Post by 0!n0b Post by Seon Ferguson
Why don't you ever talk about how the right are trying to get evolution
banned from being taught in school?
First I've heard of this.
Cite (reputable of course)?
Only in America. Oh and please don't attack wikipedia. Click on the SOURCES
In the aftermath of World War I, the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy
brought a surge of opposition to the idea of evolution, and following the
campaigning of William Jennings Bryan several states introduced legislation
prohibiting the teaching of evolution. By 1925, such legislation was being
considered in 15 states, and passed in some states, such as Tennessee.
The American Civil Liberties Union offered to defend anyone who wanted to
bring a test case against one of these laws. John T. Scopes accepted, and he
confessed to teaching his Tennessee class evolution in defiance of the
Butler Act. The textbook in question was Hunter's Civic Biology (1914). The
trial was widely publicized by H. L. Mencken among others, and is commonly
referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial. Scopes was convicted; however, the
widespread publicity galvanized proponents of evolution. When the case was
appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court overturned the decision
on a technicality (the judge had assessed the minimum $100 fine instead of
allowing the jury to assess the fine).
Although it overturned the conviction, the Court decided that the law was
not in violation of the Religious Preference provisions of the Tennessee
Constitution (section 3 of article 1), which stated that "that no preference
shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of
worship." The Court, applying that state Constitutional language, held
We are not able to see how the prohibition of teaching the theory that
man has descended from a lower order of animals gives preference to any
religious establishment or mode of worship. So far as we know, there is no
religious establishment or organized body that has in its creed or
confession of faith any article denying or affirming such a
theory....Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are divided among themselves in
their beliefs, and that there is no unanimity amoung the members of any
religious establishment as to this subject. Belief or unbelief in the theory
of evolution is no more a characteristic of any religious establishment or
mode of worship than is belief or unbelief in the wisdom of the prohibition
laws. It would appear that members of the same churches quite generally
disagree as to these things.
...Furthermore, [the Butler Act] requires the teaching of nothing. It
only forbids the teaching of evolution of man from a lower order of
animals....As the law thus stands, while the theory of evolution of man may
not be taught in the schools of the State, nothing contrary to that theory
[such as Creationism] is required to be taught.
...It is not necessary now to determine the exact scope of the Religious
Preference clause of the Constitution ... Section 3 of article 1 is
binding alike on the Legislature and the school authorities. So far we are
clear that the Legislature has not crossed these constitutional limitations.
-Scopes v. State, 289 S.W. 363, 367 (Tenn. 1927).
The interpretation of the Establishment clause up to that time was that the
government could not establish a particular religion as the State religion.
The Tennessee Supreme Court's decision held in effect that the Butler Act
was constitutional under the state Constitution's Religious Preference
Clause, because the Act did not establish one religion as the "State
religion." As a result of the holding, the teaching of evolution
remained illegal in Tennessee, and continued campaigning succeeded in
removing evolution from school textbooks throughout the United
 Epperson v. Arkansas
Main article: Epperson v. Arkansas
In 1968, the United States Supreme Court invalidated a forty year old
Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution in the public
schools. A Little Rock high school biology teacher, Susan Epperson, filed
suit charging the law violated the federal constitutional prohibition
against establishment of religion as set forth in the Establishment Clause.
The Little Rock Ministerial Association supported Epperson's challenge,
declaring, "to use the Bible to support an irrational and an archaic concept
of static and undeveloping creation is not only to misunderstand the meaning
of the Book of Genesis, but to do God and religion a disservice by making
both enemies of scientific advancement and academic freedom." The Court
held that the United States Constitution prohibits a state from requiring,
in the words of the majority opinion, "that teaching and learning must be
tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or
dogma." But the Supreme Court decision also suggested that creationism
could be taught in addition to evolution.
 Daniel v. Waters
Main article: Daniel v. Waters
Daniel v. Waters was a 1975 legal case in which the United States Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down Tennessee's law regarding the
teaching of "equal time" of evolution and creationism in public school
science classes because it violated the Establishment clause of the US
Constitution. Following this ruling, creationism was stripped of overt
biblical references and renamed creation science, and several states passed
legislative acts requiring that this be given equal time with teaching of
 Creation Science
Main article: Creation Science
As biologists grew more and more confident in evolution as the central
defining principle of biology, American membership in churches favoring
increasingly literal interpretations of scripture rose, with the Southern
Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod outpacing all other
denominations. With growth, these churches became better equipped to
promulgate a creationist message, with their own colleges, schools,
publishing houses, and broadcast media.
In 1961, the first major modern creationist book was published: Henry M.
Morris and John C. Whitcomb Jr.'s The Genesis Flood. Morris and Whitcomb
argued that creation was literally 6 days long, that humans lived
concurrently with dinosaurs, and that God created each 'kind' of life
individually. On the strength of this, Morris became a popular speaker,
spreading anti-evolutionary ideas at fundamentalist churches, colleges, and
conferences. Morris' Creation Science Research Center (CSRC) rushed
publication of biology text books that promoted creationism, and also
published other books such as Kelly Segrave's sensational Sons of God Return
that dealt with UFOlogy, flood geology, and demonology against Morris'
objections. Ultimately, the CSRC broke up over a divide between
sensationalism and a more intellectual approach, and Morris founded the
Institute for Creation Research, which was promised to be controlled and
operated by scientists. During this time, Morris and others who
supported flood geology adopted the terms scientific creationism and
creation science. The flood geologists effectively co-opted "the generic
creationist label for their hyperliteralist views".
