About Creationism

An Evolving Dialogue

edited by James B. Miller
Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2001. 544 pages.

In the introduction to his anthology, Miller explains that "the articles collected herein provide a basic introduction to contemporary evolutionary biology, provide historical and philosophical perspectives on the relationship between evolutionary biology and religious thought, and consider the intelligent design movements from scientific, philosophical and religious perspectives." Among the contributors who will be familiar to readers of RNCSE are Francisco J. Ayala, Douglas J. Futuyma, Ursula Goodenough, Stephen Jay Gould, John F. Haught, Ernst Mayr, and Kenneth R. Miller — as well as intelligent design proponents Michael J. Behe and William A. Dembski.

Anti-Evolution: An Annotated Bibliography

by Tom McIver
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2008. 400 pages.

Containing bibliographical data and brief objective descriptions of almost 2000 anti-evolutionist books, pamphlets, and tracts, and with useful biographical data on their authors, Anti-Evolution is invaluable for the serious student of creationism. Writing in Nature, Euan G Nisbet said, "Tom McIver has provided us with a splendid bestiary of anti-evolution ideas. ... It is a fascinating work ... either for a chuckle or, on those unpleasant occasions, to face up to a nightmare on the rampage." Published in 1988 and reissued in paperback, with a new introduction, in 1992 and again in 2008. McIver is a long-time member of NCSE.

Chronology of the Evolution–Creationism Controversy

by Randy Moore, Mark Decker, and Sehoya Cotner
Westport (CT): Greenwood Press, 2010. 454 pages.

Calling the Chronology “accessible and endlessly fascinating,” reviewer David A. Reid praises it as “a veritable treasure trove of well-known and less well-known works” and suggests that it will serve students and teachers well, despite its $85 cost. But the text suffers from a degree of repetitiveness, and the authors frequently neglect the historical context of the ideas they consider, discussing them only with respect to future developments. (Reid gives the example of their discussion of Plato and Aristotle, which “ignores ... that Plato and Aristotle were struggling to explain how and why change could occur in an ordered universe.”)

Conjuring Science

by Christopher Toumey
New Brunswick, NJ: Llewellyn, 1996. 197 pages.

The author of God's Own Scientists turns to the role of science in American culture, analyzing episodes of science in American life such as the cold fusion controversy, antievolutionism, mad scientists, and the fluoridation controversy.

Creation and Evolution

by Lenn E. Goodman
London: Routledge, 2010; 222 pages

“Writing against both biblical fundamentalists and militant secularists, Goodman hopes to show that religion is no threat to evolution and that Darwinism doesn’t mean that God is dead,” explains reviewer Arthur McCalla. “His grand theme is that proximate and ultimate causes need not be rivals and therefore that evolution and theism are complementary; God works in and through nature.” While appreciating the thoughtful approach Goodman takes in Creation and Evolution, McCalla suspects that it “will fulfill its goal of encouraging readers to develop their own models of reconciling Darwinism and religion only for readers who share its author’s religious interpretation of the world.”

Creationism on Trial

by Langdon Gilkey
Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1998. 232 pages.

Gilkey testified for the plaintiffs in McLean v. Arkansas, the case that challenged the constitutionality of Arkansas's "Balanced treatment for creation-science and evolution-science act" of 1981. In his account of his experiences, Creationism on Trial: Evolution and God at Little Rock (1985), he explained his antipathy to the law: "I came to the conclusion that this law and ones similar to it are ... in fact dangerous to the health of our society; and that through its wide enactment it would represent a disaster to our common life, especially our religious life. ... This law, I was convinced — and this was my subsequent argument — would serve to establish a particular form of the Christian religion in the teaching program of the public schools; therefore, it presented a grave threat to the free religious life of our country."

Cult Archaeology & Creationism (expanded edition)

edited by Francis B. Harrold and Raymond A. Eve
Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1995. 187 pages.

In the preface to Cult Archaeology & Creationism, the editors explain "[t]he articles in this book are concerned with pseudoscientific beliefs about the human past. They are not primarily concerned with showing how and why these beliefs are wrong. ... Instead, this book is concerned primarily with two tasks relatively neglected by the scientific community: understanding these beliefs and dealing with them." Contributors include Kenneth L. Feder, Alice B. Kehoe, Laurie Godfrey and John Cole, and Bernard Ortiz de Montellano. The reviewer for American Antiquity described the first edition as "Now needed more than ever. ... A very useful book."

Evolution and Creationism: A Documentary and Reference Guide

by Christian C Young and Mark A Largent
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. 320 pages.

