Essays on Science and SocietyGLOBAL VOICES OF SCIENCE

Teaching Evolution in Mexico: Preaching to the Choir

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Science  04 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5749, pp. 787-789
DOI: 10.1126/science.1115180

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Antonio Lazcano The conceptual framework of evolution by natural selection that Charles Darwin laid out in the mid-19th century cannot help but clash with fundamentalist creation stories that invoke divine intervention operating on time scales that are inconsistent with myriad lines of scientific, observational evidence. In the United States, that tension has waxed and waned over the years. Lately, champions of creationism and its latest incarnation as "intelligent design" have been making inroads in the public education sector, often fomenting acrimonious debates about how biology and evolution ought to be taught. Antonio Lazcano, a biology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City, chronicles the way his own country has successfully negotiated what he argues is a healthy, reason-driven acceptance of Darwinian evolution even within a strongly faith-based Catholic context. While raising concerns that zealots from his country's powerful neighbor to the north are trying to export their creationist views to Mexico and elsewhere, he suggests ways by which the vastly different realms of science and religion can let each other flourish in their own distinct cognitive domains.

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