Creation–evolution controversy

A satirical cartoon from 1882, parodying Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, on the publication of The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1881)

The creation–evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. evolution debate or the origins debate) involves a recurring cultural, political, and theological dispute about the origins of the Earth, of humanity, and of other life. This debate rages most publicly in the United States, and to a lesser extent in Europe and elsewhere,[1] often portrayed as part of a culture war.[2] The pope and the Catholic Church have recognized the existence of evolution for many years, with Pope Francis stating the following on the matter: "God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life," the pope said. "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve."[3][4] In fact, the rules of genetic evolutionary inheritance were first discovered by a Catholic priest, the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel, who is known today as the founder of modern genetics. As a result, the evolution-creation controversy is almost exclusively an invention and problem within American-Protestant religious communities, outside of which such a controversy largely does not exist. The level of support for evolution is extremely high within the scientific community[5][6][7][8] and in academia.[9]

Christian fundamentalists dispute the evidence of common descent of humans and other animals as demonstrated in modern paleontology, genetics, histology and cladistics and those other sub-disciplines which are based upon the conclusions of modern evolutionary biology, geology, cosmology, and other related fields. They argue for the Abrahamic accounts of creation, framing them as reputable science ("creation science"). While the controversy has a long history,[10][11] today it is mainly over what constitutes good science education,[12][13] with the politics of creationism primarily focusing on the teaching of creation and evolution in public education.[14][15][16][17][18]

A 2014 Gallup survey reports, "More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising."[19]

The debate is sometimes portrayed as being between science and religion, but as the United States National Academy of Sciences states:

Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth's history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.
— National Academy of Sciences, Science, Evolution, and Creationism[20]

Contents

  • History 1
    • Contemporary reaction to Darwin 1.1
    • Creationism in theology 1.2
      • Development of creationism in the United States 1.2.1
      • British creationism 1.2.2
  • United States legal challenges and their consequences 2
    • Butler Act and Scopes monkey trial 2.1
    • Epperson v. Arkansas 2.2
    • Daniel v. Waters 2.3
    • Creation science 2.4
      • Court cases 2.4.1
        • McLean v. Arkansas 2.4.1.1
        • Edwards v. Aguillard 2.4.1.2
    • Intelligent design 2.5
      • Kansas evolution hearings 2.5.1
      • Dover trial 2.5.2
      • Texas Board of Education support for intelligent design 2.5.3
      • Recent developments 2.5.4
  • Viewpoints 3
    • Young Earth creationism 3.1
    • Old Earth creationism 3.2
    • Neo-creationism 3.3
    • Theistic evolution 3.4
    • Agnostic evolution 3.5
    • Materialistic evolution 3.6
  • Arguments relating to the definition and limits of science 4
    • Definitions 4.1
    • Limitations of scientific endeavor 4.2
    • Theory vs. fact 4.3
    • Falsifiability 4.4
    • Conflation of science and religion 4.5
    • Appeal to consequences 4.6
  • Disputes relating to science 5
    • Biology 5.1
      • Common descent 5.1.1
        • Human evolution 5.1.1.1
      • Macroevolution 5.1.2
      • Transitional fossils 5.1.3
    • Geology 5.2
    • Other sciences 5.3
      • Cosmology 5.3.1
      • Nuclear physics 5.3.2
    • Misrepresentations of science 5.4
      • Quote mining 5.4.1
  • Public policy issues 6
    • Science education 6.1
    • Freedom of speech 6.2
  • Issues relating to religion 7
    • Religion and historical scientists 7.1
  • Forums 8
    • Debates 8.1
    • Political lobbying 8.2
    • Media coverage 8.3
  • Outside the United States 9
    • Europe 9.1
    • Australia 9.2
    • Islamic countries 9.3
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Citations 12
  • Further reading 13
  • External links 14

History

The creation–evolution controversy began in Europe and North America in the late 18th century, when new interpretations of geology led to various theories of an ancient earth, and extinctions demonstrated in the fossil geological sequence prompted early ideas of evolution, notably Lamarckism. In England these ideas of continuing change were at first seen as a threat to the existing "fixed" social order, and both church and state repressed them.[21] Conditions gradually eased, and in 1844 Robert Chambers's controversial Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation popularised the idea of transmutation of species. The scientific establishment at first dismissed it scornfully and the Church of England reacted with fury, but many Unitarians, Quakers and Baptists—groups opposed to the privileges of the established church—favoured its ideas of God acting through such laws.[22][23]

Contemporary reaction to Darwin

A satirical image of Darwin as an ape from 1871 reflects part of the social controversy over the fact that humans and apes share a common lineage.

The publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 brought scientific credibility to evolution, and made it a respectable field of study.[25]

Despite the intense interest in the religious implications of Darwin's book, theological controversy over John Augustine Zahm, Roman Catholics in the United States became accepting of evolution itself while ambivalent towards natural selection and stressing humanity's divinely imbued soul.[34] The Catholic Church never condemned evolution, and initially the more conservative-leaning Catholic leadership in Rome held back, but gradually adopted a similar position.[34][35]

During the late 19th century evolutionary ideas were most strongly disputed by the premillennialists, who held to a prophecy of the imminent return of Christ based on a form of Biblical literalism, and were convinced that the Bible would be invalidated if any error in the Scriptures was conceded. However, hardly any of the critics of evolution at that time were as concerned about geology, freely granting scientists any time they needed before the Edenic creation to account for scientific observations, such as fossils and geological findings.[36] In the immediate post-Darwinian era, few scientists or clerics rejected the antiquity of the earth, the progressive nature of the fossil record.[37] Likewise, few attached geological significance to the Biblical flood, unlike subsequent creationists.[37] Evolutionary skeptics, creationist leaders and skeptical scientists were usually either willing to adopt a figurative reading of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, or allowed that the six days of creation were not necessarily 24-hour days.[38]

Science professors at liberal northeastern universities almost immediately embraced the theory of evolution and introduced it to their students. However, some people in parts of the south and west of the United States, which had been influenced by the preachings of Christian fundamentalist evangelicals, rejected the theory as immoral.[39]

Creationism in theology

A simplified depiction of human evolution

At the beginning of the 19th century debate had started to develop over applying historical methods to Aristotelian "great chain of being." Natural theology had earlier expected that scientific findings based on empirical evidence would help religious understanding. These differences led some to increasingly regard science and theology as concerned with different, non-competitive domains.

When most scientists came to accept evolution (by around 1875), European theologians generally came to accept evolution as an instrument of God. Pope Leo XIII, for instance, referred to longstanding Christian thought that scriptural interpretations could be reevaluated in the light of new knowledge, and Roman Catholics came around to acceptance of human evolution subject to direct creation of the soul. In the United States the development of the racist Social Darwinian eugenics movement led a number of Catholics to reject evolution.[27] In this enterprise they received little aid from conservative Christians in Great Britain and Europe. In Britain this has been attributed to their minority status leading to a more tolerant, less militant theological tradition.[40] In his speech at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2014, Pope Francis declared that he accepted the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution and God was not “a magician with a magic wand”.[41]

Development of creationism in the United States

At first in the U.S., evangelical Christians paid little attention to the developments in geology and biology, being more concerned with the rise of higher Biblical criticism which questioned the belief in the Bible as literal truth. Those criticising these approaches took the name "fundamentalist"—originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and which had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of the 1920s and 1930s.[42] The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.[43]

Up until the early mid-20th century mainline denominations within the United States showed little official resistance to evolution. Around the start of the 20th century some evangelical scholars had ideas accommodating evolution, such as B. B. Warfield who saw it as a natural law expressing God's will. By then most U.S. high school and college biology classes taught scientific evolution, but several factors, including the rise of Christian fundamentalism and social factors of changes and insecurity in more traditionalist Bible Belt communities, led to a backlash. The numbers of children receiving secondary education increased rapidly, and parents who had fundamentalist tendencies or who opposed social ideas of what was called "survival of the fittest" had real concerns about what their children were learning about evolution.[27]

British creationism

The main British creationist movement in this period, the University of Bristol. By the mid-1980s the CSM had formally incorporated flood geology into its "Deed of Trust" (which all officers had to sign) and condemned gap creationism and day-age creationism as unscriptural.

United States legal challenges and their consequences

In 1925, Tennessee passed a statute called the Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution in all schools in the state. Later that year, a similar law was passed in Mississippi, and likewise, Arkansas in 1927. In 1968, these "anti-monkey" laws were struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States as unconstitutional, "because they established a religious doctrine violating both the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution."[46]

The modern struggle of religious fundamentalists accepting creationism, to get their rejection of evolution accepted as legitimate science within education institutions in the U.S., has been highlighted through a series of important court cases.

Butler Act and Scopes monkey trial

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan chat in court during the Scopes trial.

In the aftermath of A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems (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 but 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).[48]

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 no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship."[49] 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 among 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).[50]

The interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution 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."[51] 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 States.[52][53][54][55]

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, Arkansas, 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."[56] 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."[57] But the Supreme Court decision also suggested that creationism could be taught in addition to evolution.[58]

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. 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 the teaching of evolution.

