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How the evolution debate evolved

Sunday, July 31, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:02 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1925 In the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, high school teacher John Scopes is convicted of violating Tennessee law by teaching evolution to high school students.

1961 John C. Whitcomb Jr. and Henry Morris publish “The Genesis Flood,” supporting the biblical account of creation with interpretations of scientific evidence.

1963 Morris and colleagues launch the Creation Research Society, which publishes the creationist journal Creation Research Society Quarterly.

1968 In Epperson v. Arkansas, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down an Arkansas statute prohibiting the teaching of evolution.

1972 Henry Morris founds the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, an institution for creationist literature and advocacy.

1981 Stanley Weinberg founds the National Center for Science Education, a pro-evolution advocacy organization, now in Oakland, Calif.

1982 In McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education, a federal court declares unconstitutional a “balanced treatment” statute requiring creationism to be taught alongside evolution.

1984 In response to mounting social challenges posed by creationists, the National Academies of Science distribute “Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences,” a booklet decrying creationism as a nonscience and instructing teachers on the importance of teaching evolution.

1986 Famed evolutionist and ardent atheist Richard Dawkins publishes “The Blind Watchmaker,” elucidating the case for evolutionary theory and blasting its challengers.

1987 The U.S. Supreme Court rules creation science in public schools unconstitutional in Edwards v. Aguillard, striking down the Louisiana “Creation Act” as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

1989 The Foundation for Thoughts and Ethics publishes “Of Pandas and People,” intended as a textbook supplement criticizing evolution and promoting intelligent design.

1991 Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson publishes “Darwin on Trial,” the intelligent design manifesto credited with stirring the movement.

1996 Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe introduces “irreducible complexity” as a challenge to natural selection in his book “Darwin’s Black Box.” The Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank in Seattle, launches its Center for the Renewal of Culture and Science, the leader in the intelligent design movement.

1999 The Kansas State Board of Education de-emphasizes evolution in state science standards. The decision is reversed two years later.

2002 Intelligent design advocates launch the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design, a professional organization with annual conferences and a quarterly online journal.

2004 A school district in Dover, Pa., orders teachers to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution; a lawsuit in federal court ensues.

2005 Lobbied by intelligent design advocates, the Kansas State Board of Education is again redrafting science standards to challenge evolution.


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