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Science, Philosophy, and Belief

2008 Summer Seminar

June 23 - July 18, 2008

A four-week faculty development seminar for Chinese professors and postgraduate students will be held at Calvin College in the summer of 2008. The seminar will be directed by Del Ratzsch of Calvin College and Michael Murray of Franklin & Marshall College.

While popular disputes concerning the relationship between science and religion have been most visible in the United States, the underlying issues are relevant to scholars in science, religion, and the humanities globally. Scholars from all three areas are in substantial disagreement about whether or not their disciplines can and do overlap and, if so, how. All of this highlights the need for careful reflection by scholars in these areas on the nature of scientific inquiry, its deliverances, and its potential to displace 
religious and philosophical conceptions of the world. This four week seminar will focus on these and related issues. In particular, we will focus attention on historical and contemporary philosophical 
conceptions of science, the role of philosophy and theology in the rise of modern science, and historical and contemporary approaches to science/religion relationships.Instruction will be in English.

The seminar will feature a different distinguished visiting lecturer each week representing both the sciences and the humanities. The confirmed lecturers are Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame, Philosophy), 
Owen Gingerich (Harvard, Astronomy), Richard Swinburne (Oxford, Philosophy), and John Polkinghorne (Cambridge, Physics). Following is the dates and times of each weekly public lecture:

Sir John Polkinghorne
Thursday June 26
“Can a Scientist Believe in a
Destiny Beyond Death?”

Calvin Theological 
Seminary Chapel
Listen to the lecture mp3

Dr. Alvin Plantinga
Wednesday, July 2
“Science and Religion:
Why Does the Debate Continue?”

Calvin Theological
Seminary Chapel
Listen to the Lecture mp3

Owen Gingerich
Wednesday July 9
“The Divine Handiwork:
Evolution and the Wonder of Life”

Gezon Auditorium
Listen to the Lecture mp3

Richard Swinburne
Wednesday July 16
“God and Morality”
Gezon Auditorium
Listen to the Lecture mp3

The seminar is specifically designed for faculty and graduate students in related disciplines from universities in mainland China. Participants will be expected to begin or continue work on a research 
project related to the theme of the seminar. Completed projects will be presented at a follow-up conference to be held in Beijing in the spring of 2009.

The program will cover all travel and seminar expenses, and provide books and gifts for all participants. 

Participants: Sixteen Chinese professors plus six Chinese graduate students with relevant interests. Interested professors should email an application by January 1, 2008.

The seminar will involve the following distingished scholars: 

Dr. Alvin Plantinga

plantingaAlvin Plantinga (University of Notre Dame), is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. His current position is John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He gave the 2004–5 Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews University, titled Science and Religion: Conflict or Concord? (forthcoming).

John Polkinghorne

Polkinghorn John Polkinghorne (Cambridge University), former president of Queens College, Cambridge, worked as a theoretical elementary particle physicist and then a mathematical physics professor at Cambridge University. He was awarded the 2002 Templeton Prize for progress in religion. He is the author of The Faith of the Physicist, Belief in God in an Age of Science, andFaith, Science and Understanding.

Owen Gingerich

gingerich Owen Gingerich (Harvard University) is senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Research Professor of Astronomy and History of Science at Harvard University. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. His books include The Great Copernicus Chase: And Other Adventures in Astronomical History and The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler.

Richard Swinburne

swinburne Richard Swinburne (Oxford University), is Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, Emeritus, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy. Swinburne is the author of fifteen books including Space and Time,Epistemic JustificationAn Introduction to Confirmation Theory, and The Existence of God.

pdf Summer Seminar Brochure


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