You are here

In the Beginning: Science and Religion

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
3:00am
Date: 
March 28, 2012
Location: 
Textor 102
Ithaca College
Ithaca, New York

The subject of origins – of where we, Earth, and the universe come from – is one that has been considered by many religions since time memorial. Science, as a relatively recent actor on the intellectual stage,Ithaca College logo also considers these topics, coming up with answers at variance with those of most religions, including Christianity. How do these two approaches differ? Are there similarities? And is there an uncrossable divide between the two? The answer is not just philosophically interesting, but directly relevant to decisions being made about what to teach in public school science courses.

A lecture in the
C.P. Snow Lecture Series
sponsored by Ithaca College

For more information: 

Controversy over the Teaching of Evolution

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott

Time: 
3:00am
Date: 
March 26, 2012
Location: 
State Farm Room BAS S102
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, Tennessee


Many topics in the curriculum of American schools are controversial, but perhaps the one with the longest tenure is evolution. Politics plays a role in this controversy in a number of ways. Politicians have keen antennae for cultural values, and the "fairness" argument (i.e., it is only "fair" to "balance" evolution with creationism) regularly is exploited, Middle Tennessee State University logoregardless of the appropriateness of its application to science education. Variants of the fairness argument such as balancing evolution with "scientific alternatives to evolution" or balancing evolution with "strengths and weaknesses of evolution" have in fact become the current predominant antievolutionist strategy, partly in response to a series of legal decisions that have excluded the advocacy of creationism in public schools. Tennessee currently is wrestling with a bill in its legislature that would compromise the teaching of evolution in exactly this fashion.

Keynote Address for
Scholars Week
at
Middle Tennessee State University

For more information: 

Creationism, Evolution, Education — and Politics

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott

Time: 
3:00am
Date: 
March 13, 2012
Location: 
Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw, Michigan



Saginaw Valley State University logo
A lecture sponsored by the
Biology Department
Saginaw Valley State University

For more information: 

TBA

Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
March 13, 2012
Location: 
Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw, Michigan



Saginaw Valley State University logo
A lecture sponsored by the
Biology Department
Saginaw Valley State University

For more information: 

Teaching Evolution in a Climate of Controversy

Time: 
9:00am
Date: 
March 11, 2012
Location: 
Room TBA
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida


Evolution is an essential part of the biology curriculum, and a similarly-critical part of the Earth sciences curriculum; it is simply not possible to teach good University of South Florida - logobiology or Earth science and omit evolution. But what if there are students who are reluctant to be taught evolution, and (worse) administrators who don’t back their teachers? Dr. Scott will present some useful tips for teachers about handling what shouldn’t be a controversy, but unfortunately is.

Presentation at the
Science Teachers Workshop

For more information: 
Email: NCSE

Evolutionpalooza! Screening of 'No Dinosaurs in Heaven'

Featuring: 
Steven Newton
Steve Newton
Time: 
9:00pm
Date: 
February 19, 2012
Location: 
Latino-Hispanic Meeting Room
San Francisco Main Library
Civic Center
San Francisco, California


Steve Newton presents the documentary film, 'No Dinosaurs in Heaven'. This film, by award-winning director Greta Schiller, takes us along on a raft trip through the Grand Canyon, San Francisco Atheists logowhile examining the challenges to science literacy and education from creationists.

Live music will be performed by Joey Fabian of 'The Skeptic's Jukebox.'

We'll enjoy birthday cake for Chuck, then join in a rousing round of the team trivia game, Evolutionary!

Science, food, and music-- free and open to the public!


For more information: 

Teaching Science to Religious Students: A Theological Perspective

Featuring: 
Peter M.J. Hess, Ph.D.
Peter M.J. Hess

Time: 
9:00pm
Date: 
February 18, 2012
Location: 
Room 220 (VCC West Building)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada


Science teachers are often challenged by students, parents, or the public about aspects of what they teach. Examples include scientific theories such as the Big Bang or biological evolution, and contemporary issues such as vaccination or climate change. How can or should a teacher respond to such incidents? The first step is to determine whether the classroom challenge is pedagogically legitimate, or whether dealing with it would constitute an illegitimate use of class time. The next step is for the teacher to decide whether the challenge can best be responded to from a scientific point of view, or whether it would be more appropriately approached from another perspective.

