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Eugenie Scott

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Eugenie Scott

Dr. Eugenie C. Scott (PhD. in anthropology) has been the executive director of the National Center for Science Education since 1987. She was born on October 24, 1945. Scott and her husband, Thomas C. Sager, a lawyer, have one daughter and reside in Berkeley, California. Eugenie Scott is one of the most noteworthy anticreationists, and a frontrunner in keeping intelligent design out of public schools.


Academic Achievements

Eugenie Scott grew up and spent most of her childhood in Wisconsin. She became interested in anthropology after she picked up and read her sister's anthropology textbook. She obtained a BS and MS at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and shortly after, a PhD at the University of Missouri - Columbia. In 1974 she joined the University of Kentucky as a physical anthropologist. Scott first became interested in the creation-evolution controversy after she attended a debate between her mentor, James A. Gavan, and young-earth creationist, Duane Gish. Scott has taught at California State University, Hayward, and at the University of Colorado. Scott was a ringleader in the successful attempt to prevent creationism from being taught in the public schools of Lexington, Kentucky in 1980. The National Center for Science Education was formed in 1981, partly as a result of the previous issue. Many other cities were also in the process of expelling creationism from the public school system, and so the NCSE was formed to aid in the fight against creationism in public schools. Scott was appointed as the executive director in 1987. In 1987, teaching creation science in American public schools was made illegal by the Supreme Court in the case Edwards v. Aguillard. In 1994, Eugenie was elected to the California Academy of Sciences. From 2000 to 2002, she served as president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Scott is also a member of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society , which was founded in 1886 at Cornell University. A faculty member and a handful of graduate students got together and started Sigma Xi. Today there 60,000 scientists and engineers the belong to Sigma Xi. [1]

Achievements and Awards

Throughout her scientific career, Eugenie Scott has received many awards. She was awarded the Bruce Alberts Award by the American Society for Cell Biology in 1999. She received the Geological Society of America's Public Service Award in 2001 . In 2002 she received the 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". Also in 2002, the American Institute of Biological Sciences awarded her the first Outstanding Service Award ever awarded. Again in 2002, the Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award from the California Science Teachers was bestowed upon Eugenie Scott. Scott received honorary membership to The National Association of Biology Teachers in 2005. She was awarded the Anthropology in the Media Award in 2006 by the American Anthropological Association. Eugenie Scott and Kenneth R. Miller were jointly given the Outstanding Educator’s Award by the Exploratorium Museum. Scott has been awarded honorary degrees by the following colleges and Universities; McGill University in 2003, by Ohio State University in 2005, Mount Holyoke College in 2006, and her alma mater the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. This year (2007), she is due to be awarded an honorary degree by Rutgers University. [2]


Eugenie Scott was brought up in a Christian home, and taught Christian science by both her mother and grandmother. She later switched to a Congregational church, due to the influence of her sister. Scott labels her background as liberal protestant, and she is now a secular humanist, and nontheist. In 2003, she was one of the signers, along with other notable anticreationists like Richard Dawkins, and film director Oliver Stone, of the third humanist manifesto, Humanism and Its Aspirations. This manifesto presents six main beliefs;

  • Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
  • Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.
  • Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
  • Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
  • Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
  • Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.

These represent core humanistic ideals (ideals held onto by Eugenie Scott), such as "humanism is to affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities - particularly rationality." These views clearly raise humans to the highest standard, not only forgetting, but ignoring and disregarding who God is and who we are in Him. Humanism often gives way to hedonism, which gives way to hopelessness.

Scott is also a fellow of The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormalis (now called the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry). The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is a U.S. nonprofit organization. Their stated purpose is to "encourage the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminate factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public." Scott was given the "Defense of Science Award" from the Center for Inquiry for her efforts in defending evolutionism and "educational freedom", which is ironic, as she has spent much of her life attempting to eliminate creationism from public schools. Wikipedia claims that Scott and her colleagues are completely "respectful to people of faith who do not hold wish to evangelise their anti-scientific beliefs, but nevertheless, creationists continually criticize Scott, and continually refer to her as atheist. Scott serves on the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.


  • Evolution vs. Creationism, An Introduction - published by Greenwood Press in 2004, and published again in paperback in 2005 by the University of California Press in 2005. This book attempts to provide a balanced and comprehensive look into the facets of the evolution vs. creation issue.
  • Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools - co-edited with Glenn Branch.

These are Scott's major publications, though she has worked on several others of lesser import.