Creation science

As biologists grew more and more confident in evolution as the central defining principle of biology,[59][60] American membership in churches favoring increasingly literal interpretations of scripture also rose, with the Southern Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod outpacing all other denominations.[61] With growth and increased finances, these churches became better equipped to promulgate a creationist message, with their own colleges, schools, publishing houses, and broadcast media.[62]

In 1961, the first major modern creationist book was published: John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris' influential The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications. The authors argued that creation was literally 6 days long, that humans lived concurrently with dinosaurs, and that God created each 'kind' of life individually.[63][64] On the strength of this, Morris became a popular speaker, spreading anti-evolutionary ideas at fundamentalist churches, colleges, and conferences.[63] Morris' Creation Science Research Center (CSRC) rushed publication of biology textbooks that promoted creationism.[65] 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.[66] During this time, Morris and others who supported flood geology adopted the terms "scientific creationism" and "creation science."[67] The "flood geology" theory effectively co-opted "the generic creationist label for their hyperliteralist views."[68][69]

Court cases

McLean v. Arkansas

In 1982, another case in Arkansas ruled that the Arkansas "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act" (Act 590) was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause. Much of the transcript of the case was lost, including evidence from Francisco Ayala.

Edwards v. Aguillard

In the early 1980s, the Louisiana legislature passed a law titled the "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science 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 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 United States Supreme Court ruled that the Louisiana act was also unconstitutional, because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion. At the same time, it stated 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 later came to be known as intelligent design.[70]

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 Culture.[71]

In response to Edwards v. Aguillard, the neo-creationist intelligent design movement was formed around the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. It 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."[72] 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 bodies explicitly rejecting Intelligent design).

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, May 5 to May 12, 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 Party candidates for the Board.[73] On August 1, 2006, four of the six 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,[74] and on February 13, 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."[75]

Dover trial

Following the Edwards v. Aguillard decision by the United States Supreme Court, 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 to an unnamed and undefined intelligent designer, as opposed to God.[76] 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 decisionKitzmiller 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."[77]

The December 2005 ruling in the

  • "Ten Major Court Cases about Evolution and Creationism" – by Molleen Matsumura and Louise Mead, National Center for Science Education
  • Ecker, Ronald (2011). The Evolutionary Tales: Rhyme and Reason on Creation/Evolution. Hodge and Braddock, ISBN 0-9636512-7-7.

