Symposium on Religion vs. Science at Yale

Public Broadcasting System journalist Margaret Warner will moderate the closing panel of a two-day symposium at Yale University on the tensions between science and religion.

All sessions will take place in the auditorium of the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., September 14 and 15. The entire program is free and open to the public.

The symposium, titled “The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does it Continue?” celebrates the centennial of the Dwight H. Terry lectureship, which is devoted to the intersection of religion and science.

“Contemporary public debates about ‘intelligent design’ and the teaching of evolution suggest that the relationship between the two spheres remains contentious,” according to Harold W. Attridge, the Terry Committee chair and dean of Yale Divinity School. “The contention is as much a cultural and social phenomenon as it is a theoretical problem. The symposium participants will therefore bring insights from history and the social sciences as well as scientific and philosophical perspectives.” 

The first session will begin on Thursday at 2 p.m. with a lecture by Princeton University sociologist Robert Wuthnow, “No Contradictions Here: Science, Religion and the Culture of All Reasonable Possibilities.” Wuthnow is director of the Center for the Study of Religion, and his work focuses on the links connecting religion with economics, politics, arts and psychology.  Following his talk, theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western Reserve University will present “Religion vs. Science?  From the White House to the Classroom.”

On Friday, speakers include contemporary American philosopher Alvin Plantinga of Notre Dame University; biologist Kenneth R. Miller, Brown University; and historian of science Ronald Numbers, University of Wisconsin.

The panel moderated by Warner, senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” will begin at 4 p.m. Warner is a member of the Yale Corporation and a graduate of Yale College. 

Proceedings of the Terry Lectures will be published as a book by Yale University Press, with an introduction by science writer Carl Zimmer.

The Terry lectures were established in 1905 through a gift from Bridgeport businessman Dwight Harrington Terry. The lectureship brings scholars of religion, the sciences and philosophy to campus to address issues concerning the ways in which science and philosophy inform religion, and the application of religion to human welfare.

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