Creation Science - Challenging the Theory of Evolution

Part 4 of a 7-part series with Dr. Eugenie C. Scott: Science, Religion, and Evolutionary Theory. Dr. Scott discusses the history of creationism/intelligent design, which was revived in the United States in the 1960s. Some conservative Christians believe

John Connolly: How far back does the history of creationism as a science go? It seems to be a relatively new phenomenon. Eugenie Scott: Creation science got started back in the 1960’s; it was a movement in response to evolution coming back into text books and into the high school curriculum after evolution had been pretty much abandoned as a topic in instruction from after the Scopes trial in approximately the 1930’s. And since for a variety of reasons evolution was coming back into the curriculum, conservative Christians were very upset about this because they believed that if children learn evolution they would become atheists, and if they become atheists that’s a really very, very bad thing; it means that in their view they will not have any kind of moral or spiritual guidance and so they would be bad people, they would lie and cheat and steal and worse and so forth. They also believe that if you don’t believe in God, you are lost to salvation, so for conservative Christians this a very important thing and there is a very high motivation to try to keep evolution out of the schools. Well for a variety of reasons, again having to do with the legal system in the United States, it was not possible to ban evolution so creation science was pretty much invented to ameliorate it; if you have to teach evolution, well at least teach creation science to balance it out. And creation science was the idea of taking the Christian doctrine of special creation, that God created everything pretty much in its present form as we see it today specially. It is not compatible with evolution; there are many religious views that are, but special creation is not compatible with evolution, it’s the exact opposite. Evolution has living things diversifying, developing through time, having common ancestors sort of like a tree; the tree is the common metaphor for evolution. Well special creating is a lawn; each little blade of grass is a separate creation by God and they don’t come together in common ancestry, so evolution and special creation are unable to be matched. So creation science was invented as a way of trying to get that special creationist view into the schools, but the way they had to do it was to claim that there was scientific validity to this view. Now of course it’s really hard to find scientific evidence that everything appeared in its present form as we see it; there just isn’t scientific evidence for that, so the main thrust of the movement was trying to disprove evolution, because they have this very dichotomist view that there is either evolution or there is special creation, so if you can just disprove evolution, special creation wins by default. And it was a very interesting movement that thrived in the 1970s and 80s, and actually still to an extent today; if you go to the internet you can find scads of websites devoted to creation science, just Google creation science and you’ll get tens of thousands of sites [and] lots of videos too.

creationism, intelligent design, creation science, henry morris, darwinism, evolution, darwin, Genesis, eugenie, scott, dnalc, cshl

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