Loud voices from both the religious and scientific communities are proclaiming that there is no conflict between science and religion-indeed, that they have much to gain from each other. I will show that this claim is flatly wrong. Religion and science are in deep conflict, and are in fact incompatible ways of viewing the world and understanding what is true in our universe. I explain this incompatibility, show the various ways that people try (and fail) to accommodate science and faith, demonstrate the tactics used by theologians to harmonize scientific findings with religious dogma, and explore the attacks on science that invariably accompany claims that science and religion are best friends.
Jerry Coyne is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology.
Jerry received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. He then earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University in 1978, working in the laboratory of Richard Lewontin. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Timothy Prout's laboratory at The University of California at Davis, he took his first academic position as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology at The University of Maryland. In 1996 he joined the faculty of The University of Chicago.
Jerry has written over 110 refereed scientific papers and 80 other articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr). He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, and other popular periodicals.
His book, Why Evolution is True, is described by E.O. Wilson, famous sociobiologist, as a "clear, well-written explanation of evolution"; by Neil Shubin - author of Your Inner Fish - as "a stunning achievement"; by Richard Dawkins as "marvellous" and by Steven Pinker as "superb". Jerry himself has been described by Richard Dawkins as "the principal guru on evolutionary genetics in the world".
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Jerry's trip to Scotland has been organised jointly by the University of Edinburgh Humanist Society and Glasgow Skeptics.
On Monday 26th November, Jerry will also be speaking in Glasgow, on Why Evolution is True. Details here for those of you with Facebook, and here for those of you without.