As we all know, digitization is radically transforming our lives. The internet, mobile devices, massive data collections and the analytics applied to them are propelling a digital revolution. The World Economic Forum spoke recently of a Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In 1800, someone took the temperature of a rainbow. This story isn’t as strange as it sounds because that ‘someone’ was not the sort of person to look for a pot of gold, but a scientist called William Herschel.
A podcast by Anna Goodman, neuroscientist, and Ruth Bancewicz asking what we can find out from studying neurological disease. How has Anna found a way to fit family life and career together, and how do both of those aspects of life complement her faith and role in the church?
The assumption that science and religion are in conflict is a view that never diminishes.
Many assume that modern science has rendered religious explanations irrelevant, and some go further to say that science alone can answer all of the questions of life.
How would you know that a person was a person, if they didn’t come in human form? This is one of the questions that David Lahti, Professor of Biology at Queens College in New York, asked in his lecture on Biology and Personhood at the Faraday Institute this summer.
Science may have changed the way we read the opening chapters of Genesis, but we still need to respect the historical integrity of the text. This was Mark Harris’s reflection as he opened his lecture on The Bible and Human Origins at the Faraday summer course last month.
Science is not sufficient to explain all dimensions of existence, and to see science as our only valid guide to understanding reality is a great mistake, argues a new book by British philosopher Professor Roger Trigg. John Pilbrow, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Monash University and a Life Fellow of ISCAST (Christians in Science and Technology), explains.
To get computer models to look similar to the Universe around us, cosmologists have assumed that around 96 per cent of matter and energy are in forms that we cannot directly detect. You might think that this would make cosmologists wary of relying on such hypothetical substances. Yet for the majority working today, dark matter and dark energy are every bit as real as the stars and galaxies that we can see.
After HOTAS, HMDs, touchscreens and gesture control - is ‘thought control’ the final evolution of the human-machine interface for pilots? TIM ROBINSON talks to Honeywell Aerospace about its cutting edge research into neural technology.
The return of the X Files to our television screens earlier this year has prompted many questions about the existence of aliens and the paranormal. Are we alone in the universe? Will the existence of aliens change our perception of Christianity? Is the truth still out there?
New Atheist leader Richard Dawkins, who was to be in Melbourne in March, was invited to dialogue with ISCAST Executive Officer, Rev. Dr Chris Mulherin, on the City Bible Forum’s “Logos Live” radio program, but Professor Dawkins fell ill, cancelling his trip.
However, the program, on the question "Can we live by science alone?", went ahead, and Chris was interviewed by Rob Martin, Director of CBF in Melbourne.
In this episode of Life & Faith, Baggini takes back the reins on the free will debate and guides us through his thoughts on this question of whether we have free will, and what true freedom might look like.
Is your smart phone really smart? Do you ever fear it will get too smart? Will it wake up one morning and decide to start running your life – deleting contacts it doesn’t like, booking holidays online that it wants to go on with you or shifting your calendar appointments to suit its tastes? Perhaps, more realistically, you may be inclined to feel that your printer has a mind and mood swings of its own, seemingly out to get you when you are facing the most desperate deadline.
We want you to tell your stories of life and faith. That isn’t easy at the best of times, and to do so in an interesting way is doubly difficult. But a competition like this provides a clear forum for doing just that, and a way for each of us to start thinking about the difference Jesus makes in our lives, and how to put that into words.
With huge leaps taking place in the world of artificial intelligence (AI), right now, experts have started asking questions about the new forms of protection we might need against the formidable smarts and potential dangers of computers and robots of the near future.
Why are so many evangelicals on full alert over evolution?
Because they are afraid—afraid that, if evolution is correct, their evangelical heritage is called into question.
Their personal narrative is threatened.
Join us around Australia for the festival premier screenings as we announce the winners of the 2016 SCINEMA International Science Film Festival. SCINEMA showcases not only the best, but also the diversity of science films from across the globe.
A group of scientists in the US are continuing to conduct research on human-animal hybrid embryos, despite a moratorium on funding from the National Institutes of Health. Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist from the University of California, Davis, has been working with a research team to implant human induced pluripotent cells in pig embryos, with the hope of growing human organs in developing porcine fetuses.
As a sign of growing interest in transhumanism, the Washington Post recently featured a symposium with several distinguished writers. It may indicate a growing interest in its aspirations, in an election year when a transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan, is seriously running for President.
When I was tutoring a philosophy of religion unit at my university, I often started the discussion by asking students if they believed in God. Many said that they didn’t believe in the God of the Bible but that they did believe in the existence of some kind of spiritual presence in the world. It was hard to know whether their spirituality was an inconsequential residue left by the death of religion or a stubborn refusal to leave it behind.
The Hebrew Bible starts off by giving an account of the world that is at odds with well-established scientific findings. It is a book that says that heaven and earth were made in one week, yet careful analysis of astronomical data suggests otherwise. It says that various sorts of animals were brought into being just days apart, whereas the fossil record points to an incremental evolution of one species from another over millions of years.
Eleanor Puttock has spent the last few years building up a successful podcast series on science and faith. It’s time to turn the tables and ask her a few questions about her own views on science and faith.
NASA's chief scientist recently announced that "…we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years." Such a discovery would clearly rank as one of the most important in human history and immediately open up a series of complex social and moral questions.
Scientists have created an “atlas of the brain” that reveals how the meanings of words are arranged across different regions of the organ. Like a colourful quilt laid over the cortex, the atlas displays in rainbow hues how individual words and the concepts they convey can be grouped together in clumps of white matter.
For a scientist and the mathematician, the question of ‘what is real’ is very strongly linked to proof. In his Faraday seminar last month, “Is There a Place at the Science-Religion Table for Mathematics,” the mathematician and philosopher P. Douglas Kindschi, pointed out that proofs are the building blocks of mathematics so, historically, maths has had the strongest claim on what is real. Great scientific and mathematical minds of the past have been quoted saying similar things.
The problem with science is that so much of it simply isn’t. Last summer, the Open Science Collaboration announced that it had tried to replicate one hundred published psychology experiments sampled from three of the most prestigious journals in the field.
New York Times columnist, Ross Douthat, interviews MIT professor of nuclear science and engineering, Ian Hutchinson, on the future of nuclear science, and the history of science and Christianity – in general, and in his own life.
In between the high-res images of the grainy Martian landscape and a “hot” mohawked NASA technician, the safe landing of the new-and-improved, SUV-sized Mars rover Curiosity has reignited public debate on the United States’ place in the world of space exploration.
Aliens are not a thing. We know this, right? Well, maybe. Turns out that, almost despite themselves, some of the world’s leading astronomers are taking seriously the question of whether or not we are alone on Earth. Among them, Yale’s Tabetha Boyajian, who has stumbled into what might be one of the biggest mysteries in the galaxy.
A team of scientists unveiled a new tree of life on Monday, a diagram outlining the evolution of all living things. The researchers found that bacteria make up most of life’s branches. And they found that much of that diversity has been waiting in plain sight to be discovered, dwelling in river mud and meadow soils.
ISCAST Fellow and Board member Jonathan Clarke has been selected to go to Mars ... well not quite (yet!) ... he and six others will spend 160 days in a Mars simulation in the desert and the arctic in the next year.
What did you do on your leap day this year? I listened to a talk by Roger Trigg, who is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick and a Senior Research Fellow of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion in Oxford.
How does a single fertilised cell become an infant? What does that process say about us – and God? These were the questions that Professor Jeff Hardin asked in his lecture at the Faraday Institute last month.
Quantum mechanics and the question of divine knowledge / by Stephen J. Robinson
Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22 contains the following dialogue (with omissions for brevity) between Yossarian, an American bombardier in World War II who wishes to be removed from combat, and his doctor, Doc Daneeka.
Strange bedfellows: an article originally published in The Church Times, 19th February 2016 / Gillian Straine
‘Sundays are your busy day, eh vicar?’ I cannot imagine that anyone in full time ministry would have not heard this one before. It may be funny (at least the first time) but it reflects a very common idea in our society today: religion happens on a Sunday, and the rest of life, including business, commerce and science, happens elsewhere and at another time.
The quantitative analysis ofISCASTFellow James Garth's Perceptions of Faithsurveyis complete. Findings show a statistical significance between the survey responses and affiliation. Other trends regarding the gender and age of responders have been identified.
The qualitative analysis is underway. This is working towards being complete by the end of March 2016.
When most people think of Australian rock stars, they probably picture Johnny Farnham, Tim Rogers or Sarah Blasko – famous musicians that capture the hearts and minds of our nation. But if we say our favourite rock stars are Drs E Ralph Segnit, Dave Wadsley, Ernie Nickel and Ian Grey, we’re more likely to get a few blank stares.
Should the Polluter Pay? Historical Responsibility, Reparative Justice and Climate Change
One of the sticking points in negotiations between developed and developing countries about the contributions they should make to alleviate the effects of climate change is whether developed countries should bear the greater share of the burden because of their historical responsibility for causing the problem.
For decades, the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus was mainly seen in equatorial regions of Africa and Asia, where it caused a mild, flu-like illness and rash in some people. About 10 years ago, the picture began to expand with the appearance of Zika outbreaks in the Pacific islands.
Art can open a communication portal between science and religion, but it is much more than that, speakers said during "The Art of Science and Spirit," a 2 December holiday lecture and discussion at AAAS headquarters by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER).
In 2003 the President's Council on Bioethics released a report titled Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is a very striking document - both in its own right as an exploration of its topic, and also as a government document that is highly philosophical in character and entirely without any policy recommendations.
Rewriting your DNA is getting closer to reality: A revolutionary technology is opening new frontiers for genetic engineering - a promise of cures for intractable diseases along with anxiety about designer babies.
On 18 September, Pope Francis appointed Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno as the new director of the Vatican Observatory, which employs a dozen astronomers to study asteroids, meteorites, extrasolar planets, stellar evolution, and cosmology.
