The modern synthesis rose to universal acceptance among biologists with the help of new evidence, such as genetics, which confirmed Darwin's predictions and refuted the competing theories.Protestantism, especially in America, broke out in "acrid polemics" and argument about evolution from 1860 to the 1870s—with the turning point possibly marked by the death of Louis Agassiz in 1873—and by 1880 a form of "Christian evolution" was becoming the consensus.In 1996, Pope John Paul II said that evolution is "more than a hypothesis" and acknowledged the large body of work accumulated in its support, but reiterated that any attempt to give a material explanation of the human soul is "incompatible with the truth about man." Pope Benedict XVI has reiterated the conviction that human beings "are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." Muslim reaction ranged from those believing in literal creation from the Quran to many educated Muslims who subscribed to a version of theistic or guided evolution in which the Quran reinforced rather than contradicted mainstream science.This occurred relatively early, as medieval madrasahs taught the ideas of Al-Jahiz, a Muslim scholar from the 9th century, who proposed concepts similar to natural selection.Although many religious groups have found reconciliation of their beliefs with evolution, such as through theistic evolution, other religious groups continue to reject evolutionary explanations in favor of creationism, the belief that the universe and life were created by supernatural forces. S.-centered creation–evolution controversy has become a focal point of perceived conflict between religion and science.Several branches of creationism, including creation science, neo-creationism, and intelligent design, argue that the idea of life being directly designed by a god or intelligence is at least as scientific as evolutionary theory, and should therefore be taught in public education.
This position has been adopted by denominations of Christianity and Judaism in line with modernist theology which views the Bible and Torah as allegorical, thus removing the conflict between evolution and religion.Evolution was at first opposed among the scientific community, notably by Georges Cuvier, and religious grounds.The idea that laws control nature and society gained vast popular audiences with George Combe's The Constitution of Man of 1828 and the anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation of 1844.In Britain, while publication of The Descent of Man by Darwin in 1871 reinvigorated debate from the previous decade, Sir Henry Chadwick notes a steady acceptance of evolution "among more educated Christians" between 18.As a result, evolutionary theory was "both permissible and respectable" by 1876.