Science, religion, and society: the problem of evolution in America

A colleague pointed me towards an interesting new article by Jerry A. Coyne in Evolution. In, so much should be noted as a disclaimer, an openly partisan note by an evolutionary biologist who has a history of fighting creationism and intelligent design, Coyne explores the degree of believe in evolution and science, particularly in the US, as well as causes and consequences for society.

Figure: Adam and Eve taking fruit from the forbidden tree and banishment from the Garden of Eden. Sistine Chapel, fresco by Michelangelo

I guess the topic is more immediate for an US-based scientist – from over here, it is more with feelings of curiosity and astonishment that I watch this debate. Still, I found the paper really enjoyable to read, and there are some points worth thinking about. Made me wonder whether it’s really further scientific progress rather than basic education that is urgently needed to facilitate a change in the big societal challenges of the time such (some interesting results on this in the context of climate change were recently discussed by Adam Corner in the Guardian). Coyne is obviously preaching to the choir by publishing in a scientific journal behind the paywall, but that’s fair enough as one of his messages is to sing a bit louder.

ADDITION 27-04-12: There’s an interesting new empirical study in Science today related to this topic: Will M. Gervais & Ara Norenzayan, Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief


3 thoughts on “Science, religion, and society: the problem of evolution in America

  1. Pingback: The potential for self-deception « theoretical ecology

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