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Making Peace With Evolution


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Making Peace With Evolution

Making peace with evolution

There is no "work-around" (nor should there be) for evolution in mainstream science, since it would rip all the fundamental organization out of the material. See http://physanth.org/positions/creationism.htm for a statement from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Ultimately what is at stake is the integrity of scientific practices involving the application of evolutionary principles: there is no scientific alternative to evolution as an explanation/observation/theory about the history and diversity of life on earth.

Creationist objections are sectarian (not just *religious*, but limited to a certain set of religious denominations) and should not shape teaching in any public institution; and because they are not scientific, but theological, they should not shape the instruction in any scientific discipline.

You should also note that this sort of anti-evolutionism is not generic. For example, NCSE maintains lists of statements in support of evolution and against creationism by religious organisations! Of course, the denomination that these students attend will probably NOT be listed here, but the point is that evolution is not inherently anti-religious --- it only contradicts certain material claims made in religious scripture about the history and diversity of life on earth and ONLY when denominations regard those claims as strictly historical and scientific rather than allegorical.

A good starting place (IMHO) is Darrel Falk's _Coming to Peace with Science_. Falk is an evangelical who writes for other evangelicals about the disconnect between their biblical literacy and the world of science. His basic message is "This is how the world works; get over it!". Read a review here: http://www.uwm.edu/~ajpetto/falkrvw.pdf.

Another is Richard Wright's _Biology Through the Eyes of Faith_. Wright is an evangelical and an evolutionary ecologist. He argues that the good stewardship required of Christians by the Bible is impossible without understanding evolution: http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/rncse_content/vol24/8501_ibiology_through_the_eyes_of_12_30_1899.asp

Finally, another evangelical, Keith Miller, has written "Perspectives on an Evolving Creation" looking at science from the perspective of evangelical Christianity and finding that the scientific is not only acceptable, but compelling (while also not abandoning faith).

Here are a couple of other resources you might find that can help shape thinking on this: http://www.uwm.edu/~ajpetto/Evo_sun_2006.htm http://www.uwm.edu/~ajpetto/evoed0101.pdf http://www.uwm.edu/~ajpetto/Pubs/YTeach_page.htm http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/rel_expert_data_base.htm


The above is adapted from an e-mail sent to the Anthro-L mailing list by Dr Andrew Petto.

Editor (and Board of Directors), National Center for Science Education

Senior Lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology, Department of Biological Sciences, UW-Milwaukee

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