Episode 41 – NY Times Science Writer Nicholas Wade


Nicholas Wade

This week we talk with Nicholas Wade, author and science writer for the New York Times.  Nicholas talks with us about his new book (The Faith Instinct), recent science breakthroughs and what to expect in the coming year.


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One comment

  • ***Editor’s Note: This comment was moved from where it was originally posted (episode 43) to this post since it refers to this episode.***

    Re: Episode 41

    In this episode you have a scientist use evolution to explain away religious experiences.

    On the surface, this seems like a fair discussion. After all, it is an interesting topic and it may help science teachers expand their thinking about the world.

    However, I found this to be highly inappropriate for the following reasons.

    1) I should be able to play any of these episodes to parents or students. However, while parents may tolerate discussions of evolution as a concept or even a fact, many parents would be outraged at the suggestion that their sacred belief is a derivation of natural selection.

    2) One of the points teachers struggle with when teaching evolution is the notion that evolution somehow conflicts with religious beliefs. This author states clearly that religion, rather than being a reflection of a God or gods, is a natural phenomenon. In other words he is stating that there very well may be a conflict between religion and evolution.

    3) In particularly conservative districts, the mere mention of evolution can put a teacher in an uncomfortable situation with a parent. If the school board members are like minded and shy away from natural selection, a non-tenured teacher may find himself in an unfortunate confrontation.

    4) This podcast does nothing to improve my teaching. I (used to) listen to this podcast in hopes of improving my teaching based on what I heard. Because of the controversial nature of the material and the misunderstanding it would perpetuate, it is useless to me.

    Please reassure me that future podcasts will be worth my time.