School of Education with Joint Title in Department of History
Director, Center for the Teaching of American History
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Huckabee” – Creationism in Historical Perspective
Monday, November 7, 2011
AA-G008, 5:00 PM
Gallup polls consistently show that nearly half of American adults agree that the earth was created in pretty much its present form within the last 10,000 years. A recent survey of K-12 science teachers revealed that only a small minority of them actively teach evolutionary science. Yet mainstream scientists continue to agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s 1972 claim that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
How do we understand this durable split in American thinking about evolution? This talk will explore the reasons for America’s persistent disbelief in evolutionary science. It will give an historical perspective to current debates about God, Darwin, and the origins of life.
Adam Laats teaches history and education classes at Binghamton University. He was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellow for his historical research into 1920s cultural battles over evolution and religion in American education. His book, Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America’s Culture Wars, was published in May, 2010, by Palgrave Macmillan. He is currently working with philosopher Harvey Siegel on a second book manuscript about the history and philosophy of evolution education, Darwin Goes to School.
- “God and Evolution” by William Jennings Bryan, New York Times, 1922 (clearer text here)
- “Chapter III: What Is Being Taught In Our Schools”, from “Hell & The High Schools” by T. T. Martin, 1926
- “Appendix I: Paleontology and the Edenic Curse”, from “The Genesis Flood” by Morris & Whitcomb, 1961
- “Chapter Two”, excerpts from “Origins: Two Models: Evolution, Creation” by Richard Bliss
- “Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Is Not Evidence of Poor Design”, by Jerry Bergman, 2010