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The science-faith debate in higher education.

Abstract

A voluntary survey regarding beliefs on evolution, and creation and ethics was developed and administered on-line from June through July 2006 to over 100 students, faculty, and staff at a mid-sized public university in the Midwestern United States. The survey consisted of 33 questions to measure participant agreement with core principles of evolutionary theory, 5 questions designed to place participant views along a creationism-evolution continuum, 21 questions to measure respondent beliefs on ethics, and a concluding question asking for comments. A KR-20 value of 0.896 for the first 33 questions indicated high reliability of the evolution portion of the survey, but the KR-20 of 0.510 for the last 21 questions indicated lower reliability for the ethics portion. The hypothesis tested in this study was that teleological ethical views would correlate positively with evolutionist views. An evolution score and a teleological ethics score were calculated from each participant's responses to the first 33 questions and the last 21 questions, respectively. To generate evolution scores, a response to each of the 33 evolution questions was assigned a "1" if the response indicated agreement with evolution and a "0" if the response indicated agreement with creationism. The evolution score for each participant was the sum of the scores across all 33 questions. Likewise, to generate the teleological ethics scores, a response to each of the 21 ethics questions was assigned a "1" if the response indicated agreement with teleological ethics and a "0" if the response indicated agreement with deontological ethics. The teleological ethics score for each participant was the sum of the scores across the 21 ethics questions. The mean evolution score (n = 123 participants) of 26.10, responses to the 5 creationism-evolution continuum questions, and comments solicited at the end of the survey indicated that participant views were more evolutionist than creationist, but participants held a diversity of views, and seemed unsure of some evidence supporting evolutionary theory, and of the nature of scientific theory itself. The mean teleological score (n = 123 participants) of 10.08 indicated that participants were almost equally split between deontological and teleological ethics views. A weak positive correlation between evolutionary views and teleological ethics views (r = 0.258, p < 0.05) supported the hypothesis of this study. At the same time, however, answers to some ethics questions seemed contradictory, reflecting unclear questions, respondent uncertainty with the topic, the inherent difficulty of ethics itself, or a combination of these factors. A question arising from these results is whether ethical values might shift as participants learn more about evolution and the nature of science.

Introduction

Although the arena of the creation-evolution controversy has been primarily in United States high schools, signs of the controversy are starting to appear in colleges and universities in the country. For example, students have formed "Intelligent Design" clubs at several universities (Anderson 2005). Most recently, an evangelical Christian high school has sued the University of California over its refusal to certify for admittance biology courses taught using the Bible as an authority over scientific theory (Associated Press 2006). Although not at the center of the controversy, higher education arguably should be a leader in the creation-evolution debate, because it is colleges and universities who train teachers, and whose scientists are at the forefront of research in the biosciences.

The scientific community endorses evolutionary theory and advocates its teaching, as reflected in The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council 1996) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science 1993). The National Science Education Standards lists five "Unifying Concepts and Processes" that are important to all of science. One of these is "Evolution and Equilibrium," stating, "Evolution is a series of changes, some gradual and some sporadic, that accounts for the present form and function of objects, organisms, and natural and designed systems." Other related statements presented in these standards are, "Species evolve over time," "The great diversity of organisms is the result of more than 3.5 billion years of evolution," and "The millions of different species of plants, animals, and microorganisms that live on earth today are related by common descent from common ancestors (National Research Council 1996)."

These statements are in stark contrast to views of young-earth creationists, who base their beliefs on a literal interpretation of the six-day creation and genealogies presented in the Bible (Dalrymple 2004). While many people in the general public may not be strict evolutionists or young-earth creationists, results of several surveys conducted from 1982 to 2004, in which 44-55% of Americans agreed that God created human beings in their present form, suggest that a substantial percentage hold creationist views (New York Times/CBS 2004, Verhey 2005).

The present study was conducted to determine views on evolution and creationism from a cross section of a mid-sized Midwestern university population, and to relate views on evolution and creationism to views on ethics. Assuming that (1) belief in the existence of absolute moral principles equates to a belief in deontological ethics and (2) belief that moral principles are relative equates to a belief in teleological ethics, we hypothesized that creationism views would correlate with deontological ethics, and evolutionist views would correlate with teleological ethics.

