The creation–evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. Evolution debate or the origins debate) involves an ongoing, recurring cultural, political, and theological dispute about the origins of the Earth, of humanity, and of other life. Within the Christian world creationism was once widely believed to be true, but since the mid-19th century evolution by natural selection has been established as an empirical scientific fact. Efforts to sustain the traditional view are widely regarded in the scientific community as pseudoscience. While the controversy has a long history, today it has retreated to be mainly over what constitutes good science education, with the politics of creationism primarily focusing on the teaching of creation and evolution in public education. Among majority-Christian countries, the debate is most prominent in the United States, and to a lesser extent in Europe and elsewhere, and is often portrayed as part of a culture war. Parallel controversies also exist in some other religious communities, such as the more fundamentalist branches of Judaism and Islam.
Christian fundamentalists dispute the evidence of common descent of humans and other animals as demonstrated in modern paleontology, genetics, histology and cladistics and those other sub-disciplines which are based upon the conclusions of modern evolutionary biology, geology, cosmology, and other related fields. They argue for the Abrahamic accounts of creation, framing them as reputable science ("creation science").
The Catholic Church now recognizes the existence of evolution (see Catholic Church and evolution). Pope Francis has stated: "God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life...Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve." The rules of genetic evolutionary inheritance were first discovered by a Catholic priest, the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel, who is known today as the founder of modern genetics.
According to a 2014 Gallup survey, "More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising."
The debate is sometimes portrayed as being between science and religion, and the United States National Academy of Sciences states: