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Darwinism Comes to America

By: Ronald L Numbers

216 pages, no illustrations

Harvard University Press

Paperback | Nov 1998 | #106278 | ISBN: 0674193121
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £24.95 $31/€28 approx
Hardback | Dec 1998 | #106274 | ISBN: 0674193113
Out of Print Details

About this book

Historical overview of the peculiarly American debate between evolutionists and creationists, which disposes of misconceptions concerning the impact of Darwinism on the religious views of scientists and examines the issues which exercised the post-Darwin generation of scientists.

[Darwinism Comes to America] offers major new insights for our understanding of how America responded to Darwin. -- Peter J. Bowler Science This is an interesting, important, and concise book by a top-notch historian of science. It deals primarily with the late-19th- and early-20th-century reception of Darwinism in the United States as experienced by scientists, scientific organizations, and religious organizations...[Numbers's] underlying thesis is that the reception of Darwinism was neither as revolutionary as evolutionists say, nor as insignificant as the creationists say. Numbers argues that, in fact, there was much internal debate within both sides over the scientific meaning of "evolution" and the biblical interpretation of "creation," and therefore these was actually a constellation of views within both camps...This relatively slim volume really covers a lot of uncharted territory in six short chapters; it includes chapters on the Scopes trial and the evolutionary debate within the Seventh Day Adventist, Holiness, and Pentecostal churches. Accessible to general readers and all academic levels, this is a priority acquisition for well-established history of science and religious history collections. -- R. F. White Choice In this short, but pithy, book, historian Ronald L. Numbers documents the reception of Darwinism in America, both within scientific circles and among the general public...Numbers does a superb job of detailing Adventist, Holiness, and Pentecostal responses to Darwinism. He shows how and why, at the time of the Scopes trial, few "biblical literalists" interpreted the Bible as claiming a recent creation in six 24-hour days, but by the late 20th century young-Earth creationism had become the dominant form of organized antievolutionism in America...Throughout the book, Numbers confronts what he calls myths or misperceptions that have infiltrated the popular consciousness of the history of Darwinism. -- Laurie R. Godfrey Science Books & Films


Introduction - Darwinism, creationism and intelligent design; Darwinism and the dogma of separate creations - the responses of American naturalists to evolution; creating creationism - meanings and uses since the age of Agassiz; Darwinism in the American Soth - from the early 1860s to the late 1920s; the scopes trial -history and legend; "sciences of Satanic origin" - adventist attitudes toward evolutionary biology and geology; creation, evolution and holy ghost religion - holiness and pentecostal responses to Darwinism; appendix - naturalists in the National Academy of Sciences, 1863-1900.

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Ronald L. Numbers is Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin--Madison. He has served as president of the History of Science Society, the American Society of Church History, and the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science, Division of the History of Science and Technology.

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