Methods

The institution--An optional survey was made available on-line to faculty, staff and students of mid-sized public university (enrollment approximately 7,500) in the Midwestern United States. The school is an upper-division university (offering the third and fourth years of the baccalaureate degree and the master's degree); thus, all of the students have transferred from other schools and are distributed roughly equally between the undergraduate and graduate programs. The university contains four colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Health Professions) and a "Board of Governors" program that awards college credit for appropriate life experience. The average student is 34 years of age, and 71% of the students are female. The campus population is very diverse, with 38% of students of minority ethnic groups.

The survey--The survey was developed and administered using SurveyMonkey[TM], and was made available to the university community during June and July 2006. Participants were recruited using the university's e-mail system, through campus-wide posters, and by word-of-mouth. All members of the university community were encouraged to take the survey.

The survey consisted of 59 dichotomous questions (each question asked the respondent to agree or disagree with a statement) that can be grouped into three major sections. The first section of 33 questions measured respondents' conceptions regarding evolution vs. creationism. Questions indicating agreement with evolution were based on statements from Benchmarks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science 1993) and National Science Education Standards (National Research Council 1996). The second section of five questions was designed to place respondent views on a creation-evolution continuum (Nelson 1986, Verhey 2005). The last section of 21 questions was designed to measure whether respondents believed in the existence of absolute moral principles (e.g., deontological ethics), or believed that moral principles are developed by one's society and are thus relative (e.g., teleological ethics). Questions on ethics were primarily adapted from The Ethical Chemist (Kovac 2004) and statements from Evolution in Perspective (Bybee and Gerking 2004). The survey also included an introductory section asking for demographic information, and a concluding section asking for comments.

Analysis of quantitative data--Number of respondents answering at least some of the 59 questions was 143; of these, 123 answered at least 40 questions, and 87 respondents completed all questions. We calculated a KR-20 value for the first 33 questions (i.e., evolution vs. creationism questions) and for the last 21 questions (i.e., ethics questions; Crocker and Algina 1986), using data from 123 respondents.

Responses to the first 33 questions were analyzed in two ways. The first analysis was performed on data from the 123 respondents completing at least 40 of the 59 total questions. For each respondent, a "1" was arbitrarily assigned to each response to a question indicating agreement with evolution, and a "0" was assigned to each response indicating agreement with creationism. An "evolution score" was calculated for each respondent by summing scores for all responses, and a mean evolution score was calculated for all respondents. Differences in mean evolution scores among faculty, staff and students were analyzed using an analysis of variance (Two respondents did not identify themselves as faculty, staff or students, so the ANOVA was performed on data from 121 respondents.).

The second analysis was performed to characterize responses across all respondents to 16 individually selected questions; all responses for each selected question were analyzed (sample size ranged from 112 to 143 among the 16 questions). The questions selected for the analysis can be described using the following categories: (1) statements on the nature of natural selection and evolution (3 questions), (2) statements on origin of life and supporting evidence (8 questions), (3) statements on common ancestry and supporting evidence (3 questions) and (4) opinions on evolutionary theory (2 questions). For each of the 16 questions, a chi-square test with Bonferroni correction (Holm 1979) was used to test the null hypothesis that number of respondents who agreed with the statement equaled the number of respondents who disagreed with the statement.

For each of the five questions designed to place respondent views on a creation-evolution continuum, again a chi-square test with Bonferroni correction was used to test the null hypothesis that number of respondents who agreed with the statement equaled the number of respondents who disagreed with the statement.

An analysis of the last 21 questions was performed on data from the 123 respondents completing at least 40 of the 59 total questions. For each respondent, a "1" was arbitrarily assigned to each response to a question indicating teleological beliefs, and a "0" was assigned to each response indicating deontological beliefs. A "teleological ethics score" was calculated for each respondent by summing scores for all responses, and evolution scores were correlated with teleological ethics scores.

Analysis of qualitative data--The final question on the survey asked, "Please use the space below to offer us any comments about your beliefs on evolution, creation, and ethics. You may leave this section blank if you wish." The comments were unitized and categorized according to the method of Lincoln and Guba (1985), giving a total of 74 pieces of data.

Results and Discussion

Quantitative data--Of the 123 respondents completing at least 40 survey questions; 47 were faculty, 50 were staff, and 24 were students and 2 were unknown. The mean evolution score calculated from the first 33 questions (26.10 compared to a maximum possible mean of 33; Table 1) suggests that respondent views were more evolutionist than creationist. Mean evolution scores did not differ among faculty, staff and students (ANOVA test, [F.sub.2, 118]=1.20, p=.304). The KR-20 score for these questions (0.896; Table 1) indicated high reliability for this portion of the survey.

