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The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, Expanded Edition

By Ronald L. Numbers
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Book Details
  • Author: Ronald L. Numbers
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Published: 2006-11-30
  • Edition: Expanded ed.

Forty-seven percent of the American people, according to a 1991 Gallup Poll, believe that God made man - as man is now - in a single act of creation, and within the last ten thousand years. Ronald L. Numbers chronicles the astonishing resurgence of this belief since the 1960s, as well as the creationist movement's tangled religious roots in the theologies of late-nineteenth - and early twentieth century Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Adventists, and other religious groups. Even more remarkable than Numbers's story of today's widespread rejection of the theory of evolution is the dramatic shift from acceptance of the earth's antiquity (even for William Jennings Bryan the biblical "days" of Genesis represented long geological ages) to the insistence of present-day scientific creationists that most fossils date back to Noah's flood and its aftermath, and that the earth itself is no more than ten thousand years old. The author focuses especially on the rise of this "flood geology, " popularized in 1961 by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris's book, The Genesis Flood, which defended the theory that creation took place in six literal days, and updated the old arguments purporting to prove that a geologically significant worldwide flood actually took place. Numbers gives particular attention to the development of creation research institutes and societies, and to those creationists - including the half of the founders of the Creation Research Society with doctorates in biology - who possessed, or claimed to possess, scientific credentials. On the basis of dozens of interviews and scores of little-known manuscript collections, Numbers delineates the competing scientific and biblicalinterpretations, and reports on the debates between creationists and evolutionists - in courthouses, legislative halls, and on school boards - over the boundaries between science and religion. He traces the evolution of scientific creationism up to our own time and shows how the creationist