Nassau Presbyterian Church talks to explore human origins

   Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton is hosting a three-week Sunday morning adult education series on "Evolution and Intelligent Design" on Jan. 22, 29 and Feb. 5 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Niles Chapel.
   Not all biblically based religions make the same claims about intelligent design. The series aims to clarify the questions surrounding the debate and to present some alternative ways of viewing it.
   In order to identify and think clearly about the issues related to the current debate about "Intelligent Design," the Jan. 22 session will explore the history of thinking about the origin of species from before Darwin to today, with special attention to the controversies, both scientific and religious, surrounding his ideas.
   The Jan. 29 session will look at the problems with Darwinian evolution, both apparent and real, and the notion that faith-based science — in particular, intelligent design — offers a satisfactory alternative. Jim Gould, professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, will lead these two sessions. His research specialty is behavior, with a particular interest in the evolution of cognition and mate choice.
   The Feb. 5 session will explore the real challenges that Darwinism brings to the concept of humanity as created in the image of God, and to the traditional idea of divine action in a world where natural law appears to rule without any outside intervention.
   The session will consider intelligent design and creationism as movements, their history, and what the book of Genesis is really saying that is still meaningful to us.
   The session will be led by Rabbi Lawrence Troster, the Jewish chaplain at the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Rabbi Troster is Rabbinic Fellow for GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners for the Environment, an organization for "inspiring people of diverse spiritual backgrounds and religious traditions to deepen their relationship with nature and to take action for the earth."
   For more information, call (609) 924-0103 or visit