PRESS RELEASE: results of major new survey on evolution

 

NEW EVOLUTION SURVEY SHOWS THAT WHILST THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN UK AND CANADA ACCEPT EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE, NON-RELIGIOUS AND ATHEIST INDIVIDUALS SHOW SIMILAR DOUBTS ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF HUMANS AND HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AS RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL INDIVIDUALS.

Brighton, 5th September 2017 A Newman University/YouGov survey examining public perceptions and attitudes towards evolution has found that while there is a broad consensus of acceptance towards evolutionary science in both countries, surprisingly, non-religious and specifically atheist publics show similar trends to religious and spiritual publics when it comes to expressing doubts about evolutionary science based explanations for human origins and the development of human consciousness. Continue reading PRESS RELEASE: results of major new survey on evolution

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

Studying Public Perceptions of Evolution and Religion from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

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 Principal Investigator Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker opens the symposium by introducing and contextualising the research being undertaken by the team. Continue reading Studying Public Perceptions of Evolution and Religion from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

If you can believe what you read, “FAKE NEWS” is everywhere these days. Shot onto the media scene like a lexical gag, the phrase was fired from the mouth of President Donald J. Trump as he confronted CNN reporter Jim Acosta during the then president-elect’s first press conference. Although the words are much older, Trump has certainly made the capitalisation his own. “FAKE NEWS!” The phrase itself comes stinking of Orwell’s ink, and when levelled it splits the media between those who goodthink and crimethink—between those who carry the party line, and those who don’t. However, this post isn’t concerned with presidential duckspeak, but rather the shape of the messages themselves—fake or not—which we receive via the media. Continue reading Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

Podcast: Religion, Science and Evolutionary Theory

***This podcast first appeared on The Religious Studies Project on 30 January 2017***

Science and evolution in Muslim societies is a complicated topic. Among members of the public, what does evolution mean? Is there one ‘Muslim view’ on evolution, or are there a great variety of views on evolution in Muslim majority contexts?

In this podcast for The Religious Studies Project SRES’s Dr Stephen Jones interviews Dr Salman Hameed about recent research on Muslim perceptions of science and evolution.
Continue reading Podcast: Religion, Science and Evolutionary Theory

Podcast: Science and Religion Live

In partnership with the British Science Association and their regional branches, we recently ran a series of public events about our research and the relationship between science and religion in general.  Do not fear if you were unable to attend one of our events in person, below you can listen to the panel on evolution from our London panel discussion.

The panel includes Professor Steve Fuller (University of Warwick), the Reverend Philippa Turner (Royal Veterinary College), Dr Kris de Meyer (Kings College London), and myself (Dr Alexander Hall). Continue reading Podcast: Science and Religion Live

‘How much faith does it take?’ Arguing for Creationism on Facebook

By Dr Stephen Pihlaja

For the last 10 years, I have been studying interactions between Christians and atheists on YouTube and social media, focusing particularly on how they structure arguments and categories to fit very specific social contexts. One recurring issue in my work, and one that seems particularly prescient as we collectively practice saying the words ‘President Tump’, is how arguments about theology and science are often used to reinforce beliefs which a user’s audience might already hold. They need not be logical or fact-based, but they must appear to be delivered by an ally and broadly comport with a viewer’s own belief system.

One social media user, Joshua Feuerstein, provides a particularly good case study of how this operates. He has over 2 million likes on Facebook and holds a set of intersectional beliefs that are not uncommon—the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, the right to bear arms, a small government, and Donald Trump. His videos are portrait—shot on his phone—and feature two minutes of focused and simple sermons meant to be shared for the encouragement of all.

Continue reading ‘How much faith does it take?’ Arguing for Creationism on Facebook

Henry Neville Hutchinson: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and Faith

By Richard Fallon

No one could accuse the Reverend Henry Neville Hutchinson (1856-1927) of being close-minded. He belonged to the Geological Society, the Anthropological Institute, the Royal Geographical Society, the Zoological Society, the Folk-Lore Society, the Palæontographical Society, and the Hampstead Scientific Society. He wrote a great number of popular science books, especially during a prolific period in the 1890s. He sculpted models of dinosaurs and gemstones, made scientific instruments, and even proposed designs for gas fittings that would leave a room smelling ‘fresh and sweet’.

Hutchinson was also a clergyman. Admittedly, due to illness, for most of his adult life he was an unbeneficed clergyman and worked as a writer. But, as his Geological Society obituarist observed, the ‘expository power which his ill health lost to the Church was a gain to science’. Amongst the most famous—and, according to some reviews, infamous—of Hutchinson’s popular science books were the lushly-illustrated, dinosaur-filled Extinct Monsters (1892) and controversial Prehistoric Man and Beast (1896).

Continue reading Henry Neville Hutchinson: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and Faith

Old Categories, New Territories, and Future Directions: A Response to Bernard Lightman

Map of the universe, from Petrus Alphonsi, Dialogi cum Moyse Judaeo. Shelfmark: MS. Laud Misc. 356, fol. 120r

By Peter Harrison

A note from the editor: In a previous article on this site, historian of science Bernard Lightman offered a reflection on the new work of Peter Harrison. Harrison’s book, The Territories of Science and Religion, seeks to outline how conceptions of science and religion have changed throughout history, and details the inadequacy of projecting our present categories onto the past. In his reflection, Lightman raised four points about Harrison’s work: concerning the influence of Darwin’s evolution, the role of ‘professionalization’, the impact of evolution on natural theology, and how Harrison’s Territories relates to the ‘complexity thesis’, the current dominant idea in the historiography of science and religion. Below is Harrison’s response to Lightman’s post:

I’m grateful to Bernie Lightman for his thoughtful and perceptive comments on The Territories of Science and Religion. Lightman is a leading authority on science and religion in the nineteenth century, and a scholar from whom I have learned a great deal. Accordingly, I was interested to see his assessment of my treatment of a pivotal period in which he has a particular expertise. Fortunately, it seems mostly to have passed muster, although Lightman has issued a few challenges and identified some important issues that warrant further attention.  Continue reading Old Categories, New Territories, and Future Directions: A Response to Bernard Lightman

Persuasion in the Evolution Wars

Wikimedia Commons
By Tom Aechtner

I would like to think that I’m a rational person; an individual who logically considers my actions and attitudes.  For instance, it’s my hope that when faced with an advertising campaign I would thoroughly study every claim an advert might make, rather than being affected by flashy images or persuasive rhetoric.  My guess is that I’m not alone in thinking this about myself.

Many of us perceive ourselves to be sensible people who are not easily swayed by the guiles of persuasive techniques, such as those found in advertising pitches or political speeches.  The problem, however, is that decades of persuasion research has revealed we usually don’t have the ability or the motivation to diligently evaluate the many persuasive messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Continue reading Persuasion in the Evolution Wars