1611: King James Bible published5
1654: Archbishop Usher calculates that the world was created in 4004 B.C. 5
1802: Paley publishes "Natural Theology"5
1830: Charles Lyell publishes Principles of Geology, one of Darwin's primary sources5
1859: T.H. Huxley, atheist, "Darwin's Bulldog," and self-proclaimed "gladiator general" of Darwin's theory anticipates a public controversy between science and religion. Writes Darwin, "I am sharpening my claws and beak in readiness" just before Origin of Species published1
1859: Darwin Publishes Origin of Species:
1860~1900ish: Reaction to Darwin: Much fighting over Darwin's theory. "At first much of the opposition to Darwin’s theory came from scientists on grounds of evidence, not from theologians on grounds of scripture." (Francis Glasson quoted in Ref 3). "The reaction to the Origin was immediate. Some biologists argued that Darwin could not prove his hypothesis. Others criticized Darwin’s concept of variation, arguing that he could explain neither the origin of variations nor how they were passed to succeeding generation. This particular scientific objection was not answered until the birth of modern genetics in the early 20th century. . . . In fact, many scientists continued to express doubts for the following 50 to 80 years." (Garland E. Allen and Randy Bird quoted in Ref 3). However, eventually there was much religious opposition as well.1
1874: John William Draper publishes History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science, which reinforces a characterization of religion at war with science1, 6 and "fostered the impression that religious critics of Darwinism threatened to rekindle the Inquisition"1.
1896: Andrew Dickson White publishes A History of The Warfare of Science With Theology, criticizing Christian theology, scripture, clergy, and religious history and adding much fuel to the secular popular and academic intellectual fire kindling against Christianity and religious thought in society.1, 6
1905-1915: The Fundamentals, a series of popular booklets published by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (Biola) describing the fundamental tenets of Protestantism. These essays were in part a response to growing popular secular trends in thinking partly stemming from ideas related to the works of Draper and White. Some essays by influential conservative Christian leaders encourage harmony between evolution and Christianity.1 Some essays are published against evolution, some support evolution. However, Darwinian-like notions of random variation coupled with a struggle-for-survival were not in vogue with biologists at this time, and so many of the Christians who supported evolution saw it as "goal-directed" and not as a chance-based (today most biologists see evolutionary processes as essentially Darwinian--based upon random chance-based variation coupled with a struggle for survival-of-the-fittest).4
1912: New York Times Sunday Headline says "Darwin Theory Proved True; English Scientist Say the Skull Found in Sussex Establishes Human Descent from Apes"1 (this was "Piltdown Man," revealed in 1953 to be a fraudulent series of fossils composed of human and orangutan skull bones.2). Piltdown expert Arthur Keith wrote that "[Darwin and Huxley] made it possible for us men to today to persue our studies without persecution--without being subject to the contumely of Church dignitaries"1.
1925: Science and religion "warfare model" had become "ingrained into the received wisdom of many secular Americans"1. Evolution, and more particularly Darwin's mechanisms of evolution (mutation and natural selection) were becoming generally accepted among biologists. Evolution had by this time filtered into high school science curriculums at a time when more people were beginning to attend public high schools for the first time. More Americans were being exposed to evolution, and opposition began to arise. The time was ripe for a controversy. 2 general forms of opposition1:
1925: Scopes Trial:
• In 1925, the Tennessee legislature passed the Butler act which made it "unlawful for any teacher in any of the. . . public schools. . .to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals".8
• American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) put an ad in the Chattanooga Times on May 4th, 1925 to test a Tennessee law which forbade the teaching of evolution that human beings evolved from lower forms of life3:
• Following are a few of the statements in Hunter’s book which probably would have been very unacceptable to the Christians who held to a literal creation story as depicted in the Bible in Genesis 1: "Evolution means change, and these groups are believed by scientists to represent stages in complexity of development of life on the earth. Geology teaches that millions of years ago, life upon the earth was very simple, and that gradually more and more complex forms of life appeared, as the rocks formed latest in time show the most highly developed forms of animal life. The great English scientist Charles Darwin, from this and other evidence, explained the theory of evolution. This is the belief that simple forms of life on the earth slowly and gradually gave rise to those more complex and that thus ultimately the most complex forms came into existence."3
• Scopes was a young teacher who had little to lose if convicted. He was a chain-smoker, shy, easygoing, cooperative, opposed the statute. He was courted by the ACLU to find out if he would be a defendant.
