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Volume 22 Issue 11 (November 2012)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 4-9 | Full Text | PDF (1.3MB)

The evolution of creationism

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David R. Montgomery*

Quaternary Research Center and Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, Box 351310, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1310, USA


For centuries, natural philosophers, their scientific successors, and theologians alike sought to explain the physical and natural world. The now common cultural narrative of perpetual conflict between science and religion simplifies the arguments and struggles of the past and overlooks cross-pollination between those who embraced faith and reason as the keys to understanding earth history. When geologists unequivocally dismissed the idea of a global flood and recognized Earth’s antiquity, many conservative theologians acknowledged that there was more to the past than literally spelled out in Genesis, the opening chapter of the Bible. But some Christians—those we now call creationists—rejected this perspective and chose to see geology as a threat to their faith. In so doing, they abandoned faith in reason and cast off a long-standing theological tradition that rocks don’t lie.


Manuscript received 24 May 2012; accepted 21 August 2012

DOI: 10.1130/GSATG158A.1