External links

Books
Journals
Web

Further reading

Citations

  1. ^
  2. ^ Larson 2004, pp. 247–263, Chapter 11: "Modern Culture Wars"
    • Ruse 1999, p. 26: "One thing that historians delighted in showing is that, contrary to the usually held tale of science and religion being always opposed [Conflict thesis] ... religion and theologically inclined philosophy have frequently been very significant factors in the forward movement of science."
  3. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/10/28/pope-francis-evolution-big-bang/18053509/
  4. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/10/pope-francis-evolution/382143/
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b c d
  7. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Whether ID Is Science, p. 83.
  8. ^ a b Larson 2004, p. 258: "Virtually no secular scientists accepted the doctrines of creation science; but that did not deter creation scientists from advancing scientific arguments for their position."
  9. ^
  10. ^ Numbers 1992, pp. 3–240
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Context, p. 20.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Introduction, pp. 7–9, also Whether ID Is Science, pp. 64–89, and Promoting Religion, p. 90.
  19. ^
  20. ^ NAS 2008, p. 12
  21. ^ Desmond & Moore 1991, pp. 34–35
  22. ^
  23. ^ Desmond & Moore 1991, pp. 321–323, 503–505
  24. ^ Dixon 2008, p. 77
  25. ^ van Wyhe 2006
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b c d AAAS 2006
  28. ^
  29. ^ Gray 1876
  30. ^ Hodge 1874, p. 177
  31. ^ Numbers 1992, p. 14
  32. ^ Burns et al. 1982, p. 965
  33. ^ Huxley 1902
  34. ^ a b Witham 2002
  35. ^ Barbour 1997, pp. 58, 65
  36. ^ Numbers 1992, pp. 13–15
  37. ^ a b Numbers 1992, p. 17
  38. ^ Numbers 1992, p. 18, noting that this applies to published or public skeptics. Many Christians may have held on to a literal six days of creation, but these views rarely found expression in books and journals. Exceptions are also noted, such as literal interpretations published by Charles Hodge, theologian (1797–1878); James Dwight Dana (1813–1895); Edward Hitchcock, clergyman and Amherst College geologist, (1793–1864); Reverend Herbert W. Morris (1818–1897); H. L. Hastings (1833?–1899); Luther T. Townsend (1838–1922; Alexander Patterson, Presbyterian evangelist.
  39. ^ Salhany 1986, p. 32
  40. ^ a b Numbers 2006, p. 161
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ a b Numbers 2006, p. 162
  45. ^ Numbers 2006, pp. 355–356
  46. ^ Salhany 1986, p. 32–34
  47. ^ Similar legislation was passed in two other states prior to the Scopes trial, in Oklahoma and Florida. The efforts to enact "Butler Acts" in other jurisdictions were abandoned after the Scopes trial. See:
    • Describes the Florida and Oklahoma acts.
  48. ^ The statute required a minimum fine of $100, and the state Constitution required all fines over $50 to be assessed by a jury.
  49. ^ The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution was not, at the time of the Scopes decision in the 1920s, deemed applicable to the states. Thus, Scopes' constitutional defense on establishment grounds rested solely on the state constitution. See:
  50. ^ The Court accordingly did not address the question of whether the teaching of creationism in the public schools was unconstitutional.
  51. ^ Court Opinion of Scope's Trial 1927. The Court stated in its opinion that "England and Scotland maintained State churches as did some of the Colonies, and it was intended by this clause of the Constitution [the Religious Preference Clause] to prevent any such undertaking in Tennessee."
  52. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Context, p. 19.
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ a b Nelkin 2000, p. 242
  57. ^ *Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (U.S. November 12, 1968).
  58. ^ Larson 2003, p. 103
  59. ^ Larson 2004, pp. 248, 250
  60. ^ a b
  61. ^ Larson 2004, p. 251
  62. ^ Larson 2004, p. 252
  63. ^ a b Larson 2004, p. 255
  64. ^ Numbers 1992, pp. xi, 200–208
  65. ^ Numbers 1992, pp. 284–285
  66. ^ Numbers 1992, pp. 284–286
  67. ^ Larson 2004, pp. 255–256: "Fundamentalists no longer merely denounced Darwinism as false; they offered a scientific-sounding alternative of their own, which they called either 'scientific creationism (as distinct from religious creationism) or 'creation science' (as opposed to evolution science)."
  68. ^ Larson 2004, pp. 254–255
  69. ^ Numbers 1998, pp. 5–6
  70. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Introduction, pp. 7–9.
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Curriculum, Conclusion, p. 136.
  78. ^ a b c Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Whether ID Is Science, p. 89, support the view that "ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID."
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^ Dembski's response to Eugenie Scott's February 12, 2001, essay published by Metanexus, "The Big Tent and the Camel's Nose."
