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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 106 - November 2014

This term’s Faraday seminars got off to a flying start with Prof Michael Northcott, Edinburgh University, speaking on “Eschatology in the Anthropocene” one aspect of his recently published book “A Political Theology of Climate Change.” There was some robust discussion after the seminar on the issue of climate change and how we should respond to it and its impacts. This was followed two weeks later by Prof Raymond Tallis speaking on “Are we (just) animals?” This well attended seminar provoked a lively discussion during the question and answer session afterwards. The next seminar on Tuesday 11th November is by Dr Andrew Davison, Cambridge University, on “Recalling Causes: Formal and material causation in science and theology”. As usual this will take place in the Garden Room, St Edmund’s College, 13.00-14.00, preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30.

Coming up very shortly for those based in the Cambridge area: the annual Faraday reception for scientists who self-identify as Christians will take place at the Guildhall on Monday 10th November. The speaker will be Dr Harvey McMahon FRS from the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology. For more details and to register (registration is required) see: http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/reception/ and http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/reception/registration.php

The Faraday Institute hosted a stand at Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) North in Manchester on 7th and 8th October. Over the two days we chatted to hundreds of visitors about the work of the Faraday Institute, encountering everyone from people who were well aware of the Institute, and those who had never heard of us. We were able to share the full range of resources the Institute provides, including books, Faraday Papers, lectures and seminars, our social media and the Test of Faith resources, and were met with many positive responses, fruitful dialogues and interesting discussions.

Faraday-Kuyper Course, Sao Paulo, Brazil ‘Science, Technology and Religion’ – This four-day course took place at the campus of the Mackenzie University, a private Presbyterian university in Sao Paulo. The course included lectures on topics such as historical perspectives, biblical interpretation, evolution, cosmology, philosophy of science, theology and technology. Six Brazilian speakers took part as well as three representing The Faraday Institute (Dr Denis Alexander, Dr Peter Bussey, Dr Hilary Marlow). Approximately 80 delegates attended the course, from a wide range of academic backgrounds and theological persuasions. Delegates expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to discuss the relationship between science and faith in an open and amicable setting.

Faraday Course, Austral University, Buenos Aires, Argentina ‘Big Questions: From Science to Philosophy and Theology’ – Nine ‘Big Questions’ in science and religion were addressed in this two-day course at Austral University near Buenos Aires. The speakers were from a range of (mainly scientific) disciplines and included Dr Denis Alexander, Dr Peter Bussey and Dr Hilary Marlow representing The Faraday Institute. The delegates (about 50 in total) were largely from academic scientific backgrounds and included PhD students from all over Argentina, many of whom had received Faraday subsidies to enable them to travel to the course. For many, if not all, of those participating (speakers and delegates) this was the first opportunity to engage in discussion on the relationship between science and religion.

A further course will take place in Spain in November 2014. More details and local contact information can be found on our website here:
http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Courses.php

The Faraday Institute is co-sponsoring a conference in Australia on “Rediscovering the spiritual in God’s creation.” This will take place 10-13 March 2015 and the director Bob White will be one of the key speakers. For more details see:
http://taboradelaide.edu.au/home/root/aboutus/graeme-clark-research-institute/news-events/607-gcri-conference

On Tuesday 14th October, Dr Marlow gave a lecture entitled ‘Historical Perspectives on Science and Religion’ to the staff and students at the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana in Curitiba (a city south of Sao Paulo, Brazil). The lecture was attended by approximately 150 people and was followed by a lively question time. On the following Tuesday 21st October, Dr Marlow presented an academic paper at the VIII Latin America Congress on Science and Religion, held at the Marshall T. Meyer Latin America Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. The Paper was entitled ‘The Anguish of the Earth: Warfare and the Land in Ancient and Modern Poetry’ and was well received by the audience.

On Sunday 12th October the Revd Dr Rodney Holder preached on ‘Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?’ in Christ’s College Chapel, Cambridge.

In October, Nell Whiteway gave a talk entitled 'The scientific aspects of same-sex attraction' to a conference on Faith and Homosexuality, organised by the Faith and Thought Forum. An audio recording of the talk with slides is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7IpoT9upzc.

During the past month Denis Alexander gave a talk on human evolution to the 80 delegates gathered in New York for a BioLogos Workshop and preached in the chapel of Christ’s College, Cambridge (Darwin’s old College) on the topic “Why Are Christians Passionate Darwinians?”

On Sunday 26th October Meric Srokosz spoke on “Why be good?” at the Reasonable Belief course at Highfield Church, Southampton.

We are delighted that the Brazilian edition of Dr Ruth Bancewicz’s book, “Test of Faith: Spiritual Journeys with Science” was awarded ‘best apologetics book’ by the Christian Publisher’s Association. The Brazilian edition can be ordered from http://ultimato.com.br/sites/o-teste-da-fe/ with the UK edition available from our online shop (http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Shop.php?Mode=TOF).

Rodney Holder’s latest book Longing, Waiting, Believing: Reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (BRF) is available from the Faraday on-line shop, as is the second revised and expanded edition of Denis Alexander’s best-selling book Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose? [Oxford: Monarch]. The Faraday on-line shop is selling theses at the discounted prices of £6.50 (RRP £7.99) and £9 (RRP £12.99) (go to the on-line bookshop at www.faraday-institute.org). In addition, Denis Alexander's book 'Rebuilding the Matrix - Science and Faith in the 21st Century' [Oxford: Lion, 2001 and 2003] has just been published in Chinese. See the Chinese Amazon web-site at:
http://www.amazon.cn/mn/search/ref=topnav_switchLang?_encoding=UTF8&field-keywords=rebuilding%20the%20matrix&language=en_CN&url=search-alias%3Daps

October saw the launch of our SoundCloud offering podcasts and interviews to download and listen to on the go. In addition, our YouTube channel is now offering longer interviews with the speakers, so you can get to know the scientist behind the topic, as well as having further questions for the speaker to answer regarding their talk. Time markers have been added so you can simply click to the question/answer you are interested in. Do let us know what you think of this new format. Discover our YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/1zZJlMf 

Note that videos of Faraday courses, lectures and seminars are available from http://upload.sms.cam.ac.uk/institution/FARADAY and on iTunes U, as well as on the Faraday web site http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Multimedia.php. The most recently available are:
Prof Alister McGrath – Darwin, Dawkins and the Divine
http://upload.sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1807076
Prof Michael Northcott – Eschalology in the Anthropocene
http://upload.sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1822840

 ‘Talks at One’ began at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital / Cambridge Biomedical Campus. This is a six week series of lunchtime talks.  See http://www.parksatone.org.uk/

The final, but most important item, of news is that Polly Stanton the Faraday administrator has decided to retire at the end of 2014. She has been with the Faraday since it began in 2006 and will be greatly missed. Polly has been critical to the success of the Faraday and will be difficult to replace. Nevertheless, we do need to appoint a successor to Polly and are advertising for a new administrator (see http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/News.php).


Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]