Creationism is the position that the Universe, Earth, and life of Earth were created by one or more intelligent agents, sometimes taken to be the God of Christianity, Islam, and/or Judaism as recorded in Genesis, other books of the Bible, and the Qur'an.
- 1 Quotes, ancient history
- 2 Middle Ages quotes
- 3 Quotes, modern history
- 4 20th century
- 5 21st century
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
Quotes, ancient history
Quotes are arranged by time period and/or other thematic origin, and then chronologically by author
- The non-existent was not; the existent was not at that time. The atmosphere was not nor the heavens which are beyond. What was concealed? Where? In whose protection? Was it water? An unfathomable abyss?
- There was neither death nor immortality then. There was not distinction of day or night. That alone breathed windless by its own power. Other than that there was not anything else.
- Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. All this was an indistinguishable sea. That which becomes, that which was enveloped by the void, that alone was born through the power of heat.
- Upon that desire arose in the beginning. This was the first discharge of thought. Sages discovered this link of the existent to the nonexistent, having searched in the heart with wisdom.
- Their line [of vision] was extended across; what was below, what was above? There were impregnators, there were powers: inherent power below, impulses above.
- Who knows truly? Who here will declare whence it arose, whence this creation? The gods are subsequent to the creation of this. Who, then, knows whence it has come into being?
- Whence this creation has come into being; whether it was made or not; he in the highest heaven is its surveyor. Surely he knows, or perhaps he knows not.
- passage from the Creation Hymn in the Rig Veda (around 3100-1500 BC).
- Some foolish men declare that creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could God have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression. If you declare that this raw material arose naturally you fall into another fallacy, For the whole universe might thus have been its own creator, and have arisen quite naturally. If God created the world by an act of his own will, without any raw material, then it is just his will and nothing else — and who will believe this silly nonsense? If he is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him? If, on the other hand, he is not perfect, he could no more create the universe than a potter could. If he is form-less, action-less and all-embracing, how could he have created the world? Such a soul, devoid of all morality, would have no desire to create anything. If he is perfect, he does not strive for the three aims of man, so what advantage would he gain by creating the universe? If you say that he created to no purpose because it was his nature to do so, then God is pointless. If he created in some kind of sport, it was the sport of a foolish child, leading to trouble. If he created because of the karma of embodied beings [acquired in a previous creation] He is not the Almighty Lord, but subordinate to something else. If out of love for living beings and need of them he made the world, why did he not take creation wholly blissful free from misfortune? If he were transcendent he would not create, for he would be free: Nor if involved in transmigration, for then he would not be almighty. Thus the doctrine that the world was created by God makes no sense at all, And God commits great sin in slaying the children whom he himself created. If you say that he slays only to destroy evil beings, why did he create such beings in the first place? Good men should combat the believer in divine creation, maddened by an evil doctrine. Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning or end, and is based on the principles, life and rest. Uncreated and indestructible, it endures under the compulsion of its own nature.
- The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
- Psalms 19:1.
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
- Psalms. CXXXIX. 14. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that speaks so ignorantly? Stand up like a man: I will question you, and you will answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you are so smart. Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
- Job 38:1-7.
Greek and Roman
- For we also are his offspring.
- Aratus (ca. 315 BC/310 BC – 240 BC), Phœnomena. Said to be the passage quoted by St. Paul. Acts, XVII. 28. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Two urns by Jove's high throne have ever stood,
The source of evil, one, and one of good.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book 24, line 663. Pope's translation. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Only because the people see
- So much in land and sky
- For which they do not know the cause,
- They think Divinities are working there.
- If they could but see that
- Nothing can be created from nothing,
- Then they would advance one more step
- Toward the answer that they seek:
- Those eternal elements became
- Everything that is,
- Without interference from Gods.
- Is the world created or uncreated? -- that is the first question.
Created, I reply, being visible and tangible and having a body, and therefore sensible; and if sensible, then created; and if created, made by a cause, and the cause is the ineffable father of all things, who had before him an eternal archetype.
- 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).
- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.
- Romans 1:18-22.
- Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
- 2 Peter 3:3-6 (New International Version).
Middle Ages quotes
- Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.
- Alphonso X, the Wise (1221–1284). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was.
- Surat 'Āli `Imrān (Family of Imran) 3:59.
- O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women.
