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.
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.
For decades the Roman Catholic Church avoided official refutation of evolution.However, it would rein in Catholics who proposed that evolution could be reconciled with the Bible, as this conflicted with the First Vatican Council's (1869–70) finding that everything was created out of nothing by God, and to deny that finding could lead to excommunication.Darwin's gradualistic account was also opposed by saltationism and catastrophism.Lord Kelvin led scientific opposition to gradualism on the basis of his thermodynamic calculations that the Earth was between 24 and 400 million years old, and own views favoured a version of theistic evolution accelerated by divine guidance.Regardless of acceptance from major religious hierarchies, early religious objections to Darwin's theory are still used in opposition to evolution.
The ideas that species change over time through natural processes and that different species share common ancestors seemed to contradict the Genesis account of Creation.
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.
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution gained widespread acceptance as a description of the origin of species, but there was continued resistance to his views on the significance of natural selection as the mechanism of evolution.
Evolutionary ideas came to prominence in the early 19th century with the theory of the transmutation of species put forward by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.
Objections to evolution have been raised since evolutionary ideas came to prominence in the 19th century.