Analysis of 16 selected questions from this portion of the survey also reflected views more evolutionist than creationist, but suggested that some respondents were unsure both of evidence supporting evolutionary theory, and of the nature of scientific theory itself (Table 2). Most respondents agreed with general statements on the nature of natural selection and evolution, and with statements on common ancestry of species and supporting evidence. Respondents collectively seemed less sure, however, of evidence supporting the geological age of the earth, and when and how life originated. Regarding opinions on evolutionary theory itself, most respondents agreed with the following statement:
 Biological and geological evolution is a scientific theory that is
 supported by a large body of factual evidence and has withstood
 repeated tests. Like any scientific theory, it may be disproven,
 but it currently is the best scientific framework for unifying and
 explaining patterns and processes in the living world.



At the same time, however, respondents were almost equally split between agreeing and disagreeing with this statement:
 Because biological and geological evolution is only a theory, it
 should be viewed with skepticism and may be replaced any day by
 another better explanation of how species originated.



Responses to the five statements designed to place respondent views on a creation-evolution continuum also indicated evolutionist views of respondents. The statements, each describing an attitude toward evolution and creationism, were ranked in order from highly nonrationalist attitudes (e.g., Christian Literalist) to rationalist attitudes (e.g., Atheistic Evolutionist; Nelson 1986, Verhey 2005, Table 3). The statement describing the Nontheistic Evolutionist attitude drew most agreement from respondents (85% agreeing), and the statement describing the Christian Literalist attitude drew least agreement (17% agreeing). Statements describing Progressive Creationist/Intelligent Design, Theistic Evolutionist and Atheistic evolutionist attitudes had 30%, 24% and 33% agreement, respectively (Table 3). Because some respondents agreed with more than one statement, the sum of percent agreement across all five statements is greater than 100%. This irregularity probably occurred because the survey did not allow respondents to return to prior questions to change their response.

The mean teleological ethics score calculated from the last 21 questions (10.08 compared to a maximum possible mean of 21; Table 1) suggests that the respondents were almost equally split between deontological and teleological ethics views. The KR-20 score for these questions (0.510; Table 1) indicated relatively low reliability for this portion of the survey. Reliability could probably be improved by rejecting questions with low discrimination. In addition, participants' comments may be helpful in rewording some of the questions for greater clarity.

A small but statistically significant correlation was demonstrated between teleological ethics scores and evolution scores (r = 0.258, p < .05), with 6.6% of the variance in the ethics scores shared with the variance in evolution scores. Although the correlation was relatively weak, the hypothesis that belief in evolution would correlate with adherence to teleological ethics was supported for this population of respondents.

According to responses to some ethics questions, most participants agreed that humans should abide by some form of absolute moral principles that are independent of the society in which they live. For example, the greatest agreement with any statement on ethics (97%) was obtained for the statement, "Some behavior is ethical despite the fact that it makes many people unhappy," and the next greatest agreement (96%) was obtained for the statement, "Ethical theories should advocate concern for justice." Eighty-five percent of participants agreed with the statement, "There are times in which ethical behavior must contradict the values of society."

At the same time, many participants apparently believe that societal norms are a legitimate source of some ethical values. For example, 91.1% of participants agreed with the statement, "A person's ethical actions should cause an increase in universal good," 83.6% of respondents agreed with the statement, "Ethical codes of conduct are dependent upon the society that produces them," and only 31.9% of participants agreed with the statement, "Any system of ethics should be universally valid." In addition, lack of consensus was apparent among other responses. For example, 44% agreed with the statement, "It should be possible to write universal ethical codes of conduct," but 50% agreed with the statement, "The virtue of any behavior is determined by the value of its consequences."

These apparent contradictions in responses suggest that many participants either have not thought closely about how their own ethical values are obtained or that the participants wanted to support intermediate positions not readily evaluated using dichotomous responses. Either scenario also could explain the relatively low KR-20 value for this section of the survey.

