Title

Biologist Edwin Grant Conklin and the idea of the religious direction of human evolution in the early 1920s

Authors

Alexander Pavuk

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Annals of Science

Publication Date

2017

Date Added

2022-05-16

Abstract

Edwin Grant Conklin, renowned US embryologist and evolutionary popularizer, publicly advocated a social vision of evolution that intertwined science and modernist Protestant theology in the early 1920s. The moral prestige of professional science in American culture — along with Conklin’s own elite scientific status — diverted attention from the frequency with which his work crossed boundaries between natural science, religion and philosophy. Writing for broad audiences, Conklin was one of the most significant of the religious and modernist biological scientists whose rhetoric went well beyond simply claiming that certain kinds of religion were amenable to evolutionary science; he instead incorporated religion itself into evolution's broadest workings. A sampling of Conklin's widely-resonant discourse suggests that there was substantially more to the religion-evolution story in the 1920s US than many creationist-centred narratives of the era imply.

DOI

10.1080/00033790.2016.1242777

Keywords

History of racism

Disciplines

History

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