August 2004, Vol. 5 No. 5

Highlight of the month:

Fifteen AUB Professors Awarded 2004-05 Hewlett Junior Faculty Research Grants
Workshop on Maternity Mortality
The Sociology of the Lebanese Civil War Novel


check it out


Articles included:

AUB is Now Accredited!
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Receives Accreditation from the College of American Pathologists
38th Middle East Medical Assembly
Workshop on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies in the Region
New Faculty Profile: Hibah O. Osman
Fifteen AUB Professors Awarded 2004-05 Hewlett Junior Faculty Research Grants
Flagship Course Targets Health Sector Reform in Iraq
Research on Population and Health
British Council Program at FEA: Creative Lebanon
Inverse Migration:  Two Lives in Exile
HERU HIV/AIDS Prevention Youth Programs
Workshop on Maternity Mortality
Karla Mallette Lectures: “Translations, Counterfeits, and Modern Mediterranean Literature”
Professor Moueen Salameh Presents Three Papers at Registrar Conferences
CBR Hosts Mediterranean Voices Project in Beirut
John Alterman Looks at Iraq: “In many ways, the war ...  was an answer in search of a question”
Seventh Career Orientation and Annual Job Fair Includes 70 Companies
James Radulski Named Head of Human Resources

Governor of New South Wales Visits Campus
Andre Nahas Named IPO Director
Antoine Chahine New Director of Housing
OPEC Aims for Cleaner Oil
Astronomy in the Infrared
Diana Khabbaz: E-Learning Project Manager
Twenty Four Schools Participate in the Eleventh Annual Science, Math, and Technology Fair
Department of Education Faculty News
Faculty Promotion
The Sociology of the Lebanese Civil War Novel
Richard Rorty at AUB: Is There a Conflict Between Religion and Science?
In Memoriam Dr. Yusuf Abdallah Sayigh
Alumni Conference
Medical Equipment Course
Visitors’ Bureau Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary 

Dr. Richard Rorty.

Is There a Conflict between Science and Religion?” was the title of a lecture given on April 14 by professor of Comparative Literature and Philosophy Richard Rorty of Stanford University. The lecture, delivered to a large crowd in the Bathish Auditorium, was sponsored by the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and the Department of Philosophy.

Reconciling the findings of science and the stipulations of religion has been a long-standing subject of philosophical argument over the centuries. Richard Rorty, in his talk, discussed the argument among philosophers that “it is intellectually irresponsible both to believe in the existence of God and to accept the results of modern science.” Rorty gave an example of a scientist named Professor Ryan, a Roman Catholic who never attempted to reconcile the dictates of her church on the one hand, and the results of her professional activities on the other, despite the fact that the two are incompatible. Rorty suggested that her act was “intellectually irresponsible.” The common ways to regard her act justifiable is by claiming that “it is always possible to dissolve a contradiction by making a distinction. I can resolve the contradiction by distinguishing between the theological and the common-sense descriptions of what is going on.” Another way to justify how Professor Ryan might be innocent of intellectual irresponsibility is if  she were to establish a need to distinguish between literal and symbolic truth. Therefore, “Reconciling science and religion requires one to abandon the idea that there is One Way the World Really Is.”

Later, Rorty discussed the pragmatist vs. the utilitarian assessments of Professor Ryan’s acts. He subsequently discussed extensively the views of pragmatists concerning the question of reconciling science and religion.

Rorty resolved the problem of Professor Ryan’s casual attitude about what religion orders as opposed to what science finds. He said that she, along with many other people who claim to be Christians but keep their religion apart from their professional and political activities, “represent a reasonable adaptation of the Christian religion to the conditions of life in contemporary democratic societies, an adaptation that should not deprive people of the right to use the ancient name and formulae of their faith.”

Several lively questions from the floor occupied Professor Rorty’s time for a good half hour following the lecture, the subject of which was deemed by several listeners to be unsuitable for the audience. One interlocutor rushed to the podium and presented the professor with a book on science and Islam.


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