It may be that the classroom challenge is AAAS logoextrascientific in character, stemming from a student’s anxiety that some element of a scientific question or theory seems to challenge his or her worldview. Is a student unwilling to discuss the scientific evidence for climate change because he fears that it will carry political or economic implications at odds with what he has learned in his family? Is the student reluctant to discuss evolution seriously because she is afraid she will be forced to choose between (1) belief in the tenets of her religious tradition, and (2) acceptance of the evolutionary assumptions of modern biology?

The staff of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California have extensive experience assisting teachers negotiate the minefields of science denial. Using examples from cases we have encountered, this presentation will suggest effective ways in which teachers can protect the content of their science courses without discounting student or parental concerns. There are good ways to deal with science denial by leading students to a clear understanding of the philosophical background of an apparent conflict. One can show them, for example, how accepting a compelling argument for climate change need not necessarily entail acceptance of a particular economic policy. Reframing scientific questions in light of a clear understanding of a student’s worldview can go a long way toward defusing potential conflict.

For more information: 
View the Session webpage

Darwin: Demon or Revolutionary?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott

Time: 
3:00am
Date: 
February 16, 2012
Location: 
Singletary Center
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky


Although Charles Darwin is recognized internationally as the founding father of evolutionary biology and one of the world's most influential scientists, in the creationist world, Darwin's ideas and Darwin as scientistAmerican Institute for Professional Geologists logo and scholar are routinely denigrated. Three basic themes characterize this demonization: Darwin is presented as an incompetent, or lazy, or plagiarizing scientist; secondly, as the atheist founder of a materialist science (evolution) dedicated to undermining Christianity; and third, as the proponent of toxic social beliefs such as racism. (This would certainly come as a surprise to the quiet Englishman who regularly donated to the Kentucky Paleontological Society logoAmerican abolition movement, and who almost got himself thrown off the Beagle over an argument with Fitzroy over the evils of slavery). Of course, the actual Darwin contrasts strikingly with these mischaracterizations -- but the mischaracterizations serve to promote an overall anti-evolutionary agenda that survey research has shown has been embraced by a surprisingly large percentage of Americans.

Sponsored by the
Kentucky Section of the
American Institute for Professional Geologists
and the
Kentucky Paleontological Society


For more information: 

Darwin: Demon or Revolutionary?

Time: 
7:00pm
Date: 
February 16, 2012
Location: 
Singletary Center
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky


Although Charles Darwin is recognized internationally as the founding father of evolutionary biology and one of the world's most influential scientists, in the creationist world, Darwin's ideas and Darwin as scientistAmerican Institute for Professional Geologists logo and scholar are routinely denigrated. Three basic themes characterize this demonization: Darwin is presented as an incompetent, or lazy, or plagiarizing scientist; secondly, as the atheist founder of a materialist science (evolution) dedicated to undermining Christianity; and third, as the proponent of toxic social beliefs such as racism. (This would certainly come as a surprise to the quiet Englishman who regularly donated to the Kentucky Paleontological Society logoAmerican abolition movement, and who almost got himself thrown off the Beagle over an argument with Fitzroy over the evils of slavery). Of course, the actual Darwin contrasts strikingly with these mischaracterizations -- but the mischaracterizations serve to promote an overall anti-evolutionary agenda that survey research has shown has been embraced by a surprisingly large percentage of Americans.

Sponsored by the
Kentucky Section of the
American Institute for Professional Geologists
and the
Kentucky Paleontological Society


For more information: 

What Would Darwin Say to Today's Creationists?

Featuring: 
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott
Time: 
12:30am
Date: 
February 15, 2012
Location: 
Carrick Theater
Mitchell Fine Arts Complex
Transylvania University
300 North Broadway
Lexington, Kentucky


Many elements of the modern American creationist movement would be familiar to Darwin, especially the argument from design, which of course was very well known (and well-regarded) by educated people of his time. Transylvania University logoYoung-Earth creationism, on the other hand, would be puzzling to him; Bishop Ussher's 4004 BCE age of the Earth was not considered mainstream Christian theology in the late 19th century, though certainly the view had its adherents among clergy. Darwin might have heard of the “scriptural geologists” who promoted a young-Earth view during the 19th century, but like other scientists of his time, he would have ignored them. The current creationist strategy of disclaiming evolution as weak science would have seemed more familiar to him, given the criticisms of evolution he encountered during his own time.

A presentation in
Transylvania University's
Creative Intelligence Lecture Series

For more information: 
View the University's Event Calendar for February 15

Pages