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Science, Faith, and Politics

  Science and faith | Social and political history

Evolution continues to be a highly controversial, and often misunderstood, topic among the general public. To better understand the complex relationships between science, religion, and public policy, consult this extensive list of resources.


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Evolution RevolutionEvolution Revolution Explore the rise of a revolutionary idea and the controversies that surround it.

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Science and FaithScience and Faith Join our roundtable panelists as they discuss how evolution can be reconciled with religious beliefs.

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In the Name of DarwinIn the Name of Darwin Racism and bigotry are linked, unjustly, to Darwin. Learn why in this essay by science historian Daniel J. Kevles.

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Science and Faith

Science and Faith
Join our roundtable panelists as they discuss how evolution can be reconciled with religious beliefs.

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Web Activity

Science, Faith, and Politics


Emi & Nathan: Personal Testimonies

Emi & Nathan: Personal Testimonies
Two Wheaton College students share their personal struggles between their study of science and their deep religious beliefs. From Evolution: "What About God?"

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Evolving Ideas: Why Is Evolution Controversial Anyway?

Evolving Ideas: Why Is Evolution Controversial Anyway?
In this video for high school students, scientists, college students, and clergy explore the relationship between personal faith and a scientific understanding of evolution.

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Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist

Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist
Founder of Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization, Ken Ham discusses the implications of "interpreting" the Bible. From Evolution: "What About God?"

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Life's Grand Design

Life's Grand Design
Are nature's complex forms evidence of "intelligent design"? Biologist Kenneth Miller explains how the processes of evolution account for complex structures such as the human eye.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Clare McKinney: A Teacher's Perspective

Clare McKinney: A Teacher's Perspective
Interviewed for Evolution: "What About God?", McKinney describes her experience as a science teacher, especially regarding the creation-evolution controversy in her school.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Daniel Dennett: Darwinian Natural Selection

Daniel Dennett: Darwinian Natural Selection
In this interview filmed for Evolution: "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," philosopher Daniel Dennett explores the line between Darwin's theory of natural selection and traditional religious world views.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Eugenie C. Scott: Nature of Science

Eugenie C. Scott: Nature of Science
The executive director of the National Center for Science Education discusses the scope and limitations of both science and religion. From Evolution: "What About God?"

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Eugenie C. Scott: Nature of Science

Eugenie C. Scott: Nature of Science
The executive director of the National Center for Science Education discusses the scope and limitations of both science and religion. From Evolution: "What About God?"

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Intelligent Design: The Diane Rehm Show

Intelligent Design: The Diane Rehm Show
Diane Rehm interviews Eugenie C. Scott and William Dembski about their views on intelligent design.

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Ken Miller: Reconciling Science and Faith

Ken Miller: Reconciling Science and Faith
A biology professor and author of Finding Darwin's God, Ken Miller shares his personal experience as a scientist and a religious man. From Evolution: "What About God?"

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Stephen Jay Gould: Understanding Evolution

Stephen Jay Gould: Understanding Evolution
In this transcript of an interview filmed for Evolution: "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," Stephen Jay Gould discusses natural selection and the amorality of nature.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Managing the Conflict Between Evolution & Religion

Managing the Conflict Between Evolution & Religion
This article describes a survey of conservative Christians who were also science teachers to learn how they managed conflict between their religious beliefs and their understanding of biological evolution.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Center for the Study of Science and Religion

Center for the Study of Science and Religion
The Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia University is an interdisciplinary, inter-school, collaborative forum for the examination of issues lying at the boundary of scientific and religious ways of comprehending the world and our place in it.

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Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes

Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes
This site encourages the teaching of evolutionary theory in the greater context of modern scientific thinking and the nature of science.

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How Did We Get Here? (A Cyber Debate)

How Did We Get Here? (A Cyber Debate)
Biologist Kenneth Miller, author of Finding Darwin's God, debates Phillip Johnson, professor of law and author of Darwin on Trial, on the companion Web site for NOVA: "Odyssey of Life" (1996). Hosted by PBS.

