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Antievolutionists and Creationists

When the Origin of Species went on sale late in 1859, the term "creationist" commonly designated a person who believed in the special origination of a soul for each human fetus, as opposed to a traducianist, who believed that the souls of children were inherited from their parents. Although Darwin (in private) and his allies occasionally referred to their opponents as "creationists," for about seventy-five years after the publication of his book such adversaries were more typically called "advocates of creation" or, increasingly, "anti-evolutionists." This custom prevailed well into the twentieth century, in large part because antievolutionists remained united far more by their hostility to evolution than by any common commitment to a particular view of creation. 

As late as the 1920s antievolutionists chose to dedicate their organizations to "Christian Fundamentals," "Anti-Evolution," and "Anti-False Science," not to creationism. It was not until 1929 that one of George McCready Price’s former students, the Seventh-day Adventist biologist Harold W. Clark, explicitly packaged Price’s new catastrophism as "creationism." In a brief self-published book titled Back to Creationism Clark urged readers to quit simply opposing evolution and to adopt the new "science of creationism," by which he meant Price’s flood geology. For decades to come various Christian groups, from flood geologists to theistic evolutionists, squabbled over which camp most deserved to use the creationist label. However, by the 1980s the flood geologists/scientific creationists had clearly co-opted the term for their distinctive interpretation of earth history.Ronald L. Numbers, Darwinism Comes to America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), Chapter 2, "Creating Creationism: Meanings and Uses since the Age of Agassiz."

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Antievolutionists and Creationists

Creationism History: Topic Index
The ‘Ordinary’ View of Creation
Assessing the Fossil Record - Louis Agassiz
The Meaning of Genesis 1
Darwinism Comes to America
George McCready Price and ‘Flood Geology’
The Antievolution Crusade of the 1920s
The Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’
The Creationist Revival after 1961
Creation Science - Henry M. Morris
Intelligent Design


Dr. Ron Numbers
Dr. Ron Numbers

See also:

The Relation of Science & Religion
Where did we Come From?
Was the Universe Designed?
Science and Religion in Conflict?
Have Science and Religion Always Been in Conflict?
Background on Creationism
How was Evolution Perceived Historically?
Charles Darwin