Beliefnet
If history runs in cycles, nowhere is the phenomenon better displayed than in the perennial renewal of tensions between creationists and evolutionists. These adversaries (warring over school curricula in Kansas at present) would do well to read Ronald Numbers and John Stenhouse's "Disseminating Darwinism."

This collection of essays by a variety of academics and edited by Number and Stenhouse, discusses the how religion, gender, and geography affected different communities' reception of evolution. Many Scottish Presbyterians of the late nineteenth century respected Darwin's theories enough to grapple with them rigorously, transforming evolutionism to suit their needs and spreading his thought in the process. Roman Catholicism never rejected evolutionism outrightly, but rather engaged in an internal struggle between different ecumenical camps to decide how Church teachings could accommodate (or reject) the new materialism.

Both sides in the current evolution debate will recognize the battles these essays describe. While one side missteps by supporting personalities-thereby losing influence for political reasons rather than for the merits of their views, the other blindly defends its turf-often universities-against the encroachment of outside forces. Those who find a third way, like theologians who devised a form of theistic evolutionism, wind up being the most popular and instrumental. Anyone, academic or otherwise, who is fascinated with the history of antagonism over this scientific revolution will find "Disseminating Darwin" instructive and compelling.

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