From the publisher: "[T]he evolution versus creation debate never goes away. The best way to understand these debates is to read the arguments of the individuals involved. This reference work provides over 40 of the most important documents to help readers understand the debate in the eyes of the people of the time. Each document is from a major participant in the debates — from the predecessors of Darwin to the judges of the influential court cases of the present day. The editors have included an introduction and analysis of each document that places it within historical and scientific context."

Evolution in the Courtroom: A Reference Guide

by Randy Moore
Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2001. 381 pages.

Recounting the legal history of the creationism/evolution debate, from the Scopes trial on, Evolution in the Courtroom also offers extras such as excerpts from key legal documents, a detailed chronology, and profiles of the major players, such as Frank White, the Arkansas governor who signed a "balanced treatment" act without even reading it. The reviewer for American Reference Books Annual praised Evolution in the Courtoom as "a wonderful addition to a school library, preferably high school, as well as in a science classroom reference library." Randy Moore is a member of NCSE and received its Friend of Darwin award in 2004.

Evolution vs. Creationism 2nd Edition

by Eugenie C. Scott
Berkeley: UC Press, 2009. 351 pages.

From the publisher: "More than eighty years after the Scopes trial, the debate over teaching evolution continues in spite of the emptiness of the creationist positions. This accessible resource, now completely revised and updated, provides an essential introduction to the ongoing dispute's many facets — the scientific evidence for evolution, the legal and educational basis for its teaching, and the various religious points of view — as well as a concise history of the evolution-creationism controversy. This second edition also contains a discussion of the legal history, updated to include the seminal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover as well as a new chapter on public opinion and media coverage."

Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design

by Allene S. Phy-Olsen
Santa Barbara (CA): Greenwood Press, 2010. 171 pages.

Commending the book’s organization and annotated bibliography, reviewer Robert H. Rothman nevertheless complains of “the long and often irrelevant digressions” in the limited space of the book. While the discussion of the Scopes trial is good, Epperson v. Arkansas and Edwards v. Aguillard are not even mentioned, a serious omission. Many of the chapters are unfocused, and the discussion of theistic evolution is not coherently presented. Phy-Olsen “seems to accept some creationist arguments at face value, such as claims of gaps in the fossil records.” There are a variety of errors of fact, some of which Rothman diagnoses as either “cheap shots” or manifesting a lack of understanding.

God vs. Darwin: The War Between Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom

by Mano Singham
Lanham (MD): Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. 192 pages.

Reviewer Stephen P. Weldon recommends God vs. Darwin, but with reservations, for its treatment of the eighty-year history of legal battles over the teaching of evolution in American schools. Weldon praises Singham’s ability to write clearly and succinctly, particularly on the legal issues, but observes that the book is mainly a synthesis, presenting no new research or perspectives. He describes the book as “lopsided” in its emphasis of the Scopes trial, expresses surprise at Singham’s failure to cite Edward J. Larson’s Trial and Error, and regards his use of the term “religion” and his portrayal of “intelligent design” as stealth creationism to be imprecise and simplistic.

God's Own Scientists: Creationists in a Secular World

by Christopher P. Toumey
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1994. 289 pages.

God's Own Scientists investigates the anti-evolution movement through the eyes of a cultural anthropologist who spent over five years talking with, studying with, and interviewing creationists. "Creationism has two overriding themes," Toumey concludes, "an unquenched hostility to the idea of evolution, based on the belief that evolution is intimately involved with immorality ... and a quasi-religious awe of science ... so that creationism will be made more credible by the sanctification that supposedly flows from the plenary authority of science." A valuable and insightful study. Toumey is also the author of Conjuring Science: Scientific Symbols and Cultural Meanings in American Life (New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996).

Living Large in Nature: A Writer’s Idea of Creationism

by Reg Saner
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. 136 pages.

Reviewer Lisa H. Sideris explains, “Reg Saner’s book Living Large in Nature ... explores the concept of creation from a writer and nature lover’s perspective. The book is part memoir, part argument for the superior charms of a Darwinian view of life—not to mention the charms of the American West.” While praising the book as well-written and for its intriguing discussion of the atomic bomb, Sideris also faulted it as self-absorbed and self-congratulatory as well as adopting a simplistic view of both religion and science: “In the end, Saner’s book is a sermon to the converted.”

More than Darwin: An Encyclopedia of the People and Places of the Evolution–Creationism Controversy

by Randy Moore and Mark D Decker
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008. 415 pages.

More than Darwin provides a carefully researched and lavishly illustrated account of over 500 people, places, and organizations that figure prominently in the creationism/evolution controversy, from Adam and Eve to Evelle J. Younger (who, as attorney general of California in 1975, declared that "balanced treatment" acts were unconstitutional). The reviewer for Library Journal wrote, "It is a major source of information on the subject, covering the entire range of topics in the history of the debate. ... This accessible resource is a great tool for anyone looking for short and concise background on the evolution–creationism controversy. Recommended for all public and high school libraries."

