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Evolution Revolution

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1970-1980: Creation Science
(Evolution Challenged)

Creation science movement spreads nationwide. As laws banning the teaching of evolution are overturned, anti-evolutionists begin to argue that creationism is a scientific approach to the study of the living world -- one that deserves equal footing in schools. In 1972, young-Earth creationist and Genesis Flood author Henry Morris founds the most influential organization of the creation science movement, the Institute for Creation Research. Morris's new book Scientific Creationism, a bedrock text of the movement, is offered in two editions: one for public schools that makes no explicit references to the Bible, and another that includes a chapter on "Creation according to Scripture." Creation scientists argue that science can confirm the account of Creation as given literally in the Bible. Critics of the movement argue that scientific creationism is biblical creationism stripped of explicit religious terms rather than a scientific theory.

1974: Lucy
(Rise of Evolution)

Lucy ignites debate over human origins. Donald Johanson announces the find of a remarkably preserved 4-million-year-old fossil. The 40 percent complete skeleton offers evidence that an ancient human ancestor had a small, ape-size brain and walked upright. Johanson lovingly calls his find "Lucy." Anti-evolutionists are less charmed by the fossil, which turns human evolution into headline news.

1975: Secular Humanism
(Evolution Challenged)

Is secular humanism a religion? The National Science Foundation, from its Washington, D.C., headquarters, has long advocated the teaching of evolution as the foundation of biology. Critics charge this is akin to promoting religious doctrine. A legal suit launched in Colorado charges that the National Science Foundation is using federal funds to establish secular humanism as the official religion of the country. Conservative Christians behind the suit try to apply the same legal arguments used to ban religion in public schools. The suit reaches the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 and is rejected.

c. 1975: Sociobiology
(Rise of Evolution)

Sociobiology explores origins of behavior. The question of how evolution has shaped human behavior dates back to Darwin, who stressed that human emotions, instincts, and intelligence were all honed by natural processes. But Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson generates a new flurry of debate over whether human behavior is biologically determined. He coins the term "sociobiology" to describe a field that looks at the social behavior of all animals. One of the world's experts on social insects, he sees the power of evolution to shape complex behavior. When he turns to human behavior, however, Wilson stirs controversy. In a provocative book, he even uses an evolutionary framework to explain the rise of religion in human society.

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1910 | 1925 | 1930 | 1950 | 1960 | 1970 | 1980 | 1990 | 2000

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