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Pope Benedict XVI's views on evolution are back in the news, following the publication of Schoepfung und Evolution (Sankt Ulrich Verlag, 2007), the proceedings of a seminar on creation and evolution that he conducted at Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer residence, with his former doctoral students in September 2006.
The Alliance for Science -- a non-profit organization which seeks "to heighten public understanding and support for science and to preserve the distinctions between science and religion in the public sphere" -- is holding a contest:
Why would I want my doctor to have studied evolution? If you are a high school student in the United States, we want to hear your answer to that question.
The biochemist-turned-theologian Arthur Peacocke died on October 21, 2006, at the age of 81, according to the Telegraph's obituary (October 25, 2006). Born in 1924 in Watford, Peacocke trained at Oxford University as a biochemist, and researched the physical chemistry of DNA at the University of Birmingham and Oxford.
In a statement (PDF) issued on October 18, 2006, the American Sociological Association took a strong stand for the integrity of science education, describing evolution as "a central organizing principle of the biological sciences that is based upon overwhelming empirical evidence from various scientific disciplines." The statement observes, "Efforts to qualify, limit, or exclude the teaching of biological evolution in U.S.
The American Society for Microbiology -- the world's largest scientific society of individuals interested in the microbiological sciences, with over 43,000 members in the United States and abroad -- recently issued a strong policy statement discussing the scientific basis for evolution.
Back in 2004, the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study organized a well-attended and well-received two-day symposium on evolutionary science and society at the annual meeting of the National Association of Biology Teachers. In 2005, the proceedings of the symposium were published as Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation, edited by Joel Cracraft and Rodger W. Bybee.
In the opening section of his recent essay "Three Questions for America" (published in the September 21, 2006, issue of The New York Review of Books), the eminent legal scholar Ronald Dworkin answers the question "Should alternatives to evolution be taught in schools?" with a decisive no.
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, which is composed of twenty-two scientific organizations representing over 84,000 members, issued a public policy statement on the teaching of evolution on December 20, 2005 -- coincidentally, the same day in which teaching "intelligent design" was ruled to be unconstitutional in Kitzmiller v. Dover.
In a press release issued on August 9, 2006, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced the publication of The Evolution Dialogues, written by Catherine Baker and edited by James B. Miller. As the book's prologue notes, "there are deep misunderstandings about what biological evolution is, what science itself is, and what views people of faith, especially Christians, have applied to their interpretations of the science.