Anti-evolution discussed in Lawrence
Check out the URL. The first comment is from the ubiquitous, self-described "foremost terrestrial authority on the book of Genesis"University professor brings anti-evolution discussion to campus
By Marshall Schmidt, Sunday, February 19, 2012
Students’ understanding of creationism and intelligent design is evolving. Jeff Moran, professor of history at the University, discussed the anti-evolution movement in American culture to a packed audience Thursday evening in The Commons at Spooner Hall as part of the Humanities Lecture Series.
Moran elaborated on the history of and reasoning against teaching the evolution theory, while discussing the creationist museum of natural history, the Scopes Trial and the current intelligent design movement.
“Public schools have become the central battleground,” Moran said.
Moran pointed to the importance of Jesus, the centrality of humanity and the fear of social disorder as the three main components to the movement. Moran cited that 45 percent of Americans disbelieve the evolution theory.
While an emphasis on creationism has waned, intelligent design seems to be the latest fad. However, between zero and two scientific papers that support intelligent design have ever been published, Moran said.
Nick Frisby, a graduate student from Merriam, attended the lecture with his father, a biology teacher.
“Growing up, I always heard about the anti-evolution controversy because my father was on the front lines,” Frisby said.
Frisby was interested to hear the break down of the movement’s recent history and noted that the rest of the audience seemed to agree with Moran’s perspective. However, Frisby is concerned with the prospects of the anti-evolution movement.
“The anti-evolutionists have an overlap with an extreme conservative movement that has a considerable amount of political clout,” Frisby said. “I can see that interfering with scientific progress.”
Samantha Simmons, communications coordinator for the Hall Center for the Humanities, which sponsors the lecture series, said she was glad to have Moran speak on a topic especially pertinent to Kansas.
“He examines different cultural belief systems and explains how evolution threatens their belief systems,” Simmons said. Simmons also thought Moran did a good job of exposing the logical inconsistencies in the anti-evolutionists’ arguments.
While the United States has one of the highest disbelief rates of evolution in the world, Moran noted that many of the mainstream religions, such as Catholicism and Lutheranism, have made their peace with the theory.
“You have to wiggle the theology a little bit, but that’s what theologians are for,” Moran said.
— Edited by Christine Curtin