In an unusual undertaking for a science society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has produced a new book that discusses evolution and the rich diversity of Christian responses to the theory along with the quest for common ground on what has become a contentious issue in many school districts across the nation.
The book, The Evolution Dialogues, was written with the input of both scientists and theologians. Meant specifically for use in Christian adult education programs, it offers a concise description of the natural world, as explained by evolution, and the Christian response, both in Charles Darwin's time and in contemporary America. It has a glossary of terms from both science and religion, with "bacteria" and "Biblical infallibility" defined on the same page.
As an introduction to each chapter, the book features a narrative about the personal dilemma of a fictional college student, Angela Rawlett, as she struggles to reconcile her traditionalist Christian upbringing with her keen interest in biology.
Her story is rooted in reality, according to Connie Bertka, director of the AAAS's Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion program, which produced the book. Students from traditional Christian backgrounds sometimes approach biology professors with concerns that the study of evolution will conflict with their religious beliefs. "Biology 101 teachers can cite cases like this," Bertka said.
At a time when several leading scientists have written personal accounts of their own faith in both God and the scientific method, the new AAAS book offers a thoughtful look at science and Christianity. It mentions their shared values, including a commitment to truthfulness.
While concerns about evolution are not limited to Christian denominations or to the United States, the debate has been the most intense within segments of the American Christian community.
Bertka said the book grew out of dis
Contact: Earl Lane
American Association for the Advancement of Science