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The Creationist Movement in Modern America

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... Therefore, both the theory of evolution and the "theory" of creationism should be taught. This argument has been heard not only from creationists, but also from prominent U.S. leaders including state governors such as 1981 Arkansas Governor Frank White (Eve & Harrold, 1991), state school board presidents such as Joe Stein of California (Freedberg, 1992), and even then President Ronald Reagan (Edwords, 1980). This superficially plausible argument is based on a lack of understanding of the differences in the vernacular and scientific meanings of the terms theory and fact. ...
... Third, beneath the surface, the controversy is not a disagreement over the weight of evidence or even about epistemology so much as it is a disagreement between individuals with incommensurable worldviews about the nature of science and religion (Eve & Harrold, 1991). Creationists reject the theory of evolution not because the scientific support is weak, but because for them it threatens the very existence of God. ...
Article
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There is a great need for effective evolution education. This paper reviews some of the evidence that demonstrates that need and analyzes some of the foundational semantic, epistemological, and philosophical issues involved. This analysis is used to provide a functional understanding of the distinction between science and non-science. Special emphasis is placed the scientific meaning of the terms theory, hypothesis, fact, proof, evidence, and truth, focusing on the difference between religious belief and acceptance of a scientific theory. Science is viewed as theologically neutral and as not mutually exclusive from religion. Finally, a number of practical recommendations to the classroom biology teacher are presented.
... Cultural shifts in the U.S., gaining momentum after the 1960s, drove growing mistrust as people divided increasingly into two culturally distinctive and morally incommensurate camps. Culturally orthodox, or cultural fundamentalist persons appeal to external, transcendent moral authorities such as a god or tradition, interpret holy books literally, Lukas Szrot and hold socially conservative views; cultural progressives appeal to scientific rationality or subjective experience to shape morality, are secular or interpret religious texts within historical contexts, and hold socially liberal views (see Eve and Harrold 1990;Hunter 1991;Jones 2016:30-3). Jouet (2017) has argued that what is exceptional about the U.S. is captured by facets associated with the culturally fundamentalist or culturally orthodox elements of culture (and that cultural progressives increasingly resemble broad consensus views among other developed nations). ...
... In conservative religious circles science-equated with practical technological products-has usually been understood to support divine design and American ingenuity (Gilbert 1997). Creationism has drawn much of its social support from upwardly mobile people from religious backgrounds moving into positions where technology is critical to earning a living-there would be little motivation for constructing an elaborate pseudoscience such as creationism without a strong need to harmonize traditional religion with a modern technological environment (Eve and Harrold 1990). ...
Chapter
Islamic creationism has been very successful in Turkey, finding official as well as grassroots support in an environment shaped by neoliberal Islamism. Opposition to evolution has many local, Turkish and Islamic political rationales. However, as comparison with creationism in the United States demonstrates, creationism also draws political sustenance from a more universal rhetoric of modern conservatism, emphasizing markets, organic communities, and a pragmatic view of science as infrastructure for business and technology.
... Creationism is popular. It offers devout but modern populations, who depend on technology in their lives, a way to harmonize faith and science (Eve and Harrold, 1990). The conspiratorial elements in creationism sometimes only add to its populist appeal. ...
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Theological responses to scientific challenges can usefully be compared to conspiracy theories in order to highlight their evasive properties. When religious thinkers emphasize hidden powers and purposes underlying a seemingly material reality, and claim that these hidden purposes are revealed only through special knowledge granted to initiates, they adopt conspiratorial attitudes. And when they charge mainstream science with corruption or comprehensive mistakes, so that science becomes a plot to conceal the truth, the resemblance to a conspiracy theory deepens. Theologically conservative denial of evolution often exhibits such features, but some liberal theologies also border on conspiracy theories. Intelligent design creationism, however, is sometimes less conspiratorial.
... In conservative religious circles science-equated with practical technological products-has usually been understood to support divine design and American ingenuity (Gilbert 1997). Creationism has drawn much of its social support from upwardly mobile people from religious backgrounds moving into positions where technology is critical to earning a living-there would be little motivation for constructing an elaborate pseudoscience such as creationism without a strong need to harmonize traditional religion with a modern technological context (Eve and Harrold 1990). ...
Conference Paper
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Science education policy is often driven by liberal political ideas that take developing citizen capabilities in a modern world as a central goal of education. But scientific theories such as Darwinian evolution severely challenge popular religious beliefs and therefore inspire conservative resistance to science education. Conservative counterarguments emphasize democratic deference to the organic beliefs of a community rather than the consensus of outside academic experts. Teaching science as the scientists would want it taught requires appeals to political interests held in common by a broad cross-section of the citizenry. This usually means a promise of direct economic benefits to individual students or the country at large. With theories such as evolution, however, such benefits are difficult to demonstrate, and therefore the publicly offered rationales for mainstream science education fail to convince many conservative constituencies. Evolution education faces conservative Christian opposition in the United States, and conservative Muslim rejection in Turkey. Populist affirmations of religious knowledge and distrust of expertise are common themes in both Protestant and Islamic varieties of creationism. Examining the similarities and differences in the debates over evolution education in the two countries illuminates the political contexts in which public debates over science and religion take place.
