Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP will present “Defending Adam After Darwin” on Monday, March 19 at 7 pm.
For many contemporary Christian theologians, evolutionary biology rules out any account of an Adam and Eve that would explain the origin of our species. In response, I propose that they have uncritically embraced the anti-essentialist presuppositions of the dominant scientific narrative for the origins of our kind. In fact, there are sound and robust reasons to think that human beings share an intrinsic essence that puts them into a natural kind. I also propose that our natural kind can be defined by our developmental capacity for language, which I suggest is necessarily linked to the capacity for abstract thought. Thus, it is still reasonable to trace the origins of our natural kind to an original individual. He would have been the first anatomically modern human to have evolved this capacity for hierarchical and non-linear language that allowed him to construct an abstract internal map of the world.
Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, OP, completed his Bachelor’s Degree (BSE) in Bioengineering, summa cum laude, at the University of Pennsylvania, and then earned his PhD in Biology from MIT in the laboratory of Professor Leonard Guarente, where he was a fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He was ordained a priest in the Order of Preachers in May of 2004. He completed his Pontifical License in Sacred Theology (STL) in Moral Theology, summa cum laude, at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, in 2005, and a Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD), magna cum laude, at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, in 2015.
Fr. Austriaco currently serves as Professor of Biology and of Theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. His NIH-funded laboratory at Providence College is investigating the genetics of programmed cell death using the yeasts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans, as model organisms. Papers describing his research have been published in PLoS ONE, FEMS Yeast Research, Microbial Cell, Cell, the Journal of Cell Biology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, among others. In philosophy and theology, his essays have been published in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Theological Studies, Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, Science and Theology, and the Linacre Quarterly. His first book, Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, was published by the Catholic University of America Press in 2011. It was recognized as a 2012 Choice outstanding academic title by the Association of College and Research Libraries.
All are welcome to attend the lecture at 7 pm. Faculty are invited to a special luncheon at 12 pm on March 19 with Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This event is sponsored by the Mount's Catholic and Dominican Institute.