 Court cases
 McLean v. Arkansas
Main article: McLean v. Arkansas
In 1982 another case in Arkansas ruled that the Arkansas "Balanced Treatment
for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act" was unconstitutional because
it violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. Much of the
transcript of the case was lost, including evidence from Francisco Ayala.
 Edwards v. Aguillard
Main article: Edwards v. Aguillard
In the early 1980s, the Louisiana legislature passed a law titled the
"Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public
School Instruction Act". The act did not require teaching either evolution
or creationism as such, but did require that when evolutionary science was
taught, creation science had to be taught as well. Creationists had lobbied
aggressively for the law, arguing that the act was about academic freedom
for teachers, an argument adopted by the state in support of the act. Lower
courts ruled that the State's actual purpose was to promote the religious
doctrine of creation science, but the State appealed to the Supreme Court.
In the similar case of McLean v. Arkansas (see above) the federal trial
court had also decided against creationism. Mclean v. Arkansas however was
not appealed to the federal Circuit Court of Appeals, creationists instead
thinking that they had better chances with Edwards v. Aguillard. In 1987 the
Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Louisiana act was
unconstitutional, because the law was specifically intended to advance a
particular religion. At the same time, however, it stated in its opinion
that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of
humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular
intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction," leaving open
the door for a handful of proponents of creation science to evolve their
arguments into the iteration of creationism that came to be known as
 Intelligent Design
The Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture used
banners based on "The Creation of Adam" from the Sistine Chapel. Later it
used a less religious image, then was renamed the Center for Science and
Main article: Intelligent design
See also: Neo-creationism, Intelligent design movement, Teach the
Controversy, and Critical Analysis of Evolution
In response to Edwards v. Aguillard, the Neo-Creationist intelligent design
movement was formed around the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and
Culture. Its goal is to restate creationism in terms more likely to be well
received by the public, policy makers, educators, and the scientific
community, and makes the claim that "certain features of the universe and of
living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected
process such as natural selection." It has been viewed as a "scientific"
approach to creationism by creationists, but is widely rejected as
unscientific by the science community - primarily because intelligent design
cannot be tested and rejected like scientific hypotheses (see for example,
list of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design).
 Controversy in recent times
See also: Politics of creationism and Intelligent design in politics
The controversy continues to this day, with the mainstream scientific
consensus on the origins and evolution of life challenged by creationist
organizations and religious groups who desire to uphold some form of
creationism (usually young earth creationism, creation science, old earth
creationism or intelligent design) as an alternative. Most of these groups
are explicitly Christian, and more than one sees the debate as part of the
Christian mandate to evangelize. Some see science and religion as being
diametrically opposed views which cannot be reconciled. More accommodating
viewpoints, held by many mainstream churches and many scientists, consider
science and religion to be separate categories of thought, which ask
fundamentally different questions about reality and posit different avenues
for investigating it. Public opinion in regards to the concepts of
evolution, creationism, and intelligent design is fluctuating.
More recently, the Intelligent Design movement has taken an anti-evolution
position which avoids any direct appeal to religion. Scientists argue that
Intelligent design does not represent any research program within the
mainstream scientific community, and is essentially creationism. Its
leading proponent, the Discovery Institute, made widely publicised claims
that it was a new science, though the only paper arguing for it published in
a scientific journal was accepted in questionable circumstances and quickly
disavowed in the Sternberg peer review controversy, with the Biological
Society of Washington stating that it did not meet the journal's scientific
standards, was a "significant departure" from the journal's normal subject
area and was published at the former editor's sole discretion, "contrary to
typical editorial practices". President Bush commented endorsing the
teaching of Intelligent design alongside evolution "I felt like both sides
ought to be properly taught ... so people can understand what the debate is
 Kansas evolution hearings
Main article: Kansas evolution hearings
In the push by intelligent design advocates to introduce intelligent design
in public school science classrooms, the hub of the intelligent design
movement, the Discovery Institute, arranged to conduct hearings to review
the evidence for evolution in the light of its Critical Analysis of
Evolution lesson plans. The Kansas Evolution Hearings were a series of
hearings held in Topeka, Kansas 5 May to 12 May 2005. The Kansas State Board
of Education eventually adopted the institute's Critical Analysis of
Evolution lesson plans over objections of the State Board Science Hearing
Committee, and electioneering on behalf of conservative Republican
candidates for the Board. On 1 August 2006, 4 of the 6 conservative
Republicans who approved the Critical Analysis of Evolution classroom
standards lost their seats in a primary election. The moderate Republican
and Democrats gaining seats vowed to overturn the 2005 school science
standards and adopt those recommended by a State Board Science Hearing
Committee that were rejected by the previous board, and on 13 February
2007, the Board voted 6 to 4 to reject the amended science standards enacted
in 2005. The definition of science was once again limited to "the search for
natural explanations for what is observed in the universe."
