Creationism is the belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity or deities. In relation to the creation-evolution controversy the term creationism is commonly used to refer to religiously motivated rejection of evolution as an explanation of origins.
By 1929 in the United States, the term became particularly associated with Christian fundamentalist opposition to human evolution and belief in a young Earth. Several U.S. states passed laws against the teaching of evolution in public schools, as upheld in the Scopes Trial. Evolution was omitted entirely from school textbooks in much of the United States until the 1960s. Since then, renewed efforts to introduce teaching creationism in American public schools in the form of flood geology, creation science, and intelligent design have been consistently held to contravene the constitutional separation of Church and State by a succession of legal judgments. The meaning of the term creationism was contested, but by the 1980s it had been co-opted by proponents of creation science and flood geology.
Such beliefs include Young Earth creationism, proponents of which believe that the earth is thousands rather than billions of years old. They typically believe the days in Genesis Chapter 1 are 24 hours in length, while Old Earth creationism accepts geological findings and other methods of dating the earth and believes that these findings do not contradict the Genesis account, but reject evolution. The term theistic evolution has been coined to refer to beliefs in creation which are more compatible with the scientific view of evolution and the age of the Earth. Alternately, there are other religious people who support creation, but in terms of allegorical interpretations of Genesis.
When mainstream scientific research produces conclusions which contradict a creationist interpretation of scripture, the strict creationist approach is either to reject the conclusions of the research, its underlying scientific theories, and/or its methodology. For this reason, both creation science and intelligent design have been labeled as pseudoscience by the mainstream scientific community. The most notable disputes concern the effects of evolution on the development of living organisms, the idea of common descent, the geologic history of the Earth, the formation of the solar system, and the origin of the universe.
- Main article: History of evolutionary thought
From around the start of the nineteenth century ideas like Lamarck's concept of transmutation of species had gained a small number of supporters in Paris and Edinburgh, mostly amongst anatomists. Charles Darwin's development of his theory of natural selection at this time was kept closely secret. In 1859 Darwin's On the Origin of Species provided that evidence from an authoritative and respected source, and gradually convinced scientists that evolution occurs. By 1875, most American naturalists supported ideas of theistic evolution, often involving special creation of human beings.
By the start of the twentieth century, evolution was widely accepted and was beginning to be taught in U.S. public schools. After World War I, popular belief that German aggression resulted from a Darwinian doctrine of "survival of the fittest" inspired William Jennings Bryan to campaign against the teaching of Darwinian ideas of human evolution.
- Creation science
- Dating Creation
- Intelligent design
- Origin of life
- Scopes Trial
- Watchmaker analogy
- ^ Hayward 1998, p. 11
- ^ a b c Ronald L. Numbers. "Antievolutionists and Creationists". Creationism History. Counterbalance Meta-Library. http://www.counterbalance.net/history/anticreat-frame.html. Retrieved on 2007-08-15.
- ^ Creationism/ID, A Short Legal History By Lenny Flank, Talk Reason
- ^ Williams, A.R. (1995). "Flaws in dating the earth as ancient" (Scholar search). Creation 18: 14. http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i1/earth.asp. Retrieved on 2008-11-10.
- ^ Truman, R. (2003). "Protein mutational context dependence: a challenge to neo-Darwinian theory: part 1" (PDF). Journal of Creation 17: 117–127. http://www.creationontheweb.com/images/pdfs/tj/v17n1_proteins.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-11-10.
- ^ Batten, R. (2002-02-28). "It's not science". Creation Ministries International. http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2480. Retrieved on 2008-11-10.
- ^ "Statements from Scientific and Scholarly Organizations". National Center for Science Education. http://ncseweb.org/media/voices/science. Retrieved on 2008-08-28.
- ^ Royal Society statement on evolution, creationism and intelligent design
- ^ National Association of Biology Teachers Statement on Teaching Evolution
- ^ IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution Joint statement issued by the national science academies of 67 countries, including the United Kingdom's Royal Society (PDF file)
- ^ From the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society: PDF (44.8 KB), AAAS Denounces Anti-Evolution Laws
- Hayward, James L. (1998), The Creation/Evolution Controversy : an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press/Salem Press, 253, ISBN 0-8108-3386-7