I completed a PhD in the history of science for the University of Florida in 2014. Gainesville was a striking place, in that Betty Smocovitis, historian of the Neo-Darwinian synthesis, was one of my professors, but the evangelical churches in town took a strong anti-evolution stance.
I like to get at the heart of controversy, and discovered the story of Francis Schaeffer in the course of doing my dissertation research. Schaeffer is a striking figure because he articulated in the moment of the 1981 Arkansas creationism case why conservative Christians should stand with those in Arkansas who wanted an alternative to evolution taught in the public schools.
This case caused a huge uproar among evolutionists, including Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, who participated.
When I defended my dissertation for my committee including Smocovitis, I was able to explain the nature of the protest YEC defenders were making using a lecture by Schaeffer entitled “A Change in the Concept of Law” available at Soundword.com. It is from 1962 and details why Schaeffer argued that the Supreme Court’s power over the states should be limited. It deals with the desegregation of schools as well as school prayer, both being hot topics in 1962. For some reason, no one had ever published about this lecture of Schaeffer’s.
I was able to interview Udo Middelmann, Schaeffer’s son-in-law, as well as Tim LaHaye, before he passed away, about the 1970s. My dissertation is available on WorldCat under the title, “From Scopes to Reagan”, It also includes a interview with George Marsden, historian of evangelicalism and a participant in the Arkansas case.
I wanted finally to understand the Dover trial—Barbara Forrest told me ID has not affected how evolution is handled in the universities, but it has affected how evolution is taught in the public schools.
There is a book by Penn State professors that proves that ultimately 60% of teachers in America are basically avoiding the topic of evolution or watering it down so much that it is insignificant so as to avoid controversy.
Interviews with creationists have demonstrated they are primarily concerned with the moral direction of children since the 1960s. Scientists are contending for scientific literacy. That appears to be the tension.
I look forward to hearing responses to this research.