Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 147 - July 2018

View this email in your browser
 
Share
Tweet
Forward
Summer 2018 Newsletter No. 147
Science, Faith and Human Flourishing – Summer Course 13, 1-6 July
How does the interaction between Science and Faith enhance Human Flourishing? This was the question behind the Faraday 2018 Summer Course held at Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge in early July. Nearly 50 participants representing 12 different nations including, the USA, South America, Africa, The Middle East, China and Europe, enjoyed a summery week jam-packed with talks, discussion groups, panel discussions and speaker interviews. The panel of speakers was almost as diverse as the participants and so in addition to speakers from the University of Cambridge and other UK Universities, we also heard from scientists, theologians and philosophers from the USA, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE.
 
The overall theme of Science Faith and Human Flourishing was taken from the Templeton World Charity Foundation grant which has funded much of the Faraday Institute research over the past three years and a number of the talks reflected the results of this research. However, daily themes explored the subject in more detail. The first day took a philosophical angle with Professors Tim O’Connor (Indiana) and René van Woudenberg (Free University, Amsterdam) exploring the limits to science and the ways we know in science and faith. Professor Ian Hutchinson (MIT) also explained the ways in which science and theology can learn from each other. The second day took the theme ‘Science, the Bible and Theology’ and was a mix of philosophy, science and history with talks on cosmology, evolutionary genetics and an overview of the place of natural theology in Christian thought. In part as a result of recent research at the Faraday Institute the third theme focussed on the brain and human identity with three related talks – ‘Is the brain hard-wired for faith’ (Professor Stephanie Clark, Switzerland), ‘The psychology of faith’ (Revd Dr Joanna Collicutt, Oxford) and ‘Could a robot ever have real human identity’ (Professor John Wyatt, UCL). A panel discussion later that day allowed the audience to draw out the speakers further on their views with a huge range of deep questions. The fourth day was more theological and sociological and looked at creation and evolution from the point of view of the Genesis text, current theological thinking and in an Islamic context. We also heard the results of a social survey on current views in the UK presented by Dr Amy Unsworth of the Faraday Institute. The final day looked at the themes of science, ethics and human flourishing and speakers considered the themes ‘Environmental ethics and the Christian faith’, ‘Religious engagement with climate change’, ‘The role of religion in response to natural disasters’ and ‘Ethical challenges to the beginning and end of life’.
 
There was a lighter side to the week and participants enjoyed an afternoon punting on the river, a science walk around Cambridge, a rare glimpse of Darwin’s original letters and manuscripts at the University library and a gala dinner on the Thursday night. The Faraday Schools Team displayed some of the learning materials that they have developed to engage primary school children in science and faith issues. Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive expressing pleasure in the way in which the speakers demonstrated such enthusiasm for their subject matter and were able to explain complex and sometimes controversial topics with great clarity.
 
Most of the talks have been filmed and will soon appear on the Faraday Institute website and so are freely available for a wider audience. Next year, 2019, the 14th Faraday Institute Summer Course will be held in early July so why not book the dates in your diary now?

Photo:  A group photo of some of the participants and speakers at the course. 
Can't make our events in person? Don't worry, most of our seminars, talks, lectures and public festivals are available on the Multimedia part of our website. We have over 600 talks for you to watch or listen to at your convenience. 
Is There Purpose in Biology?
Dr Denis Alexander

Emeritus Director of The Faraday Institute
Atheists assert that the natural world has no meaning or purpose. Dr Denis Alexander draws a different conclusion. Not only do recent evolutionary biological data appear inconsistent with the claim that the world is purposeless, but the Christian doctrine of creation has provided and continues to provide both context and stimulus for the study of the natural world. Christians started biology! However, is a belief in an omnipotent, benign Creator consistent with a world of pain and suffering? From a lifetime's study in the biological sciences, Denis Alexander believes that whilst the cost of existence is extremely high, it can nonetheless be squared with the idea of a God of love whose ultimate purposes for humankind render that cost more comprehensible.
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Date: 14 June 2018
ISBN: 978-0-85721-741-1
Denis Alexander was on Premier Radio at 2.00 p.m. on Thursday 19 July discussing his new book
Research Seminar Series 
 
Seminars for the Michaelmas term will start again on 9 October.

