EDWARD J. LARSON
Title: Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution
Binding: Paper Back
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA 1989-12-07
0195061438 / 9780195061437
Seller ID: 20070829120868
The debate over teaching evolution in the public schools remains one of the most emotionally-charged controversies in twentieth-century America. Now available in a revised and updated edition, Edward J. Larson's highly-acclaimed study--which ranges from before the Scopes trial of 1925 to the creationism disputes of the 1980s--offers the first comprehensive account of the educational and legal battles erupting from this persistent confrontation.
Larson traces the origins of the dispute back to the late nineteenth century, a period marked by the scientific acceptance of evolution, the rise of a distinct fundamentalist branch within Protestant Christianity, and the spread of public secondary education. He argues that the ever-increasing interaction between these factors led to a series of legal confrontations, all of the same nature, from the 1920s to the present day.
Analyzing the developments in teaching evolution and the statutes and court cases spawned by them, Larson concludes that public science education has never deviated too far from public opinion. Thus, strong regional opposition in the 1920s to Darwinism resulted in bans on evolutionary teaching, while the Supreme Court's overturning of those bans in 1968 came only when wider popular acceptance of the theory of evolution had occurred. While finding that legislators have responded more readily to public opinion than judges, Larson reveals that even the courts have operated within the boundaries set by public sentiment and have generally refused to rule on the scientific merits of either side's argument.
Lucid and provocative, this study offers a much-needed historical perspective on a debate that has resisted a final resolution for more than half a century. This edition contains a new chapter which treats the ramifications of the controversy in the 1980s.