Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 90 - July 2013

Contents
1. Faraday Seminars
2. Faraday Lecture
3. St Petersburg Course
4. Staff activities (1)
5. Staff activities (2)
6. Staff activities (3)
7. Staff activities (4)
8. LASAR news
9. Southampton Course
10. New book published
11. Test of Faith news
12. Faraday smartphone app
13. Uses and Abuses of Biology Essay Competition

1. The final seminar of the term was on ‘Jesus, Darwin and Ashley Montagu’ by Prof Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds on Tuesday 11th June. This talk was followed by an opportunity for an extended interaction with the speaker, which led to an animated discussion.

2. This term’s Faraday Public lecture was well attended and given by Faraday Emeritus Director Dr Denis Alexander on ‘Genes, Determinism and God’ on Thursday 6th June in the Queen’s Lecture Theatre at Emmanuel College. The lecture highlighted the main themes of Dr Alexander’s Gifford Lectures, recently given at St. Andrews University. The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer session.

3. At the end of this month, Dr Holder and Dr Marlow along with Professor Keith Fox, of Southampton University, participated in a Science and Religion Conference in St Petersburg, Russia, hosted by the St Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy (27th-30th). A full report on the conference will be given in next month’s newsletter.

4. As usual there have been a number of speaking engagements this month. The director Bob White gave a talk on 'Genesis & Geology' to the TruthQuest group in Brighton. Spirited discussion ensued, which lasted longer than the lecture! Meric Srokosz, the associate director, spoke to the Leeds Christians in Science group on ‘The oceans, climate change and Christianity.’ He also spoke at the Pioneer School of Theology on ‘Salvation and the whole of creation.’ Denis Alexander spoke at a Conference of 100+ School Chaplains held at Liverpool Hope University on ‘Articulating Science and Faith in a Sceptical World’ and at Poulner Baptist Church in Ringwood (150 present) on ‘The Supposed Conflict Between Science and Christianity’.

5. At the invitation of the Diocese of Leicester, four Faraday Institute speakers joined 11 delegates, mostly in church leadership in some way and many having scientific backgrounds, for a long weekend in the glorious Leicestershire countryside at Launde Abbey. The subject of the retreat was ‘Science and Faith: the View Both Ways’. The delegates heard talks from Dr Denis Alexander (‘The Historical Roots of Modern Science’ and ‘Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose?’), the Revd Dr Rodney Holder (‘Genesis, the Big Bang and God’ and ‘Prayer and the Laws of Science’), Dr Ruth Bancewicz (‘Creativity, Beauty and Awe: A Positive Dialogue between Science and Faith’ plus showing a section of the Test of Faith film), and the Revd Dave Bookless (‘Caring for God’s World’). The weekend included panel discussions and considerable time for interaction between delegates and speakers. There was also plenty of free time for walks and the weekend was enfolded in the prayer rhythm of Anglican religious life, making for a relaxing and spiritually uplifting few days.

6. The Revd Dr Rodney Holder also spoke on ‘God and the Big Bang’ at Crabtree Church, Harpenden; on ‘The Friendship Between Religion and Science’ at a men’s breakfast in Foxton, near Cambridge; and on ‘Science and Religion: Friends or Foes?’ and ‘God and the Big Bang’ at an ecumenical conference ‘Theological Refreshment in Ministry: God and Science’ for clergy and lay ministers in the Eastern Region.

7. On 21st June Dr Diana Beech travelled to the University of Leicester to present a paper on the role of spiritual values in effecting Europe's new Research Renaissance as part of a workshop on ‘Sacred and Secular: Researching the Role of Religion in Contemporary Europe’. Dr Beech was also interviewed, earlier this month, by 'ResearchEurope' about her Faraday Institute project. See http://www.researchresearch.com/index.php?option=com_news&template=rr_2col&view=article&articleId=1336296

8. LASAR NEWS On 19th June more than 300 pupils and teachers from across the UK gathered at the University of Reading for ‘Robots, God and Genetic Engineering’ – a day of talks, workshop and activities which was opened by the Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell. The day included acclaimed scientists from a number of universities including cell biologist and ethicist Professor John Bryant. Workshop sessions included building robots, cloning cauliflowers and discussion about the brain, the mind and free will. This is the second event for schools organised by LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion).  One more is planned – it will free and be on 25th September 2013 at the Sheldonian Theatre Oxford. Please visit www.faradayschools.com to find out more and book.

9. Looking further ahead to the autumn, a one-day course entitled ‘Science and Faith: An introduction” will take place Saturday 30th November in Southampton. This is being jointly organised with the local Central South Christians in Science group. Further details of the course can be found at http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Short_course.php?CourseID=58.

10. A new book by Faraday authors was published by IVP on 21 June. 'Hope in an Age of Despair: The Gospel and the Future of Life on Earth' by Jonathan Moo and Robert White looks at the state of the world from an environmental perspective, then reflects on the Bible's vision of the future of all creation. This not only gives hope for the future, but should affect how we live now and respond to challenges facing life on earth. RRP £12.99, available from Faraday online bookshop for £8:
[http://www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/faraday/Shop.php].

11. The Test of Faith DVD and book (Spiritual Journeys with Scientists) have been published in Brazilian Portuguese. For details of the DVD and book and how to purchase them see http://ultimato.com.br/sites/o-teste-da-fe/. A Spanish translation will be published later this year.

12. The Faraday Institute’s new smartphone app for the Android platform app can be found in the Google Play store at:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.faradayinstitute
The iPhone version of the app can be found in iTunes online at:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-faraday-institute/id592719171?mt=8

13. Finally, the Uses and Abuses of Biology programme 2013 essay competition was launched last month. The competition is for anyone aged 30 or younger, and encourages participants to engage with the use and abuse of biological thought in non-biological fields including philosophy, politics, media, sociology and theology. The title of this year's essay is 'How is contemporary biology used for ideological purposes?' More details of the competition can be found at www.uabgrants.org and the competition closes on 30th November 2013.

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]