Meet Padian's critters!
NCSE is pleased to announce that, for the first time, a transcript of Kevin Padian's expert witness testimony in the trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover (400 F.Supp.2d 707 [M.D. Pa. 2005]) is available on-line -- with the slides that he displayed in the courtroom. Padian testified in the case on behalf of the plaintiffs, eleven local parents who were challenging the Dover Area School Board's "intelligent design" policy; Judge John E. Jones III found in their favor, ruling that teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools is unconstitutional. Padian is Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Curator of Paleontology at the University of California Museum of Paleontology, and president of NCSE's board of directors.
Padian's testimony was widely regarded as among the highlights of the trial. For example, the columnist Mike Argento summarized Padian's discussion of Of Pandas and People: "It's too bad that just about everything the book says is wrong. ... The book, in so many words, is misleading, incorrect, incomplete, illogical and distorts the facts, he said." (York Daily Record, October 15, 2005). And in his account of the trial, Monkey Girl (Ecco 2007), Edward Humes wrote, "Kevin Padian, Berkeley paleontologist and curator of his university's Museum of Paleontology, entertainingly brought the bone hunter's perspective to the courtroom, the sort of character on whom the fossil-hunting hero of the film Jurassic Park was based. Padian happily showed slides of his 'critters,' as he tended to call the ancient fossils and bones he used as a window on the past. ... Padian, with evident fierce joy, debunked the often repeated claim that the absence of 'transitional fossils' was a problem for evolution and an argument for creation or intelligent design."
Judge Jones, for his part, was also impressed with Padian's testimony, writing in his decision (PDF), "A series of arguments against evolutionary theory found in Pandas involve paleontology, which studies the life of the past and the fossil record. Plaintiffs' expert Professor Padian was the only testifying expert witness with any expertise in paleontology. His testimony therefore remains unrebutted. Dr. Padian's demonstrative slides, prepared on the basis of peer-reviewing scientific literature, illustrate how Pandas systematically distorts and misrepresents established, important evolutionary principles." He also noted that "Padian bluntly and effectively stated that in confusing students about science generally and evolution in particular, the disclaimer makes students 'stupid.'"