ANT 230 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2.4: Creation Science Movement, Christian Fundamentalism, Creation Science

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~ Chapter Two: Development of Evolutionary Theory ~
Part 4: Opposition to Evolution Today
o More than a century and a half after the publication of On the Origin of Species, the debate over
evolution is far from over.
o Among the biological population, evolution is indisputable.
o The mechanisms of evolution are complex and do not lend themselves to simple explanations.
o Understanding them requires some familiarity with genetics and biology, a familiarity that
most people don’t have unless they’ve taken related courses in school.
o Many people want definitive, clear-cut answers to complex question.
o But science doesn’t establish absolute truths and it doesn’t prove facts.
o Another thing to consider is that regardless of their culture, most people are raised in belief systems
that don’t emphasize biological continuity between species or offer scientific explanations for
natural phenomena.
o Biological Continuity: A biological continuum. When expressions of a phenomenon
continuously grade into one another so that there are no discrete categories, they exist on a
continuum. Color is one such phenomenon, and life-forms are another.
o The relationship between science and religion has never been easy, even though both serve to
explain natural phenomena.
o Scientific explanations are based in data analysis, hypothesis testing, and interpretation.
o Religion is a system of faith-based beliefs.
A major difference is that religious beliefs and explanations aren’t amenable to
scientific testing.
Religion and science concern different aspects of the human experience, but they
aren’t inherently mutually exclusive approaches.
Belief in God doesnt exclude the possibility of biological evolution; and
acknowledgement of evolutionary processes doesnt preclude the existence
of God.
Evolutionary theories arent rejected by all religions or by most forms of
o Unfortunately, those who believe in an absolutely literal
interpretation of the Bible (called fundamentalists) accept no
A Brief History of Opposition to Evolution in the United States
o Reacting to rapid cultural change after WWI, conservative Christians in the United States sought a
revival of what they considered “traditional values.”
o One way to achieve this was to prevent any mention of evolution in public schools.
o As coverage of evolution in textbooks increased by the mid-1960s, Christian fundamentalists
renewed their campaign to eliminate evolution from public school curricula or to introduce
antievolutionary material into public school classes.
o Christian Fundamentalists: Adherents to a movement in American Protestantism that began
in the early 20th century. This group upholds that the teachings of the Bible are infallible and
that the scriptures are to be taken literally.
Out of this effort, the creation science movement was born.
o Proponents of the creation science are called “creationistsbecause they explain the existence of the
universe as the result of a sudden creation event that occurred over the course of six 24-hour days as
described in the book of Genesis.
o It isnt a science for the simple reason that creationists insist that their view is absolute and
Therefore, creationism isn’t a hypothesis that can be tested, nor is it amendable to
Because hypothesis testing is the basis of all science, creationism, by its very nature,
cannot be considered science.
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