LEWISTON — Thomas Tracy, recipient of a Bates College award for excellence in teaching, will give a lecture about the debate between Christian teachings of creationism and the theory of evolution at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections, 70 Campus Ave.

Titled “Creation, Evolution and The Problem of Suffering,” the lecture is open to the public at no cost. Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. For more information, call 207-786-6066.

Tracy, Phillips Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, received the 2014 Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching, awarded annually to a Bates professor. His lecture occurs in conjunction with that award.

His lecture reflects the idea that “something about our particular culture keeps this endless controversy between evolution and creation going,” said Tracy, who studies the relationship between religion and science. This debate tends to focus on the age and origins of the Earth, but Tracy intends to show that such a framework fails to address the fundamental issues at stake.

Tracy describes himself as an agent provocateur in the classroom.

“A teacher is always trying to start something,” he said. That doesn’t mean a fight necessarily, but rather the philosophical sense of an argument that involves an exchange of views backed up by reasons.

John Smedley, professor of physics, teams with Tracy to teach “Caring for Creation,” an interdisciplinary course that looks at both science and religious thought to understand how people conceptualize the natural world and the origins of our universe.

Tracy began teaching at Bates in 1976 and holds a doctorate from Yale and a bachelor’s from St. Olaf College. He is a scholar of Christian thought and environmental ethics and is the author of “The God Who Acts: Philosophical and Theological Explorations.”

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