Some Timely Quotes

De t'ings dat yo li'ble To read in de Bible - It ain't necessarily so.
--It Ain't Necessarily So, Porgy and Bess (George Gershwin)

Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory."
--Scott D. Weitzenhoffer

The tragedy of young-earth creationism is that it takes a relatively recent and extreme view of Genesis, applies to it an unjustified scientific gloss, and then asks sincere and well-meaning seekers to swallow this whole, despite the massive discordance with decades of scientific evidence from multiple disciplines. Is it any wonder that many sadly turn away from faith concluding that they cannot believe in a God who asks for an abandonment of logic and reason?
--Francis S. Collins, Director National Human Genome Research Institute, writing in Faith and the Human Genome
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
--Theodosius Dobzhansky (
1900-1975) Russian geneticist and evolutionary biologist
Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo. (The drop excavates the stone, not with force but by falling often.)
Publius Ovidius Naso, Epistulae Ex Ponto (Letters from the Black Sea)
I know not what I appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
--Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Quoted in D Brewster, Memoirs of Newton
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
--Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.
--Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003)

Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
--Carl Sagan, 1934-1996
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
--Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.

--Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.
--Ashley Montague
Ph.D., D.Sc., D.Litt.
Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
(551-479 BCE)
...Which brings me to the Hubble Space Telescope's newest images. If it's wonder that you're looking for, and mystery, don't just scan the photographs. Stop and think about them. Try to imagine the scale. The Earth is just a speck of dust on one distant whirling tentacle of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains billions of stars. A 'collision' of galaxies seems unimaginably large - and yet it is something scientists long ago imagined... The imaginings of pseudoscience are feeble by comparison.

--Mark Bowden, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer on recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope
Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night. God said 'Let Newton be!' and all was light.
--Alexander Pope
(1688-1744) English poet and writer
Man masters nature not by force but by understanding.  This is why science has succeeded where magic failed: because it has looked for no spell to cast on nature.
--Jacob Bronowski (1908 - 1974) British historian and
mathematician.  See The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski
Books must follow sciences, and not sciences books.
--Francis Bacon
(1561-1626) Renaissance author, courtier, and father of deductive reasoning

To me it's a question of being able to look backward and give the present a root... To give meaning to where we are today, we need to look at where we have come from.
--Richard Leakey (1944- )
conservationist, activist and famous paleoanthropologist, writing in National Geographic, February 1998

Evolution is the GUT (GRAND UNIFYING THEORY) of biology. It is the bedrock principle of our scientific understanding of the natural laws that govern life. Furthermore, it is logically necessary for life's survival in a changing world environment. To deny this scientific principle is analogous to believing that the earth is the center of the universe!

--Dr. J. William Schopf,
paleobiologist and director of UCLA's Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life (Mader 1998; page 5)
The rich diversity of the world's cultures reflects a corresponding diversity in the wilds that gave them birth.
--Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) considered the father of wildlife ecology

Science is the refusal to believe on the basis of hope.
--Carrie P. Snow
Reason, Observation, and Experience the Holy Trinity of Science.
--Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) American philosopher, lawyer and orator
Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
--Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Einstein, Out of My Later Years, chapter 8, part 1, p. 26 (1950, rev. & reprinted 1970)
The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American transcendentalist philosopher, essayist and lecturer
Opinions differ most when there is least scientific warrant for having any.
--Daisy Bates (1863-1951) English welfare worker among Australian aborigines
There is more religion in men's science, than there is science in their religion.
--Henry Davis Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and naturalist, writer of Walden
Though science can cause problems, it is not by ignorance that we will solve them.
--Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) American scientist and science-fiction writer
By the glare of false science betray'd, That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind
--James Beattie (1735-1803) Scottish poet, known for The Minstrel 1771-74. from The Hermit.

A preacher thundering from his pulpit about the uniqueness of human beings with their God-given souls would not like to realize that his very gestures, the hairs that rose on his neck, the deepened tones of his outraged voice, and the perspiration that probably ran down his skin under clerical vestments are all manifestations of anger in mammals. If he was sneering at Darwin a bit (one does not need a mirror to know that one sneers), did he remember uncomfortably that a sneer is derived from an animal's lifting [of] its lip to remind an enemy of its fangs? Even while he was denying the principle of evolution, how could a vehement man doubt such intimate evidence?
--Sally  Carrighar, Wild Heritage

1996 presidential contender, Pat Buchanan, said something along the lines of "You may believe that you're descended from monkeys, but I believe you're a creature of God". I guess that Buchanan hadn't considered that one of the basic tenets of Christianity is that God is the Creator of everything, including "monkeys". It seems to me that one of the basic reasons behind the so-called "creationism" is the feeling that somehow parts of God's creation are not worthy of being our ancestors.
--Tom Scharle
I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.

--Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Most scientists who are religious look for God in what science does understand and has explained. So the way in which my view is different from the creationists or intelligent design proponents is that I find knowledge a compelling reason to believe in God. They find ignorance a compelling reason to believe in God.
--Kenneth R. Miller, interview
In evolution, as in all areas of science, our knowledge is incomplete. But the entire success of the scientific enterprise has depended on an insistence that these gaps be filled by natural explanations, logically derived from confirmable evidence. Because "intelligent design" theories are based on supernatural explanations, they can have nothing to do with science.

--Bruce Alberts President National Academy of Sciences

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
--Albert Einstein

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived, and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
--John F. Kennedy
Evolutionary biology is genuinely scientific, but more than that it opens the door to a world more marvellous than any Christian fundamentalist has ever read into the pages of the Bible.
--David L. Hull, Dressler Professor in the Humanities, Northwestern University
Pray, n. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single practitioner confessedly unworthy.
--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
--Susan B. Anthony,  1820-1906, Quaker, teacher, temperance and abolition organizer and women's rights leader

Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon - it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flys [sic] back to its flock to claim victory.
--Anonymous reviewer of Eugenie Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism : An Introduction. See ScienceDaily

Looking to future generations, there is no cause to fear that the social instincts will grow weaker... the social instincts, - the prime principle of man's moral constitution - with the aid of active intellectual powers and the effects of habit, naturally lead to the golden rule, "As ye would that men should do to you; do ye to them likewise"; and this lies at the foundation of morality.
--Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871, Part I, Chap. IV

In a year when humans have slotted a spacecraft neatly through a gap in the rings of Saturn and fired a projectile into a comet 135 million kilometres away, surely it isn't too much to ask that our scientific techniques should be able to determine the correct age of the earth to within a small margin of error?
--Dr Alex Ritchie, BSc. (Hons) Geology, Ph.D in Sydney Morning Herald Webdiary Debate, 15- 24 June 2005 

The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.
 --Bishop John Shelby Spong, A Call for a New Reformation, 1998

There is a relative order to the fossilized species of plants found in the geologic record for which Flood Geology cannot account, unless you can imagine apple and orange trees with Nike sneakers on their roots, racing past the magnolias and primitive mammals, leaving the ginkgoes back there with the dinosaurs when the Flood waters began to rise.
--Frank R. Zindler, Creationism on the Rocks, Dial-An-Atheist, Greatest Hits from Ohio

God made all the animals in a single day; he could have swept them all away in the flood and re-created them in one day when they were again needed. Therefore it was an odd idea to save specimens of them for eleven months in the ark, whilst aware that eight persons could not feed or water them by any human possibility. If they were to be preserved by miracle, the ark was not necessary -- to let them swim would have answered the purpose and been more indubitably miraculous.
--Mark Twain, God of the Bible vs. God of the Present Day

The Deluge: A punishment inflicted on the human race by an all-knowing God, who, through not having foreseen the wickedness of men, repented of having made them, and drowned them once for all to make them better -- an act which, as we all know, was accompanied by the greatest success.
--Voltaire, Dictionary of Theology

Why did God fill the world with his own children, knowing that he would have to destroy them? And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?
--Robert Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses

There is no god higher than truth.
--Mahatma Gandhi

If every fossil were magicked away, the comparative study of modern organisms, of how their patterns of resemblances, especially of their genetic sequences, are distributed among species, and of how species are distributed among continents and islands, would still demonstrate, beyond all sane doubt, that our history is evolutionary, and that all living creatures are cousins.  Fossils are a bonus.  A welcome bonus, to be sure, but not an essential one.  It is worth remembering this when creationists go on (as they tediously do) about "gaps" in the fossil record.  The fossil record could be one big gap, and the evidence for evolution would still be overwhelmingly strong.  At the same time, if we had only fossils and no other evidence, the fact of evolution would again be overwhelmingly supported.  As things stand, we are blessed with both.
--Professor Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

A lie repeated often enough convinces the liar, and many creationists may now have forgotten that they are lying at all.
--Frederick Turner, Professor
of Arts and Humanities at the University of Dallas, Texas,
Darwin and Design: The Evolution of a Flawed Debate

The essence of Darwinism lies in its claim that natural selection creates the fit. Variation is ubiquitous and random in direction. It supplies raw material only. Natural selection directs the course of evolutionary change.
--Stephen Jay Gould (1977)

Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can only be doubted by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or plain bigotry.
--Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973)

