CHARLESTON – The evolutionary teachings of Charles Darwin, an ordained minister, need not conflict with religious faith, an Eastern Illinois University professor notes.
Stephen Mullin, who teaches biology, is one of three organizers of EIU's Darwin Day celebrations.
Darwin was born Feb. 12, 1809, at Shrewsbury, England. Abraham Lincoln was born the same day in Kentucky.
Mullin said Darwin Day is an international event. It's the third year EIU has formally celebrated it.
"One of the motivations that Gary and Anne Fritz and I have stems from a lot of things in the popular press about ideas like Intelligent Design," he said. "We're hoping that this helps promote the idea that evolution is not in direct conflict with religious ideology."
Mullin said he has encountered some students who are somewhat resistant to evolutionary theory because they have "existential conflicts" of faith.
He said many evolutionary thinkers are also religious believers.
"There should be no conflict between personal ideology and the scientific method," Mullin said.
At EIU's first Darwin Day, there was a discussion panel with religious leaders, including a Methodist minister, a Catholic priest as well as Muslim and Buddhist scholars that drew a standing-room audience, he said.