 The Dover Trial
Main article: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Following the Edwards v. Aguillard decision by the Supreme Court of the
United States, in which the Court held that a Louisiana law requiring that
creation science be taught in public schools whenever evolution was taught
was unconstitutional, because the law was specifically intended to advance a
particular religion, creationists renewed their efforts to introduce
creationism into public school science classes. This effort resulted in
intelligent design, which sought to avoid legal prohibitions by leaving the
source of creation an unnamed and undefined intelligent designer, as opposed
to God. This ultimately resulted in the "Dover Trial," Kitzmiller v.
Dover Area School District, which went to trial on 26 September 2005 and was
decided on 20 December 2005 in favor of the plaintiffs, who charged that a
mandate that intelligent design be taught in public school science
classrooms was an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The 139 page
opinion of Kitzmiller v. Dover held that intelligent design was not a
subject of legitimate scientific research, and that it "cannot uncouple
itself from its creationist, and hence religious, antecedents".
 Young Earth creationism
Main article: Young Earth creationism
See also: Creation science and Flood geology
Young Earth creationism is the belief that the Earth was created by God
within the last 10,000 years, literally as described in Genesis, within the
approximate timeframe of biblical genealogies (detailed for example in the
Ussher chronology). Young Earth creationists often believe that the Universe
has a similar age as the Earth. Creationist cosmologies are attempts by some
creationist thinkers to give the universe an age consistent with the Ussher
chronology and other Young-Earth timeframes. This belief generally has a
basis in a literal and inerrant interpretation of the Bible.
 Old Earth creationism
Main article: Old Earth creationism
See also: Gap creationism, Day-Age Creationism, and Progressive creationism
Old Earth creationism holds that the physical universe was created by God,
but that the creation event of Genesis is not to be taken strictly
literally. This group generally believes that the age of the Universe and
the age of the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists, but
that details of the evolutionary theory are questionable. Old Earth
creationists interpret the creation accounts of Genesis in a number of ways,
that each differ from the six, consecutive, 24-hour day creation of the
literalist Young Earth Creationist view.
Main article: Neo-Creationism
See also: Intelligent design
Neo-Creationists intentionally distance themselves from other forms of
creationism, preferring to be known as wholly separate from creationism as a
philosophy. Their goal is to restate creationism in terms more likely to be
well received by the public, education policy makers and the scientific
community. It aims to re-frame the debate over the origins of life in
non-religious terms and without appeals to scripture, and to bring the
debate before the public. Neo-creationists may be either Young Earth or Old
Earth Creationists, and hold a range of underlying theological viewpoints
(e.g. on the interpretation of the Bible). Neo-Creationism currently exists
in the form of the intelligent design movement, which has a 'big tent'
strategy making it inclusive of many Young Earth Creationists (such as Paul
Nelson and Percival Davis).
 Theistic evolution
Main article: Theistic evolution
See also: Naturalism (philosophy), Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church,
and Clergy Letter Project
Theistic evolution is the general view that, instead of faith being in
opposition to biological evolution, some or all classical religious
teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of modern
scientific theory, including, specifically, evolution. It generally views
evolution as a tool used by a creator god, who is both the first cause and
immanent sustainer/upholder of the universe; it is therefore well accepted
by people of strong theistic (as opposed to deistic) convictions. Theistic
evolution can synthesize with the day-age interpretation of the Genesis
creation account; however most adherents consider that the first chapters of
Genesis should not be interpreted as a "literal" description, but rather as
a literary framework or allegory.
This position does not generally exclude the viewpoint of methodological
naturalism, a long standing convention of the scientific method in science.
Theistic evolutionists have frequently been prominent in opposing
creationism (including intelligent design). Notable examples have been
biologist Kenneth R. Miller and theologian John Haught (both Catholics), who
testified for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
Another example is the Clergy Letter Project, an organization that has
created and maintains a statement signed by American Christian clergy of
different denominations rejecting creationism, with specific reference to
points raised by intelligent design proponents. Theistic evolutionists have
also been active in Citizens Alliances for Science that oppose the
introduction of creationism into public school science classes (one example
being evangelical Christian geologist Keith B. Miller, who is a prominent
board member of Kansas Citizens for Science).
 Naturalistic evolution
Naturalistic evolution is the position of acceptance of biological evolution
and of metaphysical naturalism (and thus rejection of theism and theistic
evolution). A prominent proponent of this viewpoint is British evolutionary
biologist Richard Dawkins.
Wiki letter w.svg This section requires expansion.
 Arguments relating to the definition and limits of science
Critiques such as those based on the distinction between theory and fact are
often leveled against unifying concepts within scientific disciplines.
Principles such as uniformitarianism, Occam's Razor or parsimony, and the
Copernican principle are claimed to be the result of a bias within science
toward philosophical naturalism, which is equated by many creationists with
atheism. In countering this claim, philosophers of science use the term
methodological naturalism to refer to the long standing convention in
science of the scientific method. The methodological assumption is that
observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without
assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and therefore
supernatural explanations for such events are outside the realm of
science. Creationists claim that supernatural explanations should not be
excluded and that scientific work is paradigmatically close-minded.