- Surat An-Nisa' (The Women) 4:1.
- And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.
- Surat Al-Ĥijr (The Rocky Tract) 15:26,27.
- He [Allah] created the heavens and earth in truth. High is He above what they associate with Him. He created man from a sperm-drop; then at once, he is a clear adversary. And the grazing livestock He has created for you.
- Surat An-Naĥl (The Bee) 16:3-5.
- Does man not remember that We created him before, while he was nothing?
- Surat Maryam (Mary) 19:67.
- [Allah] Created man from a clinging substance.
- Surat Al-`Alaq (The Clot) 96:2.
Quotes, modern history
Until 18th century
- Books must follow sciences, and not sciences books.
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626).
- From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began:
From harmony, to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man.
- John Dryden (1631–1700), A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, line 11. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use.
- Though to recount almighty works
What words of tongue or seraph can suffice,
Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?
- Open, ye heavens, your living doors; let in
The great Creator from his work return'd
Magnificent, his six days' work, a world!
- What cause
Moved the Creator in his holy rest
Through all eternity so late to build
In chaos, and, the work begun, how soon
- When I consider everything that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment;
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows,
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnets, XV. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Through knowledge we behold the world's creation,
How in his cradle first he fostered was;
And judge of Nature's cunning operation,
How things she formed of a formless mass.
- Edmund Spenser, Tears of the Muses, Urania, line 499. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- The chain that's fixed to the throne of Jove,
On which the fabric of our world depends,
One link dissolved, the whole creation ends.
- Edmund Waller, Of the Danger His Majesty Escaped, line 68. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- You own a watch the invention of the mind,
Though for a single motion 'tis designed,
As well as that which is with greater thought
With various springs, for various motions wrought.
- Richard Blackmore (1712), The Creation, Book III. The creation and the watch. Hallam—Literature of Europe, II. 385. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- This quote traces its origin to Cicero—De Natura Deorum. Found also in Herbert of Cherbury's treatise De Religione Gentilium. Hale—Primitive Origination of Mankind. Bolingbroke, in a letter to Pouilly. Paley used the illustration, which he took from Niuwentyt.
- Are we a piece of machinery that, like the Æolian harp, passive, takes the impression of the passing accident? Or do these workings argue something within us above the trodden clod?
- Robert Burns, letter to Mrs. Dunlop, New Year-Day Morning (1789). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- And what if all of animated nature
Be but organic harps diversely framed,
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps,
Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
At once the soul of each, and God of all?
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Eolian Harp (1795). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Nature they say, doth dote,
And cannot make a man
Save on some worn-out plan,
Repeating us by rote.
- James Russell Lowell, Ode at the Harvard Commemoration (July 21, 1865), VI. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.
- Isaac Newton, "General Scholium," in Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (second edition, 1713).
- Nature, and Nature's laws lay hid in Night. God said Let Newton be! and All was Light.
- Each moss,
Each shell, each drawling insect, holds a rank
Important in the plan of Him who fram'd
This scale of beings; holds a rank which, lost
Would break the chain, and leave behind a gap
Which Nature's self would rue.
- Benjamin Stillingfleet, Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Natural History, p. 127. (Ed. 1762). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- [T]hat the Universe was formed by a fortuitous Concourse of Atoms … I will no more believe, than that the accidental Jumbling of the Letters of the Alphabet, could fall by Chance into a most ingenious and learned Treatise of Philosophy.
- Le monde m'embarrasse, et je ne puis pas songer
Que cette horloge existe et n'a pas d'Horloger.
- The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream
That this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
- Voltaire. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream
- Creation is great, and cannot be understood.
- Thomas Carlyle, Essays, Characteristics. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- [This saying of Alphonso about Ptolemy's astronomy, that] "it seemed a crank machine; that it was pity the Creator had not taken advice."
- Thomas Carlyle, History of Frederick the Great, Book II, Chapter VII. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. 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.
- There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
- It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known: but 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.
- The Religion that is afraid of science dishonors God & commits suicide. … Every influx of atheism, of skepticism is thus made useful as a mercury pill assaulting & removing a diseased religion & making way for truth.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, journal entry 4 March 1831, published in The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, volume III (1826-1832), p. 239.