... In 1991, Eve and Harrold (1991) concluded that "over a quarter -and perhaps as many as half -of the nation's high school students get educations shaped by creationist influence -in spite of the overwhelming opposition of the nation's scientific, educational, and media establishments." Data presented here and elsewhere indicate that little has changed; surprisingly high percentages of high school biology teachers in the United States teach creationism. ...
... The religious motivations of the ID movement, along with its attempts to craft a constitutionally acceptable form of creationism, have also been documented at book length (Forrest and Gross 2004). Nor is it our intention either to argue, as Forrest and Gross (2004) and Coyne (2005) have, that ID is a historical continuation of traditional creationism, or to pursue a sociological investigation of the antievolution movement (such as Eve andHarrold 1991 or Toumey 1994). ...
Article
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News media coverage of the controversy surrounding recent attempts to insert creationism into public school science curricula—this time in the form of “intelligent design”—has generated miles of copy and hours of television footage. The quality of that reporting varies widely, depending on the media outlet. Often, reporters with no scientific training are assigned to report on evolution–creationism controversies, which inevitably leads to distortions of the relevant science. A misconceived concern for balance frequently results in equal time being accorded to biologists and creationists, creating the illusion of scientific equivalence. At other times, a clear bias toward creationism is revealed, especially on cable television. Focusing mainly on recent treatments, this article analyzes and critiques specific stories, as well as trends and patterns in coverage in newspapers, magazines, and television; it concludes with suggestions of ways in which scientists can be more effective in dealing with the media.
... A significant percentage of biology teachers teach creationism in their courses, and an even larger percentage would teach creationism if they were allowed to do so (Moore 2001). This has resulted in "over a quarter-and perhaps as many as halfof the nation's high school students [getting] educations shaped by creation influence" (Eve and Harrold 1991). ...
Article
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Although the Scopes trial remains the most famous court decision associated with the teaching of evolution, there have been many other more important court decisions associated with the teaching of evolution and creationism in public schools. An understanding of these decisions can help teachers answer students' questions about the teaching of evolution and creationism. Such an understanding can also be used to counter the antiscience attitudes and actions of creationist parents, school administrators, and colleagues.
... Students of social movements find it easy to show correlations among white evangelical Christians between social movement adherents' opinions about the age of mankind on the one hand with their stance on social movement issues such as gay rights, legal abortion, women's equality, and so on the other (see, e.g., Eve and Harrold 1991). This may strike the casual observer as very curious: for example, why should one's opinion about the age of the Earth or humankind's origins correlate with their attitudes about homosexuality? ...
Article
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American student acceptance of evolution is far from uniform, even when students experience instruction in the relevant scientific methods and data. But, excellent science teaching alone cannot be expected always to lead to rejecting creationism. Powerful psychological, social, and political forces are at work as well as pure pedagogy, and such forces are often implicated in the failure of students to accept evolution, especially human evolution. These forces are often sufficiently powerful to defeat even attempts to teach evolution that use the most effective science education methods. We end by urging increased activism on behalf of evolution education. KeywordsCreationism-Intelligent design-Teaching-Pedagogy
... In 1991, Eve and Harrold (1991) concluded that "over a quarter-and perhaps as many as half-of the nation's high school students get educations shaped by creationist influence-in spite of the overwhelming opposition of the nation's scientific, educational, and media establishments" (p. 166). ...
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College students whose recollections of their high school biology courses included creationism were significantly more likely to invoke creationism-based answers on questions derived from the Material Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution (MATE) instrument than were students whose recollections of their high school biology courses included evolution but not creationism. On average, students who were taught neither evolution nor creationism in their high school biology courses exhibited intermediary responses on the MATE instrument. These results suggest that (1) high school teachers’ treatments of evolution and creationism have a lasting impact and (2) the inclusion of creationism in high school biology courses increases the probability that students accept creationism and reject evolution when they arrive at college. These results are discussed relative to the impact of high school biology courses on students’ subsequent acceptance of evolution and creationism.
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The problem of authority is vital for understanding the development of Protestant creationism. Two discursive fields have figured centrally in this religious movement’s claims to authoritative knowledge: The Bible and science. The former has been remarkably stable over a century with a continuing emphasis on inerrancy and literalism, while the latter has been more mutable. Creationism’s rejection of scientific evolution has endured, but its orientation to a range of scientific models, technologies, and disciplines has changed. Astronomy is a prime example; once relatively absent in creationist cultural production, it emerged as yet another arena where creationists seek to corrode scientific authority and bolster biblical fundamentalism. Drawing on archival documents of creationist publications and the ongoing media production of an influential creationist ministry based in Kentucky, this article illustrates how creationism has sought to incorporate astronomy into their orbit of religious authorization. Ultimately, the case of incorporating space helps clarify fundamentalism’s machinations of power.