Because modern science tries to rely on the minimization of a priori
assumptions, error, and subjectivity, as well as on avoidance of Baconian
idols, it remains neutral on subjective subjects such as religion or
morality. Mainstream proponents accuse the creationists of conflating
the two in a form of pseudoscience.
Fact: In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and
for all practical purposes is accepted as "true." Truth in science, however,
is never final, and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even
discarded tomorrow. Hypothesis: A tentative statement about the natural
world leading to deductions that can be tested. If the deductions are
verified, it becomes more probable that the hypothesis is correct. If the
deductions are incorrect, the original hypothesis can be abandoned or
modified. Hypotheses can be used to build more complex inferences and
explanations. Law: A descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the
natural world behaves under stated circumstances. Theory: In science, a
well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can
incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.
- National Academy of Sciences, Science and Creationism
 Limitations of the scientific endeavor
In science, explanations are limited to those based on observations and
experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Explanations that
cannot be based on empirical evidence are not a part of science.
- National Academy of Sciences, Science and Creationism
Wiki letter w.svg This section requires expansion.
 Theory vs. fact
Main article: Evolution as theory and fact
The argument that evolution is a theory, not a fact, has often been made
against the exclusive teaching of evolution. The argument is related to
a common misconception about the technical meaning of "theory" that is used
by scientists. In common usage, "theory" often refers to conjectures,
hypotheses, and unproven assumptions. However, in science, "theory" usually
means "a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of
principles offered to explain phenomena."
Exploring this issue, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote:
Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are
different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts
are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and
interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories
to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but
apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And
humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's
proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.
Philosopher of science Karl R. Popper set out the concept of falsifiability
as a way to distinguish science and pseudoscience: Testable theories are
scientific, but those that are untestable are not. However, in Unended
Quest, Popper declared "I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not
a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research programme, a
possible framework for testable scientific theories," while pointing out it
had "scientific character".
In what one sociologist derisively called "Popper-chopping," opponents
of evolution seized upon Popper's definition to claim evolution was not a
science, and claimed creationism was an equally valid metaphysical research
program. For example, Duane Gish, a leading Creationist proponent, wrote
in a letter to Discover magazine (July 1981): "Stephen Jay Gould states that
creationists claim creation is a scientific theory. While many Creationists
claim creation is a scientific theory other Creationists have stated that
neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory (and each is equally
Popper responded to news that his conclusions were being used by
anti-evolutionary forces by affirming that evolutionary theories regarding
the origins of life on earth were scientific because "their hypotheses can
in many cases be tested." However, creationists claimed that a key
evolutionary concept, that all life on Earth is descended from a single
common ancestor, was not mentioned as testable by Popper, and claimed it
never would be.
In fact, Popper wrote admiringly of the value of Darwin's theory. Only a
few years later, Popper changed his mind, and later wrote, "I still believe
that natural selection works in this way as a research programme.
Nevertheless, I have changed my mind about the testability and logical
status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an
opportunity to make a recantation".
Debate among some scientists and philosophers of science on the
applicability of falsifiability in science continues. However, simple
falsifiability tests for common descent have been offered by some
scientists: For instance, biologist and prominent critic of creationism
Richard Dawkins and J.B.S. Haldane both pointed out that if fossil rabbits
were found in the Precambrian era, a time before most similarly complex
lifeforms had evolved, "that would completely blow evolution out of the
Falsifiability has also caused problems for creationists: In his 1982
decision McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, Judge William R. Overton
used falsifiability as one basis for his ruling against the teaching of
creation science in the public schools, ultimately declaring it "simply not
 Conflation of science and religion
See also: Objection to evolution that it is a religion
 Appeal to consequences
See also: Objection to evolution's moral implications
A number of creationists have blurred the boundaries between their disputes
over the truth of the underlying facts, and explanatory theories, of
evolution, with their purported philosophical and moral consequences. This
type of argument is known as an appeal to consequences, and is a logical
fallacy. Examples of these arguments include those of prominent creationists
such as Ken Ham and Henry M. Morris.
 Disputes relating to science
Many creationists strongly oppose certain scientific theories in a number of
ways, including opposition to specific applications of scientific processes,
accusations of bias within the scientific community, and claims that
discussions within the scientific community reveal or imply a crisis. In
response to perceived crises in modern science, creationists claim to have
an alternative, typically based on faith, creation science, and/or
intelligent design. The scientific community has responded by pointing out
that their conversations are frequently misrepresented (e.g. by quote
mining) in order to create the impression of a deeper controversy or crisis,
and that the creationists' alternatives are generally pseudoscientific.
A phylogenetic tree based on rRNA genes.
Disputes relating to evolutionary biology are central to the controversy
between Creationists and the scientific community. The aspects of
evolutionary biology disputed include common descent (and particularly human
evolution from common ancestors with other members of the Great Apes),
macroevolution, and the existence of transitional fossils.
 Common descent
Main article: Common descent
See also: Evidence of common descent and Tree of life (science)
[The] Discovery [Institute] presents common descent as controversial
exclusively within the animal kingdom, as it focuses on embryology, anatomy,
and the fossil record to raise questions about them. In the real world of
science, common descent of animals is completely noncontroversial; any
controversy resides in the microbial world. There, researchers argued over a
variety of topics, starting with the very beginning, namely the relationship
among the three main branches of life.
-John Timmer, Evolution: what's the real controversy?
A group of organisms is said to have common descent if they have a common
ancestor. A theory of universal common descent based on evolutionary
principles was proposed by Charles Darwin and is now generally accepted by
biologists. The last universal common ancestor, that is, the most recent
common ancestor of all currently living organisms, is believed to have
appeared about 3.9 billion years ago.
With a few exceptions (e.g. Michael Behe), the vast majority of Creationists
reject this theory.
Evidence of common descent includes evidence from fossil records,
comparative anatomy, geographical distribution of species, comparative
physiology and comparative biochemistry.
 Human evolution
Search Wikibooks Wikibooks has a book on the topic of
Introduction to Paleoanthropology
Main article: Human evolution
See also: Paleoanthropology and Adam and Eve
Human evolution is the study of the biological evolution of humans as a
distinct species from its common ancestors with other animals. Analysis of
fossil evidence and genetic distance are two of the means by which
scientists understand this evolutionary history.
Fossil evidence suggests that humans' earliest hominoid ancestors may have
split from other primates as early as the late Oligocene, circa 26-24 Ma,
and that by the early Miocene, the adaptive radiation of many different
hominoid forms was well underway. Evidence from the molecular dating of
genetic differences indicates that the gibbon lineage (family Hylobatidae)
diverged between 18 and 12 Ma, and the orangutan lineage (subfamily
Ponginae) diverged about 12 Ma. While there is no fossil evidence thus far
clearly documenting the early ancestry of gibbons, fossil proto-orangutans
may be represented by Sivapithecus from India and Griphopithecus from
Turkey, dated to around 10 Ma. Molecular evidence further suggests that
between 8 and 4 Ma, first the gorillas, and then the chimpanzee (genus Pan)
split from the line leading to the humans. We have no fossil record of
this divergence, but distinctively hominid fossils have been found dating to
3.2 Ma (see Lucy) and possibly even earlier, at 6 or 7 Ma (see Toumaï).
Comparisons of chimpanzee and human DNA show the two are approximately 98.4
percent identical, and are taken as strong evidence of recent common
ancestry. Today, only one distinct human species survives, but many
earlier species have been found in the fossil record, including Homo
erectus, Homo habilis, and Homo neanderthalensis.
Creationists dispute there is evidence of shared ancestry in the fossil
evidence, and argue either that these are misassigned ape fossils (e.g. that
Java man was a gibbon) or too similar to modern humans to designate them
as distinct or transitional forms. However Creationists frequently
disagree where the dividing lines would be. Creation myths (such as the
Book of Genesis) frequently posit a first man (Adam, in the case of Genesis)
as an alternative viewpoint to the scientific account.
Creationists also dispute science's interpretation of genetic evidence in
the study of human evolution. They argue that it is a "dubious assumption"
that genetic similarities between various animals imply a common ancestral
relationship, and that scientists are coming to this interpretation only
because they have preconceived notions that such shared relationships exist.
Creationists also argue that genetic mutations are strong evidence against
evolutionary theory because the mutations required for major changes to
occur would almost certainly be detrimental.
Main article: Macroevolution
See also: Speciation
Many creationists now accept the possibilities of microevolution within
"kinds" but refuse to accept and have long argued against the possibility of
macroevolution. Macroevolution is defined by the scientific community to be
evolution that occurs at or above the level of species. Under this
definition, macroevolution can be considered to be a fact, as evidenced by
observed instances of speciation. Creationists however tend to apply a more
restrictive, if vaguer, definition of macroevolution, often relating to the
emergence of new body forms or organs. The scientific community considers
that there is strong evidence for even such more restrictive definitions,
but the evidence for this is more complex.
Recent arguments against (such restrictive definitions of) macroevolution
include the intelligent design arguments of irreducible complexity and
specified complexity. However, neither argument has been accepted for
publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and both arguments have
been rejected by the scientific community as pseudoscience.
Wiki letter w.svg This section requires expansion.
 Transitional fossils
Main article: Transitional fossil
See also: List of transitional fossils, Bird evolution, and Evolution of the
It is commonly stated by critics of evolution that there are no known
transitional fossils. This position is based on a misunderstanding
of the nature of what represents a transitional feature. A common
creationist argument is that no fossils are found with partially functional
features. It is plausible, however, that a complex feature with one function
can adapt a wholly different function through evolution. The precursor to,
for example, a wing, might originally have only been meant for gliding,
trapping flying prey, and/or mating display. Nowadays, wings can still have
all of these functions, but they are also used in active flight.
