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Three phases of Creationism

Three phases of Creationism

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Three phases of Creationism

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  1. Three phases of Creationism • Phase I: Ban Evolution • Outright ban on Darwin • Ends with Scopes trial in 1925 • Phase II: “Balance” /equal time • Balance “evolution sci.” with “creation sci.” • “creation science” defeated in a legal battle in Arkansas in 1981 • Phase III: Intelligent Design • Neo-creationism • “Intelligent design” instead of Bible and Creation story derived from the Genesis • From 1980s to date.

  2. Social Context: Christian Fundamentalism in the US There are two ways to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity (or with any other religious tradition):1. Accommodate the Bible to the findings of science, i.e., don’t read the Bible literally 2. Insist upon reading the Bible as literally true and fit science into it. Fundamentalists insist upon the literal truth of all parts of the bible, including the Genesis.

  3. Fundamentalism as a modern phenomenon • Not a throwback, but a reaction to modernity. • When Darwinism first came to the US, it was not seen as a problem by churches/religious believers. Why? • Scientific community was split over natural selection; it looked like Darwinism was already dead. So churches not bothered. • After Mendel, neo-Darwinism won over scientists. • Mainstream churches followed the first strategy: accommodate the Bible to Darwinism. • By the end of 19th c, even the most literalist Bible believers accepted the antiquity of earth, either by interpreting “day” as “ages” or by catastrophes/recreations • Only a minority sect, Seventh-Day Adventist with hardly 100,000 followers, believed in the literal truth of six-day creation.

  4. Fundamentalism.. . • Gradually a split between the “modern” and the “traditional” • 19th c. Americans had shared values – at least among the WASPs. Scientists and top academic universities all professed Christian values. With Darwinism, cultural elite were seen as treating Bible not as God’s word but only as a historical document which was not to be taken as TRUTH. • Growth of school enrollment and exposure to scientific ideas

  5. Fundamentalism.. • All these developments sparked a backlash, a reaction against the elite Churches, universities, scientific establishment. • Also: rise of Social Darwinism which defended cut-throat capitalism. • “Back to be Bible”: Bible as inerrant word of god which has to be taken at its face value and NOT to be interpreted to accommodate modern ideas of science or historical criticism. • “The Fundamentals” – 90 essays in 12 volumes published between 1910-1915. • Defended orthodox Protestant beliefs and attacked higher criticism, liberal theology, Catholicismsocialism, modern philosophy, atheism, Christian Science, Mormonism, Spiritualism, and evolutionism

  6. First Phase of Creationism: Banning evolution • Emerged from this context of rising fundamentalism. • Sought an out-right ban on teaching Darwinism to school-age children. • Anti-Evolutionist cause taken up by William Jennings Bryan, He was a political progressive and fought for working people. He saw evolution as leading to social Darwinism. • Started a campaign to stop teaching it. Three states passed laws banning Darwin among which Tennessee where the famous “Scopes Trial” would take place in 1925.

  7. Scopes Trial • Tennessee anti-evolution law (Butler Act): “ it shall be unlawful for any teacher to teach any theory that denies the Story of Divine Creation as man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” • Thomas Scopes, 26 yrs old biology teacher. • “Trial of the Century”: Charles Darrow, ACLU, v. William J. Bryan, with H.L. Menken reporting. • Scopes lost; anti-Evolutionist won, but actually lost public support.

  8. Aftereffects of Scopes trial • Anti-evolution got a bad name: southern, rural, superstitious people etc. • But anti-evolution laws remained in force; more states tried to pass anti-evolution laws • evolution almost disappeared from textbooks. • Fundamentalist movement went underground – where it regained strength and from where it will emerge as “scientific creationism”.

  9. The Sputnik scare • In Oct. 1957, Soviet Union sent the first man-made satellite in orbit around the earth. • Shock waves in the US. • A complete overhaul of science education. A NSF-funded committee decided that high school text books will have college-level courses in biology– a move away from memorization to concepts. In 1963 , first three text books with neo-Darwinian synthesis.