- History warns us, however, that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions; and, as matters now stand, it is hardly rash to anticipate that, in another twenty years, the new generation, educated under the influences of the present day, will be in danger of accepting the main doctrines of the 'Origin of Species' with as little reflection, and it may be with as little justification, as so many of our contemporaries, twenty years ago, rejected them. Against any such a consummation let us all devoutly pray; for the scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.
- The antagonism between science and religion, about which we hear so much, appears to me to be purely factitious–fabricated, on the one hand, by short-sighted religious people who confound a certain branch of science, theology, with religion; and, on the other, by equally short-sighted scientific people who forget that science takes for its province only that which is susceptible of clear intellectual comprehension; and that, outside the boundaries of that province, they must be content with imagination, with hope, and with ignorance. …
The antagonism of science is not to religion, but to the heathen survivals and the bad philosophy under which religion herself is often well-nigh crushed. And, for my part, I trust that this antagonism will never cease; but that, to the end of time, true science will continue to fulfil one of her most beneficent functions, that of relieving men from the burden of false science which is imposed upon them in the name of religion.
- The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.
- Thomas H. Huxley, attributed in Oxford Dictionary of Quotations by Subject, edited by Susan Ratcliffe.
- The church is not a pioneer; it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become useless.
- Wie aus Duft und Glanz gemischt
Du mich schufst, dir dank ich's heut.
- As thou hast created me out of mingled air and glitter, I thank thee for it.
- Friedrich Rückert, Die Sterbende Blume, Stanza 8. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- No man saw the building of the New Jerusalem, the workmen crowded together, the unfinished walls and unpaved streets; no man heard the clink of trowel and pickaxe; it descended out of heaven from God.
- John Robert Seeley (1866), Ecce Homo, Chapter XXIV. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution as not being adequately supported by facts, seem to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all. Like the majority of men who are born to a given belief, they demand the most rigorous proof of any adverse belief, but assume that their own needs none.
- One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event,
To which the whole creation moves.
- As if some lesser God had made the world,
And had not force to shape it as he would.
- Alfred Tennyson, The Passing of Arthur, line 14. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- It is remarkable, that almost all speakers and writers feel it to be incumbent on them, sooner or later, to prove or to acknowledge the personality of God. … In reading a work on agriculture, we have to skip the author's moral reflections, and the words "Providence" and "He" scattered along the page, to come at the profitable level of what he has to say. What he calls his religion is for the most part offensive to the nostrils. … There is more religion in men's science than there is science in their religion.
- Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, "Sunday" (1849).
- Religions die when they are proven to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.
- As the days went slowly by he came to see that Christianity and the denial of Christianity after all met as much as any other extremes do; it was a fight about names — not about things; practically the Church of Rome, the Church of England, and the freethinker have the same ideal standard and meet in the gentleman; for he is the most perfect saint who is the most perfect gentleman. Then he saw also that it matters little what profession, whether of religion or irreligion, a man may make, provided only he follows it out with charitable inconsistency, and without insisting on it to the bitter end. It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that the danger lies.
- I am not arguing with the scientist who explains the elephant, but only with the sophist who explains it away.
- G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (1925).
- It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.
- G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas (1933).
- We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States, and you know it, and that is all.
- Clarence Darrow, quoted in William Hilleary and Oren W. Metzger, The World's Most Famous Court Trial: State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. Complete Stenographic Report of the Court Test of the Tennessee Anti-evolution Act at Dayton, July 10-21, 1925, Including Speeches and Arguments of Attorneys, p. 299
- When a little of the water with which he moistens the clay remains over, he pours it on the ground and out of that he makes the bad and disobedient people. When he wishes to make a good man he makes him out of good clay; but when he wishes to make a bad man, he employs only bad clay for the purpose. In the beginning God fashioned a man and set him on the earth; after that he fashioned a woman. The two looked at each other and began to laugh, whereupon God sent them into the world.
- Creation story of the Ewe-speaking people of Togo, as reported in Sir James Frazer, Creation and Evolution in Primitive Cosmogonies, 1935, p. 13.
- For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever. Similar tactics had been adopted during the eighteenth century and for the same reasons. … The men of the new Enlightenment which occurred in the middle years of the nineteenth century once again used meaninglessness as a weapon against the reactionaries. The Victorian passion for respectability was, however, so great that, during the period when they were formulated, neither Positivism nor Darwinism was used as a justification for sexual indulgence.
- Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: An Enquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods employed for their Realisation (1937).
- At first the earth was flat and very soft and wet. The animals were anxious to get down, and sent out different birds to see if it was yet dry, but they found no place to alight and came back again to Gälûñ'lätï. At last it seemed to be time, and they sent out the Buzzard and told him to go and make ready for them. This was the Great Buzzard, the father of all the buzzards we see now. He flew all over the earth, low down near the ground, and it was still soft. When he reached the Cherokee country, he was very tired, and his wings began to flap and strike the ground, and wherever they struck the earth there was a valley, and where they turned up again there was a mountain. When the animals above saw this, they were afraid that the whole world would be mountains, so they called him back, but the Cherokee country remains full of mountains to this day.
- Myths of the Cherokee By James Mooney, from Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 1897-98, Part I. 
- Vitality in a woman is a blind fury of creation.
- Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903), Act I. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 147-148.
- Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; and anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would. I dunno.
- On the dark earth Begochiddy built in the east a white mountain; in the south a blue mountain, in the west a yellow mountain, and in the north a black mountain, and he also made mountains surrounding all the dark earth and the colored mountains, and these were called Tsilth-nah-n’ deel-doi, which means colored mountains which appear and disappear; and in the center of the world Begochiddy made a red mountain.
- Navajo creation story: The Story of the Emergence by Hasteen Klah, Recorded by Mary C. Wheelwright, 1942.
- [Darwin's] triumph has won for us a common height from which we see the whole world of living beings as well as all inorganic nature; phenomena of every order we now regard as expressions of natural causes. The supernatural has no longer a standing is science; it has vanished like a dream, and the halls consecrated to its thraldom of the intellect are becoming radiant with a more cheerful faith.
- Charles Otis Whitman, lecture at Clark University, "A study in evolution, based on color-characters in pigeons, and bearing on moot questions" (1909).
- On one point all biologists are agreed: the basic concept of organic evolution has, for a century, stood unrivaled. … The status of natural selection is not quite so high. True, it is the only theory we have; but when judged as a working hypothesis it is disappointing to find so little advance in a hundred years. … No amount of argument, or clever epigram, can disguise the inherent improbability of orthodox theory; but most biologists feel it is better to think in terms of improbable events than not to think at all.
- IN SHORT, three concepts, evolution, in the minimal sense of "descent with modification" (no "emergence," no "higher and lower" allowed), variation, in the sense of Mendelian micromutation, tiny changes in the structure or arrangement of the genes, the ultimate material of heredity (no sweeping or sudden alterations allowed), and natural selection, the decrease in frequency of those variants that happen in each successive generation to be less well adapted than others to their particular environment: these three form a tight circle within which, in happy self-confirmation, neo-Darwinian thinking moves. To those who believe in it, this circle is an ample intellectual dwelling place, roomy enough in fact to house all the immense achievements of modern biological research. To those not so convinced, however, the circle seems a strangely constricted one. They may even agree with the Professor Emeritus of Zoology at Cambridge that ‘no amount of argument, or clever epigram, can disguise the inherent improbability of orthodox (Darwinian) theory.’
- I repudiate (and I am sure that other biologists will agree) the idea that there is any such thing as "Darwinian orthodoxy". … The resultant neo-Darwinian or selectionist theory of evolution is no more an "orthodoxy" than is the atomic theory of matter or the Mendelian theory of inheritance.
- Julian Huxley, "The Case for Natural Selection", (reply to the above review) Nature volume 174, p. 279 (7 August 1954).
- The honest scientist, like the philosopher, will tell you that nothing whatever can be or has been proved with fully 100% certainty, not even that you or I exist, nor anyone except himself, since he might be dreaming the whole thing. Thus there is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea. When we say a thing is a fact, then, we only mean that its probability is an extremely high one: so high that we are not bothered by doubt about it and are ready to act accordingly. Now in this use of the term fact, the only proper one, evolution is a fact. For the evidence in favor of it is as voluminous, diverse, and convincing as in the case of any other well established fact of science concerning the existence of things that cannot be directly seen, such as atoms, neutrons, or solar gravitation ...
So enormous, ramifying, and consistent has the evidence for evolution become that if anyone could now disprove it, I should have my conception of the orderliness of the universe so shaken as to lead me to doubt even my own existence. If you like, then, I will grant you that in an absolute sense evolution is not a fact, or rather, that it is no more a fact than that you are hearing or reading these words.
