ERIC Number: ED213646
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Behind the Evolution/Creation Controversy.
This paper discusses the historical background of the creationist movement, presents Federal Judge Overton's analysis of why and how the Creationists got the equal time evolution/creation teaching law passed in Arkansas, and examines how scientists and educators are reacting to the controversy. Creationists were set back when Overton declared Arkansas' 1981 equal time law unconstitutional on January 5, 1982. Overton's decision called the Arkansas law a subterfuge for state-enforced public school teaching of religion. The passage of the legislation had been carefully orchestrated by Paul Ellwanger, a fundamentalist who developed "balanced treatment" model bills omitting religion or God so as to withstand constitutional challenge and used wording that appeals to Americans' sense of fair play in presenting both sides. Judge Overton traced the origin of fundamentalism as evangelical Protestant reaction to modernism and change. Fundamentalists disagree with Darwin's theory of evolution. They were upset by late 19th and early 20th century German biblical criticism. In the 1920's they campaigned successfully against drinking (Prohibition) and introduced 37 anti-evolution teaching bills. Fundamentalists won in the Scopes trial. Not until the 1957 Soviet Sputnik frightened Americans to improve science teaching did the National Science Foundation finance new biology textbooks with evolution as a basic concept. This was one factor that stimulated the Creationists' recent activism. Late to respond, scientists and educators have organized committees of correspondence in 44 states to fight Creationists' national campaign aimed at having fundamentalists introduce a model equal time bill in most state legislatures and in the U.S. Congress. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the West Virginia University Benedum/Centennial Lecture Series (Morgantown, WV, February 9, 1982). For a related document, see ED 207 904. Some pages may be marginally legible.