics being advanced, the

.-5- --


_ __

__ ~~';;;._'''~J''~A./':'''+'--''''''''''-'''~r..

It is only in the Bible that we can

possibly obtain any information about
the methods of creation, the order of
creation, the duration of creation, or
any of the other details of creation.
Morris claimed that the Bible was not only
inspired, but factual. In all of the infighting it
is necessary to keep in mind those Five Fundamental Facts to which the Fundamentalists subscribe. As a scientific document,
coming from an infalliblesource, not open to
either inquiry or interpretation, the Bible is
to be accepted literally. Morris asked, in his
book, as a response to those who claim that
the six days of creation were really six eons
of time, "If it really took five billion years for
God to make all these things, why did He tell
us it took six days?"
A characteristic of the Fundamentalists is
to accept only the vocabulary of the Bible.
Seeing that the King James Version of the
Bible speaks (Genesis 1:21) of God creating
"every living creature that moveth, which
water brought forth abundantly, after their
kind, and every winged fowl after his kind:
and God saw that it was good," the creationists use the word kind to designate each type
of life-form. Nature then, which was created
also by god, permits variation only within
such created "kinds."
With the Fundamentalists operating at
peak power during the 1970s, Niles Eldreged
(American Museum of Natural History) and

Austin, Texas

October 1986

Page 13

Fundamentalists, of course, felt that the sky

was falling for the Darwinians. They could
not understand that the debate was over the
relative importance of chance, not its existence.
Meanwhile, the National Association of
Biology Teachers, seeing the handwriting on
the wall, being totally ignored by the scientific intelligentsia, established a Fund for
Freedom in Science.
On December 30, 1972, California's State
Board of Education attempted to settle the
creation-by-design versus Darwin dispute
which centered, then, on the theory of evolution as treated in elementary-grade science textbooks. The board approved a special commission's textbook-content revision
reducing the concept of evolution to speculation (from what the board resolution had
termed "dogmatism.") The board accepted
revisions in the texts of the books along the
line of the following: "Like the other organisms inhabiting this planet, man has evolved
from ancestral organisms" was rewritten to
read: "It is believed in the theory of evolution
that man has evolved from ancestral organisms like the other organisms inhabiting this
planet." Scientists who had opposed inclusion of creationism in science texts felt that
they could live with such changes.
By 1973, the creationists had managed to
have bills to require equal time for the creation theory introduced in fifteen state legislatures.
The Texas corruption of textbooks began
in 1973. Unwilling to admit that the Board of
Education itself was behind the emasculation of the books, two Fundamentalist illiterates were used by that board as a front to do
its dirty work.
Mel and Norma Gabler, of Longview,
Texas, set up a ma-and-pa organization
which they called "Educational Research
Analysts." With this organization as a front
and with the full accord of the Texas Board
of Education behind them, they began to
demand that textbooks must support: (1)
patriotism, (2) nationalism, (3) capitalism,
and (4) fundamentalist Christianitv.
Many media persons and writers have
mistakenly handled stories on the Gablers
as first movers. They are instead pawns for
the reactionary Texas Board of Education.
In Texas and Iowa, the policy had been
adopted that evolution would be taught only
as a theory, with youngsters in public
schools being told that other theories might
be just as valid. The move to influence local
school boards was everywhere. In Mississippi, Georgia, and Indiana, groups espousing the creation concept won their battle to
have their textbooks included in the lists of
books that were recommended to local
school boards and paid for by the states.
Often the state legislature, the governor,
even the state Board of Education did not
know what was going on at local school

Page 14

board levels, or at individual schools. Unless

parents inspected their children's textbooks
or discussed what they were learning in
science class, even they would not know
what was happening at the public schools
which their children were required to attend.
In Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Chicago, Illinois, local school authorities had
opted to present both views in biology
classes and had purchased literature es-

pousing the creation theory for supplemental material in the classrooms.

Alternative Texts
By 1974, Creation Research Science had
prepared and issued its first textbook, Biology, A Search for Order in Complexity. It
was written by J. N. Moore and H. S.
Slusher. With the preparation of this book,


In March 1984, the National Academy of Sciences distributed a booklet
to 44,000 science teachers and other
educators urging them not to teach
creationism in their classrooms.
The National Academy of Sciences
was chartered in 1863, its Act of Incorporation being signed by Abraham
Lincoln. That charter calls upon the
Academy to serve as an official advisor, upon request, to the federal government on any question of science or
Composed of "distinguished" scientists and engineers, it
has been totally remiss in the last sixty
years in regard to the evolutioncreationism brouhaha. Grandparents
and parents now in our culture who
grew up and were educated in scientific ignorance, because of the timidity
of this organization and its "distinguished" scientists, have little to thank
them for as they come, three generations too late, to the conflict. In this
case, the adage "Better late than
never" does not apply.
The academy's Governing Council,
so late as 1984, authorized the formation of an eleven-man Committee on
Science and Creationism. Assistance
was asked of the National Research
Council, which subsequently provided
staff support. From this committee
came the position statement embodied
in the twenty-eight-page booklet sent
to science teachers and educators.
The substantive message of that booklet was:
Science and Creationism:
A View from the National Academy
of Sciences
State legislatures are considering, and
some have passed, bills that would require
the introduction of biblical creationism in
science classes wherever evidence for the
origin of the planet, of life and its diverse
forms, or of mankind is presented. Local
schoo! boards have passed ordinances
intended to restrict the teaching of biologi-

October 1986

cal concepts of evolution or to require what

is called a "balanced treatment" of creationism and evolution. Publishers of science
textbooks are under pressure to deemphasize accepted scientific theories of evolution while adding course material on
"creation science."
The teaching of creationism as advocated by and exemplified in the writings of
the leading proponents of "creation science" include the following judgments: (1)
the earth and universe are relatively young,
perhaps only 6,000 to 10,000 years old; (2)
the present physical form of the earth can
be explained by "catastrophism," including
a worldwide flood; and (3) all living things
(including humans) were created miraculously, essentially in the forms we now find
them. These teachings may be recognized
as having been derived from the accounts
of origins in the first two chapters of Genesis in the Bible....
[T]he goal of science is to seek naturalist
explanations for phenomena - and the
origins of life, the earth, and the universe
are, to scientists, such phenomena within the framework of natural laws and
principles and the operational rules of
It is, therefore, our unequivocal conclusion that creationism, with its accounts of
the origin of life by supernatural means, is
not science. It subordinates evidence to
statements based on authority and revelation. Its documentation is almost entirely
limited to the special publications of its
advocates. And its central hypothesis is not
subject to change in light of new data or
demonstration of error. Moreover, when
the evidence for creationism has been subjected to the tests of the scientific method, it
has been found invalid.
No body of beliefs that has its origin in
doctrinal material rather than scientific
observation should be admissible as science in any science course. Incorporating
the teaching of such doctrines into a science
curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind
and seriously compromises the best interest of public education ....

American Atheist

the demand by the creationists changed to

their Genesis-based creation concept being
a "scientific alternative" to evolution in
science textbooks. Several excerpts from
this text are instructive:
[At page 12] Flowers and roots do
not have a mind to have purpose of
their own; therefore, this planning
must have been done for them by the
[At page 363] The exquisite beauty
of color and shape in flowers exceeds
the skill of poet, artist and king. Jesus
said (from Matthew's gospel), "Consider the lilies of the field, how they
grow; they toil not, neither do they
spin .... "
Other excerpts are:
A primary purpose of science
should be to learn about God's handiwork.
Each new discovery in biology gives
us reason to believe that plants and
animals did not just happen, or evolve.
They were designed and created by a
Mind far wiser than our own. There is
no way to support the doctrine of
"Public school editions" of the textbooks
omit Biblicalreferences, but the content and
message, otherwise, are the same.
The Texas antievolution rule passed in
this year set back the teaching of biology
nationwide. All of the post-Sputnik increase
in quality of the biology textbooks was
halted and reversed. Throughout the nation,
high school students received a second-rate
biology education because of it.
The state of embattled science was evident when David Kitts, then one of the
nation's leading evolutionary paleontologists, admitted in the September 1974 issue
of the journal, Evolution, that evolution did
face some "nasty difficulties - the most
notorious of which is the presence of 'gaps'
in the fossil record. Evolution requires
intermediate forms between species and
paleontology does not provide them." The
evolutionists simply did not know how to
fight. All they could do was assert that creationism was a theological concept and not a
scientific one. They were totally hindered in
the battle since many of them felt that they
could not openly repudiate religion. They
were still in the Darwin time warp. It was
necessary from the beginning simply to say
that the Bible and Genesis were fairy tales
totally without substance. As long as the
scientists clung to the myth that JudeoChristianity had something substantive to

Austin, Texas

offer to humankind they were precluded

from the fight and could only stand where
they were and take the blows that the Fundamentalists and creationists threw at them.
Their arguments with distinction of words
fell on deaf ears. They were not speaking to
fellow scientists. The masses of people
whom they hoped to reach had been
deprived of basic biology and evolution
material for over fifty years. They tried:
Evolution is a scientific theory. Its
definition is "any genetic change in
organisms from generation to generation." National selection, often
confused with evolution, is the basic
mechanism that guides the course of
evolution. Simply stated, organisms
the genes of which are most suited to
solving the challenges of environment
will contribute the most offspring to
the next generation. In time, these
offspring will come to predominate
that environment.
The average father sitting in front of television watching Sunday football did not
know what in the hell the scientist was
Meanwhile, a senator introduced a bill
into the Ohio legislature to require that
"scientific evidence" for creation be given
"fair treatment" in Ohio public schools.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the public
schools agreed that the Genesis account of
the creation of Adam and Eve must be studied along with the theory of evolution. Several Western Michigan University professors attempted to protest, but they had no
support at all. Bills were introduced in the
Michigan Legislature, #4047 in the House
and #67 as a companion bill in the Senate:
When the Scientific Theory of Evolution is taught in a course in public
school, a Biblical story of creation
shall also be taught in the same course
with an equal amount of time devoted
thereto as an Historical version of the
Tennessee was the first state, in this
decade, to pass legislation requiring the
inclusion of the biblical account of creation
in biology textbooks used in the public
schools. Here the only concern about what
was occurring in the schools was from the
National Association of Biology Teachers,
which established a Fund for Freedom in
Science to try to finance some opposition.
They alone challenged the law in a suit timely


Meanwhile, the Second Creation Convention was held August 17-21 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The theme of it was "A
Challenge to Education - II." Forty highly
qualified scientists were guest speakers.

October 1986

In Nebraska, the Lutheran Women's Missionary League purchased 309 student sets
of Science and Creation Series booklets and
distributed them to public elementary and
junior high schools in a forty-five county area
in that state.
The California Board of Education also
was buying, for six-year periods, books for
kindergarten through eighth grade. Something designated as "Life-science" rather
than "biology" books began to appear for
courses usually taught in grades seven and
eight. (California, which does not adopt
books for use in high school, therefore does
not adopt biology books.) In the lower grade
books there was no competent account of
either the principles or vocabulary of evolutionary biology. As an example, the words
evolve and evolution were no longer used. In
their place were the words change and
changing. Charles Darwin was not mentioned in the books at all.
In Georgia, a bill was introduced into the
legislature which provided for equal time for
special creation whenever evolution was
taught. With one such billfinally attacked by
some education authorities, the legislature
decided to have a special committee hold
hearings in various parts of the state to measure public reaction and to find out where
the sentiment in favor of the legislation was.
In Florida, there were elaborate plans
being made to introduce an "equal-time" bill
in the legislature.
In Washington state, legislation was pending which would require that the biblical
creation account be treated on an equal
basis with the "theory" of evolution.
On March 24, 1975, the Irving, Texas,
School District, at the order of the Irving
School Superintendent received copies of
scientific creationist biology textbooks. Having read the book upon recommendation of
a friend, the superintendent simply ordered
the district's science consultant to order the
books for all of the Irving schools. The
school board was not asked to approve the
There were seemingly no impediments,
and the 1970 decade was only at the halfway
mark. But, in April of 1975, the federal Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of
Daniel v Waters, (See page 26) handed
down an opinion that the Tennessee statute
which required that any textbook expressing opinion about the origin of man should
be prohibited from use in the public schools
unless it specifically stated that the opinion
was a theory and was not represented to be
a scientific fact, and which also required the
biblical account of creation and other theories of creation be printed at the same with
commensurate attention and equal emphasis and that only the biblical account of creation as set forth in Genesis might be printed
without any such disclaimer violated the
First Amendment prohibition on establish-

Page 15

The National Association of Christian Educators declared that its members "vow to teach
Christian fundamentalism in public schools
wherever they can find an opening."
ment of religion.
Seemingly no one paid any attention to
the court.
In May, the Dallas school board asked the
state board and the Texas Education Agency
to approve at least one biology text that
would include the Bible's version of creation.
Later in the year, the Seminole, Texas,
Common Consolidated School District was
found to be using the same texts.
In West Virginia, the Kanawha county
schools (this county includes the major city
of Charleston) introduced the "two-model"
approach of teaching both creation and evolution. Columbus, Ohio, at this time, was
using the same.
Early in 1977, it was revealed after an
investigation in Seattle and Spokane, Washington, in Portland, Oregon, and in San
Francisco, California, that the Moody Bible
Institute was distributing films to 1,600 public schools as "teaching aids" in biological
science. These ignored the immense geologicallife span of the earth and suggested that
various species of animals did not evolve
from lower forms. The films accounted for
all livingthings as the result of a single act of
divine fiat. At that time, the American Humanist Association sponsored a statement
affirming evolution, but felt compelled to
include on the statement signatures of clergy
from most major religious denominations, all
of whom believed that "there is no conflict
between evolutionary principles and the biblical descriptions." Such a statement, of
course, flies in the face of reason.
The school board of the Paul Pewett
Independent School District of East Texas
(near Dallas) voted 6-3 to include the use of
Creation Life Publishers' text Biology: A
Search for Order in Complexity and its
accompanying laboratory manual as the
primary biology book for its schools. In the
text the explanation of "species" given,
using the word kinds, contends that god
created the various "kinds" with latitude for
a certain amount of variation. Still, the publishers asserted that:
For too long, people have tried to
relegate creation to religion. This
book is written on a scientific rather
than theologicalleve!.
We have been totally indoctrinated
with evolution, which many texts

Page 16

present as fact rather than theory.

The writers of this book [John M.
Moore, professor of natural sciences
at University of Michigan and Harold
Slusher, geophysics and astronomy
professor at the University of Texas,
EIPaso] are scientific enough never to
say we should not teach evolution.
They are asking only that it be balanced with a presentation of the creation story.
Creation Research Society members,
most frequently the authors of all of the
Creation Life texts,
must have an earned, not honorary,
degree in one of the physical sciences.
They must believe the earth was
created within the past 10,000 years,
and that it was created in seven literal
Within a month the Dallas, Texas, school
trustees voted to place the book as a reference text in each of the district's sixty biology classrooms. In late March the school
board president advised teachers that they
would be required to attend a seminar in
August to learn how to teach the creation
theory and make it a part of the district's
baseline biology curriculum. It was during
the publicity attendant to this fracas that it
was discovered that the book was being
used in many public school systems including ones in Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan,
Oregon, Oklahoma, and Idaho. It had, also
recently, been approved by the state board
in Indiana as one of the seven textbooks that
could be adopted by individual districts. The
Dallas school trustees then discovered that
the book was not among the five biology
books approved by the Texas State Board
of Education and that it could be used only
as suppiemental material, which it was.
In Appleton, Wisconsin, the Board of
Education was presented with a resolution
aimed at giving "equal time" to the teaching
of special creation. And, in this instance,
both sides of the argument were extensively
covered in the media. With over five hundred scientists in the Creation Research
Society alone, that organization felt at ease
saying just exactly what it represented in the

October 1986

Creation ... is a concept that there

was at least one period of special creation sometime in the past in which
period the Creator (an omniscient,
omnipotent, eternal, personal being)
brought into existence the whole universe in completed functioning form.
Each of the basic "kinds" or organisms was specially created, with the
ability to reproduce its own kind, and
with the genetic ability for wide variation within its kind, but not changing
from one kind into another kind. In
particular, man was created as man,
not produced by evolution from some
population of apelike primates.
In South Carolina a "Resolution" was
pending in the legislature which requested
the State Higher Education Commission
and the State Board of Public Education to
recommend a balanced treatment of evolution and special creation in courses and
Bills were pending in the Senate and the
House of Iowa requesting that when origins
were taught in public schools, science as it
supports creation should also be included.
In California surveys taken in October in
two school districts reported that 80 to 90
percent of all parents favored equal time for
creation in public schools.
Sanity prevailed in only two states. In
Milton-Freewater, Washington state, the
district board of directors had purchased
books from which a chapter had been
deleted because it dealt with evolution as
fact, not theory. The ACLU demanded that
the books be replaced and the board was
bringing itself into compliance.
Upon being apprised of the situation in
Indiana, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union,
ICLU, decided to challenge the Sellersburg,
West Clark, Community School Board.
Although all seven school systems in Indiana
used the book, the ICLU could find patrons
willing to take legal action only in West
Clark. A complaint was filedon February 16,
1977. On April 29, a Marion Superior Court
judge ordered the Indiana Textbook Commission to remove Biology: A Search for
Order in Complexity from the approved list
of books for public school use as a ninth
grade biology text. The judge held:
The asserted object of the text to
present a balanced or neutral argument is a sham that breaches the "wall
of separation" between church and
state voiced by Thomas Jefferson.
Clearly, the purpose of A Search
for Order in Complexity is the promotion and inclusion of Fundamentalist
Christian doctrine in the public

American Atheist

At The Universities
It never stopped. In March 1978the media
began to report that John N. Moore had
been including the theory of creation by god
in his introductory science courses at Michigan State University. He backed down
opposition under the banner of academic
freedom. At the same time it was found that
Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio,
and Iowa State University both had similar
college-level courses.
The Chicago Tribune newspaper in
March revealed that was just the beginning.
Michigan State University students were not
alone in taking Moore's rational alternative
creationist science course for credits; the
West Virginia College of Graduate Studies
was offering a crash course for both views,
and noncredit seminars on the same were
being held at University of Vermont, Oklahoma State University, San Diego State College, University of Michigan, Northwestern
University, Fresno State College, University
of Texas, and Iowa State University.
On April 11, 1978, the National Bible
Knowledge Association, Inc. filed a suit in
the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.,
to bar the Smithsonian Institution from
promoting evolution. The organization
asked that the Smithsonian be enjoined
from its scheduled $463,200 display on evolution. If the display was not stopped, the
organization asked that an equal amount of
money be spent to present the biblical
account of creation. The suit claimed that
the Smithsonian received 90 percent of its
financing from federal funds and that it was
"establishing a religion of secular humanism
to the complete and utter violation of the
government's role of neutrality in religious
In July the chairman of the English department at Crow High School in Springfield, Oregon, requested that creationism be
taught in the public schools of that city. His
basic premises were simple:
No one can prove scientifically how
the universe or life originated. These
unrepeatable events occurred before
human observation.
Only two possibilities exist. Things
either made themselves, or were made
by something other than themselves.
Organization either arises spontaneously from the nature of the universe,
or the universe was organized by a
power other than itself. These alternatives are irreconcilable opposites. One
of them must be true; both cannot be.
Evidence for either is automatically
evidence against the other.
The evolutionists had the general reply of
stating that creationism was a religious
explanation; that it was not science nor

Austin, Texas

based upon scientific investigation. They did

not realize that as long as they honored
Judeo-Christianity and the god idea, that
this statement simply put off the confrontation, it did not solve it.
Immediately then they went to the defensive:
There are three entirely different
aspects ... These are: (1) The origin of
the physical universe including the
Earth, (2) the origin of life on Earth,
and (3) organic evolution, that is, the
evolution of present living species
from previously existing species. The
origin of the universe is appropriate
for discussion by geologists and physicists .... The origin of life on Earth is
appropriate for discussion by biochemists. The evolution of species
from previously existing species ... is
for biologists.
All of the above are matters of
science. They are "science" because
they are subject to investigation by
scientific methods which involve asking questions, establishing hypotheses (proposed answers to the questions), then testing these hypotheses
experimentally or by assembling a
mass of descriptive evidence, then
judging the validity or invalidity of
each hypothesis. These are the classical methods of science.
It was the clearest, shortest explanation that
had appeared in the media in years.
On December 11, 1978, the Federal District Court ruled against the religious groups
which had sued the Smithsonian:
This is not a situation where the
Smithsonian has put an unconstitutional condition on plaintiffs' exercise
of their belief. The plaintiffs can carry
their beliefs into the museum with
them, though they risk seeing science
exhibits contrary to that faith.
In Georgia, in November of 1978,the state
school board agreed that local school boards
in Georgia could decide to teach evolution,
creation, both, or neither in "life science
classes." In its monthly meeting, the Atlanta
school board adopted the state textbook
committee's recommendation without debate.
The 1970s were not over yet; it had one
more year to go when in Georgia a bill (H.B.
69) was introduced into the legislature to
mandate that public schools offer studies of
the creation theory as well as the evolution
theory in science classes. In August there
were public hearings by a special House
education subcommittee.
Local school
boards already had the power to implement
such a policy but the creationist sponsors of

October 1986

the bill accused the state Department of

Education of using its influence to see that
only the evolution theory was taught. At the
hearing it was revealed that ten Georgia
school districts had already approved the
teaching of both theories. The state Board of
Education, however, had approved eight
textbooks that offered parallel instruction
about evolution and "scientific creation."
In February 1979 a bill (S.F. 459) was
introduced into the Iowa Senate:
Whenever the origin of humankind
or the origin of earth is taught in the
educational program of the public
schools of this state, the concept of
creation as supported by scientific
evidence shall be included.
The Superintendent of the Department of
Public Instruction of the state issued a position paper that:
The science curriculum should
emphasize the theory of evolution as a
well-supported scientific theory - not
a fact.
Students should be advised that it is
their responsibility, as informed citizens, to have creationism explained
to them by theological experts.
After almost a year-long debate, the bill was
rejected 22-22.
A similar bill was finally defeated in May
1979 in both houses of the Minnesota
Despite all previous rulings in Cedar Falls,
Iowa (population 33,000), the dual approach
of teaching both scientific creationism and
evolution was approved for the seventh
grade science classes; It was agreed that two
days a week would be spent on each subject.
At the same time a bill to require equal
time, which had been introduced into the
Iowa legislature, died in committee after
being vigorously opposed by the Iowa
Academy of Science. This was the second
defeat in as many years for such a bill.
Help for the creationists, meanwhile,
came from Robert Jastrow, a professor of
astronomy, who in a newly released book,
God and The Astronomers, interpreted the
Big Bang as the catastrophic beginning of
the universe occurring when God, himself,
said, "Let There Be Light."
The 1980s arrived with no diminution of
the creationists' attack. In Illinois, in March
1980, a Republican senator introduced into
the legislature a bill to have the teaching of
creation science in the public schools on an
equal basis with the theory of evolution.
In Florida, in the same month, a Republican finally got his bill to require primary and
secondary teachers in allsixty-seven county
school districts to teach the theory of creation along with the theory of evolution past

Page 17

the Education Committee 01) a 7-6 vote.

In Idaho the legislature was asked to
require creationism to be taught in the public schools. The legislative opposition centered around the fact that there was a lack of
qualified teachers in the field and that creationism was based on religious beliefs. The
legislature, however, did send a letter to all
educators concerned with such teaching.
A creationist bill was back in the Georgia
legislature. Citizens for Another Voice in
Education, CAVE, asked the Georgia State
Board of Education in 1979to "draw up clear
guidelines on the question of man's origins."
Not receiving a prompt response, they were
instrumental in having House Bill690 introduced in the General Assembly asking for
equal time for creationism. Cobb County
School Board had already adopted the creationist resolution in 1979. But it was rescinded when it was found to have come
from the Creation Legislative Service, CLS.
On February 19, Bill 690 passed the full
House, 139-30, with the phrase "scientific
creationism" changed to "divine creationism." The definition of "creationism" inserted in the billwas, "The origin of all things
and their processes and relationships were
created ex nihilo and fixed by God." The
senate passed the billon March 5, 46-7, reinstating all mandatory provisions and insert-

ing the phrase "created by God" throughout

the bill. President Carter's cousin, the
chairman of the Senate Education Committee, supported the bill:
If you ever look at the Constitution
of Georgia, it says, "relying on the
protection and guidance of almighty
God." What is wrong with saying,
"creation by God?"
The chief judge of the Georgia Court of
Appeals made a supporting statement that
"the teaching of scientific creationism as
evidenced in the Book of Genesis would
significantly reduce crime in America." Others openly opined that the teaching of evolution would cause "animal behavior" in
A compromise version, HB 690 from the
Conference Committee,
passed the Senate on March 8. But the
House Speaker simply refused to recognize
the bill's sponsor in the House as the final
minutes ticked away for the adjournment of
the General Assembly. HB 690 fell to the
gavel at 11:30 P.M.
A factor in the fight was the knowledge
that the CLS stood to make two million dollars a year in textbook sales.
In M-arch, the Creation Science Research

Center in San Diego reported that it had

volunteers in thirty-seven states pushing
both legislators and school officials to
"reform the evolution" curricula of the public schools to include creationism. It noted
that bills were pending in the Illinois and the
Iowa legislature and had been introduced
and debated in fifteen state legislatures
including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York,
South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. In addition, various local school boards
across the entire country had passed resolutions that made concessions to creationist
demands. They had given equal time in
many instances, had authorized the purchases of creationist books as both required
and supplemental reading. In both Mississippi and Indiana, it had been agreed that the
states would purchase creationist texts for
local school boards. In twenty-seven states
textbook selection committees had been
asked to accept Divine Creation - not as
theology, but as biology. At colleges, student clubs were springing up to publish and
promote creationist views on campus. The
feelings of grassroots Americans was nicely
put by a biology teacher in a high school in
Lemmon, South Dakota:
Imaintain that ifyou teach a kid that

"Something just doesn't seem right _.. "

Page 18

October 1986

American Atheist

he's an animal and that his behavior is

based on environment, he is going to
act like an animal.
California, after many years of negotiation
with creation- theory advocates, decided
through its Department of Education that
creation science could be taught in social
science classes in that state. The opposition,
again, was from the National Association of
Biology Teachers, and this time, the National Science Foundation. The state, of
course, would pay for the life-science textbooks.
Also in California it was discovered that
for four years Dean Kenyon had been teaching his evolution class at San Francisco
State University that "supernatural creation" had brought the cosmos into being.
When discovered, he agreed that he was not
supposed to allow religion to intrude into his
classes at the state-supported school, but
insisted that there were "no errors in the
Bible." The department chairman was finally
forced to intervene in December to limit the
time Dr. Kenyon could spend on his theory
in the classroom and to have his classes
audited by other faculty members.
Nothing was made better by Hans Kung,
the Catholic theologian visiting in Boston,
when he suggested that science and theology could be partners so long as they maintained credibility within their distinct spheres
of fact and faith, knowledge and meaning.
In January 1981, the second year of our
current decade began with the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest scientific organization in
the United States, in Canada for its 147th
annual meeting. The most serious problem
discussed was the attack by fundamentalist
religionists and creationists against the
scientific education of the American youth.
The hierarchy of the AAAS was charged by
its members with being apathetic to the
situation while "evolution has been muted,
diminished or expunged from many textbooks" from 1960 forward. The complainants emphasized that mere threats of lawsuits or legislative action had already caused
some school systems to capitulate. Publishers of science textbooks had succumbed to
pressures. Teachers were either afraid or
reluctant to enter the field of controversy. In
the first month of 1981 heated battles had
already erupted in at least six states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, and
Indiana. One angry report stated that the
antievolutionists had been successful because they used a Madison Avenue approach and employed full-time staff while
"there is not one scientist who is funded to
devote full time to espousing evolutionary
theory." Another scientist charged:
Part of the problem may be that
evolution has been described as the

Austin, Texas

"theory" of evolution which gives an

erroneous impression - that scientists themselves don't accept evolution as accepted. The word "theory"
has done a great deal of damage and
should be dropped and the world evolution should stand alone. Scientists
may argue over the details of evolution but they agree that evolution is a
fact and should be so labeled.
The AAAS was exposed as having been
apathetic. It was pointed out that the damaging effect of the fight had not been adequately brought to the attention of the
Attempting to analyze the reports of the
convention, it is instructive to point out that
even this much discussion was possible only
when the AAAS met in Canada. The entire
subject matter would have been taboo had
the convention been held in a U.S. city.
Arkansas, Again
Arkansas legislation passed a bill (Act
590) in March 1981. Governor Frank White
signed it into law. When asked what he
thought about the bill, he responded that he
had not read it. "The truth is governors don't
read all the bills. He has aides to do it and
brief him on them. No governor can read all
the bills."
Former U.S. Senator J. WilliamFulbright,
a Democrat, immediately made his opposition to the bill known. He thought that "We
should not involve education in these very
controversial issues." The president of the
national Parent Teachers Association also
objected, asking the question, "How are you
going to train teachers to teach creationism?" More than 300 of the 800 University of
Arkansas faculty members opposed the
creationist bill, asking for its repeal. Nearly
50 percent of these 300 also sent petitions
and letters to the president of the University
of Arkansas asking for the University to
formally oppose the act. He declined to do
so. More than 100 students at the Arkansas
College of Medicine also signed protests.
Former U.S. Representative Guy Tucker of
Little Rock, addressing the General Cooperative Education Clubs of Arkansas, opposed the creation law as being a product of
politicians determining public school currieulum. A Little Rock law student, privately,
took a petition bearing the names of 167
Arkansas citizens to the governor's office
asking that the legislature reconsider the
law. The Arkansas Academy of Sciences
adopted a resolution urging the governor
and the state legislature to rescind the law. A
rabbi, president of the largest Jewish organization in the United States, the Synagogue
Council of America, visiting Arkansas was
also critical of the legislation. It was, he held,
an attempt to harmonize biblical material on

October 1986

creation with some of the latest findings and

to relate it to the "Big Bang Theory" so that it
could be said that the Scriptures read as
correct, viewed scientifically. Jews have
refused to enter the debate, although the
Old Testament is the Scripture concerned,
because "Jews read the Bible differently."
"The Jew . . . has never read the Bible
literally. We read it reverently and seriously,
but no literate Jew willread the Bible without
commentaries." In addition, for the Jews
science is a confirmation - rather than contradiction - of the wonder of God's creation. The two creation accounts in Genesis,
for the Jew, "contain a great mystery." He
added, "The widened horizons that science
has made clear to us far from undermining
the faith of our children or threatening our
own faith, beckon us to a deeper and more
profound recognition of the wonder of creation and the mystery of God."
None of it helped. Governor Frank White
defended himself and the legislature by
pointing out that five biology textbooks
approved for Arkansas schools dealt with
the creation-science viewpoint, but four of
them did not even qualify under the new
creationism law because they still refer to
the Bible. The new law specified that the
teaching of creation-science or evolutionscience could not include any references to
religious writings. He stated, "I just wanted
to point out that it [creationism] is being
taught in some districts without any uproar
about teaching religion in the schools."
Here and there, a hope could be seen. On
December 16, School District 300M, which
oversees 11,700 elementary and high school
pupils in a northwest Chicago suburb, voted
6-1 that scientific creationism should not be
taught as a theory in the science curriculum.
In Texas, the Board of Education sent all
textbook publishers a proclamation requiring that:
Textbooks presented for adoption
which treat the subject of evolution
substantively in explaining the historical origins of humankind shall be
edited, if necessary, to clarify that the
treatment is theoretically rather than
factually verifiable. Furthermore, each
textbook must carry a statement on
an introductory page that any material on evolution included in the book
is clearly presented as theory rather
than fact.
When a Boston newspaper reporter contacted Houghton Mifflinlocated in that city,
the textbook company would not even discuss the issue. Publishers are forced into
compliance in order to sell the books. Once
again the biology books 'fere issued without
the word evolution. Instead, such words as
change, develop, results were used. Ideas
were ambiguous; sentences were awkward.

Page 19

One scientist saw the books as an aggregate

of "stuff" put together by anonymous
authors, then attributed to nominal authors
for legitimacy in order for the publisher to
make sales.
California continued to agree that creationism could be taught in Social Science
classes. South Dakota and Wisconsin provided instruction on creationism as a part of
public school biology. In Texas and Iowa the
situation remained that the schools continued to teach evolution was just one of
several possible theories and always biblical
creationism was one of the other possibilities - if not the only other. Again in Mississippi, Georgia, Idaho, and Indiana creationist texts were included on lists of books
recommended for approval by local school
The Gallup poll in 1982 showed that 44
percent of Americans thought God created
man about 10,000 years ago. The poll only
showed who was winning the battle in our
In Michigan on January 9, 1982, a state
representative and a senator, both Republican, announced their plan to introduce a bill
which would require the teaching of creation
science in public schools. The State Department of Education concluded that creationism as taught in a Michigan school district as science was improper, but as taught
in a high school as religion it was proper, and
could remain in the school.
In Des Moines, Iowa, in June, the school
district agreed to purchase creationist materials for school libraries and to allow a twosided discussion of the issue in science
In Washington state the ACLU was again
in a protracted fight when the school district
in Bothell was found to be teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution. When
confronted by the ACLU the school district
capitulated and advised the secondary
science teachers that the teaching of creationism was a violation of the law and of
district policy.
In the falla model billwas being promoted
within the U.S. Congress calling on the
National Science Foundation and other federal funding agencies to award funds to
"creationist scientific research applicants"
in the same amount as is awarded to "evolutionist scientist research applicants." Such
equal treatment and attention were sought
for study of "creationist alternatives," such
as studies which deal with "the origin of the
universe, the Earth, life, or man." (See page
In August, inconceivable as it seemed to
be, still another new antievolution bill was
introduced into the Arkansas legislature,
requiring that teachers give equal time to
In New York the school board finally
rejected two biology texts. In June, when the

Page 20

textbook Experiences in Biology was reo

jected because it failed to treat the theory of
evolution, the publisher admitted to the
media that he had expunged evolution to
placate creationists.
In 1983, Iowa was again under attack by
the Fundamentalists where they mounted a
stateside campaign over the introduction of
a list of eighteen creationist books into
school libraries and classrooms.
In Virginia, the State Board of Education
voted 72 to give provisional approval to the
biology teacher-training program conducted
at Falwell's Liberty Baptist College. This
approval qualified Liberty Baptist College
graduates to teach in Virginia and thirty-five
other states with which Virginia has reciprocal certification agreements. In reaching the
decision, the state board overrode the
recommendations of its advisory board
which had called for disapproval of the program on the ground that the college expected its education graduates to propagandize for creationism. (Two years later, in
June 1985, the college would report that it
had graduated that year 156elementary and
secondary grade school teachers.)
The attorney general of Michigan affirmed
the State Department of Education's ruling
that creationism, when taught as a religion in
the public schools, did not violate the
The National Association of Christian
Educators declared that its members "vow
to teach Christian fundamentalism in public
schools wherever they can find an opening."
Meeting in Michigan, Wisconsin, California,
and New York, the members agreed to use
clandestine teaching if necessary.
In Colorado, a Senate committee killed a
bill that would have required "balanced
instruction of evolution and creationism
theories." The legislature copped out by
relying on a clause in the Colorado Constitution which gives school boards the full
responsibility for determining course topics
and textbooks. They deferred the issue so
that it could be handled at that level in their
In New York, the publisher finallychanged
Chapter 25 of Experiences in Biology to add
eighteen pages on evolution. But on January
14, the State Board of Education in a 213
vote of the 27member board voted that
biology texts need not mention Darwin or
the theory of evolution.
The Fundamentalists were proceeding to
"pack libraries," especially those in public
schools, with creationist materials and to
demand the removal from libraries and
classrooms of works that "dogmatically
support evolution." They were also asking
that libraries classify the creationist literature in the Dewey 500s rather than in
231.765, the notation specified for "Creation" within the sequence devoted to "Specific topics in Christian doctrinal theology."

