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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 41 - June 2009

The past month has been a busy one for the Institute with a wide range of activities in both Cambridge and London.

Around 800 people attended the Panel Discussion on ‘God and Darwin’ at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday May 12th and there was some good press coverage. One journalist, clearly wishing to write a story with more sparks in it, complained that the panellists (Lord Robert Winston, Professor Steve Jones, Dr Denis Alexander, and Professor Nancy Rothwell FRS) found too much to agree about. But this only serves to highlight the fact that whether they have religious beliefs or not, scientists agree about the science and it’s only the differing metaphysical interpretations that occasionally lead to disagreements. On this occasion the differing views were exchanged politely but firmly.

The three London Faraday Lectures likewise drew good audiences with useful times for Q&A. Also as part of the London Pentecost Festival, the new science and faith documentary ‘Test of Faith’ had a pre-publication showing at the Central Hall, Westminster, the three sections of the film being shown in three different sessions, each one followed by a panel discussion.

The formal launch of the ‘Test of Faith’ project will take place at The Royal Society, London, on Monday, July 13th, at 7.30 p.m. This will include a preview of the first section of the documentary, together with a talk and Q&A with the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS. This is a ticketed event and if you are interested in attending please contact James Crocker at jrc65@cam.ac.uk. For more details about the project see: http://www.testoffaith.com.

The next Faraday Research Seminar will be held on Tuesday 9th June at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Seminar Room at St. Edmund’s College when Dr Janet Soskice (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge) will be speaking on ‘Creation ex Nihilo and what It Means For Science’.

Many will have enjoyed watching the recent BBC2 Programme ‘Did Darwin Kill God?’ presented by Dr Conor Cunningham (Nottingham University). The Faraday Institute will be hosting a special screening of this film as part of the forthcoming Darwin 2009 Festival in Cambridge. The film will be introduced by Dr Cunningham who will take questions from the audience after the showing. The event will be held on Tuesday 7th July, at 5.45pm, in Mill Lane Lecture Room 3, Cambridge University.

The Darwin Anniversary Conference also includes two afternoon sessions on Darwin and theology on 6th/7th July – the Director will be speaking at the first of these sessions. See for further details:
http://www.darwin2009.cam.ac.uk/festival/afternoonfocus.

The two Faraday Courses scheduled for July are virtually full, so if you wish to come please book now! The Neurosciences Course will be held over the week-end of July 3-5 and the Summer Course will be held July 12-18. Both Courses have a great repertoire of international speakers, so in the event you cannot make it to the Course, remember that all our lectures, seminars and courses can be listened to/watched on-line by going to the Multimedia Folder at www.faraday-institute.org. The full Course Schedules are as usual posted on this Faraday web-site.

This past month the Director spoke on transhumanism at the Cambridge Papers Open Day Conference (see the coffee-break interview on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=8285D577594FC4ED),
debated with a Young Earth Creationist at Oak Hill Theological College, spoke at a CiS lecture attended by 250 people at Southampton University on ‘Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose?’, and spoke at a Day Conference entitled ‘Preaching Creation’ at Spurgeon’s Theological College in London. The Course Director Dr Rodney Holder spoke on ‘Big Bang! Modern Cosmology and the Christian Faith’ to an audience of over 300 people as part of the series ‘Beyond Dawkins’ God Delusion’ organised by St Mary’s Church, Basingstoke.

 Denis Alexander Bob White

 [Director]  [Associate Director]