Blog Posts

A 19th century script of the opening verse of the Qur'an written in the Sudani Script
20th September 2022

Making sense of Qur’anic school preference in West Africa

The challenges of secular bias and ontological injustice in scientific theories of educational decision-making Dr Anneke Newman, Université Libre de Bruxelles The remit of the INSBS is to study the relationships between ‘science’ and ‘belief’ in society. Yet what if the very conceptualization of these terms—and the tools social scientists have at their disposal to study these dynamics—were far from neutral, but instead privilege secular ontology and epistemology, leading…

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6th April 2022

Religious Belief and the Geohistory of the Planet: Between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

By Richard Fallon In September 2021, Nature-affiliated journal Scientific Reports published a striking article arguing that the Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam was destroyed by a cosmic airburst. The authors, Ted E. Bunch et al, speculated that the Genesis story of the destruction of Sodom preserves memories of this impact – and received intense criticism in response. Just a few months later, scholars in Geology described another…

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22nd March 2022

Science and Religion, A Very Short Re-Introduction

By Adam R. Shapiro When Thomas Dixon first asked me to work with him to revise and update his excellent 2008 book Science and Religion, A Very Short Introduction, my first thought was to ask why such a text might need a new edition. On the face of it, many of the issues we typically associate with the study of “science and religion” seem timeless, or…

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8th March 2022

Engineers communicating science, and the religion and science debates in fin-de-siècle Spain

By Jaume Navarro and Javier Sierra de la Torre In 1876, two Spanish versions of Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science appeared on the market. One, a translation from the French version, issued in weekly instalments, passed largely unnoticed. But the other, a direct translation from the original version, was highly publicized by liberal and republican politicians, philosophers, and academics as a tool for the promotion of…

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9th November 2021

Seminarians, Popes and Evolution: A View from Brazil

By Marcio Antonio Campos Pope Francis addressing an audience at the Galeão Air Force Base, Brazil 2013. Tania Rego/ABr, CC BY 3.0 BR, via Wikimedia Commons Are seminarians who know what popes have said on evolution more likely to make peace with Darwin? When Pope Francis said in 2014 that God was not “a magician, complete with an all powerful magic wand”,…

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Newspaper cartoon from 1875 depicting Draper wearing Eastern costume
26th October 2021

Tyndall, Draper, and “Eastern” Religions

By Bernard Lightman When John Tyndall, well known physicist and superintendent of the prestigious Royal Institution, delivered his “Belfast Address” in 1874 as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science he touched off a storm of controversy that lasted for several years.  The lecture was a tour de force, covering the entire history of science and its complicated relationship to philosophical materialism, particularly with reference…

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12th October 2021

‘For the Study of’: A one-sided agenda on religion and science?

By Willem B. Drees Is it significant that the name of the International Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society has explicitly ‘for the study of’ in the name? It might be merely a smart move in a secularized academic context, where engagement with religious convictions is more easily accepted if the beliefs of others are the object of study, rather than seen as convictions that…

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5th October 2021

STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts Conference: reflections from Africa

From 7-9 July 2021 we held our annual INSBS conference, STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism. Postponed in 2020 and held online in 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in this post three of our members from Africa reflect on their online conference experience. Belief and Science is not always a Toxic Combination By Ganiyat…

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20th July 2021

All the Light Here Comes from Above: Edward Hitchcock, Man of Science, Man of Faith

by Robert T. McMaster Image from William S. Tyler, History of Amherst College During its First Half Century 1821 to 1871 (Springfield, Mass.: Clark W. Bryan and Company, 1873). Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864) was not the only star in the firmament of American science in the nineteenth century, but he was certainly one of the brightest. Raised among the wheat and rye fields of Deerfield, Massachusetts, he was expected to…

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23rd February 2021

Science and Social Stereotypes

***This blog post originally appeared on the University of Birmingham website, 10 February 2021, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the University of Birmingham.*** 11 February was the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To mark the occasion network members Carissa Sharp and Stephen Jones explore…

