To Effectively Discuss Evolution, First Define 'Theory'

Evolution is the backbone of modern biology, but life scientists sometimes face audiences who perceive it as a threat to their religious beliefs. With laws such as North Carolina House Bill 511, proposed in March as an attempt to "ensure that evolution is not taught as fact in North Carolina public schools," scientists are being asked to clarify the distinction between science and religion. Professors at small Southern and Midwestern colleges seem to have the most experience in discussing-and s

Ricki Lewis
May 11, 1997

Evolution is the backbone of modern biology, but life scientists sometimes face audiences who perceive it as a threat to their religious beliefs. With laws such as North Carolina House Bill 511, proposed in March as an attempt to "ensure that evolution is not taught as fact in North Carolina public schools," scientists are being asked to clarify the distinction between science and religion. Professors at small Southern and Midwestern colleges seem to have the most experience in discussing-and sometimes defending-evolution in the classroom and in debate.

Photo: A. Winslow

A CONTEXT: Evolution is "far and away the best explanatory framework" for understanding scientific data, says Southern Illinois University David King.
According to "creation scientists," who try to present the biblical view of creation as science, the scientific community argues about the validity of evolution. This isn't so, states David King, an associate professor in the anatomy department at the...

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