Science and Creationism

by Ashley Montagu
New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. 320 pages.

Species of Origins

by Karl W. Giberson and Donald A. Yerxa
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 288 pages.

Intended as part as a sequel to Ronald L. Numbers's seminal work, Species of Origins impartially surveys the full spectrum of the creationism/evolution debate, from young-earth creationism and "intelligent design" through theistic evolution to atheistic evolution. Michael Ruse describes it as "a simply invaluable primer on the subject that should be made compulsory reading for all who have ever thought on science-and-religion ... I can think of no better place to start into the debate about origins — creationism or evolution — than with this book." The authors are professors — Giberson of physics and Yerxa of history — at Eastern Nazarene University.

Strange Creations

by Donna Kossy
Los Angeles: Feral House, 2001. 350 pages.

As the subtitle "Aberrant ideas of human origins from ancient astronauts to aquatic apes" suggests, Strange Creations takes a look at a wide variety of pseudoanthropological views, from the "de-evolution" theory of Oscar Kiss Maerth (which inspired the band Devo) to the theosophical views of the Heaven's Gate cult. Unsurprisingly, a chapter is devoted to creationism, describing not only the stalwarts of the ICR but also colorful characters such as Emil Gaverluk, the author of Did Genesis Man Conquer Space? Wolf Roder praises Strange Creations as "a very useful source on a wide variety of pseudoscientific ideas, oddball groups, and their writings."

The Creationist Debate

by Arthur McCalla
New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. 228 pages.

From the publisher: "This book places the present Creationist opposition to the theory of evolution in historical context by setting out the ways in which, from the seventeenth century onwards, investigations of the history of the earth and of humanity have challenged the biblical views of chronology and human destiny, and the Christian responses to these challenges. The author's interest is not primarily directed to questions such as the epistemological status of scientific versus religious knowledge or the possibility of a Darwinian ethics, but rather to the problems, and various responses to the problems, raised in a particular historical period in the West for the Bible by the massive extension of the duration of geological time and human history."

The Creationists

by Ronald L. Numbers
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. 606 pages.

Republished in 2006 with additional chapters on the global spread of creationism and the advent of the "intelligent design" movement, Ronald L. Numbers's monumental study remains the preeminent work on the history of creationism, respected by people on both sides of the dispute. "For those interested in the background of the modern revival of creationism, whether evolutionists or creationists," wrote Henry M. Morris, "this book is a rich mine of information and historical insights." And Elliott Sober comments, "Those who wish to understand current opposition to Darwinism, and the larger question of how science and religion interact, must read this book."

The Evolution Controversy in America

by George E. Webb
Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1996. 297 pages.

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial

by Peter Goodchild
Los Angeles: L.A. Theater Works, 2001. (Audio cassette.)

Based on the original trial transcripts from the Scopes trial, this recording of the radio drama The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial features a bravura performance by Edward Asner as William Jennings Bryan. A reviewer for the Wall Street Journal commented, "the trial itself is heard as it happened, and is all the more dramatic for being true. ... while I doubt it'll change many minds in Harrisburg [where the trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover was then being conducted], or anywhere else, it still makes for a thought-provoking show."

The Panda's Black Box: Opening up the Intelligent Design Controversy

edited by Nathaniel C. Comfort
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. 165 pages.

In his introductory essay to The Panda's Black Box, the editor writes, "By all means, let us teach the controversy — but not in biology class. We need the tools of the humanities to peel away the rhetoric and the politics, to see what the controversy is really about. We must open the panda's black box." Accordingly, Michael Ruse discusses the argument from design and Edward J. Larson rehearses the legal history of the creationism/evolution controversy, while Scott F. Gilbert explains "Why Biologists Are Loath to 'Teach the Controversy'"; Jane Maienschein reflects on "Untangling Debates about Science and Religion"; and Robert Maxwell Young diagnoses "intelligent design" as "A Symptom of Metaphysical Malaise."

Where Darwin Meets the Bible

by Larry Witham
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 344 pages.

In Where Darwin Meets the Bible, Larry Witham provides a lively and anecdotal account of the contemporary creationist/evolution controversy, based on his wide reading and personal interviews with many of the principal players on both the antievolution and the evolution sides. Reviewing the book for Science, Kenneth R. Miller praised Witham for weaving "the isolated elements of the conflict into a fabric that connects the flow of ideas, events, and politics. Any scientist tempted to believe that the major figures in the anti-evolution movement are half-hearted, insincere, or simply opportunistic in their assault against mainstream science would do well to read this book."