VIDEOS: Lectures from Darwin in the 21st Century: Nature, Humanity, and God (2009 conference)

Robert Richards: ‘All that is most beautiful’: Darwin’s Theory of Morality and Its Normative Validity

Peter Bowler: Imagining a World without Darwin

Darwin, God, & Design – Evolution & the Battle for America’s Soul

Darwin’s Revolution: From Natural Theology to Natural Selection

Videos of other lectures here, conference information here.

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BOOK: How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial

I think this illustrated look at science denial complements Donald Prothero’s Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (my review) very well:

Darryl Cunningham, How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial (New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2013), 176 pp.

Climate change, fracking, evolution, vaccinations, homeopathy, chiropractic, even the moon landing – all hut-button controversies to which author-artist Darryl Cunningham applies cool, critical analysis. Using comics, photographs, diagrams, and highly readable text, Cunningham lays out the why and wherefores to expose the myths of science denial. Timely and well researched, How to Fake a Moon Landing is a graphic milestone of investigative science journalism.

BOOK: The War on Science Goes Batshit

Allen J. Woppert, The War on Science Goes Batshit (CreateSpace, 2013), 248 pp

Most students don’t challenge their teachers’ methods. But fourteen-year-old Timothy Thompson isn’t like most students. He’s a certified genius and science geek, and when Mrs. Barker, his biology teacher, tries to slip “intelligent design” into the curriculum and then refuses to teach evolution, Timothy simply won’t have it. What happens from there is an all-out Batshit war. Timothy attends Omar L. Batshit (pronounced baht-SHEET) High School in Batshit, Illinois, where, following his battle with Mrs. Barker, many perceive his actions as anti-Christian and consider him the antichrist. He is harassed and bullied by students and tormented by Mr. Braun, the gym teacher with more brawn than brain. Joined by an endearing crew of fellow science geeks—including Megan Chow, whom Timothy vows to make his girlfriend—Timothy plans a lecture series to teach the “real science” Mrs. Barker refuses to teach. While this causes almost everyone around Timothy to hate him all the more, the geek squad gets enough support from the school’s principal and librarian to pull the series together. As Timothy and his friends continue to plan the lectures, unsettling forces continue to work against them. He finds help from some unexpected sources, including Mike Petersson, the star of the school’s football team and self-described “dumb jock,” who takes on the role of Timothy’s bodyguard. Eventually, Timothy finds himself in a life-threatening situation, where not even his big, burly bodyguard can help him. Will Timothy survive? Or will he become a casualty of the war he started? A suspenseful, entertaining story, The War on Science Goes Batshit takes a fresh look at the war between religion and science from the perspective of a teenage geek, setting it up not only as a politically charged piece but also as a young adult, coming-of-age saga that tells a tale of ordinary and extraordinary teens experiencing their first year of high school, the bonds and insecurities of friendship, and first love.

BOOK: Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools

A new book about the Scopes Trail in 1920s America was recently published:

Adam R. Shapiro, Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 200 pp.

In Trying Biology, Adam R. Shapiro convincingly dispels many conventional assumptions about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial. Most view it as an event driven primarily by a conflict between science and religion. Countering this, Shapiro shows the importance of timing: the Scopes trial occurred at a crucial moment in the history of biology textbook publishing, education reform in Tennessee, and progressive school reform across the country. He places the trial in this broad context—alongside American Protestant antievolution sentiment—and in doing so sheds new light on the trial and the historical relationship of science and religion in America.

For the first time we see how religious objections to evolution became a prevailing concern to the American textbook industry even before the Scopes trial began. Shapiro explores both the development of biology textbooks leading up to the trial and the ways in which the textbook industry created new books and presented them as “responses” to the trial. Today, the controversy continues over textbook warning labels, making Shapiro’s study—particularly as it plays out in one of America’s most famous trials—an original contribution to a timely discussion.

A review in Times Higher Education by Simon Underdown, here.

Shapiro started a blog to accompany this book, here.

BOOK: Evolving Out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution

This looks to be an interesting perspective on the issue of evolution and creationism. One of the coauthors set out to write a book about reconciling evolution with his fundamentalist Christian faith, and in the end came out a nonbeliever. Edwin A. Suominen has a guest post over at Friendly Atheist about “How I Lost My Christian Faith While Writing a Book on Evolution.” He sent me a copy of the book (thank you!). Here is the description:

Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution, by Robert M. Price and Edwin A. Suominen (Valley, WA: Tellectual Press, 2013), 352 pp.

It is now beyond any scientific dispute that all life evolved by a natural process of random mutation and DNA crossover, genetic drift, horizontal gene transfer, and natural selection. We are the highly refined but happenstance products of blind experimentation carried out in a design laboratory that has been running itself for billions of years. We are first cousins to the chimpanzees, descendants not of any biblical Adam but of lumbering hairy ancestors who were building fires and hand axes in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. Accepting this has been especially difficult for Christianity, because evolution challenges many foundational doctrines. Concerned believers are walking a troubled middle path between Genesis and genetics, threatened with the loss of a cherished faith on the one hand or their intellectual integrity on the other. Numerous science-savvy theologians have emerged to help them on their way, a whole cottage industry of guides working to establish their own different trails through the hostile territory outside Eden’s comforting fairyland. Writing with the combination of high criticism and low humor that fans have come to love from Robert M. Price, he and co-author Edwin A. Suominen survey the apologetic landscape and offer their own frank reckoning of evolution’s significance for Christian belief.

It’s refreshing to see that the evidence for evolution can indeed convince some. You can check out the website for the book, as well as a Facebook page.