The Conflict Between Religion and Evolution

  • February 04, 2009

Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Americans are still fighting over evolution. If anything, the controversy has recently grown in both size and intensity. In the last five years alone, for example, debates over how evolution should be taught in public schools have been heard in school boards, town councils and legislatures in more than half the states.

Throughout much of the 20th century, opponents of evolution (many of them theologically conservative Protestants) either tried to eliminate the teaching of Darwin's theory from public school science curricula or urged science instructors also to teach a version of the creation story found in the biblical book of Genesis. The famous 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, for instance, involved a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the state's schools.

Read the complete overview The Conflict Between Religion and Evolution on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's Web site.

Pew Forum also has additional resources on the debate over evolution, including The Social and Legal Dimensions of the Evolution DebateDarwin and His Theory of Evolution and Religious Groups' Views on Evolution.