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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

26th SU Philosophy Symposium is Saturday, April 29

SALISBURY, MD---The Salisbury University Philosophy Department at Salisbury University tackles one of the 21st century’s biggest debates, “Evolution and Design—Conflicting Views of the Universe?” during its 26th annual Philosophy Symposium 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, in Henson Science Hall Room 243.

Traditionally, many western philosophers and theologians had seen the complex adaptations of living beings as evidence for an intelligent designer. However, after Darwin, there is a broad consensus that adaptations are the results of a natural, contingent process of evolution. Creationists and intelligent design theorists challenge this view in school boards, courtrooms, and op-ed pages, in a long running battle between evolutionists and anti-evolutionists that shows no sign of abating.

Speakers at this year’s symposium try to get behind the dueling positions and shed some light on the philosophical issues that are at stake. Can one, for example, accept both Darwinian science and the notion that the emergence of intelligible order is divinely intended?

"There are important political issues about the roles of science and religion in society," said Dr. Grace Clement, chair of the SU Philosophy Department, "but the symposium will show that this is ultimately a philosophical question, and will explore different philosophical responses to it."

Two leading philosophers from very different traditions address the controversy. Patrick Byrne is the chair of Boston College’s Philosophy Department and an editor of a volume of the collected works of Bernard Lonergan, with many publications on the philosophy of science, Lonergan studies, and Aristotle. He is the author of Analysis and Science in Aristotle (1997) and editor of the 2004 anthology The Dialogue Between Science and Religion.

Michael Ruse is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. His recent books include The Evolution-Creation Struggle (2005), Darwin and Design (2003) and Can a Darwinian be a Christian? (2001). In 1981 he played a key role in testifying against creation science in the landmark federal court case McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education and has been a popular champion of evolution as well as a leading philosopher of biology ever since.

Events begin with a continental breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by the invited speakers’ addresses at 9:30 a.m. Following a break for lunch, informal discussion led by local respondents begins at 1:30 p.m. The symposium is free and the public is invited.

This event is sponsored by the SU Philosophical Society, the Bellavance Honors Program, the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, and is a tribute to Charles R. Fulton (1919-2005), who, with his wife, Martha, founded the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts at SU. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at "

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