Sunday, March 02, 2008

Matthew Nisbet on how to communicate about science & religion

Here is a Point of Inquiry interview with Matthew Nisbet on how to communicate about science & religion. Here is a description of his interview:
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Nisbet highlights the recent AAAS panel he organized titled "Communicating Science in a Religious America." He details his ideas for the most effective strategies to engage the public about science issues, and debates whether the warfare metaphor of science versus religion undermines science education, and contrasts the approaches of leading scientists like Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson. Nisbet also explores why it might be advantageous for secularist activists to re-prioritize when it comes to working in coalition with the religious around certain issues of concern to the science-education community.
This question of approach is crucial. Overall, I do agree with him and this attitude becomes even more important when dealing with the more religious Muslim societies. He doesn't say it explicitly, but I think the line should be drawn at methodological naturalism - i.e. no inclusion of supernatural whatsoever in scientific matters. If a religion is unhappy with it, so be it. Check out the full podcast here.