  82. ^ Nick Matzke's analysis shows how teaching the controversy using the Critical Analysis of Evolution model lesson plan is a means of teaching all the intelligent design arguments without using the intelligent design label.
  83. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Curriculum, Conclusion, p. 134.
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^
  87. ^ Dewey 1994, p. 31, and Wiker 2003, summarizing Gould.
  88. ^ Martz & McDaniel 1987
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^ Scott 2005, p. 65
  92. ^ Scott 2005, pp. 65–66
  93. ^ Johnson 1998; Hodge 1874, p. 177; Wiker 2003; Peters & Hewlett 2005, p. 5. Peters and Hewlett argue that the atheism of many evolutionary supporters must be removed from the debate.
  94. ^
  95. ^ Johnson 1998
  96. ^
  97. ^
  98. ^ NAS 1999, p. 2
  99. ^ NAS 1999, p. 1
  100. ^ Zacharias 2000, p. 55
  101. ^ Johnson 1993, p. 63
  102. ^
  103. ^
  104. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 274: "To solve the age-old problem of distinguishing science from metaphysics or pseudoscience, Popper invoked the criterion of falsifiability as a substitute for the less rigorous test of verifiability."
  105. ^
  106. ^ Number 1992, p. 247
  107. ^ Popper 1976, pp. 168, 172, quoted in
  108. ^ Unknown sociologist quoted in Numbers 1992, p. 247
  109. ^ as quoted by Numbers 1992, p. 247
  110. ^ "Stephen Jay Gould states that creationists claim creation is a scientific theory," wrote Gish in a letter to Discover magazine (July 1981). "This is a false accusation. Creationists have repeatedly stated that neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory (and each is equally religious)."
  111. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 274
  112. ^ Kofahl 1981
  113. ^
  114. ^
  115. ^ Ruse 1999, pp. 13–37, which discusses conflicting ideas about science among Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and their disciples.
  116. ^ As quoted by Wallis 2005, p. 32. Also see Dawkins 1986 and Dawkins 1995
  117. ^ , p. 6. Richard Dawkins quoting J. B. S. Haldane.
  118. ^
  119. ^ a b Ham 1987
  120. ^ Dembski 1998
  121. ^
  122. ^ Morris 1974
  123. ^
  124. ^ Scott 2005
  125. ^
  126. ^
  127. ^ [emphasis in the original]
  128. ^ Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth (Creation-Life Publishers, 1972), pp. vi–viii
  129. ^ Johnson 1993, p. 69. Johnson cites three pages spent in Isaac Asimov's New Guide to Science that take creationists to task, while only spending one half page on evidence of evolution.
  130. ^
  131. ^
  132. ^
  133. ^
  134. ^ Stringer & Andrews 2005
  135. ^ Relethford 2004
  136. ^
  137. ^
  138. ^
  139. ^
  140. ^
  141. ^ Isaak 2007: See disputes over the classification of Neanderthals.
  142. ^
  143. ^ Morris 1985, pp. 78–90
  144. ^ Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York & International Bible Students Association 1985, pp. 57–59
  145. ^ Gould quotes from Hayward 1985.
  146. ^
  147. ^ Hoagland, Dodson & Hauck 2001, p. 298
  148. ^
  149. ^
  150. ^
  151. ^
  152. ^ Original version: March 17, 2005; Revisions: November 24, 2005; July 25, 2006 and June 20, 2010.
  153. ^
  154. ^ Dating methods discussed were potassium–argon dating, argon–argon dating, rubidium-strontium dating, samarium-neodymium dating, lutetium–hafnium, rhenium-osmium dating, and uranium-lead dating.
  155. ^
  156. ^
  157. ^ a b
  158. ^
  159. ^
  160. ^
  161. ^ Phillips 2006
  162. ^ a b
  163. ^ See:
    • List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design
    • Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 04 cv 2688 (M.D. Pa. December 20, 2005). Whether ID Is Science, p. 83.
    • The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism petition begun in 2001 has been signed by "over 700 scientists" as of August 20, 2006. The four-day A Scientific Support for Darwinism petition gained 7,733 signatories from scientists opposing ID.
    • AAAS 2002. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects ID.
    • More than 70,000 Australian scientists "...urge all Australian governments and educators not to permit the teaching or promulgation of ID as science."
    • National Center for Science Education: List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism in the sciences.
  164. ^
  165. ^ Woods 2005, pp. 67–114, Chapter five: "The Church and Science"
  166. ^ *
  167. ^
  168. ^ Ayala stated that "Dobzhansky was a religious man."
  169. ^
  170. ^
  171. ^
  172. ^ a b c
  173. ^ Pigliucci 2002, p. 102
  174. ^
  175. ^ "Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children" on YouTube
  176. ^
  177. ^
  178. ^ "Bill Nye debates Ken Ham FULL - Comments Enabled" on YouTube
  179. ^ Shermer 2002, p. 153
  180. ^
  181. ^
  182. ^
  183. ^
  184. ^ a b
  185. ^ a b c
  186. ^ a b c
  187. ^
  188. ^
  189. ^
  190. ^
  191. ^
  192. ^ Numbers 1998
  193. ^
  194. ^ Plimer 1994
  195. ^
  196. ^ This article gives a worldwide overview of recent developments on the subject of the controversy.
  197. ^ a b c