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Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
In this book, the author discusses Darwin's theories regarding the evolution of consciousness and details his own interpretation of the nature of evolutionary theory. By Daniel Dennett [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995].

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Faith Versus Science

Faith Versus Science
This article explains how the removal of evolution studies from the Kansas Board of Education's suggested science curriculum caused scientists to worry about the status of other theories in today's schools. The article also includes a "snapshot" of the evolution-creation debate. By J. Steinberg and P. Hancock [New York Times Upfront, 4 October 1999, 16-19].

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Faith and Reason

Faith and Reason
Created for the PBS documentary Faith and Reason, hosted by Margaret Wertheim, this site includes interviews with Bob Russell, Richard Dawkins, George Coyne, Francis Collins, Ted Peters, Ron Numbers, Steven Weinberg, and Rustum Roy.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Science and Creationism

Science and Creationism
This site contains resources on evolution and the nature of science. It also includes helpful external links for teachers. Hosted by the National Academy of Sciences.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science
Available online, this book is an invaluable reference for grade 5-12 biology teachers. It provides a compendium of essential information and activities for teaching evolutionary biology. By the Working Group on Teaching Evolution, National Academy of Sciences [Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998].

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Science, Faith, and Politics


A Short History of the Universe

A Short History of the Universe
This book contains a popular treatment of the evolution of the universe. By Joseph Silk [New York: Scientific American Library, 1994].

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Antievolution and Creationism in the United States

Antievolution and Creationism in the United States
In this article, the author highlights the spectrum of views held by the largely Christian antievolutionists and defines key terminology in the creation-evolution controversy. By E. Scott [Annual Review of Anthropology (1997): 263-89].

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Climbing Mount Improbable

Climbing Mount Improbable
In this book, the author provides a comprehensive account explaining that evolution occurs as a result of many small steps of change. Readers will also find elaborate discussions of the evolution of such things as spider webs, flight adaptations, and dozens of independently evolved eyes. By Richard Dawkins [New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996].

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Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality?

Creation and Evolution: Myth or Reality?
In this book, the author distinguishes between science and the creationists. He writes: "In large part, the emotional distaste for evolution stems from a lack of understanding of the respective roles of science and religion. Even among Christians, there is a spectrum of ideas about God." By Norman Newell. [New York: Columbia University Press, 1982].

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Defending Evolution: A Guide to the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Defending Evolution: A Guide to the Creation/Evolution Controversy
Written for high school and college teachers struggling to teach evolution to a less-than-receptive audience, this guide offers insights about students' creationist beliefs and how to reduce their anxieties about evolution. By Brian J. Alters and Sandra M. Alters [Sudbury, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett, 2001].

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Diminish Students' Resistance to Biological Evolution

Diminish Students' Resistance to Biological Evolution
In this article, a high school teacher argues that creationism has no place in the science classroom. He proposes that if the nature of science were properly understood, evolutionary theory would gain further acceptance. By Michael P. Clough [The American Biology Teacher (October 1994): 409-15].

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Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History

Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History
This anthology of essays introduces readers to the complexity of evolutionary biology and the mystery of life. By Stephen Jay Gould [New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1977].

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Evolution! Facts and Fallacies

Evolution! Facts and Fallacies
This volume contains proceedings of the "Evolution! Facts and Fallacies" symposium held at UCLA in 1997. With contributions from Schopf, Stephen Jay Gould, Charles Marshall, and others, the book addresses misconceptions of evolution and of science in general. Edited by J. William Schopf [San Diego: Academic Press, 1999].

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Evolution, Extinction and the Movies

Evolution, Extinction and the Movies
This interview with Stephen Jay Gould reveals why he thinks creation science is oxymoronic. By D. Levy [Time, 14 May 1990, 19-21].

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Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution
In this book, the author shares his personal experience as a scientist and a religious man. He believes in "Darwin's God," or a god that could work through the natural processes observed in evolution. By Kenneth Miller [New York: Cliff Street Books, 1999].

