Fern Elsdon-Baker
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Re-examining ‘creationist’ monsters in the uncharted waters of social studies of science and religion
in Science and the politics of openness

The subject of a clash between scientific and religious worldviews is often repeated as a very real 'fact' in both scholarly, policy and public discourse - with 'creationists' being painted as the ultimate unenlightened 'monsters' that threaten scientific and by proxy societal progress. However, there is currently a significant lacuna of research into public perceptions of the relationship between science and religion. Therefore, beyond the polar extremes of these debates we have no real idea of how the supposed clash between worldviews plays out in day-to-day lived experience, the role of wider identity politics in relation to the role of religion and science in society, or indeed if this is an issue that has meaningful consequences for 'publics' at all. This chapter will draw on new humanities and social science research that seeks to explore these questions and will ask is public space religion always sciences ultimate 'other'? Or could a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between provide space for a productive dialogue and avenues for public engagement?

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