October 1986

The Dewey 500 series is reserved for bona

fide "science." The Library of Congress currently lists all the writings under the subject
heading of "Creationism."
As a result of the fine work done by the
Fundamentalist creationists, in February
1982 the Department of Education survey
showed Texas as below average in college
entrance exam scores as well as high school
graduation rates. Jim Mattox, the attorney
general of Texas, finally made a ruling in
respect to the Texas textbook review board,
opining that it was unconstitutional for biology texts to label evolution as "theory rather
than fact" and "only one of several explanations."
The inference is inescapable, from the
narrowness of the requirement, that a
concern for religious sensibilities rather than a dedication to scientific truth
was the real motivation for the rules.
(See "The Texas Story," page 32.) The
attorney general's opinion was, however,
not binding on the textbook selection board
since that is an executive agency. Within a
month (April 14) the board, meeting in EI
Paso, brushed him off. The new provision
wallowed in vagueness: "theories should be
clearly distinguished from fact and presented
in an objective educational manner."
Eighteen states now were using the same
kind of approval procedure for book purchases as Texas. Education and.book selection were both in the hands of religious illiterates. Amidst it all, a two- line report
appeared in several Florida newspapers that
educators and politicians of twenty-one
states had met in Florida to counteract
Texas' influence on the nation's education.
With over a third of the states in the nation
modeling their textbook selection process
after that of Texas, it appeared that the
meeting was the classic, ''Too little, too
Again in 1984, bills restricting teaching of
evolution were introduced in Idaho, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
In.Prescott, Arizona, the Mayer School
District board directed that the "theory of
creation" be taught in science classes from
sixth grade through high school, using textbooks produced by the Christian Heritage
Many people felt some encouragement at
last when in September of 1985 the Calitornia Board of Education rejected every textbook submitted for use in seventh and
eighth grade classes as containing "watered
down" evolution. This involved a $25 million
textbook purchase for one million junior
high school students alone, since California
purchases 11 percent of the U.S. textbook
market. The board asked the textbook
manufacturers to resubmit new books by
February 1, 1986, notifying that the texts

American Atheist

must include up-to-date information on evolution, human reproduction, pollution, and

ethical issues.
The situation in California is that school
districts can purchase any books they want.
They normally, however, follow the state
guidelines, and books listed on that guideline
usually are revised every six years.
The House Committee in Arizona, on
March 6 unanimously approved (6-0) that
evolution must be treated only as theory in
Arizona public schools.
In June the U.S. Senate approved 86-3 a
billfor financing magnet schools in communities undertaking desegregation plans. The
bill was primarily to provide new money to
schools for math and science programs.
Attached to it was a paragraph under the
heading of "Prohibition." This read as
Grants under this title may not be
used for consultants, for transportation, or for any activity which does not
augment academic improvement, or
for courses of instruction the substance of which is secular humanism.
Wyatt B. Durrette, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia, in his campaign
included the position statement, "I believe in
God. I believe the vast majority of Americans do. I see nothing wrong with mentioning in the text or mentioning in the classroom that God created the universe."
In this year, 1985, it was reported that
three of the most used biology texts in our
nation's schools did not use the word evolution. These were Scott, Foresman's Life
Science; Holt, Rinehart & Winston's Living
Things; and Silver Burdett's Biology for Living. Pick up your child's science book tonight
and see what is in it. In the discussions of this
matter with the textbook selection committees, with the textbook manufacturers, quite
frequently the euphemism "the Eword" is
used so that creationists are not offended by
hearing what one is actually talking about.
This is the position of absurdity to which the
fundamentalist terrorists have reduced the
nation's educators and legislators.
Meanwhile, outside of the battles going on
at the public school there are literally
hundreds of thousands of children receiving
no science education at all. Since 1960,
25,000 private (mostly religious) schools
have been opened in the United States, a
considerable number of which were in protest to forced integration of the public
schools. Basing their teachings almost solely
on the Bible, these schools are one of the
tragedies of our age.
In December 1985 most of the publishers
had advised the California State Board of
Education of changes made in the textbooks. A group of twenty scientists from
Berkeley, San Jose State, and San Diego

Austin, Texas

Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground ... "
State Universities, who monitored the revised books, expressed great disappointment in them, complaining that they were
not "worth the taxpayers' money." Most
added a few sentences or paragraphs, a few
added entire chapters. Of these changes,
one review panel member said that the
books are "just as equivocal, as misleading,
and as deliberately phony as the original
texts." The California state book review
panel had no biologists on it, and, consequently, the scientists felt that the changes
approved were, in several cases, "incoherent, incompetent and generally inane." Noting that the books still"tiptoe" around topics
so that Fundamentalists in Texas or creationists in California are not offended, the
scientists point out certain phrases, such as
"many scientists believe" that the Earth was
created billions of years ago, or that "most
scientists believe" that dinosaurs roamed
the Earth millions of years ago. One scientist
curtly complained, "What is that supposed
to mean? If dinosaurs are just a 'belief' that
some of us have, what are those bones in the
museum? These matters are as factual as
gravity or relativity, but they are treated differently because they impinge on the beliefs
of the Fundamentalists."
The California Board of Education formally adopted the ten new junior high textbooks on December 12, 1985, after rejecting
the criticism of the scientists. The scientists
retaliated by proclaiming that the state was
"pandering to the creationists" by using

October 1986

euphemisms such as "changes over time" in

place of the word evolution. One UC Berkeley professor of anthropology said, "The
weasel-wording goes on and on." A professor of biology from San Diego State University charged, 'The impression is given that
evolution is suspect, believed by only a few
weirdo scientists." A professor of paleontology from UC Berkeley concluded, "many of
them of them still aren't worth the taxpayers'money."
The director of the Creation Science
Research Center at San Diego was necessary furious as he threatened lawsuits, "All
they have decided today is that the textbooks adopted will tell Christian children
that there is no God, and that they evolved
from apes. I don't think Christian parents,
organizations, churches or whatever will
stand for it. We will look at all of our legal
At stake was an estimated total of $60
million to $120 million in textbook sales to all
grades in the schools in California. Since
that state purchases about 12 percent of the
nation's textbooks, the revised books were
expected to become the standard national
edition for most publishers of books on biology for elementary grades. The decision in
California thus also affected classrooms
throughout the nation and hundreds of millions of dollars in textbooks in other states.
In February 1986, the Institute for Creation Research moved into its new $900,000
Santee headquarters on a two and one-half

Page 21

acre plot in the foothills of the California

Cuyamaca Mountains. At that time' it had
twenty-five graduate students and had been
approved by the state of California to issue
master's degrees in astrophysics, geophysics, biology, geology, and science education.
The school, which has had ten graduates
since 1981, is certified by the state of California's Board of Education. It has not been
accredited, however, by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Forty-six
students, total, were enrolled in 1986. There
are eight faculty members and seven adjunct
faculty members. Research activities include
trips to Mount Ararat in Turkey to find
Noah's Ark. The school has a Museum of
Creation and Earth History and one of the
exhibits planned is a replica of Noah's Ark,
which it claims was 437 feet long, was
1,396,000 cubic feet in volume, and had the
capacity to carry 125,280 sheep-sized animals. CRS shares the building with CreationLife Publishers of San Diego, which issues
textbooks, videotapes, filmstrips, children's
books, a monthly Newsletter, and a quarterly devotional guide. The mail outreach is
to 60,000 persons. And, gross sales in 1985
were $650,000, one-third of which was to
churches, public and private schools.
On February 7 the Idaho House finally
defeated the bill which would have required
public schools in that state to teach creationism. However, legislation was still pending in
fifteen states and the creationists were
actively influencing textbook selection in
twenty-seven states.
In Florida, on February 18, the Fundamentalists attempted to oppose state adoption, for the state's sixty-seven school districts, of twenty-two biology textbooks
which did not discuss the theory of creation.
One petition presented to Governor Bob
Graham had 11,000 signatures of protest.


(Continued from page 32)

gious considerations into an area which

must be, at least in the public school context, strictly the province of science. As the
court said in Wright u. Houston Independent School District, 366 F. Supp. 1208,
1211 (Southern District, Texas, 1972):
Science and religion necessarily
deal with many of the same questions,
and they may frequently provide conflicting answers. But, as the Supreme
Court wrote twenty years ago, it is not
the business of government to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a

Page 22

The Florida school districts do not need to

buy the books, which are recommended for
students in grades six through twelve. Each
district must spend half of its book budget
on approved texts, but they are not obligated to buy any particular one. Faced by
such opposition, the governor delayed to
March 4 the final vote. On March 6 the vote
was taken and, with two missing cabinet
members, the purchase of the books was
approved. Governor Graham, however,
made it clear that he personally thought that
a "balanced presentation" was necessary.
In this Florida fight a new group emerged
which was calling itself CAFEED: Citizens
Against Federal Establishment of Evolutionary Dogma. Again, the entire battle lines
were drawn around a single tactic of the
Fundamentalists: to raise creationism to a
scientific theory; to lower evolution to a
belief status.
The current situation at the the time of
this writing is extremely dangerous. In
regard to textbook selection, there are
twenty-two "adoption" states, of which
seventeen are southern. In these, state officials choose textbooks. These adoption
states buy one-half of the books consumed.
Among them, the purchases by California,
Texas, and Florida are outstanding.
Books are consumer goods. The total
volume of sales is currently $1.4 billion
annually. In order to get a share of the
market, the publisher will yield to the
requirement demand for content which is
ordered by the states. Textbooks are developed for mass marketing. They must be sold
in quantity to be profitable. Texas buys 10
percent of all biology texts. California purchases another 11 percent.
There are an estimated sixty-five elementary textbook publishers which specialize in
no more than one or two subjects. The

dozen or so biggest houses publish in a variety of fields for all grades. Texas adopts
books for all grades, kindergarten through
high school, and limits to five the number of
books on a given subject or for a given
Science textbooks, history textbooks,
social science textbooks are insipid, banal,
bland, middle-of-the-road, diffident, tenuous,
inadequate, fearful. Evolution has been
driven from them. Often there is no mention
of human reproduction at all. History is
skewed. Grammar has been forgotten.
In regard to equal access of creationism
and evolution into the public schools, the
case before the U.S. Supreme Court is
Our students for three generations have
wallowed in an abyss of scientific ignorance.
It is criminal that this situation has been
permitted to exist, to fester, to deteriorate
further. The media has refused to inform;
the government has refused to act; parents
have cowered against this outrage. It is
probably too late. With the fervor of the
Fundamentalists and the apathy of the Atheists, our nation has nowhere to go but to a
retreat into the new Dark Ages. The upcoming decision of the bellwether U.S. Supreme
Court in the case of Edwards u. Aguillard
will be the signal for that retreat if it is supportive of the creationists and the State of
And, the unfortunate situation is that we
have only ourselves to blame. Even today,
even among the Atheist population of our
nation, there is a reluctance to face religion
head on and to thrust it from the seat of
power which it has. The situation is insane.
Atheists should opt out of it by direct and
open confrontation with every religious idea
in the land. There is no one to save our
nation but us. The job is ours. ~

particular religious doctrine. Burstyn

u. Willson, 343 U.S. 495,505. Teachers of science in the public schools
should not be expected to avoid the
discussion of every scientific issue on
which some religion claims expertise
(emphasis added).

adoption, failto evidence a secular purpose,

and hence we believe a court would find that
they contravene the First and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution.

If the board feels compelled to legislate in

this area, it should, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition, promulgate a rule
which is of general application to allscientific
inquiry, which does not single out for its
requirement of a disclaimer a single theory
of one scientific field, and which does not
include language suggesting inquiries which
lie totally outside the realm of science. The
rules submitted, however, when considered
in the context of the circumstances of their

The rules of the State Board of Education,

concerning the subject of evolution, fail to
demonstrate a secular purpose and are
therefore in contravention of the First and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution. ~

October 1986


American Atheist


An Act to Protect Academic Freedom and to Prevent Federal Censorship
in Scientific Inquiry Funded with Federal Tax Monies
Prepared by: Citizens Against Federal
Establishment of Evolutionary Dogma
(Marshall and Sandra Hall, National
Murphy, North Carolina, n.d.)
Be in enacted by the Congress of the United States of America:
SECTION 1. This Act shall be known as the

"Academic Freedom in Scientific Inquiry

without Federal Censorship Act."
SECTION 2. The purposes of this Act are (I)

"To promote the Progress of Science"; (2)

To protect academic freedom in the award
and use of federal funds; and (3) To prevent
federal censorship of minority scientific view
points about the origin of the universe, the
earth, life, and man.

Service that are used for exhibits or signs

that deal with the origin of the universe, the
earth, life, or man, or to any other governmental agency, shall be used for creationscience exhibits or signs to the extent such
funds are used for evolutionist exhibits or
signs or for other exhibits or signs dealing
with origins.
(5) Federal funds shall not be used for
curriculum development or textbook writing for elementary or secondary school
courses, other than military science courses,
or for college courses dealing with origins,
including the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and Man: A Course of Study.
(6) No federal funds shall be used for any
theistic, non-theistic, humanistic, or other
religious doctrine about the origin of the universe, the earth, life, or man.
SECTION 4. Hearings shall be held by the

SECTION 3. Science-related applications of

U.S. House of Representatives Committee

federal funds shall not prefer the evolution
on Science and Technology and the U.S.
model (frequently referred to as the theory
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science,
of evolution) or any other model of origins and Transportation, or their successors, on
over the creation-science model (frequently
the scientific evidence for the creationreferred to as the theory of scientific crea- science model, for the evolution model, and
tionism). In particular:
' for other science models of origins. The
(1) Federal funds for research that deals purpose of these hearings shall be to delinwith the origin of the universe, the earth, life, eate the scientific evidence for these models,
and man shall be awarded to creationist
and to determine the existing uses of federal
scientist research applicants to the extent
funds dealing with the origin of the universe,
such funds are awarded to evolutionist
the earth, life,and man. The same number of
scientist research applicants or other scien- witnesses shall be heard in favor of the
tist research applicants without censorship
creation-science model as the number in
of scientific viewpoints about the origin of favor of the evolution model or the number
the universe, the earth, life, and man. in favor of all other science models of origins.
Research applicants shall be classified as Witnesses shall be classified as creationist
creationist scientists, evolutionist .scientists,
scientists, evolutionist scientists, or other,
or other scientists according to their signed according to their signed statements of
statements of adherence to the creationadherence to creation-science as defined in
science model as defined in Section 5, to the Section 5, to evolution as defined in Section
evolution model as defined in Section 5, or to 5, or to any other science-model of origins.
any other scientific model of origins.
Witnesses must have an earned college or
(2) Federal funds for museum exhibits
university degree from any institution in
that deal with the origin of the universe, the some field of science. No testimony shall be
earth, life or man, or to museums that con- heard about religious beliefs but only about
tain such exhibits, including the Smithsonscientific evidence and existing federal
ian Institution, shall be disbursed to crea- programs.
tion-science exhibits or museums to the
extent such funds are disbursed to evolu- SECTION 5. As used in this Act:
tionist exhibits or museums.
(1) "Creation-science model" means the
(3) Federal funds disbursed or awarded by positive and negative evidences for creation
the National Science Foundation that are and inferences from such scientific eviused for research or other activities dealing dences based on scientific principles. The
with the origin of the universe, the earth, life creation-science model includes belief in:
or man shall be disbursed or awarded to
(a) Sudden creation of the universe, encreation-science research or related activi- ergy, and life;
ties to the extent such funds are applied to
(b) The insufficiency of mutation and
evolutionist research or activities or to other
natural selection in bringing about developresearch or activities dealing with origins.
ment of all living kinds from a single
(4) Federal funds for the National Park

Austin, Texas

October 1986

(c) Changes only within fixed limits of

originally created kinds of plants and animals;
(d) Separate ancestry for man and
(e) Explanation of the earth's geology
by catastrophism, including the occurrence
of a worldwide flood; and
(f) A relatively recent inception of the
earth and living kinds.
(2) Scientific evidences of and inferences
for creation include, but are not necessarily
limited to:
(a) The sudden appearance of complex
living forms in the fossil record;
(b) The harmful nature of most if not all
mutations, and the tautologous nature of
natural selection;
(c) Application of the second law of
thermodynamics to the transitions from
greater order to lesser order, and the
mathematical improbability of evolution of
complex living forms;
(d) The systematic absence of transitional forms between kinds in the alleged
evolutionary chain;
(e) The potential errors in the radiometric dating methods that are alleged to support an ancient age for the universe, the
earth, life, and man; and the alternate interpretations and methods of dating the universe, the earth, life, and man to support a
relatively young age.
(3) "Evolution model" means the positive
and negative evidences for evolution and
inferences from such scientific evidence
based on scientific principles. "Evolution"
includes belief in:
(a) Emergence by naturalistic processes
of the universe from disordered matter and
emergence of life from nonlife;
(b) The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from
simple earlier kinds;
(c) Emergence by mutation and natural
selection of present living kinds from simple
earlier kinds;
(d) Emergence of man from a common
ancestor with apes;
(e) Explanation of the earth's geology
and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism; and
(f)An inception several billion years ago
of the earth and somewhat later of life.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect in the

federal fiscal year beginning after this Act's

passage, and shall apply thereafter. ~

Page 23

Most Americans have forgotten the Arkansas evolution battle of the 1960s.
But when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of science in 1968, many thought that was the
end of the battle.


Scopes trial finally
Whenendedthein famous
1927, at the appellate court

level, there was an upsurge of "fundamentalist" religious fervor. Oklahoma had immediately enacted an antievolution law, but it
was repealed in 1926. The Florida and Texas
legislatures, in the period between 1921 and
1929, adopted resolutions against teaching
the doctrine of evolution. In all, during the
period of the 1920s, antievolution bills were
introduced in the legislatures of twenty
states. Mississippi also had an "antievolutionary" law on its books from 1942. And, in
1928, the state of Arkansas passed an adaptation of the famous Tennessee "monkey
law" of 1925 which had brought on the
Scopes trial, Arkansas' law was adopted by
popular initiative three years after the Tennessee Supreme Court's decision in the
Scopes case. I Everyone seems to forget that
the constitutionality of the Tennessee law
was upheld by the Tennessee Supreme
Court. On appeal, Scopes was no longer in
the state's employ, and the Supreme Court
saw "nothing to be gained by prolonging the
life of this bizarre case." It directed that a
nolie proseoui be entered in the interests of
"the peace and dignity of the State." (A nolle
prosequi is a formal entry on the record by
the prosecuting officer by which he declares
that he willnot prosecute the case further.)
During the 1928 Arkansas campaign to
have the law enacted (by public referendum), the following advertisement was run
in the Arkansas Gazette on November 4,
1928 (p. 12, cols. 4-5). It is typical of the
approach taken.
AUatheists favor evolution. If you
agree with atheism vote against Act
No. 1. If you agree with the Bible vote
for Act No. 1. ... Shall conscientious
church members be forced to pay
taxes to support teachers to teach
evolution which will undermine the
faith of their children? The Gazette
said Russian Bolshevists laughed at
Tennessee. True, and that sort will
laugh at Arkansas. Who cares? Vote

'Scopes u. State, 154 Tenn. 105,389 S.W.

363 (1927).

Page 24


The story of the involvement of an Atheist
in this evolution battle is told this month in
the "American Atheist Radio Series," titled
"Charles Smith - Atheist." (See page 62.)
The Arkansas law made it unlawful for a
teacher in any state-supported school or
university "to teach the theory or doctrine
that mankind ascended or descended from a
lower order of animals" or "to adopt or use
in any such institution a textbook that
teaches" this theory. Violation was a misdemeanor and subjected the violator to dismissal from his position.
Ark. Stat. Ann. ##80-1627, 80-1628
(1960) Repl, VoL
#80-1627. - Doctrine of ascent
or descent of man from lower
order of animals prohibited. - It
shall be unlawful for any teacher or
other instructor in any University,
College, Normal, Public School, or
other institution of the State, which is
supported in whole or in part from
public funds derived by State and
local taxation to teach the theory or
doctrine that mankind ascended or
descended from a lower order of
animals and also it shall be unlawful
for any teacher, textbook commission, or other authority exercising the
power to select textbooks for above
mentioned educational institutions to
adopt or use in any such institution a
textbook that teaches the doctrine or
theory that mankind descended or
ascended from a lower order of
This law remained "on the books" from
1928 forward. Thirty-six years later, the
school administration in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1964, on the recommendation of the
teachers of biology in the school system,
adopted and prescribed a textbook which
contained a chapter setting forth "the theory
about the origin ... of man from a lower form
of animal." At this time, only two states had
"antievolution" or "monkey" laws on their
Susan Epperson, a young woman who
graduated from Arkansas' school system
and then obtained her master's degree in
zoology at the University of Illinois, was

October 1986

employed by the Little Rock school system

in the fall of 1964 to teach tenth grade biology at Central High School. At the start of
the academic year, 1965, she was confronted by the new textbook. She faced at least a
literal dilemma, because she was supposed
to use the new textbook for classroom
instruction and presumably to teach the
statutorily condemned chapter, but to do so
would be a criminal offense and would subject her to dismissal.
She sought a declaration that the Arkansas statute was void and an injunction
against the officials of the Little Rock school
system from dismissing her for violations of
the statute's provisions if she used the text
required by that school district. A parent of
children attending the public schools intervened in the legal action.
The case was heard by the chancery
court, the opinion of which "was not
reported" - i.e., printed in the books which
report the full text of legal decisions. Basically, that court analyzed the holding of the
courts in the famous Scopes trial in Tennessee and refused to follow their example.
Instead, it confronted the statutory law
head-on and held that the 1928 statute was
unconstitutional because, in violation of the
First Amendment, it "tends to hinder the
quest for knowledge, restrict the freedom to
learn, and restrain the freedom to teach"
(242 Ark. 922, 416 SW 2d 322 [1967]). It was
unconstitutional and void as a restraint
upon the freedom of speech guaranteed by
the U.S. Constitution.
The case was appealed to the Supreme
Court of Arkansas. That court issued a twosentence opinion:
Per Curiam. Upon the principal
issue, that of constitutionality, the
court holds that Initiated Measure No.
1 of 1928, Ark. Stat. Ann. 80-1627
and 80-1628 (Repl, 1960), is a valid
exercise of the state's power to specifythe curriculum in its public schools.
The court expresses no opinion on
the question whether the Act prohibits any explanation of the theory of
evolution or merely prohibits teaching
that the theory is true: the answer not
being necessary to a decision in the
case, and the issue not having been
The decree is reversed and the

American Atheist

cause dismissed.?
By this reversal, of course, the Arkansas
Supreme Court upheld the 1928 antievolution law.
The case was appealed to the U.S.
Supreme Court, where it was heard on
October 16, 1968, and which rendered a
decision on it on November 12 of that year.
The decision is known as Epperson u.
Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968).
Basically, the Supreme Court reaffirmed
general state/church separation rhetoric
from a prior decision:"
Neither [a State nor the Federal
government] can pass laws which aid
one religion, aid all religions, or prefer
one religion over another.
The decision went on that the test for constitutionality had been stated in another

[W]hat are the purpose and the

primary effect of the enactment? If
either is the advancement or inhibiting
of religion then the enactment exceeds the scope of legislative power as
circumscribed by the Constitution.
In applying this test, the Supreme Court
recognized the inherent rights of the states
in the area of public education, the maintenance of state public school systems, and
the need to establish the standards of those

to the origin of man. No suggestion

has been made that Arkansas' law
may be justified by considerations of
state policy other than the religious
views of some of its citizens. It is clear
that fundamentalist sectarian conviction was and is the law's reason for
existence .... Its antecedent, Tennessee's "monkey law," candidly stated
its purpose: to make it unlawful "to
teach any theory that denies the story
of the Divine Creation of man as
taught in the Bible, and to teach
instead that man has descended from
a lower order of animals." Perhaps the
sensational publicity attendant upon
the Scopes trial induced Arkansas to
adopt less explicit language. It eliminated Tennessee's reference to "the
story of the Divine Creation of man"
as taught in the Bible, but there is no
doubt that the motivation for the law
was the same: to suppress the teaching of a theory which, it was thought,
"denied" the divine creation of man.
Arkansas' law cannot be defended
as an act of religious neutrality.
Arkansas did not seek to excise from
the curricula of its schools and universities all discussion of the origin of
man. The law's effort was confined to
an attempt to blot out a particular
theory because of its supposed conflict with the Biblical account, literally
read. Plainly, the law is contrary to the

mandate of the First, and in violation

of the Fourteenth, Amendment to the
The message was loud and clear for the
creationists: They could not pose the study
of creationism as based on the Bible. Ifit was
to be taught, it must be disguised in another
Justice Black concurred, but in his concurring decision he laid down a possible
route that the religious should take.
A ... question that arises for me is
whether this Court's decision forbidding a State to exclude the subject of
evolution from its schools infringes
the religious freedom of those who
consider evolution an anti-religious
doctrine. If the theory is considered
anti-religious, as the Court indicates,
how can the State be bound by the
Federal Constitution to permit its
teachers to advocate such an "antireligious" doctrine to school children?
Consequently, Justice Black held that the
statute should have been held to be invalid
only because it was vague.
Most educators felt that the U.S. Supreme Court had settled the issue of teaching Genesis in the classroom in this case in
1968, but the religious saw the decision only
as a need to regroup and to try different
tactics. ~

The State's undoubted right to

prescribe the curriculum for its public
schools does not carry with it the right
to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory
or doctrine where that prohibition is
based upon reasons that violate the
First Amendment. It is much too late
to argue that the State may impose
upon the teachers in its schools any
conditions that it chooses, however
restrictive they may be of constitutional guarantees.
In the case at bar, the U.S. Supreme
Court said Arkansas sought
to prevent its teachers from discussing the theory of evolution because it is contrary to the belief of
some that the book of Genesis must
be the exclusive source of doctrine as

2242Ark 922, 416 SW 2d 322 (1967).

3Euerson u. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1
4Murray u. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).



Austin, Texas

October 1986

-"THf! If:l(rffiN()~O Pf(ffi!VOn'tY:'; 1982 .

Page 25

Tennesseans have so much to do!

In 'their state, not just homes but textbooks are possessed.

n 1973, the creationists were able to have
an antievolution law passed in Tennessee
again. That was translated into statute Chapter 377 of the 1973 Public Acts of Tennessee
to amend Sections 1 and 2 by adding two
paragraphs, below excerpted.

added to Section 1: Any biology

textbook used for teaching in the public schools, which expresses an opinion of, or relates a theory about origins of creation of man and his world
shall be prohibited from being used as
a textbook in such system unless it
specifically states that it is a theory as
to the origin and creation of man and
his world and is not represented to be
scientific fact. Any textbook so used
in the public education system which
expresses an opinion or relates to a
theory or theories shall give in the
same textbook and under the same
subject commensurate
attention to,
and an equal amount of emphasis on,
the origins and creation of man and
his world as the same is recorded in
other theories,
including, but not
limited to, the Genesis account of the
Bible .... The teaching of all occult or
satanical beliefs of human origin is
expressly excluded from this Act.
added to Section 2: Provided, however, that the Holy Bible shall not be
defined as a textbook, but is hereby
declared to be a reference work and
shall not be required to carry the disclaimer above provided for textbooks.
The act was immediately challenged in a
federal court by teachers of biology in the
Tennessee public schools, some of whom
were also parents of public school students,
plus the National Association
of Biology
at the same time
another case had been filed in the Chancery
Court of Davidson County, Tennessee. That
court on September
9, 1974, decided that
the statute was in violation of the First and
of the United
States Constitution.
The biology teachers,
however, continued to press their case in
the federal court, and when that court
abstained because of the pending state case,
the teachers appealed to the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals.

Page 26

That court issued a decision on April 10,

1975.1 In analyzing the case, it noted that the
statute did not directly forbid the teaching of
evolution. What it did was prohibit the selection of any textbook which taught evolution
unless that text contained
a disclaimer
statement that evolution was "a theory as to
the origin and creation of man and his world"
and that it was "not represented to be scientific fact." At the same time, the statute
the inclusion of the
Genesis version of creation (if any version at
all was taught) and the Bible to be used was
not to be printed with the same disclaimer.
The court did not understand the reference
to "all occult or satanical beliefs of human
origin" and presumed that "religious beliefs
deemed to be occult or satanical" need not,
under the law, be printed in biology texts
along with the other series.
The court stated that:
The result of this legislation is a
clearly defined preferential
for the Biblical version of creation as
opposed to any account of the development of man based on scientific
research and reasoning. For a state to
seek to enforce such a preference by
law is to seek to accomplish the very
of religion which the
First Amendment to the Constitution
of the United States squarely forbids.
We believe the provisions of the
statute are obviously in
violation of the First Amendment
prohibition of any law "respecting the
of religion" as that
phrase has been authoritatively interpreted.
The court in high indignation
creationists a lecture:

gave the

The antecedents
of today's decision are many and unmistakable. They
are rooted in the foundation soil of our
Nation. They are fundamental
in our democracy,

state and nation, must be neutral in

matters of religious theory, doctrine,
and practice. It may not be hostile to
any religion or to the advocacy of noreligion; and it may not aid, foster, or
promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against
the militant
The First
Amendment mandates governmental
neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.
As early as 1872, this Court said:
"The law knows no heresy, and is
to the support
of no
dogma, the establishment
of no sect.

This prohibition is absolute. It forbids alike the preference of a religious

doctrine or the prohibition of theory
which is deemed antagonist to a particular dogma. As Mr. Justice Clark
stated," "the state has no legitimate
interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them.

When attempting to apply the third prong
of the Lemon test as to unconstitutionality,
that which requires that any law must not
foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion," the court expressed the
opinion of the judges with some amazement:
Throughout human history the God
of some men has frequently
regarded as the Devil incarnate by
men of other religious persuasions.
would be utterly impossible for the
Tennessee Textbook Commission to
which religious theories
were "occult" or "satanical" without
seeking to resolve the theological
arguments which have embroiled the




the case

2Watson u. Jones, 13 Wall. 679 (1872), 80

U.S. 679.

'The case is titled Danielu. Waters, 515 F.2d

485 (1975).



3Joseph Burstyn, fne. u. Wilson, 343 U.S.

495 (1952).



remanded to the lower federal court so that

injunctive relief could be granted in accordance with the appellate opinion.
On August 20, 1975, the U.S. District
Court for the Middle District of Tennessee,
Nashville Division," issued an opinion that
the implementation of the law would be
enjoined since it was "patently unreason-

able" and violated the Establishment Clause

of the First Amendment to the Constitution
of the United States.
Actually, the decision did not even slow
down the creationists. They continued their
warfare within the state of Tennessee by an
outreach to school boards, school superintendents, school principals, and Fundamen-

talist parents. The case of Daniel v. Waters

was simply a ship that passed in the night.

4Daniel v. Waters, 399 F. Supp. 510 (1975).

A future president, the California Board of Education, and a state judge helped make
a lethal mix for science education in 1981.

The creationist movement got its first big
political boost in California during the
administration of Governor Ronald Reagan
in the years 1966 to 1974. In 1969, a notably
religious state board of education, with
seven of its ten members appointed by Reagan, voted to accept a statement that creationism was a valid theory for inclusion in
school curricula, although to be taught only
in social science courses. In 1972 the California Board of Education approved a special commission's textbook-content revision
which reduced the concept of evolution
from "dogmatism" to speculation.
The California Board first approved the
teaching of creationism side by side with
evolution. Then after much pressure from
creationist scientists, the board decided
instead to revise biology textbooks to indicate that evolution is only a theory and is no
more verifiable than creationist doctrine.
Since the revision of biology books for
California - those California texts were
used all over the country in their revised
form - publishers, teachers, and biologists
have been battling the "equal time" argument in many states.
From 1979 to 1981 a situation developed
in California which remained very obscure
because of media handling.
Once again the media was too anxious to
equate a scheduled court hearing with the
original Scopes trial. Pre-billed as the California version of the "Monkey Trial," the
media so muddied the waters that from literally scores of media reports it is impossible
to put together a coherent story. Reporters
came from as far away as London, and each
had a axe to grind. On the day that a hearing
in Sacramento began, March 3,1981, spectators could not be accommodated in the
48-seat courtroom, but watched the proceedings on a television monitor in an adjoin-

Austin, Texas

ing courtroom. As best as it can be put

together from these highly garbled media
reports, a man by the name of Kelly
Segraves, a conservative Baptist, then age
thirty-eight, claimed in 1979 that his three
children's civil rights were violated by
teachers who told his children, all students
in the San Diego public school system, they
were "descended from apes."
Segraves might well have been seeking
publicity for his organization, the San Diegobased Creation Science Research Center,
founded by himself and his wife Nell. This
Center is a foundation that actively campaigns for Genesis creationism to be taught
in public schools. The ACLU in 1925 had
been able to gain national and world attention in the original Scopes trial, which also
began as a bid for publicity. It is quite possible that Segraves' organization, needing
national publicity, was influenced by that
need in his confrontation with the California
Board of Education.
Apparently, the state Board of Education,
in 1978, revised its 1970 guidelines for
science texts to be used in California public
schools for grades kindergarten through
eight, starting in 1981. California schools are
allowed to use texts that do not comply with
the guidelines but must pay extra for them.
The guidelines were not mandatory for all
local school districts. By its new 1978science
curriculum, the state Board of Education
was felt by Segrave to have excluded the
teaching of the creation theory since the
new guidelines opted to teach evolution as
scientific theory. He filed a complaint on
January 19, 1979. A hearing was had in
Superior Court in Sacramento on August 8,
1979. The argument of Segraves was that
the new rules for the science books went
beyond the old rules in treating evolution as
a fact, not a theory, leaving no room for

October 1986

biblical treatment. The state's response was

that the guidelines presented evolution as a
theory of development, not of origin, thus
leaving room for various interpretations of
the beginning of life. The state's attorney
made the position clear, "Evolution says
nothing about whether there is a god or
there is not a god," he said. After the initial
preliminary hearing, an out-of-court settlement was reached early in 1980, changing
science curriculum in favor of the creationists. That settlement said in part:
The theory of evolution is a theory.
Other explanations, models and/or
theories of the development of lifeand
the origin of species, which could be
supported by scientific data, may also
be taught along with the theory of evolution in the science classroom.
Later, apparently, the California Board of
Education repudiated the agreement, and in
late April 1980 there was an appeal of the
case to the Fourth District Court of Appeals
in Sacramento. That case came on to be
heard in March 1981.
In the meantime, however, there was the
intervening factor of the 1980 election. In
this, the former governor of California
appeared as a candidate, and his statements
were generally supportive of the Segrave
position. Several different interpretations of
those statements appeared in the media.
(1) In 1980 Reagan, as a presidential candidate, said he believed public schools ought
to be allowed to teach the biblical theory of
creation "in tandem" with evolution. He
asserted that "recent discoveries," which he
did not specify, lent credence to the creationist position.
(2) In a Texas press conference in 1980
Reagan said if evolution is taught, the Bible

Page 27

story of cr~atioYialso should be taught. JSFDuring the presidential campaign,

Rbfiald Reagan expressed his views on evolution to an audience of Christian Fundamentalists in Texas: "[Evolution] is a scientific theory only .. _. Ifit is going to be taught
in the schools, then I think the biblical story
of creation should also be taught." That
stance put a quasi-legitimate stamp on the
claims of vocal Fundamentalists who say
their version of the creation story deserves
equal time in the classroom.
{4} Reagan, several months before he
entered the White House, responded to a
question about evolution: "Well, it is a theory, it is a scientific theory only, and it has in
recent years been challenged in the world of
science and it is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once
was believed."
{S} Campaigning in Dallas in August 1980,
presidential hopeful Reagan told a rally of
more than 10,000 born-again Christians that
he had "a great many questions" about evolution, adding that "it is not believed in the
scientific community to be as infallible as it
once was. I think that recent discoveries
down through the years have pointed up
great flaws in it."
Not surprisingly, about this time Doubleday took the word evolution out of its only
high school textbook, Experiences in Biology, out of asense of subservience to the
Fundamentalists, perhaps even to the president-elect. That year (1979) the Charles A.
Merrill Publishing Company, in its Principles
of Science, already was stating evolution
was simply a "theory."
The substance of the appeal to the Fourth
District Court was that Segrave objected to
a sentence in the text, on page 84, of the
Board or Education's 1978 science framework guidelines for science classes in public
schools. The program administrator testified that guidelines had been "revised several times as a result of public input." This
was reported in two different versions in the
press, to wit:
Evolution studies indicate that these
organisms are naturally selected from
generation to generation, producing
descendants with different characteristics and producing variability among
populations of species. The process
has been going on so long that it has
produced all the groups and kinds of
plants and animals now living as well
as others that have become extinct.
Other media reported:
Following is the contested part of
California's teaching guidelines, written in 1978 by the state board after
consultation with advisers and groups
of citizens:

Page 28

The process of change through

time is termed evolution. In modern
biology, the Darwinian theory of evolution is the unifying theme that provides a genetic basis for the-biological
development of complex forms of life
in the past and present, and changes
noted through time.
Philosophic and religious considerations pertaining to the origin, meaning and value of life are not within the
realm of science, because they cannot
be analyzed or measured by present
methods of science.
The case was set for non-jury trial on
March 4, 1981, before a Sacramento Superior Court judge. It lasted six days. The
media flamed with headlines, but the trial
quickly became a non-event. The apparently
religious judge immediately ruled that there
could be no evidence given as to the validity
or scientific acceptance of either theory.
That was the handwriting on the wall and
should have alerted the scientists that the
issues would be handled in such a way as to
denigrate evolution and to find a way to
introduce creationism, legally, into the
schools. Since there is no evidence for creationism, when the scientific legitimacy of
evolution was ruled out as irrelevant the final
outcome was foregone. The judge based his
decision for the ruling out of such evidence
on the California law that bans evidence that
would prejudice a case to a greater degree
than the value of the evidence. Of course!
Evolution would have easily been shown to
be a legitimate scientific discipline and creationism would have been exposed for the
religion that it was. By excluding evidence
for either side the judge could, with subtlety,
give the race to the hounds instead of the
hares. Yet, the judge need not have been so
cautious to protect the religious viewpoint,
for the state's attorney at the beginning of
the trial had given the creationists the field in
declaring, "I won't prove evolution is a fact,
just that there are no scientific alternatives."
The major issue being concluded without
a fight, the judge then announced that the
trial was "not a constitutional confrontation"
and would deal with the single issue as to
whether or not the Segraves' free exercise of
religion had been violated.
In the course of the trial a single witness
caused conclusions to be drawn which
would lead to a victory for Segraves and
On March 6 the attorney general- on the
side of the state - drew testimony from a
teacher who had helped to revise the California guidelines for science instructors. She
had been a member of the education board.
That board, she said, had adopted a policy
that the Darwinian theory of evolution be
offered as theory only and not "dogma."
She testified that ei~Jht years prior ap-

October 1986

proved school texts had been criticize-d lJy

religious groups and that the board then
issued a statement of policy for textbook
publishers. She read the undated, unsighed
{l} - That dogmatism be changed
to conditional statements where speculation is offered for origins.
{2} - That science emphasizes
"how" and not ultimate cause for
The board, she said, determined that this
was an appropriate standard to implement
"our position that statements about evolution not be dogmatic." She said that the
board had determined that ideas of "creationists," who subscribe to the biblical theory of creation, "were more appropriately
discussed in the social science curriculum
than in science."
One could almost envisage the court
room with all of the creationists squirming
with delight as it was clearly shown that it is
religion that seeks meaning; science only
tries to find explanations. None of them
would have realized the significance of that
statement, that science is a mode of openended inquiry, that from it can come the
most meaningful understanding of life.
An oral decision was given March 6,1981,
from the bench at the end of the hearing.
The written opinion which was handed down
on June 12 was, of course, more explicit.
The court held that the constitutional rights
of free exercise of religion of the plaintiffs'
children had not been denied. The Board of
Education, he ordered, must direct public
school science teachers to present evolution
not as dogma, but as a possible explanation
of the origins of life - thus missing entirely
the central point of evolution which does not
deal with life origin at all. He further ordered
that the board must distribute the 1973
directive to not alone every school district
{there are 1,000 school boards in California},
but to science teachers in California public
schools. So long as interested parties were
aware of the board's policy, the rights of
Fundamentalists would be protected, the
judge said, noting that the directive "as written, and as qualified by the policy of the
board, does provide sufficient accommodation for the view" of the Segraves.
It should be pointed out that the separate
guidelines for the social science texts {as
differentiated from the science texts} did
allow treatment of divine creation. The ruling was a reinforcement for creationism for
the four million public school students in
California. The American Atheist Center
was appropriately horrified with the ruling
and bewildered at how many educators felt
that "both sides had won." ~

American Atheist

What can one person do?

