150 Years After ‘Origin of the Species’, Science and Religion Remain as Conflicted as Ever
Today, 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s book, science and religion remain as conflicted as ever when it comes to the subject of evolution.
“There is a real disconnect between what science says and what the public believes, at least in
Pierce is organizing one of the first events in 2009 that will mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Darwin book. The symposium, titled “Science and Religion: Conflict or Convergence,” will be held at
Pierce points to Gallop Polls conducted between 1982-2004, which consistently found that 44 to 47 percent of Americans do not believe in evolution. Instead, they believe that humans were “created by God pretty much in their present form less than 10,000 years ago.”
Meanwhile, a recent survey of more than 400 university professors in
Pierce says there are four approaches to the conflict between science and religion. The “Warfare Model” presumes that one side is right, the other side is wrong, and the two are permanently conflicted. The “Separate Realms” approach — which is taken by many scientists — says there is no conflict between the two because they address very different questions. In the “Accommodation Model,” science and religion each adjust their world views to accommodate findings from the other field. For example, some Biblical scholars reinterpreted the Genesis account of creation when science showed that the world is much older than previously thought.
The model Pierce plans to focus on at the February symposium is the “Engagement Model,” which says that both fields can profit by understanding what is happening in the other fields.
For example, one of the conference speakers will be Dr.
Pierce says students today are very interested in the subject of science vs. religion and are seeking ways to find a middle ground between the two fields. In his evolution course at
“These students put into practice the notion that science and religion can indeed have something useful to say to each other,” Pierce says.