The Complex Relationship Between Science and Religion to Be Explored by Award-Winning Authors and Thinkers

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

October 26, 2009, New York, NY

Has science irrevocably eroded religion’s credibility and legitimacy, or does religion—as a guide to life and a way of wisdom—provide us with precisely what science lacks?

“Three Conversations on Science and Religion” is a series that will explore the complementary/competitive relationship between these two domains through lively conversations with award-winning authors and thinkers.

The first conversation, “Creation and Evolution,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street), New York City. The program will feature leading philosophers Dr. Lenn Goodman (Vanderbilt University) and Dr. Philip Kitcher (Columbia University), who will address the perceived conflict between the Bible’s perspective—in which a benevolent God creates a good world—and a Darwinian conception of a universe governed by accident and chance.

Dr. Lenn GoodmanDr. Goodman is a professor of Philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. His philosophical interests center on metaphysics and ethics, and he has paid special attention over the years to Islamic and Jewish philosophical thought and their creative interactions. He is the author of thirteen books, including the forthcoming Creation and Evolution (Routledge, 2010) and Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself (Oxford University Press, 2008). Dr. Goodman serves on the editorial boards of the History of Philosophy Quarterly and has been vice president and program chair of the Institute for Islamic/Judaic Studies and program chair for the American Philosophical Association (APA) panels of the Academy for Jewish Philosophy. A winner of the APA Baumgardt Memorial Prize and a humanities recipient of Vanderbilt University's top research award, the Earl Sutherland prize, Dr. Goodman earned a DPhil from Oxford University.

Dr. KitcherDr. Kitcher is director of Undergraduate Studies and John Dewey Professor of Philosophy and James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University. In his teaching, he attempts to connect general questions in the philosophy of science, problems in the philosophy of biology, and issues in the philosophy of mathematics with the central philosophical dilemmas of metaphysics and ethics. Prior to his position at Columbia, Dr. Kitcher taught at Vassar College, the University of Vermont, the University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and UC San Diego. The author of seven books, including Science, Truth, and Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2001) and The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities (Simon & Schuster, 1996), he has been widely published in the Philosophical Review, Journal of Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Science. Dr. Kitcher received his PhD from Princeton University.

“Three Conversations on Science and Religion” is being cosponsored by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of JTS and the Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia University.

Since 1938, the Finkelstein Institute has maintained an innovative interfaith and intergroup relations program that advances dialogue among diverse communities about matters of public significance.

The series will continue on February 17, 2010, with “Religion, Science, and Wonder.” Janna Levin (Barnard College), author of the award-winning novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, will be joined by Rabbi Shai Held, cofounder of Mechon Hadar: An Institute for Prayer, Personal Growth and Jewish Study. On March 25, 2010, Barbara Bradley Hagerty (National Public Radio), author of The Fingerprints of God: In Search of the Science of Spirituality, and Professor Arnold M. Eisen, chancellor of JTS, will discuss “Science and Spirituality.” All programs in the series will be held at JTS.

Admission to all three conversations is free; reservations are required. For further information or to RVSP, please call (212) 280-6093 or email Attendees are requested to have photo IDs available and arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the program to allow sufficient time for registration.