Friday, January 30, 2009

Natural Selection VS Religion - Response to e-mail

In response to Mike's e-mail:

Thanks for the readings Mike, I will certainly go over them this weekend.

To add another angle to this look at the tense relationship of Darwin and Religion I would suggest some light google searching on some of the legal trails about teaching natural selection in the classroom. 

The classic historical case is the Scopes trial of 1926. Here, high school teacher John Scopes was charged by the State of Tennessee with breaking the "Butler Act"; which made it illegal "to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals". There are many websites that give different slants on the trail. Search "Scopes Monkey Trial" and you can pick what you wish to read.  

There have also been more recent trails using the "bacterial flagellum argument" in place of the 1800s "watchmaker/eye argument" see
or watch this very good lecture by Dr. Kenneth R. Miller at Brown University and this more instructional animation of hypothesized and tested steps.

There have also been earlier public arguments like that between T.H. Huxley and Bishop S. Wilburforce at Oxford. I heard a funny recreation at Down House, it went something like this.

Above Pictures: Plaque designating Down House as an English Heritage Site (left); Darwin's gardens (right). Those hundreds of cabbages he mentions in chapter 3, they are still there.

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