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Research Workshop

“The Creation-Evolution Controversy from Global Perspectives”

Co-sponsored by CLASS, the School of Social Sciences, and the School of Humanities

  Date: April 23 (9 AM – 5:40 PM) / April 24 (9:20 AM – 11:50 AM)
Venue: HSS Conference Room (5th Floor),
HSS Building, 14 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637332
 
 

Betraying the facile belief in the progressive secularization of the world and the eventual success of evolutionary science, creationism remains persistent in the twenty-first century. As Ronald Numbers argued, “geographical, theological, and political barriers had utterly failed to contain creationism,” which is now prospering in both Christian and Muslim countries, along with other nations that did not have monotheism before the late nineteenth century. By inviting nine scholars working on American, Asian, and European cases, this workshop aims at a comparative, interdisciplinary, and transnational approach to the creation-evolution debate incurred by this global phenomenon.


Speakers

 

Ronald L. Numbers (University of Wisconsin, Keynote speaker)

As Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science and Medicine and of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Numbers taught students for nearly four decades. He has written or edited more than two dozen books, including, The Creationists (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992; Harvard University Press, 2006); Darwinism Comes to America (Harvard University Press, 1998); Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion (Harvard University Press, 2009); and Newton’s Apple and Other Myths about Science (Harvard University Press, 2015), edited with Kostas Kampourakis. He is a past president of the History of Science Society, the American Society of Church History, and the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science. He is currently completing a biography of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of flaked cereals and health activist.

Edward J. Larson (Pepperdine University)

Professor Larson holds the Darling Chair in Law and is University Professor of History at Pepperdine University. Recipient of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History, Larson served as Associate Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor and retains faculty position at the University of Georgia, where he chaired the history department. He wrote eleven books and over eighty published articles, including A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800; Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory; and the Pulitzer Prize winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. He recently published the first book-length study of George Washington’s role in creating the American Constitution, The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789, which became a New York Times Bestseller. His articles on science, history, or law have appeared in such varied journals as Nature, Time, Atlantic Monthly, American History, Scientific American, The Nation, Wall Street Journal, Isis, and twenty different law journals, including Virginia Law Review and Constitutional Commentary. Larson holds a Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a law degree from Harvard, and an honorary doctorate from the Ohio State University.

Steve Fuller (University of Warwick)

As the founder of the first journal and author of the first book on “social epistemology,” Professor Fuller is the author of 23 books plus many articles, including translations into more than twenty languages. He was an expert witness for the defense in the main US test case for the teaching of intelligent design, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005). More recently, he has published a trilogy with Palgrave Macmillan relating to the idea of a “post-”or “trans-” human future, which he calls “Humanity 2.0.” His latest books are Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History (Routledge, 2015), The Academic Caesar (Sage, 2016), and Post-Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game (Anthem, 2018). He was awarded a D.Litt. by the University of Warwick in 2007 for sustained lifelong contributions to scholarship.

John Stenhouse (University of Otago)

Professor Stenhouse teaches the history of science as well as European and New Zealand history at the University of Otago. In addition to Disseminating Darwinism: The Role of Race, Place, Religion and Gender (Cambridge University Press, 1999), co-edited with Ronald L. Numbers, his publications include (co-edited with Diane B. Paul and Hamish G. Spencer) Eugenics at the Edges of Empire: New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Efthymios Nicolaidis (National Hellenic Research Foundation of Greece)

Professor Nicolaidis is Director of Research in the History, Philosophy and Didactics of Science and Technology Programme of the Institute of Historical Research in the National Hellenic Research Foundation. He is also Permanent Secretary of the International Academy of the History of Science and Coordinator of a project, “Science and Orthodoxy around the World” (http://project-sow.org/). He was President of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science from 2013 to 2017. As the author of Science and Eastern Orthodoxy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), he has studied the relations between science and religion, the history of science in the Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, and the spread of modern European science.

G. Clinton Godart (Tohoku University)

Professor Godart is a historian of modern Japanese intellectual history. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, he taught in the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. He is the author of Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine: Evolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan (University of Hawai’i Press and the Weatherhead Insititute at Colombia University, 2017). He currently teaches history at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.