Reconstruction of Ambulocetus natans
As another example, Alan Haywood stated in Creation and Evolution that
"Darwinists rarely mention the whale because it presents them with one of
their most insoluble problems. They believe that somehow a whale must have
evolved from an ordinary land-dwelling animal, which took to the sea and
lost its legs ... A land mammal that was in the process of becoming a whale
would fall between two stools-it would not be fitted for life on land or at
sea, and would have no hope for survival." The evolution of whales has
however been documented in considerable detail, with Ambulocetus, described
as looking like a three-metre long mammalian crocodile, as one of the
Although transitional fossils elucidate the evolutionary transition of one
life-form to another, they only exemplify snapshots of this process. Due to
the special circumstances required for preservation of living beings, only a
very small percentage of all life-forms that ever have existed can be
expected to be discovered. Thus, the transition itself can only be
illustrated and corroborated by transitional fossils, but it will never be
known in detail. However, progressing research and discovery managed to fill
in several gaps and continues to do so. Critics of evolution often cite this
argument as being a convenient way to explain off the lack of 'snapshot'
fossils that show crucial steps between species.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium developed by Stephen Jay Gould and
Niles Eldredge is often mistakenly drawn into the discussion of transitional
fossils. This theory, however, pertains only to well-documented transitions
within taxa or between closely related taxa over a geologically short period
of time. These transitions, usually traceable in the same geological
outcrop, often show small jumps in morphology between periods of
morphological stability. To explain these jumps, Gould and Eldredge
envisaged comparatively long periods of genetic stability separated by
periods of rapid evolution. For example the change from a creature the size
of a mouse, to one the size of an elephant, could be accomplished over
60,000 years, with a rate of change too small to be noticed over any human
lifetime. 60,000 years is too small a gap to be identified or identifiable
in the fossil record.
Main article: Flood Geology
See also: Creation geophysics, Geochronology, and Age of the Earth
Many believers in Young Earth Creationism - a position held by the majority
of proponents of Flood Geology - accept biblical chronogenealogies (such as
the Ussher chronology which in turn is based on the Masoretic version of the
Genealogies of Genesis). They believe that God created the universe
approximately 6000 years ago, in the space of six days. Much of creation
geology is devoted to debunking the dating methods used in anthropology,
geology, and planetary science that give ages in conflict with the young
Earth idea. In particular, creationists dispute the reliability of
radiometric dating and isochron analysis, both of which are central to
mainstream geological theories of the age of the Earth. They usually dispute
these methods based on uncertainties concerning initial concentrations of
individually considered species and the associated measurement uncertainties
caused by diffusion of the parent and daughter isotopes. However, a full
critique of the entire parameter-fitting analysis, which relies on dozens of
radionuclei parent and daughter pairs, has not been done by creationists
hoping to cast doubt on the technique.
The consensus of professional scientific organisations worldwide is that no
scientific evidence contradicts the age of approximately 4.5 billion
years. Young Earth creationists reject these ages on the grounds of what
they regard as being tenuous and untestable assumptions in the methodology.
Apparently inconsistent radiometric dates are often quoted to cast doubt on
the utility and accuracy of the method. Mainstream proponents who get
involved in this debate point out that dating methods only rely on the
assumptions that the physical laws governing radioactive decay have not been
violated since the sample was formed (harking back to Lyell's doctrine of
uniformitarianism). They also point out that the "problems" that
creationists publicly mentioned can be shown to either not be problems at
all, are issues with known contamination, or simply the result of
incorrectly evaluating legitimate data.
 Other sciences
See also: Age of the universe
Whilst Young Earth Creationists believe that the Universe was created
approximately 6000 years ago, the current scientific consensus is that it is
about 13.7 billion years old. The recent science of nucleocosmochronology is
extending the approaches used for Carbon-14 dating to the dating of
astronomical features. For example based upon this emerging science, the
Galactic thin disk of the Milky Way galaxy is estimated to have been formed
8.3 ± 1.8 billion years ago.
Many other creationists, including Old Earth Creationists, do not
necessarily dispute these figures.
 Nuclear physics
See also: radiometric dating
Creationists point to experiments they have performed, which they claim
demonstrate that 1.5 billion years of nuclear decay took place over a short
period of time, from which they infer that "billion-fold speed-ups of
nuclear decay" have occurred, a massive violation of the principle that
radioisotope decay rates are constant, a core principle underlying nuclear
physics generally, and radiometric dating in particular.
The scientific community points to numerous flaws in these experiments, to
the fact that their results have not been accepted for publication by any
peer-reviewed scientific journal, and to the fact that the creationist
scientists conducting them were untrained in experimental
In refutation of young-Earth claims of inconstant decay rates affecting the
reliability of radiometric dating, Roger C. Wiens, a physicist specialising
in isotope dating states:
There are only three quite technical instances where a half-life
changes, and these do not affect the dating methods [under
1. Only one technical exception occurs under terrestrial conditions,
and this is not for an isotope used for dating. ... The
artificially-produced isotope, beryllium-7 has been shown to change by up to
1.5%, depending on its chemical environment. ... [H]eavier atoms are even
less subject to these minute changes, so the dates of rocks made by
electron-capture decays would only be off by at most a few hundredths of a
2. ... Another case is material inside of stars, which is in a plasma
state where electrons are not bound to atoms. In the extremely hot stellar
environment, a completely different kind of decay can occur. 'Bound-state
beta decay' occurs when the nucleus emits an electron into a bound
electronic state close to the nucleus. ... All normal matter, such as
everything on Earth, the Moon, meteorites, etc. has electrons in normal
positions, so these instances never apply to rocks, or anything colder than
several hundred thousand degrees. ...
