Theory in Biosciences

, Volume 136, Issue 1–2, pp 31–48 | Cite as

Beyond borders: on the influence of the creationist movement on the educational landscape in the USA and Russia

  • Elizabeth WattsEmail author
  • Uwe Hossfeld
  • Irina Tolstikova
  • Georgy S. Levit
Original Paper


This paper provides a detailed look at how creationism originated in the United States and then explores how this evangelical trend was exported to Russia by American missionaries following the fall of the USSR. The comparison between these two countries is particularly interesting since the rivalry between the US and the USSR during the race to space caused both countries to revamp their science education. Yet, while political interests led both governments to focus on science education, creationist activities were simultaneously focused on diminishing the coverage of evolution in science classrooms. Now, decades following Sputnik’s trip to space, the urgency to strengthen scientific learning has waned, while creationists are still equally focused on removing scientific naturalism in favor of supernatural explanations for the origin of species. This paper thus offers an in-depth look at which groups are currently responsible for promoting creationist activities in the US and in Russia and which groups are working hard to keep supernatural doctrines out of science curriculum.


Creationism Evolution Science education USA USSR Russia 



This work is supported by the Russian Foundation for the Humanities, project 16-03-00555.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Watts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uwe Hossfeld
    • 1
    • 2
  • Irina Tolstikova
    • 2
  • Georgy S. Levit
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Working Group Biology EducationFriedrich Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of Social Sciences and HumanitiesITMO UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia

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