Evolution, Religion, and Education: A Workshop for Science and So cial Studies Teachers

From: Mccarrick Alan D CRPH (MccarrickAD@nswccd.navy.mil)
Date: Fri May 16 2003 - 09:16:06 EDT

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    Evolution, Religion, and Education: A Workshop for Science and Social Studies Teachers

    For nearly a century, evolution has been a controversial subject in our schools. Many Americans oppose the teaching of evolution, while many others believe that good science teaching demands that evolution be taught. What are the historical and cultural roots of this controversy? What points of view do Americans hold concerning the relationship between science and religion? What should science and social studies teachers know about this controversy, in order to be better teachers of their subjects? What should all teachers know about this controversy, in order to understand their students better?

    With financial support from the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org), Messiah College is sponsoring a workshop for educators on these very topics. The workshop is designed to:
    - To acquaint teachers with important aspects of the history of the controversy about evolution, creation, and public education, including the Scopes trial and the "intelligent design" movement
    - To help science teachers meet the expectations of the new Science & Technology standards, especially those related to the Nature of Science, Inquiry and Design, Biological Sciences, and Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physics
    - To help science teachers meet the expectations of the new Environment & Ecology standards, especially those related to Ecosystems and their Interactions
    - To show social studies teachers how to use a feature film about the Scopes trial, Inherit the Wind, in American history classes, and how to help students reflect critically on the content of the film
    - To provide teachers with a basic understanding of biological evolution and the "big bang" theory
    - To help teachers understand the diversity of religious views that Americans hold concerning evolution and the "big bang" theory

    Teachers who complete the workshop will receive 30 hours of continuing education applicable to Act 48 requirements.

    Details: The workshop will be held on the campus of Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, during the week of 23-27 June 2003. Sessions will run from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm, with a 90-minute lunch period and regular breaks. Precise campus location TBA. For additional details about the specific subject content of the workshop, go to http://www.messiah.edu/godandscience/workshop.shtml.

    Audience: The intended audience is high school science and social studies teachers, including teachers from private schools. Clergy of all faiths are also encouraged to attend. Others with an interest in the subject, including college faculty and members of the general public, will be admitted as space allows.

    Registration: A non-refundable registration fee of $65 (reduced to $50 for early registrants) will be charged. All other expenses, including lunches for participants for all five days, are covered by the grant. For a printable registration form, go to http://www.messiah.edu/godandscience/workshop.shtml. On the first day of the course, each participant will receive two books: Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (1997), winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History; and Karl W. Giberson and Donald A. Yerxa, Species of Origins: America's Search for a Creation Story (2002).

    Workshop faculty: The workshop director, Dr. Ted Davis, is Distinguished Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College. Known internationally for his scholarship on the history of religion and science, his recent works include a complete edition of The Works of Robert Boyle, 14 vols. (London, 1999-2000) and the entry on "Creationism" in The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science, ed. John L. Heilbron (Oxford University Press, 2003). Dr. Davis has spoken at numerous American and European universities, including Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Penn, and Princeton; at a public forum on evolution and the schools sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC; and in various churches. His article on the "intelligent design"movement was a cover story for The Christian Century magazine, and a British Broadcasting Company radio program based on his study of modern Jonah stories had four million listeners. With support from the
    National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, he is currently writing a book about the religious beliefs of prominent American scientists from the period of the Scopes trial. A former high school science and mathematics teacher who now teaches the history of science, Dr. Davis is very interested in both secondary science and social studies teaching.

    Dr. Robin Collins, Associate Professor of Philosophy, has research interests in the relationship of physics and religion, on which subject he has spoken at several major universities, including Yale, Baylor, and the UniversitÓ Cattolica in Milan. He received the B.S. from Washington State University, whose faculty named him the outstanding student in physics in his junior and senior years, and went on to do graduate work under John Wheeler in theoretical physics at the University of Texas. His doctoral dissertation in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame received the Graduate Student Award in the Humanities for outstanding research, teaching, and publication; he then did post-doctoral research in the philosophy of science at Northwestern University. In numerous scholarly articles, he has examined how the fundamental findings of cosmology and physics relate to the existence of God. This winter he was an invited speaker at a symposium on the multiuniverse hypothesis
    at Stanford University, which brought in fifteen of the world's leading physicists and cosmologists. His current project is a book tentatively entitled, The Well-Tempered Universe: God, Cosmic Fine-Tuning, and the Laws of Nature.

    Dr. David Foster, Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, has traveled the world teaching in natural history courses-from Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, to the US Desert Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, the Jungles of Belize and Guatemala, and the temperate forests of New Zealand. Reared in the Northern Wisconsin hills along the south shore of Lake Superior, he has always loved the outdoors; by the time he was in college, he had spent more than three years living outside, under the open sky. After completing a B.S. in Biology at Eastern College, he earned an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Wisconsin. For six years he has taught biology and environmental science at Messiah College, where he also serves as Director of the Oakes Museum of Natural History. Dr. Foster is extensively involved with the AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies (www.ausable.org) and the Creation Care
    Studies Program (www.creationcsp.org). The uniting themes throughout Dr. Foster's adventures are exploration of the natural world and teaching about its wonders.

    Dr. Sandra Holmes, Associate Professor of Education and Biological Sciences, earned a B.S. in Natural Sciences and a B.A. in Elementary Education at Eastern Washington University, where she also completed an M.A. in Science Education while teaching sixth grade. Her doctoral dissertation in Science Education at the University of Idaho was given the Outstanding Dissertation Award for Instruction by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Nationally recognized for her expertise in all aspects of science education, Dr. Holmes has been a consultant for many states and local school districts. She is currently supervising the multi-disciplinary research team responsible for the crater science component of the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center that is studying Iturralde Crater in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia.

    For further information, contact Dr. Ted Davis: tdavis@messiah.edu
    717-766-2511, ext 6840 (voice/messages), 717-691-6002 (fax)

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