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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 39 - April 2009

First we should congratulate Contrapositive, the film company that has recently produced the film ‘Test of Faith’ for the Faraday Institute Church Resources project directed by Dr Ruth Bancewicz, for their prestigious Silver Award (see our web-site for award ceremony pictures). This was given for Best Documentary in the 2009 International Visual Communications Association Awards, a leading European, professional body which promotes best practice for the award-winning corporate and public sector communications industry.  The film will be released in July as part of the Church resources pack to be published by Paternoster Press. A trailer may be viewed at: www.testoffaith.com.

The Institute contributed in three different ways to the recent Cambridge Science Festival. The Panel Discussion on ‘God and Darwin’ was packed out with around 250 people crammed into a lecture theatre designed to seat 160, with most of the time given to a good series of questions directed to the Panel. The event may be viewed at the multimedia page of the Faraday website (type in God and Darwin in the free text search) or click here: http://tiny.cc/PiCMf. The Test of Faith film had a preview also as part of the Science Festival, with a good audience watching part of the film followed by a panel discussion focusing on the neurosciences and questions of human identity. Last but not least Dr Rodney Holder preached the Festival sermon in Great St. Mary’s Church.

The Lent term now finished was characterized by a consistently high attendance at our fortnightly Faraday Research Seminars. A good crowd was present for the last Seminar of term given by Prof. Mehdi Golshani from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran who spoke on ‘Current Issues in the Science-Religion Debate in the Islamic World’.

The Institute produces a steady flow of publications on science and religion, and it was good to see the recent publication from our Course Director: R. D. Holder (2009), 'Science and Religion in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer', Zygon 44 (1), 115-132. Dr Hilary Marlow’s Grove booklet – ‘The Earth is the Lord's’ (a Biblical Response to Environmental Issues) is now available from the Faraday on-line shop.

This past month saw the first Faraday Course in New Zealand when Associate Director Prof Bob White gave public lectures in Wellington and Auckland, with good crowds at both and folk packed into the aisles and floor space in Wellington. The Faraday conference in Auckland on ‘Faith in Science, Science in Faith’ attracted 120 people with 8 New Zealand speakers as well as Bob. We hope it is the first of regular science and religion seminars in New Zealand.  Bob also gave a 30 min interview on National radio which you can hear at: www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/sat/2009/03/14/bob_white_climate_change_and_christianity or http://tinyurl.com/csybmn.

March also saw completion of the second Hope for Planet Earth tour which the Faraday Institute co-sponsored with the John Ray Initiative, TEAR Fund, A Rocha and SJI. Altogether the tours went to 35 venues all around England and Scotland, reached thousands of teenagers in the days at schools and several thousand more adults in the evenings.

This coming month sees the Faraday Institute organizing a major Darwin Anniversary Conference in Istanbul together with a Public Event when there will be a televised Panel Discussion entitled ‘The Hard Questions’ during which questions from the audience will be fielded by a high-profile team of international biologists. For an on-line article published today concerning the status of evolution in Turkey, see:
http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11102743.asp?gid=244

The Science and Religion in Schools Faraday Course is full and will be starting shortly. However there are still some places left on the Neurosciences and Religion course 3-5 July 2009, although that Course likewise is filling up fast. The one-week Summer Course 12-18 July 2008 ‘Science and Religion in an Evolving Universe’ is also proving very popular. Those wishing to come on either of these Courses are encouraged to register early to avoid disappointment. As always details of the courses can be found at www.faraday-institute.org and registration can be carried out on-line.

This past month the Director lectured to 450 people at St. Mary’s Centre, Basingstoke, in a science and faith series organised for churches in the area, on the topic ‘Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose?’ and at a Conference at Rugby School on ‘Darwin in Perspective’ followed by a panel discussion with about 200 6th formers in attendance. The Course Director lectured on ‘God and the Big Bang’ for a course on science and religion at Spurgeon’s College. Virtually every month staff are involved in radio broadcasts – this past month the Director was interviewed live on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and London Premier Radio, and the Course Director had a pre-recorded interview broadcast by TransWorld Radio.


 Denis Alexander Bob White

[Director]  [Associate Director]