2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, the volume introducing the theory of evolution by natural selection. Today, the significance of this theory is beyond dispute. And yet, Darwinism remains highly contentious. More than fifty percent of Americans deny evolution, opting rather for a Genesis-based view of life—six days of Creation, 6000 years ago, miraculous appearance of the first humans, subsequent universal flood.
Michael Ruse will explore the scientific, philosophical, and religious implications of evolution. Joseph Travis and Matthew Day will look at the ongoing research program in evolutionary studies. Joe will strongly stress challenges for the teaching of evolutionary themes. Matt will look at the “new atheists” (like Richard Dawkins) as well Darwin's near contemporaries, especially Sigmund Freud. Workshops will include a study of fauna and flora of the island archipelago, the importance of the ocean for human and the rest of life, literature and science, art and drama, science teaching techniques and challenges, and much more.
Dr. Michael Ruse is an expert on Darwin and a strong voice in the ongoing debate between evolution and creationism. Ruse is the Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science at Florida State University. Works include: Charles Darwin; Darwinism and its Discontents; The Evolution/Creation Struggle; A Darwinian Evolutionist’s Philosophy; Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose? He is the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Origin of Species and is writing a book now with the title Making Room for Faith: Christianity in and Age of Science.
Dr. Joseph Travis is an evolutionary biologist and is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State University. He is an expert in the ecology of natural selection. Travis’ research at the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology focuses particularly on how ecological forces act as agents of natural selection on life histories.
Ruse and Travis are co-authors of Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, published by Harvard University Press. All individuals or family units attending this conference on Star Island will recieve a copy.
Rev. William Falla has advanced degrees in Geology and Theology. His area of emphasis has been on the interface of science and theology with special emphasis on the interaction of Darwinian Theory with Theology in the work of several theologians, particularly Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He currently serves an United Church of Christ parish and is an adjunct in Philosophy at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.