Introduction to creationism
Introduction to creationismThe origins of modern creationism date to The Fundamentals, a set of 90 pamphlets, published partly in response to James Leuba's survey (The Belief in God and Immortality: A Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study) showing that belief in God decreased in proportion to college attendance and furthermore that scientists tended not to believe in a personal God. The correlations in the survey were taken as cause and effect (a reocurring theme in fundamentalism).
Three of the 90 pamphlets of The Fundamentals were directed explicitly against evolution. Social Darwinism, a construct of Herbert Spencer, was seen as a cause of German aggressiveness leading to the World War. Social Darwinism was conflated with Darwinism and the combination was viewed as responsible for the worst evils of society. William Jennings Bryan led a crusade against Darwinism which led to the Butler Act in Tennessee which prohibited teaching evolution in state funded schools. This in turn led to the Scopes Trial in 1925. John Thomas Scopes was convicted of violating the Butler Act. As a consequence of the bad publicity, overt opposition to evolution faded. In succeeding years coverage of evolution in high school biology texts was watered down to avoid controversy. The controversy did not resume until the 1960s.
In response to Sputnik (1958) the American science community re-evaluated science education. The Biological Science Curriculum Study Group reorganized biology texts with evolution as a central theme. In 1968 the Supreme Court overturned the Butler act (Epperson vs Arkansas). Fundamentalists became alarmed at the direction of public policy. Early struggles took place in California. In 1978 fundamentalists tightened their policy on biblical interpretation with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. This document concluded that language is unambiguous and left no room to interpret Genesis as consistent with modern science.
Fundamentalists view the Chicago Statement as doctrine to be supported by apologetics. Apologetics (rationalizing) has been a standard method of supporting religious doctrine since the middle ages.