Speaker: James Trefil
Event Date: Monday, March 5, 2012
Attempts to introduce Creationism into public school science curricula have been a constant feature of American life since early in the twentieth century. These attempts raise two different kinds of issues. One of these is legal and concerns the question of whether or not they violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. The second is scientific, and concerns the question of whether Creationism and Intelligent Design constitute sound science. Starting with the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’ in 1925, there has been a long series of court cases that have progressively restricted the kind of counter-evolutionary materials that can be presented in the public schools. At the same time, evidence for evolution has become much stronger with the incorporation of data based on modern molecular genetics as well as with important new fossil discoveries. In this talk, Prof. Trefil will weave together the legal and scientific arguments that have developed in recent years to bolster the scientific understanding of evolution, and will talk about how these arguments can be used to counter the increased pressure from creationists.
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