One person can draft an act that will cause a "Monkey Trial II."


of course, on March 19, 1981, that
Arkansas antievolution bill
(Act 590, codified as Ark. Stat. Ann #80-1663
1981Supp.) was signed into law. The essential mandate of that law was stated in its first
sentence: "Public schools within this state
shall give balanced treatment to creationscience and to evolution-science."
Within three months, on May 27, the law
was challenged, and this time the ACLU
decided to line up important religious persons as primary litigants. These were revealed to be Arkansas bishops of the United
Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic and
African Methodist Episcopal churches; the
principal official of the Presbyterian
churches in Arkansas; other United Methodist, Southern Baptist, and Presbyterian
clergy; a few parents and "next friends" of
minor children attending Arkansas public
schools; and one high school biology teacher, all of whom were Arkansas taxpayers.
Among the organizations recruited as litigants were the American Jewish Congress,
the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the American Jewish Committee, the
Arkansas Education Association, the National Coalition for Public Education and
Religious Liberty, and the stalwart in these
cases, the National Association of Biology
Teachers. The object of this deliberate gathering of plaintiffs of diverse religious brands
was to impress the court that religion per se
was not under attack. It also would get the
judge "off the hook" of the charge that he
was being antireligious if he gave a ruling
adverse to the antievolution law. The charge
of possible Atheism, like a lightning streak,
was to be avoided at all costs. The defendants in the case were the Arkansas Board
of Education, the Department of Education,
and the State Textbooks and Instructional
Materials Selecting Committee. Of course,
none of the defendants had anything to do
with the position in which they had been put
by the legislature. Our system of law, however, permits the culprits in these cases, the
politicians who are buying votes with intellectual pandering to Fundamentalists, not to
be disturbed in their dishonest life-styles.
The money the state needs to defend such
nonsense legislation does not come out of
the pockets of those who pass such bills.
The U.S. District Court, Eastern District
of Arkansas, Western Division, in its review
of the legislative enactment, was limited first
to an examination of the language of the act,
and second to the evidence of its purpose

Austin, Texas

and effect as determined by the legislature

which had enacted it. It was evident immediately that the legislative interest was the
advancement of religion in the public
Creation-science and evolution-science
were defined in the act as follows:
(A) "Creation-science" means the
scientific evidences for creation and
inferences from those scientific evidences. Creation-science includes the
scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate:
(1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing;
(2) The insufficiency of mutation
and natural selection in bringing about
development of all living kinds from a
single organism;
(3) Changes only within fixed limits
of originally created kinds of plants
and animals;
(4) Separate ancestry for man and
(5) Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the
occurrence of a worldwide flood; and
(6) A relatively recent inception of
the earth and living kinds.
(B) "Evolution-science" means the
scientific evidences for evolution and
inferences from these scientific evidences. Evolution-science includes
the scientific evidences and related
inferences that indicate:
(1) Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life
from nonlife;
(2) The sufficiency of mutation and
natural selection in bringing about
development of present living kinds
from simple earlier kinds;
(3) Emergence by mutation and
natural selection of present living
kinds from simple earlier kinds;
(4) Emergence of man from a
common ancestor with apes;
(5) Explanation of the earth's geology and evolutionary sequence by
uniformitarianism; and
(6) An inception several billion
years ago of the earth and somewhat
later of life.

To add insult to injury, even in the de-

October 1986

scription of "evolution-science," the terminology of Genesis was used, that god had
created every living thing each "after their
The evidence introduced at the trial indicated that the creation-science to be taught
had as its carefully unmentioned reference
the first eleven chapters of Genesis. In the
many creation epics of human history, the
Genesis story, the judge thought, was
unique, for it alone has an account of sudden
creation from nothing, creatio ex nihilo, and
the subsequent destruction of the world by
In this case, as in all other recent attacks
on science education by the Fundamentalists, an attempt was made to tone down a
connection of the law with religion and the
Bible. As currently in American law a doctrine of original intent has been and is being
stressed, it is necessary for legislatures
involved in such religious shenanigans to
hide the real attempt. Often laws have
worked into them disclaimers that they have
been inspired by religious ideology. When
the laws are challenged, the courts at any
level are constrained to discover the "original intent" of the legislative body which
passed the act and to take this into consideration when attempting to analyze if a particular law is or is not constitutional. No one
seems to understand that underlying the
basic premises of democracy is the theory
that the majority actually rules. The current
exercises in deceit seem to be a somewhat
idiotic method of lawmaking and judicial
review since all actions of all legislative
bodies are presumed to be inherently legitimate and in accord with both the basic laws
of the land and the desires of the persons
who elected to office those persons passing
such laws. Legislators now go to some considerable length to hide their real intent
(pandering in exchange for votes), and
courts parade though comic opera trials to
rationalize away criticism of unconstitutional legislative forays into theopolitical mass
controls. This has been particularly evident
in the rash of "prayer" cases concerned with
public schools in the nation. Sometimes the
evidence given has been little less than ludicrous as attempts have been made to hide
the politico-religious incentive for the legislative enactments. The courts recently have
begun to make determinations that legislative "statements of purpose" or legislative
"disclaimers" cannot bind the courts which
may consider instead (1) evidence of the

Page 29

bership requirement here:

The proposed act was not referred to any

Senate Committee. for hearing, and it was passed
after only a few minutes' discussion on the Senate
floor. In the House of Representatives, the bill was
referred to the Education Committee, which conducted a perfunctory fifteen-minute hearing.


historical context of a legislative enacbnent,

(2) the specific sequence of events leading
up to the passage of the law, (3) departures
from "normal procedural sequences," i.e.
substantive departures from the normal,
and (4) contemporaneous statements of the
legislative sponsor(s) of the bill being examined.
After the courts have concluded all of the
above in order to give a semblance of credibility to the legal procedures, they generally
make interpretations of the tripartite Lemon! test of such degrees of absurdity that
rulings are shattering blows to reason. Most
frequently any court, at any level, can find a
"secular purpose'[ behind a legislative compwlsion to religion. "One of the singular
excuses in our era has been to declare the
highly religious "blue biws" simply an accommodation to the need of all members in
our culture to have a cyclical "day of rest"
each seven days.
But, in tile case at hand, in order to win, the
proPO.Jlents of creation-science pressed the
,;(1) that even if the idea proposed was similar to
literal interpretation of Genesis
this does not make it conclusively a statement of religion;
~(2) that reference to creation from nothing
is not necessarily a reL~us concept since
the act only suggested a creator who had
power. intelligence, and a sense of design,
and not necessarily the attributes of love,
compassion, and justice; and
(3) that simply teaching about the concept
of a creator is not a religious exercise unless
the student is required to make a commitment to the concept of a creator.
The district court judge using the Lemon


lLemon u. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).

The tripartite test for constitutionality is that
"First, the statute must have a secular legislativepurpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances
nor inhibits religion ... ; finally, the statute
must not foster 'excessive government
entanglement with religion.' "

Page 30

test found that all three prongs of the test

would be violated by an attempt to implement the act in the public schools of
This test, which has been sometimes used,
sometimes misused, sometimes abandoned
completely - most notably by the U.S_
Supreme Court in recent cases under the
Reagan administration - is the only guide in
state/church separation questions that our
court system has. In this instance, the argument and evidence submitted - going
primarily to the intent of the legislators when
they passed the act - indicated to the court
that the teaching of creation-science had
only one real effect. That was the advancement of religion. In addition, the State
Department of Education, through its textbook selection
boards, and school administrators, would be
required to constantly monitor materials to
avoid using religious references. This would
require delicate religious judgments and
inextricably entangle the state with religion.
Therefore, on January 5, 1982, the district
judge declared the act to be violative of the
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States and ordered that the defendants be
permanently enjoined from implementing it
in any manner.
Unfortunately, the media was too concerned with equating the case, which came
to a ten-day trial in December 1981, to the
original Scopes trial to give any real substantive coverage to it. In the usual manner of
playing the Hollywood star system, it ereated much interest by ballyhoo of a projected appearance of Carl Sagan - an
appearance which failed to materialize.
Since the Fundamentalist organization
known as the Creation Research Society
was prominent in the movement to obtain
the law, the judge deliberately printed an
excerpt from that organization's membership requirement in the decision which he
handed down. This was a gratuitous gesture, actually a petty one since it was unnecessary to do it. However, to pique your
interest in the Creation Research Society,
American Atheists reproduces that mern-

October 1986

(1) The Bible is the written Word of

God, and because we believe it to be
inspired thruout [sic], all of its assertions are historically and scientifically
true in all of the original autographs.
To the student of nature, this means
that the account of origins in Genesis
is a factual presentation of simple historical truths. (2) All basic types of
living things, including man, were
made by direct creative acts of God
during Creation Week as described in
Genesis. Whatever biological changes
have occurred since Creation have
accomplished only changes within the
original created kinds. (3) The great
Flood described in Genesis, commonly referred to as the Noachian Deluge,
was an historical event, worldwide in
its extent and effect. (4) Finally, we are
an organization of Christian men of
science, who accept Jesus Christ as
our Lord and Savior. The account of
the special creation of Adam and Eve
as one man and one woman, and their
subsequent Fall into sin, is the basis
for our belief in the necessity of a Savior for all mankind. Therefore, salvation can come only thru [sic] accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior (p. 115).
The irony in the judge's setting this statement out as detrimental to those who had
managed to have the legislation passed in
the first place is that this is exactly what the
Judeo-Christian religion professes. The theistic plaintiffs, who are in executive positions
with the United Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal,
and Presbyterian
churches, of necessity, must accept all of
these as basic truth or abandon the premises upon which their religion is predicated.
As they castigate and belittle the Fundamentalists, they address themselves, really, only
to the style of their presentation of JudeoChristianity, not the actual content.
Atheists quite frequently counter admonitions to become involved with, "What can
one person do?" This particular case demonstrated just exactly what one person can
A respiratory therapist, trained neither in
law nor in science, livingin Anderson, South
Carolina, has come to the conviction that
evolution is the forerunner of many social
ills, including Nazism, racism, and abortion.
About 1977, he collected several proposed
legislative acts from diverse fundamentalist
groups with the idea of preparing a model
state act requiring the teaching of creationism as science in opposition to evolution.
This man, finally, personally drafted the
model act which became the Arkansas law
and which is currently before the U.S.

American Atheist

Supreme Court in the Louisiana case. In

writing to a minister, concerned with this
antievolution law, he stated,
While neither evolution nor creation
can qualify as scientific theory, and
since it is virtually impossible at this
point to educate the whole world that
evolution is not a true scientific theory, we have freely used these terms
- the evolution theory and the theory
of scientific creationism - in the bill's
In another letter, he goes on, "As we examine evolution (remember, we're not making
any scientific claims for creation, but we are
challenging evolution's claim to be scientific).... " This man simply was in a religious
crusade. He wrote to the state senator (Bill
Keith) who introduced the bill in the Louisiana legislature,
Iview this whole battle as one between
God and anti-God forces, though I
know there are a large number of evolutionists who believe in God .... It
behooves Satan to do all he can to
thwart our efforts and confuse the
issue at every turn. . . . Ministerial
persons can accomplish a trernendous amount of work from behind the
scenes, encouraging their congregations to take the organization and
public relations initiatives. And they
can lead their churches in storming
Heaven with prayers for help against
so tenacious an adversary.
He was also in correspondence with a Florida senator as a try for an antievolution bill
was made in that state also.
A biblical literalist, a pastor in an evangelical church in Little Rock, received a copy of
the therapist's bill. His little fellowship
adopted a resolution to seek the introduction of it into Arkansas legislature. Two
friendly ministers got to a business friend of
one senator who described himself as a
"bom-again" Christian and he introduced
the bill.
The proposed act was not referred to any
Senate Committee for hearing, and it was
passed after only a few minutes' discussion
on the Senate floor. In the House of Representatives, the bill was referred to the Education Committee, which conducted a perfunctory fifteen-minute hearing. No scientist
testified at that hearing, nor was any representative from the State Department of
Education called to testify. The model billas
prepared by the therapist was enacted into
law without amendment or modification,
other than a few minor typographical
changes. The governor signed the bill without reading it.
Although the judge was hailed as a hero

Austin, Texas

throughout the United States when he found

the bi!!to be unconstitutional and restrained
its use, certain statements which he makes
in his decision reveal, of course, that there
was more hurrah than was justified.
The emphasis on origins as an aspect
of the theory of evolution is peculiar to
creationist literature. Although the
subject of origins of life is within the
province of biology, the scientific
community does not consider origins
of life a part of evolutionary theory.
The theory of evolution assumes the
existence of life and is directed to an
explanation of how life evolved. Evolution does not presuppose the absence of a creator or God and the
plain inference conveyed . . . is
The judge then adds a footnote:
The idea that belief in a creator and
acceptance of the scientific theory of
evolution are mutually exclusive is a
false premise and offensive to the religious views of many.
There is the nub of one issue. All of Genesis can be accepted by Judeo-Christian
practitioners. There was a creator god. He is
simply split off, untouched by science. Darwin's "natural selection" applies only to
"each after its own kind" at a later date. The
six days of creation are eons of time. And,
we are back to Semler's rationalizing to
make it all acceptable."

2Johann S. Semler, 1725-1791, biblical critic

and "father of German rationalism." See
"Creationism: High Jinks and History," p. 8.

In order to impose some standards, the

judge decided that he would himself define
what science is. To him, the essential characteristics of science are:
(1) It is guided by natural law;
(2) It has to be explanatory by reference to
natural law;
(3) It is testable against the empirical world;
(4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e., are
not necessarily the final word; and
(5) It is falsifiable.
Since god himself brought all natural laws
into being, since many Judeo-Christian religions, Roman Catholicism - for example rely greatly on what is called "natural laws,"
this type of pedestrian explanation can be
accepted by all. Everyone can be comfortable, for under the last required category (5)
the theist can always hope for an omnipotent god to appear and prove all of the scientists wrong.
With ,a swelling of hope for better days
ahead, the judge closed his decision with
some ringing words:
The application and content of First
Amendment principles are not determined by public opinion polls or by a
majority vote. Whether the proponents of Act 590 constitute the majority or the minority is quite irrelevant
under a constitutional system of
government. No group, no matter
how large or small, may use the organs
of government, of which the public
schools are the most conspicuous and
influential, to foist its religious beliefs
on others.
Don't we all just wish that this were true;
that this was not a continually mouthed platitude that has no real existence in our
nation's cultural or political world. ~



October 1986

Page 31

Should science textbooks carry disclaimers?

. The attorney general of the Lone Star State says "no."


Early in 1984 the chairman of the
Committee on Jurisprudence
of the
Texas State Senate asked the attorney
general of that state to give an opinion
on whether certain rules of the State
Board of Education concerning the
treatment of the subject of evolution in
textbooks violate the Establishment
Clause of the United States Constitution.
Attorney General Jim Mattox replied
on March 12, with his "Opinion No. JM134. The text follows:
These rules, issued on September 29,
1983, and effective from October 24, 1983,
(a) Alladopted textbooks shall meet
the following content requirements
and limitations:
(I) In accordance with the Texas
Education Code #12.14(c), textbooks
shall contain no material of a partisan
or sectarian character.
(5) Textbooks that treat the theory of evolution shall identify it as only
one of several explanations of the origins of humankind and avoid limiting
young people in their search for meanings of their human existence.
(A) Textbooks presented for
adoption which treat the subject of
evolution substantively in explaining
the historical origins of man shall be
edited, if necessary, to clarify that the
treatment is theoretical rather than
factually verifiable. Furthermore, each
textbook must carry a statement on
an introductory page that any material on evolution included in the book
is clearly presented as theory rather
than verified.
(B) Textbooks presented for
adoption which do not treat evolution,
substantively as an instructional topic,
but make reference to evolution indirectly or by implication, must be modified, if necessary, to ensure that the
reference is clearly to a theory and not
to a verified fact. These books willnot
need to carry a statement on the
introductory page.
(C) The presentation of the
theory of evolution shall be done in a
manner which is not detrimental to
other theories of origin. 8 Tex. Reg.

In Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97

(1968), the United States Supreme Court
struck down an Arkansas statute that forbade the teaching of evolution. More recently, a federal district court invalidated an
Arkansas statute which required public
schools to "give balanced treatment to
creation-science and to evolution-science."
McLean u. Arkansas Board of Education,
529 F. Supp. 1255, 1256 (Eastern District,
Arkansas, 1982). Although the stated purpose of this statute was to provide a "balanced" treatment of the teaching of evolution, the court found it necessary to look
behind this stated purpose to consider the
historical context of the statute, the specific
sequence of events leading up to its passage,
and contemporaneous statements of the
legislative sponsor. 529 F. Supp. at 1263-64.
Examining these circumstances, the court
was unable to avoid the conclusion that the
statute "was passed with the specific purpose by the General Assembly of advancing
religion," and thus failed the first prong of
the Supreme Court's test, that of a secular
legislative purpose. 529 F. Supp. at 1264.
The rule under consideration here represents a slight modification of a 1974 state
board rule which in turn derived from a still
earlier version. At a hearing conducted
before the board in both 1974 and 1983, the
board heard testimony from proponents of
both evolution and creationism, and it is
necessary to consider the kind of controversy which was before the board in both
instances. In 1983, the board heard testimony from five groups and seventeen individuals. See 8 Tex. Reg. (October 7, 1983), at
Under the federal Constitution, laws suspected of violating the Establishment Clause
of the First Amendment are subjected to a
three-pronged test formulated by the Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403
U.S. 602(1971), and later applied in Stone u.
Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980): Laws must
have a secular purpose; they must neither
advance nor hinder religion in their primary
effect; and they must not foster excessive
government entanglement with religion. If a
statute, or a rule promulgated pursuant to a
statute, violates any of these principles, it
must be struck down under the Establishment Clause. See Stone v. Graham, supra.
In our opinion, the board's rules on their face
fail to satisfy at least the first prong of the
Lemon test, in that they failto demonstrate a
secular purpose. Although, like the statute

at issue in McLean, see 529 F. Supp at 1272,

the board's rule prohibits any "material of a
partisan or sectarian character," we believe
that subsequent provisions belie that statement.
The only aspect of "evolution" with which
the rule is concerned is that which relates to
"the historical origins of man." The rule
requires a biology textbook, for example, to
carry a disclaimer on its introductory page
to the effect that "any material on evolution"
included therein is to be regarded as theory
rather than as factually verifiable. In the first
place, such a disclaimer (which might make
sense if applied to all scientific theories) is
limited to one aspect - man's origins, to one
theory - evolution, to one science - biology. In the context of the controversy
between evolutionists and creationists which
was before the board at the time of the rules'
adoption both in 1974 and 1983, this singling
out of one aspect of one theory of one
science can be explained only as a response
to pressure from creationists.
In the second place, the "theory of evolution" as it is commonly treated in biology
texts is a comprehensive explanation of the
development of the various plant and animal
species. Only a relatively minor portion is
concerned with the "historical origins of
man." The latter subject is the primary
interest of creationists. See McLean, supra,
at 1260. Again, the inference is inescapable
from the narrowness of the requirement that
a concern for religious sensibilities, rather
than a dedication to scientific truth, was the
real motivation for the rules.
Finally, the rules required that a textbook
identify the theory of evolution "as only one
of several explanations" of human origins in
order to "avoid limiting young people in their
search for meanings of their human existence" (emphasis added). Such language is
not conducive to an explanation that the
purpose of the rule is to insure scientific
theory and dogma. The "meaning of human
existence" is not the stuff of science, but
rather, the province of philosophy and religion. By its injection into the rules language
which is clearly outside the scope of science,
the board has revealed the non-secular purpose of its rules.
Clearly, the board made an effort, as it has
stated, to "insure neutrality in the treatment
of subjects upon which beliefs and viewpoints differ dramatically." In our opinion,
however, the board, in its desire not to
offend any religious group, has injected reli(Continued on page 22)

Page 32

October 1986

American Atheist

The public schoolsmay see the end of science as they know it if the Supreme Court
, ", is convinced of the inadequency of evolution. And "experts" have lined up to
do the convincing.


ne would have thought that it was all on the teaching of evolution in the public
over when the state of Arkansas was schools. In addition, the statute prohibited
defeated first in 1968 and finally in 1982, the discrimination against any teacher "who
state of Tennessee was slapped down in chooses to be a creation-scientist or to teach
1975,and the state of California was embarscientific data which points to creationism."
rassed in 1985. But one can never underesNo similar provision provided protection for
timate either the tenacity or the stupidity of discrimination against teachers of evolution.
the god zealots.
The nuts were to be let loose in the LouisiImmediately after the victory for the forces
ana school system.
of science and reason in Arkansas, the reacThis is exactly what the author of the act
tion in Louisiana, which is still somewhere
had in mind. The act was the responsibility,
adrift in the nineteenth century, was for that ' actually, of a single person. In 1980, a Louisistate's legislature to pass, in 1981, a legisla- ana state senator, Bill Keith, became contive act, I entitled "Balanced Treatment for cerned that with science as taught in the
Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Louisiana public schools, his son would
Public School Instruction." The title of the abandon the belief he had taught him that
"God created the world and God created
act was insult enough since it equated
"creation-science" with the real science of man." He, therefore, introduced into the
evolution. The statute, which was added as a Louisiana legislature Senate Bill No. 956.
provision to Louisiana's general school law The bill required the public schools to balapplicable to all public secondary and ele- ance the teaching of the "theory of evolumentary schools, in essence, required the tion" with the theory of "creation ex nihilo,"2
"balanced treatment" of "creation-science"
which was defined to mean:
in Louisiana public schools whenever evoluthe belief that the origin of ... life, of
tion was introduced in lectures, in textbook
all the species of the plants and animaterials, "in library materials taken as a
mals, the origin of man, and the origin
whole for the sciences and taken as a whole
of all things, and their processes and
for the humanities," and "in other educational programs in public schools, to the
relationship were created ex nihilo
extent that such lectures, textbooks, library
and fixed by God.
materials, or educational programs deal in
any way with the subject of the origin of man,
The billwas not a product of public clamor
life, the earth or the universe." ,
by academics, or scientists, or educators
protesting a deficiency in the curricula and
Both creation-science and evolutionscience are defined .in the act as "the scien- asking for the introduction of "creationtific evidences for creation (or evolution) science." It was the idea of BillKeith, alone.
Paul Ellwanger, the president of a South
and the inferences from those scientific evidences." No Louisiana school is required to Carolina-based organization known as "Citgive any instruction in the subject of the izens for Fairness in Education," after hearorigin of mankind, but ifa school chooses to ing of the introduction of Keith's bill into the
teach either evolution-science or creationLouisiana legislature, sent him a copy of the
science, it must teach both, and it must give "model balanced treatment act" which had
balanced treatment to each theory. This been the subject of the Arkansas suit." A
meant that any science teacher not desiring letter accompanied the model legislative act
in which Ellwanger wrote:
to give instruction from the Judeo-Christian
Bible in respect to the Genesis theory of the
, origin of humankind had to abandon any
introduction of evolution, a major scientific
thesis. This would, in its effect, achieve a ban
2Latin: from nothing.
3McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education,
529 F. Supp. 1255 (Eastern District of
lLa. Rev. Stat. Ann. ## 17.286.1t07.
Arkansas, 1982).

Austin, Texas

October 1986

I view this whole battle as one

between God and anti-God forces,
though I know there are a large number of evolutionists who believe in
God ....
[I]t behooves Satan to do all he can
to thwart our efforts and confuse the
issue at every turn.
He also cautioned that Senator Keith
should downplay the support of the clergy
for the Balanced Treatment Act.
However, in hearings before the legislature, the lead witness to support the bill was
Edward Boudreaux, a member of the Creation Research Society. This society requires
all applicants for membership to subscribe
to a statement of belief which, inter alia,
includes the following:
(1) The Bible is the written Word of
God ... all of its assertions are historically and scientifically true in all of the
original autographs. To the student of
nature, this means that the account of
.origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths. (2)
All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative
acts of God during Creation Week as
described in Genesis.
Anothergroup involved was the Institute
for Creation Research (IRq, upon which
Senator Keith relied for "proof" that scientists support creationism. The IRC asserts
as a part of its purpose the "urgent need for
our nation to return to belief in a personal
omnipotent Creator, who has a purpose for
his Creation .... "
The Pro Family Forum also sent representatives to give testimony and submit materials in support of the act. Its doctrine was
described as:
The creation model postulates that
all the basic systems of nature, including elements, stars, planets, life and
the major kinds of organisms, including man, were created fullydeveloped
by super-natural creative processes
during a primeval period of special
creation, following which conserve-

Page 33

tive (rather than creative) processes

were established to govern the completed creation.
Virtually all of the materials and testimony
offered in support of the act were explicitly
religious, either in their support of creationism or their attack on evolution. For example, Senator Keith himself testified in support of the act, stating, "our public school
children are being molested by secular humanism .... The cardinal principal [sic] of
religious humanism, secular humanism,
theological liberalism and atheistism [sic] ...
is evolution."
The Ellwanger model bill, slightly altered
and rearranged, was passed by the Louisiana legislature as the Balanced Treatment
It should be noted here that Louisiana is a
predominantly Roman Catholic state. In
1980 (the last figures available), of the
2,413,059 persons affiliated with churches in
that state (about 57.4 percent of the total
population of Louisiana), 1,304,084 - 54
percent - were Roman Catholic. The political clout of the church in this state is
Objections Raised
When the fait accompli of the act was
presented to the citizens of Louisiana, a
group of Louisiana educators, scientists,
religious leaders, and parents of children in
the Louisiana public schools, taxpayers all,
challenged the constitutionality of the act in
a federal district court, seeking an injunction
and a declaration that the act violated both
the Louisiana Constitution and the First
Amendment of the United States Constitution. This group was joined by the Louisiana
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Orleans Parish School [1254]
Board. Generally speaking then, the plaintiffs were parents of the children in school
whose education would be affected, the
teachers who must obey the act, the citizens
and taxpayers whose tax money would
finance the implementation of the act, and
leading scientific and educational organizations the scientific work of which would be
impugned, as well as religious leaders. It
speaks to our times that the challengers
would feel a need to recruit religious leaders
to join in the suit - for fear of being labeled
antireligious if token religious persons were
not parties to the litigation. The defendants
in the lawsuit were the governor, the attorney general, the state Superintendent of
Education of Louisiana, (in their official
capacities), the state Department of Education, and Saint Tammany Parish School.
They could be characterized as those whose
state jobs required that they defend acts of
the state legislature. The case was titled
Ag'.1illardu. Treen.t

Page 34

When legal action was begun, the sponsor

of the act and others filed another lawsuitrequesting a judgment that the act was constitutional and an injunction to enforce the
act. The educators-parents-scientiststaxpayers' suit was held in abeyance until
this action was dismissed on jurisdictional
grounds. In the lower court, the U.S. District
Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge
Adrian G. Duplantier, on January 10,1985,
issued an unpublished opinion that the act
violated the Louisiana Constitution.
The state, of course, appealed. At this
level, the court permitted attorneys for the
American Jewish Congress and the AntiDefamation League of the B'nai B'rith to
submit briefs as amicus curiae (friends of the
court) urging affirmance of the district
court's judgment. The United States Court
of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit certified the
state constitutional question to the Louisiana supreme court, which found no violation
of that state's constitution.s
This brought another appeal back again
to the federal Fifth Circuit. That court
remanded (returned) the case to the federal
district court with instructions to address
the federal constitutional questions." The
argument of the educators-parents-scientiststaxpayers was that the act was simply
another effort by fundamentalist Christians
to attack the theory of evolution and to
incorporate in the public school curricula of
Louisiana the biblical theory of creation described in the book of Genesis. The state
argued that the purpose and effect of the act
was to promote academic freedom and thus
was a legislative enactment precisely tailored to serve a legitimate secular interest of
the state.
Information developed in the suit immediately revealed that there were, at the time,
no "creation-science" textbooks or curriculum guides suitable for use in the public
schools. Any such books would need to be
generated and made available at considerable cost to the taxpayers. The books were
still not available at the date of a later appeal
in December 1985. Recognizing this, the act
itself provided:
(A) Each city and parish school
board shall develop and provide to
each public school classroom teacher
in the system a curriculum guide on

4Don Aguillard u. Dauid C. Treen, then governor of Louisiana.

SKeith u. Louisiana Department of Education, 553 F. Supp. 295 (Middle District, Louisiana, 1982).
6Aguillard u. Treen, 440 So.2d 704 (La.
7Aguillard u. Treen, 720 F.2d 676 (5th Cir.

October 1986

presentation of creation-science.
(B) The governor shall designate
seven creation-scientists who shall
provide resource services in the development of curriculum guides to
any city or parish school board upon
request. Each such creation-scientist
shall be designated from among the
full-time faculty members teaching in
any college and university in Louisiana. These creation-scientists shall
serve at the pleasure of the governor
and without compensation.
That no textbooks were available was a
compelling indication that the object of the
act was to influence teachers and administrators from teaching evolution altogether,
rather than to give equal treatment to
The Courts' Say
The district court held that the act was
unconstitutional and enjoined (stopped) its
implementation. It reasoned that the doctrine of creation-science necessarily entailed
teaching the existence of a divine creator,
and the concept of a creator was an inherently religious tenet. Therefore, the court
held that the purpose of the act was to promote religion and that the implementation of
the act would have the effect of establishing
religion, which is prohibited by the First
The case was again appealed to a Fifth
Circuit panel of three judges: John R.
Brown, Henry A. Politz, and E. Grady Jolly.
This panel approached the argument headon, attempting to resolve the question as to
whether or not the act had a secular legislative purpose. It found the act did not and
summarily stated in the first paragraph of its
opinion, written by Jolly and issued on July
We affirm the district court's judgment. In truth, notwithstanding the
supposed complexities of religionversus-state issues and the lively
debates they generate, this particular
case is a simple one, subject to simple
disposal: the Act violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment
because the purpose of the statute is
to promote religion.
The court agreed that individual states
have the right to prescribe the academic
curricula of their public school systems, that
the federal courts must exercise great care
and restraint against intervening in such
state systems, but that the federal courts
must protect against violations of the First
The difficulty inherent in the position of
protecting the concept of state/church sep-

American Atheist

aration was not clearly seen by the Fifth

Circuit. The situation is that, provided religion is a force for good, there was no reason
for the Founding Fathers to seek to separate
it from government.
It should have been
specifically included. Not even the Founding
Fathers had realized the dichotomy they
had presented to posterity. If belief in a god
is important, if religion - the practice of
worshipping that god - is beneficial to
mankind, then to exclude religion from
government was an anomaly to the rules of
that great Age of Reason at the time of the
founding of our nation. But the U.S. Supreme Court has held in a number of cases"
that total separation of state and church is
not possible and that "some relationship between government
and religious organizations is inevitable." In fact, the Supreme
Court has held that religion is closely identified with our history and governmenP
Indeed, the Court has noted that "nearly
everything in our culture worth transmitting,
everything that gives meaning to life, is saturated with religious influences ... ,"10 that
"the history of man is inseparable from the
history of religion,"!' and that "we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose
a supreme being."12
Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court has devised
a tripartite test for constitutionality
of statutes vis-a-vis the Establishment
Clause of
the First Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States, to which it has adhered
somewhat. Under the Reagan administration and the influences of the radical religious right, recently, in several cases the test
has been completely abandoned.'!
three criteria have been:
(1) whether the statute has a secular legislative purpose;
(2) whether the principal or primary effect
of the statute advances or inhibits religion;


by the mere existence of some secular purpose if it is shown that the legislature's action
was dominated by religious purpose.
The Fifth Circuit then set about to look at
the act itself. But it began with the statement
that "We must recognize that the theory of
creation is a religious belief ... , We must
that evolution has historically
been offensive to religious fundamentalists
because the theory cannot be reconciled
with the biblical account of the origin of.man.
... Through the years religious fundamentalists have publicly scorned the theory of
evoiution and worked to discredit it."
To determine legislative purpose in this
case - that is, the "original intent" of the
lawmakers - it was necessary to inspect the
historical context of the act and the sequence of events leading to its passage. The
stated purpose of the statute under inspection was to "protect academic freedom."
Academic freedom embodies the principle
that individual instructors
are at liberty to
teach that which they deem to be appropriate in the exercise of their professional
The Balanced Treatment

actually was contrary to this concept:

required, presumably upon risk of sanction
or dismissal for failure to comply, the teaching of creation-science
whenever evolution
was taught. The compulsion inherent in the
act was, on its face, inconsistent
with the
idea of academic freedom as it is universally
In addition, the act failed to promote
as a genuine academic
interest since it did not require its teachmg
irrespective of whether evoiution was taught
It was concerned with the advancement of
instead, seeking Only to
teach it if the theory of evolutionwas
The act's intended effect, therefore, was '0
discredit evolution by counterbalancing t:;
teaching at every turn with the teaching of
creationism, a religious beiief.
The judges of the Fifth Circuit, realizing
that they were facing powerful opponents in
the Fundamentalists
if they did not rule in
their favor, and that their decision would be
used to attack them individually, were CODstrained to add a "disclaimer" to their decision to the effect that the act was, under the



(3) whether the statute fosters an excessive entanglement with religion."

Recently, the Supreme Court has held
that "No consideration
of the second or
third criteria is necessary if a statute does
not have a clearly secular purpose."15 The
secular purpose requirement is not satisfied

8Most recently Lemon u. Kurtzman, 403

U.S. 602 (1971) and Lynch u. Donnelly, 104

S.Ct. 1355 (1984).

9Murray u. Curlett, 394 U.S. 203 (1963).
IOMcCollumu. Board of Education, 333 U.S.
203 (1948).
llEngle u. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).
12Zorach u. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952).
13Most notably in Chambers u. Marsh, 103
S.Ct. 3330 (1983).
14Lemon u. Kurzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971),
known generally as the "Lemon test."

15Wallaceu. Jaffree, 105 S.Ct. 2479 (1985).

Austin, Texas



Page 35

above tests, unconstitutional.

Nothing in our opinion today should
be taken to reflect adversely upon
creation-science either as a religious
belief or a scientific theory. Nothing in
our opinion today should be taken to
reflect a hostile attitude toward religion. Rather we seek to give effect to
the First Amendment requirement
that demands that no law be enacted
favoring any particular religious belief
or doctrine. We seek simply to keep
the government, qua government,
neutral with respect to any religious
The Louisiana defendants immediately
requested a rehearing en banc, that is, with
the full Fifth Circuit sitting. The rehearing
was denied on December 12, 1985,16by a
majority of the court: Alvin B. Rubin, Henry
A. Politz, Carolyn Dineen Randall, Albert
Tate, Sam D. Johnson, Jerrel S. Williams, E.
Grady Jolly, and W. Eugene Davis. But
seven of the fifteen justices, including the
chief judge, of the Fifth Circuit filed a dissent
to the denial.
In that dissent, written by Judge Thomas
Gee, Chief Judge Charles Clark, Thomas R.
Reavley, Will Garwood, Patrick E. Higginbotham, Robert M. Hill,and Edith H. Jones,
it was noted that "truth was truth and could
always be taught - whether it favored religion or not." In this case, the dissent felt,
truth happened to favor religion. Under the
banner that "there are two bona fide views,"
the dissent pointed out another factor in the
act: that, if both (creation-science and
evolution-science) are taught each must be
taught as a theory, "rather than as proven
scientific fact." The record contained several affidavits, "some of them by highlyqualified scientists who proclaimed themselves to be agnostics" and "believers" in
evolution "as a theory." This to the justices'
minds confirmed that "evolution is not an
established fact and that there is strong evidence that life and the universe came about
in a different manner, one perhaps less
inconsistent with religious doctrine."
It follows that the Louisiana statute
requires no more than that neither
theory about the origins of life and
matter be misrepresented as fact, and
that if scientific. evidence supporting
either view of how these things came
about be presented in public schools,
that supporting the other must be so that within the reasonable limits of
the 'curriculum, the subject of origins
will be discussed in a balanced man-

16778F.2d 225 (1985).

