"The Evolution of Creationism in America"

Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date: March 26
Time: 8pm
Venue: Fallon Theatre, FSU Fine Arts Building • map

"Numbers is one of the few scholars in the battle over evolution who remain widely respected by both evolutionists and creationists." –Steve Paulson, Salon.com

Ron L. Numbers has been described as the world’s leading expert on the origins and beliefs underlying creationism, the theological concept that rejects evolution as the fundamental scientific theory of life. Creationism, also known as “creation science” is largely an American phenomenon promoted by fundamental Christians, although the concept’s central thesis—that God, as opposed to natural forces, is responsible for the existence and diversity of all living things—is strongly held by millions of Muslims throughout the world.

A professor of the history of science, medicine and religion in America at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Numbers has published extensively on the religious right’s opposition to the evolutionary theory. He may be best known for The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, released in an expanded edition last year by The Harvard University Press. The book is widely considered to be the definitive history of the religious war against evolution. He’s also co-author of God and Nature, a seminal collection of essays on the historical relationship between science and religion.

The son of a fundamentalist preacher (Seventh Day Adventist), Ron grew up as a staunch creationist. He is the product of many small elementary schools in eastern Canada and the West Indies, and a rural boarding academy in the vicinity of Bugg Hollow, Tennesee. In 1963, he earned a B.A. in math and physics from Southern Missionary College near Chattanooga. He discovered a love for history and in particular—the history of science—at Florida State University in 1965. Four years later he took a doctorate in the history of science from the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2008, Numbers was given the Sarton Medal, the highest honor conferred by the History of Science Society, in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional achievement by a distinguished scholar. He serves as Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine and a member of the department of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for over three decades.