Antievolutionists and Creationists
When the Origin of Species went on sale late in 1859,
the term "creationist" commonly designated a person
who believed in the special origination of a soul for each human
fetus, as opposed to a traducianist, who believed that the souls
of children were inherited from their parents. Although Darwin
(in private) and his allies occasionally referred to their opponents
as "creationists," for about seventy-five years after
the publication of his book such adversaries were more typically
called "advocates of creation" or, increasingly, "anti-evolutionists."
This custom prevailed well into the twentieth century, in large
part because antievolutionists remained united far more by their
hostility to evolution than by any common commitment to a particular
view of creation.
As late as the 1920s antievolutionists chose
to dedicate their organizations to "Christian Fundamentals,"
"Anti-Evolution," and "Anti-False Science,"
not to creationism. It was not until 1929 that one of George McCready
Prices former students, the Seventh-day Adventist biologist
Harold W. Clark, explicitly packaged Prices new catastrophism
as "creationism." In a brief self-published book titled
Back to Creationism Clark urged readers to quit simply
opposing evolution and to adopt the new "science of creationism,"
by which he meant Prices flood geology. For decades to come
various Christian groups, from flood geologists to theistic evolutionists,
squabbled over which camp most deserved to use the creationist
label. However, by the 1980s the flood geologists/scientific creationists
had clearly co-opted the term for their distinctive interpretation
of earth history.
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| Contributed by: Dr. Ron Numbers