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Galileo and other Faithful Scientists

Galileo and other Faithful Scientists
This article offers explanations for why different religions accept or refute science. By R. Ostling [Time, 28 December 1992, 42-3].

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God's Own Scientists: Creationists in a Secular World

God's Own Scientists: Creationists in a Secular World
This book provides an anthropologist's view of creationism as a belief system upholding the moral authority of both science and religion. By Christopher P. Toumey [New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1994].

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Modern Science and the Book of Genesis

Modern Science and the Book of Genesis
This book provides religious grounding in favor of modern science and effective strategies for dealing with common creationism arguments. By James W. Skehan [Washington, D.C.: National Science Teachers Association, 1986].

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Nonoverlapping Magisteria

Nonoverlapping Magisteria
In this article, the author states that science and religion are not in conflict, because they each have different domains of expertise. Science is concerned with the empirical nature of the universe, religion with ethical values and spiritual meaning. The attainment of wisdom, he asserts, requires both. By Stephen Jay Gould [Natural History 106, no. 2 (March 1997): 16-26].

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One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought

One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought
In this book, the author provides a critical analysis of both Darwinian theories and the history of their gradual acceptance among scientists. By Ernst Mayr [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991].

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Our Evolving Universe

Our Evolving Universe
This brief book discusses the origin and evolution of the universe. By Malcolm S. Longair [New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996].

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Personal Gods, Deism, & the Limits of Skepticism

Personal Gods, Deism, & the Limits of Skepticism
In this article, the author presents an analysis of the debate concerning the relationship between science and religion. By Massimo Pigliucci [Skeptic 8, no. 2 (spring 2000)].

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy

Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy
This book provides a comprehensive analysis of creationist scientific claims. By Arthur Strahler [Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Press, 1987].

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Science and Myth

Science and Myth
In this article, the author discusses the distinction between scientific theories and myths. He argues that we need both sorts of ideas, but that it is important to be clear about which is which. By John Maynard Smith [Natural History 93 (November 1984): 10-18].

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Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation

Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation
In this book, a theologian addresses the issues that have historically placed science and religion in conflict. By John F. Haught [Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1995].

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Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution

Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution
Designed as a response to creationism, this book provides students, educators, and general readers with the evidence for evolution, an explanation of evolutionary processes, a refutation of the claims of creationists, and insight into the nature of scientific inquiry. By Douglas J. Futuyma [Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates, Inc., 1995].

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Science, God and Man

Science, God and Man
In light of the past century's great scientific discoveries, the author of this article asks whether new discoveries in science undermine religious faith or reinforce it. By Robert Wright [Time, 28 December 1992].

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Teaching Darwin Seriously

Teaching Darwin Seriously
In this article, a University of Texas professor looks at how ethics and a moral society may have evolved. By D. Allchin [The American Biology Teacher (May 1999): 350-5].

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The Age of the Earth

The Age of the Earth
This book contains a comprehensive discussion of the evidence for the ages of Earth, the moon, meteorites, solar system, galaxy, and universe. By Brent G. Dalrymple [Palo Alto, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1991].

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The Blind Watchmaker

The Blind Watchmaker
In this book, the author refutes the creationist claim that living things are so complex that they must have been purposefully designed, showing instead that they have been produced by a "blind" watchmaker -- natural selection. By Richard Dawkins [1986. Reprint, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996].

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The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe
This book provides an explanation of what happened during the big bang. By Steven Weinberg [New York: Basic Books, 1993].

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The Nature of the Darwinian Revolution

The Nature of the Darwinian Revolution
In this article, the author presents pre-Darwinian evolutionary thought and argues the enormity of Charles Darwin's contribution to science. By Ernst Mayr [Science 176 (1972): 981-989].

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The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History

The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
In this essay, the author describes the anatomy and origin of the panda's thumb, which is not really a thumb at all, as an illustration of how imperfections in design can sometimes offer the best evidence for evolution. By Stephen Jay Gould [New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1980].

