In the 19th century, particularly after the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, the idea that life had evolved was an active source of academic debate centered on the philosophical, social and religious implications of evolution. Today, the modern evolutionary synthesis is accepted by a vast majority of scientists.
This Islamic view of human origins and man's favored status in the universe does not square with the dominant scientific view of evolution as argued by Charles Darwin and the scientific communities around the world. If one follows the logic of the evolutionists, man appeared after a long process of transformation from lower forms of existence to this higher form of biological development
larger theological issue concerned the explanation itself. Darwin consciously wrote his book with earlier models in mind, especially the natural theology of William Paley. In 1802 the Reverend Paley published his view of the origin of life's complexity in a volume called Natural Theology; or, Evidences for the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature...
Anti-evolutionary activism has grown in the United States since 1980. Theological and social factors contributed to the phenomenal popularity of scientific creationism in the late twentieth century as Americans became increasingly suspicious of science. The battles between evolutionism and creationism have raised many questions about the separation of church and state, the teaching of controversial subjects in public schools, and the ability of scientists to communicate with the public.
While the Scopes Trial created a national sensation, the outcome was far from clear. The publicity may have stopped some states from enacting similar laws, but anti-evolutionary laws were passed in many other states. Teachers in Tennessee in the 1960s were still required to sign a pledge that they would not teach evolution.
The Scopes Trial was the famous trial in 1925 where a high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violatiing the Butler Act (Tennessee) that made it unlawful to teach evolution in any state school. By today's standards this seems quite backward with the hot debate of separation of church and state.
Despite this evidence, many Americans refuse to believe in evolution because they hold tightly to religious beliefs, most of which are taught in childhood well before young people learn of evolution, Coyne said. Three-quarters of Americans profess an absolute belief in God, and 63 percent believe in angels.
A 2006 survey showed that just 40 percent of Americans accepted the truth of the statement that “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” That was roughly half the number in France, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In fact, out of 34 countries, America’s acceptance of evolution was next to last, only ahead of Turkey.
The problem with this argument is obvious: Darwinism and Genesis do clearly overlap. The Bible does not merely speak of the who and the why. It also makes explicit claims concerning the how.
Creationist assertions aside, there is currently an overwhelming amount of evidence in support of evolution and of associated facts in geology and astronomy. Fossil evidence, molecular evidence, radioactive dating, etc. all converge on one common point: the earth is old (about 4.5 billion years) and life has evolved. Creationists, however, do not realize that the convergence of this amount of evidence is tantamount to certainty. They commonly take a smaller puzzle, a question or discussion of how a particular thing might have evolved, and claim the discussion as proof that evolutionary theory is "in crisis" (For example, the debate over punctuated equilibrium is commonly misrepresented in creationist literature.)
The term "creationist" has taken on a number of different meanings during the course of the ongoing evolution/creation debate. In this section, the term "creationist" will be used as synonymous with "scientific creationist", meaning a person who takes the Biblical account to be literally true. People who make other syntheses between religion and evolution will be referred to as "theistic evolutionists", though this term too encompasses a large group.
Throughout much of the 20th century, opponents of evolution (many of them theologically conservative Protestants) either tried to eliminate the teaching of Darwin's theory from public school science curricula or urged science instructors also to teach a version of the creation story found in the biblical book of Genesis. The famous 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, for instance, involved a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the state's schools.