Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity (often the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) or deities. In relation to the creation-evolution controversy the term creationism (or strict creationism) is commonly used to refer to religiously-motivated rejection of evolution as an explanation of origins.
Such beliefs include young Earth creationism, proponents of which believe that the earth is thousands rather than billions of years old. They typically believe the days in Genesis Chapter 1 are 24 hours in length, while Old Earth creationism accepts geological findings and other methods of dating the earth and believes that these findings do not contradict the Genesis account, but reject evolution. The term theistic evolution has been coined to refer to beliefs in creation which are more compatible with the scientific view of evolution and the age of the Earth. Alternately, there are other religious people who support creation, but in terms of allegorical interpretations of Genesis.
Creationism in the West is usually based on creation according to Genesis, and in its broad sense covers a wide range of beliefs and interpretations. Through the 19th century the term most commonly referred to direct creation of individual souls, in contrast to traducianism. However, by 1929 in the United States the term became particularly associated with Christian fundamentalist opposition to human evolution and belief in a young Earth. Several U.S. states passed laws against the teaching of evolution in public schools, as upheld in the Scopes Trial. Evolution was omitted entirely from school textbooks in much of the United States until the 1960s. Since then, renewed efforts to introduce teaching creationism in American public schools in the form of flood geology, creation science, and intelligent design have been consistently held to contravene the constitutional separation of Church and State by a succession of legal judgments. The meaning of the term creationism was contested, but by the 1980s it had been co-opted by proponents of creation science and flood geology.
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