Kevin Padian’s Kitzmiller slides now online!

| 19 Comments

Although many have read the transcripts of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial (HTML version | PDF version) and found them interesting, reading the transcripts does not give the full sense of what it was like to be in the Kitzmiller courtroom. In real life, in addition to the witness answering questions, the lawyers and witnesses were constantly referring to exhibits that were digitally projected onto a large screen on the right wall of the courtroom. Usually the exhibits were just documents, but when the science witnesses testified, their powerpoint presentations contain fossils, flagella, and everything else in between. I think it is safe to say that the testimony is much easier to understand when read with the demonstrative exhibits available (the exhibit lists and a few exhibits are available online).

However, it takes a lot of work to convert the slides to web format, add captions, embed them in HTML, etc. But as a first step, I and others at NCSE have done this for Kevin Padian’s testimony (testimony+slides | just slides).

Padian’s testimony was probably the most visually dramatic of all of the witnesses, as he illustrated in point after damning point how the book Of Pandas and People was at variance with the fossil record as documented in museums and scientific publications. I was particularly impressed with Padian’s comparative morphology example with wolves, dogs, and the “Tasmanian wolf”, aka the Thylacine, which blasts out of sky the repeated wild incompetence we get from creationists about how the Tasmanian “wolf” is “identical” to the placental wolf or how, as stated in this Icons of Evolution DVD clip, the Tasmanian “wolf” skull shares numerous homologous features with the placental wolf that neither shares with their respective taxonomic groups.

This stuff is of more than historical significance, since it looks like the Discovery Institute and the ID guys are bound and determined to do it all over again with their new supplemental, no-way-it’s-creationism high school biology textbook promoted for the public schools, to be entitled “Explore [sic] Evolution [sic] : The Arguments for [sic] and Against Neo-Darwinism [sic]” (coming soon from www.exploreevolution.com!).

I hope to put up the demonstrative slides of Barbara Forrest and Kenneth Miller sometime soon as well.

Here is the announcement from the NCSE frontpage and NCSE Resources page on Of Pandas and People:

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.’”


(This description was copied from the NCSE news announcement.)

May 3, 2007

There may still be some typos in the transcript, or issues with getting the slides to display correctly on various monitors. Please send comments/corrections suggestions to matzke(at)ncseweb.org.

19 Comments

I just went through the slides, without testimony. I am impressed that Judge Jones was able to follow all this.

Using Firefox 1.0 I had no difficulties whatsoever.

Thank you very much for your efforts.

I just went through the slides, without testimony. I am impressed that Judge Jones was able to follow all this.

The audio probably helped.   :)

LOL, I think PZ’s link crashed our server…

Seems like the NCSE server is still having troubles. Or is it just me?

It’s not just you.

Seems like the NCSE server is still having troubles. Or is it just me?

No, it’s not just you. I see the page and the text, but no foils, nor do the individual links to foils work for me.

We moved the files to a different server, which we hope will solve the problem. The old URLs will redirect you there.

Perhaps a few global searches and word replacements would allow the same testimony to be recycled in the event of a new “Dover” for the “new” ID texts. Maybe a few new lines here and there to shift the focus from “ID is Creationism” to “Explore Evolution is ID is Creationism?” And the pages were loading non-text content very slowly for me. Busy, busy server!

The presentation by Dr. Padian is impressive as well as comprehensive. Very well done. That judge Jones was able to follow it just shows that sometimes you have the right person with a sharp mind that can see through even complex subjects. That is good for the country and good for all of us.

What Tyrannosaurus just said…

OK, thanks to everyone who emailed me comments and corrections, I have added Slides 55a and 55b which were missing (hidden under 55c) in the origin of Birds section.

And I have fixed the following, often humorous typos from the court reporter’s transcript (keep in mind how hard it is to type as fast as spoken speech, let alone get all the names and technical terms right):

Haeckle (twice) and Heckle (once) –> Haeckel

Yes. Loc Buffon, many of the previous, Lamarck had a theory of evolution very different from his.

And obviously longer the locks lay around, the less chance you have of finding what you’re looking for in those rocks?

Most of the critters we fined in the Idiacrin fauna are just weird. They seem to represent early metazoan,… Idiacrin –> Ediacaran

Digonian –> Devonian

progressive changes Lyel and Darwin had expected –> Lyell

Wherever we look at the living phyata –> probably “phyla”

Niles Eldridge (five times) –> Eldredge

Refreshing thread to bring up lost comment…

i found those the other day, specifically looking for the thylacinus/canis comparisons i had seen before, i believe linked on this blog.

needless to say, i’ve already used them in debate.

I have fixed a few more typos people found:

incus and the states –> stapes

“in their own fold” –> “in their own field”

whereas in fact what we have no found is no –> whereas in fact what we have now found is now

[This Question starts with “A” which is linked as an “Answer A” followed by the real answer.] Q A couple of more quotes… A. Can you tell me what,

… That’s party the reason –> That’s partly the reason

Loc Buffon –> Locke, Buffon

I also added a paragraph on nonprofit educational reproduction of the slides:

Notes on reproduction: The slide material produced by Kevin Padian and his lab may be reproduced on the web and in presentations (e.g. Powerpoint) and handouts, for nonprofit or educational purposes, as long as Kevin Padian and the NCSE-hosted webpage are acknowledged. Contact NCSE if you are interested in reproduction for a printed publication (higher-resolution versions of the slides are available). However, for copyrighted material held by others we have only acquired permission for reproduction on the NCSE website. Further reproduction of those materials should fit within the parameters of academic fair use, or the individual copyright holders should be contacted. Many of the images come from sources that grant blanket permission for nonprofit educational reproduction, e.g. Wikipedia (under e.g. a Creative Commons license), the public domain (e.g., U.S. government websites), the websites of whale evolution researchers Thewissen and Gingerich, or journal articles from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see the PNAS Rights and Permissions page). The journal Nature typically auto-grants permission for nonprofit educational reproduction of images; obtaining this permission requires that the user register on Nature’s permissions website and fill out a web form for each image. Other sources should be contacted via their permissions departments, e.g. Science or Wiley.

Great man, now everything is working fine. Even the slides 55a and 55b are fine.

Thanks Nick Matzke always like your post.

I did not get the slides (Server too slow), but I met and spoke to Kevin Padian in Oslo, Nov. 21. -09, after listening to his speech at the University of Oslo. Most interesting person I have met in a long time. I wished him GOOD LUCK with his important work.

Best regards Nils Mathisen Sr.eng. (R) Norwegian Broadcasting Corp.

Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know what you think !

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If you ask me*, it’s time to close this thread.

*Or even if you don’t.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on May 3, 2007 6:04 PM.

Red State Rabble on the dangers of the Discovery Institute’s Plan B was the previous entry in this blog.

Why should medical students study evolution? Here’s an example. is the next entry in this blog.

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