Stephen M. BarrUniversity of Delaware
Many people imagine that the Catholic Church was historically opposed to the theory of evolution or that there is something dangerous or dubious about Darwinian evolution from the viewpoint of Catholic theology. These ideas are based on a variety of confusions and misconceptions. This talk will show how Catholic thinkers and Catholic Church authorities looked at evolution. It will also respond to the arguments some Christians make against it, and examine some of the more subtle issues, such as the relation of chance to divine providence, and the questions surrounding human origins and human distinctiveness.
Stephen M. Barr, a theoretical particle physicist (PhD from Princeton University), has held research positions at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1987, he joined the faculty of the University of Delaware, where he is Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Director of its Bartol Research Institute. His research centers on “grand unified theories” and the cosmology of the early universe. He has written 150 research papers, as well as the article on “Grand Unification” for the Encyclopedia of Physics. He has lectured widely on the relation of science and religion and is the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, A Student’s Guide to Natural Science, and Science and Religion: The Myth of Conflict. He is also President of the Society of Catholic Scientists.