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15th February 2021

How to Build an Academic Network

By Stephen H. Jones and Paula Brikci  On 5th February, the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society launched a call for grants to support the development of regional academic networks. In this blog, drawing on the insights of scholars from across the field, Stephen H. Jones and Paula Brikci look at what makes a good academic network and what anyone thinking of establishing…

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15th December 2020

Crusading for Moral Authority: Christian Nationalism and Opposition to Science in the United States

By Joseph O. Baker, Samuel L. Perry and Andrew L. Whitehead “Culture in Crisis” wall at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky On August 30 2020, Los Angeles megachurch pastor John MacArthur told his congregation “There is no pandemic.” Grace Community Church was meeting in defiance of local and state ordinances against large in-person gatherings. After citing a common misinterpretation of data about COVID-19 from the…

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17th November 2020

Half of College Biology Students in the United States Think Evolution is Atheistic

by Liz Barnes Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash Does someone have to be an atheist to accept evolution? According to the philosophy of science and many science educators the answer is no. However, my recent study has revealed that over half of college biology students in the United States think that in order to accept evolution fully, they would have to be an atheist. This is…

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27th October 2020

The Secret Social Lives of Science

By Stephen H. Jones On a rain-soaked day, thousands marched on Washington DC to fight for science funding and scientific analysis in politics Read enough science journalism and eventually you will become familiar with two tropes that seem to contradict one another. On the one hand, journalists will often write about ‘science’ as though it is an unquestioned authority, with the more opportunistic members of the profession using the…

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29th September 2020

Evolution as a Trojan Horse

By Bernard Lightman The Trojan Horse by Hendrik Willem Van Loon, in the Story of Mankind (Public Domain) With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that over the course of the past 150 years a remarkable reversal has taken place. Whereas once the investigation of nature had derived status from its intimate connections with the more elevated disciplines of ethics and theology, increasingly…

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15th September 2020

New Pew Report on the Intersection of Science and Religion in Southeast Asia

By James Riley “Buddhist temple detail Singapore #dailyshoot” by Leshaines123 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit. Pew Research Center recently released a new report exploring the intersections of science and religion, based on new data from interviews with Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists in Malaysia and Singapore. The report’s authors said:…

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4th August 2020

The Pope is looking to scientists to find a cure for coronavirus – but so are Ricky Gervais and Richard Dawkins

By Alper Bilgili A cartoon, widely circulated on social media, depicts clergy of various religions in despair, begging a scientist to find a cure for COVID-19. In another, clergy are staring at a picture of a nurse who asks for silence with a “SHHH” sign. Those who share these cartoons seem certain that the ensuing pandemic once again proves the superiority of natural sciences over other forms of knowledge.

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14th July 2020

How Does the Science-Religion Conflict Narrative Affect Christians?

By Kimberley Rios This article was originally published on the Heterodox Blog and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No-Derivatives 4.0 International License. Just a few weeks ago, a blog post appeared in my social media news feed titled “Why your Christian friends and family members are so easily fooled by conspiracy theories.” The post caught my…

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30th June 2020

The ‘Scientific Interpretation’ of the Bible and the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom

By James C. Ungureanu In his Autobiography, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) gave three specific reasons for his growing religious doubts. He became morally revolted by the God of the Old Testament, whom he characterised as a “revengeful tyrant.” Moreover, the discovery of the “fixed laws of nature” made belief in miracles seem “incredible” to him. Finally, he concluded that recent historical-critical scholarship—or biblical criticism—demonstrated that the Gospels were completely…

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16th June 2020

Enseñando evolución en México: ¿llevando el creacionismo al salón de clase?

Por Juan Manuel Rodriguez-Caso UNAM Central Library, south wall, seen from the esplanade of the rectory. Source: José Miguel García Fernández, Wikimedia Commons (CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International license) Cuando se discuten los problemas relacionados con la enseñanza de la evolución en el aula, y los conflictos que diversas formas de creacionismo surgen, en particular el creacionismo científico y el “diseño inteligente”, el país…

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