References

See also

In recent times, the controversy has become more prominent in Islamic countries.[196] In Egypt, evolution is currently taught in schools, but Saudi Arabia and Sudan have both banned the teaching of evolution in schools.[184][197] Creation science has also been heavily promoted in Turkey and in immigrant communities in Western Europe, primarily by Harun Yahya.[186] In Iran, traditional practice of Shia Islam isn't preoccupied with Qur'anic literalism as in case of Saudi Wahhabism but ijtihad, many influential Iranian Shi'ite scholars, including several who were closely involved in Iranian Revolution, are not opposed to evolutionary ideas in general, disagreeing that evolution necessarily conflicts with the Muslim mainstream.[197] Iranian pupils since 5th grade of elementary school learn only about evolution, thus portraying geologists and scientists in general as an authoritative voices of scientific knowledge.[197]

Islamic countries

Under the former Queensland state government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, in the 1980s Queensland allowed the teaching of creationism in secondary schools.[192] In 2010, the Queensland state government introduced the topic of creationism into school classes within the "ancient history" subject where its origins and nature are discussed as a significant controversy.[193] Public lectures have been given in rented rooms at universities, by visiting American speakers.[194] 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 the University of Melbourne, 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 Roberts had made false and misleading claims, they were not made in the course of trade or commerce, so the case failed.[195]

Australia

On September 17, 2007, the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) 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 strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy."[190] The Council of Europe firmly rejected creationism.[191]

Europeans have often regarded the creation–evolution controversy as an American matter.[185] In recent years the conflict has become an issue in other countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and Serbia.[185][186][187][188][189]

Europe

While the controversy has been prominent in the United States, it has flared up in other countries as well.[184][185][186]

Views on human evolution in various countries (2008)[182][183]

Outside the United 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.
— Edward Humes, Unintelligent Designs on Darwin[181]

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 (2001) and Coral Ridge Ministries' Darwin's Deadly Legacy (2006)). 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. Edward Humes states:

Media coverage

On both sides of the controversy a wide range of organizations are involved at a number of levels in lobbying in an attempt to influence political decisions relating to the teaching of evolution. 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.[180]

Political lobbying

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] are very good at. 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.
— Stephen Jay Gould, lecture 1985[179]

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. Stephen Jay Gould adopted a similar position, explaining: [172]

In September 2012, educator and television personality Bill Nye of Bill Nye the Science Guy fame spoke with the Associated Press and aired his fears about acceptance of creationist theory, believing that teaching children that creationism is the only true answer and without letting them understand the way science works will prevent any future innovation in the world of science.[174][175] In February 2014, Nye defended evolution in the classroom in a debate with creationist Ken Ham on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era.[176][177][178]

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.[171] 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," while for creationists it is "a spiritual war."[172] 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."[172] (see Non-overlapping magisteria). 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."[173]

Debates

Forums

The Relationship between religion and science 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.[170] 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.

Many of the scientists in question did some early work on the mechanisms of evolution, e.g., the modern evolutionary synthesis combines Darwin's theory of 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. Geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, called the Father of the Modern Synthesis, argued that "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," and saw no conflict between evolutionary and his religious beliefs.[168] Nevertheless, 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.[169]

This argument usually involves scientists who were no longer alive when evolution was proposed or whose field of study did not include evolution. The argument is generally rejected as specious by those who oppose creationism.[167]

Creationists often argue that Christianity and literal belief in the Bible are either foundationally significant or directly responsible for scientific progress.[165] To that end, Institute for Creation Research founder Henry M. Morris has enumerated scientists such as astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei, 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.[166]

Religion and historical scientists

Issues relating to religion

Creationists have claimed that preventing them from teaching creationism violates their right of freedom of speech. Court cases (such as Webster v. New Lenox School District (1990) and Bishop v. Aronov (1991)) have upheld school districts' and universities' right to restrict teaching to a specified curriculum.

Freedom of speech

[164]

Opponents, being the overwhelming majority of the scientific community and science education organizations,[163] reply that there is no scientific controversy and that the controversy exists solely in terms of religion and politics.[6][162]

Creationists promoted the idea that evolution is a theory in crisis[6][78] with scientists criticizing evolution[162] and claim that fairness and equal time requires educating students about the alleged scientific controversy.

Science education

The creation–evolution controversy has grown in importance in recent years, particularly as a result of the Southern strategy of the Republican Party strategist Kevin Phillips, during the Nixon and Reagan administrations in the U.S. He saw that the African-American Civil Rights Movement had alienated many poor white southern voters of the Bible Belt and set out to capture this electorate through an alliance with the "New Right" Christian right movement.[161]

Public policy issues

The Panda's Thumb blog has some material on quote mining.[160]

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.[60] 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.[157][158] 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.[157] Creationists often quote mine Darwin, especially with regard to the seeming improbability of the evolution of the eye, to give support to their views.[159]

Quote mining

The Discovery Institute has a "formal declaration" titled A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism which has many evangelicals, people from fields irrelevant to biology and geology and few biologists. Many of the biologists who signed have fields not directly related to evolution.[156] Some of the biologists signed were deceived into signing the "declaration." In response, there is Project Steve.

