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Vatican Astronomer to Speak on Intelligent Design at DU

The director of the Vatican Observatory will speak on Intelligent Design at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in the Duquesne University Union Ballroom. The Rev. George V. Coyne, S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory and a distinguished astronomer, is widely recognized for speaking out publicly against the teaching of Intelligent Design.“Intelligent Design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be,” said Coyne, according to the Italian news service ANSA.

The lecture by Coyne, who comes with outstanding theological and scientific credentials, presents opportunity for a dialogue or discussion that indicates the notion of evolution or evolutionary theory is not incompatible with Catholicism, said Dr. Francesco Cesareo, dean of the McAnulty College and Graduate School.

“It’s important to give people an appreciation for the Church’s involvement in science, and that the Church is not antithetical to science, but that it sees the value of science and the value in the theory and discoveries that science has to offer us,” Cesareo said.

“We want to convey that acceptance of Darwinian evolution and belief in God are not mutually exclusive,” said Dr. Dave Seybert, dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

The goal of Coyne’s lecture, The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Science Does Not Need God. Or Does It?, is to clarify issues surrounding Intelligent Design and evolution.  The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences and the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts.  A question-and-answer period will follow his address.

In December, a ruling by a federal judge in Pennsylvania made national headlines, barring the Dover Area School District from teaching Intelligent Design in biology class. In addition, California’s El Tejon School District recently agreed to stop offering an elective philosophy course on Intelligent Design as a result of a lawsuit filed by a group of parents in the district.

For information or to register, call 412.396.4900.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.