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This article examines religious language in a contested public sphere by analyzing performances of linguistic creativity among creationists in the United States. The public creation‐evolution debate has been a central speech event in the development of modern creationism, and functions as a key site for claiming cultural legitimacy. Focusing on three creation‐evolution debates spanning 33 years, I advance the concept of “creationist poetics” to capture how framing, stance taking, and speech play define the performance repertoire of creationists in the debate context. In particular, I illustrate how creationist speakers work to create a conspiracy‐populist frame and a revealer stance. Together, these strategies sketch a lifeworld that envisions elitist “secular” actors suppressing scriptural authority and creationists as humble, clear‐eyed people exposing the conspiracy through scriptural fidelity. I argue that this system of poetics is a key expressive resource in the ongoing struggle to wrest authority away from evolutionary science and claim it for biblical fundamentalism. Ultimately, this analysis of creationist poetics informs our understanding of how authority as a contingent social process is discursively mediated, a central theme in the study of both religious and political language.
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A sample of 2232 committed churchgoers from a range of churches in the UK completed a questionnaire that included a measure of rejection of Darwinian evolution. Respondents with undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications had slightly lower odds of rejecting evolution than those without degrees, but whether qualifications were in non-biological science, biology or theology made little difference to the likelihood of rejection. Those who attended Anglican or Methodist (AM) churches were much less likely to reject evolution than those who attended Evangelical or Pentecostal (EP) churches, but the effect of education on reducing rejection was similar in both groups. Individual theological conservatism was strongly associated with rejection, but whereas liberals showed declining rejection with increased education, there was no such effect for conservatives. Frequent church attendance and Bible reading both predicted rejection, and the effect of Bible reading was most pronounced among AM churchgoers. Higher education of any kind may reduce the likelihood of rejection of evolution among many UK churchgoers, but theological conservatives from any tradition will tend to maintain their belief that Darwinian evolution does not explain the origin of species whatever their educational experience.
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'Doubting Darwin' seeks to map and analyse the views of leading evolution sceptics in theUnited Kingdom. It is part of the Theos 'Rescuing Darwin' project which aims to demonstrate, on the bicentenary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of 'On the Origin of Species', that Darwin’s theory of evolution does not necessitate atheism, and adherence to orthodox Christianity does not require the rejection of evolution.
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The Understanding Evolution website (http://evolution.berkeley. edu/) was developed to provide a freely accessible resource that promotes the teaching of evolution and improved understandings of evolution among students and the general public. Evaluations show that the strategies employed in site design have allowed it to effectively meet those goals, while maintaining a practical and scientific perspective on this topic and remaining disentangled from the "controversy" related to evolution in the public sphere. DÉVELOPPER UNE COMPRÉHENSION DE L'ÉVOLUTION : UNE RESSOURCE EN LIGNE POUR L'ENSEIGNEMENT ET L'APPRENTISSAGE RÉSUMÉ. Le site Web Understanding Evolution (http://evolution.berkeley. edu/) a été créé dans le but d'offrir une ressource accessible et gratuite qui fait la promotion de l'enseignement de l'évolution et tente de mieux faire com- prendre celle-ci auprès des étudiants et du public en général. Des évaluations indiquent que les stratégies employées dans la conception du site ont permis d'atteindre efficacement ces objectifs, tout en maintenant une perspective pratique et scientifique sur ce sujet et en se tenant loin de la « controverse » liée à l'évolution au sein de la population.
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▪ Abstract Evolution is considered controversial by a substantial minority of Americans. Religious opposition explains this, but this opposition is comprised of a broad continuum of religious views. It runs from “young earth creationism” through “old earth creationism” (including “day-age,” “gap,” and “progressive creationism”) to “theistic evolutionism.” Historically, antievolutionists have attempted to ban evolution and to present it on an equal footing with “creation science.” Scholars largely ignored antievolutionism until efforts to pass “equal time for creation and evolution” laws stimulated both political and scholarly activism. Lately, there are efforts to discourage the teaching of evolution by requiring teachers to read disclaimers before teaching it, to teach it as “theory, not fact,” or to present fancied “evidence against evolution.” Recently, “intelligent design theory,” a restatement of William Paley's Argument from Design, has surfaced. Although rejected by scientists, intelligent design a...
Article
The responses of biology majors in their first year of college differed significantly from those of first-year non-biology majors on only 3 of the 20 items on the Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution survey instrument. Despite these differences, and regardless of whether students were or were not biology majors, several findings from the survey stand out: (a) surprisingly high percentages of students accepted creation ism-based claims, (b) students' views of evolution and creationism when they entered college were strongly associated with the treatment of evolution and creationism in the students' high-school biology classes, and (c) on average, incoming biology majors' views of evolution and creationism were similar to those of nonmajors. In this article, these results are discussed relative to the ongoing popularity of creationism among biology majors and biology teachers.
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