The Creationists 

by Ronald Numbers

Published 1993: 458 pages


Pious charlatans, firebrand demagogues and scientific cranks stalk the pages of this scholarly, thoroughgoing, at times plodding history of the modern revival of creationism. Unlike 19th-century creationists, who rejected Darwinian evolution but acknowledged that life on earth has spanned millions of years, today's creationists believe that God made woman and man in a single act of creation within the last 10,000 years. They draw inspiration for their beliefs from George McCready Price, a Seventh-day Adventist who in the 1920s pioneered "flood geology," which traces most fossils back to Noah's flood and its aftermath. Numbers, a professor of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin, unravels the tangled religious roots of creationism. His evenhanded treatment incorporates a quietly devastating critique of the modern creationist movement and its efforts to influence school curricula. He reveals creationists to be a divided and contentious lot, squabbling fiercely with one another.