Letter to the Editor: Follow Up On the Evolution Debate: “God or Darwin” Seminar.
To the Editor:
“God or Darwin”? It is a question that all too regularly features at the core of controversial debates. As many readers of the Emory Wheel may remember, some of us wrote a letter in the spring following the selection of Dr. Benjamin Carson as Emory’s commencement speaker.
Although many readers misinterpreted our letter as a protest against Dr. Carson as a commencement speaker or honorary degree recipient, our stated goal was to educate the Emory community about Dr. Carson’s dismissal of evolution based on his religious beliefs – a dismissal that opposes Emory’s principles of inquiry and ethical commitment.
The authors of this letter were – and still are – worried about the perception that evolution and faith are not compatible, and that people feel justified to dismiss the strongly supported foundation of biological science on the basis of their religious beliefs. The letter, which was signed by more than 400 members of the Emory community, and which sparked controversy both within and outside our campus, also led to the realization that our community should have opportunities to engage in respectful dialogue on systems of knowledge and belief.
In August, we met with President Wagner to organize a seminar series on “The Nature of Knowledge”, and we are happy to announce the first seminar by Dr. Joel Martin on October 2nd at 3 p.m. in the Harland Cinema. Dr. Martin, who is an evolutionary biologist and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA, will speak on the compatibility of faith and evolution. Dr. Martin will address whether one has to make a choice between God or Darwin or if one can consider or embrace both. We hope that the Emory community will join us in this important conversation at the seminar and at the reception that will follow.
Jaap de Roode (Biology)
Ilya Nemenman (Biology and Physics)
David Lynn (Chemistry)
Arri Eisen (Biology, ILA, and Center for Ethics)