You are here

Evolution and Modern Religious Thought

Featuring: 
Peter M.J. Hess, Ph.D.
Peter M.J. Hess
Time: 
10:30pm
Date: 
February 12, 2012
Location: 
Sacramento Darwin Day
John Smith Hall
La Sierra Community Center
5325 Engle Road
Carmichael, California


The annual celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday give us an opportunity to consider the significance of the evolutionary paradigm that permeates most dimensions of postmodern thought. Anyone with the slightest brush with education will recognize that we inhabit an ancient, dynamic, and evolving universe. In recent decades the debate about the relationship between science and religion, and the appropriate place of each in a pluralistic society, has become so acrimonious as at times to erupt in incivility.

This talk will explore the varying reception of evolution by modern religious groups. Some reject evolution completely, insisting upon a young universe, a recent creation, a literal Adam and Eve in a literal Garden of Eden, and a literal Noachian flood that covered the entire planet. Under this broad umbrella of science denial exists a number of subcategories, ranging from so-called “young earth creationism” to self-styled “intelligent design” theory.

Many people in ancient faith traditions now recognize that religion has everything to gain from a bold and incisive engagement with it. What does theology look like if it takes science seriously? What does science and its objects of study look like if we approach them with religious faith? These are hermeneutical questions about the translation of meaning not only across time and space, but between the contrasting cultures of religion and science. The interpretive framework within which a theistic evolutionist reads the Bible, church history, doctrinal theology, and religious ethics will inevitably reflect an unimaginably vast, ancient, dynamic and evolving universe.

This discussion will broach two central questions: (1) is it possible for religious believers both a) to believe in a purposeful God and b) at the same time to accept the evolutionary assumptions of modern cosmology, geology, biology, genetics, and neuroscience? I will contend not only that this is possible, but that it is essential for their coherence that religious traditions integrate the evolutionary world view into their theologies and religious cultures. (2) Second, what are the parameters of free thought in a pluralistic society? Do the interests of science and secularism demand the erasure of all cultural traditions that do not meet the rigorous demands of scientific reductionism? What place is there in our educational system for introducing students to some of the many religious and philosophical traditions developed by human kind over the last 3,500 years?

For more information: 
Contact: Peter Hess at hess@ncse.com

[To be announced]

Time: 
2:30pm to 4:30pm
Date: 
February 12, 2012
Location: 
Sacramento Darwin Day
John Smith Hall
La Sierra Community Center
5325 Engle Road
Carmichael, California


For more information: 
Contact: Peter Hess at hess@ncse.com

Keynote Address: What Darwin Said (And Did Not Say)

Featuring: 
Kevin Padian, Ph.D.
Kevin Padian
Time: 
9:00pm
Date: 
February 11, 2012
Location: 
Arkansas Darwin Day Conference
University of Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas



Charles Darwin Montage Arkansas Darwin Day

For more information: 

Teaching Evolution in a Climate of Controversy

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

Time: 
5:00pm
Date: 
February 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

Screening of "No Dinosaurs in Heaven"

Time: 
12:00am
TBA
Date: 
February 11, 2012 to February 12, 2012
Location: 
REASONfest
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas


"No Dinosaurs in Heaven" is a film essay that examines the hijacking of science education by religious fundamentalists, threatening the separation of church and state and dangerously undermining scientific literacy. ReasonFest logoThe documentary weaves together two strands: an examination of the problem posed by creationists who earn science education degrees only to advocate anti-scientific beliefs in the classroom; and a visually stunning raft trip down the Grand Canyon, led by Dr. Eugenie Scott, that debunks creationist explanations for its formation. These two strands expose the fallacies in the "debate," manufactured by anti-science forces, that creationism is a valid scientific alternative to evolution.

NCSE's Steve Newton will host a question and answer session following the film.

Sponsored by
SOMA
The Society of Open-Minded Atheists & Agnostics


For more information: 
Contact: Steve Newton at newton@ncse.com

Teaching Evolution in a Climate of Controversy

Time: 
9:00am
Date: 
February 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

Keynote Address: What Darwin Said (And Did Not Say)

Time: 
12:00am
To Be Announced
Date: 
February 11, 2012
Location: 
Arkansas Darwin Day Conference
University of Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas



Charles Darwin Montage Arkansas Darwin Day

For more information: 

Evolution, education, and 'Intelligent Design': lessons from the 2005 trial in Dover, PA

Featuring: 
Kevin Padian, Ph.D.
Kevin Padian


Time: 
2:15am
Date: 
February 10, 2012
Location: 
University of Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas


Hosted by the
Clinton School of Public Policy


For more information: 

Florida’s “Critical Thinking” bills: Creationism du jour?

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

Time: 
3:00am
Date: 
February 9, 2012
Location: 
Fine Arts (FAH) 101
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida


Periodically, including 2011, the Florida Assembly and Senate contemplate bills regarding the teaching of evolution. In these proposed bills, teachers are directed to University of South Florida - logo“critically analyze” evolution, or to present the “full range of scientific views of origins”. Like everything else, these bills have a history – and that history shows that bills of this sort are the current manifestations of the old creationism and evolution controversy that has dogged science education for over 100 years.

Open to the general public

Sponsored by the
University of South Florida

For more information: 
Email: NCSE

Dr. Scott’s Handy-Dandy Guide to Teaching Evolution

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

Time: 
11:30pm
Date: 
February 9, 2012
Location: 
Room TBA
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida


A lighthearted if serious presentation for faculty, teachers, and students of ideas about teaching evolution that may help to avoid or at least head off misconceptions and opposition. University of South Florida - logoDr. Scott will reiterate her lack of belief in evolution, explain why fish did not evolve into amphibians then evolve into reptiles and then evolve into mammals, explain why evolution is like Monopoly, and conclude with "why Dobzhansky was right”.

Sponsored by the
Integrative Biology Seminar Series

For more information: 
See the Integrative Biology Seminar Series CALENDAR

Pages