AAAS releases The Evolution Dialogues


In a press release issued on August 9, 2006, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced the publication of The Evolution Dialogues, written by Catherine Baker and edited by James B. Miller. As the book's prologue notes, "there are deep misunderstandings about what biological evolution is, what science itself is, and what views people of faith, especially Christians, have applied to their interpretations of the science. With this volume, AAAS seeks to correct some of those misunderstandings."

The book was prompted by the spate of religiously motivated assaults on evolution education around the country, the press release explains. "After consultations with representatives of scientific and Christian religious communities, AAAS decided to produce a book that could be used by religious educators and others seeking a concise description of the science of evolution and a respectful discussion of the cultural and religious responses to it." Aimed specifically for use in Christian adult education programs, it will be valuable, AAAS hopes, in other educational settings, such as history of science classes, seminaries, and community libraries.

The press release adds that The Evolution Dialogues "offers a concise description of the natural world, as explained by evolution, and the Christian response, both in Charles Darwin's time and in contemporary America. It has a glossary of terms from both science and religion, with 'bacteria' and 'Biblical infallibility' defined on the same page. As an introduction to each chapter, the book features a narrative about the personal dilemma of a fictional college student, Angela Rawlett, as she struggles to reconcile her traditionalist Christian upbringing with her keen interest in biology."

The book was praised by a panel of reviewers, including theologian John F. Haught, who lauded its "understanding of the distinct modes of understanding characteristic of science and religion"; Randy Isaac, the executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation, who commented, "I think the book will contribute significantly to the ongoing discussions"; and Rodger Bybee of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, who predicted that it "will be an excellent, positive contribution to a contemporary understanding of evolution and religion."

Copies of The Evolution Dialogues may be obtained from the AAAS Distribution Center, PO Box 521, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. Telephone orders (VISA and MasterCard only) may be made at 800-222-7809 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST. The price is $9.95 ($7.95 for AAAS members) plus postage and handling ($2 domestic, $4 international). For shipments to the District of Columbia, add 5.75% sales tax; for California, add applicable sales tax; for Canada, add the GST. Ten or more copies: $5.00 each. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal Science.