One of the supreme ironies of the creation-evolution debate, is that young earth creationism a relatively recent phenomenon, only gaining widespread momentum in the 20th century. Young earth creationism draws inspiration for its biblical literalism not from longstanding Christian tradition, but from a key phase in the history of science. Two linked developments in the 17th century are important here. First, by combining the Protestant reformations insistence upon the comprehensive transparency of the Bible, with the newly emerging empiricism of the natural sciences, a number of thinkers began to treat biblical text at face value, as a source of data about the natural world, much like data from other non-scriptural sources. Second, the age of the earth, and an account of its physical history became of special interest in this question. The most celebrated attempt to date the earth, was that of Archbishop James Ussher, who in 1648 made use of biblical genealogy, such as Genesis Chapter 5. Along with ancient nuristan texts, and astronomical results to calculate that creation had occurred on Sunday evening, 23rd of October, 4004 BCE. And the flood, on Sunday the 7th of December, 2349 BCE. In the same way, early accounts of the physical history of the earth, took the biblical stories of creation and flood as providing reliable descriptions of what must have happened. Thomas Burnet's Sacred Theory of the earth, published 1684, is notable for treating the biblical flood story in Genesis 6 to 9, not in terms of divine action, but in naturalistic terms. In this way, Burnet explain the form which the earth has today, including the shape of its continents. And not only did Burnet set a trend in geological thinking for much of the next century, which saw the Biblical Flood as decisive in shaping the earth we see now, well, his model is also essentially identical to that of contemporary young earth creationism as put forward, in the seminal young earth creationism text, The Genesis Flood, which was authored by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, published in 1961. Well, going back to the next model, the pre-flood earth was totally smooth but contained great underground cavities of water. These are the fountains of the great deep mentioned in Genesis 7 verse 11. The flood was caused by these cavities being broken up. When the waters had subsided afterwards, the present shape of the seas and continents was left. While this modal flies completely in the face of mainstream geology today, thanks to those 1960s authors, Whitcomb and Morris, it's adhered to by millions of creationists worldwide. Well, in between the 17th and 20th centuries, scientific understanding of the earth and its lifeforms advanced at a whirlwind pace. By the mid 19th century, developments in geology, palaeontology, and biology were indicating that the earth was very old indeed and the life had evolved over millions of years. These developments weren't especially troubling however, for many conservative Christians who have found ways of harmonizing the new science with the Bible. So, when we faced with biblical texts like Genesis 1, which appears to insist that the physical universe was created in six days, many of these 19th century Christians took refuge in what's called the Day Age Theory where each Genesis day was read as a figurative period. A much longer scientific period, perhaps millions of years. Or else they use the gap theory where, an immense time gap was understood to have occurred between God's creation of the universe in Genesis 1:1, that's the phrase, "In the beginning" when God made the Heavens and the earth. And then the sixth day is described from verse three onwards. These old earth creationists strategies however, fell out of favour with many 20th century Americans, who when faced with new social pressures around what should be taught in high schools, preferred to adopt the most radical alternative to the mainstream scientific picture that we now call, young earth Creationism. The infamous Scopes trial of 1925 was watershed here. The school teacher, John Scopes was prosecuted by the State of Tennessee for teaching evolution in defiance of state law prohibiting it. While the trial became something of a showcase for the creation-evolution debate, with the culpability of Scopes himself of less importance than the question of, whether the Bible or modern science should take precedence in teaching about origins. The court proceedings were wide ranging, concerning not so much the interpretation of the science, but the authority and interpretation of scripture, and the wider impact on ethical and political questions. In the event the court found Scopes guilty, which had the effect of legitimating anti-evolutionary teaching for some time. This was by no means the end of the matter though. The debate started so publicly by the Scopes trial, has ever since pitched two opposing worldviews against each other, with fundamentalist Christianity on the one side, and modernity as represented by evolutionary science on the other.