Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: 131 Twin Cities,Tate Laboratory of Physics
“Fundamentalist Cartoons, Modernist Pamphlets, and the Religious Image of Science during the Scopes Era”
Edward B. Davis
Professor of the History of Science, Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania
Abstract: Recent events in Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states have raised once again fundamental questions about science and its public image: How is scientific knowledge related to religious knowledge? What image of science and its relation to morality and religion should scientists cultivate and promote? To what extent, and in what ways, should scientists cooperate with the clergy in educating the general public about the content, scope, and limits of scientific knowledge? Do religious scientists have a special responsibility to contribute to conversations of this type? Questions such as these emerge from the intense debate about science and religion in the United States during the years surrounding the Scopes “Monkey” trial of 1925. This talk, heavily illustrated with images, shows how the self-styled “fundamentalists” used cartoons to demonize evolution, and how their “modernist” opponents used religious pamphlets by leading scientists (including two Nobel Laureates and five presidents of the AAAS) and clergy to advance a more favorable religious image of science. The cartoons are largely forgotten today, and the pamphlets are unknown to both historians of science and historians of religion. This paper analyzes the cartoons, tells how the pamphlets were found, sketches their history, and briefly discusses their highly interesting content.
Two publications relate closely to the content of this talk:
“Fundamentalist Cartoons, Modernist Pamphlets, and the Religious Image of Science in the Scopes Era.” In Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America, ed. Charles L. Cohen and Paul S. Boyer, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008), pp. 175-98.
“Science and Religious Fundamentalism in the 1920s: Religious Pamphlets by Leading Scientists of the Scopes Era Provide Insight into Public Debates about Science and Religion.” American Scientist 93.3 (May-June 2005): 254-60.
More information: http://www.mcps.umn.edu/events/colloquia.html
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