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Christian Perspectives in Science Seminar Series (2009-2010)

Schedule

September 11, 2009

"Wrestling with Darwin"

Karl Giberson, Eastern Nazarene College; President of Biologos Foundation; author of Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.
Abstract
Karl Giberson was raised in a fundamentalist parsonage and entered college in 1975 intending to become a creation scientist and join the fight against evolution. While studying science at college he became convinced that evolution was true and, with much struggle and angst, abandoned his childhood belief in creationism. Karl's personal story mirrors that of America in the decades since Darwinism came ashore and challenged the country's traditional creation story. This is the story of both Karl's personal struggle to make peace with evolution and that of a deeply religious country, as it engages the same struggle.
Co-sponsor
Sponsored by Seminars in Christian Scholarship
Recordings and related resources
powerpoint slides
audio recording (.wma)

September 25, 2009

"Test of Faith" DVD (part 1) viewing and discussion
DVD produced by the Faraday Institute; discussion lead by Deborah Haarsma, Physics and Astronomy Department, Calvin College.
Abstract
The Faraday Institute in the United Kingdom has just released a new DVD on science and faith, entitled "Test of Faith." The script is well-written and includes interviews with several top experts on a range of topics. The production values are high, including some creative special effects. It comes with a study guide for use by small groups. Come for a showing and consider how you might use "Test of Faith" in Calvin courses or at local churches. To allow time for discussion, half the video will be shown at each session: 
September 25:
 apologetics, cosmology, environment; 
October 2:
 evolution, neuroscience, bioethics.

October 2, 2009

"Test of Faith" DVD (part 2) viewing and discussion
DVD produced by the Faraday Institute;discussion lead by Deborah Haarsma, Physics and Astronomy Department, Calvin College.
Abstract
The Faraday Institute in the United Kingdom has just released a new DVD on science and faith, entitled "Test of Faith." The script is well-written and includes interviews with several top experts on a range of topics. The production values are high, including some creative special effects. It comes with a study guide for use by small groups. Come for a showing and consider how you might use "Test of Faith" in Calvin courses or at local churches. To allow time for discussion, half the video will be shown at each session: 
September 25:
 apologetics, cosmology, environment; 
October 2:
 evolution, neuroscience, bioethics.

October 16, 2009

"Why Newton was not an Empiricist"

Steve Wykstra, Philosophy Department, Calvin College,
C.J. Majeski, philosophy student, Calvin College
Noah Cawley, philosophy student, Calvin College
Abstract
Isaac "I feign no hypotheses" Newton is often billed as an hard-nosed empiricist. But did Newton really think that it is only by observation and experiment that we can ascertain the truth of any propositions about physical reality (at least, any of the sort that a physicist needs to trouble herself about)? In Friday talks in previous years, we've considered Newton's arguments in "De Grav" ("On Gravity and the Equilibrium of Fluids), focusing on Newton's analysis of the nature of matter and of action-at-a-distance forces. In this talk, we will turn to how, in De Grav, Newton reasons about space and time. Newton develops his ideas by attacking the arguments Descartes gives in Principles of Philosophy. There, Descartes champions a "relational" conception of motion: as Descartes sees it, the kinematic description of the motion of an observable body must always be relative to some other observable body (we can't observe it's motion relative to "space," after all). Newton's response to Descarte's relational kinematics bring him to his own view that real motion is within -- and relative to -- a "container" conception of "absolute space" and "absolute time," the same view as he later champions in the General Scholium of the Principia. By considering his reasoning closely, we hope to get some fresh insight into three things: into whether Newton was really an empiricist, into how science works, and into, perhaps (dare we hope?), the nature of space and time themselves.
Recordings and related resources
audio recording (.wma)

November 6, 2009

"The Seven Temptations of Neuroethics"

Bill Struthers, Associate Professor of Psychology, Wheaton College
Abstract
Whether defined as the neural basis of morality and ethics or as the subfield of biomedical ethics that deals with advances in the neurosciences, there is considerable concern among Evangelical Christians about Neuroethics. There are a number of potential areas in Neuroethics that will prove to be points of contention and they can be understood as the Seven Temptations. Each will be addressed with specific attention given to Evangelical responses to how the scientific, medical and public policy communities view these issues. An overview of the importance of addressing these temptations within the social, political, and theological arenas will be presented.
Recordings and related resources
powerpoint slides
audio recording (.wma)