Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 134 - April 2017

April 2017 Newsletter No. 134
With spring in the air and as the  country is "leafing out"  we return form the Easter break with a variety of updates and things to look forward to. Andrew Jackson and Denis Alexander have been across the pond visiting the US, we have an update from Joseph Tennant about his research,  Hilary Marlow is off to Sweden, and as festival and retreat season commences Faraday staff are travelling afar engaging with various audiences.  We are also in the mist of preparations for our weekend course "Reading the World:Science and Sacred Texts" as well a great line-up for next term's seminar series.
 
Guest Blog: Andrew Jackson 
(Director of External Affairs)
 
Denis Alexander and Andrew Jackson travelled to the US earlier this month and attended the annual Biologos conference, here Andrew summarises their visit:
The
2017 BioLogos conference entitled ‘Christ & Creation’ attracted over 350 delegates from 35 US states and 11 countries.  As the title suggests, the main theme was evolution and creation, but there were also some subsidiary themes, particularly in the breakout sessions, such as ‘Dialogue and witness’, ‘Science and faith on campus’, ‘Science and faith in the church’ and ‘Science and faith in cultural contexts’.  Plenary speakers included Elaine Ecklund, Tremper Longman, Jeff Hardin, Andy Crouch, Scot McKnight, Dennis Venema and NT Wright.  Workshops were led by Jeff Schloss and John Walton.  At the last minute Francis Collins was also able to join, having been given permission by the US government.  He and Tom Wright gave a memorable voice and guitar duet, singing science and religion lyrics to the tune of Paul McCartney’s ‘Yesterday’!
Memorable sessions for me were
Jeff Schloss’s workshop entitled “Major conflicts and harmonies between evolution and biblical theism: what does science say when scrubbed of ideology?” andDennis Venema’s paper on “Adam, Eve and population genetics”.   There was also an interesting and very amicable dialogue between Deborah Haarsma, President of Biologos and Hugh Ross, Director of Reasons to Believe (Old Earth Creationists).
Update from the field: the life of a social scientist – Joseph Tennant.
 
It has been a year and a half since Dr Joseph Tennant joined the Faraday team to work on the project “Mystical seizures and Salience in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.”  In collaboration with lead investigator Prof. Alasdair Coles, Joe has been investigating the neurological underpinnings and psychological consequences of seizures that are accompanied by intense euphoria, senses of knowing the purpose of the universe, or even seeing the face of god(s). Eleanor chatted with Joe to find out how the project is going and what it is like to be a social scientist. Listen to the podcast here.
 
Can't make our events in person, don't worry, all of our seminars, talks, lectures and public festivals are available on the Multimedia part of our website. We have over 600 talks for you to watch or listen to at your convenience. 
Research Seminar Series 

Next term’s Research Seminar Series will commence on 2 May on the following themes:
 
2 May
Human Distinctiveness and the Origin of Evil in Biblical and Evolutionary Perspective
Richard Middleton Professor of Biblical Studies at Northeastern Seminary, USA. 
 
16 May
Galaxies, Stars, Planets, and Life:  Investigating a Fruitful Universe
Jennifer Wiseman Director for the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.
 
30 May
Transcending Nature? Christianity and Ecomodernism
Jonathan Moo Associate Professor of New Testament and environmental studies at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington/ Visiting Scholar of St Edmund’s.

Our seminars are held at 1.00 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays during term in St Edmund’s College. A free light buffet lunch and drinks are served from 12.30 p.m. onwards. All are welcome.
Faraday Courses

Summer Course
Cambridge Perspectives on Science and Religion

Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge: July 2-7, 2017
Click here to read Ruth Bancewicz’s article in Christianity Today “What Animals Teach Christians about Getting Along”
Faraday ‘out and about ‘in April/May
 
On 22 April Hilary Marlow will be lecturing on "History of Science and Christianity" and “Environment and Religion” at a Science and Religion conference organised and hosted by the Newman Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.
 
Beth Singler will be at the Cambridge Literary Festival this weekend in conversation with Mark O’Connell, journalist and essayist, as he presents his engaging and often astounding exploration of transhumanism, the philosophical and technological movement that is working on an update of the human machine. She is becoming quite a festival representative and will also be at the Hay Festival in May talking on “Could and should robots feel pain?”

Ruth Bancewicz will be delivering a talk on Science & Faith – A Mutually Fruitful Dialogue” for the Diocese of Lincoln (to be held in Scunthorpe on 22 April 2017). This is the first of a number of events that are being planned there this year to bring professionals (such as scientists, doctors, teachers) and those who have an interest in science together to explore how people might be better supported and resourced.

Early next month Ruth will be in Dorset delivering a three day retreat at the Greenhouse Christian Centre to “appreciate creations’ intricacies and dynamics, as she shows us how discoveries about the world can hint at questions of meaning that go beyond science.”
  
On 22 May Keith Fox will be talking at the UCCF Science Leadership Network, in Southampton on "Science and faith - does it matter?" 
 
Lizzie Henderson will be on the road visiting an array of primary and secondary schools for assemblies, single lessons and day conferences covering topics such as “Fossils and Faith, Human Evolution, History of Life on Earth.”
Updates of Faraday Events and Engagements in March

Denis Alexander spent a week in Brazil giving a series of talks on science and faith at the University of Juiz de Fora. He then gave the morning sermon at the Presbyterian Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro on the topic ‘Science and Faith - More Similar Than you Think’.  On 4 April Denis gave a lecture at Hope College in Michigan, USA, entitled ‘Are We Slaves to Our Genes?’  
 
On the 23 March, Ruth Bancewicz chaired an event in Exeter Cathedral as part of the  ‘On Common Ground’ series for Lent, and web resources. Watch the video here

Beth Singler has been appeared in Vanity Fair A-List a a “person to watch” as part of the Hay 30.

Caroline Tee spoke on "Qur’anic Miracles in the Lab: anthropological reflections on navigating the incommensurability of science and scripture" at the The British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) conference in Chester. 

Rodney Holder has written the following five entries in the newly published Dictionary of Christianity and Science, eds. Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, April 2017): ‘Gaia Hypothesis', ‘Hoyle, Fred’, ‘Lakatos, Imre', ‘Libertarian Free Will’, and ‘Popper, Karl’.
 
A Rocha/Faraday Course in France
Creation, Christian Faith and a Precious World

25 June -1 July Provence
 
How did the universe come into existence? What can the natural world tell us about God? Why is our world habitable? How do natural processes such as earthquakes or predation fit with the goodness of God? What does the Bible say about the relationship between human beings and the rest of creation? Come and explore these and other scientific and theological questions about creation in the stunning scenery of the Les Courmettes estate in the hills above Cannes, France. This 5-day course is a partnership between The Faraday Institute and A Rocha France, and will include lectures, study sessions, practical activities and guided excursions, plus plenty of time for relaxation and solitude. Subsidised places are available for students and others on low income. For more information and to book visit http://www.courmettes.com/en/evenement/a-rocha-the-faraday-institute-course/ .