Monday, November 03, 2014

SSiMS talk today: "Creating Creationists: Understanding Public Perceptions of Clash Narratives between Evolutionary Science and Belief"

by Salman Hameed

This is a very short notice (hey - I just came back from a conference last night), but still wanted to announce this talk - which should be excellent. Our speaker is Dr. Fern Elsdon-Baker, and here is the abstract and bio information. Join us if you are in close range:


"Creating Creationists: Understanding Public Perceptions of Clash Narratives between Evolutionary Science and Belief" 
by Dr. Fern Elsdon-Baker, Coventry University, UK.

Monday, November 3rd at 4:00pm in West Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 
Hampshire College

Abstract: Clash narratives relating to evolutionary science and personal belief are a recurrent theme in media or public space discourse. However, a 2009 British Council poll undertaken in 10 countries worldwide shows that the perception of a necessary clash between evolutionary worldviews and belief in a God is a minority viewpoint. How, then does the popular conception that there is an ongoing conflict between evolution and belief in God arise? One contributing factor is the framing and categorisation of creationism and evolutionism within large-scale surveys for use within media campaigns. This paper examines the issues framing within four polls conducted both in the UK and internationally between 2008 – 2013. It argues that by ignoring the complexity and range of perspectives individuals hold, or by framing evolutionary science as atheistic, we are potentially creating ‘creationists’ - including ‘Islamic creationists’ - both figuratively and literally.

Biographical Statement: Dr. Fern Esldon-Baker is Senior Research Fellow and Principal Investigator of Clash Narratives in Context Project at Coventry University, UK.  She previously
worked for the British Council as Head of the Darwin Now Project. Darwin Now was a large-scale multi-million pound global initiative running in 50 countries worldwide, which celebrated the life and work of Charles Darwin, as part of the international celebrations of the Darwin anniversaries in 2009. She then became Director of the Belief in Dialogue Program - a portfolio of inter-cultural dialogue projects, exploring how people in the UK and internationally can live peacefully with diversity and difference in an increasingly pluralistic world, which include projects exploring the relationship between science, culture and modernity. Her research is predominantly philosophical, historical and sociological in approach. She focuses on: intercultural and cross community dialogue; the communication of evolutionary science; the role of ‘science’ or ‘worldviews’ as identity markers and in public space ‘clash narratives’, or prejudice formation; and the perceptions of evolutionary theory within faith communities. She is currently serving on the Arts and Humanities Research Council advisory board for the ‘Science in Culture’ Research theme and the programmes committee for the British Society for the History of Science. She is also recorder for the History of Science section and serves on general committee for the British Science Association.


This talk is hosted by the Hampshire College Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies (SSiMS).

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