Page 36

ner ifit is discussed at all. I see nothing

illiberal about such a requirement, nor
can I imagine that Galileo or Einstein
would have found fault with it. Indeed,
so far as I am aware even Ms. O'Hair
has never asked for more than equal
The dissent then conceded that perhaps
many of those who worked to get the legislation passed did so with a religious motive. So
what? "The statute ... has no direct religious
reference whatever and merely requires that
the whole scientific truth be taught on the
subject if any is." Requiring that "the truth
be taught on any subject displayed its own
secular warrant, one at the heart of the
scientific method itself."
Judge Gee, writing for the seven dissenting judges, then lapsed into a personal
Put another way I am surprised to
learn that a state cannot forbid the
teaching of half-truths in its public
schools, whatever its motive in doing
so. Today we strike down a statute
balanced and fair on its face because
of our perception of the reason why it
got the votes to pass: one to prevent
the closing of children's minds to religious doctrine by misrepresenting it
as in conflict with established scientific laws. After today, it does not suffice to teach the truth; one must also
teach it with the approved motive. It
may be that the Constitution forbids a
state to require the teaching of lies in
the classrooms of its public schools;
... that the earth is flat or that chattel
slavery never existed in the country. It
comes as news to me, however, that
the Constitution forbids a state to
require the teaching of truth - any
truth, for any purpose, and whatever
the effect of teaching it may be.
To analyze the dissent, it relied essentially
on two propositions: (1) the Balanced
Treatment Act did no more than require
that the "whole truth be taught" in the Louisiana public schools - a valid secular purpose, and (2) the five supporting "uncontroverted affidavits" from scientists concerning
established a scientific
basis for the proposition that "there are two
bona fide views" (emphasis in original).
The justice who had written the majority
panel opinion felt a need to respond to this
dissent, and his reply was laden with
First, as a writer of the panel opinion, I offer my apologies to the majority of this court for aligning it with the
forces of darkness and anti-truth.
Second, I do not personally align

October 1986

myself with the dissenters in their

commitment to the eternal search for
truth through state edicts. Third, I
commend to the dissenters a serious
rereading of the majority opinion that
they may recognize the hyperbole of
the opinion in which they join. And,
finally,I respectfully submit, the panel
opinion speaks for itself, modestly and
moderately, if one willallow its words
to be carefully heard.

To The Supreme Court

The state immediately asked the United
States Supreme Court to grant certiorari
(review) of the decision. That review was
granted on May 5, 1986, and by this time, the
following persons had been added to the
parties protesting the act:
the National Association of Biology
Teachers, Inc.; National Coalition for
Public Education and Religious liberty; National Science Supervisors Association; National Science Teachers
Association; University of New Orleans Federation of Teachers; and the
American Association for the Advancement of Science.
As viewed from the standpoint of the state
of Louisiana, the questions placed before
the highest court in the land were:
(1) Is the Louisiana Balanced Treatment
for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science
Act constitutional under the Establishment
Clause of the First Amendment, when
(a) Creation-science
consists of
scientific evidence and not religious
concepts ... ,
(b) Evolution is no more scientific,
nonreligious, or educationally feasible
... ,
(c) Decisions of the U.S. Supreme
Court have allowed public school reference to a creator God,17
(d) The Act has the purpose and
effect of advancing "academic freedom" ....

171nZorach v. Clausen, supra, in 1952: "We

are a religious people whose institutions
presuppose a Supreme Being.";
In Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962):
"The Regents' prayer ... is a solemn avowal
of divine faith and supplication for the blessings of the Almighty.";
In Lynch v. Donnelly, supra, in 1984:
"Congress has directed the President to
proclaim a National Day of Prayer each year
'on which [day] the people of the United
States may turn to God in prayers and meditation ... .'''

American Atheist

(2) There are technical, procedural reasons which must be considered in making a
With its request for review, Louisiana
included five "uncontroverted" affidavits
from the record of the case, two of which
were from theologians, two from scientists,
and one from an educator - about which,
more later.
As viewed from the standpoint of the educators who were challenging the act, the
single question placed before the highest
court in the land was:
Whether the Court of Appeals
properly struck down a Louisiana
Balanced Treatment law as violating
the Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment when incontrovertible
facts, including the plain language of
the statute, its legislative history, and
the historical background from which
it emanated, all demonstrated that the
purpose of the statute was to promote
a religious belief.
The educators-parents-scientists-taxpayers were so certain that they would prevail in
the U.S. Supreme Court that they simply
filed a Motion to Affirm what the Fifth Circuit had already decided: that the act was
unconstitutional. In an offhand statement
they noted merely:
The state's affidavits did not raise
genuine issues of fact with regard to
the genuine legal issues in this case.
No number of after-the-fact affidavits
from "experts," none of whom is, or
was, a member of the Louisiana legislature, can change the basic facts.
Those facts - the iaw itself, its plain
language, its legislative history, the
social facts surrounding "creationscience" - are not open to dispute.
The Motion to Affirm was filed on April 14,
1986. In a stunning defeat, the Supreme
Court refused that motion when two weeks
later it granted review. The Louisiana battle
was to be heard formally, and in full, in front
of the Court. The case as it came to the
United States Supreme Court was titled
Edwards u, Aguillard, since Edwin W.
Edwards had replaced David Treen as governor of Louisiana.
Reasons For Review

In a request for review, the U.S. Supreme

Court had a very small legal document to
scrutinize. The entire record was not before
it. The presentation of issues and the argument asking for a certiorari (review) from
this court were required to be no more than
thirty pages. Appended to this were the bare
bones decisions found in the lower court. In

Austin, Texas

First, as a writer of the panel opinion, Ioffer my

apologies to the majority of this court for aligning
it with the forces of darkness and anti-truth.
- Judge Thomas Gee

this instance, something convinced the U.S.

Supreme Court to take the matter for
review, and it can only be speculated that
the affidavits were compelling. What then,
were they? How could they be so powerful
as to cause the Court to review the same
legislative act which it refused to review in
the Arkansas case of McLean? The affidavits comprise a mere thirty-six pages, and it
is essential that they be here reviewed.
The first, and most compelling, for laymen
(which is what, vis-a-vis science, the justices
of the U.S. Supreme Court are) is that of a
biologist, Dean H. Kenyon. He took a B.S. in
physics in 1961 from the University of Chicago, a Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford
University in 1965, and did postdoctoral
study as a feliow for the National Science
Foundation at the University of California
(Berkeley) in the chemical origins of life. He
served as a Visiting Scholar at Trinity College of Oxford University in 1974, and currently is a full Professor of Biology at San
Francisco State University, a position held
from 1974, before which he had been an
Assistant Professor from 1966 to 1969 and
an Associate Professor from 1969 through
1974. He has taught undergraduate courses
in that period on the origin of life, evolution,
the Darwinian revolution, introductory biophysics, cell biology, human biology, history
of biology, and bioethics; and graduate
school courses or seminars in biogenesis,
cellular biophysics, photobiology, comparative biochemistry, carcinogenesis, biomagnetism, and biological effects of gravity.
In 1969 Kenyon published a book, along
with G. Steinman, Biochemical Predestination, which argued in favor of biochemical
evolution. The preface to the Russian edition was written by A. 1.Oparin. And, that's
the rub. Here was a scientist with apparently
impeccable credentials who had even been
accepted as an expert by the great Oparin,
the internationally acknowledged expert in
the field, none other than a scientist in the
Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. and an
acknowledged Atheist. Oparin's Genesis
and Evolutionary Development of Life has
been the definitive statement, accepted in
every college and university of the world. If
Oparin had good enough an opinion of this
man that he would write a preface to his
book, then the U.S. Supreme Court probably felt compelled to listen to him.

October 1986

At this point, given the theopolitical climate of the United States in early 1986, the
the case should have perhaps attempted to
analyze, even refute, in a succinct way what
was offered to the Supreme Court justices.
Kenyon's affidavit statement is cleverly
constructed to be disingenious. The act
focuses on "equal treatment" for "equal
theories," and whoever fashioned the statement concept for Kenyon used this as a
pattern throughout. There is no derogatory
treatment of evolution, as often is the case
with the fundamentalist theists. Evolution
theory is artfully handled in a friendly, understanding way. Creation-science is also carefuliytypified as a theory. Kenyon, as a distinguished scholar of the subject, emphasizes
that what he respectfully submits is only his
"professional opinion." At no time in his affidavit does he characterize creation-science
as a product of religious thinking, but
approaches it only from a nonreligious point
of view: "Presentation of alternate scientific
explanations has educational benefit, and
balanced presentation of creation-science
and evolution does exactly that."
He goes to explanations of both.
means origin
through abrupt appearance in complex form, and includes biological
creation, biochemical creation (or
chemical creation) and cosmic creation. . . . Creation-science does not
include as essential parts the concepts of catastrophism, a worldwide
flood, a recent inception of the earth
or life, from nothingness (ex nihilo),
the concept of kinds, or any concepts
from Genesis or other religious texts.
Evolution-science is equivalent to
evolution. Evolution is generally understood by scientists (although some
would disagree) to include biological
evolution (or organic evolution) from
simple life to all plants and animals,
biochemical evolution (or chemical
evolution or pre biotic evolution of the
first life), and cosmic evolution (including stellar evolution) (of the universe).
There! Isn't that nice: clear, unbiased,
open, intellectual. The only difficulty is thai

Page 37

is not what brought Louisiana's Balanced

Treatment Act into being, itis not what motivates the fundamentalists who' pushed for
the act in this and other states, it is' not the
platform of the Creation Science Institute.
Clearly, Kenyon is either being 'used or is
himself duplicitous. But if you were a
seventy-plus-year-old judge on. the U.S.
Supreme Court who had science in college
fifty years ago, would you believe him?
Remember, he represents Oparin's theories! He lullsall fears with his approach. He is
not a Bible thumper. He is a man of science.
Perhaps one of the most clever propagandistic aspects of the fight is to attach, with a
hyphen, the word creation, which is identified only with god in the Judeo-Christian
saturated culture of the United States with
the word science. This immediately gives it
respectability and equality with the also
hyphenated evolution-science. The two are
not coequal; the former is not based on the
rationale of the scientific method but rather
on the acceptance of biblical statements
through faith. It is a foul game being played.
Kenyon states that "many" leading evolutionary scientists, past and present, have the
opinion that. creation-science and evolution
are the sole scientific alternative explanations (although each includes a variety of
approaches) of how it all began.
'Either plants and animals evolved
from one or more initial living forms
(biological evolution), or they were
created (biological creation). Either
the first life evolved from nonliving
molecules (biochemical evolution), or
it was created (biochemical creation).
Either the universe evolved from the
big bang or other initial state (cosmic
evolution), or it was created (cosmic
He isn't disparaging either one of the theories here so carefully delimited.for everyone
to understand. Any gas station mechanic, or
Supreme Court judge, would find the presentation fair. Only an educated scientist
would notice the flaws. But, at this point, one
is swept away into the extended rationale.
(See "Kenyon's Contentions," page 42, for a
summary of his comments.)
Second Affidavit
The second affidavit is from W. Scott
Morrow, who identifies himself as a biochemist. He states, "I am not a creationist or
a religious Fundamentalist, and instead [am]
an evolutionist and agnostic." His B.Sc_ in
chemistry in 1959 was earned at Philadelphia
College of Pharmacy and Science, his M.S.
in analytical chemistry at St. Joseph's College in 1964, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill in 1969.

Page 38

He was an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department of Concord College from

1968 to 1970, and from that year to date has
been an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department of, Wofford College. He
deliberately omits the fact that Wofford College is a church-related (United Methodist)
college in the Deep South - Spartanburg,
South Carolina.
His opening statement of "Conclusions"
My conclusions are that creationscience is scientific, nonreligious, and
educationally worth while [sic] in
comparison with evolution. It can be
taught and can be presented in a textbook without any religious content. It
is affirmative scientific evidence that
supports creation-science, and the
evidence is not compellingly persuasive that supports evolution.
Creation-science, he explains, is a scientific hypothesis that attempts to account for
the "origins" of material entities or systems
in our world by means of their relatively
sudden or abrupt appearance in complex
form. It is non-gradualist and relies strongly
on catastrophic events occurring in nature.
Creation-scientists accept microevolution
and challenge marcoevolution.
It never dawns on either Morrow or any of
the creationists, however, that the sudden
abrupt appearance in complex form of a new
species would be macroevolution at its
deluxe best. He ignores the dichotomy in his
He goes on then to make an extraordinary
error in definition:
Evolution-science is the same as
what is commonly called evolution ...
Evolution embraces not only the origin
of organisms, but concepts of evolution of the first life (biochemical or
chemical evolution) and of the evolution of the universe (cosmic or stellar
He is, in fact, in error; evolution does not
now nor has it ever dealt with primary origins, life's beginnings. Evolution is a theory
that the various types of animals and plants
have their origin in other preexisting types
and that the distinguishing differences are
due to modifications in successive generations - only that and nothing more. No
biological evolutionist has ever written on
either cosmic or stellar evolution or the
origin of life.
Morrow goes on then to his definition of
biological creation, which addresses the
origin of organisms. Creation-scientists offer
several areas of affirmative evidence and
analysis based on:
(1) paleontology - the abrupt appear-

October 1986

anceand systematic gaps between categories of organisms in the fossil record;

,(2)comparative morphology - stasis and
regular similarity between fossil organisms
and current descendants if not extinct;
(3) information content - (a creationist's
name for DNA) information in all living
forms and their components;
(4) probability - of complex features,
(5) genetics -limits in laws of heredity on
viable mutation and variation; and
(6) comparative unrelatedness - extensive anomalies in classification, anatomical
comparisons, and biochemical comparisons.
These disciplines all involved scientific
data and its analysis; they do not involve
religion or creationist science, and it is
deceptive for Morrow to characterize them
as supportive of the creationist contentions.
What he also does not point out is that all
scientists are aware of problems in theoretics, in inadequate fossil records, in anomalies, and that all of such problems have been
uncovered not by creationists but by evolutionists. They are experts in their own field
and do not need Genesis scholars to interpret for them.
This religious and creationist biochemist,
Morrow, then breaks down several sections
of research which he desires to attack with
unsupported generalizations. These are
"Biological Evolution" and "Biochemical
Evolution." His repetitive remarks are that
this aspect "is not compellingly persuasive";
that aspect "has significant difficulties"; this
aspect is "an unrealistic assumption"; that
aspect contains "problematic probabilities."
Such unsupported assertions add nothing to
the discussion. His concluding remark based
on these statements is that:
Many evolutionists have acknowledged that creation-science (although
not their term) and evolution are the
sole alternatives, whether on the
origin of organisms, the origin of life,
or the origin 'of the universe.
The innocence of the Louisiana law is then
supported by Morrow under the banner of
freedom from "Indoctrination and Censorship":
The current exclusion of creationscience from most public schools
constitutes indoctrination in evolution, in that it is generally the only view
taught, and censorship of scientific
evidence, that which supports creationscience. To me as an evolutionist, balanced instruction in creation-science
and evolution seems to have educational benefit.
Here again is an educator, scientist, and
(gasp!) agnostic, who sees (using carefully

American Atheist

r:txv'f FRET


13ECAlJ5 I cur XHCOL



couched wording) that the "elimination" of

the Genesis story of the Holy Bible in public
school science classes is blatant censorship
and results in a single view indoctrination of
impressionable children. The man is not
agnostic about Genesis - he knows creationscience is true - despite all kinds of inconsistencies, gaps, contradictions, and absurdities, but he is agnostic about evolution
since there are too many gaps in information.
The difficulty, again, is that he can persuade laymen, those persons without the
specific biological education which is necessary to understand the argument. And there
is no way that a newspaper or television
account is going to get the message across,
especially between commercials.
Secondary Affidavits
The next two affidavits are presented by
Roman Catholics. Given the predominance
of that religion in Louisiana and its power in
the politics of the United States, Roman
Catholic "scholars" cannot be ignored. The
first of these, one Terry L. Miethe, begins his
affidavit with a recitation of his grade point
average in college ten to twelve years aqo.
This is so pretentious that one wonders why
he was not cautioned to be more circumspect. His thrust is that the sole alternative
views on the origin of biological life are
creation-science and evolution-science, He
also then goes to the attack against evolution. The theoretic game being played is to
knock out the opponent so that the single
acceptable explanation is that of creationscience.
In the use of these affidavits, there is a
tendency to begin each statement using the
phrases "creation-science" and "evolutionscience" and then slowly to drop the word
"science" from the latter while using it
exclusively for the former, thus attempting
to influence by the manipulation of charged

Austin, Texas

Miethe explains that creation-science refers to the abrupt appearance in complex
form of biological life,lifeitself, and the physical universe. Now, this has changed content, he says, over the past decade and is
different from the religious views of creation
that prevailed over the last centuries although it is strikingly similar to the scientific arguments raised by Agassiz a century
ago, Pasteur just before that, and Newton
several centuries ago.
Here, again, are revered names:
(Jean) Louis (Rodolphe) Agassiz, (18071873) American (Swiss born) naturalist;
Louis Pasteur, (1822-1895) French chemist;
Sir Isaac Newton, (1642-1727) English
mathematician and physicist.
There is a neglect to say that these were
men just breaking free of the domination of
total cultures by militant Judeo-Christianity,
which had reduced the Western world to the
Dark Ages, times of the most gross superstition, inquisitions, crusades, and religious
wars which had lasted for well over a thousand years. None of these men, in their
entire lives, had access to as much scientific
information as any youth now has in a high
school in the United States. Any criticism of
the church, or the basic tenets of JudeoChristianity, could have brought total repudiation of their works, and for themselves
ostracism from any academic community. In
addition, Darwin had first published his
work, On The Origin of Species, in 1859,and
Newton, particularly, who had died 132
years before it was published, cannot be said
to have opposed it.
Evolution-science is, this first of the
Roman Catholic theologians, Terry L.
Miethe, states in his affidavit, generally
termed evolution. Evolution includes not
only fish to fowl, reptile to mammal to man,
but also includes the origin of the first life

October 1986

(biochemical or chemical or pre biotic evolution) and the origin of the universe (cosmic
or stellar or solar evolution).
The theory, here used by Miethe, is that if
one repeats a lie often enough the general
public will accept it.
Creation-science, nowadays, he claims,
consists of scientific data and interpretations in the fields of paleontology, molecular
biology, anatomy, biochemistry, thermodynamics. It does not serve as an equivalent to
any religious doctrine of origin such as the
Genesis account.
The originator of the bill in the Louisiana
state legislature, (then Senator) Bill Keith;
the man who provided the prototype of the
act to the senator, Paul Ellwanger of the
Citizens for Fairness in Education; and the
Scientific Creation Institute, would be in
complete disagreement with this statement.
Once this far on the threshold of the U.S.
Supreme Court, however,the idea is to win
so that the pissants at the local school board
level can move Genesis into the schools,
once the way is gained by the scientists and
theologians who toady to the dominant
Not alone is creation-science not both
Genesis and god, science is not really
science. Miethe continues: "There is no
definition of science on which philosophers
of science are agreed ....
"This insistence on natural law as prerequisite to science ... " is not acceptable to this
theologian. This is simply stunning. Allthere
is - is nature governed by natural laws. We
know nothing beyond nature. We have
never known, nor can we know, what is
beyond nature: Yet, he wants to deal with
something "outside of nature, outside of
natural laws," and he does not want to have
this recognized as the fantasy of religion. It
boggles the mind.
He is quite incensed over the definition of
science given in the Arkansas case of

Page 39

The concept of creation is not inherently religious and is nonreligious when defined as abrupt
appearance in complex form. The concept of a
creator is also not inherently religious. . . .
- William G. Most

McLean, supra. That required guidance by

natural laws, explanation by natural laws,
testability, falsibility, and tentativeness. Angrily and reluctantly accepting this definition, but only for argument, he feels that
creation- science conforms to it to the same
extent that evolution does.
Creation-science has nothing to do with
fundamentalism, this Roman Catholic declares. He goes on:
Evolution is consistent with materialism and naturalism to the same
extent that creation- science is consistent with theism.
He hoists himself on his own petard as he
In the case of creation-science, it is
parallel not only to Protestant religions but to Catholic (Orthodox),
Jewish (Orthodox) and non-JudeoChristian religions (Muslim, etc.) In
the case of evolutiori, it is equally consistent with various religions that
include Protestant ones (religious
humanism, Unitarianism, Theological
Liberalism, and neo-Orthodoxy),
Catholic (Modernist and neo-Orthodox), Jewish (Reform) and non-JudeoChristian (Hindu, Buddhist, secular
humanist, evolutionary humanist, ago
All of this explains why Atheism stands
alone. We cannot, and willnot, be included
with any of these zanies.
He continues in his analysis:
In the late 1880s, the crucial support for evolution came from theologians; and in the early 1900s, Modernist Protestants advocated evolution.
. . . At present, significant religious
support still exists for evolution. On
the other hand, scientific views of
creation (i.e., creation-science) have
always been advocated by scientists,
beginning in the late 1800s with Aqassiz, Owens, and carrying through the
early 1900s to the present day.

Page 40

In his opinion, therefore, both creationscience and evolution-science are consistent with ancient and modern religions and
with various religious beliefs, both include
scientists with religious motives, both include scientist advocates with religious publications and activities, both involve nontestable and nonfalsifiable aspects that require
"scientific faith," and both involve concepts
of teleology. IS
In addition, Miethe does not care for the
definition of "fundamentalism" which has
been given:
An academically acceptable definition of Fundamentalism would require
not-just belief in inerrancy of scripture
but also ecclesiastical separatism,
moral separatism, pre-millenia! views
of prophecy, dispensational view of
theology, active evangelism, opposition of non- Evangelicalism, and the
charismatic movement, insistence on
private religious education, and political conservatism, as well as possibly
other elements.
What would a justice on the U.S. Suo
preme Court think when faced with such a .
statement? He may even think that it is true.
Such a sophisticated laundry list of what is
or what is not acceptable to fundamentalist
Christianity is a product of Jesuitical thinking, and it is doubtful ifknown Fundamentalists such as Swaggart, Falwell, Robertson,
La Haye, etc., would recognize themselves
in the definition.
The attack, however, has hardly begun.
Who is pushing what? The pure- minded
creation-scientists are hardly to blame at
this juncture. The bad guys in the black hats
who have mounted lobbying programs
against truth, justice, the Bible, god, and the
American way are the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way,
Committees on Correspondence, the American Humanist Association, the American
Association for the Advancement of Sci-

ISThe study of evidence of design in nature.

October 1986

ence, the National Academy of Scierice;the

National Asso-ciation of Biology Teachers,
the National Educational Association, the
Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, and
other organizations. "At the same time, the
leading creationist organizations have in
general opposed legislation regarding balanced treatment of creation- science and
evolution." The pyramid stands on its head.
The affidavit of another theologian, William G. Most, again appears to be that of
another Roman Catholic - his credentials,
his professional affiliations, and his teaching
experience being with institutions of that
The opening statement of his affidavit is
I am personally wide open on the
question of evolution from a religious.
point of view, as long as it is not forrnulated in atheistic terms. I believe that
the answer must come from science,
but the scientific evidence for evolution appears to be shockingly poor. I
personally support balanced instruction in creation-science and evolution
in the name of openness, for the purpose of not teaching that something is
proved when the evidence falls far
short of that. I regard the exclusion of
creation-science to be poor intellectual formation and intellectual narrowness, conclusions which are independent of religious considerations.
The concept of creation is not
inherently religious and is nonreligious
when defined as abrupt appearance in
complex form. The concept of a creator is also not inherently religious ....
It is madness, what the German nation
calls Wahnsin, to testify in this manner. The
objective is to win the day and "to hell" with
intellectual integrity, with integrity of doctrine.
The fifth affidavit was from an education
administrator, Robert J. Clinkert, who identifies himself as a Roman Catholic. His meso
sage is short.
A widelyaccepted educational method is teaching by contrasts. This
approach is employed in typical public
school biology; chemistry, physics,
economics, history, literature, and
other courses.
Balanced instruction in' creationscience and evolution is educationally
valuable, and in fact more so than
indoctrination in justevolution. The
effect of teaching just evolution in public schools is indoctrination in that
viewpoint and censorship of scientific
data and interpretation supporting

American Atheist

The last attachment is not an affidavit, but

rather one "sample of numerous articles by
non-creationists that question critical elements of evolution and acknowledge the
possible scientific validity of creation science."
The single sampler article 19chosen is written by a physicist, D_ Lipson, about whom
no information is given.
I have always been slightly suspicious of the theory of evolution
because of its ability to account for
any property of living beings. I have
therefore tried to see whether biological discoveries over the last thirty
years or so fit in with Darwin's theory.
I do not think that they do.
Darwin himself had considerable
doubts; his book contains a chapter
called "Difficulties on theory". _..

Darwin says, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have
been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications my theory
would absolutely break down." ...
An animal - particularly the human animal - is a beautiful example
of a carefully contrived and subtly
engineered design. The word "design"
comes naturally even in evolutionist
books. The Designer must know infinitely more science than we shall ever
know. He started off with a few simple
examples and, learning from them,
introduced new and improved species. He gradually incorporated new
properties, imagination and free will
being the latest ones. He is probably
learning that these are not enough,
since they seem to cultivate a propensity to self-destruction.

inclusions of the state of Louisiana which

were sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. They
were undisputed before that Court in short,
readable, and persuasive form. Reading
them, the justices were convinced that they
should review the matter of creation-science
being given equal time in the public school
classrooms and science books of the state of
Louisiana. By granting such a review, the
insult of the U.S. Supreme Court to the
scientific and educational communities of
the United States - and of the world --- is
enormous. But then, if we could elect to the
presidency of our nation a man who believed
in "voodoo economics," why not install
"voodoo education" in our public schools?
The U.S. Supreme Court convenes again
in October 1986, and the oral arguments in
this case will be presented shortly thereafter. The decision, ifsupportive of the state
of Louisiana and in favor of "giving equal
treatment" to religion and science, could
well be the most disastrous blow to modern
education in the history of our country.

What's Ahead?
19"APhysicist Look~ at Evolution,"from 31
Physics Bulletin 138 (1980).

And that is the sum of the affidavits and


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issues and viewpoints originated by the Atheist community.

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(512) 458-5731


Houston, Texas
Outspoken Voice of Freedom
Salt Lake City, Utah

October 1986

(713) 522-5964
(713) 527-9255
(801) 364-4939

Page 41

If you were a Supreme Court justice and you were told by an articulate, respectable
scientist that the theory of evolution was just as good as the "theory" of creation, how would
you rule? That's just the question at hand.

he State of Louisiana, in its appeal to
the U.S. Supreme Court to review the
case of Edward v. Aguillard relied on five
affidavits which it submitted with its appeal.
All five affidavits are discussed in "Making a
Monkey Out of the U.S. Supreme Court."
But the most compelling of those five was
that of Dean H. Kenyon. Because his affidavit may have had the most effect on the
justices, a fuller discussion of it is given here.
Summaries of Kenyon's contentions appear
in italics; we have of course taken the opportunity to rebut them.
Leading scientists of Europe and the United States were creationist scientists and
they defended their views with scientific evidence and arguments (Sir Richard Owen,
Baron Georges Cuvier, Louis Agassiz)
before the publication of Darwin's naturalist
views in On the Origin of Species.
There is no mention given of what a sorry
state "science" was in at the time "prior to
1859" because of the hostility of the predominant Judeo-Christianity of that era; the
many battles which the scientific community
had to fight in order to have its ideas
accepted at all; the need for any person to
embrace religion in order to achieve publication of his works.

tion is change below the species level,

including changes within a local population
- the Japanese are taller now than in 1920.
Creation-scientists accept microevolution,
regarding much of what Darwin wrote to be
basically correct. There is substantial agreement between the two sides on at least 90
percent of the subject matter of the biological sciences, outside the subject of evolution - and macroevolution. Therefore,
mature and productive discussions in the
classroom would be beneficial.
Since there is no reason to discuss microevolution, so much agreement on it being
shown, we are back again to bedrock differences of opinion. Many persons are taken in
by manufactured words of more than one
syllable. "Macro-evolution" simply means
evolution that accumulates in relatively large
and complex changes (as in species formation); it does not mean the instantaneous big
jump from fish to fowl, from mammal to man
that Kenyon here implies. "Micro-evolution"
simply means comparatively minor evolutionary change involving the accumulation
of variations in populations, usually below
the species level. Creationists use "macro"
evolution in such a way as to imply that man
cannot be an end result of evolutionary
change within the "order"! of primates.

Paleontological Considerations
In regard to the "problem" of macroevolution, fossils are the only direct evidence as to whether or not macroevolution
actually happened. In order to prove that
there have been changes it is necessary to
show "transitional forms" in fossils. Darwin
and Huxley were well aware that there
were none:
Why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such
intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely
graduated organic chain, and this is
perhaps the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged
against my theory. The explanation
lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geologic record. (On the
Origin of Species, p. 280)
Kenyon goes on that Darwin "went to
great lengths" to explain why he thought the
fossil record was highly fragmentary and
incomplete. The "earlier" Darwinians expected the gaps to be filled in future paleontological work.
Adequacy Of The Fossil Record

The naturalist view of Darwin came to be

that predominantly accepted until recently
when new scientific data, especially chemical, paleontological, and other information
bearing on the origin of first life came into
being. This had not been available to
Not being given here, this new scientific
data peculiarly available to the creationscientists is not available at this point to the
reader, since Kenyon does not give it. In
fact, it does not exist. But, be that as it may,
anyone seeing the phrase "naturalist view"
would not immediately equate that with
"theistic view" which is what is inherent in
the alternative to the phrase and its underlying idea of godism which the creationscientists want to push.
Kenyon speaks to several topics, the first
being "Biological Evolution: Macroevolution
and Microevolution":
Macroevolution is change above the species level, including the transformation from
fish to fowl to mammals to man; microevolu-

Page 42

-Order: a category of animal classification

ranking above the family and below the

They were all, however, bound to disappointment for the next 120 years of paleontological research have not provided any
"missing links." There are now 250,000 fossil

The archaeopteryx was a primitive bird with reptilian characteristics

Jurassic period of Europe.
(left) Fossil of the archaeopteryx.
(right) A reconstruction of the archaeopteryx.

October 1986

of the Upper

American Atheist

species, which may represent at least 1 percent of all the species that ever lived. Some
paleontologists consider this fossil record to
be reasonably complete. Therefore, either
macroevolution did not occur or it has left
no direct evidence.
Living organisms are biodegradable. It is
usually only in most unusual circumstances
that any remains, much less fossils, are
found. In addition, most of the fossil remains
found have not been studied and classified.

As Best Link

The evolutionists state that the archaeopteryx demonstrates the macroevolutionary transition from reptiles to birds. However, fossil forms of archaepteryx had
(asymmetric rachis of primary flight) feathers and no fossil forms of reptiles show
beginnings of feathers.
Since there is hardly a complete record of
reptilian forms this is a specious argument.


Given this miserable fossil record, full of

large gaps,2 Kenyon claims that increasing
numbers of evolutionists are themselves
adopting a new version of evolutionary theory. They postulate that suddenly, for unknown reasons, small peripherally isolated
populations of a given species rapidly
evolved into a new species. During the transitional period the evolving populations are
so small and so rapidly changing they leave
no fossil remains to document the transition. When the change is over, the new species remains in stasis for long periods of
time, during which time - of course - they
leave fossil remains. This "odd idea" is
termed punctuated equilibria.
Kenyon does not feel, however, that fish,
birds, mammals, or man, suddenly created
in full array is an "odd idea" at all.
Anatomical Considerations
The evolutionists see striking anatomical
similarities in skeletal structure among the
vertebrates as evidencing common cncestry and have even used the comparisons as
the basis for the classification of organisms.
Scientific-creationists admit this similarity
and accept it, but hold that it is evidence of a
"common structural plan."
Kenyon here is so dishonest that he does
not add that such a "plan," of course, came
from god.

2Kenyon had earlier called it reasonably


Austin, Texas

Biochemical Considerations
Recent comparative studies of proteins
and nucleic acids, amino acid sequence
data for the protein, cytochrome c, molecular information, and nucleotide sequences in DNA yield phylogenetic (i.e.
molecular) trees which are broadly consistent with those based on comparative
anatomy. "But there are some impressive
We, and the justices of the Supreme
Court, are left in the dark as to what these
"impressive anomalies" might be. But, it
sounds wondrously mysterious, especially
from a scientist whom Oparin respects.
Other Considerations
Not all scientists agree on all aspects of
Scientific creationists deny macroevolution and attempt to find scientific evidence
"to undermine" it. None of the evidence is
cited. In regard to absolute agreement of
scientists on evolution, or other theories in
any scientific fields, the retesting of initial
theories is extremely important. That this
healthy skepticism exists, that all theories
are constantly challenged, is a plus in the
scientific method rather than an error.
"Biological evolution is not compelling,
and infact is less scientifically plausible than
biological creation."
This is a statement unsupported by either
argument, logic, or facts.
Kenyon next considers "biological creation" as opposed to "biological evolution."
This, in the professional opinion of Kenyon, is supported by "affirmative scientific
evidence" and scientific interpretations
He neglects to state that in the professional opinion of literally thousands of other
scientists, it is not supported by affirmative
evidence either scientific or fanciful.
Paleontological (Fossil)
Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould
is quoted as having stated, "The extreme
rarity of transition forms in the fossil record
persists as the trade secret of paleontology."
We now have "vastly more fossils" species than were known in Darwin's day and
the gaps have not been filled. There are
fossil forms found which apparently remain
essentially unchanged for millions of years
and then disappear. This supports creationscience.
Here again Kenyon reaches out to a scien-

October 1986

tist of considerable repute. He wraps his

simple opinion around a sincere statement
of problem solving which needs to be done.
A less than meticulously careful reader
would conclude that Gould's and Kenyon's
positions concur.
Of course, the attention to the "gaps"
does not reveal why god, in his infinite wisdam, waited for millions of years between
each creation of each species - but then
god moves in mysterious ways.
Morphological (Structural)
Most (population) organisms, at any given
time, are in stasis or genetic equilibrium. By
this, Kenyon simply means that a horseshoe
crab is a horseshoe crab and that there are
fossils of the horseshoe crab and there is a
"systematic similarity of fossil forms to their
modem descendants."
This, in Kenyon's opinion, supports that
god created them, just like that, for all times,
and forever. The statement is neither argument nor evidence.
Information Content
Available information indicates that there
is biological information in polynucleotides
(DNA and RNA).
Creationists do not use the term DNA.
They prefer "information content" to explain genetic inheritence. Kenyon believes
that this "biological information" must have
been impressed on these polymers from the
outside. This is to say, in a simple, unsupported statement: God did it.
Genetic Considerations
Evolutionists argue that genetic variations among the individuals of a population,
plus natural selection operating over thousands of generations, can result in macroevolutionary changes in evolving lineages.
"But we cannot demonstrate that this is the
Of course, we cannot demonstrate that
god did it either, but this does not bother
Kenyon. He seeks demonstration unilaterally, on one side of the argument only and then
simply does not accept any demonstration
that is given, most notably the fruit fly subpopulation experiment results.
Comparative Unrelatedness
Using computer data which is "massaged
with evolutionary theory," molecular trees
based on different substances have not
yielded consistent results. Creation-scientists "believe that the inconsistencies reflect
the fact" that the "basic genera (or family

Page 43

of living organisms) were seporateb) created."

