The creationism/evolution controversy has been of long duration in American society and shows no sign of disappearing. To understand it requires some background in the two subject areas most closely concerned with the controversy, science and religion. Within science and religion, the subareas of evolution and creationism are clearly central to the dispute.
Most people will recognize that religion and creationism are related concepts, as are science and evolution, but there also is something called creation science, and there is even a form of religion called scientism. In this introductory section, then, you will read about science, evolution, religion, creationism, and scientism.
These and other subjects constitute part 1 of Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction. I assume that readers of this book will vary greatly in their understanding of these subjects, so I have tried to present material at a level that does not leave behind the beginner but has enough detail to interest a reader with a more-than-average background in philosophy of science, evolution, or religious studies. At a minimum, readers will at least know how I define and use the terms that will recur throughout the book.
In the first chapter, "Science," I consider different ways of knowing and how the way of knowing called science is especially appropriate to knowing about the natural world. Testing is the most important component in science, and I discuss different kinds of testing. In the second chapter, "Evolution," I discuss some of the basic ideas in this broad scientific discipline. The third chapter, "Beliefs," discusses religion as a universal set of beliefs, with particular attention to origin stories and creationisms. It also discusses naturalism as a belief. Because of the importance of the Christian religion to the creationism/evolution controversy, most of this chapter deals with Christian creationism.
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