- H. J. Muller, "One Hundred Years Without Darwinism Are Enough", School Science and Mathematics, volume 59 (1959). p. 304-5
- Reprinted in J. Peter Zetterberg, editor, Evolution versus Creationism, Oryx Press, Phoenix, Arizona, 1983.
- The main task of any theory of evolution is to explain adaptive complexity, that is, to explain the same set of facts that Paley used as evidence of a creator.
- John Maynard Smith, "The status of neo-darwinism", in C.H. Waddington, ed., Towards a Theoretical Biology (University Press, Edinburgh, 1969).
- Any competent biologist is aware of a multitude of problems yet unresolved and of questions yet unanswered. After all, biologic research shows no sign of approaching completion; quite the opposite is true. Disagreements and clashes of opinion are rife among biologists, as they should be in a living and growing science. Anti-evolutionists mistake, or pretend to mistake, these disagreements as indications of dubiousness of the entire doctrine of evolution. Their favorite sport is stringing together quotations, carefully and sometimes expertly taken out of context, to show that nothing is really established or agreed upon among evolutionists. Some of my colleagues and myself have been amused and amazed to read ourselves quoted in a way showing that we are really anti-evolutionists under the skin.
- Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.
- Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology.
- Biochemists and biologists who adhere blindly to the Darwinism theory search for results that will be in agreement with their theories and consequently orient their research in a given direction, whether it be in the field of ecology, ethology, sociology, demography (dynamics of populations), genetics (so-called evolutionary genetics), or paleontology. This intrusion of theories has unfortunate results: it deprives observations and experiments of their objectivity, makes them biased, and, moreover, creates false problems.
- Pierre-Paul Grassé, Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation (Academic Press, 1977) p. 7
- (Note that in this book Grassé supports evolution, attributing it to Lamarckian rather than Darwinian mechanisms).
- The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973).
- This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth... [But] for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; [and] as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
- Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (W.W. Norton and Co., New York, 1978) p. 116.
- The concept of relative adaptation removes the apparent tautology in the theory of natural selection. Without it the theory of natural selection states that fitter individuals have more offspring and then defines the fitter as being those that leave more offspring; since some individuals will always have more offspring than others by sheer chance, nothing is explained. An analysis in which problems of design are posed and characters are understood as being design solutions breaks through this tautology by predicting in advance which individuals will be fitter. … Unfortunately the concept of relative adaptation also requires the ceteris paribus assumption, so that in practice it is not easy to predict which of two forms will leave more offspring.
- Richard C. Lewontin, "Adaptation", Scientific American, volume 239, number 3 (September 1978) p. 222-5.
- The fact that the theory of natural selection is difficult to test has led some people, anti-Darwinists and even some great Darwinists, to claim that is a tautology. A tautology like ‘All tables are tables’ is not, of course, testable; nor has it any explanatory power. It is therefore most surprising to hear that some of the greatest contemporary Darwinists themselves formulate the theory in such a way that it amounts to the tautology that those organisms that leave most offspring leave most offspring. And C. H. Waddington even says somewhere (and he defends this view in other places) that ‘Natural selection … turns out … to be a tautology.’ However, he attributes at the same place to the theory an ‘enormous power … of explanation.’ Since the explanatory power of a tautology is obviously zero, something must be wrong here.
- Karl Popper, "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind", Dialectica 32 (3-4), 1978, p. 344 (ellipses in original).
- The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true.
- Karl Popper, "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind", Dialectica 32 (3-4), 1978, p. 346.
- There are many aspects of the universe that still cannot be explained satisfactorily by science; but ignorance only implies ignorance that may someday be conquered. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
- Since Darwin's time, massive additional evidence has accumulated supporting the fact of evolution — that all living organisms present on earth today have arisen from earlier forms in the course of earth's long history. Indeed, all of modern biology is an affirmation of this relatedness of the many species of living things and of their gradual divergence from one another over the course of time. Since the publication of The Origin of Species, the important question, scientifically speaking, about evolution has not been whether it has taken place. That is no longer an issue among the vast majority of modern biologists. Today, the central and still fascinating questions for biologists concern the mechanisms by which evolution occurs.
- Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, fifth edition, 1989, Worth Publishers, p. 972.
- A few words need to be said about the "theory of evolution," which most people take to mean the proposition that organisms have evolved from common ancestors. In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed." as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. The theory of evolution is a body of interconnected statements about natural selection and the other processes that are thought to cause evolution, just as the atomic theory of chemistry and the Newtonian theory of mechanics are bodies of statements that describe causes of chemical and physical phenomena. In contrast, the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors — the historical reality of evolution — is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth's revolution about the sun. Like the heliocentric solar system, evolution began as a hypothesis, and achieved "facthood" as the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality. No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution;" it simply has not been an issue for a century.
- Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, second edition, 1986, Sinauer Associates, p. 15.
- In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"—part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is "only" a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is worse than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science—that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."
Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.
Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent". I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory—natural selection—to explain the mechanism of evolution.
- The trouble was that in reading widely during my early teens I ran into the Darwinian theory, for a little while with illusions and then with less respect than adults with bated breath were wont to show. The theory seemed to me to run like this: ‘If among the varieties of a species there is one that survives better in the environment than the others, then the variety that survives best is the one that best survives.’ If I had known the word tautology I would have called this a tautology. People with still more bated breath, called it natural selection. I made them angry, just as I do today, by saying that it did nothing at all. You could select potatoes as much as you pleased but you would never make them into a rabbit. Nor by selecting oak trees could you make them into colonies of bats, and those who thought they could in my opinion were bats in the belfry.
- Fred Hoyle, Mathematics of Evolution (University College Cardiff Press, 1987; reprinted Acorn Enterprises, 1999), p. 2.
- It may be true that scientism and evolutionism (not science and evolution) are among the causes of atheism and materialism. It is at least equally true that biblical literalism, from its earlier flat-earth and geocentric forms to its recent young-earth and flood-geology forms, is one of the major causes of atheism and materialism. Many scientists and intellectuals have simply taken the literalists at their word and rejected biblical materials as being superseded or contradicted by modern science. Without having in hand a clear and persuasive alternative, they have concluded that it is nobler to be damned by the literalists than to dismiss the best testimony of research and reason. Intellectual honesty and integrity demand it.
- Conrad Hyers, The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science (1984).
- I have quoted some voices of dissent coming from biologists in eminent academic positions. There have been many others, just as critical of the orthodox doctrine, though not always as outspoken —and their number is steadily growing. Although these criticisms have made numerous breaches in the walls, the citadel still stands—mainly, as said before, because nobody has a satisfactory alternative to offer. The history of science shows that a well-established theory can take a lot of battering and get itself into a tangle of contradictions—the fourth phase of ‘Crisis and Doubt’ in the historic cycle and yet still be upheld by the establishment until a breakthrough occurs, initiating a new departure, and the start of a new cycle. But that event is not yet in sight. In the meantime, the educated public continues to believe that Darwin has provided all the relevant answers by the magic formula of random mutation plus natural selection—quite unaware of the fact that random mutations turned out to be irrelevant and natural selection a tautology.
- Arthur Koestler, Janus: A Summing Up (Picador, 1983), p. 184-5.
- Another philosophical question regards the very definition of the word 'selection'. One of the original formulations of selection was 'the survival of the fittest'. If you open a standard textbook of genetics 'fitness' will probably be defined as 'the ability to survive' or something similar. But if the 'fittest' are defined as 'the best survivors' then the idea of natural selection becomes 'the survival of those best at surviving'. So what else is new? If there is no more to Darwinism than a truism then the whole theory rests on very shaky ground.
- Brian Leith, The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism (Collins, 1982) p. 21.
- It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that evolution is a fact, not theory, and that what is at issue within biology are questions of details of the process and the relative importance of different mechanisms of evolution. It is a fact that the earth, with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old. It is a fact that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old. It is a fact that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past. There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago. It is a fact that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now. It is a fact that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun. The controversies about evolution lie in the realm of the relative importance of various forces in molding evolution.
- In all their polemics, the anti-creationists invariably avoid discussing the actual scientific evidence for macro-evolution. If there were any such evidence, they could easily settle the whole conflict, merely by presenting the evidence! Instead they seem compelled to resort to bombast ridicule, defamation, intimidation, and distortion. Surely that great body of working scientists, largely uninvolved so far in the creation/evolution conflict will soon begin to see that a two-model approach to all scientific study is salutary and will persuade their more emotional brethren to open their minds to potential truth wherever it might be found.
