The Abrahamic religions (that is, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) all have fundamentalist schools and denominations that believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Because of the belief in the infallibility of the Bible, the fundamentalists reject evolution and believe in the literal truth of the origin accounts as told in Genesis. The fundamentalist Christians, mainly Protestants and some charismatic Catholics, are more numerous and better known, and the consequences of their rejection of evolution are more important for public education in the United States than the fundamentalist schools and denominations of the other Abrahamic religions. Fundamentalist Christians have attempted to pass laws to prohibit the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Having failed to prohibit the teaching of evolution, the fundamentalists have either tried to have the Genesis story told alongside the teaching of the principles of evolution or downplay the centrality of evolutionary theory to the modern life sciences in K-12 textbooks.
There is, however, variation in the explanations of the origin of species offered by the antievolutionists.
The Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis maintain, for example, that the universe, earth, and all species were created less than 10,000 years ago, as described in Genesis. The less literal Christians have proposed the gap theory and the day-age theory. The gap theory sees God as modifying species in the gaps in the fossil record and the day-age theory posits that one day in the Genesis might be longer than a 24-hour day as we know it. More recently, the old idea of the English theologian William Paley (ca. 1802) has been revived in the form of Intelligent Design, or ID. The proponents of ID accept that species undergo small changes and the earth is older than 10,000 years. They argue, however, that living creatures are too complex to have evolved without the planning and intervention of an intelligent designer.
The leaders of antievolutionary organizations are educated. Many have doctorate degrees. While they have thus far presented no research that confirms creationism, many do believe that the widespread acceptance of evolution has led to social ills. In the absence of published research in recognized and accepted scientific and academic journals, it is difficult for creationists to participate in a serious debate on the importance of evolutionary theory to the life sciences.
- Alters, B. J., & Alters S. M. (2001). Defending evolution: A guide to the creation/evolution controversy. Boston: Jones & Bartlett.
- Number, R. L. (1993). The creationists: The evolution of scientific creationism. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Scott, E. C., & Branch, G. (2003). Antievolutionism: Changes and continuities. BioScience, 53, 282-285.