The "fact" is simply that there are inconsistencies and that more research is
needed. Kenyon, however, takes a leap of
faith that there was a special creation from
"outside," i.e. god, which had a "common
requirement of engineering design" when
everything was put together.
All of these "scientific considerations constitute the core of biological creation, and
show it to be scientific and, in fact, more
scientifically plausible than biological macroevolution. "
In fact, Kenyon has shown nothing but his
own opinion, based on religious faith. This
does not stop him from going further with
Scientific Nature Of The Concepts
Of Biochemical Creation And
Biochemical Evolution.
"Today we have a large body of chemical
information bearing on the problem of the
origin of life. It generally supports biochemical creation and undercuts biochemical
evolution. "
This statement is simply a shocking lie.
But, again, what would the average man on
an assembly line in a Ford factory know
about it. To seven Fifth Circuit judges, conditioned to religion in their personal lives, it
sounded good. The U. S. Supreme Court
justices are at least fifty years away from
biology and chemical courses in any colleges
or universities which they attended, and
even if they took them, such courses were
primitive when judged by current standards.
Here is a Ph.D., with University of Chicago,
Stanford University, and Trinity College of
Oxford University training, a man in whom
the United States National Science Foundation had invested, a college professor who
had taught from 1966 to 1986 - twenty full
years - a man who even the great Oparin of
the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R.
had recognized, a man who quotes Darwin
and Gould to support his thesis, and he is
making a flat statement that "a large body of
chemical information bearing on the problem of the origin of life. __generaliy supports
biochemical creation."
Instead of the educators-parents-scientiststaxpayers taking him on with an affidavit
overwhelmingly refuting what is obviously
only "opinion" evidence being given, they
gave him the field - and the day - with a
general refusal to slug it out point by point.
The net result of this is that the U. S.
Supreme Court was impressed and did take
the entire case for review. What else could
they do, for in support of this he goes on with
his case by examining:

Page 44

The Haldane-Oparin


J. B. S. Haldane, (John Burdon Sanderson

Haldane, 1892-1964), a Fullerian Professor
of Physiology at the Roay Institution and
Professor of Genetics and Biometrics at
London University, was a Materialist, which
is to sayan Atheist. This is well-known in the
scientific community since he published his
essays on the subject in a book which he
titled Materialism, released in 1932 by
Hodder and Stoughton, London, England.
In the preface of this book he explains,
"Materialism may be defined as the belief
that physico-chemical realism, or the assumption that the representation of our surrounding universe by the physical sciences
in their traditional form corresponds to reality, can be extended so as to cover, not only
the phenomena of life, but also those of conscious behavior." In another of his books,
titled The Inequality of Man (Harmondsworth, England: Purnell and Sons, 1932), in
one of the essays, titled ''The New Deism,"
he is both critical of Sir James Jean and of
"creation" theories. His concluding paragraph states:
I think one can explain Sir James
Jean's mythological preferences as follows, In scientific work we are always
framing hypotheses. But we do not
trouble to develop those which cannot be tested by experiment or observation. Thus the apparently extravagant hypothesis that the universe
is finite and expanding leads to certain
predictions about the colour of light
from spiral nebulae which can be
tested. But the mathematician builds,
so to speak, in the void. This is perfectly legitimate provided he does not
suppose that the real world must conform to his theories. It mayor may not
be so. The creation hypothesis can
only be tested by its observable consequences to-day. One would suppose that an intelligent creator would
intervene, by further creative acts, in
favour of the finite minds of his creation. Sir James Jeans admits that
there is no evidence for this view.
Until such evidence is forthcoming I
shall continue to regard creation as an
unverified hypothesis. .. [emphasis
Oparin, of course, is (as above indicated) a
citizen of the U.S.S.R. and an Atheist.
There follows Kenyon's interpretation of
the "organic soup" which Haldane and
Oparin envisaged in the primeval oceans.
Kenyon outlines five assumptions which
Haldane and Oparin made in framing their
(1) The Earth's primitive atmosphere
either contained no molecular oxygen, or

October 1986

only trace amounts of it.

(2) Large amounts of biomonomers accumulated on the surface of the primitive
Earth. Biomonomers are amino acids, sugars, purines and pyrimidines, i.e., chemical
compounds the small molecules of which
can combine to form larger molecules that
contain repeated structural units of the original molecules.
(3) Living matter seemed to have a preference for L-amino acids.
(4) Substantial amounts of primitive proteins and nucleic acids accumulated on the
primitive Earth.
(5) Some of the molecules in protocells
contained biologic, i.e., genetic information.
Your author is an attorney. I have no idea if
these five assumptions were posited by Haldane and Oparin or not. There is no reference given. It is impossible for me to do
research without the biochemical education
I do not have. Although I have a general
science background and included much
science in my university studies, I began
those studies in a university in 1936 - just
fifty years ago. As are other laymen confronted with statements such as this, I can
only use my intelligence, and analytical mind,
to attempt to evaluate what is put forth.
However, checking the chapter on "Primitive Soup" in Oparin's Genesis and Evolutionary Development of Life (London: Academic Press, 1968), I find that his statements
were other than Kenyon discusses:
There is no doubt that the abiogenic
of carbon compounds on the Earth's surface and in
its atmosphere and hydrosphere preceding the appearance of life were
accomplished under conditions differing widely from those at present. Basically these differences are reduced
to the following closely connected
1. The absence on the primeval
Earth of a radiation belt, which ... was
formed as a result of motion in the
Earth's crust approximately 2.5 billion
years ago. Prior to this corpuscular
radiation of the sun could freely reach
the Earth's surface.
2. The absence in the pre-actualistic
atmosphere of free oxygen, which
excluded direct extensive oxidation of
reduced carbon compounds.
3. Abundance of short-wave ultraviolet radiation permeating the whole
atmosphere and reaching the Earth's
surface ....
At present, we do not have such
conditions on the Earth's surface in a
natural environment. The ionizing
particles emitted by the sun for the
most part are captured by the Earth's
magnetic field and deflected, forming
a belt of radiation. The entire ter-

American Atheist

-restrial sphere is surrounded at a

height of thirty km above its surface
with an:ozone shield which obstructs
the passage to us of short "wave ultra,
violet radiation. The atmosphere, the
upper layers of the soil, and the whole
hydrosphere are very rich in free
I have quoted the information concerned
with the oxygen statements at length since
Kenyon makes much of this fact that the
assumption that the Earth's primitive atmosphere either contained no molecular
oxygen, or only trace amounts
is especially important since 02 would
have prevented any significant chemical evolution from the primitive gases
to more complex compounds.
Miller Experiments
Kenyon then switches to the Miller experiments asserting that these were a test of
the Haldane-Oparin hypothesis. Miller enclosedmethane, ammonia, water vapor, and
molecular hydrogen in a closed glass apparatus to simulate the hypothetical primitive atmosphere of Earth.
It is immediately apparent that no laboratory closed glass apparatus could come
close to approximating what Oparin described above. In any event, however, the
chemical products of the experiment have
been found to be "some of the amino acids
which occur in proteins," "small amounts of
numerous organic compounds," and "microscopic protocell units."
Organic means "living"; inorganic is nonliving,inert. That amino acids which occur in
proteins, organic compounds and microscopic protocell units were found indicates
that from the inorganic can come the
But problems are immediately apparent to
Kenyon from the dim prehistoric past, problems which are made manifest not from
research but from the Christian heart. These
problems when stated make your author
want to ask Kenyon the old gag line of the
1930s, "Vas you dere, Charlie?"
(1) Problems with Assumptions about
Early Atmosphere.
There is now evidence from some of the
Earth's oldest rocks that the primitive
atmosphere had significant amounts of 02.
(2) Problems with Assumptions about Primordial Soup.
There is no "geological evidence" for the
existence of an "organic soup."
(3) Problems with Assumptions of Experiments.
Only tiny amounts of biochemicals are
formed in the Miller experiment. Biopolymers are not detectable.

Austin, Texas

At this point Kenyon goes into an extensive non sequitur. Having introduced the
Haldane-Oparin hypothesis, its support by
the Miller experiments, and indications of
his inability to upset the hypothesis, he
charges full ahead with a statement that
there might have been a problem in the
primeval age of "potentially interfering
cross-reactions" as inorganic was turned to
organic in the primitive soup. He whines
(the only applicable word) that this problem
has been largely neglected in much of the
published work on the chemical origins of
life. He then concludes that "the possibility
of . . . laboratory simulation of chemical
events likely to have occurred on the primitive earth is extremely remote."
One can only ask, then why did he bring it
up? It was a red herring so that he could use
confabulation to impress the lay readers of
his affidavit. In addition, he puts himself in a
posture of being assisted in his theoretics by
Haldane, Oparin, and Miller. The uninitiated
would have a difficult time unraveling his
(4) Problem of Origin of Information
Kenyon continues that from all of the
above he has had personal "growing
doubts" concerned with life on earth having
begun by purely chemical and physical
means. The "naturalistic" origin of life has
not been demonstrated to him. He is, however, open to acceptance of the theory that
"god did it," by spontaneous creation.
Nature could not; god could. And, that is the
summation of his argument. How god could
manage allof this out of nothing when nature
at least had random chance and primitive
soup is not explained.
Feeling he has cleverly destroyed the ideas
of biochemical evolution he turns to the theory he desires to advance:
Biochemical Creation
Again, on the theory that the bigger the lie
the more quickly it will be received and
accepted he states uncategorically that:
The creation-science theory of the origin
of life is based on a detailed analysis of
laboratory information from molecular biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, the
simulation experiments on chemical evolution, as well as relevant aspects of physics,
geology, astrophysics, probability and information theory.
He, himself, or the theorists he follows,
have put forth no information from any of
these disciplines! These are the fields in
which true scientists labor. This is, however,
only the beginning. He goes on from this
relatively mild (for him) false statement to
discuss what he labels "information content."
At the heart of the molecular activity of all

October 1986

living cells is the genetic coding and proteinsynthesizing machinery which stores and
translates biologic information: the DNA.
Whence the DNA? His answer is that there
is no experimental evidence now to tell us
how these formed then.
Scientists have postulated that DNA
formed abiotic ally in the primitive soup or
that prebiotic DNA contained the biologic
information. Rather than accepting the uncertain, attempting to speculate theoretically with information at hand, he can only
accept the god solution. Casting back in
one's imagination, one can see god sitting on
a cloud stringing together - from nothing at
all - the proteins and the aminoacylsynthetases needed to link the amino acids to
their respective transfer RNA molecules.
Kenyon reverts next to the old, old religious argument of analogy. All of the words
on the page that the justices of the U.S.
Supreme Court are reading did not get
there by chance.
On the contrary, we know that the pattern
of ink markings on the page you are reading
was impressed on the ink by the printing
device. Preexisting, intelligently designed
type was intelligently arranged to form the
text. The information was impressed on the
matter from the "outside."
And, we are back to god, again. It all
requires "intelligent design and engineering
knowhow [sic]." God had it all: "the characteristic order of the system must be
impressed on matter from the outside" by
that great outsider - god.
Another standard religious reply is that of
Kenyon calls upon this also, casting back
to Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe and their Evolution from Space (New
York: Simon & Schuster, 1981).
These authors argue that the probability
of the "spontaneous" origin of living matter
can be no greater than one chance in 10 to
the 40,000 power "and is probably lower."
Therefore, they conclude, the origin of life
must have required an intelligence of some
kind which was the source of the original
biologic information. This intelligence designed the enzymes and other molecules of
the living cell.
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe further maintain that this preformed genetic material
had "an extraterrestrial source."
God did it ail, carefully, as he peered
through his electronic microscope, sitting
on a cloud out in the far, far universe.
Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that
one wonders why it is not widely accepted
as being self-evident, Kenyon remarks:
Obviously, in their view, one's reasoning about the origin of the first life

Page 45

can have profound implications for

one's view on the subsequent evolution of life as well.
Kenyon needs something to clinch it. He
needs to make a statement that "is overpowering with evidentiary proof, and about
which the average justice or judge would
know nothing. He goes to isomers. Now, an
isomer is a compound, radical, ion, or nuclide isomeric with one or more others. Well,
what is an isomeric? That which exhibits
isomerism. What is isomerism? The relation
of two or more compounds, radicals, or ions
that contain the same numbers of atoms of
the same elements but differ in structural
arrangement and properties. What is a
nuclide? It is a species of atom characterized
by the constitution of its nucleus and hence
by the number of protons, the number of
neutrons, and the energy content. We are
getting closer, but what does Justice RehnQuist think it is? Will Powell understand?

The organic matter which Miller created

from his simulated primitive soup consistently produced compounds which were
half-and-half Lamino acids and D-amino
acids. But, living matter prefers Lamino
acids. This is called "isomer preference."
Other researchers have attempted to find
natural conditions under which the L-amino
acids preferentially accumulated over the 0amino acids, but they continue to be halfand-half. Kenyon pontificates, "Until this
crucial problem is solved, no one can say
that we have found a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life."
What have we found then? Simply that
these first organic compounds seem, at this
level, to split fifty-fifty? No, what we have
found is god.
Kenyon identifies this as a "Chemical
Tendency away from Life."
Creation-scientists feel unless man, in his
full glory, springs from the test tube that the

evidence now of emerging organic lifethen is

not sufficient.
What the hell, three billion years and other
conditions could make no difference in god's
divine plan.
Kenyon's conclusion, is for him, inescapable:
These "scientific considerations" form the
core of biochemical creation and show that
it is just as scientific as chemical evolution,
in fact, is preferable in scientific plausibility.
He has shown, however, no scientific considerations at all for his god theory. His criticism of the attempts of the scientists who
are working hard to come to some information concerned with the origin of life has, in
fact, been quite shallow. But, his conclusion
is so warped that it must be given in detail:
These scientific considerations form
the core of biochemical creation, and
show that it is as scientific as chemi-

Will science go under down under as well as in the U.S.? It seems that Australian universities
are also contaminated with creationism if this article from the Australian Post- Times of
August 8, 1986, is an example.

dvocating creation rather than evoA lution
has made La Trobe University

senior lecturer, Dr. Charles Pallagy, something of an outcast among his colleagues.
But he feels his stand is paying off.
Dr. Pallaghy is a cheerful and pleasant man
who would probably fit in at the university's
biological sciences school with no fuss but for his belief that God created life.
More particularly, it is his outspoken
stance on the topic that has put him offside
with other staff on philosophical or scientific
grounds if nothing else.
"I have lost most of my scientific friends,
because they don't really want to be associated in public with me," Dr. Pallaghy
says. "But it's paying off after many years of
Dr. Pallaghy says many opposing the creation theory have told him he has been of
real value to them because they have always
been teaching evolution without ever investigating it themselves.
He is not yet satisfied. He and other "creationist" lecturers at Australian universities
have been forbidden to criticise the theory of
evolution in lectures or to mention creation.
"Well, the university tries to present education on a very broad base to encourage

Page 46

people to think for themselves, and to learn

methods of logic," he says. "But the university is peculiar in this one aspect in that one
is free to teach any kind of theory of science
so long as it bears no relation to the Bible.
"I think people are being deliberately led
away from God, and from that point of view
it is a biased indoctrination against God."
Dr. Pallaghy delivers such statements in a
surprisingly calm way considering his determination to let people know what he
believes universities are doing.
He did not have to be prompted to speak
plainly, regardless of how La Trobe's leadership might react.
Five staff members of the biological sciences school wrote to the international
science magazine, Nature, in May following
publication of letters from Dr. Pallaghy,
including one on Noah's Ark.
The writers, I. W. B. Thornton, P. A. Parsons, B. A. Stone, J. S. Waid and A. B.
Wardrop, said the creationist position had
been refuted in detail many times.
They said they did not deny an academic's
right to put forward whatever opinions he
believed worthy through whatever extracurricular forum he was able to use.
"We do however, dissociate ourselves

October 1986

absolutely from the creationist views expressed by Dr. Pallaghy in Nature and elsewhere ....
"We wish it to be placed on record that Dr.
Pallaghy's creationist pronouncements are
strictly his own personal opinions and are
not part of our school's curricula."
Dr. Pallaghy is convinced the public has
been hugely deceived and misled about the
origin of lifeand believes God wants him and
others to put the "true" position.
But surely creation has been shown to be
at loggerheads with science?
Not according to Dr. Pallaghy, who believes the Bible and science are in agreement.
He joined the university in 1971 as a plant
biologist and through research began to
believe that life is all its complexity could not
have arisen by chance.
Dr. Pallaghy decided there must be a God
and "started talking to this unknown God
each night."
Dr. Pallaghy came to believe in the Bible
and became a Christian in 1975.
Believing in God had a devastating effect
on his research for a couple of years.
"I had always prided myself that as a scientist Iwas here to explore and discover things

American Atheist

cal evolution, and in fact is preferable

in scientific plausibility to chemical
evolution. These are weighty issues of
fact. Evidence often taken to support
a naturalistic chemical origin of life,
actually, upon close analysis, points
in another direction, namely, toward
the conclusion that the first life was
created. The data of molecular bioi
ogy, especially the details of the
geneticcoding and prctein-synthesizing systems, lend further powerful
support to this view. Probability
arguments applied to the problem of
the origin of genetic information also
confirm the creationist view of ongins. Laboratory data and theoretic
arguments concerning the origin of
thefirst life lead one to doubt the euolution of subsequent forms of life. The
fossil record and other lines of evi
dence confirm this suspicion. In short,

that no one had ever known before, and now

I realise that I was just finding out what
someone else had already built!
"Myego was shattered," Dr. Pallaghy said,
laughing,"Not that I was ever a great scientist, but those were my hopes."
He thinks God had to give him a very humblingexperience so he could take up science
for God, and advocate creation as a viable
explanation for the universe and life.
Dr. Pallaghy believes there are many flaws
in the theory of evolution which cannot be
overcome, but acknowledges evolutionists
willcome up with answers to explain the
"So it comes back to what we want to
prefer to believe."
He and Mr. Jeff Harvey have written a
book called The Bible and Science dealing
withtopics including evolution.
About 4000 copies have been sold in Australia since last year, and an Indonesian language edition is on sale in that country.
Dr. Pallaghy believes micro-evolution or
variation within a kind does occur but does
not believe evolution can account for the
originof life or for humans developing from
another animal.
"Both evolution and creation are belief systems, and the sad thing is that evolution is
taught as fact," he says.
"Of course in the church we teach the
Bibleas fact."
Dr. Pallaghy is married to Milena who
teaches language history at Tem plestowe
High School and says she shares most of her
husband's beliefs, but not all.
They live in Bundoora and have two children - Paul aged 20, who is doing third year
physics and maths at La Trobe and Jenny
aged 18, who is in her first year at the univer-

Austin, Texas

when all the available evidence is

carefully assessed in toto, the euolutionary story of origins appears significantly less probable than the creotionist view.

science books themselves. He is upset that

college level biology textbooks do not contain creation-science material.

Kenyon sees every being spontaneously

created "from outside" by a purposeful
"intelligent designer" with "engineering abilities."
This is a far cry from his opening remark
that creation-science does not include "any
concepts from Genesis."
He closes his remarks with a statement on
the "Educational Merit of Balanced Presentation of Creation-Science with 'EvolutionBiased' Textbooks."
High school science texts contain whole
chapters written to give the impression that
evolution is the only reasonable explanation
of biologic origins.
Kenyon wants scientific creation in the

Therefore, the only reasonable thing to do

is to include creation-science not alone in
the classroom, but also in science textbooks, since all of the above theistic notions
can be presented in "a strictly scientific and
nonreligious sense, ... "
This statement is the ultimate nonsense of
the entire Kenyon affidavit.
The important consideration, however, is
that this was presented without rebuttal to
nine old men on the U. S. Supreme Court, all
of whom may well be biochemical illiterates
deeply steeped in Judeo-Christian religion,
all with a reverence for the Bible and consequently of the Genesis creation story. ~

sity doing biology, chemistry, and geology.

Dr. Pallaghy spends a lot of his time outside work in church activities and talking to
church groups about creation and evolution.
He attends the Calvary Bible College
Church in Croydon.
He also is very interested in sport, avidly
following the recent World Cup in Mexico
and the progress of Hawthorn and Collingwood in football.
"Naturally I enjoy going out and picnicking

and barbecues like anybody else, but my

driving motivation is to re-educate the public
about creation," he says.
This drive willtake him overseas for three
weeks to attend an international conference
on the origin of life, organised by the University of California. NASA - the U.S. space
agency, is hosting the event.
"Of course it's totally anti-creationist, but
you need to know the latest in the field so
you can keep up to date," Dr. Pallaghy says.

Educational Merit

Flaws in the theory of evolution cannot be
overcome, Dr. Charles Pallaghy believes.
He says one flaw concerns the origin of life
and the belief that living things will only
come from other living things.
"Evolutionists claim that they know the
origin of life but they don't, because each
experiment only shows up more problems,"
Dr. Pallaghy says.
The famous Uri-Miller experiments were
supposed to have synthesised molecules
which could lead to proteins and nucleic
"But what they don't say is that they have
only managed to synthesise a few of the
components - and that's a long step from
an organised code (in cells) like DNA."
Another "flaw" was that people claimed
they could artificially synthesise segments
of DNA which could be inserted into organisms and still function.
"So they say this proves that life can be
actually synthesised from just ordinary
"But what they never say or point out is
that in order to make this DNA and some of
the other components, they have to extract

October 1986

complicated enzymes from other living

things to catalyse these other reactions.
"So the principle is still there - that you
need life to make life."
Dr. Pallaghy says scientists say DNA can
be replicated in a test tube but for this they
need an enzyme called DNA - polymerase,
which can only be made by cells.
The chance of such a molecule ever
assembling itself was one in 20 to the power
of 1000, or one chance in 20 times 20 times
20 a thousand times.
"This is a number so large in astronomical
terms that Fred Hoyle, the famous astronomer, would consider that a zero possibility," Dr. Pallaghy says.
He says the evolutionist, Charles Darwin,
thought complex living things arose from
the simple by gradual progression - even
though the fossil evidence pointed against
this in Darwin's time.
"He thought that in time people would find
those transitional fossils, but it's only in the
past 15 years that biologists are beginning
to admit that those gaps are real," Dr. Pallaghy says. ~

Page 47

A response to the creationists down under by American Atheists member Ian Bock as it
appeared in the July 15, 1986, Post- Times -


o scientific evidence for creation has
ever been unearthed, according to La
Trobe University senior lecturer Dr. Ian
Dr. Bock has worked at the university
department of genetics and human variation
for the past nine years and was asked by the
Post- Times about evolution and creation.
The Post- Times ran a feature in its July 8
edition on another La Trobe senior lecturer,
Dr. Charles Pallaghy, who firmly believes life
was created by God rather than having
Dr. Bock has provided the following written answers to reporter Tim King's questions:
What are your general reactions to
Dr. Pallaghy's statements?
1. Evolutionary theory (like marine ecology or plant anatomy or human genetics) is a
specialised branch of biology.
2. Dr. Pallaghy is not a specialist in evolutionary theory. The "problems" which he
thinks he sees in evolutionary theory do not
Do you agree that people are being
deliberately led away from god (at university)? Dr. Pallaghy made this statement.
This question presumes the existence of
"god." Since I can find no evidence of any
description for the existence of the Christian
(or any other) god (or gods)', Icannot answer
the question.
Do you feel that the Bible/Christianity/ other religious beliefs have any place
in discussion/exploration of science?
No. 1. Science is based on investigation,
analysis, and reasoning. Religions are based
on faith. Since the latter is the antithesis of
the former, it is clearly completely incompatible with it.
2. The Christian religion in particular is a
distillation of many preexisting superstitions,
with some novel elements thrown in.
The Christian Bible is a mix of fable,
absurdities, contradictions, and immoralities, with (perhaps) a little actual history
interspersed. It has no more claim to be
taken seriously than the holy book of any
other system of superstition.
Should scientists/universities look at
the possibility of creation as well as evolution, or is creation irrational/unfounded in these days? ... Why?

Page 48

Science should consider the possibility of

creation if there is any evidence for it, but to
date, no scientific evidence for creation has
ever been unearthed.
All the "evidence" presented by creationists amounts to nothing more than the
mythology of previous ages, usually unskillfully combined with quotations from evolutionary textbooks taken completely out of
context and/or entirely misunderstood.
Should creation and evolution be
looked at in science lectures, or has discussion of creation no place in lectures?
The above answers cover this point, i.e.,
evolution is part of science, creationism is
Discussion of creation will have a valid
place in lectures when there is some evidence for creation. Until then, the creation
mythologies of the Christian Bible have no
more claim to mention than (for example)
the Oriental belief that the world is supported on the back of a giant elephant which
itself is standing on top of a giant tortoise.
Is believing in evolution or in creation
a matter of what one prefers to believe?
It is not as simplistic as this. If one "prefers" to be rational, one will favor the most
probable explanation for whatever phenomenon is in question - in this case, that evolution is the best explanation for the diversity
of life on earth.
If one "prefers" to follow the dictates of
some particular religion, one should subscribe to whatever system of creeds that
religion specifies, although adherents of religions appear to be astonishingly adaptable
in what they accept and what they prefer to
Thus, while many "Christians" happily
accept evolution, some profess literal credence in the conflicting mythologies of Genesis 1 and 2 - itself an accomplished act of
what George Orwell (author of Nineteen
Eighty-Four) designated "doublethink."
Are there firm facts/grounds on which
to choose to believe that the theory of
evolution accounts for life?
It is not a matter of "choosing to believe."
Acceptance of evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of lifeon earth follows
from rational, scientific investigation. The
evidence in favor of evolution is overwhelming (although it appears to be largely or
completely unknown to creationists).

October 1986

Is there a difference between micro

and macroevolution, or is this an arbitrary division made by creationists to
support their position?
Natural phenomena can of course be
classified in many different ways, and in this
(trival) sense one may speak of the larger
evolutionary changes which accumulate
over extremely long periods of time as
"macroevolution" (to distinguish them from
the smaller, short-term changes then designated "microevolution").
But all evidence quite clearly indicates
that the larger, very long-term evolutionary
changes derive from nothing more than successive accumulations of very small changes.
In this (fundamental) sense, there is no
such thing as "macroevolution," and it is
indeed an arbitary division which the creationists have used, perhaps quite cynically,
to try to shore up their creaky foundations.
Are evolution and creation belief systems, and is one more reasonable than
the other? Why?
I personally have nothing which I would
term a "belief system." I accept evolution as
the most probable (and indeed the only)
explanation for the diversity of life on earth;
but if anybody can offer a more probable
explanation, I would be happy to consider it
and, if the evidence proves convincing,
accept it.
I believe that most scientists share this
view. (I must emphasize that by "evidence" I
mean rational scientific evidence, not the
blatantly preposterous mythologies of the
Christian or any other bible.)
The Post- Times tried to contact five others at La Trobe's biological sciences school
who wrote to the international science magazine, Nature, in May about Dr. Pallaghy.
In their letter they said they absolutely
dissociated themselves from the creationist
views which he expressed in Nature and
Professor Ian Thornton, of zoology, said
he was too busy to "buy into this" discussion
but that he found Dr. Pallaghy very pleasant
as a colleague.
Professor Bruce Stone, of biochemistry,
said he wanted to talk with "Charlie" before
commenting, while Professor John Waid of
micro-biology was in Indonesia. ~

American Atheist

n1886, C. B. Reynolds was tried in
New Jersey, for blasphemy; Robert G. Ingersoll, the "Great Ag-

nostic,"spoke on his behalf at his trial.

Ingersoll'saddress to that jury has long
beenconsidered by Atheists to be a most
poignantplea for freedom of speech and
libertyof thought. Rightly so, for who
havingread them can forget Ingersoll's
lastwords to the jury:
I sincerely hope that it willnever
be necessary again, under the flag
ofthe United States - that flagfor
which has been shed the bravest
and best blood of the world under that flag maintained by
Washington,by Jefferson, by Franklin and by Lincoln - under that
flagin defence of which New Jersey poured out her best and bravest blood - I hope it willnever be
necessary again for a man to stand
before a jury and plead for the Liberty of Speech.
"The Trial of C. B. Reynolds: Robert G.
Ingersoll's Address to the Jury" was
quicklyprinted after the trial and just as

quickly became a classic of freethought

literature. One hundred years later, it is
still widely read by Atheists and is rightly
considered a hallmark plea for freedom
of speech.
Yet very few of the Atheists who have
read that address know anything about
Reynolds, the nitty-gritty of the trial, or
the reasons why the address was necessary. The only relic of Reynolds's struggle
which has survived the years is "Ingersoll's Address to the Jury."
Who was Reynolds? His parents immigrated from England shortly before his
birth in 1832. His mother died in his birth,
and his father left him an orphan by his
fifth birthday. Reynolds was in his early
years a member of the First -Day Adventists. After preaching for that group for
one year, he joined the Seventh-Day
Adventists in 1869.Apparently, however,
he got to know the other side of the coin
too well from reading the Boston Investigator and the New York Truth Seeker.
By 1883, he was a speaker at the New
York Freethinkers' Convention; by 1884,
he was chairman of the executive committee of the American Secular Union.
During the 1880s, The American Secu-

lar Union sponsored several traveling

freethought speakers and raised funds to
purchase tents for them in which to
speak, since most halls would not rent to
"blasphemers." The tents were not easily
acquired; their purchase required months
of patient fund-raising. C. B. Reynolds
was one of the speakers who used them,
touring the country for what was later to
be known as Atheism.
It was on one of these tours that C. B.
Reynolds pitched his "Liberal Tent" in
Boonton, New Jersey, on July 26, 1886,
intending to lecture there for several
nights. He was arrested on July 28 for the
crime of blasphemy.
The Truth Seeker acted at that time as
the weekly organ of the American Secular Union. Accordingly, it followed the
Reynolds trial with a particular interest
and sympathy. What were the reactions
of Reynolds's contemporaries?
The American Atheist is reproducing
the news of the trial as it appeared in The
Truth Seeker in a special three-part series. Just as Atheists one hundred years
ago anxiously followed the persecution of
C. B. Reynolds, Atheists today can savor
the meaning of censorship.


October 1986

Page 49

August 7, 1886
Reynolds Arrested For Blasphemy.
When C. B. Reynolds pulled up the stakes
of his tent and left Cayuga county, N.Y., to
fulfill an engagement in New Jersey, he
wrote "I go to Boonton, N.J., cheered and
encouraged by the good success at Montezuma." He willhardly say the same when he
takes the remains of his canvas tabernacle
out of Boonton. The tent has been wrecked
by Catholi'c and Methodist roughs, the lecturer mobbed and arrested on a charge of
Owing to a week's delay on the part of the
railroad, the tent was not pitched in Boonton
until Monday, July 26th. When the lecturer
stepped upon the platform that evening he
faced a fair-sized audience. The Booth family, five ladies and two gentlemen, sang an
introductory song, and Mr. Reynolds delivered his lecture. He also distributed some
seventy-five copies of The Truth Seeker, giving the latter only to those who asked for
them. There was little more that evening
than premonitions of coming trouble, in the
form of stones thrown upon the roof of the
tent, and one rope broken.
Tuesday night the tent was full, and outside was a howling mob of some two hundred
and fifty roughs, led and urged on by a pillar
of the church holding the position of section
boss on the railroad at Boonton. Another
ringleader was one William Brown, a coal
merchant. Mr. Reynolds, accompanying the
ladies of the Booth family, made his way,
with some difficulty, through the crowd, and
mounted the platform. The mob howled,
and threw stones at the tent. It speaks well
for the courage of the young ladies of the
choir that, in the face or this demonstration,
they arose and calmly sang the songs which
had been selected for the occasion. The lecturer then attempted to address the audience, but could scarcely make himself heard.
As the crowd grew more rabid and noisy,
the lecture was shortened, and the exercises
closed with a song. The continuance of the
meetings was announced from the platform.
Then the tent was cleared of the rabble.
Upon examination, it was found that two of
the smaller guy ropes holding the center
pole in position had been cut. Had the main
guy been severed the pole would have fallen,
and loss of life must have resulted. The lecturer did picket duty until midnight, dodging
an occasional stone that came through the
air from the hand of some friend of Christianity.
Wednesday morning the air was full of
threats against the Secular lecturer. Mr.
Reynolds, knowing the names of the leaders
of the mob of the previous evening, went
before a justice and entered complaint
against them. The justice was apparently
somewhat bewildered by this move. He so
far forgot his plain duty that, instead of issu-

Page 50

ing warrants for the arrest of the parties, he

handed the complaint to a marshal, with
instructions to show it to the persons therein
named. Mr. Reynolds, however, knew more
law than that, and after depositing $5 with
the justice succeeded in compassing the
arrests of James Neafie, a railroad laborer
and semi-Methodist; Josephus Dixon, merchant and Reformed churchman; William
Brown, dealer in coal and Reformed church
piety; H. G. Randall, a bridge-tender and
follower of Wesley, and George Hyler, a
coachman and Methodist.
Mr. Reynolds next notified the mayor that
he had reason to believe an attack on the
tent was contemplated, and asked for protection. The mayor being ill, the petitioner
had to be contented with seeing a daughterin-law, who said the mayor had ordered the
city marshal's presence at the tent. In the
evening he proceeded again to the tent, and
while lighting the lamps was arrested by the
marshal on a charge of blasphemy. He was
taken up-town to the lock-up, followed by a
threatening, hooting mob. The arrest had
evidently been timed so as to prevent a lecture being given that evening. Mr. Reynolds
waived examination, and asked for an adjournment. To show that it understood what
an adjournment meant, the court granted
the request, but demanded bail in the sum of
$300. This was found in the person of Mr.
Maxfield, a good Liberal of the town, and
Mr. Reynolds, escorted by the same rabble
that had followed him to court, returned to
the tent. The mob was tumultuous, but the
choir sang two songs as though nothing
unusual was expected. The lecturer opened
his discourse, and continued for about ten
minutes an ineffectual attempt to make himself heard. At the end of that time the marshal brought word from the mayor and
common council that they could no longer
guarantee protection or be responsible for
the consequences if the lecture was not
brought to a close at once. This was virtually
giving the place over into the hands of the
mob. The marshal expressed the opinion
that there would be bloodshed ifthe speaker
continued. Being of the same opinion himself, Mr. Reynolds, in the interests of peace,
acquiesced, and. dismissed the audience.
But it was one thing to dismiss an audience,
and another thing to get the audience to go.
Mr. Reynolds, therefore, had to content
himself with making his own escape, leaving
the tent in possession of the mob. Threats of
lynching, tar and feathers, stoning, and
drowning were freely made, and but for the
individual and collective bravery of the Booth
family Mr. Reynolds would without doubt
have been maltreated personally and thrown
into the Morris & Essex canal which ran
close by. This family deserves to be remembered. Charles Booth, the head, is a quiet

October 1986

and determined English Secularist who came

to this country nearly forty years ago. His
wife, Mrs. A. M. Booth, is one of those
splendid women fit to be chief executive of a
nation. The heroines who composed the
choir are Miss Kate Booth, Miss Ada Booth,
Miss Jessie Booth, and Miss Fannie Booth.
The sons are Hubert, Charles, and Thomas,
manly young men, who would not be the first
to seek a fight nor the first to leave one,
when forced into it. With John Krahmer, a
young Freethinker of New York, who was
helping Mr. Reynolds in the work connected
with the tent, they formed a guard that
brought Mr. Reynolds out of the affair with
whole bones and dry clothes. Before the
advance of the Booth family, led by the
intrepid mother, the crowd of roughs parted
like sheep.
When Mr. Reynolds visited the tent
ground on Thursday morning, his beloved
tabernacle lay flat upon the ground, an
almost total wreck. The main and auxiliary
guys had been cut by the Christians, and the
tent had fallen upon the benches and chairs,
the heavy center-pole breaking several of
the latter in its descent. When the fragments
were gathered together, Mr. Reynolds estimated that Boonton would have a bill of
several hundred dollars to pay.
On Friday Mr. Reynolds was served with
the following order:
Boonton, N.J., July 30, 1886.
Mr. C. B. Reynolds, Sir:
At a special meeting of the Common Council of the town of Boonton,
held on Thursday evening, July 28,
1886, the following resolution was
"Resolved, That the town clerk be
authorized to notify Mr. C. B. Reynolds that he is strictly forbidden to
hold any more of his so-called Liberal
but unlawful meetings within the corporate limits of the town of Boonton."
In accordance with the above resolution you are hereby notified to discontinue all such meetings within the
corporate limits.
By order of the Common Council of
the town of Boonton.
John Dunn, Town Clerk.
The tent having been demolished, this, of
course, was adding insult to injury. Mr. Revnolds sent back word to the council that
they had exhibited the most monumental
asinine stupidity on record. He then quietly
awaited developments.
The examination on the charge of blasphemy took place Saturday, the 31st ultlimo J. Following is the complaint. It is a product of the combined literary abilities of the
deponent and the justice of the peace. The

American Atheist

indictment reads:
State of New Jersey, SS.
Morris Co.
Wm. Brown, of said county, on his
oath saith that on the evening of July
27, 1886, he was at a public meeting
held in a large tent for that purpose
situate on the westerly side of Washington street, Boonton, N.J., and was
addressed by one C. B. Reynolds; and
said Reynolds publicly blasphemed
the holy name of God by denying and
contumaciously reproaching the being
and existence of God and of the scriptures as contained in the books of the
Old and New Testament by speaking
of man in [sic] "being made of the
dust" and saying that used the dust up
so he put man to sleep and took a rib
out of him and made woman and
remarked in a ridiculous manner (who
believes such nonsense) and spoke of
the Bible saying of birds and fish were
made out of water and said the Bible
spoke in another chapter of the same
animals being made of clay and remarked (who believes such nonsense)
trying to prove the scripture false and
making fun of and ridiculing the Bible
and diverse other remarks, therefore
the deponent prays that said Reynolds may be arrested and dealt with
according to law.
William Brown.
Sworn and subscribed 28th day of
July, 1886, before me, John A.
Van Orden, Justice of the Peace.
To enable the reader to reach the gist of
this remarkable document without the labor
of analyzing it, the charges against Mr. Reynolds may be enumerated as follows:
1. He addressed Brown in a large tent for
that purpose.
2. Blasphemed the holy name of God.
3. Denied and "contumaciously
reproached" the being and existence of God
and the Bible.
4. Spoke of man as being made of dust.
5. Said "that used the dust all up."
6. Put man to sleep.
7. Took a rib out of him and made woman.
8. Remarked in a ridiculous manner.
9. Ridiculed the Bible and diverse other
The examination was held in the ballroom
of the United States Hotel, and the room
was crowded. At the head of the justice's
table sat Mr. Van Orden, locally known as
"Old Tootyache," once noted for possessing
all qualities but virtue, but now a stanch
Methodist; next to him sat Mr. Garrison, the
editor of the Boonton weekly Bulletin, a
deacon in the Methodist church, upon
whose cheek is a perennial color akin to the
bloom of peaches. Opposite the justice was

Austin, Texas

the prosecuting attorney, N. S. Kitchel, who

is looked down upon by even the indecent
portion of the community, so much lower
than they has he sunk by his spying and
repetition of village gossip. On the other side
sat Mr. Reynolds, with a Truth Seeker in his
hand, the pictures showing, much to the
amusement of some and the anger of others
of the audience. By the table, also, sat the
editor of The Truth Seeker, whom the
World of this city described as "a mysterious
stranger, who sat beside Mr. Reynolds, and
gave him pointers when needed." But no
points that Mr. Reynolds could raise, or the
editor suggest, were of any avail, nor did any
one expect they would be. The justice, terrorized by the prosecuting attorney, had
made up his mind to hold the prisoner for the
Grand Jury to indict, and the proceedings
were a perfect farce. AllMr. Reynolds could
do, therefore, was to draw into view the long
ears of the justice, and show the ignorance
and bitter spirit of the prosecution. The following is the official record of the proceedings, written out by the judge with vast
waste of the gray matter of the brain, and
profuse expenditure of ink. When he was
visited Monday morning for this copy, his
good right hand was covered with writingfluid and his brow with perspiration. He
complained of being "overhet." The document is as unique in its way as is the justice
the author dispenses in his court. It cost Mr.

