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Seminar Series: Christian Perspectives in Science (2015)


About the Series
This seminar series explores interactions between Christian faith and scholarship in the natural and applied sciences. A schedule of recent seminars is given below. Seminar topics vary over a range of interdisciplinary issues, drawing insights from religion, philosophy, astronomy, geology, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, physics, engineering, nursing, mathematics, computer science, psychology, sociology, history, and other departments and programs.
Time and place
Seminars are typically held several Fridays per semester, 3:30-4:45 p.m., at Calvin College in Science Building room 110, unless otherwise noted. See Calvin's Visitor Resources for maps and directions to theScience Building. Faculty, students, staff and off-campus visitors are welcome.If you would like to receive regular email announcements for each week's seminar, or if you have other questions or comments, contact Loren Haarsma.
Leading a seminar
If you are interested in leading a seminar, contact Loren Haarsma. You don't have to write an entirely new lecture in order to lead a seminar. You could also:
—present a lecture you have given elsewhere or an article you have recently published;
—present a preliminary draft of a lecture or an article on which you are working, to get some feedback;
—lead a discussion about how to teach Christian perspectives on a certain topic in the classroom.
Other science-and-religion seminar series in the Grand Rapids area:
Grand Dialogue in Science and Religion
Human Origins Seminar Series, Calvin College

Archives

2001 | 2002 | 2003 |2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007| 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 |2014 |current


Schedule for Spring 2015

February 6, 2015, 3:30 p.m. in Science Building basement room 010

"The Rise of Deluge Geology: Calvin Tossed by Waves"

Ralph Stearley, Geology, Geography, and Environmental Sciences Department, Calvin College.

Abstract
During the past century, a “warfare paradigm” for the relationship of science and faith has been aggressively promoted by some Christians and some prominent materialist scientists. Often, the geologic record including the record of the history of life has been a focal point for tragic-comedic pronouncements. It is generally recognized that a principal component of misinformation undergirding this warfare mentality was simplistic and/or malicious historiography accomplished during the late nineteenth century, regarding the historical relationship between science and Christianity. During the past generation, historians of science have debunked the warfare metaphor. Yet, since 1960, a large number of evangelical Christians have somehow succumbed to the parallel claims that mainstream geologists are untrustworthy and that Noah’s Flood is responsible for much if not most of the global stratigraphic record (“Deluge Geology”). Calvin College science faculty have grappled with the technical and cultural issues surrounding the history of Earth and life for over 70 years. This presentation will explore how our current cultural scene has emerged, with twin foci: a) the rise of modern Deluge Geology, and b) the effort that Calvin scientists, theologically sited within a Reformed sense of God’s rule over nature, have exerted to defuse the warfare metaphor.
Recordings and related resources
audio_recording (recording stops after 67 minutes, so final 25 minutes were not recorded), handout, power_point_slides.
Co-sponsors
Calvin College Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies Department.

February 13, 2015, 3:30 p.m. in Science Building basement room 010

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!": Evolution's Big Three Challenges to Theism

Jeffrey Schloss, Professor of Biology at Westmont College; Director, Center for Faith, Ethics & Life Sciences; Senior Scholar at BioLogos.

Abstract
The "creation - evolution debate" is of course not a single controversy at all, but entails disagreements about numerous issues, including the adequacy of scientific evidence for key proposals of evolution like common descent, the teaching (if any) of scriptures on issues like earth's age and a primordial human pair, and - the focus of this talk - the general implications of evolution for biblical theism. Three issues have commanded particular attention from the time of Darwin until the present: the question of design and divine purpose in nature, the issue of human "animality" and its implications for moral responsibility, and the way in which evolution is seen to exacerbate the problem of natural evil. Although these issues are both complex and legitimately important, their assessment is often dominated by polarized pronouncements that the findings of science are both clear and utterly noxious in their implications for belief in a wise and moral Creator, or that they present no serious challenge. This talk will describe and assess new findings in evolutionary theory that make the first extreme unfounded, but do not fully justify the second. It will argue that, rightly understood, evolution can be seen as concordant with but not demonstrative of theism, and is beset by the ambiguity that has always attended Christian reflection on the natural world. Seeing concord does not just provoke, but requires theistic belief.
Co-sponsors
The BioLogos Foundation.
 

February 27, 2015, 3:30 p.m. in Science Building room 110

"Light of the World: Uncovering the Unexpected Through Science and Scripture"

Kathryn Applegate, BioLogos Program Director.

Abstract
In John 8:12 and 9:5, Jesus calls himself the light of the world. Light and darkness–seeing and not seeing–are apt images for how we come to understand who Jesus is as well as for how we do science. In both cases, we need eyes to see something new, a way to look beyond the existing paradigm to a more coherent view of reality. This was true for first-century Jews awaiting a political savior in a Roman-occupied land; this is true for scientists today who study the workings of the world God has made. So often who God is and what he has done, whether in our lives, in Scripture, or in the created order itself, are not what we would have expected. We will consider several examples from both Scripture and science where the unexpected sheds new light on the character of God. Reflecting on the unexpected can be especially helpful for those who are new to thinking about how evolution could accord with the God of the Bible.
Recordings and related resources
audio_recording, power_point_slides.

April 23 (Thursday), 2015, 3:30 p.m. in room to be announced

"Confronting our Brainhood and Substantive Alienation"

Carl Gillett, Professor of Philosophy, Northern Illinois University.

Abstract
To Be Announced.
Recordings and related resources
audio_recording, power_point_slides.
Co-sponsors
Calvin College Philosophy Department.
 

April 24, 2015, 3:30 p.m. in room to be announced

"Fundamentalism vs. Mutualism: Understanding our Ongoing Debates over Reduction and Emergence"

Carl Gillett, Professor of Philosophy, Northern Illinois University.

Abstract
To Be Announced.
Recordings and related resources
audio_recording, power_point_slides.
Co-sponsors
Calvin College Philosophy Department.
 


Schedule for Fall 2015

To be determined