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Evolution Revolution
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c. 1900: Mendel Rediscovered
(Rise of Evolution)

Mendel's laws of heredity rediscovered. The obscure work of Moravian monk Gregor Mendel is brought to light and becomes a cornerstone in the emerging science of genetics. Mendel's notion that traits are passed down in discrete units (called "genes" in 1909) is a boon to Darwinism. The contrary idea -- that all traits of parents are "blended" in their offspring -- had been a stumbling block for evolutionists, even for Darwin himself. Gregor Mendel died in 1884, before his work on heredity was widely known and celebrated.


c. 1900-1920: Public Schools Expand
(Battle in the Schools)

Public high schools spread through U.S. Ideas about evolution reach more American families than ever before as high schools spring up around the country and Progressive-era laws force teenagers to attend. The change is particularly dramatic in the rural South. By 1920, there are nearly 2 million students enrolled in American high schools. In 1890, there were only about 200,000.


1905-1915: The Fundamentals
(Evolution Challenged) (Reconciliation)

The Fundamentals launches a new movement. A series of popular booklets helps define Protestant fundamentalism and sets the stage for a growing social movement. Evolution is not singled out as a particular threat -- in fact, some essays leave the door open for theistic evolution. For instance, Benjamin B. Warfield, of the Princeton Theological Seminary, writes that evolution may be the "divine procedure in creating man." The Fundamentals notes that the story of Genesis can be reconciled with the findings of mainstream science if each "day" of Creation is seen as an epoch, rather than a 24-hour period. The "day-age" interpretation is common among conservative Christians.


1909: Scofield Bible
(Evolution Challenged)

Scofield Reference Bible interprets Genesis. Edited by Cyrus Scofield, this version of the King James Bible is a mainstay of the young fundamentalist movement. In Genesis, Scofield adds a note on the "gap theory" of Creation: Millions of years could have passed between when God created the Heavens and Earth and the subsequent six days in Eden. This interpretation, while challenging evolution, is far from the young-Earth creationist theories that later emerge. It allows for acceptance of an ancient Earth.

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Intro | 1635 | 1700 | 1800 | 1825 | 1850 | 1860 | 1875 | 1900
1910 | 1925 | 1930 | 1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000

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