Sometimes believers and their critics, each frustrated at their inability to make the other side "see", feel they are speaking a different language. New Australian research suggests there is some justification for thinking so.
Whenever I mention that I specialize in religion and science, one of the first questions is "Are you a scientist?" Well, actually, I'm not. And there's a reason. I'm a Christian -- as well as a pastor and theologian specializing in this field -- who has found that scientific insights enhance, challenge, and strengthen my faith. Moreover, I've discovered, for the Christian message to have any impact today, it must engage science.
The inventor of the bionic ear has revealed new Australian university trials that could help with treatment of paraplegics, epileptics and also dramatically improve the bionic eye implant unveiled in the UK last week.
On Christmas Day 2014, theWall Street Journalpublished aprovocative piece by Christian thinker Eric Metaxas, arguing that the extraordinary odds against life existing on another planet supports an inference to intelligent design. The article has since gone viral on social media and provoked considerable discussion and criticism. Aerospace engineer and Fellow ofISCASTJames Garth weighs into the debate.
Pope on the Pope: An evangelical climate scientist reflects on Laudato Si'
As a climate scientist cum budding eco-theologian, it is hard to contain my excitement that the head of the largest Christian denomination has made such a pronouncement on climate change, ecological issues and their underlying socio-political drivers.
As well as being the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, the theologian and biophysicist Alister McGrath is now also the Gresham Professor of Divinity, a role that will involve him giving aseries of lunch time lectureson science and religion in 2015-16.
A new book on prayer by David Wilkinson of Durham University.
The question of how, and whether, God answers prayer has been intellectually shaped by the rise of science, the problem of evil and the nature of the biblical records. Scientist and theologian David Wilkinson shares his own struggles with the question of how God answers prayer.
At the ISCAST Board meeting on Tuesday 26 May 2015, Peter Eyland opened the meeting with a Devotion. He touched on some of the disasters recorded in Scripture and their seemingly random nature.
His concluding thoughts are: A randomness in life's fortunes is the built into this universe, providing spontaneity and interest but, at the same time making people vulnerable to various kinds of disappointments and tragedy. It is, in Robert [Stening's] words, "a universe which invites faith".
Stephen M. Barr reviews Owen Gingerich's book God's Planet.
According to a famous formulation of Stephen Jay Gould, science and religion constitute "non-overlapping magisteria" or "NOMA". What he meant is that they are separate domains, deal with different questions, and can never conflict if they keep within their own boundaries.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr. (Jack), president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Templeton's family and friends during this difficult time.
The Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society (http://centressrs.org) at Emmanuel College presents Robert Mann, Professor of Physics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in conversation with Ross McKenzie, CSSRS Fellow and Professor of Physics at The University of Queensland.
The Territories of Science and Religion, a new book by Prof Peter HarrisonThe conflict between science and religion seems indelivle, even eternal. Surely two such divergent views of the universe have always been in fierce opposition? Actually, that's not the case, says Peter Harrison.
Understanding the Times (abridged from A Climate of Hope) - Claire Dawson
I remember learning about ‘global warming’ in geography class back in the late 1980s. Even then things seemed so bad to me that I felt quite convinced that I would never choose to have children of my own. The future seemed bleak, and humanity seemed to be failing miserably in its responsibility to care for the planet.
One of the sticking points when discussing science and religion is how we use the word “faith”. It seems that everyone is adamant that there is only one use of the word – and that is the way they are using it!
Out of interest, James Garth, an ISCAST Fellow, with the help of people from The City Bible Forum and the Rationalist Society of Australia, has put together a survey asking how we each use the word.
Event: The End of Faith: Has science made religion redundant? [Richard Johnson Lecture 2015]
Speaker: Professor Peter Harrison is an Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland and formerly the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is the author or editor of six books (most recently The Territories of Science and Religion) and one of the most important scholars working in the area of science and religion today.
Was the resurrection of Jesus Christ an anti-scientific event? This question was discussed at a March 13 conference on science and religion hosted by The American Association of the Advancement of Science's Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion.
This was the topic of this year’s ISCAST (Vic) annual lecture given by Prof. Bob White (FRS). We are all acutely conscious of natural disasters – tsunamis, bushfires, and the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand and so on.
Event: 'Chappie': Film & Theology
Date: Saturday 21st March 2015 Time: Meet at box office at 7:45pm, pre-show talk commences at 7:50pm, movie starts at 8:pm sharp. Venue: Peninsula Cinemas (Cinema Arcade, Victoria St, Warragul) Cost: $10 for pre-reserved tickets, $15 at the door on the night Link: Visit Facebook page for further updates
An interesting development is taking place in the biological and anthropological sciences today that has its roots in a decades-old discussion. Whispers in the halls of scientific faculties and hushed conversations in laboratories have solidified into outright dialogue and debate in top scientific journals.
Dr Amy Unsworth is a research fellow at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, S. Edmund's College, Cambridge University. Over several months last year, she conducted a survey with Yougov to dig deeper into the question of people's attitudes to evolution in the U.K.
Professor Graeme Clark AC from the University of Melbourne is the first Australian to receive the US Russ Prize for an outstanding achievement in bioengineering innovation that is in widespread use to improve health and well-being: the cochlear implant.
Bob White, a geophysicist, tackles one of the biggest conundrums in Christian thinking. He combines a profound knowledge of the science behind natural processes with thorough research into their impact, and underpins it with a carefully reasoned theological response.
It is with great sorrow that we report that Robert Stening passed away on Monday night 5 January 2015. Robert had chronic myeloid leukemia and for some eleven years and finally succumbed and died quietly just after 10:00pm.
Your response to my last email asking that we "blitz" the target to raise $35k in order to pay Chris Mulherin's salary as the ISCAST Executive Project Officer has been breathtaking. Thank you all so much.
We have now achieved the target and are well placed to continue his employment with us next year.
ISCAST Fellow Michael Wong will be speaking at the "Spirituality and Mental Health Conference" in Hong Kong in January 2015. He will be one of the keynote speakers. His topic will be "The Role of Hermeneutics in the Dialogue Between Psychiatry and Spirituality".
Dr Suzette Searle, from the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, designed a survey to investigate how Australians engage with science and technology. It showed that the majority of Australians have positive attitudes towards both science and technology but are not always clear on the details.
You might expect a professional evolutionary biologist like myself to claim that my discipline has nothing to learn from creationists. And I certainly do find all flavors of evolution-denialism sadly misguided. But I also find it reasonable to assume that any serious and dedicated critic should uncover something interesting about the object of their obsession. I’m not talking about passing trolls here. I’m talking about earnest and sometimes talented people whose sincerely held anti-evolution convictions do not preclude engagement, and who invest a lot of time thinking about evolution from an unconventional perspective...
ISCAST alumni Jayde Lovell has launched a YouTube show and blog, titled 'Did Someone Say Science', aiming to demystify and explain science issues in the public domain. Based from the YouTube studio in New York City, the show spans topics from chemicals in the environment, to the role of science in politics, to the development of human-like artificial intelligence. Produced by filmmaker Bec Susan Gill, the overall aim of the show is to make science accessible and interesting.
Forget past arguments over Darwin or Galileo – scientists set sights on unlikely alliance with the world’s religious leaders to combat climate change.
It has been one of the most fraught relationships of recent centuries, at least in the popular imagination.
But a group of scientists are pinning their hopes for the salvation of the planet, in the face of climate change and habitat destruction - on religion.
What does joy look like, and from where does it come?
We tend to think about what God is like in relation to us. God is love because he loves us despite our sin. God can be angry because he hates to see sin destroy the people he created. But are God’s so-called emotions entirely dependent on us and what we do? Does not God have a life within himself? Of course. In Proverbs 8—a passage that extols wisdom—we see a surprising picture of what was going on within the Trinity before sin ever entered the world.
UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Those people looking for proof to come from any research in science will be sadly disappointed.
As an astrophysicist, I live and breathe science. Much of what I read and hear is couched in the language of science which to outsiders can seem little more than jargon and gibberish. But one word is rarely spoken or printed in science and that word is “proof”. In fact, science has little to do with “proving” anything.
In the final 2014 Boyer Lecture, Professor Suzanne Cory addressed Australia’s other brain drain—the lack of women at science’s highest levels. The former head of the Australian Academy of Science says we need to engage girls early and make room for female scientists to have families, writes Maria Tickle. [Source: ABC RN]
Many of you will have met Chris Mulherin, our Executive Project Officer, who has started visiting the ISCAST Chapters. He has also sent out emails describing what he has been doing.
He has made a considerable difference in raising our ISCAST profile and has shown how effective someone of his calibre can be. Currently, at the Board's request, he has locked himself away to complete his PhD thesis on science and religion although he will make an appearance from time to time.
Christians in Science have had a couple of big book orders in the last few weeks - it's so good to be able to resource you as you think, pray, and talk your way through lots of science-faith topics! There's still stock left though, you can find it at http://tinyurl.com/q2gfzt8 and email Emily on firstname.lastname@example.org
Palliative care has its modern roots in the UK with the establishment of St Christopher’s Hospice in 1967 by (Dame) Cecily Saunders. Saunders had become concerned about poor medical care being provided to dying hospital patients. With the developments occurring in medicine at that time, the focus had shifted away from the needs of those who could no longer benefit from the evolving technology and life-saving treatment.
John Long provoked a comments barrage on The Conversation last week after defending the theory of evolution in the face of creationist views. Unfortunately, while some of the comments were thoughtful, others were dogmatic statements of position, mostly against vaguely and misunderstood “creationism”.
...[Prof. Tom] McLeish’s task was to set the scene for the week, exploring the relationship between science and religion. He spent much of the time looking at two questions: ‘What is science?’ and ‘What is religion?’
The main point of his talk was that the problem with the science and religion dialogue can be found in the word ‘and’. When we use the phrase ‘science and religion’, are we setting up a separation between the two that is not necessary? What do we mean when we relate the two together?
