Category Archives: Science and Religion in Modern America

An Advent Awakening: God’s Children Made of Stardust

CoyneThe universe is 13.7 billion years old. It contains approximately 100 billion galaxies, each of which contains, on the average, 200 billion stars of an immense variety. As these stars live and die they provide the chemicals necessary for the evolution of life.  On Saturday, December 5th at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 6th at 8 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and noon at St. Ann’s Parish in Manlius, New York, Rev. George Coyne, McDevitt Chair in Physics, will celebrate mass and discuss how important it is to respect the richness of both religious faith and of scientific research as we consider the origins of the universe.

Coyne to Speak on Science and Religion

20100111cnsbr00088On Wednesday, October 21st from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Moon Library on the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) campus, Fr. George Coyne (McDevitt Chair in Physics) will join Dr. Warren Allmon (director of the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca and professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University) to address Heaven and Earth: The Relationship Between Science and Religion.

The talk is part of SUNY ESF’s “Moonlighting” series. “Moonlighting” is a series of informal discussions, debates and interviews hosted by Dr. Quentin Wheeler, president of SUNY ESF. For centuries, the university has been the place where freedom of speech and thought are cherished, but also where ideas and assertions are freely challenged through open, respectful discourse that knows no disciplinary boundaries. Moonlighting is intended to foster such discourse and create an enjoyable, intellectually stimulating evening.

The event is free and open to the public but registration is required should you plan to attend. For more information and to register please visit the event website.

Dr. Christiana Peppard to Discuss Environmental Science and Ethics in the Catholic Church

IMG_0279What does environmental change have to do with debates about religion and science? Against the backdrop of the Catholic Church’s multifaceted relationship to scientific inquiry throughout the past few centuries, this talk focuses on evolving Catholic teachings on the intersections of environmental degradation, social justice, and political economy — and their importance for the 21st century.

On Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in the Panasci Family, Christiana Z. Peppard, Ph.D., assistant professor of Theology, Science and Ethics in the Department of Theology, Fordham University, will speak on “Facts and Values: Environmental Science and Ethics in the Catholic Church.” The talk is part of the ongoing Science and Religion in Modern America series. It is free and open to the public.

Dr. Peppard received her Ph.D. from Yale University, an M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. She is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis (Orbis Books, 2014) explores the problem of fresh water scarcity in an era of climate change and economic globalization. In addition to authoring numerous peer-reviewed articles, Peppard’s research has also appeared in TED-Ed, CNN.com, the History Channel, Microsoft’s Global Innovators in Education blog, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post.

For additional information on Dr. Christiana Peppard we recommend watching this brief interview on Shift by MSNBC where she discusses the Catholic Church’s mandate on climate change:

Kimmerer to Speak on March 23rd

kimmerer-webOn Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, Robin Kimmerer, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, will present a talk entitled “What Does the Earth Ask of Us.” The talk is sponsored by the McDevitt Center.

Every day, we are showered with gifts from the land. Though the Earth provides us with all that we need, we have created a consumption-driven economy that asks, “What more can we take from the Earth?” and almost never “What does the Earth ask of us in return?” For much of human’s time on the planet, before the great delusion, we lived in cultures that understood the covenant of reciprocity, that for the Earth to stay in balance, for the gifts to continue to flow, we must give back in equal measure for what we take. Indigenous environmental philosophy is rich in teachings of how we might enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world.  Can we create a symbiosis between indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge that can guide us to sustainability?

Robin Kimmerer, Ph.D. received her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. Kimmerer is the founding director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, co-founder and past president of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge section of the Ecological Society of America, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi. She is the author of numerous scientific articles and the books Gathering Moss, which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing in 2005, and Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, to be released in March 2015.

To learn more about Robin Kimmerer, we suggest watching this TED Talk entitled “Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest:”

Spring 2015 Science & Religion Events Announced

The McDevitt Center announces the Spring 2015 events in its continuing initiative Science and Religion in Modern America.

kimmerer-webWhat Does the Earth Ask of Us?
Robin W. Kimmerer, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
7 p.m., Monday, Mar. 23

Every day, we are showered with gifts from the land. Though the Earth provides us with all that we need, we have created a consumption-driven economy that asks, “What more can we take from the Earth?” and almost never “What does the Earth ask of us in return?” For much of human’s time on the planet, before the great delusion, we lived in cultures that understood the covenant of reciprocity, that for the Earth to stay in balance, for the gifts to continue to flow, we must give back in equal measure for what we take. Indigenous environmental philosophy is rich in teachings of how we might enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world.  Can we create a symbiosis between indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge that can guide us to sustainability?

IMG_0279Facts and Values: Environmental Science and Ethics in the Catholic Church
Christiana Z. Peppard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theology, Science and Ethics in the Department of Theology, Fordham University
7 p.m., Tuesday, Apr. 21

What does environmental change have to do with debates about religion and science? Against the backdrop of the Catholic Church’s multifaceted relationship to scientific inquiry throughout the past few centuries, this talk focuses on evolving Catholic teachings on the intersections of environmental degradation, social justice, and political economy–and their importance for the twenty-first century.

These events are free and open to the public. They will take place in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus.

For additional information about these events or other McDevitt Center programs, contact us at mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu or 315-445-6200.

Dr. Kenneth Miller to Address Evolution and Religion at Le Moyne

On Monday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, Kenneth Miller, professor of Biology at Brown University, will present a talk entitled “Bringing Peace to the Tangled Bank: Evolution, God, and Science in America Today.” The talk is sponsored by the McDevitt Center.

