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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Religion & Science Friday (Update from AAAS)

During the first hour of yesterday's "Science Friday" program, broadcasting live from the AAAS annual meeting, a caller asked host Ira Flatow's guests, convened to talk about science in the federal government, to speak about the relationship between science and religion with regard to certain policy issues. James McCarthy, a professor of biological oceanography and AAAS president elect, and Rosina Bierbaum, a professor and dean of the school of natural resources and environment at the University of Michigan, voiced the view that there is no conflict between science and religion when it comes to concerns over climate change; religious groups see climate change as a moral challenge and responsibility, said Bierbaum. David Goldston, former chief of staff of the House Committee on Science and Technology and a visiting lecturer at the Center for the Environment at Harvard University, also pointed out that taking issue with policies surrounding science—when it comes to whether federal funds should be devoted to embryonic stem cell research, for example—is different than taking issue with science itself, "which is what makes the evolution debate so difficult," he said. —Heather Wax