Authority, Authenticity, and Belief: British and Canadian life scientists and publics’ narratives of evolution and religion

On Monday 24th April the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society and the team from the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project hosted a one day symposium in central Birmingham. In this video, project member Dr Tom Kaden presents some of the preliminary findings of the qualitative sociological research being undertaken as part of the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project.   Continue reading Authority, Authenticity, and Belief: British and Canadian life scientists and publics’ narratives of evolution and religion

Material Apologetics: Interpreting the Purpose of Answers in Genesis’ Ark Replica

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Recently, the conflict between religion and science—or, to be more precise, between a loud religious minority and an important part of modern biology—took the unusual form of a 150-metre-long wooden ship. After about six years of planning and building on July 7, Answers in Genesis, America’s largest creationist organization, opened its Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky. In a later round of development the park is also set to feature a recreation of the Tower of Babel and other similar Biblical buildings and objects.

Across a spectrum of possible relationships between modern science and religion, Answers in Genesis is at the end which is characterized by conflict, mutual limitations and exclusions. Answers in Genesis represent Young Earth Creationism, a belief system based on a literal reading of the Bible, which assumes the earth to be about 6000 years old. According to their calculations, the Genesis Flood happened around 4400 years ago, and Answers in Genesis makes it clear that the consequences of the Flood can be observed in the findings of modern geology, biology, and anthropology, only if these findings are interpreted in the right way. Hence, the potential for conflict between their position on science and religion and modern secular science is particularly big. Continue reading Material Apologetics: Interpreting the Purpose of Answers in Genesis’ Ark Replica

‘Most people don’t have the time to be concerned with systems of ideas, because they have day jobs’

Chris Nurse, Wellcome Images Artwork - skulls with crucifixion scene. Collection: Wellcome Images Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0

John H. Evans offers a sociologists’ view on science and religion debates

John H Evans is the author of Playing God? Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate  and Contested Reproduction: Genetic Technologies, Religion and Public Debate. Here, he talks to Tom Kaden, one of the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum team about sociology and debates about science and religion.

Tom Kaden: So welcome, John Evans, to this talk. Could you first of all please say a little about who you are and your general areas of study?

John H. Evans: My name is John Evans. I’m a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. I was trained as what’s called a sociologist of religion. The basic difference between a sociologist of religion and, for example, a theologian, is a theologian makes arguments based upon faith presuppositions, like the bible was influenced by God or something like that. A sociologist of religion makes claims about religious people, religious institutions, using secular forms of argument, mostly through social science. Continue reading ‘Most people don’t have the time to be concerned with systems of ideas, because they have day jobs’

A Look at the Professional Creationists and Anti-Creationists

***This post originally appeared on 22 October 2015, on Ted Davis’ blog, Reading the Book of Nature hosted on the BioLogos website***

Evolution and Religion: The Conflict Narrative in Crisis

Recent results of the social scientific research on creationism in the United States raise more questions than they answer, especially with respect to long-held assumptions of what creationism actually is and what motivates people who affirm it. For instance, one of the most frequently-quoted polls on creationism is Gallup’s long-running survey that asks whether people believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” The percentage of Americans who answer in the affirmative ranges at around 45%, a number that has proven rather stable over the years. Social science has employed several methods to get beyond the layer of fact-claims established by this kind of polling and laid bare a range of moral and social motives that are at the core of people’s reasons for identifying as creationists. Continue reading A Look at the Professional Creationists and Anti-Creationists