Upcoming Events

"Inherit the Wind" film still

Inherit the Wind

A free campus screening of this Oscar-nominated classic film, presented by the Isthmus Society.

Tuesday, April 29
7:00 pm
Union South Marquee Theatre

1960 | dir: Stanley Kramer | 128 min
cast: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York, Donna Anderson, Harry Morgan, Claude Akins

Isthmus Society Lectures
at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frans de Waal
Frans de Waal

Jeff Schloss
Jeff Schloss

poster image
click image for PDF of poster

Do We Need God to Be Moral?
a dialogue on morality, religion and evolution


Thursday, April 10, 2014
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Sonata Room
Gordon Dining & Event Center
770 W. Dayton St. [map]
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Free and open to the public


Frans de Waal
C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University

and

Jeff Schloss
T.B. Walker Chair of Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Westmont College & BioLogos Senior Scholar

cosponsored by

The John Templeton Foundation

The UW Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions

UW–Madison Department of Zoology

Lecture Abstract
From the time of Darwin until the present, a fascinating controversy has raged over evolutionary theory’s implications for our understanding of the origin and nature of human morality. Drawing on contemporary evolutionary thought and recent research into the prosocial tendencies of primates, de Waal and Schloss will discuss a number of questions related to this controversy. Are moral capacities and judgments “unique” to human beings alone or do other animals share them? Are human moral capacities and judgments merely the products of biological evolution or are they also shaped by culture and religion? Do evolutionary accounts of morality subvert all moral beliefs or can such accounts help inform moral principles? Join us and our two keynote speakers as we enter into an open and constructive dialogue on these and other vital questions found at one of the most important intersections of modern scientific knowledge and religious belief.

suggested reading:

Frans de Waal, “Morals Without God?,” New York Times: The Stone, Opinionator, 17 October 2010.

Jeffrey Schloss, “Darwinian Explanations of Morality: Accounting for the Normal but not the Normative” [PDF] in Hilary Putnam, Susan Neiman and Jeffrey Schloss, eds. Understanding Moral Sentiments: Darwinian Perspectives? (Transaction Publishers, 2014), pp. 81–121. [book link on Amazon.com]

•  •  •

The Territories of Science and Religion


Monday, May 5, 2014
(time and place TBA)

Free and open to the public


Peter Harrison
Director of the Centre for the History of European Discourses at the University of Queensland

cosponsored by

The John Templeton Foundation

The UW Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions

Lecture Abstract
Science and religion are usually regarded as enduring features of the cultural landscape of the West.  However, this view is misleading.  Only in the past few hundred years have religious beliefs and activities been bounded by a common notion ‘religion’ and set apart from the ‘non-religious’ or secular domains of human existence.  The idea of natural sciences as discrete activities conducted in isolation from religious and moral concerns is even more recent, dating from the nineteenth century.  The history of these two ideas has far-reaching implications for how we understand the contemporary relations between science and religion.