The Arkansas creation law is a "progressive law" that is on the cutting edge of new science and education in America, a creationist professor testified in the Arkansas trial today.

"If Darwin was alive today, he'd be a creationist," said Dr. Wayne Frair of King's College in New York State. " . . . It's time we allowed the study of creationism in this state and nation. Arkansas is on the cutting edge of a progressive educational and scientific movement that has been cutting through decades of ignorance and prejudice" to try to teach the so-called creation science in schools.

Frair was one of the first to testify on the scientific nature of creationism in this trial, a test of a state law that requires that wherever evolution is taught in the public schools, creation science must also be taught.

He was the first creationist witness to escape a grueling cross-examination by the team of lawyers representing the American Civil Liberties Union, which is seeking to strike down the new law.

Even the judge, William Overton, jumped into the questioning twice with harsh queries, something the cool and largely passive judge had not done until today.

Once was with a chemistry teacher at Fort Smith (Ark.) High School, a pro-creationist witness who refused to answer a question directly. Jimmy Don Townley, a young man with slicked down black hair and long sideburns, said he only wanted to teach a couple of instances of scientific evidence which seem to him to contradict evolutionary theory. One is a set of calculations that purports to show that the probability of life arising from chemicals is very small.

"What keeps you from teaching that now?" the judge snapped.

Townley never answered this, but expressed the belief that teaching these calculations would persuade students towards creation science.

After several more questions and evasive answers, the judge came back again, "I have trouble figuring out why you don't teach those ideas in your class" without mentioning creation.

"Because those ideas are intertwined to creation theory," Townley said. He finally added that he wanted to mention creationism in order to teach it as well as evolution.

"I have trouble understanding how you go from disagreements in the scientific data, how you make the transition to teaching creationism," the judge responded. Overton also pressed William Morrow of Wofford College in South Carolina, who said evolutionists are biased and that creation scientists had been kept from publishing their work. Overton leaned over the bench. "I've been sitting here since 10:30 an hour and 40 minutes listening to you give one opinion after another, but I haven't heard you give a solid basis for a single one of them. Do you have any?" Morrow offered: "Well, the absence of fossil forms," gaps in the fossil records.