Speaking of D. James Kennedy, a reader left a link in a comment below about the time-honored practice of tracking down creationist misquotations. Anyone involved in the evolution debate has had to do this at least once. A creationist gives you some juicy quote from a famous scientist that you know just couldn’t possibly be accurate, so you ask for a specific citation. On the rare occasions you actually get one, it turns out to be false. Tracking down these things can be quite annoying. It’s like playing the telephone game and watching a quote get more and more distorted as it’s passed along from one creationist to another. Over time, everything changes – the source, the timing, the author, the text. What comes out the other end is unrecognizable.
The particular link dealt with Kennedy’s constant use of a misquotation from Julian Huxley. Here’s the “quote”:
I almost fell out of my chair. A public television interviewer had just asked Sir Julian Huxley, a leading defender of evolution until his death in 1975, why he thought Darwin’s idea caught on so quickly. His answer astonished me.
“[I suppose the reason] we all jumped at the Origin [Darwin’s On the Origin of Species],” Huxley said, “was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” “Mores,” of course, is a secular term for morals.
Note the personal tone of the statement from Kennedy. You’d think he had just watched this show himself and seen Julian Huxley say that. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now here comes the fun part. Several people have contacted Kennedy’s organization to get an actual source for the quote and they’ve been given numerous citations, all of them wrong. Of the innumerable creationists who use this quote in various forms, some of them attribute it not to Julian Huxley but to Aldous Huxley.