Scott in April 2005
October 24, 1945 |
United States of America
|Occupation||National Center for Science Education Director|
|Awards||Public Welfare Medal (2010), Richard Dawkins Award (2012)|
Eugenie Carol Scott (born October 24, 1945) 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 young earth creationism and intelligent design.
Early life and education
Scott grew up in Wisconsin and first became interested in anthropology after reading her sister's anthropology textbook. Scott received a BS and MS from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, followed by a PhD from the University of Missouri. She joined the University of Kentucky as a physical anthropologist in 1974 and shortly thereafter attended a debate between her mentor James A. Gavan and the young earth creationist Duane Gish which piqued her interest in the creation-evolution controversy. She also taught at the University of Colorado and at California State University, Hayward. Her research work focused on medical anthropology and skeletal biology.
In 1980, Scott was at the forefront of an attempt to prevent creationism from being taught in the public schools of Lexington, Kentucky. From this grassroot effort in Kentucky and other states, the National Center for Science Education was formed in 1981. Scott was appointed the NCSE's executive director in 1987, the year in which teaching creation science in American public schools was deemed illegal by the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard. Scott announced that she would be retiring from this position by the end of 2013.
In 1993 the University of Missouri honored Scott as a distinguished alumna. She was elected to the California Academy of Sciences in 1994. 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 in 2002 and was its chair. She is also a member of Sigma Xi.
Scott has received many awards from academic organizations. In 1999 she was awarded the Bruce Alberts Award by the American Society for Cell Biology. In 2001 she received the Geological Society of America's Public Service Award. She received the 2002 Public Service Award from the National Science Board for "her promotion of public understanding of the importance of science, the scientific method, and science education and the role of evolution in science education". In 2002 the American Institute of Biological Sciences awarded her the first Outstanding Service Award. Scott also received the 2002 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award from the California Science Teachers Association. The National Association of Biology Teachers gave her honorary membership in 2005. In 2006 she was awarded the Anthropology in the Media Award by the American Anthropological Association for "the successful communication of anthropology to the general public through the media". In 2007 Scott and Kenneth R. Miller were jointly awarded the Outstanding Educator’s Award by the Exploratorium Museum.
Scott has been awarded honorary degrees by McGill University in 2003, by Ohio State University in 2005 and in 2006 by Mount Holyoke College and her alma mater the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. In 2007 she was awarded an honorary degree by Rutgers University. In 2008 she was awarded an honorary degree by University of New Mexico.
In 2009, Scott became the first-ever recipient of the Stephen Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution. She was chosen for devoting "her life to advancing public understanding of evolution." She was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 2010.
Scott was initially brought up in Christian Science by her mother and grandmother, but later switched to a Congregational church under the influence of her sister; she describes her background as liberal Protestant. Scott is now a secular humanist and describes herself as a nontheist. In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "Scott describes herself as atheist but does not discount the importance of spirituality." In 2003 she was one of the signatories to the third humanist manifesto, Humanism and Its Aspirations. She is also a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. In 2003 she was awarded the "Defense of Science Award" from the Center for Inquiry for "her tireless leadership in defending scientific evolution and educational freedom".
In 1998, Scott received the American Humanist Association's Isaac Asimov Award in Science. In her acceptance speech she explained how a statement adopted by the National Association of Biology Teachers that evolution was "unsupervised" and "impersonal" was attacked by creationists such as Phillip E. Johnson, and the initial reaction of the NABT was not to bow to pressure from creationists to change it. However, Scott agreed with theologian Huston Smith and philosopher Alvin Plantinga that "unsupervised" and "impersonal" should be dropped from the statement as they made philosophical and theological claims beyond those science could claim to make based on its principle of methodological naturalism—and the statement was altered.
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 groups. Scott jokes that she sometimes thinks her first name is "Atheist" for the frequency with which she is referred to as "Atheist Eugenie Scott" by creationists.
Scott is widely considered to be a leading expert on creationism (including intelligent design), and 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.
She also co-edited with Glenn Branch the 2006 anthology Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools.
In 2006 Jon D. Miller, Scott and Shinji Okamoto had a brief article published in Science entitled "Public Acceptance of Evolution", an analysis of polling on the acceptance of evolution from the last 20 years in the United States and compare that to other countries. Turkey had the lowest acceptance of evolution in the survey, with the United States having the next-lowest, though the authors saw a positive in the higher percentage of Americans who are unsure about evolution, and therefore "reachable" for evolution.
David Berlinski, a fellow at the Discovery Institute, describes Scott as an opponent "who is often sent out to defend Darwin". However, Scott prefers to see herself as "Darwin's golden retriever". Scott says that her job "requires coping with science illiteracy in the American public".
Scott has been profiled in The New York Times, Scientific American, The Scientist, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Stanford Medical Magazine. She has had been interviewed for Science & Theology News, CSICOP, Church & State and Point of Inquiry. She has commentary published by Science & Theology News, Metanexus Institute.
Scott 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 Gibson. The latter concerned the Kansas evolution hearings.
In 2004, the National Center for Science Education was represented by Scott on Penn and Teller's Showtime television show Bullshit!, on the episode titled "Creationism", on which Dr. Scott offered philosophical 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 done."
Scott serves on the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and on the National Advisory Council of Americans for Religious Liberty. In 1999 Scott was awarded the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award "for tirelessly defending the separation of church and state by ensuring that religious neutrality is maintained in the science curriculum of America's public schools", and in 2006 was one of the three judges chosen to make the awards.
Dover trial participation
In 2005, Scott and other NCSE staff served as scientific and educational consultants for the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, which originated in Dover, Pennsylvania. Judge John Jones ruled against teaching intelligent design or creationism in the public schools.
