ABSTRACT

In this essay, I assert that academic scientists are ideally suited to address frequent and often contentious interactions between scientific and religious perspectives that occur on our campuses and well as among our colleagues and within our communities. I first define and provide specific examples of four historical approaches that characterize relationships between science and religion: (1) the Warfare or Conflict thesis, (2) the Independence approach, (3) the Harmony thesis, and (4) the Complexity model. Given that discussions about science and religion are often manifested in ongoing controversies surrounding biological evolution, I then summarize the origins of anti-evolution movements in the United States via the rise and persistence of Christian Fundamentalism. The essay concludes by comparing the religious beliefs of academic scientists to the general public and offering practical suggestions for serving as “boundary pioneers” between science and religion.

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