News release
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Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 4/7/04
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      HAMMOND -- Michigan State University philosophy professor Robert T. Pennock will be the guest speaker for Southeastern Louisiana University’s Matheny Lecture Series on Science and Religion.
      Pennock, whose research focuses on ethical values in science and whose books have examined the often heated debate between advocates of evolution and intelligent design creationism, will present two free public lectures on April 22 and 23. 
      At 3:30 p.m. April 22, in the Student Union Theatre, Pennock will discuss “Organs of Extreme Perfection: The Design Argument meets Evolution, Then and Now.” He will also speak on “Getting A-Life: Modeling Evolution with Digital Organisms” at 10 a.m. April 23, in White Hall room 219.
      Pennock’s contributions to the teaching and understanding of evolution include both critiques of the intelligent design program, and collaborations on theoretical and experimental evolutionary biology projects. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and, before joining the Michigan State faculty, taught at the University of Texas at Austin and the College of New Jersey. 
      He is the author of “Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism,” which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and editor of “Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics: Philosophical, Theological & Scientific Perspectives.” 
      Pennock received the Templeton Prize for the Exemplary Paper in Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the National Endowment for the Humanities/National Science Foundation fellowship on Scientific, Ethical, and Social Challengers of Contemporary Genetic Technology. He has also received support from the Mellon Foundation and Japan’s Obirin University. In 1997, he co-directed an NSF Chautauqua Workshop on the "Ethical Implications of the Human Genome Project." 
      Pennock has served a president of the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Sigma Xi, and is a member of the American Philosophical Association, the Philosophy of Science Association, Sigma Xi, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
      The Matheny lectures are sponsored by Southeastern’s departments of biology, chemistry and physics, communication, history and political science, psychology, sociology and criminal justice, as well as the Lyceum Arts and Lectures Committee and the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science.
      The annual lecture honors the late Tom Matheny, a Hammond attorney and 1954 Southeastern graduate. Matheny, who was named Southeastern Alumnus of the Year in 1981, had a long and distinguished record of service to the community and to his church, including serving for more than two decades as president of the world-wide Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church. He was also active in numerous civic organizations and as an advocate for the rights of the mentally ill.
      For more information, contact Matt Rossano at