Scott and her husband, Thomas C. Sager, a lawyer, have one daughter and reside in Berkeley, California.
- Eugenie C. Scott (2004). Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction. Berkeley & Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24650-0. Retrieved 16 June 2010 Also: Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32122-1
- Eugenie C. Scott & Glenn Branch (2006). Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-3278-6
- What inspired me to take up science?, Eugenie Scott
- My Favorite Pseudoscience, Eugenie Scott, from Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World's Leading Paranormal Inquirers. Paul Kurtz, ed. Amherst (NY): Prometheus Books, 2001, p 245-56.
- "Standard-Bearer in Evolution Fight". New York Times. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Press Release ((May 6, 2013)). "NCSE's Scott to retire". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- Mervis, Jeffrey ((May 6, 2013)). "Eugenie Scott to Retire From U.S. Center That Fights Antievolution Forces". Science. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- "Special Event Programs and Records, Archives of the University of Missouri". 2005-02-08. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- Mary Lou Zoback (2001-12-03). "GSA Announces Public Service Medals for Scott and Dalrymple". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Scott receives public service award from National Science Board". NCSE. 2002-05-09. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "National Science Board - Honorary Awards". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "AIBS News April 2002". American Institute of Biological Sciences. April 2002. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "Scott Receives Teacher Association Award". NCSE. 2002-10-28. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Eugenie C. Scott to receive NABT award". NCSE. 2005-10-05. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Scott honored with Anthropology in the Media Award". NCSE. 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Exploratorium 2007 Awards Dinner". Exploratorium. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "Scott to Receive Honorary Degree". NCSE. 2003-05-30. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Spring 2003 Convocation Honorary Doctorates". McGill University. 2003-05-22. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "Scott to be honored by OSU". NCSE. 2005-05-04. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Scientific literacy advocate will give commencement address". Ohio State University. 2005-03-02. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "Ohio State honors four at winter 2005 commencement". OSU. 2005-03-17. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "NCSE's Scott to be honored by Mount Holyoke". NCSE. 2006-04-28. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Honorary Degree Citation, Eugenie Scott". Mount Holyoke College. 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- Eugenie C. Scott (2006-05-28). "Honorary Degree Address". Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "Scott honored by UWM". NCSE. 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "UWM alumna Dr. Eugenie Scott to receive honorary degree from UWM". University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "NCSE's Scott to be honored by Rutgers". NCSE. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "UNM Awards Genie Scott with Honorary Doctorate of Science". Panda's Thumb. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Awards, Society for the Study of Evolution
- "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Frazier, Kendrick; Barry Karr (January/February 2011). "CSI(COP) Renews and Expands Executive Council, Plans for Future Activities". Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 35 (1): 5.
- A Conversation with Eugenie Scott Science and Theology News
- Lam, Monica (2006-11-13). "PROFILE / EUGENIE SCOTT / Berkeley scientist leads fight to stop teaching of creationism". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- List of fellows of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
- Scott Receives "Defense of Science" Award
- Scott, Genie (May 1998), Science and Religion, Methodology and Humanism, San Diego, CA: American Humanist Association, retrieved 2009-05-21
- About NCSE
- How Religiously Neutral are the Anti-Creationist Organisations? ask Don Batten and Jonathan Sarfati of Answers in Genesis
- "Public Acceptance of Evolution" in Science, NCSE, August 15, 2006
- SCIENCE COMMUNICATION: Public Acceptance of Evolution Miller et al. Science 11 August 2006: 765-766 doi:10.1126/science.1126746
- Nick Matzke (10 August 2006). "Well, at least we beat Turkey". The Panda's Thumb.
- Eugenie C. Scott, Glenn Branch and Nick Matzke (2004). "The Morphology of Steve" (PDF). Annals of Improbable Research 10 (4): 24–29. doi:10.3142/107951404781540554.
- An Interview with David Berlinski: Part One, Intelligent Design the Future, March 7, 2006
- "Scientific American 10: Guiding Science for Humanity". Scientific American. June 2009.
- Steve Mirsky (22 January 2006). "Teach the Science: Wherever evolution education is under attack by creationist thinking, Eugenie Scott will be there to defend science—with rationality and resolve". Scientific American.
- "Profile: Eugenie C. Scott: Giving ammo to the choir". The Scientist 16 (11): 60. 27 May 2002.
- "Profile: Eugenie Scott: Berkeley scientist leads fight to stop teaching of creationism". The Chronicle. 7 February 2003.
- Ain't it the truth? Two plus two equals four — spread the word, Joel Stein, Stanford Medicine Magazine
- An Interview with Dr. Eugenie Scott, By Bill Busher, CSICOP
- Not In Our Classrooms! Leading Science Educator Explains Why ‘Intelligent Design’ Is Wrong For Our Schools, Church & State, Americans United
- Eugenie Scott - Evolution vs. Religious Belief? Point of Inquiry
- Eugenie Scott - The Dover Trial: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
- Still waiting for ID proponents to say more than 'Evolution is wrong'
- The Big Tent and the Camel's Nose, Eugenie Scott, Metanexus Institute.
- Evolution Project Overview, PBS.
- NCSE's Scott on Fox, CNN, NCSE
- Jason Lisle vs. Eugenie Scott on CNN!, Answers in Genesis, 1 December 2004
- Kansas Debates Evolution: Stephen C. Meyer, Eugenie Scott, May 6, 2005 from the Discovery Institute
- "Evolution Vs. God in the Classroom - The Big Story w/ Gibson and Nauert". Fox News Channel. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
- "Creationism". Bullshit!. 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
- 1999 winners, Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards
- Eugenie Scott from the National Center for Science Education
- Eugenie Scott on Teaching Evolution, Books and Ideas
- Eugenie Scott's talk: "The Right to Teach Evolution"