The Epic of Evolution: Science and Religion in Dialogue

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9780130933188: The Epic of Evolution: Science and Religion in Dialogue

For courses in Anthropology and Human Evolution. This collection of essays offers students the academic basis for discussing science and religion. The papers offer a better appreciation of the complexity of thinking in both scientific and religious traditions on evolution and the fertile common ground that is still in great need of exploration.

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Advances in Human Evolution is devoted to the timely publication of texts, monographs, and major edited works on all aspects of human evolution from the origin and diversification of modern Homo sapiens. An interdisciplinary approach will be followed in this series, emphasizing new avenues of research in human evolution through genetics, biomolecular and DNA studies, human biological studies, paleoecological and paleobehavioral studies, primate behavioral studies, advanced methods of absolute dating, and seminal comparative anatomical, archaeological, and paleontological analyses. Many books in the series will be targeted for use in colleges and universities either as texts or as supplemental readings at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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The chapters in this volume, with one exception, are based on presentations that were made at a conference, The Epic of Evolution, held at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago on November 12-14, 1997. The conference was made possible through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation and the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund. The conference also benefited from the endorsement and assistance of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Chicago Center for Religion and Science, and the North American Montessori Teachers Association.

The conference was the first national event organized by Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The Dialogue Program enjoyed collaboration in the organization of the event with the Field Museum's Center for Cultural Understanding and Change, and especially its director, Dr. Alaka Wali.

Unfortunately, one of the scheduled presenters, Dr. Ronald Numbers, was unable to attend at the last minute due to illness. However, subsequently he videotaped an interview on his topic and an edited transcript of that interview is included in this volume.

This volume is offered as an example of the potential for dialogue between science and religion that is possible beyond the more popular convictions that science and religion are either inimical or must be kept in hermetically sealed domains. What is manifest in the flow of these chapters is not the end of a conversation but the beginning of one long overdue.

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