Zhang Zengyi (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Professor Zhang is Chair of Department of Journalism and Communication and Associate Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). He was a professor and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Beijing Institute of Technology, before joining UCAS. He earned his PhD in philosophy at Peking University. He was also a visiting scholar at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His long research interest is the relationship between science and religion in history and contemporary society, on which he published A Century Long Creation-Evolution Controversies in USA: The Demarcation of Science in Social Context (2006). He is recently working on science communication, focusing on media, science and society.

Mustafa Akyol (Wellesley College)

A Turkish journalist and author, Mr. Akyol is a senior visiting fellow in the Freedom Project at Wellesley College. He published six books, including Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty (Norton, 2011), which was long-listed for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary prize awarded for the best nonfiction book in English that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues, and was praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom.” The book has been published also in Turkish, Malay and Indonesian. He also published The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims (St. Martin, 2017), which has received praise from the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and The National Catholic Reporter. He is also a public speaker and gave hundreds of lectures and talks on numerous platforms, including TED, where he spoke on “Faith vs. Tradition in Islam.”

Park Hyung Wook (Nanyang Technological University, organizer)

Professor Park is a history faculty member in NTU’s School of Humanities. He is the corresponding author of “Science, State, and Spirituality: Stories of Four Creationists in South Korea” (published in History of Science in 2018). As a historian of biomedicine and the biological sciences, he published thirteen journal articles and a book, Old Age New Science: Gerontologists and Their Biosocial Visions, 1900-1960 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). He is investigating the relationship between biomedicine and religion, as one of his new research projects.

 
 

Commentators

  • Shirley Sun (Sociology, NTU)
  • John van Wyhe (History, NUS)
  • Paul Hedges (RSIS, NTU)
  • Fang Xiaoping (Chinese, NTU)
  • Sam Han (Sociology, NTU)
  • Michael Stanley-Baker (History, NTU)
  • Hallam Stevens (History, NTU)
 
 

Schedule

 
23 April 2018 (Monday) ​​​​
​09:00 Welcome Address
by Alan K.L. Chan (Dean, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, NTU)
​09:10 Keyn​​ote Speech - "Creationism Goes Global"
by Ronald L. Numbers
Morning Session - Chair: G. Clinton Godart
​09:50 Presentation 1: “Where did Islamic Creationism Come from?”
by Mustafa Akyol
10:10 Comments By Hallam Stevens
10:30 Coffee Break
​10:50 Presentation 2:“New Creationism in China: A Study of its diffusion in Chinese Social Media”
by Zhang Zengyi
11:30 ​Comments by Fang Xiaoping
11:50 Lunch
​​Afternoon Session 1 - Chair: Edward Larson
​13:00 ​Presentation 3: “Can Darwinsim Explain the Motivation for Pursuing Science - Other than as a Species-Level Pathology?"
by Steve Fuller
​13:40 Comments by Sam Han
​14:00 ​Presentation 4: “Shaping Korean Creationism: Changing Identity of Technical Professionals”
by Park Hyung Wook
14:40 Comments by Shirley Sun
​15:00 Coffee Break
Afternoon Session 2 - Chair: Efthymios Nicolaidis
​15:30 Presentation 5: “‘Evolutionary Theory is the Superstition of Modernity’: Anti-Evolutionary Thought in Modern Japan”
by G. Clinton Godart
​16:10 Comments by Michael Stanley-Baker
16:50​ Presentation 6: "Creationists in New Zealand, 1860-2017"
by John Stenhouse
17:10 Comments by Paul Hedges
 
​​​​​24 April 2018 (Tuesday)
Morning Session - Chair: John Stenhouse
09:20 Presentation 7: “The American Origins and Global Spread of State-Sponsored Anti-Darwinism”
by Edward Larson​
​10:00 Comments by John van Wyhe
​10:20

Presentation 8: “Creationism in Today's Orthodox Christianity: An Overview”
by Efthymios Nicolaidis

11:00 Comments by Ronald Numbers
11:20​ General Discussion
11:50
Closing Remarks by Wan Ching (Associate Chair, School of Social Sciences, NTU)
​​