Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

written by scientists (Larson, 2003). The Biological Sciences Curriculum Study’s series of biology textbooks reintroduced evolution. The Arkansas Education Association, concerned about teachers being caught between a state ban on evolution and district requirements to use textbooks that included evolution, challenged the state’s antievolution law. This suit resulted in the 1968 Supreme Court decision Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), which ruled that bans on teaching evolution were an unconstitutional favoring of the fundamentalist religious view.

“Creation science” arose on the national scene in the late 1960s as a counter to the reintroduction of evolution into the curriculum. The person largely responsible for its invention was Henry M. Morris, who declared, “Creationism is on the way back, this time not primarily as a religious belief, but as an alternative scientific explanation of the world in which we live” (Numbers, 2006). Morris’s creation science was his literal interpretation of Genesis (including a young Earth, global flood, and special creation of plants and animals) expressed in scientific terminology. Explicit references to the Bible were optional: Morris’s 1974 book Scientific Creationism (Morris, 1974) came in two versions, one with Bible quotes, and one without.

In 1972, Morris founded the best-known creation science organization, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), now in Santee, CA, and served as its president until his retirement in 1996. Even after retirement, Morris continued to promote creation science until his death in 2006 at the age of 87. Morris and the ICR have spun-off or inspired other organizations promoting creation science, the most important of which is the Kentucky-based ministry Answers in Genesis. Answers in Genesis rivals ICR in size and influence, and plans to open in 2007 a 50,000-square-foot museum promoting a literal Genesis creation about 10,000 years ago. Dozens of smaller institutions and active independent creation science ministries, fundamentalist churches, and several television evangelists also contribute to the movement (Scott, 2004).

Despite its scientific veneer, creation science was ruled to be clearly religious and therefore unconstitutional to advocate in the public schools in the district court decision McLean v. Arkansas (1982) and the Supreme Court decision Edwards v. Aguillard (1987). As will be shown below, ID arose as a direct response to these defeats. However, even though ID recently has attracted more national media attention, partially as a result of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case (2005) where it too was ruled unconstitutional, creation science remains the larger of the two movements and generates much grass-roots activity.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement