Howard Auditorium was filled with students, faculty and community members for the first-ever Darwin Day for Scientific Literacy on Feb. 12.
Darwin Day, celebrated around colleges and universities around America, focuses on celebrating the findings of Charles Darwin, specifically his evolutionary discoveries. Professor Jay Baldwin spearheaded ABAC’s first celebration by inviting Dr. Amanda Glaze-Crampes from Georgia Southern to speak.
Glaze-Crampes gave a talk titled “Can faith and science truly co-exist?” Glaze-Crampes talked about her journey as a Christian woman growing up in Alabama and her path to accepting the science of evolution and how that affected her faith and her relationships with her family and friends. She also talked about how religious people can be open-minded towards science and deal with the contradiction it makes with their faith and beliefs. She heavily emphasized radical empathy and how it can bridge the gap between science and faith.
The title of the talk sparked the interest of many students as this was something new to the campus of ABAC. However, many students said that the talk wasn’t what they expected. Senior biology major, Monica Balderas, attended the event because as a woman of both science and faith, she felt like the talk would give her tools to help her in her career. Balderas said she enjoyed the talk but it “wasn’t the answer [she] wanted” to the question the title of the lecture posed. She said she already knew the two could coexist but was hoping that Glaze-Crampes would give more examples of how the two could coexist with more emphasis on evolution particularly since it was a talk on Darwin Day.
After the lecture, Glaze-Crampes elaborated on open-mindedness and how it affects our relationships. “It’s about more than just willing to putting yourself in the shoes of somebody you like or you care about, it’s about being able to set aside your bias and judgment and truly want to understand points of view that you don’t understand,” Glaze-Crampes stated.
She also offered a workshop before the lecture that explored teaching strategies aimed at helping faculty and students negotiate faith-based resistance to science in the classroom. All faculty were welcome to attend.
The event was co-sponsored by the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Affiliates. Darwin Day celebrations are likely to become an annual event on ABAC’s campus.