3. The last case also involves very fast-moving matter. It has been
demonstrated by atomic clocks in very fast spacecraft. These atomic clocks
slow down very slightly (only a second or so per year) as predicted by
Einstein's theory of relativity. No rocks in our solar system are going fast
enough to make a noticeable change in their dates. ...
- Roger C. Wiens, Radiometric Dating, A Christian Perspective
 Misrepresentations of science
 Quote mining
Main article: Quote mining
As a means to criticise mainstream science, creationists have been known to
quote, at length, scientists who ostensibly support the mainstream theories,
but appear to acknowledge criticisms similar to those of creationists.
However, almost universally these have been shown to be quote mines that do
not accurately reflect the evidence for evolution or the mainstream
scientific community's opinion of it, or highly out-of-date. Many
of the same quotes used by creationists have appeared so frequently in
Internet discussions due to the availability of cut and paste functions,
that the TalkOrigins Archive has created "The Quote Mine Project" for quick
reference to the original context of these quotations.
 Public policy issues
 Science education
Main article: Creation and evolution in public education
See also: Teach the Controversy
Creationists promote that evolution is a theory in crisis with
scientists criticizing evolution and claim that fairness and equal time
requires educating students about the alleged scientific controversy.
Opponents, being the overwhelming majority of the scientific community and
science education organizations, reply that there is in fact no
scientific controversy and that the controversy exists solely in terms of
religion and politics. The American Association for the
Advancement of Science and other science and education professional
organizations say that Teach the Controversy proponents seek to undermine
the teaching of evolution while promoting intelligent
design, and to advance an education policy for US public
schools that introduces creationist explanations for the origin of life to
public-school science curricula. This viewpoint was supported by
the December 2005 ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
George Mason University Biology Department introduced a course on the
creation/evolution controversy, and apparently as students learn more about
biology, they find objections to evolution less convincing, suggesting that
"teaching the controversy" rightly as a separate elective course on
philosophy or history of science, or "politics of science and religion,"
would undermine creationists' criticisms, and that the scientific community's
resistance to this approach was bad public relations.
On March 27, 2009, the Texas Board of Education, by a vote of 13 to 2, voted
that at least in Texas, textbooks must teach intelligent design alongside
evolution, and question the validity of the fossil record. Don McLeroy, a
dentist and chair of the board, said, "I think the new standards are
wonderful ... dogmatism about evolution" has sapped "America's scientific
soul." According to Science magazine, "Because Texas is the second-largest
textbook market in the United States, publishers have a strong incentive to
be certified by the board as 'conforming 100% to the state's
 Freedom of speech
Creationists have claimed that preventing them from teaching Creationism
violates their right of Freedom of speech. However court cases (such as
Webster v. New Lenox School District and Bishop v. Aronov) have upheld
school districts' and universities' right to restrict teaching to a
 Issues relating to religion
See also: Relationship between religion and science and Evolution and the
Roman Catholic Church
 Theological arguments
See also: Allegorical interpretations of Genesis and Evolutionary argument
Wiki letter w.svg This section requires expansion.
 Religion and historical scientists
Creationists often argue that Christianity and literal belief in the Bible
are either foundationally significant or directly responsible for scientific
progress. To that end, Institute for Creation Research founder Henry M.
Morris has enumerated scientists such as astronomer and philosopher Galileo,
mathematician and theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell, mathematician
and philosopher Blaise Pascal, geneticist monk Gregor Mendel, and Isaac
Newton as believers in a biblical creation narrative.
This argument usually involves scientists either who were no longer alive
when evolution was proposed or whose field of study didn't include
evolution. The argument is generally rejected as specious by those who
Many of the scientists in question did some early work on the mechanisms of
evolution, e.g., the Modern evolutionary synthesis combines Darwin's
Evolution with Mendel's theories of inheritance and genetics. Though
biological evolution of some sort had become the primary mode of discussing
speciation within science by the late-19th century, it was not until the
mid-20th century that evolutionary theories stabilized into the modern
synthesis. Some of the historical scientists marshalled by creationists were
dealing with quite different issues than any are engaged with today: Louis
Pasteur, for example, opposed the theory of spontaneous generation with
biogenesis, an advocacy some creationists describe as a critique on chemical
evolution and abiogenesis. Pasteur accepted that some form of evolution had
occurred and that the Earth was millions of years old.
The relationship between science and religion was not portrayed in
antagonistic terms until the late-19th century, and even then there have
been many examples of the two being reconcilable for evolutionary
scientists. Many historical scientists wrote books explaining how
pursuit of science was seen by them as fulfillment of spiritual duty in line
with their religious beliefs. Even so, such professions of faith were not
insurance against dogmatic opposition by certain religious people.
