1. Michael Ruse

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005867.pub2



How to Cite

Ruse, M. 2009. Creationism. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 OCT 2014)


Creationism is the product of US evangelical religion. Formulated in the American South in the years after the Civil War, it is opposed to evolutionary ideas, and indeed to all forms of modernistic thinking. Creationist efforts to promote the doctrine have made their ways into courts of law, most notably in 1925 when the school teacher John Thomas Scopes was prosecuted for teaching evolution in a high school in Tennessee. After the World War II, the creationist work Genesis Flood (1961) had much effect in turning people to Young Earth Creationism – the belief that the earth is only 6000 years old – and this led to another court case, in Arkansas in 1981. The judge ruled firmly that Creationism taught in schools violates the US constitutional ban on the entwining of state and religion. However, a new mutant, so-called Intelligent Design Theory, has been formulated, which continues to attract the support of many American evangelical Christians.

Key concepts:

American evangelical religion often supports an antievolutionary doctrine known as Creationism. Based on a literal reading of the Bible, Genesis in particular, it has been the subject of continued court cases and thrives today under the name of Intelligent Design Theory.


  • scopes trial;
  • intelligent design;
  • fundamentalism;
  • biblical literalism;
  • Darwinism