Trial and Error:
The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution

Edward J. Larson

Oxford University Press 1985
A book review by Danny Yee © 1992
Trial and Error is a history of the legal debate over the teaching of evolution and creation in the United States. It begins with the introduction of evolutionary ideas into botany and zoology textbooks towards the end of the 19th Century, which raised no complaints for thirty years. It then discusses the rise of fundamentalism and the beginnings of opposition to the teaching of evolution, culminating in the passing of anti-evolution laws in several states and the drama of the Scopes trial in the 20s. The final chapters deal with the successful overturning of all anti-evolution statutes in the 60s and 70s and the final rejection by the Supreme court of attempts to get "creation science" equal time in schools.

Central to this history is the constitutional separation of church and state in the US. As usual, the hero is the ACLU, without which one suspects this part of the constitution would probably have been ignored.

November 1992

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%T Trial and Error
%S The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution
%A Larson, Edward J.
%I Oxford University Press
%D 1985
%O paperback, references, index
%G ISBN 0195061438
%P viii,243pp