Scientifically, biological evolution is the key to understanding the extraordinary diversity, beauty, and unity of life. However, for many Americans, evolution is a doctrine at odds with faith and is to be resisted at all costs. In this lecture, Dr. Miller will argue that this opposition is misguided, and even antithetical to the Christian tradition of seeing faith and reason as complementary ways of knowing. Ultimately, Miller contends, America’s religion and science debate is driven by a deep antagonism between extremists on both sides of the issue. The solution is not to split the difference, but to come to a genuine understanding and appreciation of the true depth of scientific and religious thought on the issues at hand. When this is done, both sides may come to realize, as Charles Darwin did, that there is indeed beauty, wonder, and even grandeur in the evolutionary view of life.

Kenneth Miller, Ph.D. received his doctorate from the University of Colorado. He has received 6 major teaching awards at Brown, the Presidential Citation of the American Institute for Biological Science (2005), and the Public Service Award of the American Society for Cell Biology (2006). In 2009 he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Advancing the Public Understanding of Science, and also received the Gregor Mendel Medal from Villanova University. In 2011 he was presented with the Stephen Jay Gould Prize by the Society for the Study of Evolution, and in 2014 he received the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame University.

Miller is the author of Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul (Viking/Penguin Press, 2008) and Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (Harper Collins, 1998). He has also coauthored, with Joseph S. Levine, four different high school and college biology textbooks, which are used by millions of students nationwide.

To learn more about Kenneth Miller, we suggest listening to this brief podcast entitled “This I Believe: Evolution” or watching this short video on why evolution matters:

For more information about Dr. Miller’s lecture or the series of lectures on Science and Religion in Modern America, please contact the McDevitt Center at 315-445-6200 or mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu.

Terrence Tilley, Ph.D. To Speak on Faith, Science, and Religion

tilleyOn Thursday, October 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, Terrence Tilley, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. Professor of Catholic Theology at Fordham University, will present a talk entitled, “Faith: Science and Religion.” The talk is sponsored by the McDevitt Center.

FaithIn this lecture Tilley will discuss how the science versus religion debates are matters of faith, not science or religion. He will build upon his book Faith: What It Is and What It Isn’t (Maryknoll, 2010) to show that conflict or convergence between science and religion is a conflict or convergence of a person’s or a community’s faith.

Terrence Tilley, Ph.D. received his doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Tilley is an accomplished lecturer and author, with over 100 publications to his name including The Disciples’ Jesus: Christology as Reconciling Practice (Maryknoll, 2008). At Fordham University, Tilley teaches classes on Roman Catholicism, religious thought, Christian social ethics, and issues in philosophy of religion and philosophical theology.

For more information about Dr. Tilley’s lecture or the series of lectures on Science and Religion in Modern America, please contact the McDevitt Center at 315-445-6200 or mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu.

Paul Allen, Ph.D. To Speak on Christianity and Darwinism

AllenOn Thursday, September 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, Paul Allen, associate professor of theological studies at Concordia University (Canada), will present a talk entitled, “How to be a Christian Darwinist.” The talk is sponsored by the McDevitt Center.

Allen’s talk will build upon non-reductionist readings of evolutionary theory to show that Darwinism does not necessitate a materialist worldview and is, in fact, conducive to a Christian understanding of creation, to moral endeavor, and to the idea that we are saved by God because it helps bring to light the person of Jesus Christ in a fresh way through giving us new insight into self-sacrifice and bodily resurrection.

Paul Allen, Ph.D., who received his doctorate in theology from from L’Universite Saint-Paul in the University of Ottawa, is the author of two books, numerous refereed articles, and two forthcoming texts: Catholic Responses to Scientific Anthropology (2015) and Creaturehood Ascendant: Sin and Science in Theological Anthropology (2016). Allen’s scholarly interests include theological anthropology (sin, redemption, and the soul); the science-theology dialogue; Bernard Lonergan; St. Augustine; faith and culture; and political theology.

For more information about Dr. Allen’s lecture or the series of lectures on Science and Religion in Modern America, please contact the McDevitt Center at 315-445-6200 or mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu.

Elizabeth Drescher, Ph.D. to Speak on the Prayer Practices of American Nones

DSC00110On Tuesday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, Elizabeth Drescher, professor of religious studies and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University, will present a talk entitled, “Praying Between the Lines: Prayer Practices of American Nones.” The lecture is sponsored by the McDevitt Center and is being offered in conjunction with a course developed with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Enduring Questions grants program, What Does Prayer Do?

Drescher’s talk will discuss what it means when the religiously unaffiliated, including Nones who self-identify as agnostic, atheist, or humanist, report that they “pray.”

Elizabeth Drescher, Ph.D., is a senior contributor to Religion Dispatches magazine, and a leading expert in many aspects of contemporary American religion, including new digital media and religion, changing patterns of religious identification and affiliation, and Christian responses to violence. She has written for the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Sojourners, Salon, and other leading newspapers and magazines, and her work has been highlighted by National Public Radio, Radio Australia, and the BBC. She is the author of Tweet If You © Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation and Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones, and co-author of Click to Save: The Digital Ministry Bible. Dr. Drescher teaches in the areas of religious studies and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University.  She holds a doctorate in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union and a master’s degree in systematic theology from Duquesne University.

For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at 315-445-6200 or e-mail mcdevittcenter@lemoyne.edu. This lecture is free and open to the public.