October 1986

Reynolds one dollar:

State of New Jersey
Chas. B. Reynolds.
On Complaint of Wm. Browne [sic]
for Blasphemy.
Evidence of Wm. Brown.
Question by N. S. Kitchel, Esq.;
Did you attend a meeting held in a
tent on the northerly side of Washington street in Boonton?
Ans. by Wm. Brown:
I Did.
Ques. by Mr. Kitchel:
Did you see this man Reynolds
Ans.: I did.
Tell us what he said.
Ans. by Brown:
Well he said that in a certain part of
the Bible it said God made Everything
the Birds the Beasts the Fishes &
everything out of water and in another
place it says that God made Adam out
of dust and he wanted to make a mate
for Adam but the Old Man had used
up all the Dust in making Adam so he
did not know just what to do so he put
Adam to sleep I don't know whether it
was with Ether or Chloroform and
took a rib out of Adam to make a

Page 51

Woman, now you all know ifyou took

every Bone in a Man's Body it would
not make the Jaw of a Woman. Who
believes any such nonsense. In that
way he tried to ridicule the Bible &
God and said he took a piece of a
verse here & there.
Mr. Reynolds asked him if he knew
of any verse that he took a part of?
Ans: No.
Ques, by Mr. Reynolds:
Do you know that it was the Bible I
was reading from?
I do not.
Are you familiar with the Bible I
guess not?
Brown did not answer.
Evidence of George Hessey.
Question by Mr. Kitchel:
Have you ever seen this man Reynolds or talked. Have you heard or
had a conversation with him.
Question objected. Objection overruled.
Ans. by Hessey:
Mr. Kitchel:
Tell the Court what you know about
him - Reynolds.
Ans. by Hessey:
I met Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Cramer
[sic]. Mr. Reynolds asked me about
what I thought of his Lectures. I answered him that I had a complete set
of Ingersoll's works at home but I am
satisfied that there is no truth in them
nor in your Lectures.
(Objected to. Objection overruled.)
I believe the Bible is true, and your
Lectures are nothing in them but ridicule. Mr. Reynolds's answer was that
is our argument to ridicule and make
The complainant then rested.
The defendant C. B. Reynolds then
moved to dismiss the Complaint because it did not charge him the Defendant with Blasphemy, & said the
words who believes such nonsense
sworn to in the Complaint was stated
there as the words of Brown the complainant and said if those words were
Blasphemous Brown was the blasphemer. I refused to Dismiss the
complaint as the words attributed to
Brown by the Defendant were the
words of the Defendant as I understood the complaint .& as clearly appeared by the Testimony of Brown.
The Defendant then offered as evidence John Cramer [sic].
Counsel for complainant objected
to his being sworn because he was not
competent; he then Examined him on

Page 52

his Voire dire.

Question by Mr. Kitchel: Do you
believe there is a God?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Do you believe the Bible
is true?
Answer: No.
Question: What punishment willbe
administered to you if you swear
Answer: I will be punished by the
Laws of the state for perjury.
Question by Mr. Kitchel:
Do you believe any punishment will
be inflicted upon you by almighty God
if you swear Falsely?
Answer: I dont know.
Mr. Kitchel then read from Nixon's
digest as follows unless the Witness
believes there is a God who willpunish
him if he swears falsely he cannot be
admitted as a witness.
I then asked the witness several
questions concerning his respecting
the Character & Attributes of God;
he said he was an Agnostic & had no
views on the subjects.
I then thought it to be clearly my
duty to exclude him as a witness.
J. A. Van Orden, J.P.
Wehave preserved the construction of
this document for the benefit of coming
generations. It is, however, incomplete. Mr.
Van Orden made it out for his side, not for
the other, and the Truth Seeker editor was
compelled to labor with him for an hour or
more to get him to insert anything that Mr.
Reynolds said, or objected to the other side
saying. His frequent threats to lock Mr.
Reynolds up if he did not keep still; his own
ignorant blundering, made worse by his furious anger; the silly questioning, by himself
and the prosecuting attorney, of Mr. Krahmer; the frequent laughter of the audience at
the pitfalls Mr. Reynolds led him into; his
arbitrary ruling out of a competent witness,
and the admission of the irrelevant rehearsal
of an imaginary private conversation by a
coal-heaver - all these are left out, that the
glory of New Jersey justice may more
The first witness, Wm. Brown, is a
"heeler" for the Young Men's Christian
Association and' the Woman's Christian
Temperance Union. He admitted, on crossexamination, that he was not familiar with
the Bible, and acknowledged that he could
not specify what verses Mr. Reynolds took
"pieces" of to ridicule the creation account.
Hessey, the second witness, was not at the
tent, and his sworn version of a conversation
was, as Mr. Reynolds told him in court,
manifest perjury. But it was when Mr. Reynolds called Mr. Krahmer to give the true
version of the language used that the inquisitorial spirit of the prosecution and the long

October 1986

ears of the judge showed most plainly. The

New Jersey statute reads that a person who
does not believe in a supreme being is not a
competent witness. Nixon's Digest has it
that a belief in future rewards and punishments is necessary to a witness's competency. The first question asked Mr. Krahmer
Q. Do you believe in a God? A. Yes.
Q. Do you believe in the Bible? A. No.
Mr. Reynolds claimed that, according to
the laws of the state, the witness was entitled
to take the oath, and, in any event, to affirm.
Some of the ridiculous questions put to Mr.
Krahmer were:
By the Court: Wouldn't an oath be as
binding upon you if taken upon an almanac
as upon the Bible?
To this Mr. Krahmer returned no answer.
By the Prosecution: What effect would it
have upon God if you told a lie? A. I don't
Q. What effect would it have upon you
with God if you told a lie? A. I don't know.
The attorney then got sufficient control of
his temper and tongue to put his question in
this way:
Q. What effect would it have upon you if
you tell a lie? A. I should be amenable to the
law punishing perjury.
Then the justice broke in:
Q. What would God do to you if you tell a
lie? A. To the justice: What would he do to
you? Reply by the justice: I don't know.
Answer by Mr. Krahmer to the first question: Neither do I.
By the Court: Don't you know what you
believe about future rewards and punishments? A. No.
By the Court: Then you are not a competent witness.
By the Prosecution: The laws of New Jersey say you must believe something. New
Jersey rules out Infidels, Freethinkers, and
Truth Seekers.
Ex-Mayor Worman said that he could
bring two good Christians who would refute
the prosecution's witnesses, but upon calling their names they were found to have
absented themselves. Mr. Reynolds then
concluded he had seen enough of Jersey
justice, and, after again asking for the dismissal of the case, and getting the usual
refusal, let the matter go, remarking that he
thought that in Morristown he could find a
court and lawyers who knew something.
Mr. Van Orden bowed his head as though
in prayer, and pronounced judgment to the
effect that Mr. Reynolds must give bail in the
sum of $400 to await the action of the grand
jury of Morris county, which would assemble at Morristown on the second Tuesday of
October. A bail bond was prepared, after
much laborious work and many erasures, by
the judge, and signed by Mr. Reynolds and
Councilman James Maxfield. Mr. Maxfield
is one of the oldest and most respected resi-

American Atheist

At The Universities

It never stopped. In March 1978the media

began to report that John N. Moore had
been including the theory of creation by god
in his introductory science courses at Michigan State University. He backed down
opposition under the banner of academic
freedom. At the same time it was found that
Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio,
and Iowa State University both had similar
college-level courses.
The Chicago Tribune newspaper in
March revealed that was just the beginning.
Michigan State University students were not
alone in taking Moore's rational alternative
creationist science course for credits; the
West Virginia College of Graduate Studies
was offering a crash course for both views,
and noncredit seminars on the same were
being held at University of Vermont, Oklahoma State University, San Diego State College, University of Michigan, Northwestern
University, Fresno State College, University
of Texas, and Iowa State University.
On April 11, 1978, the National Bible
Knowledge Association, Inc. filed a suit in
the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.,
to bar the Smithsonian Institution from
promoting evolution. The organization
asked that the Smithsonian be enjoined
from its scheduled $463,200 display on evolution. If the display was not stopped, the
organization asked that an equal amount of
money be spent to present the biblical
account of creation. The suit claimed that
the Smithsonian received 90 percent of its
financing from federal funds and that it was
"establishing a religion of secular humanism
to the complete and utter violation of the
government's role of neutrality in religious
In July the chairman of the English department at Crow High School in Springfield,Oregon, requested that creationism be
taught in the public schools of that city. His
basic premises were simple:
No one can prove scientifically how
the universe or life originated. These
unrepeatable events occurred before
human observation.
Only two possibilities exist. Things
either made themselves, or were made
by something other than themselves.
Organization either arises spontaneously from the nature of the universe,
or the universe was organized by a
power other than itself. These alternatives are irreconcilable opposites. One
of them must be true; both cannot be.
Evidence for either is automatically
evidence against the other.
The evolutionists had the general reply of
stating that creationism was a religious
explanation; that it was not science nor

Austin, Texas

based upon scientific investigation. They did

not realize that as long as they honored
Judeo-Christianity and the god idea, that
this statement simply put off the confrontation, it did not solve it.
Immediately then they went to the defensive:
There are three entirely different
aspects ... These are: (1) The origin of
the physical universe including the
Earth, (2) the origin of life on Earth,
and (3) organic evolution, that is, the
evolution of present living species
from previously existing species. The
origin of the universe is appropriate
for discussion by geologists and physicists .... The origin of life on Earth is
appropriate for discussion by biochemists. The evolution of species
from previously existing species ... is
for biologists.
All of the above are matters of
science. They are "science" because
they are subject to investigation by
scientific methods which involve asking questions, establishing hypotheses (proposed answers to the questions), then testing these hypotheses
experimentally or by assembling a
mass of descriptive evidence, then
judging the validity or invalidity of
each hypothesis. These are the classical methods of science.
It was the clearest, shortest explanation that
had appeared in the media in years.
On December 11, 1978, the Federal District Court ruled against the religious groups
which had sued the Smithsonian:
This is not a situation where the
Smithsonian has put an unconstitutional condition on plaintiffs' exercise
of their belief. The plaintiffs can carry
their beliefs into the museum with
them, though they risk seeing science
exhibits contrary to that faith.

In Georgia, in November of 1978,the state

school board agreed that local school boards
in Georgia could decide to teach evolution,
creation, both, or neither in "life science
classes." In its monthly meeting, the Atlanta
school board adopted the state textbook
committee's recommendation without debate.
The 1970s were not over yet; it had one
more year to go when in Georgia a bill (H.B.
69) was introduced into the legislature to
mandate that public schools offer studies of
the creation theory as well as the evolution
theory in science classes. In August there
were public hearings by a special House
education subcommittee.
Local school
boards already had the power to implement
such a policy but the creationist sponsors of

October 1986

the bill accused the state Department of

Education of using its influence to see that
only the evolution theory was taught. At the
hearing it was revealed that ten Georgia
school districts had already approved the
teaching of both theories. The state Board of
Education, however, had approved eight
textbooks that offered parallel instruction
about evolution and "scientific creation."
In February 1979 a bill (S.F. 459) was
introduced into the Iowa Senate:
Whenever the origin of humankind
or the origin of earth is taught in the
educational program of the public
schools of this state, the concept of
creation as supported by scientific
evidence shall be included.
The Superintendent of the Department of
Public Instruction of the state issued a position paper that:
The science curriculum should
emphasize the theory of evolution as a
well-supported scientific theory - not
a fact.
Students should be advised that it is
their responsibility, as informed citizens, to have creationism explained
to them by theological experts.
After almost a year-long debate, the bill was
rejected 22-22.
A similar bill was finally defeated in May
1979 in both houses of the Minnesota
Despite all previous rulings in Cedar Falls,
Iowa (population 33,000), the dual approach
of teaching both scientific creationism and
evolution was approved for the seventh
grade science classes. It was agreed that two
days a week would be spent on each subject.
At the same time a bill to require equal
time, which had been introduced into the
Iowa legislature, died in committee after
being vigorously opposed by the Iowa
Academy of Science. This was the second
defeat in as many years for such a bill.
Help for the creationists, meanwhile,
came from Robert Jastrow, a professor of
astronomy, who in a newly released book,
God and The Astronomers, interpreted the
Big Bang as the catastrophic beginning of
the universe occurring when God, himself,
said, "Let There Be Light."
The 1980s arrived with no diminution of
the creationists' attack. In Illinois, in March
1980, a Republican senator introduced into
the legislature a bill to have the teaching of
creation science in the public schools on an
equal basis with the theory of evolution.
In Florida, in the same month, a Republican finally got his bill to require primary and
secondary teachers in allsixty-seven county
school districts to teach the theory of creation along with the theory of evolution past

Page 17

.tmtl be empowered or required to

tender and administer an 'oath in the
usual form shall be and hereby is
empowered and required to tender
zmdadminister the affirmation or declaration aforesaid, when requested to
that purpose by any such scrupulous
person as aforesaid.
That in all cases where, by any ect
of the legislature of this state now in
force, or hereafter to be made, an
oeth is or shall be allowed or required,
the affirmation or declaration, in the
form above prescribed, of any such
scrupulous person as aforesaid, shall
be allowed and taken instead of an
oath in the usual form, although no
provision for that purpose is or shall
be made in such act.
Every person must be sworn unless
he alleges that he is conscientiously
scrupulous (Ibid).
The difference between Nixon's Digest
and the statute law is apparent. The one
shuts out Freethinkers, the other compels
officials to take the affirmation of all who
Imve conscientious scruples against taking
the oath. If it is not a conscientious scruple
which prevents an Atheist from swearing by
a God in whom he does not believe, or a
Theist from swearing on a book which he
regards as injurious in its teaching, we know
not what the feeling may be called. Criminals
in New Jersey may freely testify, but upright
and conscientious Freethinkers may not.
Great is New Jersey, and the kingdom of
God shall be hers!
But New Jersey is consistent in one thing.
As she takes her law as to the competency of
witnesses from the practice of the English
courts of a century or two ago, so does she
get her blasphemy law, almost verbatim,
from the statutes of the New England provinces. One of the earliest of Massachusetts'
laws was upon the subject of blasphemy, the
third and nineteenth sections of which read
as follows
Sec. 3. If any person within this
jurisdiction, whether Christian or
pagan, shall wittingly and willingly
presume to blaspheme the holy name
of God, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost,
with direct, express, presumptuous,
or high-handed blasphemy, either by
willful or obstinate denying the true
God, or his creation, or government
of the world, or shall curse God in like
manner, or reproach the holy religion
at God, as if it were but a politic
device, to keep ignorant men in awe;
or shall utter any other kind of blasphemy of the like nature and deqres,
they shall be put to death, Levit. xxi,
Sec. 19. Albeit faith be not wrOU!ilt

by the sword, but by the word; and

therefore such pagan Indians as have
submitted themselves to our government, though we would not neglect
any due helps to bring them on to
grace and to the means of it; yet we
compel them not to the Christian
faith, nor to the profession of it, either
by force of arms, or by penal laws;
nevertheless, seeing the blaspheming
of the true God cannot be excused by
any ignorance or infirmity of human
nature, the eternal power and Godhead being known by the light of
nature, and the creation of the world;
and common reason requireth every
state and society of men to be more
careful of preventing the dishonor and
contempt of the most high God (in
whom we all consist) than of any mortal princes or magistrates; it is therefore ordered, and decreed by this
court for the honor of the eternal
God, who only we worship, and serve,
that no person within this jurisdiction,
whether Christian, or pagan, shall wittingly, and wilIinglypresume to blaspheme his holy name, either by willful,
or obstinate denying the true God, or
his creation, or government of the
world, or shall curse God, or reproach
the holy religion of God, as if it were
but a public device to keep ignorant
men in awe, nor shall utter any other
eminent kind of blashemy of the like
nature, and degree. If any person, or
persons whatsoever within our jurisdiction shall break this law, they shall
be put to death.
In 1646 the penalty had shrunk to banishment, according to the law:
Sec. 1. Although no human power
be lord over the faith and consciences
of men, yet because such as bring in
damnable heresies, tending to the
subversion of the Christian faith, and
destruction of the souls of men, ought
duly to be restrained from such notorious impieties: .
It is therefore ordered and declared
by the court; that if any Christian
within this jurisdiction, shall go about
to subvert and destroy the Christian
faith and religion, by broaching and
maintaining any damnable heresies;
as denying the immortality of the soul,
or resurrection of the body, or any sin
to be repented of in the regenerate, or
any evil done by the outward man to
be accounted sin, or denying that
Christ gave himself a ransom for our
sins, or shall affirm that we are not
justified by his death and righteousness, but by the perfections of our
own works, or shall deny the morality

October 1986

of the Fourth Commandment, or shall

openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of infants, or shall purposely
depart the congregation at the administration of that ordinance, or shall
deny the ordinance of magistracy, or
their lawful authority, to make war, or
to punish the outward breaches of the
first table, or shall endeavor to seduce
others to any of the errors or heresies
above mentioned; every such person
continuing obstinate therein, after due
means of conviction, shall be sentenced to banishment.
In 1697 the following "act against Atheism
and blasphemy" was passed:
Be it declared and enacted by the
lieutenant-governor, council and representatives, convened in general
court or assembly, and it is enacted by
the authority of the same, that if any
person shall presume willfullyto blaspheme the holy name of God, Father,
Son, or Holy Ghost, either by denying, cursing, or reproaching the true
God, his creation or government of
the world, or by denying, cursing or
reproaching the holy word of God,
that is, the canonical scriptures contained in the books of the Old and
New Testament, namely, Genesis,
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Samuel, Kings, Kings, Chronicles, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah,
Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Lamentations,
Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk,
Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Timothy, Titus,
Philemon, Hebrews, James, Peter,
Peter, John, John, John, Jude, Revelation, everyone so offending shall be
punished by imprisonment, not exceeding six months, and until they find
sureties for the good behavior, by sitting in the pillory, by whipping, boring
through the tongue with a red-hot
iron, or sitting upon the gallows with a
rope about their neck, at the discrerion of the court of assize, and general
gaol delivery, before which the trial
shall be, according to the circumstances, which may aggravate or alleviate
the offense.
Provided, that no more than two of
the forementioned punishments shall
be inflicted for one and the same fact.

American Atheist

In 1834,when Abner Kneeland was imprisoned for saying, "Universalists believe in a

god which I do not; but believe that their
god, with his moral attributes (aside from
nature itself), is nothing but a chimera of
their own imagination," the law read as
Be it enacted by the Senate and
House of Representatives in General
Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That if any person
shall wilfullyblaspheme the holy name
of God, by denying, cursing, or contumeliously reproaching God, his
creation, government or final judging
of the world, or by cursing, or reproaching Jesus Christ, or the Holy
Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching the Holy Word of
God, that is, the canonical scriptures,
contained in the books of the Old and
New Testaments, or exposing them,
or any part of them, to contempt and
ridicule; which books are as follows:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Num-

bers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges,

Ruth, Samuel, Samuel, Kings, Kings,
Chronicles, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Mica, Nahhum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah,
Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Timothy, Titus,
Philemon, Hebrews, James, Peter,
Peter, John, John, John, Jude, Revelations; every person so offending
shall be punished by imprisonment
not exceeding twelve months, by sitting in the pillory, by whipping, or by
sitting on the gallows, with a rope
about the neck, or binding to the good
behavior, at the discretion of the Supreme Judicial Court before whom
the conviction may be, according to
the aggravation of the offense,


Hang up your spurs at the 17th

Annual National Convention
American Atheists!



Austin, Texas

ments directly with the Radisson Denver, 1550 Court

Place, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 893-3333.
Suggested carriers to the Denver Stapleton
Airport are United and Continental airlines.
And, of course, you need to make arrangements with American Atheists to attend.
Early registration will be just $50 per


~merican Atheists
Conven tion

Held April 17, 18, and 19

(Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Easter Weekend), the,
19'87American Atheist Convention will take place at
the Radisson Hotel Denver.
As it is every year, the convention will be three days of
excitement, comradery, and
But Denver - ski capital
that it is - can be a busy place
in April. So to make sure you
don't miss this experience, it's
best to make your arrangements
The Radisson Hotel Denver is offering conventioneers the very special
rates of $42_94 per night - tax included
- for a single or double. A triple room will
cost just $53_81 per night again, tax
included. Please make your accommodation

It will be observed that New Jersey has

borrowed the phraseology of this law, omitting only the names of the beoks of the Bible
and changing the punishment. In the enactment of her blasphemy law New Jersey
jealously maintains her reputation of being
about a century behind the age. In arresting
Mr. Reynolds under this statute she vindicates her piety, and in legally defending the
myth of the creation she shows the extent of
her knowledge upon the scientific questions
of the day. "Jersey justice" is today a synonym of legal injustice. If the Christians of
Morris county succeed in imprisoning Mr.
Reynolds, "Jersey justice" willstill further be
a term of reproach. It is for the grand jury to
say whether they willindict a man for taking
advantage of the privilege guaranteed by
New Jersey's constitution, or whether by
throwing the case out of court they willliftup
their state to the plane of civilization. They
well may ponder Professor Hunter's remark
that blasphemy laws survive as a dangerous
weapon in the hands of any fool or fanatic
who likes to set them in motion. ~

Denver, CO
April 17-19

person, or $25 for students and

elderly on a fixed income (1.0.
required). But after March 27,
1987, registration will be $60
per person ($30 for students
and elderly on a fixed income).
Send your registration to:
Convention Coordinator
American Atheist Center
P.O. Box 2117
Austin, TX 78768-2117
(Make checks or money orders for
the registration
fee payable to
Atheist Convention."
Visa and Mastercard accepted.)


October 1986

Page 55

THE PROBINGMIND / Frank R. Zindler


arguments used to justify belief
Of inallthethe divine
inspiration of scripture,
the most impressive has always been the
argument regarding biblical prophecy. How,
it is asked, could the prophets have predicted world events in both the near and
distant future - supposedly in amazing
detail- ifthey were not directed by a god in
their utterances. Modern scientists can't
predict the weather even two days in advance, whereas the prophet Daniel, supposedly writing around the year 530 s.c., is
believed to have predicted accurately the
political events of the Greek and Roman
world up to the time of Jesus.
It has been said of ordinary mortals that
their hindsight is often 20/20, but their
foresight is usually dim or lacking altogether.
How different they seem from ancient
Hebrew prophets, who allegedly could see
into the future and into the past equally well!
But could they? Or was their "prophecy"
actually prophetia ex eventu - prophecy
written after the event? Space does not
permit an analysis of all the prophets of the
Bible. But one may learn a great deal about
prophecy in general by examining carefully a
specific example: the Book of Daniel. In
particular, one willwant to consider whether
or not the book could possibly have been
written at the time the prophet Daniel is
supposed to have lived - the period of the
Babylonian Captivity or Exile - or whether
it was composed centuries later, after most
of the events "predicted" in the book had
already occurred.
Evidence Against Exilic Composition
There is very solid evidence] which indicates that the Book of Daniel was written
much later than the Babylonian Captivity
(597-538 B.C.), the "Exile" period to which
Christian tradition has assigned the composition of the work. Scientific scholarship has
shown that the Book of Daniel was actually
written around 165 B.C. - long after the
Exile - at a time when the Seleucid king of
Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes, was trying to
stamp out the Jewish religion. Daniel was

lFor details, see Samuel R. Driver, An

Introduction to the Literature of the Old
Testament, Meridian Books, NY, 1957.

Page 56

not writing predictive prophecy, we now

know, but rather history - and rather
sloppy history at that!
Error In Verse One
The main line of evidence against composition around the time of the Babylonian
Captivity involves the great number of factual errors in the book which concern the
time of the Exile - errors which are in
glaring contrast to the considerable precision with which the later Greek period is
described (the period allegedly in the future,
but actually the period in which the book
was written).
The errors begin with Verse 1:
In the third year of the reign of
Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The Lord
delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah
into his power, together with all that
was left of the vessels of the house of
God; and he carried them off to the
land of Shinar. .. (Dan. 1:1-2).
Now the third year of Jehoiakim's reign
would be 606-605 B.C.,2 and Nebuchadnezzar was probably not yet the king of
Babylon. At any rate, Jerusalem did not fall
to the Babylonians until 597 B.C. By then, of
course, Jehoiakim was no longer king of
[Jehoiakim] rested with his forefathers, and was succeeded by his son
Jehoiachin .... Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the
throne, and he reigned in Jerusalem
for three months .... At that time the
troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of
Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and
besieged the city. Nebuchadnezzar
arrived while his troops were besieging it, and Jehoiachin king of Judah,
his mother, his courtiers, his officers,
and his eunuchs, allsurrendered to the

2Due to technical problems in chronology

for this period of history, all dates cited in
this article have a possible error of minus or
plus one year.

October 1986

king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:6-12).

Imagine! A loyal Jew noted for piety and
wisdom - and of the ruling class to boot unaware that Jehoiakim was dead and there
was a new king! How could anyone who
actually lived through the time in question so
totally misdate an event of such importance?
The captivity actually began three months
after the end of Jehoiakim's eleven-year
reign, and the author of Daniel supposes it
occurred eight years earlier.
If the author of Daniel was writing centuries later, it is understandable that a threemonth reign would have been forgotten and
blended with the preceding one, especially
with names as similiar as Jehoiakim and
Jehoiachin. But it is not credible that anyone
who actually lived through those three
months would have been unconscious of the
excitement and general atmosphere of
expectation which always surrounds the
accession of a new monarch. It is impossible
that he should have forgotten who was the
actual king of Judah at the time of the fall of
Incidentally, although it has no bearing
upon the authenticity of the Book of Daniel,
there is a further contradiction in the Bible
concerning Jehoiachin. As we have seen in
the quotation from 2 Kings 24, Jehoiachin
was supposedly eighteen years old when he
came to the throne and reigned three
months. This is contradicted by 2 Chronicles:
Jehoiachin was eight years old
when he came to the throne, and he
reigned in Jerusalem for three months
and ten days (2 Chron. 36:9).
While the ten-day discrepancy may be
excused as merely "round-off error," the
difference between eight and eighteen is
enough to prove beyond doubt that the
"Holy Scriptures" are far from inerrant.
In concluding this discussion of the Jehoiakim/ Jehoiachin problem, we may note that
the author of Daniel was not the only
prophet to come to grief over the facts of
Jehoiakim. Even Jeremiah (who actually
was alive at the time of Jehoiakim) made a
Therefore these are the words of the
Lord concerning Jehoiakim son of

American Atheist

Josiah, king of Judah .... He shall be

buried like a dead ass, dragged along
and flung out beyond the gates of Jerusalem (Jer. 22:18-19).
Now, of course, this never actually came
to pass. But one may excuse Jeremiah as
one cannot excuse the author of Daniel:
Jeremiah was actually legitimately trying to
make a predictive prophecy. Things just
didn't happen to work out the way god told
him they would.
King Belshazzar,
Son Of Nebuchadnezzar
Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine,
commanded that the vessels of gold and
of silver which Nebuchadnezzar
his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought .. __
Dan. 5:2
There is in your kingdom a man in
whom is the spirit of the holy gods . . .
King Nebuchadnezzar,
your father,
made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans and astrologers.
Dan. 5:11

o King, the Most High God gave

your father kingship
and greatness and glory and majesty.
Dan. 5:18
From these and other passages, It IS
apparent that the author of the Book of
Daniel was laboring under two erroneous
impressions: (1) that Belshazzer was a king
and (2) that Nebuchadnezzar was his father.
Both ideas are demonstrably false.
The actual succession of kings was:
. Nebuchadnezzar, 606-561 B:C,
Evilmerodach (Avil-Marduk or
Amel-Marduk), 561-559 B.C.
Neriglissar (Nergal-ashur-usur),
558-555 B.C.
(Labashi-Marduk), 555 B.C. (9 months)
Nabonidus (Nabu-nahid), 555-538
B.C. (Nabonidus was the last king of
While the list alone makes it obvious that
Nebuchadnezzar was not the father of any
king Belshazzar, it is further of interest to
note that Nabonidus, the actual last king of
Babylon, was not even related to Nebuchadnezzar. He was an usurper. The Babylonian

3Since I have not had access to the cuneiform records, I have had to draw upon the
work of S. R. Driver mentioned above.

Austin, Texas

inscriptions list Nabu-balatsu-ikbi as the

father of Nabonidus. They also reveal that
Nabonidus had a son name Belsharuzur
(Belshazzar). Moreover, the inscriptions
show that up to the time that Belshazzar was
killed by Gubaru (one of Cyrus's governors), he was referred to as "The King's
Son." At no time did Babylonian records
refer to Belshazzar as a king. Moreover, he
died before his father did. Nabonidus was
held captive by Cyrus an unspecified length
of time after the death of Belshazzar on the
l lth of Marchesvan (October), 538 B.C.
Now although Belshazzar, according to
the ancient cuneiform chronicles, was killed
on the l lth of October, Babylon had been
captured without a fight by the Persians on
the preceding 16th of Tammuz (June). That
is to say, Nabonidus (and presumably Belshazzar as well) had been held captive
already for four months at the time Belshazzar was murdered. This being the case,
the whole story about the handwriting on
the wall becomes completely incongruous.
Working backward from the end of chapter
five of Daniel, one notes first the last two
That very night [after Daniel had
explained the meaning of mene mene
tekel u-pharsinJ Belshazzar king of
the Chaldeans was slain, and Darius
the Mede took the kingdom, being
then sixty-two years old (Dan. 5:3031).
One must remember that (according to
Chapter 5 of Daniel) earlier the same evening "King" Belshazzar is supposed to have
held a banquet for a thousand of his nobles.
(Also remember that according to the cuneiform inscriptions Babylon had already been
held captive for four months at the time.)
Then the hand began to write on the wall and
called loudly for the exorcists, Chaldeans, and diviners to be brought in;
then, addressing the wise men of
Babylon, he said, "Whoever can read
this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be robed in purple and
honoured with a chain of gold round
his neck and shall rank as third in the
kingdom" (Dan. 5:7).
Now ifBelshazzer was being held captive,
not only would he not be having a party with
the temple treasures, he obviously could not
be dispensing honors and the royal purple. If
it be supposed that Belshazzar was not
actually being held captive with his father
(Nabonidus, not Nebuchadnezzar) but rather had somehow managed to hold out (for
four months) somewhere in the palace
(throwing a party!), he would have no need
for Daniel to tell him at that late date:

October 1986

Mene: God has numbered the days of

your kingdom and brought it to an end
... u-oharsin: and your kingdom has
been divided and given to the Medes
and the Persians (Dan. 5:26-28).
The Persians (not the Medes) by that time
had already possessed the kingdom for four
To relate an the foregoing to the authorship of the Book of Daniel: Is it conceivable
that a "wiseman" living in Babylon throughout the entirety of the Exile would not know
that as many as four kings after Nebuchadrezzar ruled Babylon before its fall?Is it
possible that a man privy to palace politics
would not know that Belshazzar not only
was the son of an usurper (and thus not even
related to Nebuchadnezzar, let alone his
son), but that he was never a real king? Even
if - as some suppose on the basis of the
so-called "Nabonidus Document" - Belshazzar was ruling as Nabonidus's viceroy,
would not a man in Daniel's supposed position make a careful distinction in this regard
and give an explanation for the startling circumstance of a king's father outliving him?
If, however, the Book of Daniel was written centuries after the Exile, it is understandable that our author might not have
know about four monarchs of lesser luminosity than Nebuchadnezzar.
Evilmerodach, Neriglissar, and Labashi-Marduk combined only reigned for about six years (as
against Nebuchadnezzar's forty-three and
Nabonidus's seventeen years). Over the
course of centuries they would easily be forgotten. They would not, however, be overlooked by one of their contemporaries.
Before leaving this topic, one may note
that Jeremiah (who, unlike the author of
Daniel, actually lived at the time of the Exile)
was aware of the existence of at least
In the thirty-seventh year of the
Exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, on
the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth
month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the year of his accession showed
favor to Jehoiachin king of Judah (Jer.
This story is given also in 2 Kings, though
not without contradiction as to what day of
the month it was:
In the thirty-seventh year of the
exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, on
the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth
month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon ... showed favor to Jehoiachin
king of Judah (2 Kings 25:27).
Darius The Mede
As if it were not astonishing enough that

Page 57

Daniel should be in error as to who was the

last king of Judah and who were the five
kings of Babylon during the Exile, one is
further amazed to learn that he also does not
know the correct name or nationality of the
liberator of the Jews from the Babylonian
That very night Belshazzar ... was
slain, and Darius the Mede took the
kingdom ... (Dan. 5:30-31).
It pleased Darius to appoint satraps
over the kingdom, a hundred and
twenty in number in charge of the
whole kingdom, and over them three
chief ministers, to whom the satraps
should send reports so that the king's
interests might not suffer; of these
three, Daniel was one (Dan. 6:1-2).
Apart from the fact that every schoolboy
knows that Babylon actually fellto Cyrus the
Persian, and the modest inconvenience
resulting from the fact that "Darius the
Mede" never existed, the only serious flawin
the above passage concerns the number of
satraps in the Persian Empire.
As one sees in the passages quoted above,
the author of Daniel thought there were 120
satraps in the empire. But according to the
Behistun Rock inscription (Column 1, paragraph 6) which was carved during the reign
of Darius the Great (the Persian king, 522486 B.C., who actually organized'the Persian
Empire into satrapies) there were only
Is it possible that a prophet living through
the collapse of the Babylonian Empire would
not know that it was Cyrus, not Darius, a
Persian. not a Mede, who was responsible?
It may be argued, however, that Cyrus did
not deal with Babylon directly, but may have
had a Median general named Darius do the
job for him. According to this view, the Book
of Daniel reflects the immediate contact with
the conquerers (under "Darius the Mede")
and not with the highest level of imperial
government (Cyrus).
The problems with this are several. First
of all, the Book of Daniel gives the impression that "Darius the Mede" is in complete
control (e.g., Dan. 6:25-26). Who but the
"King of Kings" would have the authority to
organize an entire empire?
Secondly, the Book of Daniel makes it
clear that a sequence of kings, not a hierarchy of rulers, is intended:
So this Danie! prospered during the
reigns of Darius and Cyrus the Persian (Dan. 6:28).
Since both Isaiah (13:17) and Jeremiah
(51:11) had falsely predicted that Babylon
would fall to the Medes, the author of the
Book of Daniel thought that there had been
a sequence of four great empires: Chaldean,

Page 58

Median, Persian, and Greek, and that after

the fallof the fourth, a fifth,an eternal Jewish
state, would be inaugurated.
For a believer in prophecy, it is embarrassing enough that a prophet should not be
able to foresee the fact that the Roman
Empire would, in fact, be the fifth. (The
sequence of kingdoms is represented by
Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's
dream about the colossus with head of gold
and feet of clay, [Dan. 2:31-44.]) But how
obtuse would a prophet have to be who did
not know that the Chaldean and Median
empires were contemporary, not consecutive, if he was living in one of the two at the
time in question?
Because the author of the Book of Daniel
thought the Median kingdom succeeded the
Chaldean, he has Babylon fall to a semifictitious "Darius the Mede." I say "semifictitious" because it is apparent that the late
author of the Book of Daniel has confused a
real Persian monarch - Darius Hystaspis,
who had to reconquer Babylon in 521 B.C.
and again in 515 - with the original conquerer, Cyrus. That the author has a garbled
knowledge of history is further shown by his
mistaken notion that Darius 'was the son of
Ahasuerus (Xerxes), instead of vice versa.
To lay "Darius the Mede" to rest for once
and for all, one may observe that the archeologicai evidence leaves no space at all for a
ruler of Babylon between Nabonidus and
Cyrus. Archeologists have found numerous
contract-tablets from the period in question.
The dates of the tablets pass directly from
one dated 10 Marchesvan in the 17th year of
Nabonidus, to one dated 24 Marchesvan in
the accession year of Cyrus the Persian.
Reading The Scriptures
In the first year of the reign of
Darius ... I, Daniel, was reading the
scriptures and reflecting on the seventy years which, according to the
word of the Lord to the prophet
Jeremiah, were to pass while Jerusalem lay in ruins (Dan. 9:1-2).
The feeling one gets from this passage is
that Daniel is looking back to a worthy of the
distant past, rather than to a senior contemporary. One 'wonders also why Daniel
was reading the words of Jeremiah. One
would have expected a firsthand report of
what the prophet had said, since both should
have been in Jerusalem at the same time and
Daniel would have heard in person what
Jeremiah had to say:
The word that came to Jeremiah
concerning all the people of Judah, in
the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son
of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the
first year of Nebuchadrezzar [sic]
king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the

