It would be one thing if a few yahoos, what H. L. Mencken termed the “ignorant yokels from the cow states,” stood obstinately against evolution. Some of these people may not yet have come around to accepting that the earth is round. But almost half the American population! Many scientists and others have expressed their bafflement that there are so many “creationists” out there who simply refuse to accept the findings of modern science.

Creationists come in different shapes and sizes. Most are biblical literalists, who uphold without qualification the biblical claim that God created the earth and all living things in six days. A quite distinct creationist belief—not always shared by those in the first group—is that the earth is only six thousand years old. This figure is derived by tabulating the genealogies listed in scripture.