The McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation
Past Center Events
The Universe is Our Home: We are Co-Creators in the Jesuit Tradition
February 16, 2012
Fr. George V. Coyne, S.J., McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy
This lecture was given in celebration of the official opening of the new science building at Le Moyne College.
Evolution, Creation and Intelligent Design
September 20, 2012
Francisco J. Ayala, Ph.D., University Professor, Donald Bren Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Ayala was the inaugural speaker for the launch of the Science and Religion in Modern America initiative at Le Moyne College, September 20, 2012. Dr. Ayala discusses scientific evolution as a very creative process whereby scientists seek to explain by natural processes even the most complex of living organisms. This scientific quest as such neither asserts nor denies the work of a creator God. Some scientists have invoked the need for intelligent design and, therefore, a designer. In so doing, they are stepping outside the bounds of science.
Christian Spirituality for Seekers
November 27, 2012
Dr. Roger Haight, S.J., Scholar-in-residence at Union Theological Seminary
In this lecture Fr. Haight discussed who make up today’s seekers and if the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, a 16th century priest and founder of the Society of Jesus, can be relevant to them. He also explained how the Exercises possess a powerful appeal for all people. These ideas are further developed in his most recent book, “Christian Spirituality for Seekers: Reflections on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola” (Orbis 2012).
Evolution and The Problem of Evil
December 6, 2012
Thomas F. Tracy, Ph.D., Philips Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
Using a new theology of nature according to which God's creative purposes are realized in and through the evolutionary process, Dr. Tracy examined the role of suffering and death in the world God has made.
Jesuit Spirituality and Academic Theology: Karl Rahner and Ignacio Ellacuria
February 7, 2013
J. Matthew Ashley, Chair, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame
While St. Ignatius did not found the Jesuits with the explicit idea of establishing and operating colleges and universities, this is probably the accomplishment for which they are best known today. But what are the connections between Ignatian spirituality and the multi-faceted work of a modern college or university? This lecture draws on Karl Rahner and Ignacio Ellacuria — two 20th century Jesuits who worked in very different settings — to illuminate this important issue.
Scientific Cosmology, Philosophy and Creation Theology: Creative Mutual Interactions
March 14, 2013
Robert John Russell, Ph.D., Ian G. Barbour Professor of Theology and Science and founding director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California
Rather than approaching the relationship between Christian theology and natural science from a fixed, one-sided perspective, exploring their creative mutual interaction involves reformulating theology in light of science as well as drawing on this reformulated theology in developing topics for scientific research. This lecture illustrates the value of this approach by exploring the mutual interaction among scientific cosmology, philosophy, and creation theology.
Emergence: Systems, Organisms, Persons
September 24, 2013
Nancey Murphy, Ph.D., Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California Panasci Family Chapel
Our Scientific account of the universe maintains that, over billions of years, more and more complex entities have emerged - from hydrogen and helium to atoms near the beginning to humans near the end. But how does the more complex arise out of the less complex? This lecture explains the approach to this issue developed in complex dynamical systems theory; a fascinating new area of study that provides new tools for explanation and is sweeping across the sciences.
Does Evolution Have a Purpose?
October 24, 2013
Michael Ruse, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the History and Philosophy of Science Program, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
The Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries introduced a change of metaphors, from the world seen organically to the world seen mechanically. No longer was there place for ends or final causes in science. Instead, everything was supposed to be understood simply in terms of matter in motion. Biology, however, proved to be remarkably recalcitrant. As Immanuel Kant concluded, it seems impossible to think of individual organisms without appeal to purposes and, as life scientists sought non-biblical solutions to origins, they replaced the Judeao-Christian, human-centered history with a history based on progress culminating in humans – from Providence to Progress. This lecture examines evolutionary biology today and asks whether teleology or end-directed thinking has finally been left behind or continues to lurk even in the minds of the most stridently naturalistic thinkers.
Seeking a Theology Earth Can Live With
November 19, 2013
Anne M. Clifford, C.S.J., Ph.D., Msgr. James A. Supple Chair of Catholic Studies, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
For nearly fifty years ecological and environmental scientists have drawn attention to eco-system problems attributable to human choices. Increases in Earth’s heat-trapping gases alone pose not only global economic stresses but also threaten Earth’s fragile ecosystems. Taking Ignatius of Loyola’s emphasis on seeking God’s will through discernment as its inspiration, this lecture will draw on Catholic creation faith and social justice principles to propose a pro-life theology our planet can live with.
Christ and the Pelican Chick
February 6, 2014
Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., C.S.J., Distinguished Professor of Theology, Fordham University
In Darwin’s account of the evolution of species, pain, suffering, and death are companions of life across its entire adventure. How might we interpret this awful fact in a world that Jewish and Christian faith sees as God’s good creation? Using the example of the back-up pelican chick, this lecture places the death endemic to the natural world in dialogue with Jesus Christ’s cross and resurrection. The result is a way of thinking about salvation that makes room for all creatures.
Here is the handout that accompanies the lecture: On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin (1857)