• On May 25th, a grand jury was rushed together to Scopes "before any other town could steal the show"1
• William Jennings Bryan, a progressive politician and former presidential candidate who mixed "left-wing politics and right-wing religion"1 volunteered to lead the prosecution.
• There was "widely publicized ridicule of the Tennessee law" which was "eroding public support for such statues everywhere"1. Bryan observed, "I saw such large [newspaper] space given to the ridicule but mall space given to the noble act of Governor Peay in signing the bill."1
• Bryan wanted to turn the trial into a sort of publicity act to champion his cause against evolution.1 Bryan would fit into category 2, of the above types opposition to evolution.
• Famous defense attorney, a public proponent of the ideas of White and Draper in his speeches and trial arguments, Clarence Darrow, a sharp public opponent of Bryan, joined the case primarily to oppose Bryan. Darrow wanted another chance to publicly humiliate Christian beliefs.
• The ACLU wanted a narrow test case to fight the law on strictly legal terms, and were dismayed that celebrities like Darrow and Bryan would be on the case.1 They were especially concerned that "Darrow's zealous agnosticism might transform the trial from a narrow appeal for academic freedom to a broad assault on religion."1 This is exactly what happened, and the trial became a media circus. It was the very first nationally broadcast trial in the United States.8
• The trial lasted eight days, Darrow "lost" and Scopes was fined $100. The Tennessee Supreme Court later reversed Scopes' conviction on a legal technicality.8
• Darrow, however, considered it a victory as he cross-examined Bryan by calling the prosecuting attorney to the witness stand. Many of Darrow's questions were theological or scientific in nature regarding the accuracy of the Bible. Bryan, a career politician and a Christian who took a fairly moderate stance and opposed evolution primarily on moral grounds, was not able to answer all of the questions. However, this chain of events is one of the reasons why creationism has been largely been publicly ridiculed in the U.S.
• In the 1950's, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee wrote, Inherit the Wind, opened on Broadway. In 1960 it was produced by Stanley Kramer into a film. The play grossly misrepresented the actual events of the trial, portrayed opposers of evolution as religious bigots and anti-intellectuals, and has perpetuated a publicly held myth that the Scopes trial represented the triumph of science, reason, and evolution over religion, bigotry, and creationism. These two categories have remained in the minds of many as accurately describing this issue.
1950's: Controversy renews when "Space Race" with Russia heats up and science education again becomes an important issue.
1959: The centennial anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species also brought more attention to this controversy.
1963: Creation Research Society Formed.
1968: Edwards v. Arkansas: U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Arkansas statute prohibiting teaching of evolution. Court held a state cannot tailor its curriculum to any particular religious sect or doctrine. (NCSE)
1971: Lawyer and scholar Norman Macbeth publishes Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason. Many of Macbeth's arguments form the basis for later modern scholarly critiques of evolution.
1972: Institute for Creation Research Founded, anti-evolution efforts primarily from the "young earth creationist camp" until 1980's.
1973: Tennessee legislature passes the Butler Act stating:
Provided, however, that the textbook requirements stated above shall in no way diminish the duty of the state textbook commission to prepare a list of approved standard editions of textbooks for use in the public schools of the state as provided in this section. Each local school board may use textbooks or supplementary material as approved by the State Board of Education to carry out the provisions of this section. The teaching of all occult or satanical beliefs of human origin is expressly excluded from this act.
