14 Faith Chris Toumey I used to be younger. In 1987 I conducted an ethnography of the creationist movement as my dissertation research. Wonderful it was to be in the midst of the granddaddy of science and religion controversies in the years when creationism packaged itself as scientific creationism. That experience filled my head with ideas about relations between science and religion. A note to our European readers, including the British: yes, I realise it is beyond strange that in a major Western nation a large proportion of the population continues to challenge evolution on the basis of religious belief. I cannot explain that here. I can only note that this is an enduring feature of life in the USA. Creationism is not going to go away anytime soon. Our conservatives here insist on celebrating US exceptionalism, and then the exceptionalism they give us is hostility to evolution. Oy vey. Several years after I finished my work on creationism, when I wrote my second book, Conjuring Science: Scientific Symbols and Cultural Meanings in American Life (Toumey, 1996), I used a figure of speech that I called ‘science in an Old Testament style’. The chosen people knew that their God has some human attributes. After all, isn’t he an old white guy with a long beard who is frequently angry at the disobedience of the people he favours? But they know him less by his personality than by powerful mysterious signs like pillars of fire, burning bushes and dreadful plagues. My point...



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