The Descent of AntiEvolution
Seth Dowland of Duke reviews Michael Lienesch, In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial,and the Making of the Antievolution Movement (Hat tip). An excerpt:
Michael Lienesch's fine new book, _In the Beginning_, helps us understand the milieu from which the Creation Museum emerged. Lienesch contends that in the years between World War I and the Great Depression, an identifiable antievolution movement took shape. Hedraws extensively on social movement theory to make sense of the movement's early years. The book demonstrates how opposition to evolution became a cause celebre among conservative Christians, and it illustrates how antievolutionists transformed their ideology into a political movement. . . . By creating institutional and rhetorical structures in which conservative Christians could unite around a shared perception of rising secularity, fundamentalists had laid the groundwork for a mass political movement. But in the early 1920s, they lacked an issue around which they could rally their followers. Evolution became that issue.