Friday 8th August - 12:30-1:15pm, Donkey Wheel House (673 Bourke St)
Be part of the audience of Logos Live, a radio show recorded in the CBD, where you can ask your questions and work out truth from myth. Has science buried God? with Prof John Lennox (Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University)
Friday 8th August: 7:00 – 9:00pm Melbourne City Conference Centre (333 Swanston St)
What do scientists make of Genesis? Do you like to wrestle with ideas of faith and scientific claims? Don't miss Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox as he distills the turbulent debate about science and faith in God. A cosmic event for the skeptically minded, the scientifically curious and the believer who likes to wrestle with questions of science and belief. Prof John Lennox will speak followed by a discussion with moderator Rafael Epstein (774 ABC Melbourne), there will be opportunity for questions from the audience.
How rural communities are affected by climate change and peak oil. What will be the future?
MARTIN J. HODSON AND MARGOT R. HODSON
Climate change is a major issue for this century with significant impact on the future of the countryside. The first part of this paper considers the expected impacts of climate change on rural communities in the UK and the contribution that these communities make to climate change. Climate change is complex and interacts with many other factors...
Some see science and religion as in direct competition with one another, offering incompatible explanations for the same phenomena. Conflict is seen as inevitable. Projecting this idea back in time, the whole of Western history can be understood as a protracted battle between science and religion. Science is now winning the battle, in spite of minor religious resistance...
Whether it is rational to believe in miracles depends a great deal on what one might call the ‘big picture’ we have of reality, the assumptions and ideas that form the canvas or background to the way in which we interpret and understand the world. Even the word ‘miracle’, from the Latin miraculum meaning ‘object of wonder,’ implies a contrast with a background, an event that is remarkable and different from what is experienced ordinarily.
Cognitive performance enhancers promise to deliver a better version of ourselves: smarter, more alert and more mentally agile. But what if such enhancement was no longer a personal choice but a socially and legally enforced responsibility? In the final instalment of Biology and Blame, Nicole A Vincent and Emma A. Jane explore the risks of normalising this emerging trend.
Ever since I entered university I have been interested in cells and their large molecules – DNA, RNA and proteins. It is said that small things amuse small minds, and I must confess that my interest waned with entities larger than about 20 µm. That’s approximately the diameter of a cell. Naturally, I became a cell biologist.
I was certainly not interested in evolutionary biology. Its subject matter was the wrong size, and besides, I was aware that on-going controversy was associated with this scientific field...
Feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age, according to new research. The research has clear implications for promoting positive aging and adult development, says the lead researcher.
Science is often presumed to be a tricky matter for people of faith. Pew Research has found that Americans can feel uncomfortable accepting scientific discoveries when they are perceived to contradict their religious beliefs. But Scientists in Congregations is discovering that the apparent opposition can be overcome.
Universal theories are few and far between in ecology, but that is what makes it fascinating.
To some scientists in other fields, ecology must seem relatively straightforward. Many of the organisms live at a very human scale and are easy to access, especially in community ecology. Ecologists do not need special equipment to see and count elk. There are no electron microscopes, space telescopes or drilling rigs that can go wrong. Easy.
Philip Ball for Prospect Magazine writes "It’s not just that the science itself might be poorly interpreted or over-extrapolated. The problem is deeper: whether there exists, or can exist, a firm and reliable link between the objective functioning of neural circuits and the subjective experience of people. Psychology is as much about providing a framework for thinking and talking about the latter as it is about pursuing a reductive explanation in terms of another obscurely named part of the brain anatomy such as the “superior frontal gyrus”."
The relationship between faith and reason — particularly between faith and science — goes to the credibility of being a Christian in the modern world. It is important that a minority view within Christianity is not allowed to frame a false dichotomy between religion and science, writes Fr Chris Middleton SJ, Principal of St Aloysius College in Sydney.
The tragic disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has captured the attention of the world and generated a mystery unprecedented in modern aviation. My aeronautical friends and I have watched the story unfold with a mixture of shock and perplexity: how could this have happened?
At the time of writing, the aircraft has still not been found, and a potential search area the size of Australia is currently being scoured for any sign of airliner debris, ten days after the Boeing 777 went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
"Reflections on Tyson’s Cosmos, Episode 1" by distinguished astronomer Owen Gingerich
From The BioLogos Forum: "Harvard Professor Emeritus Owen Gingerich has written a brief critique of a historical story featured prominently in the first episode of the new series [of Cosmos]. His post is part of a longer discussion taking place on the American Scientific Affiliation’s webpage about the new Cosmos series in general."
...he discovered what might have made the universe bang to begin with. A potential hitch in the presumed course of cosmic evolution could have infused space itself with a special energy that exerted a repulsive force, causing the universe to swell faster than the speed of light for a prodigiously violent instant.
Thankyou to all who have contributed to ISCAST hiring an Executive Project Officer. We have announced that Chris Mulherin will fill the role, and so we provide an interview so that you can find out a little more about him and the job he is going to do.
Tomáš Halík, a Czech priest and philosopher who risked imprisonment for illegally advancing religious and cultural freedoms after the Soviet invasion of his country, and has since become a leading international advocate for dialogue among different faiths and non-believers, has won the 2014 Templeton Prize.
Recently my wife Vivian and I went to the Sydney Observatory at night for our first wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful experience. We managed to learn a bit about astronomy, but we also had a real sense of the 'heavens declaring the glory of God'...
Please find below the online version of the brochure for our Australian Association for Religious Education 25th National Conference, to be held at the Amora Hotel, Richmond, Victoria, from Monday, September 29th to Wednesday, October 1st, 2014.
International Congress on Science and/or Religion: a 21st Century Debate (Vienna, 27-29 August 2015)
Call for Papers
The congress welcomes papers from all pertinent academic disciplines that take a multi-/interdisciplinary approach as well as religious, theistic, and philosophical scholarly pieces, and reports of comparative, cross-cultural and cross-religious studies.
In this Facebook age of “friending” anyone and everyone, it is incumbent on the church to articulate a rich and accessible theology of friendship for the world. Dr. Brian Edgar [fellow of ISCAST] has done it in God is Friendship: A Theology of Spirituality, Community and Society. The book explores friendship as spiritual formation, as the life of the church, and as a public good.
Are we nearing the end of science? That is, are we running out of answerable questions, leaving us with only some mop-up duty, working around the edges of the great scientific achievements of Darwin, Einstein, Copernicus, et al.?
The rise of the New Atheism has stimulated a new interest in Christian apologetics, both in the academy and the churches. The appeal to science in the writings of leading 'New Atheists', such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, is reflected in two apologetic strategies.
A newly published study reveals that many of the super-Earth planets discovered in the last twenty years may have captured the equivalent of between 100 and 1000 times the hydrogen in the Earth’s oceans, but may only lose a few percent of it over their lifetime, making it almost impossible for life as we know it to exist.
...The siege took place in a school, and few could forget the harrowing images of the hall, in which the children were assembled, being rigged with explosives and flanked by armed terrorists. Humphrys’ question was blunt and to the point: ‘Where was God yesterday morning?’ Williams’ response and the ensuing discussion were played to the audience...
...Rochelle was a high school biology student who was excited about the advances in genetics... However, when her church youth leader told her that there were too many gaps in the fossil record to believe evolution... Rochelle's sense of direction began to waver. If she became a medical researcher, would she have to give up her Christian friends?
John Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, gives an insight into what the Old Testament meant to its original audience, and what relevance these ancient texts have for modern readers today.
Recently one of our ISCAST fellows, James Garth, has appeared as a guest on the Pseudoscientists podcast. There is interesting discussion about science, faith, evolution, climate change, and other topics that may be of interest.
A review of the DVD "Exploring the God Question: Science, God and the Search for Truth"
"Exploring the God Question is a six-part documentary with accompanying group study material that explores the scientific evidence for and against God. This is a high production value series aimed at a wide audience, which challenges the viewers to decide for themselves whether God exists. A three-part version has also been produced for TV. The six part study version is reviewed here.
"The development of the Big Bang theory is an example of how faith responses can contribute to the scientific discussion in a positive way. Rodney Holder, an Anglican priest and former cosmologist, has contributed to this conversation for a number of years. He has just published a new book, ‘Big Bang Big God: A Universe designed for life?’ that aims to bring the debate to a wider audience."...
Following the successful establishment of the team support for the Executive Project Officer, the board have requested that we find a suitable applicant for the position and appoint that person early in the new year.
Based on the excellent initial response to the EPO team support request through pledged support from ISCAST members and meeting our interim target, the board has decided to go ahead with hiring an ISCAST Executive Project Officer for 2014. Job description is available on request. We will advertise for the position soon.
Despite the views of some church leaders - such as George Pell - who deny global warming, most Christians understand the need to care for the natural world and have embraced the scientific consensus on global warming.
Where Did We Come From?
How Milton, Paley, and Darwin help us answer the question.
...For Hawking, the only reason to believe in a creator is to explain the existence of the universe; when you find an explanation, the need for a creator disappears. For Dawkins, Darwinian evolution makes it "almost certain" that there is no God. At the same time, I know lots of Christians who argue the opposite: Since the Bible is true, you shouldn't believe in evolution, or the Big Bang, or whatever...
Looking for a fresh idea for your church outreach program?
Something to use in small groups and/or your services?
Towards Belief is a contemporary resource that is perfectly suited for a variety of uses within a church context.
The ISCAST Board has decided to appoint an executive project officer (EPO) to help us advance our mission. Rather than rely on (and be dependent on and beholden to) outside funding, we decided to seek funding from the ISCAST members by developing Team Support for our EPO.
We at ISCAST note the passing of Prof. Jim Ward, physicist and Christian. We thank God for his scholarship and his commitment to Jesus Christ his Lord. Attached is the eulogy presented by Brian Bayston at the interment of his body. It is exciting to think that all that knowledge he pursued in his lifetime is now available to him and that he now "knows fully even as he is known" (1 Cor. 13:12).
