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AAAS Offers Study Guide for The Evolution Dialogues
AAAS has released an online study guide for its book The Evolution Dialogues, a unique volume that discusses evolutionary theory and the diverse responses to the theory from the Christian community.
The free guide is aimed especially at religious education classes, which have helped propel the book's sales since its August release, said Connie Bertka, director of the AAAS's Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) program, which produced the book.
"We know from experience with adult religious education classes that the folks that run these classes are often volunteers, so anything you can do to make their lives easier makes it more certain that your materials will be used," Bertka said.
The guide is "particularly helpful in the way it outlines terms and categories to discover," said the Rev. Ellie Stock, who teaches a class based on the book at Northminster Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Mo.
Stock said her congregation classes pursue "studies that try to relate Christianity to contemporary context. So any resource that will help do that, I'm very interested in."
The Evolution Dialogues discusses the theory of evolution and how it applies to the natural world, along with historical and modern responses to the theory from Christian communities.
The study guide summarizes the main points of each chapter, highlights important terms, and offers questions for discussion. The guide also suggests class activities for each chapter, including creating a "tree of life" and talking about different creation myths.
Bertka said a study guide for the book "was always in the back of our minds," as a way for people to talk about these issues in a group setting. She thinks the guide will be used mostly by religious classes, but noted that the book's "warmest reception" so far has come from the National Association of Biology Teachers.
"I think what it does is provide them with really good background information on this whole issue...I suspect it's been a tremendous boost to their confidence," Bertka said of the biology teachers.
AAAS has sold over 800 copies of the book and may produce a second edition if sales remain brisk, she noted.
Stock praised the book's clear explanations and noted that her class especially liked the pictures and charts. "This is a group, some of whom hated science, that has a new appreciation for it and how it all weaves together," she said.
Copies of The Evolution Dialogues may be obtained from the AAAS Distribution Center, P.O. Box 521, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. Telephone orders (VISA and MasterCard only) may be made at 800-222-7809 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The price is $9.95 ($7.95 for AAAS members) plus postage and handling ($2 domestic, $4 international). For shipments to the District of Columbia, add 5.75% sales tax; for California, add applicable sales tax; for Canada, add the GST. The price for 10 or more copies: $5.00 each.
20 November 2006