Thank you, Professor David Barash. In his first-year biology class, Barash begins with something he calls “The Talk.” He understands that a “substantial minority” of students come in unprepared by their religious backgrounds for the complexity and strangeness of evolutionary biology. They fear that the study of biology might challenge their “beliefs.” So he takes it upon himself to clear up what vestiges of William Paley and William Jennings Bryan remain among students.
My educational background is in the humanities; my exposure to the sciences has been almost nil. The closest I come to the sciences is through my daughter and her husband, both high school biology teachers. However, I've become interested in the conversation between science and religion.
Ian Barbour, who died at 90 in Northfield, Minnesota, where he taught for 30 years at Carleton College, was widely lauded for his pioneering role in bridging religion and science. He died on December 24 in a hospital five days after suffering a stroke at home.
In the days before the Kansas School Board's August decision to strip the teaching of evolution from state science standards, the presidents of the Kansas university system issued a statement. "The simple fact is," they said, "people can believe both in God and in evolution."