Reclaiming peace : evangelical scientists and evolution after World War II.
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Rios, Christopher M.
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This dissertation argues that during the same period in which antievolutionism became a movement within American evangelicalism, two key groups of evangelical scientists attempted to initiate a countervailing trend. The American Scientific Affiliation was founded in 1941 at the encouragement of William Houghton, president of Moody Bible Institute. The Research Scientists' Christian Fellowship was started in London in 1944 as one of the graduate fellowship groups of Inter-Varsity Fellowship. Both organizations were established out of concern for the apparent threat stemming from contemporary science and with a desire to demonstrate the compatibility of Christian faith and science. Yet the assumptions of the respective founders and the context within which the organizations developed were notably different. At the start, the Americans assumed that reconciliation between the Bible and evolution required the latter to be proven untrue. The British never doubted the validity of evolutionary theory and were convinced from the beginning that conflict stemmed not from the teachings of science or the Bible, but from the perspectives and biases with which one approached the issues. Nevertheless, by the mid 1980s these groups became more similar than they were different. As the ASA gradually accepted evolution and developed convictions similar to those of their British counterpart, the RSCF began to experience antievolutionary resistance with greater force. To set the stage for these developments, this study begins with a short introduction to the issues and brief examination of current historiographical trends. A background chapter follows that explores the issues that conditioned the intellectual and cultural settings of the 1940s. The work then proceeds to analyze the developments of the ASA and RSCF in four chapters. Chapters three and four explore the groups from the time of their founding in the 1940s to 1965. Chapters five and six explore events from 1965 to 1985.