9 October
Perfection and randomness: lessons from nanotechnology
Prof. Russell Cowburn FRS

23 October
Can Nature be Red in Tooth and Claw in the thought of Augustine?'  case study).
Dr Stanley Rosenberg

6 November
Faith and Science for a sustainable world
Prof. Mathais Klaeui,

20 November
Title TBC
Dr Bruno Guiderdoni

Our seminars are held at 1.00 pm on alternate Tuesdays during term in St Edmund’s College. A free light buffet lunch and drinks are served from 12.30 pm  onwards. All are welcome.
Courses

Day Course in Derby
Science & Christian Faith: Tracking modern challenges together.
1 September 2018
 
Public Lecture

2 November  5.30pm
Human Identity in a Scientific World
Lord Rowan Williams
Old Divinity School, St John's, Trinity Street
This special lecture is free of charge. We will be setting up an Eventbrite to book seats. It will be followed by a free drinks reception and an opportunity to talk informally with the speaker
Workshops

2019 Professional Workshops for church leaders
Science and Faith in the Local Church
Cambridge,
St Edmund's College
9-10 January

Bristol,
Trinity College 
20-21 February
 
Manchester,
Nazarene Theological College
13-14 March
Click here to read the latest blog from Science and Belief: "What can science do?"
Faraday Institute Youth and Schools
This last month has seen the final few weeks of the academic year for schools across the UK. This has made it a busy time for The Faraday Institute’s Youth and Schools team who have offered exciting sessions on a range of different science-faith topics. Students across the country from Grimsby to Thorpe-le-Soken and Canterbury to Cambridge have enjoyed hands-on, engaging sessions providing an opportunity for them to explore the positive interactions of science and faith; truth and how we know we what know; and their big questions about life, the Universe and their unique meaning and purpose.
New Short Film
On Wednesday 18 July at West Court Auditorium, Jesus College, it was exciting to see the first public showing of Good in the Machine. The third in the quartet of short films coming out of our “Human Identity in an Age of Nearly Human Machines” project, following after Pain in the Machine and Friend in the Machine. It didn’t disappoint the eclectic audience.
Faraday Research Associate Dr Beth Singler, who made the brilliant film with Cambridge based production company Little Dragon films, compered the evening which was followed by a fascinating Q&A where the sparkling panel really showed their expertise in this area! Our thanks go to ARM and CFI for co-sponsoring the film.
Faraday Leavers
As our TWCF grant on The Science of Human Flourishing comes to its conclusion in a few months we are sorry to be saying 'goodbye' to some colleagues.
Dr Hilary Marlow was course director (until December 2016) led the sub-project on Science and Scripture in Christianity and Islam. Hilary will still be in Cambridge and has a substantial speaking programme.
Dr Caroline Tee worked alongside Hilary Marlow in exploring the ways in which Muslim and Christian scientists from different contexts relate their scriptures and traditions to the scientific worlds in which they operate. We congratulate Caroline on her appointment as Senior Lecturer at Chester University.
Cara Daneel worked with Ruth Banciewicz on the sub-project Wonders of the living world: biology and belief. She is now working at the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics, University of Cambridge.
All of these have been regular contributors to this Newsletter, and have been a valuable part of Faraday's activities. We will miss them, but we wish them well in their future endeavours.

Faraday visitor
We are pleased to welcome Corinna Klodt, who is a visiting scholar at St Edmund's College during the summer months. Corinna graduated from the Unviersity of Heidelberg in 2016 with a diploma in Protestant Theology. She  has been working as a  research and teaching assistant in Systematic Theology (dogmatics, ethics and philosophy of religion) at the University of Osnabrueck since August 2016. The working title of her PhD project is: "Christianity as 'antiselectionist revolt'?: Chances and limits of evolutionary perspectives on Christian faith relating to the works of Gerd Theissen, Heiner Mühlmann and Robert Bellah". During her time in Cambridge she will be studying the work of Robert Bellah, especially his 2011 publication: Religion in Human Evolution. From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age and try to figure out in what sense and to what extent he uses evolutionary categories to describe religions. 
Upcoming External Events
Greenbelt Festival 24-27 August, Kettering
Come and find out more about the Faraday Institute and talk to some of our researchers in The Telescope section of this year’s Greenbelt Festival.
 
East meets West: Approaches to Science in the Orthodox and Western Christian Traditions
Monday 17 September 2018 6.00-9.00 pm, Monday 17 September 2018
The Garden Room, St Edmunds College Cambridge
Includes a light meal. FREE but Booking essential
 A collaborative event between:  The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion (Cambridge) and the Institute of Historical Research / National Hellenic Research Foundation (Athens)
 
Speakers
Dr Hilary Marlow (University of Cambridge)
The modern environmental challenge: Insights from Eastern and Western Christian Theologies
Rev. Dr Christopher C. Knight (Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge) 
Eastern Orthodox Perspectives on the Science-Theology Dialogue
Moderator: Dr Efthymios Nicolaidis (National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens; Director of the Science and Orthodoxy around the World project)
 


Annual Reception for Christians in the Cambridge Scientific Community

Monday 26 November 2018 - New Venue!
The Faraday Institute will hold the sixth annual reception on Monday 20 November 2018 starting from 6.00 pm in Christ Church , Cambridge, CB1 1HT.
The invitation is for all in the Cambridge area who self-identify as scientists (from graduate students to FRSs and Nobel prize-winners) and who also self-identify as Christians.
Save this date and watch this space to find out what we have in store. 
 
Copyright © 2017 The Faraday Institute All rights