- No geological difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inferences of Scripture.
- Henry M. Morris, Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, p. 33 (1982).
- We freely acknowledge that there is room for differences of opinion on such problems as species formation and the mechanisms of evolutionary change. Nevertheless, we are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious dispute.
- Pontifical Academy of Sciences, May 1982.
- I believe Creationism is wrong; totally, utterly, and absolutely wrong. I would go further. There are degrees of being wrong. The creationists are at the bottom of the scale. They pull every trick in the book to justify their position. Indeed, at times they verge right over into the downright dishonest. Scientific Creationism is not just wrong, it is ludicrously implausible. It is a grotesque parody of human thought, and a downright misuse of human intelligence. In short, to the believer, it is an insult to God.
- We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world. We give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible, to the gravity that glues us to an Earth that would otherwise send us spinning off into space, or to the atoms of which we are made and on whose stability we fundamentally depend. Except for children (who don't know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is; where the cosmos came from, or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow backward and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know.
- Carl Sagan, from the introduction to the first (1988) edition of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it. Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory.
- Jimmy Swaggart, The Pre-Adamic Creation and Evolution (Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, Baton Rouge, LA) (1986).
- All the actions of created intelligences are not merely the actions of God. He has created a universe of beings which are said to act freely and responsibly as the proximate causes of their own moral actions. When individuals do evil things it is not God the Creator and Preserver acting. If God was the proximate cause of every act it would make all events to be "God in motion". That is nothing less than pantheism, or more exactly, pandeism. The Creator is distinct from his creation. The reality of secondary causes is what separates Christian theism from pandeism.
- Bob Burridge, "Theology Proper: Lesson 4 – The Decrees of God" (1996).
- Today, nearly all biologists acknowledge that evolution is a fact. The term theory is no longer appropriate except when referring to the various models that attempt to explain how life evolves. … It is important to understand that the current questions about how life evolves in no way implies any disagreement over the fact of evolution.
- Neil A. Campbell, Biology, second edition, 1990, Benjamin/Cummings, p. 434.
- Science, fundamentally, is a game. It is a game with one overriding and defining rule: "Rule No. 1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural." Operational science takes no position about the existence or non-existence of the supernatural; it only requires that this factor is not invoked in scientific explanations.
- Richard Dickerson, "The Game of Science," Journal of Molecular Evolution volume 34, p. 277 (1992).
- Science is not a discipline that claims to establish certainty … Science simply cannot (by its legitimate methods) adjudicate the issue of God's possible superintendence of nature. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can't comment on it as scientists.
- Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical, fresh knowledge has led to the recognition that evolution is more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge … [however,] theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the person.
- The discipline of biology will not only survive but prosper if it turns out that genetic information really is the product of preexisting intelligence. Biologists will have to give up their dogmatic materialism and discard unproductive hypotheses like the pre-biotic soup, but to abandon bad ideas is a gain, not a loss. Freed of the metaphysical chains that tie it to nineteenth-century materialism, biology can turn to the fascinating task of discovering how the intelligence embodied in the genetic information works through matter to make the organism function. In that case chemical evolution will go the way of alchemy—abandoned because a better understanding of the problem revealed its futility—and science will have reached a new plateau.
- Phillip E. Johnson, Reason in the Balance, p. 92 (1996).
- One way or another, Darwinists meet the question ‘Is Darwinism true?’ with an answer that amounts to an assertion of power: ‘Well, it is science, as we define science, and you will have to be content with that.’ Some of us are not content with that, because we know that the empirical evidence for the creative power of natural selection is somewhere between weak and non-existent. Artificial selection of fruit flies or domestic animals produces limited change within the species, but tells us nothing about how insects and mammals came into existence in the first place. In any case, whatever artificial selection achieves is due to the employment of human intelligence consciously pursuing a goal. The whole point of the blind watchmaker thesis, however, is to establish what material processes can do in the absence of purpose and intelligence. That Darwinist authorities continually overlook this crucial distinction gives us little confidence in their objectivity.
- What kind of God can one infer from the sort of phenomena epitomized by the species on Darwin's Galapagos Islands? The evolutionary process is rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain and horror.… The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray.
