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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CA113:

Quotes from many noncreationist authorities show that evolutionists themselves find many various failures of evolution.


Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, pg. 15.
Various and numerous other sources.


  1. Quotes are very easy to misuse to give a false impression of what an author means. Many people develop their ideas over long passages, and no single quote can do justice to their argument. Many people, especially scientists, play devil's advocate with their own ideas, so some of their quotes will say exactly the opposite of the point they are supporting. In other cases, good summary quotes exist, but the quoter is either unable or unwilling to find and use them. It is extremely easy to find out-of-context quotes that do damage to a person's main ideas, even unintentionally. Quotes should probably be regarded with more skepticism than any other references.

  2. Creationists use quotes as appeals to authority. They apparently see the printed word as a weighty authority. In science, though, the ultimate authority is the evidence itself, so that is what writers refer to. Quotes cannot substitute for evidence.

    Appealing to authority is a misuse of quotations. The vast majority of good writing, when it refers to other people's work, summarizes the work and gives a reference to the original. In professional science writing, references are ubiquitous, but direct quotes are very rare.

  3. Summarizing someone's work, rather than quoting it, shows understanding. Many creationists are limited to quoting because they have no idea what the author really means. In fact, most creationists probably repeat quotes without even having read the original author's work. Darwin's quote about the eye, for example, would never be repeated in its usual abbreviated form by an honest person who has read the pages that follow it. If a person cannot understand a work well enough to summarize it, he or she should not be talking about it at all.

  4. Even an accurate and in-context quote can be used to mislead. Many quotes are out of date, for example, and talk about our ignorance in areas of which we are no longer ignorant. Other quotes are from creationists, but they appear in a context that groups them with mainstream scientists.


Pieret, John (ed.), 2003. The quote mine project.

Foley, Jim, 2002. Creationist arguments: Misquotes,

Hopkins, Michael, 2002. Quotations and misquotations: Why what antievolutionists quote is not valid evidence against evolution,

Further Reading:

Holloway, R., n.d. Evolution of a creationist quote.

Ho-Stuart, Chris, 2003. Muller and mutations.

Lindsay, Don, 2004. Famous quotes found in books.
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created 2001-3-31, modified 2003-9-27