Tag Archives: copernicus

Teaching Science to The Religious? Focus on How Theories Develop

Brown biology Professor Ken Miller understands that most students are religious. He is too. The way to teach science to religious students is to show how scientific ideas come to be, he says. Students can learn that religious people engage in scientific explorations of nature, and that theories are based on observation and logic, not some anti-religious agenda.

Vicious, winner-take-all competition in nature is an essential pillar of evolutionary theory, but it frequently describes the mindset people have about how, or whether, to teach the subject. 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.” (more…)

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UChicago Launches Search for Distant Worlds

Since 1995, scientists have discovered approximately 600 planets around other stars, including 50 planets last month alone, and one that orbits two stars, like Tatooine in Star Wars. Detection of the first Earthlike planet remains elusive, however, and now the University of Chicago joins the search with the addition of Jacob Bean and Daniel Fabrycky to the faculty.

“I can’t imagine a more profound impact on humanity than the discovery that there are other Earthlike worlds or that we are not alone,” said Rocky Kolb, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and department chairman. (more…)

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