John F. Haught

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John F. Haught is a Roman Catholic theologian and Senior Research Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. His area of expertise is systematic theology, with a special interest in issues of science, cosmology, ecology, and reconciling evolution and religion. Haught testified against the teaching of intelligent design in schools due to its religious nature in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. Haught was also involved in a controversy over his blocking of the publication of a video of a public debate on the compatibility of science and religion.


Haught established the Georgetown Center for the Study of Science and Religion.[citation needed] He was the chair of Georgetown's theology department between 1990 and 1995.[1] An evolutionary creationist, Haught views science and religion as two different and noncompeting levels of explanation, asserting "Science and religion cannot logically stand in a competitive relationship with each other."[2]

Education and Awards[edit]

Haught graduated from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore and subsequently received his PhD in theology from The Catholic University of America in 1970[3]

Haught was the winner of the 2002 Owen Garrigan Award in Science and Religion and the 2004 Sophia Award for Theological Excellence.[4] Additionally, in 2009, in recognition of his work on theology and science, Haught was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Leuven.[5]


He is the author of several books on the creation-evolution controversy, including Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution, God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution, and Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution.

Expert witness testimony[edit]

Haught testified as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. His opinion was that the effect of the intelligent design policy adopted by the Dover School board would "be to compel public school science teachers to present their students in biology class information that is inherently religious, not scientific in nature."[4] He also testified that materialism, the philosophy that only matter exists, is "a belief system, no less a belief system than is intelligent design. And as such, it has absolutely no place in the classroom, and teachers of evolution should not lead their students craftily or explicitly to ... feel that they have to embrace a materialistic world-view in order to make sense of evolution."[6]

Public debate[edit]

Haught has participated in several public debates about the compatibility of science and religion, sharing the stage with Daniel Dennett at the City University of New York in 2009,[7] Kenneth Miller at the The New York Academy of Sciences in 2011,[8] and Jerry Coyne at the University of Kentucky in 2011.[9][10] After agreeing to be taped for his debate with Coyne,[11] Haught attempted to block release of the videos, objecting primarily to what he saw as ad hominem attacks by Coyne. Taking issue with Coyne's final list of Catholic "evils" as a way to end the presentation, Haught explained that he sought to "protect the public from such a preposterous and logic-offending … presentation."[12] Coyne called Haught's action the "cowardly and intellectually dishonest actions of a theologian".[11] After a strong public reaction,[13] Haught agreed to the release of the video.[9][14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ John F. Haught. Georgetown University site. Accessed Dec. 8, 2006
  2. ^ Associated Press. "Theologian says intelligent design is religion." Sept. 30, 2005
  3. ^ Templeton Foundation. Participant biography. Accessed 8 Dec. 2006
  4. ^ a b Report of John F. Haught, PhD. Expert Witness Pre-Trial Statement for Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. April 1, 2005.
  5. ^ [1], Woodstock Theological Center: John H. Haught Fellow Page
  6. ^ Transcript of Proceedings of Bench Trial. Testimony of John F. Haught, PhD. Sept. 30, 2005. p. 29
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Jerry A. Coyne, "My debate with John Haught in Kentucky", "Why Evolution is True" (blog), October 13, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Jerry A. Coyne, "Theologian John Haught refuses to release video of our debate", "Why Evolution is True" (blog), November 1, 2011. (accessed Nov. 2, 2014)
  12. ^
  13. ^ Slashdot, November 2, 2011
  14. ^ Jerry A. Coyne, "Under pressure from blogosphere, Haught explains and relents", "Why Evolution is True" (blog), Nov. 2, 2011. (accessed Nov. 2, 2014)

External links[edit]