Section 2. Provided however that the Holy Bible shall not be defined as a textbook, but is hereby declared to be a reference work, and shall not be required to carry the disclaimer above provided for textbooks.3
1982: McLean v. Arkansas: Arkansas law taught that universe was created out of nothing, natural selection was insufficient, and everything destroyed in a flood. Judge William Overton ruled that the law violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause because it promoted unscientific theories in public schools. According to Overton's decision, a scientific (based on the testimony of Michael Ruse) must: 1) Be guided by natural law, 2) Be explained by natural law, 3) Be testable against the empirical world, 4) Be tentative, and 5) Be falsifiable. Thus "scientific creationism" was not science.
1983. Several "Committees of Correspondence" which worked together to fight scientific creationism in the 1970's, and the 1982 trial, grew together and founded the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and in 1983, NCSE was incorporated.
1986: Hugh Ross founds "Reasons to Believe," the largest "Old Earth Creationist" organization.
1986: Michael Denton publishes Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.
1987: Edwards v. Aguillard: Enacts 3 pronged test of what is legitimate to be taught in a government school: 1) must not promote a particular religion or religious view, 2) must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and 3) must not result in excessive entanglement of government and religion.
1991: Phillip Johnson publishes Darwin on Trial.
1993: Landmark meeting between various would-be founders of the intelligent design movement, including Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, and others, takes place at Pajaro Dunes, California.
1996: Michael Behe publishes Darwin's Black Box, popularizing the phrase "intelligent design" and introducing the concept of "irreducible complexity".
1996: "Mere Creation" conference held at Biola University unites more founders of the "intelligent design" movement including Michael Behe, David Berlinsky, Walter Bradley, William Dembski, Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer, Phillip Johnson, Robert Kaita, Steven Meyer, J. P. Moreland, Paul Nelson, Nancy Pearcey, Del Ratzsch, John Mark Reynolds, Hugh Ross, and Jonathan Wells.
1998: William Dembski publishes Cambridge monograph series book The Design Inference, introducing intelligent design concepts such as the explanatory filter and specified complexity.
1999: Kansas removes some controversial aspects of macroevolution from the curriculum. Press ridicules Kansas and misrepresents what happened saying that they removed evolution entirely.
2000: Jonathan Wells publishes Icons of Evolution.
2000: Utah Law Review publishes "Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Or Religion, Or Speech" by David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, and Mark Edward DeForrest explaining the constitutional legitimacy of teaching intelligent design and criticizing evolution in the science classroom.
2001: PBS Evolution first aired.
2001: Ohio--IDnet and members of the ID movement trying to have teaching intelligent design required by curriculum. Jonathan Wells (with the Icons) and the Santorum Amendment have played a major role.
Recent Events: The Santorum Amendment (2001, 2002)
• On June 13, 2001, the United States Senate strongly supported an amendment which states,
(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject."
• Afterwards, 3 senators made noteworthy comments:
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts):
• Apart from the NCSE's lobbying, the actual amendment remained basically in its original form. However, it was not included in the final version of the bill, but rather was included in the "Conference Report," which is meant to explain the intent of the bill. The report said:
• The Santorum Amendment is now one of the primary arguments being used to allow for the inclusion of intelligent design into the curriculum in Ohio, and also to allow for criticisms of evolution to be taught.
1. Summer for the Gods by Edward J. Larson.
2. Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow.
3. Darwinism and the Law: Can Non-Naturalistic Scientific Survive Constitutional Challenge by H Wayne House (see http://www-acs.ucsd.edu/~idea/house.rtf).
4. Cretinism or Evilution? No. 2 Edited by E.T. Babinski. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/2/part12.html
5. Timeline for Origins Class at http://jmlynch.dhs.org/classes/origins/timeline.php
6. Religion and Science: History, Method, Dialogue in "Dispelling Some Myths About The Split Between Theology and Science in the Nineteenth Century" an essay by Claude Welch.
7. See PBS Evolution's re-interpretation of this famous exchange.
8. William Jennings Bryan & The Scopes Trial by R.M. Cornelius at http://www.bryan.edu/historical/wjbryan_trial/ from Bryan College Historical Resources (a Christian college in Dayton Tennessee, home of the Scopes Trial).