Evolution of a Creationist Quote | Nevada Technical Associates, Inc.

Evolution of a Creationist Quote

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Creationists are often accused by mainstream scientists of failing to exercise caution in the use of quotes and references in their campaign to disprove evolution. There is some truth to that charge as is shown by the quotes on this page. These three quotes were all found at different places on the Internet on June 4, 2000.

In the first version, the theories being discussed in relation to C-14 have to do with the archaeology of the Nile Valley. And in the first version, the nature of the comments is hearsay and clearly stated as such. By the time the quote has gone through its second round of changes (third quote), it is a direct quote and C-14 dating is claimed to support evolution, rather than dating objects in the Nile Valley. There is no reason at all to believe the original quote had anything to do with evolution.

It is obvious that 2nd and 3rd versions are descendants of the first. The last two quotes are from Creationists and the first one is not. The first one is from a page having to do with Egyptian archaeology. The two last quotes are from web sites created by Young Earth Creationists, so even the relatively young ages from C-14 are difficult for them to accept.

It seems clear that the person who posted the last quote had not seen the first version since he incorrectly assumed that evolution was the theory being discussed in connection with C-14, rather than the archaeology of the Nile Valley. Obviously that is a mistake since archaeology of the Nile Valley is too recent to have any connection with evolution.

It is a curious fact that here, in these messages, we have a sort of evolution. We have change, selection and transformation into something else.

Incidentally, even the first one is not from the original source, so I really don’t know how valid the first one is. The core of the quote is much the same but the meaning and context change substantially in each version.

This page is not intended as an excuse or an explanation for the methods used by the Creationists. Rather it should be a warning that they need to improve their methods. They should go to the original source before quoting a source. If that is not possible, then the source should not be quoted at all. Of course this concern for quality has not yet been observed in the creationist camp.

Incidentally, in the early days of radiocarbon dating, there was an error in certain time periods of early Egypt. This error has since been corrected.

– R. Holloway

1. Original Version? (Grandparent)

In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology held at Uppsala in 1969, T. Säve-Söderbergh and I. U. Olsson introduce their report with these words: “C-14 dating was being discussed at a symposium on the prehistory of the Nile Valley. A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists towards it, as follows: If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely out of date we just drop it. Few archaeologists who have concerned themselves with absolute chronology are innocent of having sometimes applied this method. . .” (11)

The above version is from:


2. Intermediate Version (daughter).

This version omits the connection to Egyptian history. >>>>>Even more astonishing is this cynical statement made at a symposium of Nobel Prize winners in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1969: If a C14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely ‘out of date,’ we just drop it

– Pensee, Winter 1973, p.44

The above version is from:


3. Most Recent Version: (grand-daughter).

Since the link to Egypt was lost in the previous quote, the web site using the quote below incorrectly guessed that evolution was involved. “If a C-14 date supports our [evolutionary] theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely `out of date,’ we just drop it.”

– *Pensee, 3(1):44.

The above version is from:


The Perils of Copying – A Monk’s Story

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He notices, however, that they are copying copies, not the original books. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there was an error introduced in the intermediate copies, that error would be continued in succeeding copies. The head monk says “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original. Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks what’s wrong. “The word is celebrate,” says the old monk.

Creationists who are interested in advice on how to abuse references, please see the following link.

(This link is no longer valid, and it has been removed)