Re: Ch. 5 - Eliminating Evolution, Inventing Creation Scienc
I found it interesting that the fundamentalist objection to evolution was in part fueled by the association of WWI Germany to both Higher Criticism and evolution/eugenics. Just another one of those cases in which historical circumstances influence that public perception of a given idea. The same goes, to some degree, for the lionization of social Darwinism among American captains of industry. The disenfranchised lower classes certainly couldn't be expected to exhibit whole-hearted enthusiasm for an idea that was evoked by industrialists like Rockefellar and Carnegie to justify their own high economic status in contrast to that of the poor.
In an only vaguely related aside, I found it interesting that the business association of Dayton, Ohio was so instrumental in starting the Scopes trial.
There's a passage on p. 100 that I think emblemizes the way in which perceptions of the creationist/evolution debate are shaped. Scott writes: "Creation Science argues that there are only two views, (Special) Creationism or evolution; thus arguments against evolution are arguments in favor of creationism." I think this hardline view also contributes to the public perception of Creationists as a far more populous and unified group than they really are. It has the tendency to make it seem as though any skepticism about evolution is part of an organized Creationist campaign. Actually (and Scott's rather extensive list of Creation Scientists might mislead on this point), Creation Science supporters are a pretty small group, divided along the fault lines of certain issues, who make a very concerted effort to vocalize their views.
I also find it interesting that there's a kind of intellectual evolution going on within Christian science, where the constraints of the legal system form a kind of environmental pressure, acting much like natural selection. What I mean is, Scott points out near the end of this chapter that Creationist attempts to pass legislation tends to run in cycles that are characterized by changes in legal strategies. Equal representation, Creation Science, the omission of reference to "creation" -- these are subsequent developments, not part of one unified strategy. And the result, it would seem to me, must act both ways. It may change the Creation Science advocates chances of passing legislature, but the effect of changing the way you talk about a subject may also result in changes in the way you think about it. I wonder if Creation Scientists still think of Special Creation the way they did 100, 50, even 10 years ago.