A former school board member who denied advocating that creationism be taught alongside evolution in high-school biology classes changed his story Thursday after lawyers in a federal courtroom played a TV news clip that recorded him making such a comment.
William Buckingham explained the discrepancy by saying that he "misspoke."
Buckingham's testimony came in the fifth week of testimony in a lawsuit filed by eight families who are challenging the Dover Area School District's policy that students hear a statement about intelligent design in biology classes. Critics say intelligent design is a repackaging of the biblical view of creation and thus violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
Buckingham, who led the board's curriculum committee when it approved the policy a year ago, confirmed Thursday that he said during a June 2004 board meeting that the biology textbook is "laced with Darwinism." The clip that was shown later in the day came from an interview that he gave to a news crew from WPMT-TV in York later in the month.
"It's OK to teach Darwin," he said in the interview, "but you have to balance it with something else, such as creationism."
Asked to explain by a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Buckingham said he felt "ambushed" by the camera crew as he walked across a parking lot to his car and that he had been consciously trying to avoid mentioning creationism.
"I had it in my mind to make sure not to talk about creationism. I had it on my mind. I was like a deer in the headlights. I misspoke," he told U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, who is presiding over the non-jury trial.
Earlier in Thursday's court session, Buckingham claimed that he had been misquoted in stories from two newspapers that reported his advocating the teaching of creationism to counterbalance the material on evolution.
"It's just another instance when we would say intelligent design and they would print creationism," he said.
When Stephen Harvey, the plaintiffs' lawyer, noted the similarity of the newspaper reports to what he told the TV crew, Buckingham replied, "That doesn't mean it's accurate."
Thursday, October 27, 2005
CREATIONIST CAUGHT PEDDLING LIES
The 21st-century edition of the Scopes Monkey Trial continues in Pennsylvania. On Thursday, things got colorful. The Associated Press reports it this way:
The trial could go on for another couple weeks; court has been in session since late September.