Eugenie Scott

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Eugenie Scott
Scott 2014.jpg
Scott in May 2014
Born (1945-10-24) October 24, 1945 (age 71)
United States
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, a former university professor and an activist opposing the teaching of young earth creationism and intelligent design in schools. From 1986 to 2014,[1] Scott served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., a pro-evolution nonprofit science education organization. She holds a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Missouri. A human biologist, her research has been in medical anthropology and skeletal biology. Scott serves on the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Early life and education[edit]

Scott grew up in Wisconsin and first became interested in anthropology after reading her sister's anthropology textbook.[2] 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.[3][4] 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 worked to prevent creationism from being taught in the public schools of Lexington, Kentucky. Scott was appointed the executive director of the National Center for Science Education 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,[5][6] doing so on 6 January 2014. Her place was taken by Ann Reid.[7]

James Underdown director of Center for Inquiry West and Independent Investigations Group (IIG) West presents award from the IIG August 21, 2010


Scott was 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.[8] 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."[9] In 2003 she was one of the signatories to the third humanist manifesto, Humanism and Its Aspirations.[10]


Scott is an expert on creationism and intelligent design. 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 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 compared to other countries.[11][12] 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.[13]

Media appearances[edit]

2009 Independent Investigations Award Recipient[14]

David Berlinski, a fellow at the Discovery Institute, describes Scott as an opponent "who is often sent out to defend Darwin".[15] Scott prefers to see herself as "Darwin's golden retriever".[16]

Scott has been profiled in The New York Times,[4] Scientific American,[17] The Scientist,[18] the San Francisco Chronicle,[19] and the Stanford Medical Magazine.[20] She has had been interviewed for Science & Theology News,[8] CSICOP,[21] Church & State[22] and Point of Inquiry.[23][24][25] She has commentary published by Science & Theology News,[26] Metanexus Institute.[27]

Scott has taken part in numerous debates on MSNBC and Fox News.[28][29][30]

In 2004, Scott represented the National Center for Science Education on the Showtime television show Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, on the episode titled "Creationism", where she offered philosophical views about the creationist and intelligent design movements.[31]

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District[edit]

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 regarding the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Judge John Jones ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

Personal life[edit]

Scott and her husband, lawyer Thomas C. Sager, have one daughter and reside in Berkeley, California.



  1. ^ {{}
  2. ^ What inspired me to take up science?, Eugenie Scott
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b "Standard-Bearer in Evolution Fight". New York Times. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  5. ^ Press Release (May 6, 2013). "NCSE's Scott to retire". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  6. ^ Mervis, Jeffrey (May 6, 2013). "Eugenie Scott to Retire From U.S. Center That Fights Antievolution Forces". Science. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  7. ^ "Welcome, Ann Reid". NCSE. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 
  8. ^ a b A Conversation with Eugenie Scott Science and Theology News
  9. ^ Lam, Monica (2006-11-13). "PROFILE / EUGENIE SCOTT / Berkeley scientist leads fight to stop teaching of creationism". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Public Acceptance of Evolution" in Science, NCSE, August 15, 2006
  12. ^ Miller; et al. (2006). "SCIENCE COMMUNICATION: Public Acceptance of Evolution". Science. 313: 765–766. PMID 16902112. doi:10.1126/science.1126746. 
  13. ^ Nick Matzke (10 August 2006). "Well, at least we beat Turkey". The Panda's Thumb. 
  14. ^ "IIG Awards". Independent Investigations Report. 
  15. ^ An Interview with David Berlinski: Part One, Intelligent Design the Future, March 7, 2006
  16. ^ "Scientific American 10: Guiding Science for Humanity". Scientific American. June 2009. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Profile: Eugenie C. Scott: Giving ammo to the choir". The Scientist. 16 (11): 60. 27 May 2002. Archived from the original on June 6, 2002. 
  19. ^ "Profile: Eugenie Scott: Berkeley scientist leads fight to stop teaching of creationism". The Chronicle. 7 February 2003. 
  20. ^ Ain't it the truth? Two plus two equals four — spread the word, Joel Stein, Stanford Medicine Magazine
  21. ^ An Interview with Dr. Eugenie Scott, By Bill Busher, CSICOP
  22. ^ Not In Our Classrooms! Leading Science Educator Explains Why ‘Intelligent Design’ Is Wrong For Our Schools, Church & State, Americans United
  23. ^ Eugenie Scott - Evolution vs. Religious Belief? Point of Inquiry
  24. ^ Eugenie Scott - The Dover Trial: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
  25. ^ Eugenie Scott: Decrypting Pseudoscience
  26. ^ Still waiting for ID proponents to say more than 'Evolution is wrong'
  27. ^ The Big Tent and the Camel's Nose, Eugenie Scott, Metanexus Institute.
  28. ^ NCSE's Scott on Fox, CNN, NCSE
  29. ^ Kansas Debates Evolution: Stephen C. Meyer, Eugenie Scott, May 6, 2005 from the Discovery Institute
  30. ^ "Evolution Vs. God in the Classroom - The Big Story w/ Gibson and Nauert". Fox News Channel. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  31. ^ "Creationism". Bullshit!. 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 

External links[edit]