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Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism

Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism
In this book, a philosopher of science analyzes the newer intelligent design theory and theistic science creationism. By Robert T. Pennock [Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999].

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When Science Meets Religion

When Science Meets Religion
In this book, the author addresses major topics from the big bang to free will, and their significance in both science and theology. By Ian G. Barbour [San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000].

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Evolution Revolution

Evolution Revolution
Explore the rise of a revolutionary idea and the controversies that surround it.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


In the Name of Darwin

In the Name of Darwin
Racism and bigotry are linked, unjustly, to Darwin. Learn why in this essay by science historian Daniel J. Kevles.

Web Activity

Web Activity

Science, Faith, and Politics


Courtroom Controversy

Courtroom Controversy
From Evolution: "What About God?", this segment summarizes the struggle between creationism and evolution in the American science classroom, beginning with the Scopes trial in 1925.

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Scopes Trial

Scopes Trial
Archival footage reassembled in 1960 tells the story of the Scopes "monkey trial" of 1925. John T. Scopes of Tennessee was arrested, tried, and convicted for teaching evolution to his science class.

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Teaching Evolution Case Studies: Dealing with Controversy

Teaching Evolution Case Studies: Dealing with Controversy
This video for teachers explores how controversy may arise in teaching evolution in the public school classroom.

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Creationism Evolving

Creationism Evolving
This political cartoon illustrates the creationist view of evolution as the "root of all evil."

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Looking for God at Berkeley

Looking for God at Berkeley
This San Francisco Weekly article describes the views of a few "intelligent design" theory proponents and offers rebuttals from the mainstream scientific and policy communities.

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AAAS Evolution Resources

AAAS Evolution Resources
This site includes a survey on creationism and science education, and contains major court decisions regarding evolution, including the recent Kansas Board of Education controversy. Hosted by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER).

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Better Biology Teaching by Emphasizing Evolution and the Nature of Science

Better Biology Teaching by Emphasizing Evolution and the Nature of Science
At this site, teachers can read the full-text of a 1996 American Biology Teacher article. The article explains how students can understand scientific concepts, especially that of evolution, if taught that science is not a dogma, but a work in progess. Hosted by ENSI.

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Eugenics Archive, DNA Learning Center

Eugenics Archive, DNA Learning Center
The site includes information on the social, political, and pseudo-scientific aspects of the eugenics movement, and the pictorial archive of the Eugenics Record Office, circa 1910-1940. Hosted by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

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Facts, Faith and Fairness

Facts, Faith and Fairness
This site addresses creationism as a disturbing threat to the level of science literacy in the American science classroom.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


National Center for Science Education

National Center for Science Education
This site is a nationally recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and "scientific creationism" out.

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Science, Faith, and Politics


Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Science, 2nd ed.

Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Science, 2nd ed.
Available online, this booklet summarizes key aspects of several lines of evidence supporting evolution and analyzes positions held by creation science advocates. By the National Academy of Sciences [Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999].

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Scopes Trial Home Page

Scopes Trial Home Page
This site is part of Professor Douglas Linder's "Famous Trials" site. The Scopes section includes trial transcripts, biographies, photos, and contemporary press coverage by H. L. Mencken. Hosted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

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Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism

Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism
This book presents a philosophical as well as scientific analysis of "creation science." By Philip Kitcher [Cambridge: MIT Press, 1983].

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America's Dirty Secret: Professors of Hate

America's Dirty Secret: Professors of Hate
In this article, the author profiles two professors who are receiving private funds to research the genetic basis of racial differences in intelligence. By Adam Miller [Rolling Stone, 20 October 1994].

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But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy

But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy
Addressing the evolution-creation controversy, this collection of essays includes selections by Francisco J. Ayala, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Ronald L. Numbers, William Paley, Sir Karl Popper, Michael Ruse, and John Maynard Smith. Edited by Michael Ruse [Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1996].

