Saturday, April 03, 2004


From Unit 7: Dealing with Controversy, of the Teacher's Guide for the PBS series Evolution, which aired in 2001, we read:
Distinguish between science and religion Help students understand that science and religion are two different ways of knowing the world. They are not necessarily in conflict; they are two perspectives, two different lenses. Science develops explanations for the natural world by gathering evidence. Explanations that are supported by evidence stand and those that are not are discarded. Science does not include supernatural explanations that cannot be tested by scientific processes. Religion is a system of beliefs based on faith, not bound by evidence from nature. It offers a distinctly different path for understanding the purpose of the natural world and our place in it. It is not better or worse than science, it is just different. As such, people don’t need to choose between the two. Acknowledge that many scientists are religious and that many religions support the teaching of evolution. To see what major religious denominations say about teaching evolution, see the Science and Faith Web feature and ...Understand that “intelligent design” and “creation science” arguments ultimately are religious explanations that rely on supernatural causes and thus are outside of science. Become familiar with some of the “creation science” arguments such as “intelligent design” using the lens of science, but don’t introduce this examination into your classroom because introducing religion into a science classroom is inappropriate. For information on creationist arguments, see
From the Congregational Study Guide, per the NCSE website, regarding the same episode of the PBS series:
Clare McKinney, the science teacher in Lafayette, Indiana, is surprised and disappointed, saying, “we haven’t done a very good job with the nature of science if we have this many students who don’t understand the difference and why [creationism] can’t be addressed in a science classroom.” It is forty-four years since the Soviet launch of Sputnik ratcheted up science teaching in this country, yet many of us, and our children, know little about the ways and major themes of science. In communities of faith, even those who nominally embrace evolution and other insights of science and who benefit from technological advances, science as a way of knowing may be ignored or disparaged. How might your congregation help to change this attitude, and work to support and encourage science education? Learn what is happening in the public school science classrooms in your community. Are there attacks on the teaching of evolution? Or is the subject glossed over for fear of attacks from conservative Christians? If there are conflicts and problems, visit the NCSE web site to find out what you can do to help.

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