  10. Legal Changes • US Supreme Court ruled against prayers, mandatory bible readings in schools. • In 1968 the S.C. ruled that laws banning evolution were unconstitutional, as they were banning selected scientific theories in order to promote religion. After 43 years of Scopes, it was declared unlawful to ban the teaching of evolution . • Public schools were required to remain neutral toward religion

  11. Phase II: Scientific Creationism • This is the context in which scientific creationism emerges in the 1970s • evolution is gaining acceptance as established science • Banning it is not an option – it has been declared unconstitutional, and it gives the fundamentalists a bad name. • The legal emphasis is on neutrality toward religion. • So anti-evolutionist movement develops a new strategy that: • Packages the Biblical creation story as “creation science” or “scientific creationism”. Phase I anti-evolutionists had never asked that creation be taught in schools. • In the name of neutrality, demands equal time, or balanced treatment: if students are to be taught “evolution science” they must also be taught “creation science”: two equally scientific explanations of the Origins. • Teaching “evolution science” alone would violate the students’ rights to religious beliefs.

  12. Pioneers of Scientific Creationism • Henry M. Morris, a hydraulic engineer from Texas is considered the father of Scientific creationism. • His “The Genesis Flood” argued that most modern geological features can be explained by Noah’s Flood. “Flood Geology” is the core of Sct. Creationism. Publishes “Scientific Creationism” in 1974, which is made available to schools as an alternative or “balance” to secular text books. • The book argues that there is scientific evidence that the earth is 10,000 years old (YEC). • Set up Creation Research Society, and its journal. In 1972.

  13. Institute of Creation Research • Morris and his backers set up Institute for Creation Research in 1974 in California • Has grown tremendously: Has become a theme-park and a must-see place for many religious believers, home-school students etc. • Also runs a Museum of Creation and Earth History: visitors are taken through a journey through the seven days of creation. • Popular programs: “Back to Genesis”, • Radio and TV programming reaching millions.

  14. Allies of ICR in the US and abroad • Answers in Genesis, established in 1997, allied with ICR, started by an Australian creationist, Ken Ham. AIG has become the heart of an international YEC movement that links, USA, Australia, Canada, Britain, New Zealand. It is the second largest YEC organization after IRC. • Access Research Network: started as a YEC organization but now promotes ID. • Wide reach and seems to be working: one third of Americans believe in literal truth of the Bible, 45 percent seem to believe in young earth creationism.

  15. Equal time for “Creation Science” • ICR took on the cause of “balanced treatment’ or “equal time”. Its • US Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor inhibiting the free exercise thereof.” • With evolution in text books, Christian Fundamentalists invoked the free-exercise clause: the religious sentiments of students were being hurt. • To restore neutrality and freedom of religion, theory of special creation to be taught as an alternative theory of origin. • “scientific creationism” was brought in as one way to teach special creation without making any reference to religion, in purely “scientific terms.”

  16. Morris “Tenets of Scientific Creationism” Creationism can be studied and taught in any of these three basic forms: • (1) Scientific creationism (no reliance on Biblical revelation, utilizing only scientific data to support and expound the creation model). (public schools) • (2) Biblical creationism (no reliance on scientific data, using only the Bible to expound and defend the creation model). (for Sunday schools) • (3) Scientific Biblical creationism (full reliance on Biblical revelation but also using scientific data to support and develop the creation model). (In higher edu in christian colleges).

  17. Arkansas equal time law • In the early 1980s’s bills were introduced in 27 states for equal time. Two states: Arkanasas and Lousiana adopted equal time laws. • In 1981, Arkansas became the first state to pass equal time bill. • Act 590 proposed “balanced treatment” for “evolution science” and “Creation science.”

  18. “Creation science” as defined by Arkansas Act 590 • Definitions. As used in this Act:     (a) "Creation-science" means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific evidences. Creation-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; (2) The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; (3) Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals; (4) Separate ancestry for man and apes; (5) Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and (6) A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.

  19. “Evolution science” •   (b) "Evolution-science" means the scientific evidences for evolution and inferences from those scientific evidences. Evolution-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: • (1) Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from nonlife; • (2) The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds; • (3) Emergency [sic] by mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds; • (4) Emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes; • (5) Explanation of the earth's geology and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism; and • (6) An inception several billion years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life.

  20. McLean v. Arkansas, 1982. • District Court Judge, William R. Overton ruled against the Arkansas law. The judgment ruled that : Creation science (above) was merely a restatement of the Fundamentalist understanding of the Genesis and was “unquestionably a statement of religion” Creation science was not scientific. (read the judgment).