Misrepresentations of science

There are only three quite technical instances where a half-life changes, and these do not affect the dating methods [under discussion]":[154]
  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 percent.
  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[155]

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:

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 geochronology.[152][153]

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, 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.[151]

Nuclear physics

While young Earth creationists believe that the Universe was created by the Judeo-Christian God approximately 6000 years ago, the current scientific consensus is that the Universe as we know it emerged from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. 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.[150]

Cosmology

Other sciences

The consensus of professional scientific organisations worldwide is that no scientific evidence contradicts the age of approximately 4.5 billion years.[5] Young Earth creationists reject these ages on the grounds of what they regard as being tenuous and untestable assumptions in the methodology. They have often quoted apparently inconsistent radiometric dates 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. The fact that the various methods of dating give essentially identical or near identical readings is not addressed in creationism.

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).[148][149] 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. 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.

Geology

Experts in evolutionary theory have pointed out that even if it were possible for enough fossils to survive to show a close transitional change critics will never be satisfied, as the discovery of one "missing link" itself creates two more so-called "missing links" on either side of the discovery. Richard Dawkins says that the reason for this "losing battle" is that many of these critics are theists who "simply don't want to see the truth."

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 pertains only to well-documented transitions within taxa or between closely related taxa over a geologically short period. 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.[147]

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. 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.

As another example, Alan Hayward stated in Creation and Evolution (1985) 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."[145] The evolution of whales has been documented in considerable detail, with Ambulocetus, described as looking like a three-metre long mammalian crocodile, as one of the transitional fossils.[146]

Reconstruction of Ambulocetus natans

It is commonly stated by critics of evolution that there are no known transitional fossils.[143][144] 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 that a complex feature with one function can adapt a different function through evolution. The precursor to, for example, a wing, might originally have only been used for gliding, trapping flying prey, or mating display. Today, wings can still have all of these functions, but they are also used in active flight.

Transitional fossils

Biologist Richard Dawkins published a book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (2009) giving evidence for evolution and macroevolution.

Recent arguments against (such restrictive definitions of) macroevolution include the intelligent design (ID) arguments of irreducible complexity and specified complexity. 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. When taken to court in an attempt to introduce ID into the classroom, the judge wrote "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."

Many creationists accept the possibilities of organs. The scientific community considers that there is strong evidence for even such more restrictive definitions, but the evidence for this is more complex.

Macroevolution

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.[56]

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[140]) or too similar to modern humans to designate them as distinct or transitional forms.[141] Creationists frequently disagree where the dividing lines would be.[142] 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.

Fossil evidence suggests that humans' earliest hominid ancestors may have split from other primates as early as the late Oligocene, circa 26 to 24 Ma, and that by the early Miocene, the adaptive radiation of many different hominoid forms was well underway.[134] 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.[135] 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).[136] Comparisons of DNA show that 99.4 percent of the coding regions are identical in chimpanzees and humans (95–96% overall[137][138]), which is taken as strong evidence of recent common ancestry.[139] 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.

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.

Human evolution

Evidence of common descent includes evidence from genetics, fossil records, comparative anatomy, geographical distribution of species, comparative physiology and comparative biochemistry.

A group of 3.9 billion years ago. With a few exceptions (e.g. Michael Behe) the vast majority of creationists reject this theory in favor of the belief that a common design suggests a common designer (God), for all thirty million species.[131][132][133] Other creationists allow evolution of species, but say that it was specific "kinds" or baramin that were created. Thus all bear species may have developed from a common ancestor that was separately created.

[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?[130]

Common descent

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.

A phylogenetic tree based on rRNA genes

Biology

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,[129] 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, 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.

Disputes relating to science

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[127] and Henry M. Morris.[128]

Appeal to consequences

In response, supporters of evolution have argued that no scientist's claims, including Darwin's, are treated as sacrosanct, as shown by the aspects of Darwin's theory that have been rejected or revised by scientists over the years, to form first neo-Darwinism and later the modern evolutionary synthesis.[125][126]

This is generally argued by analogy, by arguing that evolution and religion have one or more things in common, and that therefore evolution is a religion. Examples of claims made in such arguments are statements that evolution is based on faith, that supporters of evolution revere Darwin as a prophet, and that supporters of evolution dogmatically reject alternative suggestions out-of-hand.[122][123] These claims have become more popular in recent years as the neocreationist movement has sought to distance itself from religion, thus giving it more reason to make use of a seemingly anti-religious analogy.[124]

Creationists commonly argue against evolution on the grounds that "evolution is a religion; it is not a science,"[119] in order to undermine the higher ground biologists claim in debating creationists, and to reframe the debate from being between science (evolution) and religion (creationism) to being between two equally religious beliefs—or even to argue that evolution is religious while intelligent design is not.[120][121] Those that oppose evolution frequently refer to supporters of evolution as "evolutionists" or "Darwinists."[119]

