Becoming Human: Evolution, Science, and the Soul

June 11th, 2020

What can the science of evolution know? How is it related to religion, especially Catholic doctrine? Are they complementary or mutually exclusive? 

Questions like these have guided much of the scientific and religious investigation of the 20th and 21st centuries. In recent decades, discoveries of humanoid fossils have revealed new links between human ancestors and animals. Archaeologists and evolutionary biologists have called these discoveries “humans,” but what does that mean for what it means to be human? How are you different or distinct from your pre-human ancestors? 

The scientific evolutionary model is inherently limited in its understanding of the human person. It leaves us with as many questions as it answers: Where does the human soul come in? How are humans different from animals? What makes us human? 

Answers to these questions can only be gained by recognizing the value –and the limits– of the evolutionary model. Philosophy and theology can provide us a guide when the science falls short.  

On Thursday, June 11th at 2:30pm CDT we held an online lecture with Chris Baglow, Director of the Science and Religion Initiative at Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life. Dr. Baglow is also the author of the premier science and religion textbook used by numerous Catholic schools in its science and theology curricula, Faith, Science, and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge. 

During our time together, we listened to a short lecture, held a brief Q&A, and then broke into discussion groups to further dialogue about the questions that arose at the intersection of Christianity and evolution.

This event was made possible by a generous gift from the John Templeton Foundation, as well as by a grant from The Our Sunday Visitor Institute, as a part of their “Re-Captivating Millennials” initiative, and by our many institutional and high school cosponsors: 

If you’d like to use the video recording of this lecture with your students, email us at

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