Scientists and followers of so-called creationism might be able to at least get along if they didn't talk in two different languages, a Brigham Young University zoologist said Saturday night.
Most scientists believe in evolution, that organisms advanced from a primitive state to their modern form through slight variations from generation to generation. Creationism is the doctrine that God created all species, including man."I think this has led to a lot of polarization," said Duane Jeffery, a BYU zoology professor and speaker at the Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists' annual convention.
"Most of us do not know how to talk in the two different vocabularies here. Until we do, we can expect to contribute to more polarization and confrontation," Jeffery told reporters.
"Propagandists" on both sides of the issue, he said, "have tended to exploit science for their own philosophical views, rather than for the reality of the data and scientific method."
It has become a debate between "one particular form of religious persuasion" and science, Jeffery said, and "has been excessively polarized by statements of extreme positions from both creationists and scientists."
Both sides of the issue may have a valid point if not carried to an extreme.
"It must be recognized that many deep social concerns are involved in this discussion," he said, "and these are far more influential than any considerations of strictly scientific data.
"Scientists must be more active in addressing, not merely the technical data involved, but the social, educational and philosophical issues that are the fundamental, underlying concerns" of average people.