Martin Nowak, director of Harvard University’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, will give a lecture on “God and Evolution,” Monday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m. in the Rehm Library, Smith Hall at the College of the Holy Cross. The lecture, presented by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at Holy Cross, is free and open to the public.
Nowak, who is a professor of both biology and mathematics at Harvard, works on the mathematical description of evolutionary processes including the evolution of cooperation and human language, the dynamics of virus infections, and human cancer. Among Nowak’s major discoveries are: the mechanism of HIV disease progression, the first mathematical approach for studying the evolution of human language, the first quantification of the in vivo kinetics of a human cancer, and the five rules for the evolution of cooperation. At the moment, he is working on “prelife,” which is a formal approach to study the origin of evolution.
Nowak does not believe that evolution disproves the existence of God, and asserts that science is no replacement for religion.
“Evolution does not constitute a problem for Christian theology,” he said. “God uses evolution to unfold the living world around us.”
He suggests a cooperative relationship between science and religion to advance the search for truth and the stability of intelligent life.
Nowak has published over 300 papers in scientific journals and is the author of “Virus Dynamics” (Oxford University Press, 2000), “Evolutionary Dynamics” (Harvard University Press, 2206) and “SuperCooperators” (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and the forthcoming “Evolution, Games and God: The Principle of Cooperation” (Harvard University Press, 2013).
Nowak’s talk is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity. To learn more about McFarland Center events and to find lectures online, visit www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.
About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:
Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope. The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.