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Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?: The Relationship Between Science and Religion

Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?: The Relationship Between Science and Religion
In this provocative book, the author explains that evolutionary biology and Christianity need not be considered diametrically opposed. He cites extensive evidence supporting evolution and explains how evolution and basic Christian beliefs can coexist. By Michael Ruse [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000].

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Creationism's Upside-down Pyramid: How Science Refutes Fundamentalism

Creationism's Upside-down Pyramid: How Science Refutes Fundamentalism
In this book, the author explains why creationism is not scientific and should not be taught in the science classroom. By Lee Tiffin [Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1994].

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Creationists Evolve New Strategy

Creationists Evolve New Strategy
This article looks at the creationists' new, low-profile tactics to discredit evolution and its teaching, including paste-in warning labels and demands for "equal time" in the classroom. By Karen Schmidt [Science (26 July 1996): 420-2].

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Cursed by Eugenics

Cursed by Eugenics
This article provides a historical review of the ideas, movement, and disastrous applications of eugenics. By P. Gary [Time, 11 January 1999, 84-5].

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Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies

Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies
This book presents the history and controversies in evolutionary biology and examines anti-Darwinian arguments. By Michael Ruse [Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1982].

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Evolution and the Myth of Creationism

Evolution and the Myth of Creationism
In this book, the author gives a brief overview of creationist tactics against evolution and presents the major arguments that refute creationist claim. By Tim N. Berra [Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1999].

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Evolution Controversy: The Never-Ending Story

Evolution Controversy: The Never-Ending Story
The article details evolution related court cases in Washington, Colorado, and Kansas and describes how local school boards should respond to parents and citizens lobbying to keep evolution out of the classroom. By D. Stover [The Education Digest (November 1999): 57-61].

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Inherit an Ill Wind

Inherit an Ill Wind
In this article, the authors explain why the Supreme Court's decision to bar creation "science" from the classroom has propelled the growing antievolution movement. They also discuss the motives of the man leading the charge against evolution, Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson. By E. Larson and L. Witham [The Nation, 4 October 1999, 25-9].

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Is God in the Classroom?

Is God in the Classroom?
This article looks at two teachers with opposing views, one favoring evolution, the other creationism. Included is a timeline of the 140-year-old debate. By T. Henry [Popular Science, October 2000, 58-63].

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Keeping Creationism out of the Classroom

Keeping Creationism out of the Classroom
In this article, the author offers several cases in which religious extremism and public school education mix on the local level and discusses the NCSE's efforts to combat antievolutionism. The article also includes educational tips for teachers. By A.M. Gillis [BioScience (November 1994): 650-6].

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Monkey Business

Monkey Business
In this article, NCSE director Eugenie C. Scott documents how local school boards and teachers have succumbed to pressure from antievolution lobbyists, and offers advice for those, like her, concerned about the future of science education. By E. Scott [The Sciences, January/February 1996, 20-5].

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The Creation Controversy and the Science Classroom

The Creation Controversy and the Science Classroom
This book is an important resource that will provide readers with an understanding of the relationship between science and religion and how it can be brought to the classroom. By James Skehan and Craig Nelson [Arlington, Va.: NSTA Press, 2000].

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The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism

The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism
This book recounts the emergence of "creation science" as a relatively new development in the creation-evolution debate. By Ron Numbers [Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992].

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The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms

The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms
This book covers the religious struggle with Darwinism at the end of the century. By James R. Moore [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979].

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Truth and Consequences

Truth and Consequences
This article tells the story of how the Kansas state school board "railroaded" the high school science standards' writing team and adopted a "blatantly antiscience" curriculum. By S. Halpern [Mother Jones, January/February 2000, 35-7].

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Voices for Evolution

Voices for Evolution
This book presents a collection of statements supporting the teaching of evolution from many different types of organizations -- scientific, civic, religious, and educational. By Molleen Matsumura [Berkeley, Calif.: National Center for Science Education, Inc., 1995].

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