Seeking Good Debate: Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life

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Univ of California Press, Feb 16, 2016 - History - 238 pages
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Why do religion and science often appear in conflict in America’s public sphere? In Seeking Good Debate, Michael S. Evans examines the results from the first-ever study to combine large-scale empirical analysis of some of our foremost religion and science debates with in-depth research into what Americans actually want in the public sphere. The surprising finding is that apparent conflicts involving religion and science reflect a more fundamental conflict between media elites and ordinary Americans over what is good debate. For elite representatives, good debate advances an agenda, but, as Evans shows, for many Americans it is defined by engagement and deliberation. This hidden conflict over what constitutes debate’s proper role diminishes the possibility for science and religion to be discussed meaningfully in public life. Challenging our understanding of science, religion, and conflict, Seeking Good Debate raises profound questions about the future of the public sphere and American democracy.
 

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Contents

Rethinking Religion and Science
1
Human Origins and Stem Cell
23
Origins of Homosexuality
41
Representatives and Good Debate
57
Ordinary Americans and Good Debate
75
Religious Credibility
98
Religion and Bad Debate
110
Scientific Credibility in the Public Sphere
130
Science and Bad Debate
150
The Future of Religion and Science in American Public Life
170
Methodological Appendix
187
Notes
199
References
213
Index
227
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About the author (2016)

Michael S.Evans is a Neukom Fellow at the Neukom Institute for Computational Science, Dartmouth College. He received a PhD in sociology from the Science Studies Program, University of California, San Diego.

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