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Scientists, NCSE Wants You Friday, August 24, 2007

Posted by h3nry in Butler University, education, faith, fundamentalism, Michael Zimmerman, NCSE, rationality, religion, science, scientists, The Clergy Letter Project.
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Update:

As NCSE has pointed out, this initiative is actually “it is the brainchild of Michael Zimmerman of Butler University, and he deserves all the credit.”

You can find the relevant information on the Butler University webpage, “Religion & Science Collaboration”:

http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/religion_science_collaboration.htm

h3nry – 25 August 2007

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has started a great initiative which I think deserves more attention in the blogspere and mainstream media: The Clergy Letter Project. This project aims to encourage scientists to serve as consultants to speak to local clergy members and parishioners to advance the beauty and general understanding of science.

From NCSE:

As part of its efforts to encourage and support members of the clergy who acknowledge the scientific importance of evolution, the Clergy Letter Project is seeking scientists who are excited about the possibility of explaining the beauty and power of science to clergy members and their parishioners. Over 400 scientists throughout the country and abroad have already agreed to act as advisers to local clergy and speak publicly to church audiences about their areas of expertise; a list is available on the Clergy Letter Project’s website.

This is really important. The anti-science sentiment is rampant mainly because either people just aren’t interested in science, or they have not been properly educated about what science is, or they have been manipulated by the faith-head fundamentalists – and it is for the third reason that this project was born to address. I think having the scientists go out there to inform the public – particular to the religious members with the power and responsibility of educating the faithful – addresses all these problems.

Note that I am not advocating that science and religion should reconcile – there is no denial that there are plenty areas science and religion overlap and conflict – the questions of how species come into existence is the most obvious one. This project is about education. From experience, there are lots of anti-science or anti-evolutionists out there simply because they are not properly informed of the facts, not properly educated on the beauty and enlightenment science offers, and/or they are being manipulated by the fundies. It is this population that projects like this can win over (I mean, by definition, nothing will change the minds of fundamentalists).

One important issue here is about the attitudes these scientists should adapt. They are educating and engaging the public, so the mentality should be that of a consultant – polite, professional and educational (well, of course, when confronted by fundies, then they shall be merciless).

If you are a scientist or know any real scientists, please spread the word for this worthy cause.

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Comments»

1. Bad - Friday, August 24, 2007

I meant to mention this more in passing in my post about the new ID movie Expelled!. Creationists and ID promoters are directly marketing their ideas through churches, and their appeals and tactics are highly effective. Things like The Clergy Letter Project are a good start in helping to combat these tactics, though I can’t help but feel like we’re still going to get left in the dust.

2. Glenn Branch - Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thanks for the plug. Note, however, that the Clergy Letter Project is not sponsored by NCSE; it is the brainchild of Michael Zimmerman of Butler University, and he deserves all the credit.


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