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Ruse to Deliver Mary Olive Woods Lecture Sept. 25

September 24, 2008

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MACOMB, IL - - Michael Ruse, director of the program in history and philosophy of science at Florida State University, will deliver Western Illinois University's 22nd Annual Mary Olive Woods Lecture Tuesday, Sept. 25. The 7:30 p.m. lecture, titled "Has Darwin Passed his ‘Sell By' Date? Evolutionary Theory in 1858 and 2008," will be held in the University Union Heritage Room and is open free to the public.

Ruse, a recipient of a Guggenheim, is the Lucyle T. Wekmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State and the founder and editor of the journal "Biology and Philosophy." He has appeared on Nightline, Quirks and Quarks and the Discovery Channel.

His philosophical career is devoted to Darwin's theory of natural selection, or evolution. In 1981, Ruse was a witness for the plaintiff in the test case McLean v. Arkansas of the state law permitting the teaching of "creation science" in the Arkansas school system. Ultimately, in large part due to Ruse's testimony, the federal judge ruled that the state law was unconstitutional.

He now debates regularly with William A. Dembski, a known proponent of intelligent design. Ruse takes the position that it is possible to reconcile the Christian religion with evolutionary theory, unlike Richard Dawkins, Phillip E. Johnson or Edward O. Wilson.

Ruse has written or edited more than 30 books including "The Philosophy of Biology"(1973), "Sociobiology: Sense or Nonsense?" (1979, 2nd edition 1984), "The Darwinian Revolution: Science Red in Tooth and Claw" (1979, 2nd edition 1999), "Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies" (1982), "Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy" (1986), "Monad to Man: The Concept of Progress in Evolutionary Biology" (1996), "Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion" (2001) and "Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose?" (2003).

His most recent books include "Reflections on the Origin of Species" (Princeton University Press, 2008), "Cambridge Companion to the Origin of Species" (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and "Charles Darwin" (Blackwell, 2007).

Ruse earned his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol in 1970 and held posts at the University of Guelph from 1965 to 2000, when he joined Florida State University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The annual Woods Lecture is sponsored by Western's department of philosophy and religious studies in conjunction with the 1987 trust fund of Mary Olive Woods. The Woods fund provides up to eight student scholarships each year in addition to the lecture presentation.

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