Where Darwin Meets the Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America / Edition 1

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The conflict between creationists and evolutionists has raged ever since the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859. And yet, even as generations of Americans have fought and re-fought the same battles, the contours of the debate have in recent years shifted dramatically.
Tracking the dizzying rhetorical heights and opportunistic political lows of this controversy, Larry Witham travels to America's churches, schools, universities, museums, and government agencies to present creationists and evolutionists in their own unfiltered voices. We meet leading creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design such as Michael Behe; evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins; and theistic scientists who describe how they reconcile God and Nature.
Today, Biblical literalism is tempered by the Intelligent Design movement, which finds evidence of God's presence in nature's patterns. The once-dominant "young earth" school has been replaced by a creationism that conscripts the language of science to advance the creationist cause. Meanwhile, evolutionary scientists hesitate to point out gaps in their theories for fear that such self-scrutiny could serve as fodder for anti-evolution propaganda.
In an age marked both by a rising religious tide and daily scientific breakthroughs, Where Darwin Meets the Bible provides the standard account of this lasting conflict.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Where Darwin Meets the Bible is the best one-stop account of who's who (and what's what) in the creation-evolution conflict."—Charles Haynes, Senior Scholar, First Amendment Center

"...an invaluable resource for those seeking to understand the complex and often divisive debate over the legitimacy of Darwinian evolution...the new standard introduction for those interested in familiarizing themselves with contemporary critiques and defenses of evolutionary theory, but wary of the propagandist tendencies of many recent popular texts."—Religious Studies Review

Publishers Weekly
Washington Times reporter Witham digs into the evolution-creation debate in contemporary America in this balanced and well-documented work of investigative journalism. Drawing upon more than 200 interviews with prominent scientists and theologians, the author charts the history of a debate that has been aggressively waged in the arena of public opinion, but with modest attention to facts. Both camps are divided across a full spectrum of dissent, and the waters are further muddied by relativist attitudes among the educated public that call into question the validity of scientific progress. Witham explores the points of political contact where evolution and creation clash, such as in public schools and colleges, the political arena and the shrines to each respectively, the churches and natural history museums. His analysis of press coverage from the Scopes trial in 1925 to the antievolutionary vote of the Kansas state school board in 1999 reveals that science-and with it the facts-typically takes a back seat in public debates to politics and emotionality. The details of the news, Witham writes, get swamped by the "meaning" of the news, which becomes framed, to cite one of his sources, within the drama of "intolerance." The author looks toward a future where the Christian right is less rural and more suburban and educated, while the Darwinist view is by no means assured of dominance. Witham's impeccable reportage, his erudite analysis and his ability to synthesize complex and nuanced strains of thought all make this book an invaluable roadmap of the evolution-creation controversy in America. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Drawing on his personal interviewing and impressive research, journalist Witham examines the contentious battles over the origin of life forms on this planet between creationists and evolutionists in the United States. Stressing the conflicting ideas of biblical fundamentalism, religious creationism, intelligent design, and theistic evolution, Witham's comprehensive survey covers major trials, controversial textbooks, federal funding, museum displays, university educators, and conceptual issues ranging from cosmic teleology to emerging complexity. Witham focuses on the key players in this ongoing debate, e.g., religious creationists Phillip E. Johnson and Henry M. Morris, and materialist evolutionists Richard Dawkins and Ernst Mayr. Yet lacking is a chapter on the overwhelming empirical evidence for biological evolution and the great antiquity of our own species. Furthermore, Witham does not reveal what truths biblical and creationist viewpoints contain. Fortunately, understanding organic evolution in terms of science, reason, and open inquiry is advancing despite resistance from some religious quarters. This engaging, challenging, and informative volume is suitable for large academic and public libraries.-H. James Birx, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195182811
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Witham, a veteran Washington D.C. journalist, has written widely on science and religion topics, including as a former reporter with The Washington Times. He is the author of eight books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : ways of knowing 3
1 Darwin's legacy in America 11
2 The two books 25
3 Looking for boundaries 42
4 Hearts and minds 57
5 Nature alone : evolutionists 74
6 God and nature : creationists 103
7 Politics 133
8 Schools and textbooks 147
9 Higher education 162
10 Museums and sanctuaries 179
11 What natural scientists believe 198
12 The great debate 212
13 Media-eye view 227
14 The good society 242
15 Search for the underdog 261
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