October 1986

prophet spoke to all the people of

Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Jer. 25:1-2).
(One may merely note in passing that this
is dated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's
reign, whereas Daniel 1:1 ends Jehoiakim's
reign in its third year, which would appear to
be one year before Nebuchadnezzar became king.)
Most revealing in the passage just quoted
from Daniel is the implication that the writings of Jeremiah had already been incorporated into a scriptural collection of canonic
significance. While one does not in fact
know exactly when the Book of Jeremiah
was accepted into the Old Testament canon,
one can be absolutely certain that this did
not occur during Jeremiah's lifetime.
Now just what had Jeremiah prophesied?
For seventy years this whole country shall be a scandal and a horror;
these nations shall be in subjection to
the king of Babylon. When those seventy years are completed, Iwillpunish
the king of Babylon and his people,
says the Lord, for all their misdeeds
and make the land of the Chaldeans a
waste for ever (Jer. 25:11-12).
Once again, Jeremiah's record for predictive accuracy falls somewhat short of divine
accuracy. Even ifone reckons from the time
of Jehoiachin's captivity (598 B.C.)instead of
from the date of the fall and destruction of
Jerusalem (587-6 B.C.), the captivity lasted
only fifty-nine years (Babylon fell in 539
B.C.). The fact of the matter is that less than
seventy years had elapsed at the time of the
return to Jerusalem, although the chronicler
seems to think that Jeremiah's prophecy
came true:
Those who escaped the sword he
[Nebuchadnezzar] took captive to
Babylon . . . until the sovereignty
passed to the Persians, while the land
of Israel ran the full term of its sabbaths. Allthe time that it lay desolate it
kept the sabbath rest, to complete the
seventy years in fulfillmentof the word
of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah.
Now in the first year of Cyrus king
of Persia, so that the word of the Lord
spoken through Jeremiah might be
fulfilled ... Cyrus issued a proclamation ... to this effect:
"the Lord the God of heaven ... has
charged me to build him a house at
Jerusalem in Judah. To every man of
his people now among you I say, the
Lord his God be with him, and let him
go up" (2 Chron. 36:20-23).
Perhaps it was this error in chronology that
was bothering the author of the Book of

American Atheist

Daniel. Just as there is said to be honor

among thieves, so too, apparently, the
prophets looked after their own kind. Our
author tries to rescue Jeremiah by pretending that Jeremiah didn't really mean seventy
years (even though that's exactly what
Jeremiah said!) and that he wasn't referring
to the trivial question of the release from
captivity. What Jeremiah really had in mind
was the establishment of an ideal Jewish
state centuries after his time.
So Gabriel comes to the rescue and explains to Daniel that Jeremiah really meant
Seventy weeks of years are decreed
concerning your people and your holy
city, to finish the transgression, to put
an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal both vision and prophet, and to
annoint a most holy place (Dan. 9:24).
Seventy weeks of years, of course, would
be 490 years. Reckoning from the time of
Jehoiachin's captivity (598 B.C.) this would
bring one to 108 B.C. Counting from the time
of destruction of the first temple (586 B.C.)
this would take one up to 96 B.C. Both dates,
one may note, are well in the future of the
author of Daniel (writing about 165 B.C.).
Unfortunately, this rare instance of our
author trying to predict the future (rather
than rewrite the past) is a glaring example of
prophetic inadequacy. Neither 108 nor 96
B.C. corresponds to anything significant in
Jewish history - let alone marks the establishment of the ideal Jewish state. If Daniel
lived today, he'd surely be a weatherman.
The reader has, by now, doubtless seen
enough evidence to prove beyond a shadow
of a doubt that the Book of Daniel could not
have been written at the time of the Exile and
is, therefore, a forgery. But when, in fact,
wds it written? Why have I throughout
assumed a date of composition ca. 165 B.C.?
Unlike the evidence proving Daniel wasn't
written during the Captivity, the arguments
dating the story to ca. 165 B.C. are much
more subtle and require more space than is
available. Interested readers are referred to
the book of S. R. Driver noted previously,
and to the The Anchor Bible: The Book of
Daniel, by louis F. Hartman and Alexander
A. Dilella (Doubleday, 1978).
In the above-mentioned works, readers
can find evidence that Daniel's "abomination of desolation" or "abomination which
makes desolate" (Dan. 9:27) refers to the
desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes. In 168 B.C. he prohibited the practice of the Jewish religion. The Templeworship was suspended and on 15 Chisleu, a
heathen altar (the abomination) was erected
on the altar of Burnt-offering, and swine
were sacrificed (which "makes desolate").
Just slightly over three years later (25 Chis-

Austin, Texas

leu, 165 B.c.) the Temple was again purified

and worship reestablished.
Isaac Asimov- sums up the Daniel-dating
problem very well:
Where Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel make no anachronistic mistakes
concerning the times supposed to be
theirs, the Book of Daniel is replete
with anachronisms as far as it deals
with the period of the Exile. It treats,
however, of the Greek period with
easy correctness and while this might
be explained by those dedicated to
the literal acceptance of the Bible as a
case of prophetic insight, it is odd that
Daniel should be so correct in his view
on what was to him the "future" and
so hazy about his view of what was to
him the "present." It is easier to
believe that the writer was a man of
Greek times, to whom the Exile was
an event that had taken place four
centuries earlier and concerning the
fine details of which he was a bit

(Dan. 9:26), and other passages have been

thought by many to presage the coming of
Jesus. How embarrassing for true believers,
therefore, is the fact that Jesus himself
seems to have been unaware of the fraudulent nature of the book. On at least one
occasion - when forecasting the end of his
world - he referred to the Book of Daniel:
So when you see "the abomination
of desolation," of which the prophet
Daniel spoke, standing in the holy
place ... then those who are in Judea
must take to the hills (Matt 24: 15-16).
The fact that Jesus not only did not recognize the fraud, but was also unaware that the
"abomination of desolation" had already
appeared nearly two centuries earlier, does
not reflect favorably either on Jesus's wisdom or his knowledge of history. If Jesus
was mistaken in regard to the Book of
Daniel, we may well ask, "What other mistakes did he make?" ~

Implications Of The Fraud

The Book of Daniel has, since ancient
times, been considered to be an important
Old Testament source of Messianic doctrines. The use of the expression "Son of
Man," the prediction of "an anointed one"
(priest or messiah) who will be "cut off'

4Asimov's Guide to the Bible, Vol. 1, Old

Testament, NY.: Avon, 1968, pp. 497-8.

"Well gosh ... gee whiz

of course I would ... uh

October 1986

Formerly a professor of biology and

geology, Frank R. Zindler is now a
science writer. A member of the
American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the
American Chemical Society, and the
American Schools of Oriental
Research, he is also co-chairperson of
the Committee of Correspondence
Evolution Education and director of
the Central Ohio Chapter of
American Atheists.

sure I'd talk to 40U if 40u didn't have a vagina ...

40U DO have one, don't uou?"

Page 59

Daniel. Just as there is said to be honor

among thieves, so too, apparently, the
prophets looked after their own kind. Our
author tries to rescue Jeremiah by pretending that Jeremiah didn't really mean seventy
years (even though that's exactly what
Jeremiah said!) and that he wasn't referring
to the trivial question of the release from
captivity. What Jeremiah really had in mind
was the establishment of an ideal Jewish
state centuries after his time.
So Gabriel comes to the rescue and explains to Daniel that Jeremiah really meant
Seventy weeks of years are decreed
concerning your people and your holy
city, to finish the transgression, to put
an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal both vision and prophet, and to
annoint a most holy place (Dan. 9:24).
Seventy weeks of years, of course, would
be 490 years. Reckoning from the time of
Jehoiachin's captivity (598 B.C.) this would
bring one to 108 B.C. Counting from the time
of destruction of the first temple (586 B.C.)
this would take one up to 96 B.C. Both dates,
one may note, are well in the future of the
author of Daniel (writing about 165 B.C.).
Unfortunately, this rare instance of our
author trying to predict the future (rather
than rewrite the past) is a glaring example of
prophetic inadequacy. Neither 108 nor 96
B.C. corresponds to anything significant in
Jewish history - let alone marks the establishment of the ideal Jewish state. If Daniel
lived today, he'd surely be a weatherman.
The reader has, by now, doubtless seen
enough evidence to prove beyond a shadow
of a doubt that the Book of Daniel could not
have been written at the time of the Exile and
is, therefore, a forgery. But when, in fact,
wds it written? Why have I throughout
assumed a date of composition ca. 165 B.C.?
Unlike the evidence proving Daniel wasn't
written during the Captivity, the arguments
dating the story to ca. 165 B.C. are much
more subtle and require more space than is
available. Interested readers are referred to
the book of S. R. Driver noted previously,
and to the The Anchor Bible: The Book of
Daniel, by louis F. Hartman and Alexander
A. Dilella (Doubleday, 1978).
In the above- mentioned works, readers
can find evidence that Daniel's "abornination of desolation" or "abomination which
makes desolate" (Dan. 9:27) refers to the
desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes. In 168 B.C. he prohibited the practice of the Jewish religion. The Templeworship was suspended and on 15 Chisleu, a
heathen altar (the abomination) was erected
on the altar of Burnt-offering, and swine
were sacrificed (which "makes desolate").
Just slightly over three years later (25 Chis-

Austin, Texas

leu, 165 s.c.) the Temple was again purified

and worship reestablished.
Isaac Asimov- sums up the Daniel-dating
problem very well:
Where Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel make no anachronistic mistakes
concerning the times supposed to be
theirs, the Book of Daniel is replete
with anachronisms as far as it deals
with the period of the Exile. It treats,
however, of the Greek period with
easy correctness and while this might
be explained by those dedicated to
the literal acceptance of the Bible as a
case of prophetic insight, it is odd that
Daniel should be so correct in his view
on what was to him the "future" and
so hazy about his view of what was to
him the "present." It is easier to
believe that the writer was a man of
Greek times, to whom the Exile was
an event that had taken place four
centuries earlier and concerning the
fine details of which he was a bit

(Dan. 9:26), and other passages have been

thought by many to presage the coming of
Jesus. How embarrassing for true believers,
therefore, is the fact that Jesus himself
seems to have been unaware of the fraudulent nature of the book. On at least one
occasion - when forecasting the end of his
world - he referred to the Book of Daniel:
So when you see "the abomination
of desolation," of which the prophet
Daniel spoke, standing in the holy
place ... then those who are in Judea
must take to the hills (Matt. 24:15-16).
The fact that Jesus not only did not recognize the fraud, but was also unaware that the
"abomination of desolation" had already
appeared nearly two centuries earlier, does
not reflect favorably either on Jesus's wisdom or his knowledge of history. If Jesus
was mistaken in regard to the Book of
Daniel, we may well ask, "What other mistakes did he make?" ~

Implications Of The Fraud

The Book of Daniel has, since ancient
times, been considered to be an important
Old Testament source of Messianic doctrines. The use of the expression "Son of
Man," the prediction of "an anointed one"
(priest or messiah) who will be "cut off'

4Asimov's Guide to the Bible, Vol. 1, Old

Testament, NY.: Avon, 1968, pp. 497-8.

"Well gosh ... gee whiz

of course I would ... uh

October 1986

Formerly a professor of biology and

geology, Frank R. Zindler is now a
science writer. A member of the
American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the
American Chemical Society, and the
American Schools of Oriental
Research, he is also co-chairperson of
the Committee of Correspondence
Evolution Education and director of
the Central Ohio Chapter of
American Atheists.

sure I'd talk to 40U if 40u didn't have a vagina ...

40U DO have one, don't uou?"

Page 59

REPORT FROM INDIA / Margaret Bhatty


verse in the ancient Hindu scripture
A called
the Atharvaveda says "If girls

must be born at all let them be born to

others. Let only sons be born in this home."
Traditionalists like to recall that Indian
women enjoyed unqualified freedom in ancient days. But a deep-rooted chauvinist
bias has always prevailed in India. And the
mythical emancipated woman of two thousand years ago offers no comfort to her
downtrodden sister of today.
How much has changed for Indian women
since those times? At the close of the United
Nations Decade for Women, a number of
well-known women did a serious reappraisal
of exactly what had been achieved in this
The statistics are not encouraging. Brideburning is on the increase. But perhaps the
figure has always been high, and what used
to be passed off as "a kitchen accident" is
now forced into the open by women's organizations as downright murder.
Incidents of rape and violence against
women have shown an upward trend. Perhaps here, too, the figures are not higher,
but the number of cases brought to book are
much higher. More victims come forward to
give evidence because of the supportiveness
of women's groups. Policewomen are now
deputed to book cases of rape, helped by
social workers. But the public attitude
toward sexual violence in Indian society is
easily gauged by the behavior of male audiences in cinema shows. They wildly cheer
and clap rape scenes, shouting obscene
encouragement to the rapist.
In urban areas the single woman is no
longer regarded as such an oddity, though
gossip wiil readily imply that she is getting
her sex. She is still, however, an object of
pity to those who are convinced that
women's sole role is to fulfilltheir "biological
destiny" of marrying and producing children.
More women have stood as candidates in
our last two general elections. In 1980 there
were 142 female contestants for the 542
seats in our central parliament, and in 1984
there were 134. (The lower figure was
because no elections were held jn the riottorn states of Assam and Punjab.) In law
enforcement, in administration and law, in
aviation, medicine, engineering, business
and commerce, and even in highly specialized areas of scientific research, Indian
women are making it to the top.

Page 60

But this is a limited view. For the masses

of Indian women there exists a grimmer reality. There is still the image of woman battered and burned, or driven by despair to
suicide, of woman sold into bondage, and of
the girl child not allowed to survive by a
callous process of neglect. The dazzling
success of a few cannot obscure the misery
of the many. Education and social change,
along with a willingness to discard antihuman religious concepts, are slow in coming. The female literacy rate is half that of
males, and the gap is widening as more and
more girls are dropping out of school in rural

way of dowry. The soul of a Hindu cannot

find salvation without a son to carry out
funeral rites and thereafter all the other
meticulous obsequies imposed by religion.
The girl child holds out no prospect of
gain. In poorer families she is forced to subsist on minimal levels of nutrition. Already
debilitated in health, she will marry and
become a mother even in her teens. A high
rate of infant mortality can be traced to this
factor alone. In 1901 the sex ratio was 972
females to every 1,000 males. Today it
stands at 935 females and is likely to fall

A Girl Is Born
The prejudice against females begins at
birth. The girl child is a burden destined to
drain her family's resources at marriage.
The birth of a son is a matter for jubilation
and distribution of sweets. The girl baby's
arrival is greeted with gloom, and the mother
herself is assailed by feelings of personal
During the past two years a small feminist
group has been touring districts in this state
of Maharastra staging a play called Mulghi
Zhali Ho (A Girl is Born). The response it
received from village women has astonished
the group. Every show was packed, and posters and booklets sold out. Village schoolgirls
were its most avid supporters. But the
regional press reflected the traditional male
bias against feminist activities. It denounced
the group as anti-men, anti-children, westernized (meaning degenerate!), and a jeanclad bunch given to smoking, drinking, and
promiscuity. (A lack of virtue is the most
serious character defect an Indian woman
can have!)
As long as the excessive prejudice against
females remains rooted in traditions inspired
by religion, not much willchange. A young
American sociologist, married to an Indian
trade unionist and settled in western Maharastra, told me how upper-class feminists
she had worked with in Bombay were once
unprepared to accept this premise. Now,
ten years later, many realize that religion
must change - or go.
In a patrilineal society such as ours it is
obligatory to have sons for purposes of
inheritance. In many families they are potential wage-earners and will bring wealth by

October 1986

Female infanticide through the custom of

exposing a newborn girl child to the elements, or killingher by putting poison on the
nursing mother's nipples, was made a crime
during British rule. Infanticide has now
taken more subtle forms, the most sophisticated being abortion after a sex test. But
after an unwanted girl child is born, it is often
impossible to draw a line between deliberate
and callous neglect of the child in matters of
nourishment and medical attention and
cold-blooded murder. The means might
differ, but the end remains the same.
In June our leading national news magazine, India Today, broke a lead story titled
"Born to Die." It concerned the custom of
female infanticide prevalent in a rural group
in Taml Nadu called Kallars. Oleander berries mashed in milk are fed to girl babies to
poison them. The reason given for the custom is the excessively high demand for
dowry when a daughter is married. The Kallars also believe that the more girl children
killed in a family, the more it will be blessed
by sons. The mothers on their part blame
their failure to produce sons on a wretched
destiny. A Kallar husband will not visit his
wife in hospital if she bears a girl. And many
maternity homes and hospitals report that
women producing girls disappear from the
wards. When they return to be treated for
milk-clotting, they say the baby died of a
The Kallars were formerly a martial caste
enlisted as soldiers by south Indian rulers.
Today they work as landless farm laborers.
Female infanticide is accepted practice
among the two hundred thousand members
of the caste. It has increased considerably in

American Atheist

the last fifteen years. No police records have

been made, and no criminal action taken
against the killers. In one district, a hospital
recorded 600 female births in a year; of
these, 570 were spirited away by the mothers immediately after birth. Ironically, even
in homes where grieving women confessed
to infanticide, they vigorously defended the
dowry system because of the bright promise
of instant riches when their sons were
Another means of killing a girl child is by
stuffing her mouth with paddy grains which
she will choke on when she inhales. If that
doesn't work, there is the madar plant icaiotropis gigantea). Some husbands grow a
madar in their courtyards as soon as their
wives conceive. If a girl child is born, the
juice from the plant is used to kill her. Contraception has not yet reached the Kallars.
With their lack of education, it will hardly
impress them as useful knowledge. No
government agency or social workers have
made any progress in dealing with this appalling situation.
In a society dominated by a life-negating
philosophy, other-worldly considerations
color all values. Lifeis so diminished in significance that homicide for any reason whatever is just a step from one room into the
next. And the "souls" of the 6,000 baby girls
poisoned in one district alone in the past ten
years (when we were observing the UN
Decade for Women) were merely transients
on their way from Here to There. They came
in with the seeds of their own destruction
sown in some former existence. And no
doubt they moved on to the next life with a
more favorable Karmic balance on the
books for having expiated for those sins.
The unfortunate mothers who spawned
them have learned that they are not born to
shape their own destiny but to endure it.
Their suffering is also a carry- over' of a sinful
past. Thus does a savage and callous tradition assume moral significance in which
defeat is transmuted into Fate and death
elevated to Destiny. ~



Meditating until bedtime on the telos of the soul,
in a world where men are dispatched like cicadas and ants
to rot among the asphodels,
swept out by a lethal sea
on the back of cyclones
or expunged from earth's memory
by the fire of TNT or napalm,
you fall asleep.
No wonder humans are reluctant to let go,
comforting myths are like sheets against the cold
I listen to holy music
at 4 AM,
Outside the holy mass
and the confusion of dreams after sunrise
Striking my ears
where figures from the past flit in and out
With a rusty cacophony
and the debris you accumulate in your life
Of sounds
lies in a cluttered heap on the cutting floor.
Of years of tears.
Afraid, so afraid,
we let tyrannical lawgivers of the past
I taste the sour incantations
impose their stringent codes,
In every chord;
their mumbo jumbo commandments
I watch lies
to enslave, to make the head bow down
Crawling in every corner
before powers from this world and beyond,
Hiding under every robe.
convinced no ordered life is possible
where Heisenberg and Einstein's followers
I know the inconsolable sadness
proffer only doubts.
I touch the silent grief
So we who refuse to play the hypocritical game,
Swollen with human discord
splitting the rational regions of the brain
As men kill each other
from our instinctive reflexes,
While they shout our all too human rendezvous with death,
must have our own monastic mountains for retreats.
There we can view the cycle of nature,
Louise Mattlage
with neither chants nor prayers,
nor counterfeit endeavors to turn our weakness
into penance for the sin
of living without gods or priests
as interlopers,
on the one and only journey we shall know.
Philip Resnick


In 1978, your editors, assisted by
Joseph Edamaruku, editor of an Indian
Atheist publication, combed India
seeking writers who would
consistently offer an interpretation of
Indian religious events. Margaret
Bhatty, in Nagpur, a well-known
feminist journalist, agreed that she
would do so in the future. She joined
the staff of the American Atheist
in January 1983.

Austin, Texas


Leave your boots at the door
Light no candles maybe more
There is no reflection in the sand
You have lost this world now
It was merely a passing trend
Life is really not in fashion
The thought transcends war
To reach the petty trifles
of your day when the rage
That needed getting out
Was only in your mind

October 1986

When you cast an eye on yesterday

be gentle
Realize the tenor was not etched
In holy writings but your need
For stability was
a need so strong it made you forget
why you built your castles
and created your gods.
Tom James

Page 61



When the first installment of a regularly scheduled, fifteen-minute, weekly American Atheist radio
series on KTBC radio (a station in Austin, Texas, owned by then-president Lyndon Baines Johnson) hit
the airwaves on June 3,1968, the nation was shocked. The programs had to be submitted weeks in
advance and were heavily censored. The regular production of the series ended in September 1977,
when no further funding was available.
The following is the text of American Atheist Radio Series program No. 118, first broadcast on
October 12, 1970.
hen I became involved in the issue
of removing Bible and prayer from the
public schools, I met an elderly man by the
name of Charles Smith. He was tinier than I,
with a round face, very white hair, and he
looked a little like a Kewpie doll. He was then
seventy-seven years old. He had, in 1925,
formed an organization in New York known
as the AAAA,
which is the American
Association for the Advancement of Atheism. He had come to visit me in Baltimore,
Maryland, to see if he could help somehow
on our case.
Smith had been born in Arkansas. He had
attended Epworth University of Oklahoma
as a young adult because he desired to
become a Methodist minister. He was also
employed as a law clerk for the state code
commission in Oklahoma and was admitted
to practice law in that state in 1910. In the
state library, as he worked toward that
degree, he accidentally came across a book:
Jefferson's Bible.
As you will recall, Thomas Jefferson was
so critical or the person Jesus Christ he had
attempted to rewrite the New Testament to
retain some integrity in the character of its
central figure. Smith, on finding this book
and reading it, had in his own words "a first
great jolt." He was in attendance at the
University of Oklahoma and concerned himself with the continuing fight about evolution.
He moved from there to Harvard, but could
not continue his formal education at that
school because of the cost involved.
The war intervened; he enlisted and was
sent across the Pacific to Siberia and eventually to Vladivostok, where he was stationed for eighteen months. Upon his return
to the United States he worked as a court
reporter, a court stenographer, and as a
writer. Then he founded the A.A.AA
(American Association for the Advancement
of Atheism), and one of its first acts was to
file a suit to see that chaplains were no
longer used in the army, navy, and houses of
Congress. He lost the suit.
In 1928 the state of his birth, Arkansas,

Page 62

introduced a bill in the state legislature that

would prohibit the teaching of man's evolution in any tax supported school from grade
to state university. Smith went to Arkansas,
and it is that story I want to tell you. He
arrived there in October, rented the first
floor of a store building at 710 Main Street, in
Little Rock, and advertised in the daily press
that these were now Atheistic Headquarters
where anyone could get evolution tracts, of
which he had about 25,000 to give away.
He also had other anti-religious literature
titled "Godless Evolution" and "The Bible in
the Balance" and ''The Ape Ancestry of
Man." Inside his window he put a large sign
which read "Evolution is True. The Bible Is A
Lie. God is a Ghost."
For days things ran smoothly. One little
boy stuck his head in the window and yelled
"I believe in God." One woman called out to
him "I'm going to tell my mayor." Smith did
not distribute any of the literature on the
street. He made no formal speeches. He did
not sell any of his literature. He simply
dispensed these tracts and literature to
those who came into the building to get it.
He opened the headquarters on a Friday
and stayed open all day Saturday and
It was not so quiet at the office of the chief
of police - you won't believe it but his name
was Rotenberry. He was besieged with calls
to close up this little storefront headquarters
which was described as "an outrage to Little
Rock." Citizens came into the office of the
chief to say that ifthe store was not closed, it
would be wrecked. Finally Rotenberry, with
Sergeants Prewitt and Sellers, went to make
a formal arrest of Smith. The verbal charge
was that Smith was "riding roughshod over
the authorities," and in an exchange it
developed that there could be no charges for
he was doing nothing, and so he was advised
that he needed a permit. He was selling
nothing, he knew the ordinances, but he was
arrested anyway. He was released on his
own recognizance as bail and promised to
appear before Judge Harb in municipal

October 1986

court the next morning at 8:30 A.M. When

Smith got into court the next morning the
judge read aloud a city ordinance which
forbade the use of the name of the deity
except in "veneration and worship." He then
asked all present to be sworn in. Smith
stated that he was an Atheist and would
need to affirm, and not to swear, at which
point the court records indicate that Judge
Harb stated, "You're an Atheist? You don't
believe in God?" Smith said, "Yes, sir" and
the judge said, "Then you can't be sworn
and cannot testify in my court."
Meantime, Rotenberry testified that he
had been told by anonymous citizens that if
the place was not closed it would be raided.
The judge proceeded to discuss how large a
fine to impose.
John Shackleford, a little gray-haired Irish
lawyer, was in the court for other reasons
but became so excited to hear this exchange
that he interjected himself into the situation.
His defense of Smith was so vigorous that
the judge dismissed the charges. But, now,
hold your breath! The judge then, on his own
motion, charged Smith then and there with
violation of another city ordinance. Let me
read that ordinance to you. It is Section 479
of the ordinances of the city of Little Rock
and is titled "Obscene Books and Publications - Sale and Distribution Of."
Allpersons, corporations, and companies, their agents, representatives
or employees are hereby prohibited
from selling, or offering for sale, or
giving away, or offering to give away,
or circulating, or distributing, or attempting to circulate or distribute,
within the corporate limits of the said
city as now or hereafter established,
any obscene, slanderous or scurrilous
books, newspapers, magazines or
periodicals, which shall be calculated
to injure the morals of the inhabitants
of said city - or provoke a breach of
the peace thereof.

American Atheist

Again Shackleford protested, hotly, and

the judge announced, "Well, I'm going to
stop that business up there, and every day
he attempts to keep it open willbe a separate
offense." He fined Smith twenty- five dollars
and costs, fixed bond at one hundred dollars
and ordered him taken back to the "hole,"
whichwas his designation of the jail.Shackleford immediately approached some professional bondsmen in Smith's behalf. Two said
that sentiment against Smith was too strong
and they would not furnish bail, and the third
stated that he did not dare because of
politicalreasons. A fourth bondsman agreed
to go bond.
Smith never got a chance to say anything
in that courtroom but one "Yes, sir." It is
important to look at Arkansas law. Article
4177 of the Arkansas Statutes provides:
Every person who shall declare that
he has conscientious scruples against
taking an oath or swearing in any form
shall be permitted to make his solemn
declaration or affirmation in the following form: "I do solemnly and truly
declare and affirm."
Smith had little or no choice. Ifhe paid his
fine and tried to open up the storefront
again, another fine would be imposed, and
another, and another. If he paid his fine and
lefttown, he would be defeated. He chose as
a protest to nullify his bond and his own
request and work out the fine at the rate of
one dollar a day. He knew that the press
would be inquiring after him during those
twenty-five days and that he keep alive the
evolution issue and the issue of freedom of
speech for that time also. He remained in jail
and went on a hunger strike.
In the meantime, he sent telegrams to the
mayors of the principal cities of Arkansas to
this effect:

had the courage to come forward to assist

From Helena: "Neither you nor any other
Atheists will be permitted to distribute antireligious literature nor to open headquarters
in Helena and I warn you to stay away." D.T.
Hargrave, mayor.
From Hot Springs: "Our City has been
commendably free from Atheism. It is my
intention to see that it remains so. In the
event you should, as a private citizen and
visitor, desire to come here and take a
course of our world-famous mineral baths,
which might boil that unholy doctrine out of
you, every courtesy consistent with Southern hospitality willbe shown to you, but you
will not be permitted to promulgate a doctrine that is most repulsive and violates
every tradition of Christianity." Leo P.
McLaughlin, mayor.
From Pine Bluff:"The Constitution of the
United States is based on the existence of a
Supreme Being. Atheists and their literature
are not desired in this city. Yours would be
objectionable and forbidden. W.L. Toney,
From Jonesboro: "Will do my best to
extend full protection of the law to every
man regardless of belief. But Jonesboro
does not want any Atheists. In view of
attitude of local population toward your
cause I do not believe it would be advisable
to open headquarters. Am personally opposed to you and your methods." EliCollins,
I wonder what happened in Arkansas in
1928 to the idea of free of speech, as
protected by our Constitution.
A newspaper reporter went to see Judge
Harb. Here is a bit of the recorded exchange.
"Smith opened up a place here," Judge
Harb expostulated. "And so incensed the
people here, he was just about to cause a

riot. He was doing an act calculated to

disturb the people of this community."
"Don't you believe," the reporter asked,
"in free speech? Don't you think that a man
has a right to state his opinions?"
Judge Harb put his foot on the seat,
leaned his elbow on his knee, and ernphasized what he was about to say with his
forefinger. "A man is entitled to free speech
- subject to the condition that he is not
permitted to create a riot. I got a right not to
be insulted. When a man talks about my
God - when he denies the existence of my
God and calls the Bible a lie - he has
insulted me."
"But it isn't free speech," the reporter
persisted, "if you only permit a man to state
opinions to which you agree. Surely a man
doesn't insult you simply by disagreeing with
A flash came into the judge's dark eyes: "If
a man insults my mother, I'm going to sock
him one. And, if a man insults my God, it's
the same thing."
That is the story of Charles Smith and
Arkansas, and it is also the story of why
most American Atheists won't speak out.
The religious community in the United
States would be astonished if it would take
time out to listen to our complaint just once.
Like Judge Harb, we too can say: "I have a
right not to be insulted." It insults Atheists to
be coerced into prayers. it insults Atheists to
have money taken from them by taxing
processes and given to religionists. It insults
Atheists to have their children indoctrinated
in religious beliefs without their consent. It
insults Atheists to have their country's government deeply involved in religious politics.
it insults Atheists to see political figures play
on the fears and hatred of one religious
group or another. 1m

Do Atheists enjoy in your city equal

rights with other citizens and would
you protect them in the propagation
of their convictions? I desire to open
headquarters for the distribution of
evolution tracts and anti-religious literature, to help defeat the anti-evolution
referendum bill.Advise collect, signed
Charles Smith, address City Jail, Little
Rock, Arkansas.
Charlie Smith spent twenty-six days in jail,
working off his fine. He had plenty of time to
read the replies which came in. I will read
some of them to you now.
From Fayetteville, where the state university is located: "No Atheist willbe permitted
to open headquarters in this city for distribution of anti-religious literature and any
attempt to do so willresult in a jail sentence."
Signed Allan M. Wilson, mayor. It should be
noted that no professor of that university

Austin, Texas

October 1986

Page 63


100 Years Ago ....

In 1886, the "Children's Corner" of The
Truth Seeker sponsored a competition for
essays on "Freethought - Its Superiority
Over Christianity" for individuals under the
age of twenty years. The grand prize was
three dollars. The winning contestant was
Miss Darlina Bell, age eighteen, of Overton,
Georgia. Her essay, "Why Freethought Is
Superior To Christianity," was published in
the October 16, 1886, issue of The Truth
Seeker. It began:
"Did you notice a picture that appeared in
the Ironclad Age over a year ago? It was the
deathbed of a vivisectionist. Allthe ghosts of
animals he had murdered thronged around
him in the most horrible form, dogs, cats,
and rabbits staring in his face. If he turned
from one, he would face another.
"The mind that is enslaved by Christianity
is in the same condition. It is not free. It is a
slave to the most hideous tales. The devil
grins in its face, daring it to take refuge in the
pursuit of knowledge.
"The mind that is free daily becomes more
enlightened, soaring on the brilliant wings of
thought. It can dive deep into the mysteries
of the past. It can investigate the cause of
life. It can appreciate the sublime and the
beautiful. It can soar up among the worlds
that render night beautiful, without thinking
they are just small sparks of fire put there for
no purpose. Freethought diffuses its knowledge among others. The very name o,fFreethought pictures all that is kind, gentle,
noble, and grand; something that is ever
struggling to rise.
"The history of Christianity is all that is
wicked, torturing, lawless, and conservative. Christianity is attempting to pull progress down, while Freethought is ever helping
it to rise. Christianity prowls around filling
people's minds with fables that are so big
there is no room for anything else.
"What is there worse than a mind not
free? .. ."

30 Years Ago ...

"Historical Notes" devotees might remember reading earlier this year about the Friendship Liberal League's struggle to accumulate
$20,000 to purchase a building in 1956.
Accounts reprinted told of the almost dollarby-dollar struggle of theFLL.
The cover of the October 1956issue of the
league's organ, The Liberal, really needed
no headline - for it displayed the picture of
the "Thomas Paine Center." One cannot
help rejoicing with The Liberal's editor as
one reads the accompanying article:

Page 64

"The above picture shows the front of the

THOMAS PAINE CENTER, which is located at 5233 N. 5th St. in Philadelphia. It
was formally opened on September 29th,
and we are happy to report that the opening
was a success.
"There were over 150 visitors to the
"Many could not stay for the dedication
which took place at 7 P.M. but were greatly
impressed with the progress of the League
and the results of our efforts in the establishing of the THOMAS PAINE CENTER.
"To our knowledge it is the only such
building of its kind in the country ....
"The Center contains a splendid book
shop, forum, reading room, and library. It is
open to the public and we are happy to
report that we have secured several new
members, who passing by were attracted by
the display of books in the window ....
"Next called upon was Mrs. Eva Ingersoll
Wakefield, the granddaughter of the one
and only Robert G. Ingersoll. Mrs. [sic]
attended with her husband Sherman D.
Wakefield, a noted editor and writer.
"Mrs. Ingersoll read a thrilling essay on
Thomas Paine and told of the high regard
which Robert Ingersoll had of Thomas Paine.
The talk willbe printed in our November issue.
"Mrs. Wakefield had donated a handsome
bust of Robert Ingersoll to the Center, and it
occupied a prominent niche in our forum.

