NEWPORT, R.I. – Are the polarized battle camps that divide religion and science failing to recognize how deeply complementary each is to the other?
Distinguished philosopher and author Lenn E. Goodman thinks so and he’ll expound on his theories when he presents the Atwood Lecture at Salve Regina University on Tuesday, April 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public, Goodman’s lecture, “Evolution and Faith,” will be presented in Bazarsky Lecture Hall, located in the O'Hare Academic Center, corner of Ochre Point and Shepard avenues.
Goodman, professor of philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, is the author of more than a dozen books, including “Creation and Evolution,” in which he argues that religious and scientific fundamentalisms obscure the real biblical message and distort the deepest insights and richest findings of Darwinian science.
“It’s often said by biologists that Darwin eliminated the idea of purpose,” Goodman told Studio Tulsa radio last month prior to giving a lecture at the University of Tulsa. “If you read Darwin’s writings, most of what he did was to explain purpose. If you eliminate purpose you eliminate much of the subject matter you’re trying to explain.”
Goodman said in order to understand purpose you have to start thinking about values and you can’t reduce everything to just cold hard neutral facts. “Darwin did a brilliant job of explaining purpose by telling how organisms evolve.”
But theism, he argues, must also look at biology and give up on the idea that species have never changed. “That’s where biology and theism come together,” he said. “If we want to understand and appreciate the glories of nature we have to see how they work and that means we have to look at biology.”
Goodman is the author of: Creation and Evolution; Islamic Humanism; In Defense of Truth: A Pluralistic Approach; Jewish & Islamic Philosophy: Crosspollinations in the Classic Age; Judaism, Human Rights and Human Values; God of Abraham; Avicenna; On Justice: An Essay in Jewish Philosophy; and his Gifford Lectures, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.
He has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and is the translator of Saadiah Gaon’s Arabic commentary on the Book of Job, and Ibn Tufayl’s Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, and co-translator/ commentator of the 10th century Arabic ecological fable The Case of the Animals vs. Man before the King of the Jinn. He is currently at work on Coming to Mind: The Soul and its Body, and on a new translation from the Arabic of Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed.