Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 48 - January 2010

Faraday Institute Newsletter No 48 (January 2010)

We look forward to a New Year with some new events and activities, as well as a rich repertoire of our usual seminars, lectures and courses. As usual the web-site at www.faraday-institute.org is the best place to keep up-to-date.

The new Faraday Institute brochure for 2010 is now printed, summarising our aims and activities, and also listing all our courses for the year. The new course poster will also soon be printed and is designed for notice-board display; it will be mailed, as usual, to every relevant university department in Europe. If you would like stocks of the brochure for display or distribution and/or copies of the poster, then please contact our Events Manager, Zoe Binns, at zcl21@cam.ac.uk.

Those receiving this letter in India may be interested to know that we have two courses planned for India in February, the first in Bangalore (Feb. 9-11) and the second in Delhi (Feb. 12-14). Those interested in attending the Bangalore Course should contact Dr Paul Joshua (e-mail pauljoshuab@gmail.com ), and those interested in the Delhi course should contact Samuel Suantak (e-mail vaiphei@gmail.com).

Details of the following forthcoming courses are to be found on the Faraday Institute website:
(i) Short Course no. 17: ‘Science and Religion in Schools’. This weekend course, for teachers of science, philosophy or religious studies, will give informed input by highly qualified experts on some of the latest thinking in the science-religion area, provide information about resources available to teachers, and tackle some of the thorny issues arising in the classroom.
(ii) Faraday Institute Summer Course no. 5: ‘Science and Faith: Past and Present Perspectives’. In this one week course a wide range of topics at the science/religion interface will be addressed by internationally renowned speakers. The topics to be covered include historical and philosophical perspectives; the relationships between cosmology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience with religion; and some of the ethical issues raised by science.

Closer to home, our new Faraday Research Seminar Programme for the coming term is now posted, and the first Seminar of term will be on 26 January when the Revd Dr Patrick Richmond (whose scientific background is in medicine and cell physiology) will be speaking on the topic ‘Scientific Explanations of Religious Experience and their Implications for Belief’. As usual the Seminars this term will be held at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Seminar Room at St. Edmund’s College, preceded by a buffet lunch at 12.30 p.m.

The year 2010 marks the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society, and it is therefore particularly appropriate that our Faraday Public Lecture this term by Prof. Peter Harrison from Oxford University will be on the topic ‘Religious Influences in the Founding of the Royal Society’ (Thursday 4 February, 5.30 p.m., Queen’s Lecture Theatre, Emmanuel College). This promises to be a fascinating lecture and all in the Cambridge area are invited to attend. As usual the lecture will be followed by refreshments and the opportunity to browse an extensive bookstall.

We are currently advertising a new 2-year position for a Researcher-Administrator on ‘Environmental Ethics, Politics and Theology’ on the project 'Hope for Creation' administered by the Faraday Institute jointly with the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE). The closing date for applications is 1 February 2010.  See the Faraday web site for further details.

A lull in our usual activities during the Christmas period provides an opportunity to mention some of our on-going research activities and outputs. These include a new book edited by Denis Alexander and Ronald Numbers entitled ‘Biology and Ideology – From Descartes to Dawkins’ (to be published by Chicago University Press, March 2010), a multi-authored work assessing the various non-scientific uses that have been made of biology from 1600 to the present day. The book arose out of a Faraday Workshop bringing together historians, scientists and theologians. The recently published book ‘Creation in Crisis’ from the second Faraday Workshop is now available at a heavily discounted price from the Faraday web site. Our Course Director, Rodney Holder, has also recently completed writing a new book with the working title ‘The Heavens Declare: Natural Theology and the Legacy of Karl Barth’. Meanwhile Jason Rampelt is finishing the last few chapters of his book with the working title ‘Faith and Creativity in Science – Biographies from 400 Years of Genius’. Jonathan Moo and Bob White also plan this year to complete their book on the significance of the biblical teaching about the ‘new creation’ for contemporary environmental issues.

Meanwhile the Test of Faith project continues to develop with the posting on the dedicated web-site of a major collection of useful new resources. These went live in December, and include video clips, articles, briefing sheets and reviews - all free to download at www.testoffaith.com. The second (and final) batch of Test of Faith youth materials for 11-18s was also released in December - again for free download on www.testoffaith.com/youth. On 5 January Ruth Bancewicz, the Test of Faith project leader, is launching these materials with two seminars at the Youth for Christ (YFC) staff conference that she will be giving alongside Richard James, Director of the Kingston Oxygen YFC centre, and the writer of the youth materials.

The end of 2009 also entails the end of the Darwin double anniversary year; although in truth Darwinian topics show no signs of dying down quite yet. In December the Director spoke on ‘Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose?’ to a packed lecture hall, followed by a panel discussion, at the Bishops’ Conference in Rome entitled ‘God Today’, organised by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. Further lectures organised for 2010 suggest that this remains a lively topic for many.

 Denis Alexander Bob White
[Director]           [Associate Director]