Despite the apparent contradictions in some of the responses, most participants agreed that adoption of a personal set of ethical values was a matter of more than casual concern. Only 19.5% of participants agreed with the statement, "An increase in personal worth or happiness is an indicator of morality," and only 26.4% of those surveyed agreed with the statement, "A person's ethical values should be developed from personal sentiment."

Qualitative data--The final question on the survey asked, "Please use the space below to offer us any comments about your beliefs on evolution, creation, and ethics. You may leave this section blank if you wish." Seven major categories emerged from this analysis of responses to this question: (1) Compliments about the survey, (2) Comments about frustrations with the survey, (3) Comments on ethics, (4) Pro-creationism comments, (5) Pro-evolution comments, (6) Intermediate position comments and (7) Statements about ontology (Table 4).

The first category, "Compliments about the survey," indicates that the survey was very popular with a segment of the university community. Comments such as, "Loved taking the survey," and, "I would love to learn your results and interpretations so I can better understand. Will you share them with the university community?" were not uncommon (Table 4). Several participants took the opportunity to say that the questions addressed were very important.

The second category, "Comments about frustrations with the survey," consisted mostly of concerns that participants were forced to either agree or disagree with statements that they perceived as requiring some type of explanation. An excellent example is, "Some of the questions seemed to suppose binary responses were appropriate when they seemed to me not to be," and another is, "I have not answered a number of the questions because a number of them pose, what are in my opinion, false dichotomies. I've tried not to be too picky about this and have grudgingly answered some but others simply cannot, in my humble opinion be boiled down the choice you provide." Although most of the comments focused on frustrations regarding the section on ethics, some participants also stated that they either did not know or had forgotten material on evolution (Table 4).

Several participants offered remarks in the third category, "Comments on ethics;" these comments were very diverse (Table 4). Some participants held very strong views in the fourth category, "Pro-creationism comments," although these were in the minority. A greater number of participants held strong opinions in the fifth category, "Pro-evolution comments." Statements that may have been intended to mollify creationists, such as, "None of us were here during creation so, we don't know. Science can help us find these answers," were mixed with more inflammatory statements such as, "Science rules, religion does not!" Some participants expressed particular concerns about teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes (Table 4).

Some extremely thoughtful responses were given in the sixth category, "Intermediate position." An example is, "There has been and always will be a huge line between science and religion. I will recognize both as valid theories but when it comes down to it, there has to be some supreme being who created science." The last category, "Statements about ontology," contains some remarks about the differences between ontology and belief (Table 4).

As a whole, the comments reflected a diversity of opinion among the university community that mirrors that evidenced by the quantitative data. The qualitative data suggest that although a majority of the participants agree with many aspects of evolution, they wish to reconcile this belief with some type of supernatural explanations for creation. An appreciable minority is uncomfortable with evolution and adheres to creationist beliefs instead. Strict creationists were generally quite insistent that their position was correct and that the evidence for evolution was either flawed or generally lacking; however, the strict evolutionists tended to be more strident in their comments. An intermediate position between strict creationism and strict adherence to atheistic evolution was advocated by many.

Conclusion

Results from both quantitative and qualitative data indicated that although respondents held a diversity of views from strict creationist to atheistic evolutionist, most respondents tended toward relatively moderate evolutionist views. Some respondents seemed generally unsure about the nature of science, and more specifically unsure about supporting evidence for evolutionary theory. Evolutionist views correlated weakly with teleological ethics views, but responses to ethics questions sometimes were contradictory, making the results unclear. The nature of the ethics results in this study may reflect unclear questions, respondent uncertainty with the topic, the inherent difficulty of ethics itself, or a combination of these factors. A question arising from this study is whether ethical values will shift as participants learn more about evolution and the nature of science.

References

American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1993. Benchmarks for science literacy: Project 2061. New York: Oxford University Press.

Anderson, L. 2005 Nov 25. Students join debate in intelligent design. Chicago Tribune [serial online]. Available from: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ chi-0511250153nov25,1,7426227.story?coll=chinewsnationworldhed. Accessed 2006 Jan 6.

Associated Press. 2006 Aug 9. Christian school's lawsuit against UC system to go to trial. Los Angeles Times [serial online]. Available from: http://www.latimes.com. Accessed 2006 Sep 7.

