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Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.
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Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D. is the founder and director of The Clergy Letter Project, an international organization of religious leaders and scientists created to demonstrate that religion and science need not be in conflict. The Clergy Letter Project sponsors Evolution Weekend annually, an opportunity for congregations of all faiths to discuss the compatibility of religion and science.

Zimmerman has been involved with the evolution/creation controversy for almost three decades. He has conducted research on the public’s understanding of evolution and the nature of science. His work has appeared extensively on the op-ed pages of newspapers. He is the author of Science, Nonscience, and Nonsense: Approaching Environmental Literacy (Johns Hopkins University Press).

With a Ph.D. in ecology, Zimmerman has published widely on the relationship between plants and pollinators. As a fierce advocate for the importance of the liberal arts, he has served as an academic dean for 20 years in addition to a professor of biology. His peers have elected him a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Center for Science Education has honored him with their Friend of Darwin award.

He is represented by Ovation Agency for his public speaking engagements.

Additionally, he is Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Entries by Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.

They're Not All the Same: Labels and Stereotypes Fail to Recognize Religious Diversity

(6) Comments | Posted January 2, 2015 | 8:17 PM

Here's a critical and simple point to keep in mind: as difficult as it may be for some to accept, not all religious individuals believe the same thing.

The latest example of this sort of intellectually bankrupt stereotyping can be seen in an article published last week...

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Promoting Meaningful Education: Phi Beta Kappa Honors the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts

(1) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 1:57 AM

At a time when so many seem to be questioning the value of a college education in general and a focus on the liberal arts in particular, it's ironic that all available data indicate that worries of this sort are absolutely unfounded. Indeed, study after study has shown that the...

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Fundamentalist Conspiracy Theory: Search for Extraterrestrial Life Demonstrates "Rebellion Against God"

(9) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 10:58 PM

Do you want conspiracy theorists to create the nation's scientific research agenda? Does it make sense to take their bizarre views seriously?

Consider just a handful of the strange and false claims that currently abound and the damage they've caused: AIDS was created by the CIA and is spread throughout...

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Creationism at Its Most Extreme: Will the Scottish Parliament Respond?

(119) Comments | Posted July 13, 2014 | 9:14 PM

Just how extreme is creationism? You might be surprised.

If you were presented with two words, dinosaurs and creationism, and asked to think of an iconic image, I bet many of you would come up with the same visual: a triceratops with a saddle from the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

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Evolution and the Presbyterian Church (USA): Not Quite the Relationship It Could Be

(7) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 12:12 PM

In late June, members of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) looked into the future of the religion and science debate and blinked. Instead of positively reshaping a manufactured debate that hasn't accomplished anything positive for anyone, they opted to ignore the reality of the situation and...

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A Student's Perspective on the Liberal Arts

(1) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 2:37 AM

In June, under the leadership of Representative Larry Seaquist, the Washington State House Committee on Higher Education held a work session to discuss the importance of the liberal arts to the state. When so much of the higher education agenda seems to be rather narrowly focused on STEM (Science, Technology,...

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Liberal Education's Positive Role in Society

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 12:14 PM

Every once in a while insight comes from surprising corners and when it does it can be all the more powerful because of its unexpected presence. Two high school seniors have eloquently debunked a growing but terribly informed popular meme while, at the same time, providing hope for the political...

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Intelligent Design's Final Days

(106) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 1:03 PM

Are we in the final days of the "intelligent design is science" movement? Thanks to the attention of the Texas Freedom Network, we now know that this weekend should actually put an end to a charade that has gone on for far too long.

An article in the...

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Banning Books in India and Creationism in the United States

(20) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 2:34 AM

What, you might ask, does a book that was recalled and destroyed by its publisher in India have to do with the evolution/creation controversy in the United States? Quite a bit, it turns out.

The book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, was written by Wendy Doniger, a University of Chicago...

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Assessing the "Debate:" Ham Was Wrong On Both Religious and Scientific Grounds

(92) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 3:55 PM

It's probably fair to say that much, and many might say too much, has been written about the "debate" between Ken Ham and Bill Nye on the nature of science and the relationship between religion and science. Nonetheless, I feel it might be useful to provide a bit of context...

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The Adler Planetarium Demonstrates That Religion and Science Don't Need to Debate

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 8:10 AM

The recent "debate" between Ken Ham, the head of the world's largest creationist organization, and Bill Nye, the science guy, was certainly lucrative. Nye was supposedly paid $50,000 for participating and I'm certain that the theme park called The Creation Museum made far more from the...

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Evolution Weekend: Different Ways of Knowing

(9) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 6:38 PM

This weekend marks the ninth year that hundreds of religious leaders all over the world have agreed to celebrate Evolution Weekend. By doing so they are working to create an environment in which meaningful discussion about the nature of religion and science can occur.

Such opportunities are essential...

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Yet Another Call to Ban the Teaching of Evolution: Bad for Science, Worse for Religion and Legally Embarrassing

(901) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 6:28 PM

Science and religion have long been at odds with one another, at least in the eyes of some. Throw a bit of politics into the mix and the situation gets really crazy.

The latest outbreak of weirdness has creationists arguing that a recent governmental ruling means that evolution should be...

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Invest in the Humanities Now

(2) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 6:53 PM

Think the humanities are irrelevant or dead? The Chinese and Russians don't.

Countries actively crushing free speech are introducing Western-style liberal arts education in their universities. Ironic, yes! More importantly, however, we should ask ourselves why we think the humanities are irrelevant when others are so interested.

The humanities...

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Evolution vs. God: Not a Choice Most of Us Have to Make

(1937) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 12:18 PM

Ray Comfort is at it again. He's again willing to spend tons of money to promote his narrow vision of religion while attacking modern science.

In case you don't remember, in 2009 Ray and his Living Waters ministry produced 100,000 copies of a 150th anniversary edition of...

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The Liberal Arts Are Alive and Well in Washington State

(8) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 3:49 PM

Working with educators across the state of Washington, I've helped to create an organization that many might consider an anachronism, a relic from a far simpler time. But that position, as common as it might be, is spectacularly wrong! Let me explain.

The organization is the Washington Consortium...

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The Guardian Falls for Creationist Ploy, Misses Real Story: Peace Between Religion and Science

(82) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 2:26 PM

I recently published a piece about a creationist publicity stunt that was covered in The Guardian. As I noted in my essay, I couldn't imagine why a reputable media outlet like The Guardian would opt to run such a story. So, instead of merely wondering, I...

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Literal Genesis Trial: Creationist Gimmicks Versus the Optimism of Education

(80) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 12:40 PM

At the core of every successful teacher is a sense of optimism. That optimism is absolutely essential because every day, every teacher participates in the hard work of helping students peel back the veil of ignorance. Without that optimism there's no hope that the work being done is of any...

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Pope Promotes Birth Control

(26) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 12:39 PM

Recent media coverage of the papal transition has focused heavily on the past.

For example, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, one of the points the media highlighted was the fact that he was the first pope to resign in 600 years.

Similarly, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected...

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The Creationist View of Intolerance

(26) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 2:11 PM

Not everything has to be ridiculously complicated. For example, if a good friend were to mention to you that she was planning to take her husband to an expensive restaurant for their anniversary where you received food poisoning the week before, would you mention it to her? Would it be...

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