The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities presents
The Intellectual and Literary History Public Seminar Series


Creationism with an Australian Accent: Politics, Schools, and Global Exportation

In 2002 the historian of science, Ronald Numbers, noted that few countries have been as receptive to creationism as Australia.  This paper follows up Numbers’ observations by providing an updated look at the vicissitudes of Australian Darwin-scepticism and its global influences.  To do this it revisits the rise of creationism down under in relation to the Creation Science Foundation and its goal of reforming US antievolutionism, as well as the American market share drives that helped catalyse Answers in Genesis’ acrimonious legal split.  The study further examines the socio-political conditions of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen state government that helped antievolutionism to mobilise in Queensland, which were reflected in the banning of MACOS and SEMP school curricula.  Additionally, the history and contemporary peculiarities of Australia’s educational system are explored, as avenues for teaching creationism in both public and private schools still exist across the country.  Finally, more recent political controversies associated with creationism are surveyed, including news reports scrutinising the beliefs of Australian policymakers.  Together, these lines of inquiry provide key insights into how creationism with an Australian accent has succeeded both in its home country and as an export abroad.

Tom Aechtner is Senior Lecturer in Religion and Science in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He is a Westpac Research Fellow, working on the project “Impoving Vaccination Rates in Australia: Analysing Media, Religion and Policy.” Tom’s work lies in contemporary science-and-religion discourse, with a  focus on religiously-motivated vaccine hesitancies, antievolutionism, scientism, mass persuasion, and public perceptions of science. He is the author of Health, Wealth, and Power in an African Diaspora Church in Canada (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 

4pm Thursday 8th August 2019
Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower
The University of Queensland, St Lucia

Please contact or 07 334 69492 for further details.
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All welcome.


Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower, UQ St Lucia