Bybee, R., and J. Gerking (eds.). 2004. Evolution in perspective: The science teacher's compendium. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Crocker, L., and J. Algina. 1986. Introduction to classical and modern test theory. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

Dalrymple, B. 2004. Evidence for evolution. In: Bybee, R., and Gerking, J. (eds.) Evolution in perspective: The science teacher's compendium. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Holm, S. 1979. A simple sequentially rejective multiple test procedure. Scand. J. Stat. 6:65-70.

Kovac, J. 2004. The ethical chemist. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Lincoln, Y. S. and E. G. Guba. 1985. Naturalistic inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, Inc.

National Research Council. 1996. National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Nelson, C. E. 1986. Creation, evolution, or both? A multiple model approach. Pages 128-159 in: Science and Creation. New York: Macmillan.

New York Times/CBS. 2004. The New York Times/CBS News Poll, November 18-21, 2004. New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/ html/politics/20041123_poll/20041123_poll_results.pdf. Accessed 2006 Sep 7.

Verhey, S. D. 2005. The effect of engaging prior learning on student attitudes toward creationism and evolution. Bioscience 55:996-1003.

Mary E. Carrington, Assistant Professor, Science Division, Governors State University

Gary L. Lyon, Associate Professor, Science Division, Governors State University
Table 1. Evolution and teleological ethics scores and KR-20 values

 Questions

 Evolution vs.
 Creationism Ethics

Score (mean [+ or -]
 S.E.) 26.10 [+ or -] 0.50 10.16 [+ or -] 0.25
KR-20 [+ or -] S.E. 0.896 [+ or -] 0.568 0.510 [+ or -] 1.41

Table 2. Analysis of responses to selected statements on
evolution vs. creationism

 Proportion of
 respondents
 agreeing with
Statement statement n

A. Nature of natural selection and evolution

"The forms of plant, animal,
and other species on earth
commonly change gradually
over many generations." 0.97 * (a) 142

"Within a species, those
individuals that possess
characteristics that enable
them to survive and develop
better in their environment
have the most offspring and
pass on their characteristics
to these offspring." 0.94 * 142

"Genetic mutations and
recombination of genes
during reproduction
eventually result in
changes in forms of
species over generations." 0.95 * 143

B. Origin of life and supporting evidence

"The great diversity
of plants, animals,
and microorganisms
is the result of slow
changes occurring over
the course of approximately
3.5 billion years." 0.84 * 139

"There are a great many
different plant and animal
species on the earth today,
all of which were probably
created at approximately
the same time." 0.15 * 140

"Slow changes in plants
and animals due to
environmental pressure
and genetic mutation and
recombination are reflected
in the fossil record." 0.88 * 128

"Current methods of dating
geologic formations include
using the known decay rates
of radioactive isotopes
present in rocks to measure
the time since the rock was
formed." 0.98 * 119

"The use of the decay
rates of radioactive
isotopes to determine
the ages of rocks is
questionable because
we have no evidence
that these rates do
not change with time." 0.21 * 112

"One common model accepted
by many scientists claims
that the earth in its present
form was created approximately
10,000 years ago." 0.27 * 135

"The fossil record of the
earth indicates that a great
flood probably covered nearly
all of the earth's surface
several thousand years ago." 0.55 124

"Although isolated instances
of dramatic changes in the
earth (such as volcanic
activity and earthquakes)
can be observed, the physical
form of the earth and the
position of the continents
is probably very similar
today as when the earth was
first created." 0.10 * 120

C. Common ancestry and supporting evidence

"The millions of different
species of plants, animals,
and microorganisms that
live on earth today are
very probably related by
descent from common
ancestors." 0.83 * 127

"Although there is a
great diversity among
plants, animals, and
microorganisms, there
are many common biochemical
and molecular processes
in diverse species that
can be explained on the
basis of common ancestry." 0.94 * 126

"There is very little
similarity between most
of the biochemical and
molecular processes that
occur in insects and
those that occur in
mammals." 0.11 * 123

D. Opinions on evolutionary
theory

"Biological and geological
evolution is a scientific
theory that is supported
by a large body of factual
evidence and has withstood
repeated tests. Like any
scientific theory, it may
be disproven, but it currently
is the best scientific
framework for unifying and
explaining patterns and
processes in the living
world." 0.92 * 118

"Because biological and
geological evolution is
only a theory, it should
be viewed with skepticism
and may be replaced any
day by another better
explanation of how species
originated." 0.43 119

(a) Asterisk indicates number of respondents
agreeing with the statement is different from
number disagreeing with the statement
(chi-square test, [alpha] = 0.0025).

