Creation and Evolution in Schools

Lecture Series: Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam

In the United States, Israel, and some Muslim-majority countries, some religious schools do not teach evolutionary biology. This has encountered growing criticism, including from some Jewish and Muslim theologians and scholars. They complain that the lacking or inadequate coverage of evolutionary biology could instill a distrust of the sciences in religious people. Also, they say, this compromises children’s and teens’ scientific education. Many even consider such censorship in the curriculum to be neglecting the religious obligation to strive for knowledge.

4 July, 7 pm
Where

W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
(Opposite the Museum)

But how can religious pupils be presented with both scientific and theological views of the world without the teacher either de-legitimizing or absolutizing religious perspectives? And how should teachers handle positions that consider these perspectives incompatible?

A discussion with Rachel S. A. Pear and Anila Asghar. Moderator: Dr. Kathrin Klausing (Institute for Islamic Theology, Osnabrück University).

Rachel S.A. Pear and Anila Asghar

Rachel S. A. Pear and Anila Asghar, photos: Debbi Cooper/McGill University

Rachel S. A. Pear

Rachel S. A. Pear is a research associate at the Center for Jewish Education in the University of Haifa, where she researches education about evolutionary biology at Israeli schools. She wrote her dissertation on American Orthodox Judaism’s conflict with the theory of evolution.

Anila Asghar

Anila Ashgar is a Professor at the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University, Canada. She researches science education and has published about the treatment of evolutionary theory at schools in Muslim-majority countries.

About the Lecture Series

Scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, and biology over the past centuries have called into question the centrality of humans as the “crown of creation.” Today, religious and scientific positions are often seen as irreconcilable. While some present religions as incompatible with a modern worldview, others demand that creationism be giving equal billing in school as an alternative to the theory of evolution. In the past, this conflicting relationship between religion and science was hardly the rule. Many theologists were also scientists and made significant contributions to our understanding of humanity and the surrounding world.

This lecture series sets out to explore the tensions and affinities between Judaism, Islam, and the sciences. It aims to supplement the narrative of conflict with other narratives. To that end, the lecture series delves into subjects such as evolution and creation, belief in miracles, biological determinism and free will, historicist critical analysis of sacred texts, and how Jewish and Muslim religious educators approach the sciences.

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View full answer

Where

W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
(Opposite the Museum)

Where, when, what?

  • When

    Thursday 4 July 2019, 7 pm

  • Where
    W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium

    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
    (Opposite the Museum)

Lecture Series 2018-19 (6) Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam Show all

Science and Faith in Judaism and Islam

Scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, and biology over the past centuries have called into question the centrality of humans as the “crown of creation.”

Today, religious and scientific positions are often seen as irreconcilable. This lecture series sets out to explore the tensions and affinities between Judaism, Islam, and the sciences.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

13 June 2019, 7 pm
Many people are skeptical of miracle stories found in Jewish and Muslim Scripture, or reject them entirely. For others, as believers, they are objective accounts of the facts and proof of God’s existence. Is it possible to believe in miracles in this day and age? A discussion with James A. Diamond, the expert in Jewish philosophy, and Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu, a scholar of religion.

Creation and Evolution in Schools

4 July 2019, 7 pm
Evolutionary biology is not taught at some religious schools in the United States, Israel, and some Muslim-majority countries. This has encountered growing criticism, including from some Jewish and Muslim theologians and scholars. But how teachers present both scientific and theological views of the world without either de-legitimizing or reifying religious perspectives? The education scholars Rachel S. A. Pear and Anila Asghar discuss these questions from both Jewish and Muslim perspectives.

Humanity: Between Destiny and Free Will

30 April 2019 (with video recording)
New findings in psychology, neurology, and genetics have been increasingly casting doubt on humans’ capacity to make conscious decisions. This comes down to whether humans are responsible for their own actions. Is our free will really just an illusion? A discussion with Alan Mittleman (Jewish Theological Seminary of America) and Martin Mahmud Kellner (Institute of Islamic Theology, Osnabrück).

How Much God Is in the Holy Scriptures?

5 March 2019, 7 pm; with video recording
How can belief in the divine revelation of Scripture be reconciled with historical textual research? A discussion between Benjamin Sommer, an expert in modern Jewish theology, and Ghassan el Masri, researcher on the Koran in the context of the Arabic literature of his time.

God, Darwin, and Evolution

31 January 2019, 7 pm; with video recording
The insights of evolutionary biology have marked a sea change in our understanding of how life emerged. In light of this, how do Judaism and Islam envision their belief in Creation today? A discussion between Natan Slifkin and Fatimah Jackson.

Science in the Light of Faith

20 November 2018, 7 pm, with video recording
Geoffrey A. Mitelman and Ahmad S. Dallal discuss how Jewish and Islamic theologians have reflected for centuries on the conflicting powers of God and his revelation and human reason.

Academy Programs (2) Upcoming Events Show all

Upcoming Events

Here you can find the current events program of the Jewish-Islamic Forum and the Academy Program on Migration and Diversity.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

13 June 2019
Many people are skeptical of miracle stories found in Jewish and Muslim Scripture, or reject them entirely. For others, as believers, they are objective accounts of the facts and proof of God’s existence. Is it possible to believe in miracles in this day and age? A discussion with James A. Diamond, the expert in Jewish philosophy, and Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu, a scholar of religion.

Creation and Evolution in Schools

4 July 2019
Evolutionary biology is not taught at some religious schools in the United States, Israel, and some Muslim-majority countries. This has encountered growing criticism, including from some Jewish and Muslim theologians and scholars. But how teachers present both scientific and theological views of the world without either de-legitimizing or reifying religious perspectives? The education scholars Rachel S. A. Pear and Anila Asghar discuss these questions from both Jewish and Muslim perspectives.