Some extensions to this creationist argument have included the incorrect
suggestions that Einstein's deism was a tacit endorsement of creationism or
that Charles Darwin converted on his deathbed and recanted evolutionary
 Forums for the controversy
Many creationists and scientists engage in frequent public debates regarding
the origin of human life, hosted by a variety of institutions. However, some
scientists disagree with this tactic, arguing that by openly debating
supporters of supernatural origin explanations (creationism and intelligent
design), scientists are lending credibility and unwarranted publicity to
creationists, which could foster an inaccurate public perception and obscure
the factual merits of the debate. For example, in May 2004 Dr. Michael
Shermer debated creationist Kent Hovind in front of a predominantly
creationist audience. In Shermer's online reflection while he was explaining
that he won the debate with intellectual and scientific evidence he felt it
was "not an intellectual exercise," but rather it was "an emotional drama",
with scientists arguing from "an impregnable fortress of evidence that
converges to an unmistakable conclusion", whilst for creationists it is "a
spiritual war". While receiving positive responses from creationist
observers, Shermer concluded "Unless there is a subject that is truly
debatable (evolution v. creation is not), with a format that is fair, in a
forum that is balanced, it only serves to belittle both the magisterium of
science and the magisterium of religion." (see: scientific method).
Others, like evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci, have debated Hovind,
and have expressed surprise to hear Hovind try "to convince the audience
that evolutionists believe humans came from rocks" and at Hovind's assertion
that biologists believe humans "evolved from bananas."
Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit
organization dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public
schools, claimed debates are not the sort of arena to promote science to
creationists. Scott says that "Evolution is not on trial in the world
of science," and "the topic of the discussion should not be the scientific
legitimacy of evolution" but rather should be on the lack of evidence in
creationism. Similarly, Stephen Jay Gould took a public stance against
appearing to give legitimacy to creationism by debating its proponents. He
noted during a Caltech lecture in 1985:
" Debate is an art form. It is about the winning of arguments. It is not
about the discovery of truth. There are certain rules and procedures to
debate that really have nothing to do with establishing fact - which
creationists have mastered. Some of those rules are: never say anything
positive about your own position because it can be attacked, but chip away
at what appear to be the weaknesses in your opponent's position. They are
good at that. I don't think I could beat the creationists at debate. I can
tie them. But in courtrooms they are terrible, because in courtrooms you
cannot give speeches. In a courtroom you have to answer direct questions
about the positive status of your belief. We destroyed them in Arkansas. On
the second day of the two-week trial we had our victory party! "
 Political lobbying
See also: Politics of creationism, Kansas evolution hearings, Santorum
Amendment, and List of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design
A wide range of organisations, on both sides of the controversy, are
involved in lobbying in an attempt to influence political decisions relating
to the teaching of evolution, at a number of levels. These include the
Discovery Institute, the National Center for Science Education, the National
Science Teachers Association, state Citizens Alliances for Science, and
numerous national science associations and state Academies of Science.
Wiki letter w.svg This section requires expansion.
 In the media
The controversy has been discussed in numerous newspaper articles, reports,
op-eds and letters to the editor, as well as a number of radio and
television programmes (including the PBS series, Evolution and Coral Ridge
Ministries' Darwin's Deadly Legacy). This has led some commentators to
express a concern at what they see as a highly inaccurate and biased
understanding of evolution among the general public. Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist and writer Edward Humes states:
" There are really two theories of evolution. There is the genuine
scientific theory and there is the talk-radio pretend version, designed not
to enlighten but to deceive and enrage.
The talk-radio version had a packed town hall up in arms at the "Why
Evolution Is Stupid" lecture. In this version of the theory, scientists
supposedly believe that all life is accidental, a random crash of molecules
that magically produced flowers, horses and humans -- a scenario as unlikely
as a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747. Humans come from monkeys in
this theory, just popping into existence one day. The evidence against
Darwin is overwhelming, the purveyors of talk-radio evolution rail, yet
scientists embrace his ideas because they want to promote atheism.
 Outside the United States
Views on human evolution in various countries.
While the controversy has been prominent in the United States, it has flared
up in other countries as well.
Europeans have often regarded the creation-evolution controversy as an
American matter. However, in recent years the conflict has become an
issue in a variety of countries including Germany, The United Kingdom,
Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Serbia.
On 17 September 2007 the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued a report on the
attempt by American inspired creationists to promote creationism in European
schools. It concludes "If we are not careful, creationism could become a
threat to human rights which are a key concern of the Council of Europe....
The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often
originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to
extreme right-wing political movements... some advocates of creationism are
out to replace democracy by theocracy."
With declining church attendance, there has been some growth in
fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christian denominations. Under the
former Queensland state government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, in 1980 lobbying
was so successful that Queensland allowed the teaching of creationism as
science to school children. Public lectures have been given in rented rooms
at Universities, by visiting American speakers, and speakers with doctorates
purchased by mail from Florida sites. One of the most acrimonious
aspects of the Australian debate was featured on the science television
program Quantum, about a long-running and ultimately unsuccessful court case
by Ian Plimer, Professor of Geology at Melbourne University, against an
ordained minister, Dr. Allen Roberts, who had claimed that there were
remnants of Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Although the court found that Dr
Roberts had made false and misleading claims, they were not made in the
course of trade or commerce, so the case failed.
 Islamic countries
See also: Islamic creationism
In recent times, the controversy has become more prominent in Islamic
countries. Currently, in Egypt evolution is taught in schools but Saudi
Arabia and Sudan have both banned the teaching of evolution in schools.
Creation science has also been heavily promoted in Turkey and in immigrant
communities in Western Europe, primarily by Harun Yahya.