Table 3. Analysis of responses to statements expressing
an evolution-creationism continuum

 Proportion of
 respondents
 agreeing with
Statement statement n

A. Christian literalist

"The earth is between 6,000
and 10,000 years old. God
created life, including
humans, in six days. After
creation, forms of some
species may have changed
to become what they are
today." 0.17 * (a) 119

B. Progressive creationist/intelligent design

"The universe is about
15 billion years old.
The major groups of plants
and animals were created
by an intelligent designer,
probably just before each
occurs in the fossil record.
Changes in forms of species
have commonly occurred after
they were created." 0.30 * 115

C. Theistic evolutionist

"God created the universe
and life. After creation,
evolution occurred naturally
without further influence
from God." 0.24 * 114

D. Nontheistic evolutionist

"Maybe God has been involved
in creation of the universe,
life, and evolution, and
maybe not. However, science
can and should explore natural
explanations that are separate
from religious beliefs." 0.85 * 114

E. Atheistic evolutionist

"The supernatural does
not exist. The origin
and evolution of the
universe and life was
and is entirely natural." 0.33 * 114

(a) Asterisk indicates number of respondents agreeing
with the statement is different from number disagreeing
with the statement (Chi-square test, [alpha] = 0.0025).

Table 4. Summary of respondents' comments

Compliments about the survey
 General Comments
 Example: "Loved taking this survey. "
 Specific Requests
 Example: "I would love to learn your results and interpretations
 so I can better understand.
 Will you share them with the university community?"

Comments about frustrations with the survey
 Dichotomies
 Example, "Some of the questions seemed to suppose binary
 responses were appropriate when they seemed to me not to be."
 Lack of knowledge
 Example: "Also, it's been a long time since I studied evolution.
 The fact based questions were guesses on my part in some
 instances, because I had to assume the facts were correct, since
 I wasn't absolutely sure of the actual facts."
 Wanted to take an intermediate position
 Example: "Many times I wished to say 'usually' or 'often', but
 was not allowed."

Comments on ethics
 Ethics and religion
 Example: "Ethics/Morals/Faith are very difficult to separate."
 Ethics and evolution
 Example: "It seems to me that either ethics could be an
 evolutionary product that may assist our survival. Evolution may
 have produced a consciousness that created subsequent creations.
 If so, a creator is a natural being. And, if the creator came
 first, then evolution is a created system."
 Other ethical issues
 Example: "Ethics appears to be a human dilemma that is challenged
 by humans' multiple perceptions of how one should answer the
 question 'Why?'"

Pro-creationism comments
 Challenges to the science behind evolution
 Example: "Evolution is only a theory there is little to no
 supporting evidence. There is far more evidence of creation. If
 more people would realize that knowing God is know truth."
 Statements regarding the power of God
 Example: "God is too big for us to understand all of his ways."

Pro-evolution comments
 Statements about evidence
 Example: "None of us were here during creation so, we don't know.
 Science can help us find these answers."
 Simple anti-creationist
 Example: "I feel very strongly that religious mythologies should
 not be taught in the science classroom nor should they be
 presented as scientifically based if they are not."
 Statements about the nature of science
 Example: "At the same time, I believe that science is the best
 instrument available to humanity to explore the mechanisms of the
 universe and that the 'creationist' theories presently being
 advanced are the product of the inappropriate and nonsensical
 application of ancient religious dogmas in a realm of science
 where they have no validity."

Intermediate position comments
 Statements advocating belief in a supreme being.
 Example: "There has been and always will be a huge line between
 science and religion. I will recognize both as valid theories but
 when it comes down to it, there has to be some supreme being who
 created science."
 Statements not requiring belief in God.
 Example: "I believe there is a ordering principle, a creative
 force that drives and motivates the creative process of evolution
 and sets the laws of nature in motion in opposition to the
 principle of entropy."

Statements about ontology
 Knowledge vs. belief
 Example: "Knowledge can be and should be separated from belief."
 Nature of Biblical teaching
 Example: "The Bible is a combination of forms of literature meant
 to guide our lives. It is to give guidance morally and
 spiritually. However, one must remember that the authors were of
 a different time, language, and culture."


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Author:Carrington, Mary E.; Lyon Gary L.
Publication:Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table
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Date:Dec 22, 2007
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