Duquesne University

Can You Believe in God and Evolution? A Guide for the Perplexed

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Dr. Martinez April 23, 2009, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Power Center Ballroom
Sponsored by the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

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Dr. Martinez Hewlett is professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona and adjunct professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. His scientific career has focused on the molecular biology of viruses. He has co-authored one of the most utilized textbooks in this field, Basic Virology, now in its third edition. For over fifteen years Dr. Hewlett has been active in philosophy of science and the conversation between science and religion. Along with Dr. Ted Peters, he has authored Evolution: From Creation to New Creation, a comprehensive discussion of biological evolution and its interface with theological discourse. Drs. Peters and Hewlett have also authored, Can You Believe in Evolution?: A Guide for the Perplexed. Their most recent work is a celebratory volume, A Theological and Scientific Commentary on Origin of Species. Peters and Hewlett were named the co-recipients of the 2006 J. K. Russell Research Fellowship presented by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California.

Abstract: One hundred and fifty years after its publication Darwin’s model of biological evolution remains one of the most important conceptual frameworks through which we view the living world.  And yet, the most recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that only 48% of U.S. citizens believe that evolution is the best explanation for what we observe.  Are evolution and a belief in God necessarily mutually exclusive?  Or is it the case that the science of evolution is compatible with a theism that is, in fact, enriched by this understanding of nature?  In order to decide between these two possibilities, we will explore the task of science, the science of Darwin, and the philosophical and theological reactions to this science.  We will use this information to construct a position, termed theistic evolution, that represents the peaceful middle ground in this supposed conflict.

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