"Frankly," Gingerich writes, "I am psychologically incapable of believing that the universe is meaningless. I believe the universe has a purpose, and our greatest intellectual challenge as human beings is to glimpse what this purpose might be."
An excerpt published on the BioLogos Forum of Loren Haarsma's essay, 'Evolution and Divine Revelation: Synergy, not Conflict, in Understanding Morality', asks whether evolution compromises human morality.
Alvin Plantinga reviews Sam Harris' book, Free Will. "Sam Harris claims that free will is an illusion. What we ordinarily believe in this neighborhood, he says, is completely mistaken: "You will do whatever it is you do, and it is meaningless to assert that you could have done otherwise"; "we know that determinism, in every sense relevant to human behavior, is true." Doesn't that imply that we human beings are not responsible for what we do?"
Isn’t it tough for homeschooling parents to discern how to address the relationship between science and faith? Homeschool families need resources that portray the range of Christian views in a gracious way. And Christian young people need a resource that will equip them to think clearly, broadly, and biblically about current hot topics in science and religion.
Ten years' worth of images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has created a photograph of the farthest we've ever seen into the universe.
It's a photo so spectacular that it needs a designation all to its own. Named the XDF, or eXtreme Deep Field, it represents 10 years' worth of photographs taken of a small patch of space at the centre of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, which is located in the Fornax constellation.
No, but it may be an important component. Imagine trying to spend a week without any information. No books or broadcasts, no entertainment or news. No communication with another person, whether written or spoken or visual or just touching. It would be a diminished kind of existence. That is why extended solitary confinement is such a terrible punishment. Information plays a vital role in everyday human life. But to what extent is information the basis of reality?
A biography of Northern Territory indigenous leader and Anglican priest, Gumbuli of Ngukurr, has been chosen as Australian Christian Book of the Year from more than 40 entrants – and given Melbourne publishing house Acorn Press, co-founded by the late Bishop John Wilson, its second consecutive win in the awards.
NASA has pulled off an amazing technical achievement with its latest Mars landing. What are we hoping to find on Mars and what does it mean for us? Dr Roger Morris, Fellow of ISCAST, explores this groundbreaking mission.
"The 21st century and beyond promises an array of novel methods for enhancing human cognition. Perhaps such improvements will enable future humans to find long-lasting solutions to global problems, as well as to go to the stars. Such promises, however, can be fulfilled only if we all value learning and intellectual development over short-term commercial gains."
Melbourne researchers believe they may be on the brink of rewriting the history of the universe.
A paper being published in a US physics journal suggests it may be possible to view ‘‘cracks’’ in the universe that would support the theory of Quantum Graphity - considered to be the holy grail of physics.
Stella Young criticises the Australian philosopher Peter Singer over his position on selective infanticide:
"Singer's argument is not about the right to terminate pregnancy based on the presence of a disabled foetus, although he does believe this as well, but the active killing of babies born with particular disabilities. I was once one of these babies."
Designers are fighting neonatal mortality with a variety of innovative inventions, including a sleeping bag that saves lives, an infant respirator designed by students, jaundice treatment for rural hospitals and a sleep apnea monitor made from bike parts.
Dr Lennox writes: "Most of us would surely agree that it is important to distinguish between matters that belong to the core message of the Bible and issues that are less central, where there is room for variation in opinion.
We also need to be prepared to distinguish between what Scripture actually says and what we think it means. It is Scripture that has the final authority, not our understanding of it."
The Wired (8/9, Mann) "Wired Science" blog reports, "This new video from NASA gives you the chance to experience that pit-of-the-stomach feeling right before dropping down to the surface of Mars with the Curiosity rover. An update to their previous film of the harrowing descent, it provides a higher frame rate to let you watch the spacecraft's heat shield plummet away."
"NASA's Curiosity rover on Monday transmitted a low-resolution video showing the last 2 1/2 minutes of its white-knuckle dive through the Mars atmosphere, giving Earthlings a sneak peek of a spacecraft landing on another world." reports Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer.
It is a "sneak preview" of the high-resolution video to come that has yet to be transmitted back.
After four years of activity, the Test of Faith website (www.testoffaith.com) has been given a face-lift, and is now iPad friendly. New resources this month are a series of interview clips with Professor Peter Harrison (http://tinyurl.com/crzz9vu) and a review of BioLogos's new DVD, 'From the Dust: Conversations in Creation'.
Behind every elite athlete is an army of scientists helping them shave seconds off world records. ABC science journalist Stephen Pincock looks at how science helps athletes get faster, higher and stronger.
Video is now available from the "Test of Faith: Science and Christianity Discussion Panel" event held on Monday 16th April 2012 at the State Library of Victoria. The event was organized by ISCAST and the City Bible Forum as part of the Reason For Faith Festival 2012.
Dr Philip Clayton, Provost of Claremont Lincoln University and Dean of Claremont School of Theology, writes in The Huffington Post: "In the huge hype that has broken out over the last few days, you can see the whole pattern of religion-science discussions in microcosm".
Nancey Murphy is professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Seminary. Her areas of interest include theology and science, philosophy of mind, Christian anthropology, and neuroscience. She is the author of Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning, Did my neurons make me do it? and Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?
"Imagine Myers teaching a class on his academic specialty -- evolutionary developmental biology - and telling his students that all they must do to understand the topic is to open their eyes. This would be absurd. The whole point of science is to understand topics that are too complex to be self-evident."
In New Scientist: "People with autism appear less likely to believe in God - a discovery that has strengthened theories that religious belief relies on being able to imagine what God is thinking, a capacity known as 'mentalising'."
Rodney Holder's book "The Heavens Declare: Natural Theology and the Legacy of Karl Barth" has been reveiwed by Ruth Bancewicz, Test of FAITH Project Leader, The Faraday Institute.
She writes: "Natural theology is what we can discover about God outside of ‘special revelation’ (which for Christians is mainly the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ). If you are itching to add to or clarify this one-liner you’re not alone, because so many scholars have addressed natural theology that one could easily convene a very large international conference to address the issue of definitions alone."
Can science produce art? If the following images are any indication, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Created by nanotechnologists around the world, these images, most of which show materials smaller than the period at the end of this sentence, beautifully meld microengineering with aesthetics. In this slide show, enjoy some award-winning art while learning about some compelling new nanoscale materials and their potential uses.
The World Science Festival was held from May 30–June 3, 2012 in New York City and aims to bring together leading scientists, world-renowned artists, and innovative thinkers to discuss and exchange ideas. Tens of thousands of people join in. The John Templeton Foundation (JTF) sponsored five events as part of a Big Ideas Series.
In an article on ABC Religion and Ethics, 8 May 2012, Peter Harrison writes "It is often assumed that the relationship between Christianity and science has been a long and troubled one. Such assumptions draw support from a variety of sources."
In an opinion piece on ABC Religion and Ethics, 22 May 2012, Conor Cunningham writes "The conversation between science and theology has been hijacked by a restrictive naturalism, which rests on an impoverished understanding of science, one that is underwritten by an atrophied imagination, and that leaves us bereft of nature."
Gary Gutting (pictured), professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, and author, also joins the debate on physics and philosophy stating that "I’d like to see if I can raise the level of the discussion a bit."
His post on The Stone has received over 300 comments since May 10, 2012.
On Buzz Blogwe read "Over the past few months, a controversy has erupted between members of the fields of physics and philosophy. It all started in January when Lawrence Krauss, a well-known cosmologist and science writer, published his book titled A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing. Krauss' book attempts to show how the universe could have come from "nothing," as implied by quantum field theory."
On May 23, 2012, David Wroe reported that "Australian companies will be guaranteed the chance to pitch for business flowing from the Gillard government's $10 billion clean energy fund that Labor will announce today in an effort to sell the benefits of green jobs at home."
This question is explored in a post on Science & Religion Today by Scott Atran, a research scientist at the Research Center for Group Dynamics and a professor of psychology and public policy at the University of Michigan and a research director in anthropology at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris.
Professor of Philosophy David Albert criticizes Lawrence Krauss' "A Universe From Nothing" in The New York Times. Albert finds Krauss' explanation of the origin and configuration of the fundamental physical laws - including the laws of relativistic quantum field theories - to be wanting.
Brian writes that 'there are few names bigger than Alvin Plantinga when it comes to philosophy of religion and there are few topics more hotly debated than science and religion. [The book has] therefore generated much interest as it has one of the foremost philosophers of religion taking on this highly contentious topic.'
Michael Mullins, editor of Eureka Street, wrote an article in response to the news reported on Friday 2 March in the Sydney Morning Herald that 'killing newborns is morally the same as abortion and should be permissible if the mother wishes it'.
Christians can be confident in a discussion on the nature and use of science, precisely because only the Christian worldview can provide the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of scientific inquiry. Science requires a significant number of philosophical assumptions just to conduct empirical investigation.
The Fixed Point FIX blog examines Steven Pinker's thesis that violence within democratic constitutional states is in decline as a result of the spread of "Enlightment humanism" ideals:
The science of violence seems to be en vogue at the moment; we already highlighted Steven Pinker's (silly) book at the end of last year, and now John Horgan has a book out on the subject titled "The End of War," which the Atlantic recently excerpted. Horgan's analysis is intriguing, as he looks at the history of both biological explanations and solutions to violence.
In an interview with Christianity Today, acclaimed philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga discusses his new book, which extensively engages with the proposition that there's superficial conflict but deep concord between theistic religion and science:
"In certain areas, the right word would be alleged conflict. For example, I argue that there's no real conflict between evolutionary theory—that is, the scientific theory of evolution apart from any naturalistic spin—and what C. S. Lewis called "mere Christianity."
Scientists are debating whether or not to publish a recent H5N1 study after virologists said they had developed a bird flu virus - with a 60 per cent human mortality rate - that could spread as easily as the common cold.
Some fear the virus, if it fell into the wrong hands, could be modified by bioterrorists into a weapon that kills billions of people. But supporters said publishing the H5N1 study would have the opposite effect, by helping governments and other scientists learn about how they could counter such pandemics - whether they occurred naturally or artificially.
Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man is the most widely recognised drawing on the planet, an iconic study of human form and proportion depicting a man standing with arms outstretched, framed by a circle and square. In his new book, Da Vinci's Ghost, Toby Lester uncovers its long and intricate history, explaining how the drawing built on the idea that the human form was a precisely proportioned structure representing the measure of all things - a philosophy developed by the Roman architect Vitruvius during the rule of Caesar Augustus.
The richest countries caused the problem, but it is the world's poorest who are already suffering from its effects, and the international community must commit to righting that wrong, argue Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson at the Durbin climate talks.
Eminent thinker and commentator Revd Dr John , Fellow of the Royal Society, gives an overview of his talk at St Edmund's College, Cambridge, entitled A Destiny Beyond Death, sharing his understanding of the relationship between science and religion.
Ruth Bancewicz reviews Richard Dawkins' latest book "The Magic of Reality" on the Test of Faith website. The review finds that there is much to appreciate in this book, especially Dawkins' sense of wonder at the natural world and the many beautiful illustrations and analogies, notwithstanding his underlying reliance on a logical positivist philosophy and a rather blunt treatment of metaphysics and myths.
Is it possible to be both a Christian and a scientist? Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, argues that it is, drawing from the testimony of history and of his own life.
Leading Australian scientists including Ian Chubb, Penny Sackett and Stephan Lewandowsky share their thoughts on science education, scepticism, self-criticism and other topics in an extensive twelve-part series called "The State of Science" published by The Conversation.
The controversial Australian bioethicist Julian Savulescu has argued the case for a 'new eugenics' and that we have a moral obligation to pursue human perfection. Now, on ABC's All in the Mind program, Savulescu proposes that we should be using science and technology for moral enhancement itself.
An interesting article in the latest issue of Theology, (Nov.c 2011, Vol 114 #6, pages 403-413_ ), "Is the world unfinished? On interactions between science and theology in the concepts of nature, time and the future" by Jürgen Moltmann (the Boyle Lecture for 2011), with an acute response from Alan Torrance.
The (quite brief) lecture sets discussion of these issues in the context of long-term historical reflection in a very helpful way including an illuminating discussion of the 'two books' model (the scriptures and nature).
Barney Zwartz examines the assumptions that form the
foundation of the scientific enterprise in The Religious Write blog. Zwartz reviews the recent debate between the atheist physicist Alan Lightman and the atheist philosopher Daniel Dennet, noting their highly divergent views on the connections between science and faith.
“Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton’s first published scientific paper, geological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin’s celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment.”
Will Australia’s future be godless? Should there be chaplains in public schools? Should faith inform politics? Should religious belief be reflected in Australian law? Does scientific inquiry preclude belief in God? These are questions raised by the emergence of the ‘new atheism’ in Australia. They are serious questions not only for people of faith but for Australian society as a whole.
Mick Pope writes on the Ethos Environment Blog: "As someone who has suggested Christians become active in caring for 'the environment' or more theologically correct 'the creation', even if it means being involved with, following information from and copying those who do not share our faith, I have been labelled a pagan. Is this fair?"
Sarah Coakley, Professor of Divinity, gives an honest appraisal of the key problems that evolution proposes for theism, and develops some sophisticated responses, drawing on the Christian doctrines of Incarnation, Trinity and kenosis.
ISCAST Gippsland is pleased to report that our event last Saturday night (Science & Religion: Where the real conflict lies - Discussion of Alvin Plantinga lecture) was a fantastic evening attended by an enthusiastic small group of scientists, philosophers, teachers and students. We have had lots of positive feedback from the night, and are planning to follow it up with future events geared at thinking Christians in the Gippsland area.
It may come as a big surprise to many, but there is actually no difference between how science works in astronomy and climate change – or any other scientific discipline for that matter, writes Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University.
Many neuroscientists believe free will is an illusion—and that they are on track to prove it. But a new report in Nature (September 1) highlights efforts by philosophers to convince these scientists to re-think their approach.
In the past decade, many scientists have come to believe that ours is only one of many universes, and that the laws of physics may be different in each one. If this “multiverse” theory is correct, it would appear to resolve many fundamental issues about the nature of existence.
From ABC Australia: The gulf between science and religion it seems has never been greater, new atheists hurl invective at believers, and fundamentalists dig deeper into their trenches. In between most simply gaze at the fireworks with bemusement. But to what extent is this sideshow a symptom of a deeper disconnect, one that should disturb us all?
Melissa Mack writes for Australian online paper InDaily about the science and faith conference currently being held at Tabor College in Adelaide, jointly organised by The Faraday Institute and Tabor College.
ISI has released an expansive compendium called 'The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science", which is now widely available at a very affordable price. At over 900 pages and 500,000 words, the book features over forty essays from an extremely diverse field of philosophers and thinkers including Alvin Plantinga, Robert Koons, Stephen Meyer, Michael Shermer, Alan Guth, Nancey Murphy, Roger Penrose, John Searle, Dallas Willard, Michael Behe, Michael Ruse, William Lane Craig and Howard Van Till.
CNN reports on a recent study in the US into the correlation between levels of education and levels of religious belief. It turns out that the secularist truism "more educated = less religious" is not accurate. It all boils down to what you mean by "religious".
A review of Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack’s Yale University Press-published book on developing a “shared cosmology”. The book has received positive reviews from Desmond Tutu, Martin Rees and Paul Davies.
What is emergence? Ross McKenzie explains this key concept in science and religion using examples from different areas of science. The concept of emergence is examined from both philosophical and theological standpoints. The key question is, does it have an relevance for our lives today?
Are you interested in working in aid and development within Australia or overseas? Do you see Climate Change as a social justice issue but not sure how we can address this?
Engineers Without Borders presents 'Pathways to Development': a weekend-long workshop for anyone with an interest in development work. Gain skills, learn more and listen to experiences of returned develoment volunteers.
The issue of medically supervised (“safe”) injecting rooms polarises the community, and many Christians are strongly opposed to the idea. But drug and alcohol physician Alan Gijsbers examines the arguments on both sides of the debate for Engage.mail.
Australia's Chief Scientist, , has lamented the quality of public debate on climate change, saying it ''borders on appalling'' and the level of scientific literacy among politicians is ''not high'', reports The Age.
The 2011 New College Lectures will be held from the 27-29 September and will feature three ‘younger’ theologians who will explore the theme, ‘The future of theology’. This is a theme that has an eschatological foundation and the hope that resurrection brings (1 Peter 1:3).
The New Atheism - A Christian Response Date: 2-3 September 2011 Where: Dunedin, New Zealand
The New Atheists claim that believers in ‘the god hypothesis’ should not be tolerated, but should be actively countered and the shoddy arguments supporting their beliefs should be exposed. Leaders among the New Atheists have launched a broadside against all religious beliefs, but have given special attention to the claims of Christianity.
Event: Science & Religion seminar @ Christian Union 'Super Summit' Date: Tuesday 5th July, 2010, 4:00-5:30pm Location: Philip Island Adventure Resort, Cowes, Philip Island Description: James Garth will be running a 90-minute workshop on “Science and Religion” as part of the Christian Union “Super Summit” event.
The first annual Borderlands Seminar was a great success, with Professor Tom McLeish, Durham University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research. Tom explored ‘the Borderlands of Science and Faith.' If you would like to watch the seminar, it was broadcast online and is available here.
Prof. Alister McGrath, one of the world’s leading authorities on Richard Dawkins and the New Atheism, speaks about the challenges of radical secularism. Beginning from the premise that New Atheism is the start of an important theological conversation, Prof McGrath moves on to discuss some of the major themes and a Christian critique of them. *Please note the last few minutes of the talk was not recorded*
Mark Vernon reviews Keith Ward's latest book "More Than Matter?" in the May/June issue of Philosophy Now magazine. In his book, Ward comes down squarely on the side of the dualists and idealists in the major intellectual battle currently underway about what it is to be human, suggesting that materialism is inadequate in areas of scientific investigation such as quantum physics and consciousness, and that "human persons are not accidental mistakes in a pointless perambulation of fundamental particles. They are a window into the inner reality, value, and purpose of the cosmos."
Prominent scholar N.T. Wright has weighed into the debate over Stephen Hawking's recent comments dismissing heaven as a "fairy story for people afraid of the dark". According to Wright, Hawking's views on heaven are very low-grade and bear little resemblance to the sophisticated views of Christian theism: "In the Bible, "heaven" isn't "the place where people go when they die.", in the Bible heaven is God's space while earth - or, if you like, "the cosmos" or "creation" - is our space."
This summer Fixed Point will be sponsoring a debate in Melbourne, Australia on the topic "Is There a God?" The debate will feature Princeton University Bio-ethicist and atheist Peter Singer and Oxford University Professor and Christian John Lennox. When: July 20th, 2011.
Australia wants to show the world it is serious about space and is using years of well-honed hypersonic know-how to prove it by developing technology for a scramjet-based system for access to space, writes Guy Norris of Aviation Week.
Sir John Houghton discusses fractals, their intricacy, beauty and uncanny similiarity with patterns found in nature, in the May 2011 edition of Third Way magazine:
"Many scientists, in emphasizing the dominance of chance processes in the universe, have argued for the absence of purpose and meaning within it. The emergence of fractals over a very wide range of scientific disciplines, I believe, encourages us to question such arguments.
Australian intellectual Ian Lowe discusses philosophy of science and the political impact of scientific uncertainty in his essay from Edition 31 of the Griffith Review; entitled "The crumbling wall: Science, certainty and value judgements". Lowe utilizes Kuhn's concept of "scientific revolutions" and its application to the progressive development of scientific theories of continental drift, big-bang cosmology, and climate change.
