Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 10, 1999

U of G philosophy prof wins Templeton Foundation grant

University of Guelph philosophy professor Michael Ruse has received a $100,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation and Philadelphia Centre for Religion and Science to write a book about science and religion.

Ruse, a U of G faculty member since 1965, is one of seven people who received special Templeton Foundation writing grants to support research and writing on the constructive interface between science and religion in the 21st century.

There were 377 initial submissions, with 28 people invited to submit full proposals. Some 30 scholars from a variety of academic disciplines and religious perspectives were involved in the screening and review process. The final selections were made by renowned international scholars. The seven winners represent universities and institutions in California, Texas, Israel, Denmark, Switzerland and Canada.

Ruse plans to write a book titled Darwin and Design: Science, Philosophy and Religion. It will focus on the "teleological explanation" that all things in nature were made to fulfil a plan or design, and the impact of such thinking on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection. Ruse plans to look at the topic both historically and conceptually, including how teleology is represented in contemporary science, philosophy and religion.

"I hadn't intended to write a book on this subject," says Ruse, "but I saw (the grant announcement) and said: ‘My God, this has got my name on it. Science and religion is a long-standing interest of mine and a topic I've worked on for many years." Ruse has written many books on the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology, including Mystery of Mysteries: Is Evolution a Social Construction? He recently finished another book, Can a Darwinian Be a Christian: One Person's Answer to be published by Cambridge University Press.

He holds appointments in both the philosophy and zoology departments and is the recipient of Guggenheim and Killam fellowships. Ruse is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1981, Ruse appeared as an expert witness for the American Civil Liberties Union in the Arkansas Creation Trial.

"This is a wonderful and well-deserved recognition of Professor Ruse," said President Mordechai Rozanski. "He has achieved international acclaim as one of the leading experts on evolution and creationism, and the Guelph community is delighted that he has received this prestigious honour."

The John Templeton Foundation was established in 1987 by renowned international investor Sir John Templeton to encourage appreciation of the critical importance of the moral and spiritual dimensions of life. The foundation currently funds more than 150 projects, studies and award programs and publications worldwide. The grant program is administered by the Philadelphia Centre for Religion and Science on behalf of the foundation.

Contact: Prof. Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3232 (work); (519) 824-9503 (home)

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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