OVERHEARD in 2008
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason."
- Barak Obama, in a June 28, 2006 speech
"There should be at least equal time to creationism, but it's the state direction of this overall feeling of separation of church and state, so I think it's not unexpected. We'll uphold whatever the law requires, but do I personally support it? No."
- Florida school board member Steven Teuber, who is in favor of creationism being taught in schools
"Everyone knows [evolution is] not fact. There's holes in it you can drive a truck through."
- Dennis Bennett, the school superintendent in Dixie County, Florida
"I think George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan, to name a few, were some of our finest Presidents and they believed in creationism. I don't remember hearing how their beliefs negatively affected our planet or the sea life. If anything, they helped build America up and make her what she is today."
- Lauren Goddard, posting in her Pride of America blog, shortly after evangelical presidential candidate Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Republican primary
"The logic that convinces us that evolution is a fact is the same logic we use to say smoking is hazardous to your health or we have serious energy policy issues because of global warming. I would worry that a president who didn't believe in the evolution arguments wouldn't believe in those other arguments either. This is a way of leading our country to ruin"
- University of Michigan professor Gilbert Omenn, commenting on presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who has publicly stated he does not believe in evolution
OVERHEARD in 2007
"It all boils down to the idea that to counter evolution you teach students that evolution is crummy science in the hopes that students will reject it. It's a way of getting creationism in without the 'C' word."
- Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, quoted in The Dallas Morning News
"What I believe is not what's going to be taught in 50 different states. Education is a state function. The more state it is, and the less federal it is, the better off we are."
- Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, when asked if he thinks creationism should be taught in public schools
"What we're seeing here is another example of how Texas is becoming the central state in efforts by creationists to undermine science education, especially the teaching of evolution."
- Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network,a group that opposes teaching creationism in public schools.
"While somewhat innovative in the current educational context, this approach to the understanding and teaching of science is essentially the same as that of the founding fathers of science (Newton, Boyle, etc.), and of our nation and its first schools and colleges. In no way does this philosophy subtract from the standard scientific content, but rather enriches it."
- educational philosophy of the Institute for Creation Research, who in December 2007 is seeking approval to grant Master's degrees in science education
"We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it."
- Bobby Henderson, in an open letter to the Kansas State School Board
"The intelligent design movement is a direct descendant of 'creation science' and employs virtually all of the arguments and terminology used by earlier creationists. Most important, like earlier forms of creationism, ID is driven by the same religious motives and goals."
- NCSE board member Barbara Forrest, whose expert testimony about the history of the intelligent design movement played a key role in the Dover court ruling
"If we want to be competitive in the world, we have to do this."
- Susan Brennan, Florida high schhool chemistry teacher who helped write the new science standards for Florida public schools; these standards require the teaching of evolution
"There are different views of the creation of the world and we respect that. The message we wanted to send was to avoid creationism passing itself off as science and being taught as science. That's where the danger lies."
- Anne Brasseur, an assembly member of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, on a resolution that says European schools should "resist presentation of creationist ideas in any discipline other than religion"
"The days have long gone when science teachers could ignore creationism when teaching about origins."
- Professor Michael Reiss, Head of science at London's Institute of Education
"There are people out there who want to keep science in a little box where it can't possibly touch God. Scientists are not even allowed to think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator."
- Ben Stein, in the trailer for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary film he hosts, due out in February 2008
"I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. Whatever the biblical account of creation is, it's not a theory alongside theories.... My worry is that creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it."
- Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
"I'm a theistic evolutionist. I take the view that God, in His wisdom, used evolution as His creative scheme. I don't see why that's such a bad idea. That's pretty amazingly creative on His part.... Why is evolution not an appropriate way to get to that goal? I don't see a problem with that."
- Dr. Francis Collins, a physician-geneticist, noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project
"I have a higher opinion of God than the people who favor intelligent design."
- Brown University Professor Kenneth Miller in an appearance on The Colbert Report, rebuking intelligent design and its proponents
"You won't find any opposition to the idea of evolution among sophisticated, educated theologians. It comes from an exceedingly retarded, primitive version of religion, which unfortunately is at present undergoing an epidemic in the United States. Not in Europe, not in Britain, but in the United States."
- Richard Dawkins, in an interview with Salon magazine
"Genesis is not science. Genesis is a tale that was handed down for generations by people who really knew nothing about science, who knew nothing about natural history, and certainly knew nothing about what fossils were."
- Mary Dawson, curator emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh
"Treating a biblical text as if it were a modern literary form such as history writing is like putting a jigsaw piece into a hole in the puzzle where it doesn't belong. You may force it into place, but you'll damage it in doing so, and it won't help you to understand the complete picture. Worse still, forcing it into the wrong place makes it much harder to see where it properly belongs."
- blogger Dean Ayres, on the complexity of replacing aspects of science with biblical history as science
"We live in an era when public high schools and colleges have all but banned God from science classesÉ. The more [this] permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people's thinking."
- Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, reflecting on the Virginia Tech shootings
"I think his performance was not just a little bit over the line, it was a severe contradiction of what we trust teachers to do in our classrooms."
- Jeff Smith, Oregon's Sister School board member, referring to high school biology teacher Kris Helphinstine, who showed students a PowerPoint presentation linking evolution, Nazi Germany, and Planned Parenthood
"Critical thinking is vital to scientific inquiry. My whole purpose was to give accurate information and to get them thinking."
- Kris Helphinstine's response to his firing from Sister School for failing to teach evolution to his biology students
"Scientific materialism is so pervasive that it is almost as common in Christian universities as it is at state universities."
- Jay Richards, Discovery Institute senior fellow, in an interview with The Christian Post
"There is no reason an evolutionary biologist could not subscribe to something transcendent. It would be a mistake to assume that all scientists are materialists, and they are not."
- Dr. Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiology at Cambridge University, addressed faculty and students at Texas A&M
"Faith helps answers different questions, such as 'Why am I here?' Science isn't going to help you with that one.... Science is great at 'how' but science is not good at 'why'.... Science, however, becomes not only an exhilaration of personal resort but also becomes a glimpse of God's mind. In that regard, science can be and should be a form of worship. You meet God in the laboratory."
- Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institute of Health
"I would not depend on faith alone to explain the whole picture."
- Pope Benedict, defending"theistic evolution," the view held by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainline Protestant churches that God created life through evolution
"This country is in a moral freefall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak without moral consequences."
- Brian Rohrbough, father of one of the students killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre
"Evolution is just another opiate of the masses -- a religion called 'Darwinism' that piously robes itself in what it thinks is 'science.'"
- Ray Comfort, who has challenged Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time, to a public debate on the origins of the Earth.
"School children who see the exhibits in the Creation Museum in Kentucky will be confused when they learn in school that the universe is 14 billion years old rather than 6,000."
- Iqbal Latif, writer for Global Politician magazine
"When someone like a vehement anti-Christian Bill Maher goes to elaborate lengths to get into [the Creation Museum], it tells me how threatening our museum must be to their worldview"
- Ken Ham, referring to the unexpected visit Bill Maher and crew paid the Creation Museum a week before its opening