If a sect does officially insist that its structure of belief demands that evolution be false, then no compromise is possible. An honest and competent biology teacher can only conclude that the sect's beliefs are wrong and that its religion is a false one.
--George Gaylord Simpson (1964)

I do not detract from God. Everything that is, is from him, and because of him. But [nature] is not confused and without system, and so far as human knowledge has progressed it should be given a hearing. Only when it fails utterly should there be recourse to God.
--Adelard of Bath Quaestiones Naturales, 1116

Intelligent design is nothing more than creationism dressed in a cheap tuxedo.
--Leonard Krishtalka

Intelligent Design is lipstick on the pig of Creationism.
--Dan Neil, In God and Darwin we Trust, Los Angeles Times, November 27 2005

From cowardice that shuns new truth,
From indolence, content with half truth,
From arrogance that claims all truth,
Good Lord, deliver us.

All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation. And it's exactly this feeling of spine-shivering, breath-catching awe almost worship this flooding of the chest with ecstatic wonder, that modern science can provide. And it does so beyond the wildest dreams of saints and mystics. The fact that the supernatural has no place in our explanations, in our understanding of so much about the universe and life, doesn't diminish the awe. Quite the contrary. The merest glance through a microscope at the brain of an ant or through a telescope at a long-ago galaxy of a billion worlds is enough to render poky and parochial the very psalms of praise.
--Professor Richard Dawkins, the [American] Humanist, January/February 1997

Well, there sure is a lot of independent confirmation of that [the present human populations of the world have all descended from Noah], isn't there? What about the Egyptians, whose history stretches from at least 3100 BC -- well before the Flood -- through the pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom (2770-2200 BC) -- which includes the time of the Flood -- to the end of the New Kingdom (1087 BC) (Lerner et al 1993). Definably Egyptian art, architecture, and documents exist continuously through these ages. The earliest evidence of the Egyptians diverting the Nile for irrigation dates to 3100 BC, and by 1750 BC they had established river gauging stations to predict the height of the Nile flood (Officer and Page 1993:63). This civilization was obviously "tuned in" to floods. How come the Egyptians seem not to have noticed a global flood?
--Karen Bartelt,
Skeptics visit the "Museum of Creation and Earth History

Creationists lie. They always lie, they lie worse than politicians, they lie worse than used car salesmen, they lie when their argument is weakened by a lie...
--Gary Hurd,
Talk.Origins Feedback, March 2006

It gets worse when you realize that for YECs, 22 months is only 1.4 million years in evolutionary time....
--Nick Matzke, National Center for Science Education, on discovering that the ICC's
Sixth International Conference on Creationism required "high quality papers" to be submitted to ICC some 22 months prior to the commencement of the conference

A biology or earth science course taught without the inclusion of evolution is an inferior course. Students who take these courses without being told that evolution unifies the data and concepts of the field are being cruelly short-changed. They will leave the course having been misled that science largely consists of the tedious memorization of lists of facts, rather than a tool we can use to help us understand the world of nature. This episodic, atomistic view of science is particularly regrettable: it turns students away from studying science, and perhaps worse yet, defeats our efforts to produce a scientifically literate society.
--Anthropologist Eugenie C. Scott Ph.D.

Evolution is not a force but a process. Not a cause but a law.

--John Morley, Journalist, Biographer and Statesman, 1838-1923

If we are going to teach creation science as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction.
--Judith Hayes, Californian freelance writer

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
--Attributed to Charles Darwin

Our critiques of creationism are: (a) that it stops scientific progress in its tracks by answering questions in a way that closes off further research; and (b) that there is no real attempt to meld the approach with the existing methods of science. We know that the creationists say this is not true, but their hypotheses relate to books of obscure origin or to faith rather than to observation.
-- JR Minkel, Scientists Know Better Than You--EvenWhen They're Wrong

By not vigorously exposing and confronting the educational injustice that the creationist movement is inflicting upon an ever-increasing number of young people, will we regret our inaction when, as adults, this growing crop of fundamentalists become school board members, military personnel, journalists, teachers, and politicians? If we think the situation is bad now, wait until a creationist who also believes in the prophecies of the End Times has their finger on the trigger of a nuclear weapon. Then the real fun will begin.
James K. Willmot,
Edward Blyth: Creationist or Just Another Misinterpreted Scientist?

Opponents say natural selection is not a theory supported by observation or experiment; that it is not based on fact; and that it cannot be proved. Well, no, you cannot prove the theory to people who won't believe in it any more than you can prove that the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. However, we know the battle happened then, just as we know the course of evolution on earth unambiguously shows that Darwin was right.
--David Attenborough, quoted in How Darwin won the evolution race