This is from Brown University about Kenneth Miller, who was a witness for the good guys at the Kitzmiller trial. The last time we wrote about him was Kenneth Miller Speech at Wittenberg University.
Today’s article is Teaching science to the religious? Focus on how theories develop. Good topic! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Religious students sometimes come to class thinking that science and religion are in deliberate opposition, like two lionesses fighting over a kill. When Brown University biologist and practicing Catholic Kenneth Miller teaches evolution, he also teaches that such a zero-sum mindset just isn’t warranted.
“I think it’s really unnecessary,” Miller said. “What’s extremely unfortunate right now is that, not just evolution, but whole areas of science have been sucked into the culture wars argument and it’s been taken for granted, therefore, that science takes a particular position in the left-right spectrum.”
“Extremely unfortunate” is right, yet that’s how it is these days. All may not be lost, however. Miller has a way to deal with it:
Miller’s basic approach is to help students trace the development of a scientific theory, rather than to present it as some kind of finished doctrine that must be believed because it has evidentiary support.
Does that work? Let’s read on:
“I don’t ask students to believe in education because I don’t ask them to believe in DNA either,” Miller said. “To me the word ‘believe’ means to accept something beyond question. In science there are no facts or theories that are beyond question. What I do urge students to do is to learn about the evidence and understand why the scientific community finds it persuasive.”
We have doubts that anything can reach some students, but Miller speaks from experience. The article continues:
“The best way to approach deeply religious students on a scientific issue is to develop the scientific background, to show that science doesn’t grow out of some sort of anti-theological or political perspective, but out of a very human drive to understand ourselves and the world around us,” Miller said. “They see that it is not an a priori cultural and social conclusion for which you are trying to find a justification but rather the logical outcome of being curious about nature and trying to find out how it works.”
That’s enough excerpts, because you ought to click over there to read it all. Miller knows what he’s talking about.
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