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Monday, July 7, 2008

Science and Religion Matters in America

Education publisher Pearson is at work on its next edition of What Matters in America, a reader for freshman composition classes to be published in the fall, and we hear this year's version will include a science and religion section. The textbook, edited by Gary Goshgarian, an English professor at Northeastern University, uses short readings from journals and magazines to highlight issues that matter to students, and insiders tell us the science and religion section will include pieces by Francis Collins, Ken Miller, Ed Larson, and Karl Giberson.

UPDATE: We just got a note from Gary Goshgarian, who confirms that there'll be a science and religion chapter in this year's textbook. "The issue of science and religion—and foremost, its connection to the evolution debate, and more recently, data on brain imaging, matters to students," he says. "We have found that this book is often adopted by a more conservative teaching base, so we make a special effort to balance the readings. In selecting the authors for this chapter, we look to the resources available—that is, who has written compelling essays, understandable to first-year college students within the last five years on the topics we have chosen? The essays must represent a good cross-section of opinion. While we included essays by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins, we are also running an interview posted on Salon.com between Steve Paulson and Richard Dawkins. The goal is to present different viewpoints of an issue, in this case, evolution and the controversy surrounding intelligent design. We will probably include an essay that defends the teaching of ID."

What do you think of the decision to include an essay that supports the teaching of "intelligent design" in this volume, or others like it? When it comes to issues of science, is it always best to include a "cross-section" of opinion?