One of the many books I am reading right know is called “The Science Education of American Girls” from a historical perspective by Kim Tolley. Though I have found many of the things on the book interesting to share with you I will focus today in the concept of “intelligent design” and the “the rejection of evolution”. Though as this is a topic lots of people have written about I will make a short post on this historical “fun fact” I have learned from the book.
When the U.S became an independent country an education reform came underway with the objective of building a new nation from scratch. European countries had a long tradition on doing science while the U.S. as a new country had to invest on creating a citizenship that would care about scientific advancement and educating future scientists and inventors. With that objective the nation aimed to used the ideas of enlightenment in education. However, this “enlightenment” were mixed with the puritan religious ideas of the time.
The study of geography (which in the antebellum era meant Physical, Political & Astronomical Geography like geology, botanics, physics, etc.) was seen as essential to not only form a national identity but also to gain knowledge of God. Back in that time it was believed that knowledge of God could came from reading the bible and by learning about the natural world (this is what we called natural theology). Furthermore, the study of geography would entrench the notion of how perfect the world was and how it was created for humans. This is the historical antecedent of the modern concept of intelligent design.
Now though science and religion were not seen as conflicting. The new discoveries of the era would start create tension into the conflict that would develop later in the century:
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Until the next post,