Conversations in Science Series
A program conceived and organized by the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with the collaboration of the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Edgewood Sonderegger Science Center.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Sonderegger Science Center (Click here for parking information)
1000 Edgewood College Drive Madison, Wisconsin

Professor Ronald Numbers
Department of Medical History and Ethics

"Evolution and its Enemies"

The Conversations in Science series brings together UW-Madison science researchers and Dane County science teachers. Designed to stimulate discussion between scientists and science educators at all levels, these conversations connect high-, middle-, and elementary school classrooms with the University's cutting-edge research. Questions and ideas are freely exchanged between expert and an audience of K-12 educators.


Despite Charles Darwin's announced effort to overthrow "the dogma of separate creations," organized opposition to his revolution did not appear until the early 1920s. Even then, the Christian fundamentalists associated with William Jennings Bryan's crusade to eradicate Darwinism from the schools and churches of America readily accepted the paleontological evidence for the antiquity of life on earth. It was not the coming of "scientific creationism" in the 1960s and 1970s that large numbers of antievolutionists began insisting on the recent appearance of life and assigning most of the geological column to the year of Noah's flood. During the past fifteen years or so a new, nonbiblical, form of opposition to evolution has arisen under the banner of "intelligent design," which seeks to "reclaim science in the name of God" and to change the very rules governing the practice of science.


RONALD L. NUMBERS is Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine and of Religious Studies and a member of the department of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for over three decades. He has written or edited more than two dozen books, including, most recently, "When Science and Christianity Meet" (University of Chicago Press, 2003), coedited with David Lindberg; "The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design", new ed. (Harvard University Press, 2006); and "Science and Christianity in Pulpit and Pew" (Oxford University Press, 2007). For five years (1989-1993) he edited "Isis", the flagship journal of the history of science. He is writing "Science and the Americans: A History" (for Basic Books), editing a series of monographs on the history of medicine, science, and religion for the Johns Hopkins University Press, and coediting, with David Lindberg, the eight-volume "Cambridge History of Science". He is also editing "Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths in Science and Religion" (for Harvard University Press) and coediting, with John Hedley Brooke, "Science and Religion around the World" (for Oxford University Press). A former Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an effective member of the International Academy of the History of Science. He is a past president of both the History of Science Society and the American Society of Church History. In 2005 he was elected to a four-year term as president of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science/Division of History of Science and Technology.


The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, new ed. (Harvard University Press, 2006)

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