Eugenie Carol Scott is an American physical anthropologist who
has been the executive director of the National Center for Science
Education (NCSE) since 1987. She is a leading critic of creationism
and its offshoot, intelligent design.
Scott studied at the University of Missouri - Columbia where she
earned a Ph.D. in anthropology. She served as president of the
American Association of Physical Anthropologists from 2000 to
2002. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science and awarded honorary D.Sc.'s by
McGill University in 2003, by Ohio State University in 2005, and
by Mount Holyoke College in 2006. She is also a fellow of the
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
is a secular humanist, and in 2003 was one of the signers of the
third humanist manifesto, Humanism and Its Aspirations. The NCSE
is religiously neutral and has members who hold a variety of faith-based
beliefs or no beliefs at all. Nevertheless, both Scott and the
NCSE are criticized as being "atheistic" by creationist
2004, the National Center for Science Education was represented
by Dr. Scott on Penn and Teller's Showtime television show Bullshit!,
on the episode titled "Creationism, on which Dr. Scott offered
scientific views about the creationist and intelligent design
movements. She noted "it would be unfair to tell students
that there is a serious dispute going on among scientists whether
evolution took place" because there is no such debate between
scientists. She further noted that "a lot of the time the
creationists... they'll search through scientific journals and
try to pull out something they think demonstrates evolution doesn't
work and there is a kind of interesting rationale behind it. Their
theology is such that if one thing is wrong with the Bible you
have to throw it all out so that's why Genesis has to be interpreted
literally. They look at science the same way. If one little piece
of the evolutionary puzzle doesn't fit the whole thing has to
go." Scott then explained, "that's not the way science
is widely considered to be a leading expert on creationism (including
intelligent design), as well as one of its strongest opponents.
Her book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction was published
by Greenwood Press in 2004 and then in paperback by the University
of California Press in 2005. It has a foreword by Niles Eldredge.
has taken part in numerous interviews on MSNBC and the Fox News
Channel, debating various creationist and Intelligent Design advocates.
On 29 November 2004, Scott debated astrophysicist Jason Lisle
of Answers in Genesis on CNN. On May 6, 2005 Scott debated Stephen
C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute, on The Big Story with John
2005, Scott and other NCSE staff served as scientific and educational
consultants for the plantiffs in the monumental case Kitzmiller
v. Dover Area School District, which originated in Dover, PA.
Judge John Jones ruled strongly against teaching intelligent design
or creationism in the public schools.
In 2005, Scott was party to a libel suit in which she was accused
by Larry Caldwell of Quality Science Education for All of making
false claims in an article published in California Wild, the magazine
of the California Academy of Sciences. The points alleged to be
false made by Scott were details not central to the subject and
conclusions of the article, but Intelligent Design proponents
characterized them as a "false smear" a "campaign
of disinformation" and showing a "pattern of making
false claims and character attacks".
the suit did not name California Wild as a defendant, its editor,
Keith Howell, agreed to remove the online link to Scott's article
and to publish a letter from Caldwell as well as a letter from
Scott containing corrections.
letter corrected mistakes in the article, principally that it
was not Caldwell but an unidentified citizen who had submitted
creationist books to the Roseville school board as had been reported,
and that Caldwell ally Cornelius Hunter was the person described
in the article by a scientist as having a "gross misunderstanding
of the nature of science" in analyzing the Holt textbook.
The letter also corrected the date of the Georgia evolution disclaimer
and the spelling of Jonathan Sarfati's surname. The NCSE then
published a version of the article showing the corrections
can't really be scientifically literate if you don't understand
evolution, and you can't be an educated member of society if you
don't understand science."
is a limited way of knowing, looking at just the natural world
and natural causes. There are a lot of ways human beings understand
the universe -- through literature, theology, aesthetics, art
think what bothers me so much of the time, is they take the data
and theory and distort it. They must know they're distorting."
a bait and switch going on here because the critics want the textbooks
to question whether evolution occurred. And of course they don't
because scientists don't question whether evolution occurred."
learned very early on that it's necessary but not sufficient for
scientists to go to school board meetings and say, "We shouldn't
be teaching creationism." Being right doesn't mean it'll
schools are where the next generation of leaders are educated
and where cultural exchange will take place."