- When non-biologists talk about biological evolution they often confuse two different aspects of the definition. On the one hand there is the question of whether or not modern organisms have evolved from older ancestral organisms or whether modern species are continuing to change over time. On the other hand there are questions about the mechanism of the observed changes... how did evolution occur? Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution.
- Laurence Moran, "Evolution is a Fact and a Theory" (22 January 1993).
- We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements — transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting — profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, p. 26 (1995).
- I meet many people offended by evolution, who passionately prefer to be the personal handicraft of God than to arise by blind physical and chemical forces over aeons from slime. They also tend to be less than assiduous in exposing themselves to the evidence. Evidence has little to do with it: what they wish to be true, they believe is true.… The clearest evidence of our evolution can be found in our genes. But evolution is still being fought, ironically by those whose own DNA proclaims it—in the schools, in the courts, in textbook publishing houses, and on the question of just how much pain we can inflict on other animals without crossing some ethical threshold.
- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, p. 325 (1995).
- Science cannot answer the deepest questions. As soon as you ask why is there something instead of nothing, you have gone beyond science. I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery, but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing. … In this office, I have to be a rational reductionist. None of this feeds back at all into the hard-nosed business of the laboratory or the observatory. It must not.
- Allan R. Sandage, (winner of the 1991 Crafoord Prize in astronomy) quoted in John Noble Wilford, "Sizing up the Cosmos: An Astronomer's Quest," New York Times (12 March 1991).
- Religious opposition to evolution propels antievolutionism. Although antievolutionists pay lip service to supposed scientific problems with evolution, what motivates them to battle its teaching is apprehension over the implications of evolution for religion.
- Eugenie C. Scott, "Antievolutionism and Creationism in the United States," Annual Review of Anthropology, volume 26 (1997) p. 263-289
- (Erroneously attributed to the National Academy of Sciences in editions of this page previous to 22 January 2014).
- Several thousand years ago, a small tribe of ignorant near-savages wrote various collections of myths, wild tales, lies, and gibberish. Over the centuries, these stories were embroidered, garbled, mutilated, and torn into small pieces that were then repeatedly shuffled. Finally, this material was badly translated into several languages successively. The resultant text, creationists feel, is the best guide to this complex and technical subject.
- Tom Weller, Science Made Stupid (Houghton Mifflin Company, ISBN 0395366461) (1990).
- The strong appearance of design [in nature] allows a disarmingly simple argument: if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, then, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it's a duck. Design should not be overlooked simply because it's so obvious.
- Anthropological, biological, and genetic evidence all put the origin of modern humans at between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, probably in Africa. There is also much data that show an outburst of cultural behavior occurring around 50,000-40,000 years ago in Europe. That's when archaeologists date the oldest evidence of burial ceremonies, body ornaments, and cave paintings.
- William J. Cromie, "Facing up to modern man", Harvard University Gazette (7 March 2002).
- Intelligent design is not an argument of the same character as these controversies [within evolution science]. It is not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. It might be worth discussing in a class on the history of ideas, in a philosophy class on popular logical fallacies, or in a comparative religion class on origin myths from around the world. But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class. In those cases, the demand for equal time for "both theories" would be ludicrous. Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened? ...
If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.
- Churches are block-booking seats for March of the Penguins, which is apparently a "condemnation of gay marriage" and puts forward the case for "intelligent design", ie, Creationism. To be honest, this is good news. If American Christians want to go public on the fact that they're now morally guided by penguins, at least we know where we all stand.
- Caitlin Moran, The Times [of London], "Penguins lead way" section of column (20 September 2005).
- Dr. Raymond Damadian failed to be included in this year's Nobel honors for work in Medicine, and feels sore about it. … But as one who loves science above all and thinks it the greatest triumph of the human spirit - as one who has no religious beliefs whatsoever - I cringe at the thought that Raymond Damadian was refused his just honor because of his religious beliefs. Having silly ideas in one field is no good reason to deny merit for great ideas in another field. Apart from the fact that this time the Creation Scientists will think that there is good reason to think that they are the objects of unfair treatment at the hands of the scientific community.
- Michael Ruse, "The Nobel Prize in Medicine: Was there a Religious Factor this Year?", Metanexus (16 March 2004).
- 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.