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ISCAST fellow Mick Pope writes ... George Monbiot recently wrote a piece in the Guardian challenging us to change our language when it comes to talking about topics like the environment, climate change and extinctions.

ISCAST fellow James Garth writes ... Two decades have passed since the day I saw a remarkable advertisement in Aviation Week. It took up a full page and featured a beautiful artist’s concept of an elegant, futuristic spaceplane.

The latest issue of the ISCAST Digest, full of fascinating stories and resources, is now available for download.

Download Volume 9, Issue 3

Jonathan Clarke has just returned from another mission to simulate life on Mars. This time he was on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, where the sun never sets in the northern summer. It’s all part of a project to see what some of the challenges are, should humans one day decide to live on Mars. (Jon will be speaking at ISCAST's science, faith and apologetics conference in March 2018.)

ISCAST friends might be interested in this online Coursera course.

ISCAST Executive Director Chris Mulherin interviews Professor Peter Harrison on the history of the complex and interdependent relationship between science and religion in the West.

"Religion is not going away any time soon, and science will not destroy it. If anything, it is science that is subject to increasing threats to its authority and social legitimacy. Given this, science needs all the friends it can get. Its advocates would be well advised to stop fabricating an enemy out of religion, or insisting that the only path to a secure future lies in a marriage of science and secularism."

A recent lecture by Alister McGrath challenges simplistic notions about truth and knowledge. The lecture begins,

Do we simply make up our most cherished beliefs, creating a world that fits in with our preconceived ideas, or our deepest longings? I am one of many who are concerned that we are moving into a post-truth world ...

Alister will be in Australia at ISCAST's invitation in March 2019.

Read the lecture here.

ISCAST Director, Chris Mulherin, writes in Eternity News, "As we remember the revolution that we call the Reformation, we are also remembering an age when another revolution was in its infancy: the scientific revolution. But what we forget, or perhaps never knew, is that the revolution that gave us science as we know it today, was one largely led by Christian believers faithfully exploring the works of God’s creation and pointed to by the Psalmist: 'The heavens declare the glory of God.' In the words of one writer, '[Nicolaus] Copernicus, as much as Luther, revolutionised how Europeans thought of themselves, their world, and their God.'" 

Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation? is an important new book on the vexed problem of reconciling mainstream evolutionary science with serious theological and biblical interpretation. This book documents an extended discussion between people from two US Christian organisations, one rejecting the mainstream view and one accepting it, resulting in contrasting approaches to early chapters of Genesis. The discussion is moderated by authors from the Southern Baptist Convention.

Whether or not octopuses should be viewed as charming or terrifying very much depends on your personal perspective. But it’s hard to deny their intelligence.

According to Dr Louise Hickman, a philosopher and theologian from Newman University, this is the question that drove the ‘natural theology’ discussion in the centuries leading up to Darwin. Louise spoke about this topic at the Faraday Institute in Cambridge.

Australian National University professor and former Intel researcher and anthropologist Genevieve Bell has described the focus on science, technology, engineering and maths skills as "one of the worst things we have done in the last decade". 

On May 29, 1919, Einstein’s four-year-old Theory of General Relativity was put to its first test during a total solar eclipse. By measuring how the images of stars shift when the sun is close-by, and with a lot of care, you might be able to repeat this famous test from nearly 100 years ago. 

Physicists battle over whether the theory of inflation is untestable, and hence not really scientific.

We in ISCAST mourn the loss of a good friend and colleague who passed away last Friday (25th August) and extend the condolences of the ISCAST community to his wife Solway and to Geoff’s family.

Adam Ford considers science and religion. 

The Luminous Web by Barbara Brown Taylor & The Great Mystery by Alister McGrath

Following early reports last week that scientists had edited the DNA of human embryos, American researchers have now published their much anticipated paper in the journal Nature.

Our colleagues at Sheridan College in Perth are advertising for two full-time senior academic positions, and they have asked if we might circulate the details below.

If you know of others who might suit the criteria, please share this information with them.

Libby Osgood, an aerospace engineer who has worked for NASA, is taking a sabbatical from her job as a professor at the University of Prince Edward Island to pursue a new vocation — becoming a nun.

Nature is your church? Not so fast, says an Indian reservation priest. If there’s a spirituality of the land, it’s tougher than any religion you might be escaping. The article starts:

ISCASTian Ian Barns suggests we post a link to this interview with Katherine Hayhoe. It's worth a read for two reasons, says Ian: "One, Katherine Hayhoe is the world’s most prominent evangelical climate scientist; two, it's also a good story about climate change communication (see near the end of the interview)." Thanks Ian!

Tom McLeish (ISCAST Fellow and conference speaker) talks about the book of Job and the joys of doing science.

Is it possible to be ethical about the production of weapons? ISCAST Fellow James Garth writes ...

Physicist, mathematician and blogger Peter Woit whacks strings, multiverses, simulated universes and “fake physics.” Quote: "... physics ... surpasses even psychology in its capacity for bullshit."

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