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Creationist Positions: A Sociology of Conflict

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Abstract

As mentioned above, there are many forms of “creationism” in the United States, and I think it is important for any social scientific analysis of creationism to first try and understand what these different ideas are about. This is because (and I hope to be able to show this further below) the kinds of ideas creationists harbor have a strong influence on what they are willing and able to do in order to promote them. If you think the other creationists are actually completely wrong and maybe not even Christian, you will find it hard to enter into coalitions with them. If the point of your creationist system is to spread the truth of the Bible, then you will have a harder time getting into public schools than if you focus on a few scientific issues, leaving questions of Biblical interpretation aside.

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Reviewed by Thane Hutcherson Ury 7 cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind, in the details.' Charles Darwin, letter, July 12, 1870. We know a lot more about animals and plants than Darwin did, and still not a single case is known to me of a complex organ that could not have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications. I do not believe that such a case will ever be found. If it is . . . I shall cease to believe in Darwinism.' Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, p. 91. Periodically a book is catapulted on the scene that commands the attention of all factions in the creation/ evolution debate. Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box is just such a text. Behe, professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has breathed new life into the design argument and articulated an innovative critique of Darwinism which is as sure to fluster Darwinians, as it is to delight Biblical creationists. As with all of history's gadflies, Behe's apologetic is causing quite a stir. When a rigid practitioner of scientific methodology is accused of heresy by his colleagues, there can be assurance of garnering lots of attention in the public square. Since the book first appeared last year, it is enjoying its eighth printing, has been the object of both praise and excoriation in nearly a hundred reviews, and has been hotly debated on radio shows and the internet.
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