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Myths symbolize ideas, values, history and other issues that are important to a people. They may be true or false, mundane or fantastic; their significance is their meaning, not their narrative content. Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. Its conclusions tentatively may be true or false, but its significance is its explanatory power: one has confidence in the process of science, even though some explanations change over time.
Myth and science thus seem very different, but each has been utilized by proponents of both sides of the Christian creationism and evolution controversy.
Eugenie Scott, founding executive director of the National Center for Science Education Understanding, explores how this role is essential in comprehending — much less mediating — this persistent conflict.
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(Photo by Rocco Ancora for the Athiest Foundation of Australia, Inc. via Flickr)