Movements to Teach Creationism in Schools

There continue to be numerous efforts to introduce creationism in U.S. classrooms. One strategy is to declare that evolution is a religion, and therefore it should not be taught in the classroom either, or that if evolution is a religion, then surely creationism as well can be taught in the classroom.

In the 1980s, UC Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson began reading the scientific literature on evolution. This led him to author Darwin on Trial (1991), which examined the evidence for evolution from a religious point of view and challenged the assumption that the only reasonable explanation for the origin of species must be a naturalistic one, though science is defined by searching for natural explanations for phenomena. This book, and his subsequent efforts to encourage and coordinate creationists with more scientific credentials, was the start of the intelligent design movement. Intelligent design asserts that there is evidence that life was created by an "intelligent designer" (mainly that the physical properties of living organisms are so complex that they must have been "designed"). Proponents claim that intelligent design takes "all available facts" into account rather than just those available through naturalism. Opponents assert that intelligent design is a pseudoscience because its claims cannot be tested by experiment (see falsifiability) and do not propose any new hypotheses.

Many proponents of the intelligent design movement support requiring that it be taught in the public schools. For example, the Discovery Institute (DI), a conservative think tank, and Phillip E. Johnson support the policy of "Teach the Controversy," which entails presenting to students evidence for and against evolution, and then encouraging students to evaluate that evidence themselves.

While many proponents of intelligent design believe that it should be taught in schools, other creationists believe that legislation is not appropriate. Answers in Genesis (AiG) has said:

"AiG is not a lobby group, and we oppose legislation for compulsion of creation teaching. ...why would we want an atheist forced to teach creation and give a distorted view? But we would like legal protection for teachers who present scientific arguments against the sacred cow of evolution such as staged pictures of peppered moths and forged embryo diagrams."