10 Years Ago ...

Atheists can never be unaware of the
politics of their nation, especially when the
politics includes as much religion as it does
in the United States. American Atheists was
certainly ready with comments on the 1976
presidential election, as demonstated by this
report from the December 1976 American
"The following is the full text of a press
release issued from The American Atheist
Center on October 26, 1976:
"Madalyn Murray O'Hair, American Atheist leader, today endorsed Jimmy Carter for
"In explaining her surprising choice she
said, 'In support of our Constitution and as
an advocate of state/church separation,
being an American Atheist, I have no choice
but to recommend Jimmy Carter to the
American Atheists who comprise 23%of the
" 'I recognize that Jimmy Carter and his
wife are both fanatically religious and both
think that they have talked with god. However, god has apparently whispered into

October 1986

their ears that the hallowed concept of state/

church separation is best for our nation ...
and even as an Atheist, I can say, "thank
gawd" for that. ...
" 'I am not unaware that with Carter in the
White House, the evangelicals will gain in
stature but that, too, willhelp us all since the
nation willnot be able to stomach the spectacle for long.' "

5 Years Ago ...

The following review of American Atheists's First Amendment cases appeared in
the November 1981 American Atheist:
"On the first day of its opening session in
Vendemiaire (October), the United States
took the public opportunity to deny certiorari (review) to two cases brought before it
by American Atheists. These were the cases
of O'Hair v. Clements and OHair v. Cook.
The former dealt with the habit of the State
of Texas of displaying a nativity scene within
the rotunda of the capitol building, itself, in
Austin, Texas. The latter complained of the
Austin City Council opening with prayer. ...
"In the former case, the state had put
forth the argument that the nativity scene
was completely unrelated to religion, did not
remotely touch on Christianity, was a representation of the nuclear family only, and was
equivalent 'to a mere bauble on the tree.'
The question we posed was, then, why not
depict Archie and Edith Bunker with their
daughter Gloria? During the lengthy legal
procedure, a young Jewish law student
demanded and obtained the right to hold a
full Hanukkah ceremony, complete with the
menorah. This was granted, the religious rite
performed, and the court also saw this as
'without religious content.'
"The prayers at city council fared no better. The lower court saw them as completely
devoid of religious significance and equivalent to.'a gavel' to bring the room to order. In
neither instance did the religious community
complain. Instead of replying to the insult in
each case and demanding that the religious
significance be recognized, the Protestant
and the Jew alike meekly turned the other
cheek. After all, theirs was still the governmentally acknowledged, socially acceptable
"Allegedly applying. the tripartite test
required in cases where the government or
its entities apparently are 'establishing' religion by sponsoring or featuring it in government functions, the courts at both the lower,
the appellate and the Supreme Court levels
blatantly and in a cavalier manner affronted
the Atheists of the United States by their
specious definitional terms .... "

American Atheist



the United Nations General
voted to officiallydesignate
Zionism as a form of racism, the U.S. media,
and many government officials, wailed with
outrage, immediately condemning both the
vote and, in a few cases, the UN itself. The
vote, recorded on November 10, 1975, was
anticipated by the New York Times, which
misinformed its readers on November 9 that
it was the work of "Black intellectuals" and
"anti-Semitic clergy." The U.S. ambassador
to the UN knew that the vote was coming;
he attempted to enlist Western European
allies' support in pressuring many Third
World nations to vote with the U.S. or face
unspecified sanctions. The cries of outrage
and indignation by politicians and the media
after the vote had an unreal quality. In no
newspaper or other organ of U.S. corporate
media was there substantive analysis of
Zionism as a political philosophy or of the
manner in which it is realized through the
laws and institutions of the nation of Israel.
This article is an effort to partially correct
that deficiency and to educate readers by
lookinginto the historical and political nature
and substance of Zionism.
After the vote, the U.S. ambassador to
the UN, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, attempted to play down the humiliation of the United
States with a curious word game. He told the
press that the resolution meant nothing
because the UN had never formally defined
whet racism was. The closest thing to a definition of racism which could be found was a
statement by the Soviet Union in 1968 which
equated Nazism with racism. The fact that
there was no formal vote on a definition of
racism in the UN General Assembly is not
material because the International Convention on Racial Discrimination (ICRD) - a
UN document - does define racism.
The UN General Assembly's vote was
predicated on the duties and obligations
imposed by the ICRD. Since Israel is not a
signatory to this convention, it is not bound
by it in the sense of a treaty obligation. The
convention, however, may provide a juridicial basis for alleged human rights violations, even though the nation whose conduct is the subject of a complaint or vote has
not undertaken implementation of the convention's measures in its own laws.
A report filed in 1971 by the Syrian
government with the UN Committee on
Racial Discrimination served as a focus for

Austin, Texas

the 1975 vote. The report stated that since

Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights in
the June 1967 war, over 110,000 Syrians had
been subject to "discriminatory and racist
policies and practices" in violation of Article
5 of the convention. The report detailed
seizure of property by Israeli military personnel, forced evictions, job discrimination,
credit and wage discrimination, police harassment, and numerous incidents of petty
hatred. The report ended by calling on the
parties to the convention to act to eliminate
these conditions and practices. The convention later issued a decision noting that Israel
was not a part of the convention, but stating
that: (1) "racial discrimination is being practiced in that part of Syrian territory known
as the Golan Heights and which is under
Israeli occupation," and (2) the convention
would "call the attention of the General
Assembly to the situation."
For the record, Art. 5 of the ICRD defines
"racism or racial discrimination" as follows:
Any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race,
colour, descent, or national or ethnic
origin, which has the purpose or effect
of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an
equal footing, of human rights and
fundamental freedoms in the political,
economic, social, cultural or any other
field of public life.
The ICRD specifies a number of rights
which the parties to the convention undertake to guarantee, "without distinction as to
race, colour, or national or ethnic origin."
These rights include equal treatment before
judicial tribunals or courts, freedom of movement and residence, freedom to return to
one's country, freedom to form and join
trade unions, housing, and education, etc.
So the definition of racism is clearly set forth
as an international legal norm. The convention specifies four essential criteria which
must be met before an idea, act, or set of
policies may be formally designated as racist.
They are:
(1) There must be a distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference.
(2) These must be based on race,
color, descent, or national or ethnic

October 1986

(3) These must have either the intent

or effect of impairing the equal exercise of human rights and fundamental
(4) The freedoms so impaired must be
political, economic, social, or cultural
in nature.
So it is against the foregoing that Zionism
must be examined to determine whether or
not it is a form of racism. In order to do this,
it is essential to understand what Zionism
was, what Zionism is, and how Zionism is
practiced or manifests itself.
Early Zionist Leaders
It is clear from the statements and writings
of modern Zionism's early leaders that Zionism is a nationalist political movement and
that nation-states were envisioned by them
as social organisms which grew from basic
racial characteristics of the people. When
Theodore Herzl formed the World Zionist
Organization in 1897, he and other founders
made no secret of their belief that all Jews
were members of a single nation and that
this "nation" had political rights in Palestine
- first, because Jews were a "nation dispersed," and second, by virtue of certain
official government statements. The WZO
and modern Zionism arose out of two principal fears: fear of anti-Judaism and fear of
Jewish assimilation. In The Jewish State,
Herzl emphasizes that hatred of Jews is an
ineradicable element in non-Jewish societies
and that safety for Jews can only be had in a
society run by Jews and where Jews were a
Vladimir Jabotinsky, a brilliant early Zionist, was the principal proponent of the racial
nature of Judaism and used his racial ideas
to argue for a Jewish nation. He was vociferously against mixed marriages; he stated in
1904 that,
All of the nations which have disappeared (apart from those which
perished from massacre) were swallowed up in the chasm of mixed
marriages. Autonomy in the Golah
(exile) is likely to lead to the complete
disappearance of the Jewish nation
from the face of the earth ... this will
mark the end of the battle waged by
the Jewish people for national exis-

Page 65

tence .... A preservation of national

integrity is impossible, 'except by a
preservation of racial purity, and for
that purpose we are in need of a
territory of our own.
In a 1913 booklet called Rasa, Jabotinsky
stated what he thought constituted a nation:
"A nation is manifested by its own 'racial
spectrum' which permeates to a greater or
lesser degree, the personality of any average
member of the group beneath and above the
diversity of individual physiognomies." He
was certain that each nationality would
eventually be reduced to a matter of blood
type, glandular secretion, or "factor" (an
early twentieth century term for what is now
called genetics).
Jabotinsky's racism stood in opposition to
the scientific and Marxist theories of "national identity," which held that climate,
cultural isolation and experiences, and other
historical or materialistic factors were the
determinants. It's easy to see the sources of
Jabotinsky's beliefs, though. As a member
of the Russian upper class, he was inundated
with the social-Darwinist ideas of natural
biological conflicts between races and
classes. As a Jew, he was also inundated
with Talmudic prohibitions against proselytizing and marrying Gentiles. The myth of
Jews all being related by flesh and blood
runs deep in the Jewish faith, and it formed
the basis for the racism of the early Zionist
The belief in a Jewish race was the
catalyst used by WZO leaders to crystallize
support for the Zionist agenda. Of course,
Jews are not a separate race. In times when
Jews were isolated, they proselytized and
converted people. No Jew living today can
trace his or her ancestry back any further
than a non-Jew, and even among Jews,
there is bitter conflict over who is and who is
not a Jew. Within Israel, riots broke out in
1979 when Prime Minister Begin called for
"Identity Cards" to be issued to all Jews.
Orthodox Jews refused to recognize converts and those not observing Talmudic
laws; orthodox rabbis proposed "rating"
each person's card according to his or her
adherence to customs or laws. That proposal was dropped over Orthodox opposition. Currently, the legal test for citizenship
in Israel is a religious one, while the Identity
Cards of Jewish Israelis designate "Jewish"
as nationality.
In his negotations with heads of state and
plutocrats, Chaim Weizmann was careful to
always stress the following points, set forth
by Herzl and Jabotinsky: (1) Jews constitute
a nation, but they lack the attributes of
political nationality; (2) Jewish survival can
only be assured if there is an independent
Jewish state. After receiving the apparent
support of Great Britain in the Balfour
Declaration of 1917, the WZO prepared to

Page 66

colonize Palestine after World War I. The

interest of the British government and the
Zionists appeared complimentary.
With control of Palestine accorded to
Britain by the League of Nations after World
War I, a vehicle for creating a closed Jewish
state was formed, known as the Jewish
Agency. Its slogan was "Conquer the land,
Conquer the work, and Purchase Jewish
goods." In practice, this meant that the
native Arab population was to be excluded
from full economic, political, or other participation. The exclusion was formalized
through official boycotts of non-Jewish
goods and labor, segregated schools, and
setup of Jewish governing bodies.
Use of land was organized under a system
of long-term leasing for varying time periods.
All leases were financed through an entity
known as the Jewish National Fund (JNF),
which declared in its charter that all lands
under its control were to be held in perpetuity for Jews. The JNF bought some land,
but frequently it resorted to military force
and merely seized it. Under the terms of
JNF leases, the lessee must be Jewish. NonJews were forbidden to work on the land even to cultivate it. The JNF was established
by the WZO at the Fifth Zionist Congress
and is still in existence.
The importance of military force cannot
be overstated. To control and extend its
empire, Britain always relied on militarism.
In Palestine, during the early twentieth century, the desires of the Zionists to be secure
in "their" lands served as a useful pretext for
British military actions which extended
British control and influence. During the
entire period of British-Zionist cooperation,
there was never any question in the British
mind that no matter what they did, it was
good for the native population, who were a
lower order of human lifeand who needed to
be" civilized." The Zionists shared this racist
notion and went further, claiming that all of
Western Civilization owed a great "cultural
debt" to Jews and Jewish intellectual prowess. Jabotinsky felt that it was only fitting
that Christians serve Jewish interests, since
Judaism is the bedrock upon which Christianity was constructed.
Zionist Land Acquisitions
In the 1948 War of Independence, Zionist
militia moved out Arab inhabitants of villages, citing concern for their safety. In most
cases, they were given assurances that they
would be allowed to return after hostilities
ceased. In most cases, the lands were turned
over to the JNF, with no compensation for
the Arabs. In 1948, the military declared all
"relocated" persons to be security risks, and
the Cabinet voted that the people should
never be allowed to return to their land,
although they were citizens of Israel. Golda
Meir stated publicly that "to return the land

October 1986

to the Arab Israelis would constitute an

erosion of the Zionist principle." This principle is that once Jews "own" land, it can
never be alienated to anyone who is not a
The expropriation of land in Palestine and
the Zionist principle meant that the rights of
ownership rested not only with Jews livingin
Israel, but with all Jews - whom the WZO
claims to represent. After the nation of Israel
came into being in 1948, the heads of various
departments of the WZO and the Jewish
Agency were placed in charge of the various
ministries of the state. Under the Status Law
of 1952, both the WZO and the Jewish
Agency (the WZO's army in Israel) were
charged with being the "authorized agency"
which would continue to operate in Israel
for: (I) "the development and settlement of
the country," (2) "The absorption of immigrants from the Diaspora,' and (3) "The
coordination of the activities in Israel of
Jewish institutions." Section 5 of the Status
Law states that "the ingathering of exiles" is
the "central task of the State of Israel and
the Zionist Movement in our days."
After the creation of Israel, the JNF
remained under the control of the WZO. A
separate government body, the Israel Lands
Authority, was formed to speedup land
acquisitions by reducing reliance on private
funds, but the JNF was allowed to retain
control of its land. The Israeli government
adopted all of the restrictive JNF policies
regarding sale and lease of land, except for
labor. Arabs would be allowed to work on
Jewish-owned land. After the nation of Israel
was created, nearly all Arab-owned land was
transferred to the state. A series of laws gave
this the veneer of justice. All of the laws
citied emergencies, and Zionists claimed
that the state was only taking possession of
"unoccupied or vacated" land. The "transfer" of ownership was significant: in 1948,
only 612percent of Israeli land was owned by
the JNF and the National Lands Authority,
but after 1955, over 9412percent was owned
by JNF or NLA.
More recent legislation has reinforced the
intention of these laws. One is the Agriculture Settlement Law of 1967, which allows
the state to suspend water allocation for
lands put to "non-conforming use." Such
uses include vesting any right in the land or
its crops in a tenant. Since owners and
lessees must all be Jews, "tenants" must be
non-Jews. Another, the Discharged Soldiers
Law of 1970, is essentially a Jewish family
subsidy plan. Since it is nearly impossible for
a non-Jew to serve in Israeli military forces,
all of the benefits go to Jews.
The WZO/ JA compiles reports of its
activities for the Zionist Congresses held
every four years. These reports only refer to
the work being done on behalf of Jewish
housing, Jewish agriculture, Jewish industry, etc., and are used to influence spending

American Atheist

priorities by the Knesset. For this reason,

status in Israel (whether one is a Jew or not)
is very important - non-Jews are nonpersons.
The primary law relating to status and
citizenship in Israel is the Law of Return,
passed in 1950. This law establishes the
"right" of every Jew to emigrate to Israel. No
one other than a Jew has this right. Amendment 2, Sec. 4(b) states: "For the purpose of
this law, Jew means a person who was born
of a Jewish mother or has converted to the
Jewish religion and is not a member or
supporter of any other religion." For Palestinian Arabs, and everyone else, citizenship rights are controlled by the Nationality
Lawof 1952. For a non-Jew to be considered
an Israeli citizen, regardless of where he or
she was born and has lived, "it must be
established that he or she (0) was registered
as a resident of Israel by March 1, 1952; (b)
was a resident of Israel on April 1, 1952;and
(c) was, from the date of the establishment
ofthe state and until April 1, 1952,in Israel or
inan area that was annexed by Israel after its
establishment, or had entered Israel legally
during that period." Because records of
birth and residence for many of the "relocated" Arabs were destroyed in the 1948
war, over 400,000 Arabs are barred from
citizenship. This non-citizenship is "inherited" by their children and so on, meaning
that non-Jews and their descendants will
never become citizens.
In recent years, the economic crises in the
Israelieconomy have allowed extremists like
Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, both
military men, to ascend to power. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, then
religionis the first. The Likud and other right
wingparties have never had enough support
to rule on their own, so they have enlisted
the aid and support of religious orthodoxy.
As the economy worsened, and the government could not adequately provide.for the
demands of citizens, it was ncessary to
devise a mechanism for "legally" excluding
some citizens from benefits. Religious orthodoxy proved to be a useful mechanism,
and so Likud leaders built a coalition government with the National Religious Party,
Agudat Yisrael, and Tami group - all of
which are principally made up of religious
reactionaries. A few reforms and laws had to
be passed in order to cement the coalition.
These included a law mandating a five-year
jail sentence to anyone offering material
inducements for anyone to convert from
Judaism. Orthodox Jewish women were
exempted from military service so that they
could always be under the guardianship of
their fathers. Abortions were permitted for
"social reasons" (abortion not being a "sin"
in Judaism). Theatres were closed on Friday
nights. Knesset passed a law granting the
orthodox Rabbinate sole authority to say
who may register Jewish marriages. Tech-

Austin, Texas


boring again Christionl"

nically, all non-orthodox Jewish marriages

could be declared null and void. To date, the
orthodoxy has exercised this power in only a
few cases, but the potential for social
upheaval is there.
Begin's religious minister, Aharon Abuhatzeira, was found guilty of "financial malpractice" when he was convicted in 1981 for
allocating funds to religious organizations
for political reasons. The scandals, plus the
worsening economy, forced Begin out of
office and made way for Sharon. Sharon's
plan for revitalizing the economy has relied
on the creation of a permanent subclass of
non-Jews to do cheap work, and on Israel
becoming a major arms exporter - to right
wing military dictatorships and to repressive
nations like South Africa. Religious bigotry
has increased in Israel and there has been a
slow, steady erosion of freedoms (especially
for non-Jews) as orthodox Jews have exerted greater influence in politics.
Racism Taken For Granted
The political philosophy of Zionism and
the government appartus through which it is
expressed in Israel is principally exclusionary. From the early modern Zionists to
Zionists today, an essential and immutable

October 1986

core idea was that Zionist objectives could

only be reached through processes which
were exclusionary. These processes were
similar to those which had been used in
other places and eras with varied motivations. Basically, that process was colonization. The land which the Zionists desired to
colonize was inhabited, so the Zionists saw
three options open to them: (1) eliminating
all or part of the indigenous population
through genocide, (2) subjugating of the
indigenous people by passage of exclusionary and restrictive laws, and (3) pushing the
indigenous people outside of the area which
the Zionists wanted. The latter two were and
are the methods of Zionists.
When the Zionists proclaimed the creation of Israel, the British "emergency laws"
were in effect, and these became the laws of
Israel. Under these laws, Palestinians and
other non-Jews were divided geographically, were labeled "security risks," and placed
under the guard of military governors.
These governors had the power to declare
areas closed and to control entry or exit
from them. Pass laws required all "security
risks" to inform police and military officials
of their movements. The pass laws also
permitted the military to issue orders restricting a person's movements and con-

Page 67

tacts with others, requiring supervision of

work, and even forbidding aperson to 'work.
All persons subject to pass laws could be
summoned to a police station and detained
without any charges or trial for an unlimited
period, and were required to remain indoors
from sunset to sunrise. Additionally, the
police and military had legal access to these
people's homes at all times, and the military
was permitted to confiscate or destroy any
property if the people living there were
suspected of storing any arms or weapons.
All of this is still rationalized or played down
by Zionists, who attempt to excuse these
laws by saying that 1948 was a time of war.
But the truth is, these laws are still enforced
in Palestinian "refugee camps" and in regions which Israel is attempting to annex including the West Bank of the Jordan, the
Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, and the
Galilee region. As Israel's population increases, the government urges Jews to
settle in non-Israeli lands, and when hostilities break out (when the indigenous
people try to stop the taking of their land),
the government declares a "State of Emergency" and places the military in command.
The racist nature of Zionism is revealed in
the educational system also. Jews and nonJews are segregated. Non-Jews may only
attend Jewish schools with special state
authorization. Jewish schools receive several times as much money per student as
non-Jewish ones, and the range of subjects
taught at the Jewish schools is far broader.
In all branches of government, this segregation has also been institutionalized. AllIsraeli government ministries or departments
have special sections for "Arab" or "Palestinian" affairs to which members of, these
groups must apply or take grievances. Finally, the national government gives subsidies
to all municipal government units. In 1975,
Syrians living in Israel obtained figures from
the Knesset which proved that Jewish municipalities received seven times as much in
subsidies per capita as non-Jewish ones.
What is critical to remember about the
discrimination in Israel is that it is not only
sanctioned by the government and cannot
be challenged in any court of law, but that it
is also a fundamental precept upon which
Zionism is founded, and therefore it permeates the entire culture. In the laws, discrimination is not merely a matter of how the
laws are applied, it is intrinsic to the laws,
written into them. This is critical in revealing
the basis upon which Zionists have organized Israel. This is fundamentally different
from most existing U.S. laws where discrimination is evident in the enforcement,
but not in the actual content, of laws. The
discriminatory application of laws in the
United States can be remedied (often only at
great expense to victims) through the
courts, but this is not the case in Israel. Since
the goal of Zionists is the construction and

Page 68

maintenance of a Jewish nation, discrimination against non-Jews is essential.

The two principal defenses offered for
Zionism in the UN and other forums since
1948 have been that Zionism is an antiImperialist movement and that its prime
objective is the national liberation of Jewish
people. The fact that Zionism has been
realized through alliance with the major
imperialist powers of the twentieth century
does not in itself make Zionism imperialist.
There is, however, a mutually beneficial
political relationship between imperialism
and Zionism. Zionism can never be antiimperialist because of what it is: a political
movement directed at a land populated by
non-Jewish people which seeks to place
those lands under Jewish control and ownership. As for the claim that Zionism is a
"national liberation movement" of Jews, the
critical question is: When did Jews, scattered all over the world, a group of proselytes, converts, and descendents of the
same, constitute a nation? A nation is
generally defined as a historically evolved,
stable community sharing territory, language, culture, and experiences. Even the
"flesh and blood" beliefs of Jabotinsky and
other 'modern Zionist leaders aren't valid
criteria for Jews, since they assume common lineages - which those who call
themselves Jews certainly do not share.
Jews are a people who share a few common
beliefs and ritual practices, nothing more.
Zionism, therefore is not a movement of
"national liberation" for Jews; it is the
creation of a nation of Jews.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a
desire to retain traditions and a sense of
identity with a group, and no group or
members thereof should be forced to relinquish unique expressions of cultural heritage where those expressions do not violate
the rights of others. To the extent that Jews
or any other people are prevented or prohibited through a restrictive legal system or
through violence against them, they have a
right to undertake to change the system
which denies them equal rights. In national
liberation movements, we see one oppressed group attempting to assert itself on
an equal basis with the oppressors. The
Arabs and Palestinians are in no way
oppressing Jews in Palestine or anywhere
else, so there is no need for a Jewish
"liberation" movement. The UN set forth
the following in a statement on the "right" of
national liberation: "No man or people may
achieve National Liberation at the expense
of another." Evaluated against this statement, Zionism is not a national liberation
Zionism has not liberated Jews or brought
peace and security to Israel. Instead, it has

October 1986

isolated them in the world community. It has

brought the Middle East war without any
foreseeable conclusion. In the United
States, western Europe, the Soviet Union,
and elsewhere, Zionism has not allowed
Jews to become more integrated into these
societies. Instead, it has polarized them in a
movement which alienates Jews from the
general society.
It is instructive that the 1985 International
Women's Conference sought to single out
Zionism as an especially odious example of
racism, and that only extreme pressure
brought by the U.S. government stopped
the conference from specifically citing Zionism and Israel, and instead, issuing a general
condemnation of "all forms of racism."
The nature of Zionist pressure in Washington, D,C. is directly responsible for the near
blackout of unfavorable information about
Israel and for the hypocrisy being exhibited
by the House and Senate over sanctions
against the racist government of South
Africa. The South African situation for
Blacks is worse than the Israeli situation for
non-Jews, but only in degree, not kind. The
United States should get in step with the rest
of the world and condemn Zionism as racism. If sanctions are appropriate actions
against South Africa, they are also appropriate against Israel.
A Last Note
In doing research for this article, I ran
across information concerning Soviet Jewry. Jabotinsky, who detested Marxism and
scientific materialism, was never critical of
modern Soviet treatment of Jews. Unlike
the Czars, the Communists never instigated
a pogrom against Jews, and they were
willing to integrate Jews into the general
society under the same terms and conditions as non-Jews. Jabotinsky said very little
about the Soviet Union, but had harsh
criticism for Western capitalist nations, particularly Germany and the United States,
where anti-Semitism was rampant and discrimination against Jews was common. In
1940, Jabotinsky wrote, "For the last ten
years, we have heard no report of any
symptoms of anti-Semitism in any Soviet
territory, and we assume this to mean that
no such symptoms exist." ~
Brian J. Lynch is the former director
of the Massachusetts Chapter of
American Atheists and the current
media coordinator for the
national office. With a BS/BA from
Babson College, he has often debated
on such topics as religion, Atheism,
politics, the arms race, history,
and science.

American Atheist

"Me Too" is a feature designed to
showcase short essays written by readers in response to topics recently covered by the American Atheist or of
general interest to the Atheist community.
Essays submitted to "Me Too" (P.O.
Box 2117, Austin, TX 78768-2117)
should be 700 to 900 words long.
acknowledge that I myself
FirstonceI must
belonged to one of the more or

less cultish sects of the Christian religion,

and absolutely did, in fact, "believe" everything the preacher told me because he also
told me that he "spoke the truths of God."
Out of fear of eternal damnation and hell for
eternity (whatever that is supposed to
mean), I followed the words of that preacher
to the letter! Of course, I was also fourteen
years old and did not at that point in my life
know any better. I did not know that I could
go to a public library and check out books on
the beginnings of religions and learn where
and how each one go(started: It wasn'tuntil
I was around adult ag~-'th~tI began"liq really
"study to show myself approved"!
I almost hesitate to write that for.fearthat
these so-calledt'believers" will r~sh' out to
the libraries and de~and book burnings. Let
us hope that the majority of people by now
know how utterlY ridiculous that is. The next
step for these people becomes the whining
cry of freedom of religion. I firmly uphold our
country's stand oh that; however; that-isn't
saying it is a freedom to brainwash or destroy another's religion inhopes of making
one for all. It m,e~~~)ndividualJyone has the
right to practiC~ atJqbeliev,e what one wants.
The first step is to'pe~ha'ps make some more
laws cortcerrlih'g' r~ligiousity. I personally
abhor these ment'almidgnts knocking on my
door telling me Iwillpossibly go to hell at any
given moment. First~'where is hell? Second,
who is supposed to send me there? And
third, opening my1foQr and findingsomeone
who does not speak or know of reality is in
some ways unnerving. lmean, would you
open your door to an insane individual? I
don't think' sof'And, if tf)at happened, you
could close the doorand'call the authorities
to have them picked up and returned to the
sanitarium. But, why are Wepeople who deal
with the reality of lifenot ~.bleto caIl on some
regulated authority to riimove these cornmon, backward persons from our premises?
And in our schools, I can tell YO!-lcthatthe
children of these "believers" are encouraged
to "preach" in a way t~' the kids, inviting
them to their services and youthfellowships.
That is only the beginning.
It isjusually

Austin, Texas

kids who are insecure with themselves, as all

young adults are during certain phases of
their lives, who fall prey to these everpushing religionists.
Why not educate our young people about
the facts: that it is normal to have feelings of
pressure and rejection, and that time itself
helps us all to grow and resolve the difficulties. Instead, we seem to be obsessed by
trying to put a Band-Aid on everything! Our
youth are being told that if they "trust God"
that willmake everything right. And when it
doesn't? What then? These fragile young
persons perhaps feel that even their god is
rejecting them and they wind up putting an
end to their lives or hiding in drugs or escaping in alcohol? Ifthe parents and adults can't
accept reality, then how willthe youth?
I have heard it over and over again when
the preacher speaks. He tells his congregation that "God is perfect," that "God speaks
to man." Well, if this is the "absolute truth,"
then why is it that preachers need malpractice insurance? It is certainly difficult for
society to change what has been going on for
years and generations. It doesn't mean that
.if they change, their past was worthless. It
simply means that from their-beginnings

they have finally grown to a higher self. And

isn't that a more normal behavior than to
continue on in a make- believe children's
world? Mental health is a very real aspect of
our lives. How can we continue to keep putting Band-Aids on open, infected wounds;
without using a very real method of healing?'
The children of every generation need' rear ..
ism in their lives. They need to learn to deal,
with issues and problems and feelings in at
realistic way and adopt a positive attitude,
growing in love and knowledge of life as it is,
Immaturity should pass as one grows inter
adulthood. If it doesn't, then it is a mental:
health problem and never goes away. It is;
time to start dealing with young persons in;
realistic ways, not cover their concerns-and'
problems over with excuses or myths,
There is nothing more pitiful than a, child'
coming to a parent expecting help and'having that adult telling him or her to' "Pl:a
about it!" Perhaps lawsuits of malpractice
willgo so far that the judges willno long:.ed're'
afraid to speak up on behalf of normalcg,
- Summer-lWalfiimm


."Coach Martin is here to promote his newbook ..Fr.ank:14.rd-s:GJ\lfgpd"must

be a. IOUS4coach; 40ur tear)'); hasn't won.o game'i"r five'seOS0ns!C'

October, 1986


Reactions To Weddings

Leaves One Wondering

I recently started working for a government-owned facility here in Michigan. During my first week there, Iwas introduced to a
gentleman everyone calls "Father Murphy";
Father Murphy, you see, was a Roman
Catholic priest at one time. He quit that job
to get married, but has since been divorced.
At first I was intrigued; I told him that it
took courage to give up his vows and to get
back into the ways of nature.
But eventually I saw that religion had
messed up his mind in apparently irreparable ways. On the weekends, Father Murphy
engages in antiabortion rallies with other
Catholic totalitarians. I once overheard him
lecture a colleague on the need to "feed the
soul." His desk and environs are plastered
with signs about how much god loves us and
that we should be happy, since - after allwe're working for HIM, not the U.S. Government.
One day, as an experiment, I left near his
work area a photocopy of the cartoon that
appeared in the January 1983 American
Atheist magazine depicting a group of innocent children in a Catholic classroom, the
ugly nun intoning: "And now children, during the remaining two minutes of the school
day, you may - if you wish - indulge in a
moment of silent, secular thought." So you
know what the guy does? He proudly places
it on his desk next to all his other religious
When I received Dr. O'Hair's recent mailing, which included a "No Prayer in Government" decal, I placed that, too, on Father
Murphy's desk. When he saw it, he merely
smiled and moved it to a more prominent
position, exclaiming how "cute" it was.
I don't know what this little story proves
or does not prove. But I think it may be just
one more example of how religion seizes
from the mind even its ability to reason critically and to infer logical conclusions from
. the simplest of ideas.
John Sikos

Page 70

I began receiving American Atheist this

June. I have really looked forward to an
alternative viewpoint, one which would support my newly emerging beliefs. This first
issue was fantastic and gave a lot of great
ideas for secular or Atheistic weddings.
I found it ironic, though, that being gay,
my first issue of American Atheist would
deal with the straight concept of marriage
[June 1986]. It made me seriously question
how much acceptance is to be found with
Atheists in general and American Atheist in
particular. It is clear that Atheists as well as
theists grow up in an intensely homophobic
society - this phobia being a result of our
own history, particularly the Westward
Expansion, of taboos which have their roots
in Judaism and followed through to Christianity.
Obviously, my hope would be that removing religion would remove prejudice based
on sexual orientation. But realizing the
effect society has on all of us, I know this to
be somewhat idealistic. In any event, I willbe
curious over the next year to understand
where Atheists as a group, and as individuals, stand on an issue of great importance to
Richard J. Ruppel

me. I left the synagogue feeling strong and

happy - happy that I am enlightened
enough to be an Atheist.
Irene Friedland

Religion In The Parks

Iwas recently both surprised and angered
by a report I heard on the local newscast.
That about which Ispeak is the decision that
the county of Henrico, Va., a suburb of
Richmond, has authorized religious celebrations, et cetera, in public parks.
My surprise first was that there had been a
ban on such occasions at all, this being a
hotbed of evangelism. Although such a prohibition seems to be a rational interpretation
of the separation of state and church, no one
should ever accuse an evangelist of being
rational. By the same token, my anger was
aroused by the idea that areas for which my
taxes are being spent are allowed free
access by the collectively largest landowner
in the world, religious institutions that are
I hope there are others in my area who are
as incensed as I am about this, as I am disabled and not in a position to pursue this
issue as I would like to.
M. A. McKenney, Jr.

A few days after receiving the June issue

of American Atheist magazine with the feature article covering Atheist wedding ceremonies, I had the misfortune to attend a
god-inundated Jewish wedding. Every time
the rabbi said, 'The Great Eternal One," I
The guests were given song sheets with
words like "Love is being close to God."
Yeech! Being a good Atheist woman, I
refused to compromise my principles and
did not participate in the sing-along.
In front of each seat was an English translation of the Torah. Glancing through this
book of the Jewish god-myths was infuriating. Sexism, racism, and violence abounded
- the "unclean" woman, the human condition of "sin" (I hate that word.), the inferiority of non-Jews, etc., etc., ad nauseum!
To add insult to injury, the food was lousy
and the disc jockey played crappy music.
After an hour of listening to the rabbi
expo use a system of misconceptions and
false religious values (for which the groom's
parents paid a hefty fee), I started to feel
depressed. But then I decided that "they"
(the believers) would not get the better of

October 1986

A Response To A Reader
Having just read Edward Piers' letter to
the editor in the June issue, I feel compelled
to respond.
Mr. Piers evidently considers himself an
Atheist, since he refers to others as "theists." I am astonished by his lack of understanding of the term "Atheist." As most of us
know, an Atheist does not believe in any
kind of supreme being. Benevolent or cruel,
self-sustaining or vampiric, physical or intangible; it does not matter. Ifyou attribute a
supreme being with any philosophy or existence, you are a theist.
Mr. Piers, you are a theist; a complete,
absolute, and unadulterated theist.
IfMr. Piers' references to "juices" (mental
and/or physical) and "scientific thought"
were not so ludicrous, they would be amusing. I presume he also reads his horoscope
and has his palm read daily!
Mark Spencer

American Atheist


Burials And Wills
Atheists who have requested no religious
rites when they die often have had their
requests ignored by family or friends.
A suggestion: Have a codicil in your will
revoking any share in the estate if religious
rites or burial are performed. Depending on
one's state laws, one can leave a minimum
share to prevent any contesting of the will.
Make provisions to a charity, American
Atheists, or an educational institution.
Do it today! Make a will!
Anne Richert

On the Ted Koppell show the other night,
they did a report about the drought cur
rently overtaking some of our southeastern
Some woman in Georgia (l think) said the
followingambiguous statement:
"I go to church every day to pray for rain.
If it wasn't for God, I don't know what I'd
do. "
I'm constantly amazed at the ignorance of
most people.
Bob Glenn

A Home All Our Own

What we Atheists need to do is all move to
a secluded town with a lot of houses for sale
and an abandoned schoolhouse. .
Buy up and establish an Atheist town with
Atheist police and town councilmen.
And no damn churches to look at!
Is that a good idea, or what?
Wayne McClintic
New York

Arms Race
My kingdom - alas - for a crew of
U SA. leaders in positions of power, authority, responsibility, and decision-making with
the intelligence, logic, reasoning ability, and
Atheistic mind-set of Mr. Brian Lynch,
author of your two-part series, "Arms
Race," in the May and June 1986 American
I concur with Lynch one hundred percent
because he's right on all counts. I respect
and admire - and envy! - such a mind. I

Austin, Texas

would vote for him for U.S. president even a world president.
Ifyou should ever reprint his" Arms Race"
in tract form, I'd like to order 1,000 copies to
include in all my outgoing mail.
Andy Vena

No Porn, Please
Iam appalled at your article on pornography which more or less hailed Penthouse
publisher Bob Guccione as a hero. Since
one of the main defenses of Atheism is that
people can - and must - behave ethically
without religion, I would like to point out to
you that Bob Guccione is one of the least
ethical individuals in existence. The material
in his publication bears little resemblance to
normal, natural human sexuality. As an
example, he published an issue that contained sadistic pictures of an Asian woman
being tortured. Soon after publication, an
8-year-oid Chinese girl was found raped and
murdered by methods very similar to those
shown in the Penthouse feature. Guccione's
handling of the Vanessa Williams case
revealed his true motivation - pure greed
and self-glorification, untempered by any
ethical concern for the person involved.
Yes, pornography does hurt women, and
there is ample evidence of it. What about my
feelings when I walk into a 7-11 and am confronted by a picture of a woman with a meat
stamp on her bare buttocks? What about
my daughters, who are forced to look at it
and to deal with boys and men who have
been influenced by it? Boys who continually,
day after day, year after year, are bombarded by images of women presented as
pieces of meat are affected in their attitudes
and behavior toward women. Rape, sexual

harassment, and a basic contempt for

women that affects us in all areas of our lives
are the results.
You also display a serious lack of understanding of the issues by speaking of Jerry
Falwell and Andrea Dworkin in the same
sentence, when in fact these two individuals
have nothing in common, Falwell being a
major enemy of women and Dworkin a very
clear-thinking crusader for women's rights.
In fact, Dworkin so clearly sees and expresses how women are abused, by both
religion and pornography, by both right wing
and left, that she has been perceived as a
threat by both sides.
To hear Falwell and Guccione arguing
about pornography is like listening to the fox
and the wolf fighting over custody of the
chickens. Who cares who wins? Either way,
women lose. That American Atheists has
chosen to back Guccione lowers the organization in my eyes. IfAmerican Atheists does
not become more sensitive to women's
issues, it will be just like any organized religion - functioning for the convenience of
men at the expense of women.
Jill Friedman
"Letters to the Editor" must be
either questions or comments of
general concern to Atheists or
Atheism. Submissions should be brief
and to the point. Space limitations
allow that each letter should be two
hundred words, or preferably, less.
Please confine your letters to a single
issue only. Mail them to:
American Atheist
P.O. Box 2117
Austin, TX 78768-2117

the 'show-me state of mind
Atheists hardly take anything for granted, even if it's in their own
magazine, the American Atheist.
So if you have a question; objection, projection, speculation,
comment, or critique, don't just say it to yourself. Say it in the American Atheist. Write a letter to the editor. Or compose a short essay for
"Me Too." Or, if something puzzles you, send a note to "Ask AA"
Remember, the American A (heist can't be the voice of all Atheists
unless you add your voice too!
October 1986

Page 71

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October 1986

Exp. Date


American Atheist

The truth about. science and creationism

We all know that the creationist movement has been
alive and well since the famous "Monkey T rial" of 1925-27
and growing stronger. Yet, the "scientific community"
has essentially been afraid to fight back against the
absurd creationist dogmatists with appropriate vigor.
Finally, just two years ago in 1984, a national scientific
organization of repute had the courage to take a stand.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, selfperpetuating organization of distinguished scientists and
engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its
use for the general welfare. It was chartered by an act of
Congress in 1863. Why it took so long for such a prestigious body to act on this vital issue one can only guess.
The booklet was prepared because the scientists of the
National Research Council of the Commision on Life
Sciences, Committee on Science and Creationism felt
"that teaching the scientific theory of evolution alongside
creationism is inappropriate. ... Teaching creationism
is like asking our children to believe on faith, without
recourse to time-tested evidence, that the dimensions of
the world are the same as those depicted in maps drawn
in the days before Columbus ... "
The Academy considers five critical central scientific
issues in the science v. creationism debate in this booklet:
the nature of science, scientific evidence on the origin of
the universe and the earth, the consistent and validated
scientific evidence for biological evolution, human evolution, and the origin of life. The discussions of each of
these topic areas are done in plain, non-technical terms,
directly and succinctly stated. This is the best summary
of the key arguments against creationism in a short
twenty-six pages we have seen published to date. The
booklet includes a list of "other publications of interest"
which make fine additional reading to back up this splendid summary.
The booklet is must reading for every Atheist because
it lays out basic scientific principles and flaws in creationist dogma that are essential for Atheists to come to the
needed realization of just how dangerous the creation
movement is and with what knowledge it needs to be

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It is, therefore, our unequivocal conclusion
that creationism, with its accounts of the
origm of life by supernatural means, is not
Science and Creationism
National Academy Press (1984)
















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