Cultural and intellectual historian Jackson Lears has published a comprehensive critique of Sam Harris' "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values" in the May 16th edition of The Nation. Lears finds Harris' approach to be seriously deficient, based on underdeveloped neuroscientific inferences and relying on a confused philosophical blend of reductionism and consequentialism that is reminiscent of widely-discredited early 20th century positivism.
Ask the person on the street for an opinion about science and religion, and you are likely to hear something about a confrontation. This article by Prof. Ted Davis turns the debate upside down, and shows how Christianity played an important part in the emergence of science as we know it.
Graeme Clark Research Institute Launch Date: 29 August 2011, 4pm Venue: Tabor Adelaide
The Graeme Clark Research Institute (GCRI) is a new initiative that is being established to conduct, facilitate and promote research and development within Tabor Adelaide in the broad context of Christian service to the community.
The University of Cambridge has developed a special section on their website where an extensive archive of lectures and seminars from the Faraday Institute can be streamed or downloaded in a number of convenient formats.
In a new blog on the ABC Religion and Ethics site, Alister McGrath answers the question "Has Science Killed God?" with a resounding No, drawing on William Lane Craig, Peter Medawar, and even Stephen Jay Gould to make his case.
Marek Kohn writes for The Guardian on a new book by Tim Flannery entitled "Here on Earth: A New Beginning". He reviews it critically, questioning the weight which its author assigns to the argument that the ideas of Alfred Russell Wallace hold the key to sustainable existence on earth.
For years, ethical issues hampered progress in stem cell research. Now, experts believe that developments in reprogrammed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells will truly revolutionise the treatment of life-threatening illnesses. Alok Jha from the Guardian provides an informative overview of this technology.
Those involved with ISCAST are deeply aware of the suspicion, even the hostility, with which science and its practitioners are often met in the Christian community. It’s a situation which ISCAST aspires to remedy and so it was with no small excitement that we discovered the John Templeton Foundation addressing this very problem through their 2010 funding priority “Religious Leadership in an Age of Science.”
The Australian Academy of Sciences has produced a document called The Science of Climate Change - Questions and Answers which aims to explain the current situation in climate science, including where there is consensus in the scientific community and where uncertainties exist.
Famed geneticist Francis Collins and science/religion scholar Karl Giberson have just published The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions, a non-fiction volume for the general reader that tackles difficult and controversial questions in the religion-and-science dialogue in a style that is both intelligent and accessible.
Jeremy Stangroom interviews physicist Russell Stannard on the further development of his prayer experiment, in which two groups of heart surgery patients are compared, one prayed for, and the other not.
Prior to giving the Faraday Institute lecture on Tuesday 1st March, NASA astronomer Dr Jennifer Wiseman was interviewed by Woman's Hour about the search for exoplanets and how science and faith are integrated in her work and life.
Bishop John Wilson, former Bishop of the Southern Region, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, died recently after a long battle with cancer. We in ISCAST are all of course saddened by John's death. He was a good friend to ISCAST and attended many meetings over the years as time permitted. Both he and his wife, Jill, attended COSAC07 at Geelong, to hear Professor Alister McGrath speaking about the nature of reality.
Dr Nancey Murphy surveys the history of personhood on the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences website, and asks whether modern reductionist accounts of what it means to be human are fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith.
Alister McGrath's recent book "The Passionate Intellect" has won the 2011 Christianity Today Book Award for Apologetics / Evangelism.
"McGrath illustrates how theology transforms our thinking and behavior, and how true apologetics engages not only the mind but also the heart and imagination. His critique of the New Atheism is brilliant."
Sr. Joan Chittister's lastest column has been posted to NCRonline.org.
The theological implications of evolution, the social and religious issues inherent in interfaith cooperation, and the kinds of personal spiritual conversion necessary if global justice and national accountability is ever to be achieved are boiling up everywhere while the world ignores them.
Ted Peters writes on the possible implications of discovering that we are not alone in the universe for the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.
"How should theologians reflect on the religious implications of what seems to be the imminent discovery of extraterrestrial life? Will it make a difference if this extraterrestrial life is intelligent or not? Will it make a difference if this extraterrestrial life form is superior to us, perhaps more intelligent than we human earthlings?
Author Nancy Marie Brown has released a new book entitled The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages (Basic Books; December 2010) which explores the fascinating story of "The Scientist Pope", Gerbert of Aurillac, Pope Sylvester II.
A blog from the Thomas More Institute explains the traditional Christian understanding of the soul, and hence of human freedom. It is argued that determinism is an inadequate conception of the human person.
CiS held a conference entitled "The Christian Roots Of Modern Science - Learning from the Past" on Saturday 30th October 2010, at St Paul 's Church, Robert Adam Street , London. The audio files can be downloaded at the site below, and the talks given were as follows:
Many scientists regard mass and energy as the primary currency of nature. In recent years, however, the concept of information has gained importance. Why? In this book, eminent scientists, philosophers and theologians chart various aspects of information, from quantum information to biological and digital information, in order to understand how nature works.
UNSW has launched the Australian Centre for Space Engineering and Research (ACSER), using $4.7 million from Australia's space research program to investigate ways of flying satellites in formation to create super-accurate models of the Earth's surface. Australian researchers, in collaboration with some of the best minds around the world, will develop new satellite technologies that will greatly enhance earth observation and navigation services.
The mathematician and philosopher of science Professor John Lennox will be releasing a short book in January entitled "God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design is it Anyway?"
Lennox recently gave a major interview in the Times on November 17th, during which he presented the case that God did indeed create the univese, and discussed in-depth his personal views on intelligent design, evolution and the relationship between science and the Christian faith.
This question was debated last weekend in Puebla Mexico, the newly dubbed Ciudad de las ideas (City of Ideas) at the third annual International Festival of Great Minds. Contributing speakers included Richard Dawkins and William Lane Craig.
The next Gregory lecture will be on March 3rd 2011, entitled "Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?". It will be presented by Sir Colin Humphreys CBE from the Dept of Materials Science at Cambridge, who was knighted last June for services to physics.
Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE and Deloitte Digital’s Peter Williams debated "The role social technology plays in society and the knowledge community - is it a blessing or hindrance?" at the Keynote Plenary Session at the Melbourne 2010 Knowledge Cities World Summit on 18th November.
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (pictured left) says in his latest book* that the big questions of life can be answered “within the realms of science.” Stephen Ames explains why he thinks such a conclusion is flawed.
Stephen Hawking says the laws of nature tell us how our universe behaves but do not answer the big questions: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? I agree. Hawking says he has a scientific answer for all three questions and so, goodbye God. I disagree, as I hope to make clear.
Lawrie Lyons was a fine Christian and excellent scientist, motivated in both by his strong faith in the Lord. And what a motivation that was! He was respected nationally and internationally for his pioneering work on the electrical and photo-conductivity of organic materials and in the Christian community for his long-standing commitment to the dialogue between Science and Christianity from an evangelical point of view. In 1989 he was the founder of ISCAST and its first President. Before moving to Brisbane in 1963, he was the prime mover in founding Christian Halls of Residence at Universities in Sydney.
By Rod Dreher – Director of Publications, John Templeton Foundation
For centuries, Western science and philosophy has been built on the bedrock understanding that there is a clear difference between the material and the immaterial—or, in theological terms, between the natural and the supernatural. What if new scientific findings hinted that the distinction might present an inaccurate view of reality? Observations like that, if proven, would cause a revolution in thought.
Climate change continues to be a subject of intense public and political debate. Because of the level of interest in the topic the Royal Society has produced a new guide to the science of climate change. The guide summarises the current scientific evidence on climate change and its drivers, highlighting the areas where the science is well established, where there is still some debate, and where substantial uncertainties remain.
PROFESSOR Graeme Clark AC, the inventor of the bionic ear, has been recognised for his contribution to surgical science by being awarded the prestigious Lister Medal, the third Australian to receive the medal since it was established in the 1920s.
In this extended interview in The Independent, the Astronomer Royal and outgoing President of the Royal Society, Sir Martin Rees talks candidly about science education, climate change, philosophy and theology, and the challenges humanity faces in surviving the 21st century.
Simon Conway Morris is one of the world’s top biologists and a leading scholar of evolutionary convergence, the idea that all life evolves toward similar adaptations, using very different routes. The Cambridge University paleobiologist has recently launched Map of Life, a comprehensive Web resource for students, academics, and other readers curious to learn more about convergence.
Join Archbishop Philip Freier as he discusses healing mental illness, with guests Professor Patrick McGorry and Kerry Graham, at 7.30 am on Wednesday the 15th of September at BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square.
Eminent scientists, theologians and philosophers have mounted a strong response to Stephen Hawking, challenging his recent assertation that science renders God unnecessary in the creation of the universe.
Eminent scientists, theologians and philosophers have mounted a strong response to Stephen Hawking, challenging his recent assertation that science renders God unnecessary in the creation of the universe.
The Faraday Institute sends out a daily news feed to anyone interested which picks up current stories on science and religion out in the media, giving an idea of what the story is about and providing the relevant web-address. Typically there are 5-10 URL links per day. Many people take this free news feed service for personal interest, but others in order to contribute to the media discussion themselves.
New images of the "Footprint Crater", or Orcus Patera, taken by the Mars Express probe have intrigued and puzzled Mars-watchers as they hope to discover the origin of this mysterious 385km long depression.
Test of FAITH, in partnership with the Bible Society (UK) has developed a free all-age church service resource which includes ideas for songs, hymns, prayers and liturgy, children’s/all-age activities and sermon notes.
Three videos were developed especially for this service and are dramatic readings of the recommended passages for the service, using visual footage from the Test of Faith documentary.
A US federal judge has temporarily blocked the Obama administration from funding human embryonic stem cell research, ruling that the work violates a law passed by the US Congress to bar federal funding of the destruction of human embryos.
Did you know that if you are a resident of Victoria you are entitled to free access to the State Library of Victoria external database? This database contains extensive access to a wide variety of resources, including reputable science & technology and theology journals, e-books and encyclopaedias.
