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Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?

02/24/09 -  

The Center for Ethics and Religion at Queens will present as this year's Witherspoon Lecturer Dr. Nancey Murphy on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, at 7 p.m. in Sykes Auditorium on the Queens University of Charlotte campus, 1900 Selwyn Avenue. The talk is free and open to the public.  

Murphy, the author of nine books and a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, is highly sought as a speaker at national and international conferences on the relationship between theology and science.  Her first book, Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning (Cornell, 1990) won the American Academy of Religion award for excellence.  Her most recent books are Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies? (Cambridge, 2006); and (co-authored with Warren Brown) Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will (Oxford, 2007).

"Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?" will address the question of what are human beings made.  For centuries most Christians and others in the West have believed that we are composed of two parts, a body and a mind or soul.  By demonstrating the continuity between humans and other animals, evolutionary theory already called this dualist account into question for many:  if animals have no immaterial mind or soul, why should it be thought that humans do?  In the past generation cognitive neuroscientists have been showing, in case after case, that the capacities once attributed to the soul are actually functions of very specific brain regions and systems.

Do these developments in neuroscience mean that religion and science are headed for confrontation?  Come hear what biblical scholars have been saying for the past one hundred years.  In fact, theological scholarship and science are both pointing toward a "physicalist" account of humans, which has important implications for many ethical issues facing us today.

The mission of the Center for Ethics and Religion is to educate - through dialogue - the Queens community and the broader community on ethics and religion, paying particular attention to the intersection of those two aspects of our lives.    Past highlights include a partnership with Union Seminary, sponsoring a student Habitat build in China, and bringing to the University's historic Myers Park campus internationally recognized speakers such as Templeton Prize Winner The Reverend Dr. John Polkinghorne and Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, who kicked off a four-lecture series on "Languages of God.

Queens University of Charlotte is a private, co-ed, Presbyterian-affiliated comprehensive university, with a commitment to both liberal arts and professional studies. Located in the heart of historic Charlotte, Queens serves approximately 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students through its College of Arts and Sciences, the McColl School of Business, the Presbyterian School of Nursing, the Wayland H. Cato Jr. School of Education and Hayworth Evening Programs.

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