The Creationists

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The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design
The Creationists, first edition.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Ronald Numbers
Country United States
Language English
Subject Creationism
Publisher University of California Press
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 624
ISBN 0-520-08393-8

The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design is a history of the origins of anti-evolutionism, first published in 1992 by Ronald Numbers as The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism. It was revised and expanded in 2006; the subtitle was changed to From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design.

The book has been described as "probably the most definitive history of anti-evolutionism".[1] It has received generally favorable reviews from both the academic and the religious community.[2]


The expanded edition covers the history of creationism from the time of Darwin to the present day. It first describes early opposition during Darwin's lifetime, then George Frederick Wright's conversion from Christian Darwinist to Fundamentalist opponent and how creationism influenced the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy and the rise of prominent populist creationists such as William Jennings Bryan. It then narrates the careers of two early, self-taught, 'scientific' creationists, Harry Rimmer and George McCready Price.

It then chronicles the growth of creationist organisations in the mid 20th century, such as the Religion and Science Association, the Deluge Geology Society, the Evolution Protest Movement (in the United Kingdom), and the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), the latter moving almost immediately in the direction of theistic evolution.

The book then narrates the young Earth creationist backlash against the ASA's modernism, with Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb, Jr.'s publication of The Genesis Flood and the forming of the Creation Research Society, which created the creation science movement. It continues with Morris' founding of the Institute for Creation Research and the Seventh-day Adventist Church's founding of the Geoscience Research Institute.

The book finally describes the influence of creationism in churches and in countries outside the United States, then the rise of the intelligent design movement, before returning to the subject of creationism's global impact.

Creationists mentioned in the book include George Frederick Wright, Louis Agassiz, John William Dawson, George D. Armstrong, Reverend Herbert W. Morris, Charles Hodge, Robert Lewis Dabney, Dwight L. Moody, H. L. Hastings, Luther T. Townsend, Alexander Patterson, Robert Patterson, Eleazar Lord, David Lord, James Dwight Dana.


In the ecumenical journal First Things, historian of Christianity Mark A. Noll describes its 1992 edition as a "thorough, patient, even-handed, and exhaustively researched" chronicle of twentieth century creationism.[3]

Former Archbishop of York John Habgood described the expanded edition, in an article in The Times, as a "massively well-documented history" that "must surely be the definitive study of the rise and growth of a cluster of well-meaning, but irrational, theories over a period of some 160 years."[4]


Notable reviews[edit]

Original edition
  • Stephen R. L. Clark, New York Times Book Review, Jan. 10, 1993
  • Francis B. Harrold, National Center for Science Education
  • J. David Hoeveler, Jr., Science
  • Roger Lewin, Washington Post Book World
  • James A. Mathisen, "Review, The Creationists and When Time Shall Be No More", Sociology of Religion, v.55, n.1, "Religious Experience" (Spring 1994), pp. 94–97.
  • Publishers Weekly
  • James A. Gavan, Review, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, v.91, n.1, pp. 135–136 (June 7, 2005) DOI 10.1002/ajpa.1330910112
  • The New Republic
  • Christian Century
2006 edition


  1. ^ Steve Paulson, "Seeing the light -- of science", Interview with Ronald Numbers,, Jan. 2, 2007.
  2. ^ See references in "notable reviews".
  3. ^ Noll, Mark A. (April 1993). "Ignorant Armies". First Things. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  4. ^ The creation of Creationism, John Habgood, The Times, July 23, 2008 Archived August 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]