In this new book from the Faraday Institute, Denis Alexander and Ronald Numbers (eds) bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for non-scientific purposes from the seventeeth century to the present day.
In The Melbourne Anglican, Dr David Young explores the history of the growth of modern science in the 18th and 19th centuries and explores the Revd Frederick Temple's thoughts on divine activity working through the laws of nature, and how his thinking had deep roots in Christian theology.
Big Questions Online, the Templeton Foundation's newest publishing venture, recently launched with a full slate of columns, blogs, and other features. Also, check out this coverage of BQO in the New York Times.
On July 5, the European Space Agency finally released the long-awaited data from the Planck satellite, which has been studying the fading afterglow of the Big Bang that gave birth to the universe 13.7 billion years ago.
Prominent astrophysicist and Christian Dr Jennifer Wiseman has been appointed head of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion, an organisation which promotes communication between scientific and religious communities.
Applications are solicited from universities, research centers and other institutions for complete sets of hundreds of the most important books in science and religion.
The International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR), the world’s leading learned society in the field of science and religion, will select up to 150 institutions on a competitive basis to receive libraries consisting of approximately 225 matching hardbound volumes accompanied by a comprehensive Companion edition written by Society members that summarizes and critiques each volume.
The BioCentre website discusses the impact of Dr Craig Venter's recent pioneering achievement in synthesizing a bacterial genome and using it to create the world's first "synthetic cell". Dr Venter believes the organism - nicknamed Synthia - offers the potential to pave the way for beneficial developments; including complex synthetic organisms that can transform environmental waste into clean fuel, vaccinate against disease and soak up pollution. But his development has also triggered debate over the ethics of "playing god" and the dangers the new technology could pose in terms of biological hazards and warfare.
Darrell Falk and Stephen Blake from The BioLogos Foundation have provided a fascinating, positive review of William Dembski's recent book "The End of Christianity", in which Dembski shifts gears from his traditional concern of ID and instead focuses on the question of theodicy. Blake notes that "Dembski examines the perspectives of both Young and Old Earth Creationism, and finally dismisses both as fatally flawed on theological grounds".
US scientists have created a molecular robot made out of DNA that walks like a spider along a track made out of the chemical code for life. The achievement, reported in the journal Nature, is a further step in nanoscale experiments that, one day, may lead to robot armies to clean arteries and fix damaged tissues. The robot is just four nanometres, four billionths of a metre, in diameter.
Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory has provided an astonishing new vista on our turbulent star. "When we see these fantastic images," said Lika Guhathakurta, the SDO programme scientist at Nasa Headquarters, "even hard-core solar physicists like myself are struck with awe, literally,"
Extract from an article written for Brisbane's FOCUS monthly by Charles Sherlock.
The immediate need: sex and the scriptures
Anglicans around the globe have been arguing about women, men and God for a generation, but mostly managed to live together. In the past dozen or so years, however, as the argument has focussed on same-sex relationships, divisions have appeared. Many African and other bishops boycotted Lambeth 2008, protesting the actions of some North American Anglicans.
Noted cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society of Britain and Astronomer Royal, said yesterday that although Australia accounted for only 1 per cent of global emissions, it was a country with great capacity for innovation, and, as such, should ''step up''.
Francisco J. Ayala, an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two, has won the 2010 Templeton Prize.
The AP (3/19, Higgins) reported, "Operators of the world's largest atom smasher on Friday ramped up their massive machine to three times the energy ever previously achieved, in the run-up to experiments probing the secrets of the universe."
New worlds, new life, new bodies: just some of the breakthroughs we may see by 2020, predict a panel of leading Australian scientists interviewed by ABC Science.
There have been some incredible leaps forward in science in the past decade. It's difficult to imagine what life was like before Wi-Fi, and hard to believe how much we've discovered about Mars. And it's only seven years since the entire human genome was sequenced, yet since then, scientists have cracked the genomes of dozens more species.
Three distinguished scholars explored the Big Question of "Does Evolution Explain Human Nature?" during a recent discussion sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, Yale University, and Discover magazine. The panel featured Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown University; Laurie Santos, a Yale psychologist and primate specialist; and David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary theorist at Binghamton University.
On the weekend of March 13-14, Melbourne will host the Global Atheism Convention, with Richard Dawkins as a main speaker. No doubt the airwaves, as well as letters to the editor and opinion pieces in the print media and numerous blogs will endlessly recycle a persistent urban myth about the relationship between science and faith.
Save the Date, April 23-24,2010, Berkeley, CA. The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) will be hosting a special two-day event this coming April celebrating STARS research. You will meet Paul Davies, internationally acclaimed physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and STARS keynote lecturer, who will tell us how the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) can succeed. You will also meet two of the outstanding STARS teams and hear the latest results of their work on virtue ethics in light of the neurosciences and on how a capacity for interpreting the environment helped enable the evolution of life and undergird human openness to transcendence.
Ethos: EA's Centre for Theology of Society has commenced and will be launched on Sat 27th March. Ethos combines the operations of EA's Department of Public Theology with those of Zadok institute for Christianity and Culture. Come along and support this exciting new venture that will offer theological and ethical thinking and comment to a broad range of groups in Australia.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has become the latest prominent figure to have his full genome deciphered, scientists revealed today.
The South African clergyman and human rights campaigner agreed to the procedure as part of a study into the breadth of human genetic diversity and the role an individual's genetic makeup plays in their health.
CPX has released an exciting new DVD containing interviews with a host of prominent scientists, historians and philosophers examining the place of faith in an age of science. The DVD is now available for pre-order from their online store.
“God is the same God, always and everywhere. . . . In him are all things contained and moved; yet neither affects the other. God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies. [And] bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God."
Many would be surprised to discover that the author of these theological musings is none other than Sir Isaac Newton.
“In every field of science, when it’s successful, you think you understand all of it,” says Martin Nowak, professor of mathematics and biology at Harvard University. “In classical mechanics,” he explains, “there was a time when physicists thought, ‘Well, that’s all there is. If I know the place of the particles in the universe, I can predict the future.’ But then came quantum mechanics and relativity theory. There was a total revolution.” Nowak is hard at work trying to launch another revolution, this time in evolutionary biology. “Our understanding of evolution,” he says, “is very incomplete.”
The Cambridge Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology is unusually candid about why he rejected materialism and became a Christian in this short video posted on the Test of Faith website and Facebook group.
As the 50th anniversary of a key agreement that governs Australia's involvement with NASA's space program approaches; a more strategic and forward-looking treaty is being considered by the government, writes Ari Sharp in the SMH.
Mark Vernon (pictured left) writes in The Guardian: "Is science closer to religion than is typically assumed? Is religion closer to science? Might rational enquiry, based on evidence, share similarities with faith? These questions were raised by Charles Taylor, the distinguished Canadian philosopher, speaking at a Cambridge University symposium (pdf).
What did Charles Darwin believe? And what can we learn from it? For Darwin, Christianity was like a proof to be established. His faith was based on the natural world, rather than on the Bible and knowing God. Without real appreciation of the Cross, suffering and loss made it impossible for Darwin to hold on to his so-called 'rational' faith. Nick Spencer explores Darwin's complex loss of faith in this new article.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Heath and New York Times bestselling author of The Language of God, is releasing a new book called "Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith". Similar to what Christopher Hitchens did in The Portable Atheist, Collins draws together the most important writings on faith and belief, from C. S. Lewis to Madeline L'Engle, Martin Luther King to Merton to create a a definitive anthology of readings on the rationality of faith.
British philosopher and theologian Dr Conor Cunningham was featured on the Compass program on 22nd November on the ABC. Dr Conor Cunningham argued that it’s possible to be a Christian and accept the theory of evolution, noting that when Darwin’s theory was first published in Britain it was welcomed by both the Anglican and Catholic Churches.
Three experts explored the question “Does evolution explain human nature?” at a panel discussion in late September sponsored by Yale University, Discover magazine, and the John Templeton Foundation. The discussion was based on the Foundation’s recent Big Questions essay series, which can be found online and is available in booklet form by request. Video of the event can be found here.
"With the rise of modern science, the pursuit of wisdom gave way to the acquisition of useful truths" writes historian of science Ronald Numbers in the latest edition of Templeton's "In Character" magazine.
"Tellingly, President Obama’s pick to head the National Institutes of Health - Francis Collins - touts this symbiotic relationship today", writes Mark I. Pinsky of USA Today. "The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome," Collins says, "God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship."
Marc Kaufman in the Washington Post discusses the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which is holding its first major conference on astrobiology. Kaufman reports that the field of "astrobiology" has "arrived, and religious and social institutions - even the Vatican - are taking note."
Prof. Keith Ward will be discussing "God, Science and the New Atheism" at the next upcoming James Gregory Public Lecture on 29th October. Keith is a well-known speaker with a strong interest in comparative theology and the interface between science and faith. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and former regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford.
The Associated Press recently reported that astronomers at the European Southern Observatory have "found 32 new planets outside our solar system, adding evidence to the theory that the universe has many places where life could develop.
Cardinal George Pell's recent address on the 4th October at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas held in Sydney engaged significantly with the question of science's relationship to God, containing references to Hawking, Einstein, Swinburne, Flew, and many more distinguished thinkers.
A debate on the topic "Is Intelligent Design viable?" will take place between Dr. Francisco J. Ayala and Dr. William Lane Craig on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 7 p.m. EST at Indiana University Auditorium, Indiana. The debate is sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ at Indiana University and will be moderated by Dr. Bradley Monton, author of the new book "Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design".
Resources for students based on the Test of FAITH documentary are now available from the Stapleford Centre. The materials have been developed for UK students between 14 and 18 years old, and include background information, glossary, bibliography and curriculum links.
At its latest meeting the ISCAST Board asked Assoc Prof Alan Gijsbers to be its new President following on from Prof John Pilbrow who will be stepping down at the next Annual General Meeting of the Institute on 20 September 2009 (at COSAC).
