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Creationist "Out of Context" Quotes

John Stear

Perhaps the best known example of an "out of context" quote is the use by creationists of Charles Darwin's words from The Origin of Species (Chapter 6 under the heading "Organs of extreme perfection") in an attempt to cast doubt on the evolutionary process.  By quoting Darwin "out of context" they attempt to convince their followers that Darwin didn't believe the eye could evolve by natural selection. 

The first paragraph below is the part creationists use while the last part (in italics) is the part they omit.

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.

Below are links to other articles illustrating the dishonest practice by creationists of "out of context" quoting.  This page will no doubt grow exponentially as more of quotes are posted.

The Incomprehensible Creationist
John Stear
I recently corresponded with an old Earth Creationist (OEC) who continues to use the Darwin eye quote despite his mentor AiG abandoning it 

Hiding the Numbers to Defame Radiometric Dating
A Few Examples of the Many Misused References in Woodmorappe (1999)
Dr Kevin R. Henke

More Classic Misquotations in Woodmorappe (1999)
Dr. Kevin R. Henke

Does Dr Jonathan Sarfati Have Any Integrity
John Stear

Another Creationist Misquote
Richard Arrowsmith

A Selection of Quotations About Evolution (off site)

Quotations and Misquotations  (off site)
Michael Hopkins

Quote: Colin Patterson on Transitional Fossils  (off site)
Don Lindsay

Quote-Mining...The Tradition Continues -
ICR Representative Frank Sherwin Visits Eureka College
(off site)
Karen E. Bartelt, Ph.D.

Supernovae, Supernova Remnants and Young Earth Creationism FAQ
Reply to Jonathan Sarfati
(off site)
Dave Moore

The Quote Mine Project
Or, Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines
(off site)
Edited by John Pieret

Replying to Some Sloppy Accusations
Dr. Kevin R. Henke

Citing Scadding (1981) and Misunderstanding Vestigiality
Another Example of Poor Creationist Scholarship
(off site)
Reed A. Cartwright and Douglas L. Theobald, Ph.D.

Liars, Damn Liars, and Creationists (off site)
"How can you tell when a creationist is lying? He starts to quote an evolutionist."
Darwins Beagle - Posted on September 12th, 2007


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