Conflation of science and religion

Falsifiability has 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 science."[118]

Debate among some scientists and philosophers of science on the applicability of falsifiability in science continues.[115] 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 water."[116][117]

In fact, Popper wrote admiringly of the value of Darwin's theory.[113] Only a few years later, Popper wrote, "I have in the past described the theory as 'almost tautological' ... 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." His conclusion, later in the article is "The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true."[114]

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."[111] 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.[112]

In what one sociologist derisively called "Popper-chopping,"[108] 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.[109] 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. This is a false accusation. Creationists have repeatedly stated that neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory (and each is equally religious)."[110]

Philosopher of science Karl R. Popper set out the concept of falsifiability as a way to distinguish science and pseudoscience:[104][105] testable theories are scientific, but those that are untestable are not.[106] 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."[107]

Falsifiability

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.
— Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory[103]

Exploring this issue, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote:

The argument that evolution is a theory, not a fact, has often been made against the exclusive teaching of evolution.[101] 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. In science, "theory" usually means "a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena."[102]

Theory vs. fact

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind. In other words, truth is not only a matter of offense, in that it makes certain assertions. It is also a matter of defense in that it must be able to make a cogent and sensible response to the counterpoints that are raised. Truth by definition excludes.
— Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message[100]
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[99]

Limitations of scientific endeavor

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[98]

Definitions

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.[96] Mainstream proponents accuse the creationists of conflating the two in a form of pseudoscience.[97]

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.[93] 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.[94] Creationists claim that supernatural explanations should not be excluded and that scientific work is paradigmatically close-minded.[95]

Arguments relating to the definition and limits of science

Materialistic evolution is the position of acceptance of biological evolution, combined with the position that the supernatural does not exist (a position common to philosophical naturalists, humanists and atheists).[92] It is a view championed by the New Atheists, who argue strongly that the creationist viewpoint is not only dangerous, but is completely rejected by science.

Materialistic evolution

Agnostic evolution is the position of acceptance of biological evolution, combined with the belief that it is not important whether God is, was, or will have been involved.[91]

Agnostic evolution

Theistic evolutionists have frequently been prominent in opposing creationism (including intelligent design). Notable examples have been biologist Keith B. Miller, who is a prominent board member of Kansas Citizens for Science).

This position generally accepts the viewpoint of methodological naturalism, a long-standing convention of the scientific method in science.

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 myth; 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.

Theistic evolution

Neo-creationists intentionally distance themselves from other forms of creationism, preferring to be known as wholly separate from creationism as a philosophy. They wish 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).

Neo-creationism

Old Earth creationism holds that the physical universe was created by God, but that the creation event of Genesis within 6 days is not to be taken strictly literally. This group generally accepts the age of the Universe and the age of the Earth as described by astronomers and geologists, but that details of the evolutionary theory are questionable. Old Earth creationists interpret the Genesis creation narrative in a number of ways, that each differ from the six, consecutive, 24-hour day creation of the young Earth creationist view.

Old Earth creationism

Young Earth creationism rejects completely the conventional scientific approach and argues for 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 to the Earth's. 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 biblical literalism.

Young Earth creationism

In the controversy a number of divergent opinions can be recognised, regarding both the acceptance of scientific theories and religious practice.

Viewpoints

More recently, the intelligent design movement has attempted an anti-evolution position that avoids any direct appeal to religion. Scientists argue that intelligent design does not represent any research program within the mainstream scientific community, and is still essentially creationism.[8][88] Its leading proponent, the Discovery Institute, made widely publicised claims that it was a new science, although the only paper arguing for it published in a scientific journal was accepted in questionable circumstances and quickly disavowed in the [12][90]

The old Earth creationism or intelligent design) as an alternative. Most of these groups are literalist Christians who believe the biblical account is inerrant, and more than one sees the debate as part of the Christian mandate to evangelize.[85][86] Some groups see science and religion as being diametrically opposed views that cannot be reconciled. More accommodating viewpoints, held by many mainstream churches and many scientists, consider science and religion to be separate categories of thought (non-overlapping magisteria), which ask fundamentally different questions about reality and posit different avenues for investigating it.[87]

Recent developments

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 standards'."[84] The 2009 Texas Board of Education hearings were chronicled in the 2012 documentary The Revisionaries.

Texas Board of Education support for intelligent design

[83][78] and to advance an education policy for U.S. public schools that introduces creationist explanations for the origin of life to public-school science curricula.[82][81][80] while promoting intelligent design,[79][6]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.