Prof John Pilbrow, Assoc Prof David Young [Melbourne University] and Dr Nicola Hoggard-Creegan [Laidlaw College and Carey Graduate School, Auckland, NZ] will be interviewed on John Cleary's Sunday Nights program on ABC 774 from 10 pm on Sunday 20th September.
The 2009 “ALBERT EINSTEIN” World Award of Science will be presented to Professor Sir John Houghton, President of the John Ray Initiative. Sir Houghton was President of the Royal Meteorological Society from 1976 until 1978.
Note the following reference to John White in the UK Journal, Physics World, August 2000. Speaking at the opening ceremony for the new $1.5 billion J-PARC facility, that consists of two protoron synchrotrons, a neutron source and a neutrino experiment and a hadron facility all rolled into one, John White from the ANU, 'who was chair of the International Advisory Committee for J-PARC, praised the long term vision of the Japanese government and its "acceptance of world-leading science as an investment for the future....World-leader status is assured by what has been done, and future investment in both operation and development will maintain this high status", he told delegates'.
Prof. Hugh McLachlan makes some thought-provoking crtiques of Hume and Dawkins and analyzes the relationship between science and miracles in an opinion piece in the 5 August 2009 edition of New Scientist.
The Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education (CASE) will be conducting two upcoming training sessions for those who would like to be able to give talks on Christian ethics at the beginning and end of life. The two evenings of training will be held at New College Village, University of NSW on 23rd September and 3rd November and are open to all.
On 8-10 September Professor John Wyatt from University College London will be visiting New College, NSW to speak on bioethics and future hope. The 2009 New College Lectures will offer a Christian perspective on the impact of technology on contemporary medical practices. Informed by a biblical understanding of God’s purposes Prof Wyatt will consider the bioethical issues that we face every day as we make decisions about creating, preserving and protecting life.
NASA's brand new Kepler space telescope has demonstrated the ability to take measurements that are precise enough to "prove we can find Earth-size planets", according to William Borucki, Kepler's principal science investigator. Kepler has just begun a 3½-year mission to search for exoplanets and determine how common these planets are. According to NASA scientists, Kepler's "current mission is to identify Earth-like planets with water and oxygen, but what scientists are so excited about is t
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki examines the long-held myth that medieval Christians thought the Earth was flat in his July 22 article written for ABC Science. Kruszelnicki engages with the research of historian Jeffrey Burton Russell, whose book Inventing The Flat Earth unearthed a fascinating fact: that educated ancient and medieval thinkers, including Greeks, Christians and Muslims, all knew that the Earth was a ball (or sphere) for a long time.
A group of concerned scientists and former NASA Astronauts has written an open letter to the Rudd government urging the reinstatement of the Spaceguard Australia program and underscoring Australia's critical role in the worldwide planetary defence effort. According to science writer Leigh Dayton in The Australian, since 1996 no southern hemisphere telescopes have been scanning the sky, resulting in a blind spot in coverage which could potentially delay NEO detection by four to twelve years.
Some of the nation's leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May 2009 for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life.
Francis S. Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian, discussed why he believes religion and science are compatible and why the current conflict over evolution vs. faith, particularly in the evangelical community, is unnecessary.
Former Human Genome Project leader Francis Collins will be nominated to lead the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world,” President Obama said in a White House statement today. “And his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease.”
Enhancement involves giving abilities integral to the body beyond those we would normally consider a human to possess. Transhumanism is an influential philosophy based on human autonomy in which enhancement technologies play a central role. This paper summarises transhumanism, describes the scope of current enhancing technologies, and provides a Christian critique, presenting the biblical strategy for human transformation as a compelling alternative to the transhumanist project.
Tom Frame is an Australian academic and author of 23 books. He is a former Naval Officer and from 2001 - 2007 was Bishop to the Australian Defence Force. He has degrees in theology and history and is a regular commentator on ABC radio on military and church history as well as social matters. He is Director and Professor of Theology at St Marks National Theological Centre at Charles Sturt University in Canberra.
Our COSAC 2009 keynote speaker Simon Conway Morris features in the most recent 'Big Questions' discussion forum hosted by the John Templeton foundation. The topic, "Does evolution explain human nature'" also features distinguished contributors including Jeffrey Schloss, Francis Collins, David Sloan Wilson, Francisco Ayala, and more, and can be accessed at http://www.templeton.org/evolution/
On 5th May 2009, Bernard d'Espagnat, a French physicist and philosopher of science whose explorations of the philosophical implications of quantum physics have opened new vistas on the definition of reality and the potential limits of knowable science, was formally presented with the 2009 Templeton Prize.
The Centre for Public Christianity has published a fascinating review of Richard Holmes' book "The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.” by Dr Steven Micklethwaite, a Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania.
As part of the Pentecost Festival, the Faraday Institute is holding three lectures in London on 26th, 27th and 28th May 2009.
Prof. Colin Humpreys will speak on 'Can a scientist believe in miracles today?', Revd Dr David Wilkinson will speak on 'God and the Big Bang' and Dr Denis Alexander will speak on 'Creation or Evolution - do we have to choose'.
Prominent physician-geneticist Dr. Francis Collins has established a new organisation called the BioLogos Foundation, which endeavours to promote the search for truth in both the natural and spiritual realms, seeking harmony between these different perspectives.
ISCAST Victoria is proud to congratulate Dr Alan Gijsbers on his recent appointment to Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, held in the Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne and Western Hospitals. The title acknowledges his important contribution to scholarship, recognising his professional achievements as one of the leading clinicians in the Faculty of Medicine.
Date & Time: 7pm Thursday 25 June - 5pm Saturday 27 June 2009 Venue: Laidlaw College, Auckland Campus, Waitakere NZ Keynote Presenter: Christopher Southgate, Research Fellow University of Exeter, theologian, poet and editor, and author of The Groaning of Creation.
A conference to celebrate and interact with Darwinism, on the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species.
American Public Media's "Speaking Of Faith" programme has produced a fascinating podcast entitled "Evolution and Wonder: Understanding Charles Darwin".
The programme takes a fresh and thought-provoking look at Darwin's life and ideas, and suggests that he did not argue against God but against a simple understanding of the world — its beauty, its brutality, and its unfolding creation.
You are invited to attend the book launch of 'Beyond Stereotypes' by the EA Working Group on Human Sexuality on Monday March 30.
This book launch features one of our ISCAST Fellows, Dr Brian Edgar. Download the invitation for full details.
Acclaimed physicist John Polkinghorne has just released his latest book, "Questions of Truth", together with a special promotional mini-site; www.questionsoftruth.org. The website contains extensive background material for the book, including contents, reviews and a collection of videos from the Launch Event and panel discussion held at the Royal Society.
We have received many expressions of concern regarding the bushfires in Victoria from our friends all over the world. As far as we know no one in the ICSAST family has been directly affected and for this we are profoundly grateful.
There have been a few close shaves with the fires burning close to several of our members’ houses. The wind change that can so often double the size of the fire in very quick time also redirected the blazes, saving many houses and lives but catching many others.
The Kuhn Foundation, in association with PBS, has produced a television series entitled 'Closer to Truth', which is billed as "the most complete, compelling and accessible series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God ever produced for television".
The John Templeton Foundation has recently listed "A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists: Musings on Why God is Good and Faith Isn't Evil" as its Featured Book. The book, published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley in 2008, has already attracted highly positive reviews from Alister McGrath, Michael Shermer, Francis Collins, Owen Gingerich and others. The Templeton review notes:
A very significant report has just been released by the UK public theology think-tank Theos in conjunction with the Faraday Institute. It considers the public awareness and acceptance of evolution in the UK. The preamble describes the report thus:
Rescuing Darwin is the title essay of a wide-ranging project exploring the extent and nature of evolutionary and non-evolutionary beliefs in the UK today and their perceived relationship with theism and atheism.
The project is managed and run by Theos, the public theology think tank, in partnership with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.
The Science Religion Society program at Trinity College Theological School – which is part of the United Faculty of Theology – with the assistance of the Melbourne College of Divinity, is sponsoring a conference to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s, The Origin of Species. The theme of the conference, After Darwin, is set out below. The conference will be held at The Centre for Theology and Ministry from 21-23 July, 2009. Dr. Christopher Southgate from the Department of Theology at Exeter University will commence the conference by giving a public lecture at 7.00pm, 21 July. The lecture will be via an interactive satellite link in the Woodhouse Theatre at The University of Melbourne.
The Rev Dr John Polkinghorne presented this lecture at St.Andrews University on 9 October 2008 as one of the James Gregory lectures, a series of presentations from eminent international speakers promoting open dialogue and exchange of ideas on manny intriguing points of contact between Science and Religion.
In this fascinating paper, Ellis argues that a moral reality as well as a physical reality and a mathematical reality underlies the world and the universe, and that human moral life is a search to understand that true nature of morality, which is centred in love, with the idea of kenosis ('letting go') playing a key role.
Hard copy booklets may also be purchased from the ISCAST Store.
Noted author and researcher Michael Poole has published an article in the September 2008 issue of the School Science Review entitled "Creationism, Intelligent Design and Science Education" in which he attempts to diffuse some curent tensions over the teaching about origins, contending that a rejection of creationist or ID arguments does not by extension entail rejection of other traditional concepts of creation and design that have been historically held by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.
The Centre for Public Christianity has recently produced a fascinating interview with world-renowned philosopher and theologian Professor Keith Ward. Ward has held positions teaching philosophy and theology at Glasgow, London and Cambridge Universities before taking up the position of Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford. In this four-part interview, Ward discusses atheism, philosophy, science and belief.
On 15th November, ISCAST Fellow Ross Macmillan and Mark Zimsak, the National Coordinator of the Australian Network to Ban Landmines gave a challenging and thought-provoking presentation which discussed the technical and political challenges involved with developing technologies and strategies to eliminate anti-personnell mines and cluster munitions.
For those wishing to learn more about the effects of these devices, or how they can assist with this campaign, please visit: