Friday morning began with the appearances of York Dispatch reporter
Heidi Bernhard-Bubband and Joe Maldonado of the York Daily Record. Both
reporters attended the June 2004 Dover school board meeting, and both
wrote articles that stated board members there used the word
“creationism” repeatedly. Several of the Dover School Board members
dispute that the word was used, including Thursday’s witness, Bill
Buckingham, and Heather Geesey.
Ms. Geesey followed the reporters on the stand. Parts of her testimony
bore a strikingly similarity to that of Supt. Nilsen the previous week.
Both admitted that their sole sources of knowledge about intelligent
design – including their belief that it is “scientific” – were board
members William Buckingham and Alan Bonsell. They also chose to believe
these board members – who both witnesses admit have “no science
background” – over the school district’s own biology teachers. Neither
found it necessary to do any research on their own about the proposed
addition to the curriculum.
Ms. Geesey also recounted her rather rocky relationship with one of her
fellow board members, Casey Brown. When Ms. Geesey first joined the
board in December of 2003, Ms. Brown had been her mentor. However, the
two had a disagreement, and according to Ms. Geesey, Ms. Brown stopped
returning her calls and refused to give her advice. (Bear with me – I
promise this ties in later.)
Ms. Geesey defended her decision to vote in favor of the intelligent
design textbook Of Panda and People – which she said never read – by
stating she was merely relying on the decision of the Curriculum
Committee. The Curriculum Committee was made up of board members William
Buckingham, Alan Bonsell, and… Casey Brown. Our attorney pointed out
that Ms. Brown had actually adamantly opposed the teaching of
intelligent design, and the committee was not unified. When asked why
she had disregarded Ms. Brown’s opposition, she replied, “She was
The most dramatic episode of the day came when Ms. Geesey gave testimony
that directly contradicted her depositions, which had been taken in
March 2005. On Friday she testified that intelligent design had been the
alternative to evolution discussed at the June 2004 board meeting.
However, our attorney reminded her of what she had said in her
Q. What did he [Buckingham] say he wanted to balance Darwinism with at
that [June] meeting?
A. At that meeting, I don’t know. He wanted another theory at that time.
At that time, I don’t think he knew.”
[at another place in the deposition]
Q. Do you recall a discussion by anyone or a statement by anyone at the
June 14 meeting involving the words intelligent design?
Ms. Geesey explained the discrepancy by saying that seeing a letter to
the editor she’d written that our attorney had questioned her about
earlier in the day “refreshed her memory.” (Which was interesting, since
the letter only mentions creationism, not intelligent design.)
After her cross, Judge Jones questioned the witness.
Judge Jones: I’m confused.
Heather Geesey: So am I.
Judge Jones (with a smile): It’s more important that I’m not confused.
He proceeded to ask her why her testimony differed, and how seeing her
June 27, 2004 letter to the editor could possibly have refreshed her
memory. Here are excerpts from the letter:
“Our country was founded on Christian beliefs and principles. We are not
looking for a book that is teaching students that this is a right or
wrong thing. It’s just a fact.”
“You can teach creationism without it being Christianity. It can be
presented as a higher power.”
No mention was made of intelligent design in the letter, but Ms. Geesey
repeated that the letter had reminded her of the discussion including
The afternoon concluded with testimony from Asst. Superintendent Michael
Monday should be an interesting day, with Alan Bonsell appearing on the
stand. Bonsell is one of the biggest proponents of teaching intelligent