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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. His interest in enhancing public understanding of the liberal arts has led him to help found the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA). WaCLA is an association of Washington state public and private higher education institutions, organizations and individuals promoting the value of a liberal arts education to the people and communities of the state.

Entries by Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.

The Clergy Letter Project Condemns Homophobia - Especially When It Is Cloaked in Religious Language

(3) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 8:19 PM

As horrific as the shooting at The Pulse in Orlando was, and it was absolutely horrific, some of the comments being made by religious leaders in its aftermath are even more frightening. Yes, the sentiments expressed in the name of religion by fundamentalist ministers may have been rare, but the...

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A Call to Justice, Inclusion, and Reconciliation: An Open Letter to Moderate/Centrist Delegates to the United Methodist General Conference

(1) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 1:00 AM

The following was written by Dr. John D. Copenhaver, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Religion and Philosophy at Shenandoah University and a member of The Clergy Letter Project. He has long been active in issues at the intersection of religion and social action, writing and speaking regularly on peacemaking...

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Evolution Weekend: An Example of Reasoned, Civil Discourse

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 2:11 AM

Most people agree that the vitriolic nature of the Republican presidential primary is doing very little to advance meaningful understanding of complex policy. Similarly most people recognize that being rude and boorish is not likely to bring individuals holding diverse opinions together.

Combine heated politics with divisive views on...

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The Clergy Letter Project Condemns Islamophobia

(2) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 10:39 AM

Thousands of Religious Leaders Call for Religious Respect and Understanding

Simply put, the horrific comments made by Donald Trump demanding that the United States close its borders to all Muslims are a disgrace. They run counter to the core values upon which the United States was founded...

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Washington State Joins National Effort to Enhance the Liberal Arts

(1) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 1:39 PM

The state of Washington, through the auspices of the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA), has just become the 11th state in the nation to join the Association of American Colleges and University's (AAC&U) signature program. The program is entitled LEAP, Liberal Education and America's...

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Using the Power of the Liberal Arts to Address the Problems of Our Time

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 2:18 PM

Although politicians often disparage the liberal arts out of ignorance, I'm very much heartened to see that many high school students understand the value, both for individuals and for society, that the liberal arts provide. The high school students I'm thinking about are those who entered the liberal arts essay...

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Teaching Scott Walker What it Means to Pontificate

(221) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 1:20 PM

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was in London last week attempting to look presidential, he refused to answer even the most basic of policy questions. Although he certainly didn't intend it this way, his non-answer to the query asking about his opinion of the theory of evolution should be long...

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Evolution Weekend: Celebrating Faith and Fact

(1) Comments | Posted February 8, 2015 | 10:57 PM

Why do they do it? Why do hundreds of religious groups from all corners of the world opt to celebrate Evolution Weekend each year? Why do they spend time talking about science, supporting science, promoting science - all in the context of their faith?

While the specific answer...

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

(7) Comments | Posted January 2, 2015 | 7:17 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 | 12:57 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 | 9:58 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?

(113) Comments | Posted July 13, 2014 | 8:14 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 | 11:12 AM

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 | 1:37 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

(1) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 11:14 AM

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 | 12:03 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 | 1:34 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 | 2:55 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 | 7:10 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 | 5:38 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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