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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Frans de Waal Says S&R Conflict "Overblown"

Primatologist Frans de Waal answers questions from readers on The New York Times Freakonomics blog, including one about whether other people's rejection of evolution for religious reasons ever gets in the way of his work. De Waal reminds readers that there is no conflict or controversy over evolution in the scientific community, and explains that when he "came to this country [from Holland], over twenty-five years ago, I was amazed that creationism was still taken seriously, and assumed that it would blow over. It never did, of course. I can’t help but look at it as a left-over of a medieval mind-set unresponsive to overwhelming counter-evidence. At the same time, I must say that I don’t think the recent wave of God-questioning rants have helped much. They have polarized the issue, whereas in my mind it is eminently possible to look at religion as a collective value system and at science as telling us how the physical world operates. Even though I am not religious myself, I think the conflict between science and religion is unnecessary and overblown." —Heather Wax