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Darwin’s dangerous legacy?

Primate skull series.

The conflict between science and religion in the classroom will be examined at the University of St Andrews tomorrow.

Biologist Professor Kenneth Miller will discuss new demands that the theory of ‘Intelligent Design’ should be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools.

The James Gregory public lecture will explore the issues – and dangers – for both science and religion.

In the sixth lecture of the series, Professor Miller will be at the Younger Hall, St Andrews University at 5.15pm on April 30th to delve into the current debate.

From his unique perspective as a leading cell biologist, an author of mainstream school textbooks on biological science and a practicing Christian, Miller has chosen to face ‘Intelligent Design’ theory by taking its claims seriously and asking what it would really mean for both science and faith.

Professor Kenneth Miller commented, “The goal of the intelligent-design movement is indirectly to tell students that either you turn your back on the faith Professor Kenneth Miller.that you’ve been brought up with in order to embrace the scientific mainstream, or to be true to your faith you have to reject modern science.

“That’s a false choice. It does disservice to religion, and it does disservice to science, and I think it is a terrible way to proceed with scientific education.”

In the USA, where Professor Miller is based, the question of what children are taught about the origin of living things has become a battleground between evolutionists and proponents of intelligent design. Similar difficulties are being faced by schools in the UK.

Co-organised by Professors Eric Priest from the School of Mathematics & Statistics and Alan Torrance from the School of Divinity, the James Gregory Lecture Series provides an ambitious Scottish forum for scientists, theologians and members of the public from different faiths to address major issues of joint concern. It has tapped a vein of public interest, attracting record audiences at around 700 people per lecture.

Professor Eric Priest said, “The origin of life is something that fascinates many of us, and for me and many scientists there is no major conflict between the theory of evolution by natural selection and the presence of a God who cares for an nurtures us.”

This latest lecture brings new intensity and fresh information to the debate that first emerged 150 years ago, following the publication of Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.

Professor Kenneth Miller’s Lecture is entitled: ‘Life – Creation or Evolution?’
It will take place at 5.15 pm on Thursday, 30th April, 2009 in the Younger Hall, North Street, St Andrews. All are welcome.

Details of all Gregory lectures can be found at www.jamesgregory.org
The Lighthouse Bookshop in Cupar will be providing a bookstall at the event and can also pre-order copies of Prof Miller’s books.

Kenneth R. Miller is Professor of Biology at Brown University. He did his undergraduate work at Brown, graduating in 1970. He earned his Ph.D. in 1974 at the University of Colorado, and spent six years teaching at Harvard University before returning to Brown. He is a cell biologist, and chairs the Education Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology. He serves as an advisor on life sciences to the News Hour, a daily PBS television program on news and public affairs, and in 2006 was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 2005 he was presented with the Presidential Citation of the American Institute for Biological Sciences for distinguished contributions to the biological sciences. In December of 2006 he received the Public Service Award from the American Society for Cell Biology. Miller has produced more than 60 scientific papers and reviews in leading journals, including “CELL” and “Nature”, as well as leading popular sources such as “Natural History and Scientific American”. Miller is co-author, with Joseph S. Levine, of a series of high school and college biology textbooks used by millions of students throughout the United States and other countries. In defending the scientific integrity of evolution, Miller served as lead witness in the 2005 high profile ‘Dover trial’ on evolution and intelligent design in Pennsylvania, USA. He is the author of “Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution”, and “Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul”.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Professor Eric Priest is available for interview on Tel: 01334 463 709 or Email: eric@mcs.st-and.ac.uk

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: fa12@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref: Darwin 290409
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