The Evolution of Creationism in Britain (Michael Roberts), + press coverage update
The 2006 edition of Numbers’ book is an update of the original referred to in the opening paragraph. I would also draw attention to Scientists Confront Creationism, Petto and Godfrey, eds, 2007, in which Numbers covers the same material in a more manageable 27 pages, and includes valuable essays by Massimo Pigliucci, Eugenie Scott, Brent Dalrymple and others on the historical, scientific, philosophical and pedagogical context.
Meantime, press coverage of the Scottish Secular Society petition seeking “official guidance to bar the presentation in Scottish publicly funded schools of separate creation and of Young Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution, common descent, and deep time” continues; additions since I first posted on this on November 21 are
Herald 22 November: David Andrew Robertson, Moderator-designate of the Free Church of Scotland, accuses us of anti-religious paranoia
Herald 23 November: Scotland’s culture war: secularists and church head-to-head. A wide-ranging review by Judith Duffy.
Herald 24 November: Unnamed EIS spokesperson(s) condemn our petition. Herald reporter once again confuses the teaching of separate creation (the subject of our petition) with the idea of God as Creator, discussion of which which we explicitly defend.
Herald 25 November: “I think most of us have had enough of the aggressive and perverse campaign against free speech by the Scottish Secular Society” – Rev David Fraser; “Our leaders need follow the robust example of the EIS and defend the rights of the majority for the expression of their faith across the spectrum of school subjects”
Herald 26 November Letter attacking Dvd Fraser’s defence of creationist teaching
Herald 27 November: letters. Among other things, corrects Rev David Fraser, states “The EIS position is that teachers can be trusted to conduct themselves professionally without the need for legislation.”
Herald 28 November: Letter, Hugh McLoughlin, says we don’t explain what we mean by creationism, invokes European Convention on Human Rights
Herald 1 December: Letters; Bob Downie reiterates support for keeping religin, science separated. Garry Otton repeats scope of petition.
Over twenty years ago Ron Numbers published his excellent book The Creationists. There he traced the roots back to the Seventh Day Adventist in the late 19th century and not before. The book dispels many myths about creationism but many still hold these myths and assume that creationism was the position of Christians until challenged by scientists.
A few years in the magazine of the Geological society of America GSAToday Dave Montgomery of Seattle gave an excellent short account of the history of Creationism. http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/22/11/pdf/i1052-5173-22-11-4.pdf It is well worth using as a summary. Following all recent scholars like Ron Numbers he traces the roots of YEC to about 1900 in the Seventh Day Adventist church, rather than presenting the view that it is a re-incarnation of 17th century ideas. He rightly emphasises that Calvin and Steno were “young earthers” due to limited knowledge rather than a doctrinaire stance.
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