Thursday, February 11, 2010

Research Into How Science and Evolutionary Beliefs Relate

Michael Reiss has published important new work on the relationship between biology and religion. It's good to see these important religious influences being investigated. Here is a summary of this important relationship and influence:

Belief in evolution is widespread and gaining significance in a number of countries. My research examines the characteristics of science and of evolutionary beliefs and the possible relationship between science and religion. I argue that evolution is sometimes best seen not as a misconception but as a worldview. In such instances, the most to which a science educator (whether in school, college or university) can normally aspire is to ensure that students with evolutionary beliefs understand the scientific position. In the short term, the scientific worldview is unlikely to supplant an evolutionary one for students who are firm evolutionists. We can help students to find their biology courses interesting and intellectually challenging without their being threatening. Effective teaching in this area can help students not only learn about biology but better appreciate the way science is done, the procedures by which scientific knowledge accumulates, the limitations of science, and the ways in which scientific knowledge differs from other forms of knowledge.

The damage from religious beliefs seems to be spreading faster than it can be contained. But there is reason for hope. Such beliefs can be countered with rational thinking and science. Do not give up.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. WTF?!?!

    What on Earth are you doing?!?!

    The quote you have printed is (almost) replicated at the very link you provide - EXCEPT YOU HAVE SUBSTITUTED THE WORDS 'CREATIONISM AND INTELLIGENT DESIGN' FOR THE WORD 'EVOLUTION'!!

    Michael Reiss's position is that Creationism should be dealt with head on and tackled, rather than brushed under the carpet. If you tell someone their ideas are 'just silly' then they may well still hang on to them. He thinks we should point out to students exactly WHY Creationism and ID are unscientific.

    So why have you simply altered the words 'creationism and intelligent design' for the word 'evolution'? Perhaps you are going to say this is a piece of satire, and that I'm just not getting it?

    I call that a thoroughly despicable tactic! Gross misrepresentation tantamount to lying. You know very well that a lot of people will simply read your OP and, if they want to accept it, then they simply will. A lot of people may simply have taken your OP at face value.

    Nor is your post obviously satirical. Reading it, I would see no reason to doubt Reiss would say this as you presented it (assuming I did not know of Reiss by reputation).

    Can you defend what you have done here? If not, you should be ashamed!

  3. Cornelius did something very similar on Feb 8:

    I personally don't find these kinds of rhetorical tricks very effective (it's a lazy way of arguing) - and as Ritchie has pointed out, it's a very questionable practice (I know many a professor would slam their students for such a practice).

  4. "In the short term, the scientific worldview is unlikely to supplant an evolutionary one." This is true, however, they are both the same, as shown in "The Scientific Worldview" (

    Glenn Borchardt