History of the Creationism Evolution Controversy

The history of—and potential conflict between—creationism and evolution extends back hundreds of years. The current controversy has its roots in conflicting ideas of stasis and change that reach back beyond the Middle Ages. Darwin is unquestionably a central figure in the development of ideas of biological evolution, but he of course built on ideas of an ancient and changing physical universe and world that astronomers and geologists had proposed during the previous 150 years.

Part 2 provides an introduction to this history, beginning in chapter 4 with pre-Darwinian ideas about evolution and continuing with Darwin's ideas and their reception. Chapter 5 picks up at the beginning of the twentieth century with the antievolution movement that culminated in the Scopes trial, which was followed by a long period during which evolution was largely ignored in the public schools. With evolution's return to textbooks and the classroom in the late 1960s, we encounter the period of creation science. Chapters 6 and 7 present the origin and current status of the neocreationist movement, which employs a set of antievolutionist strategies designed to avoid the legal decisions that hamstrung the earlier creation science movement.

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