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2014 Seminars

Equipping the Next Generation of Christian Evolutionary Biologists and Paleobiologists: A Seminar for Early Career Scientists
June 21-29, 2014

Directed by: Ralph Stearley, Calvin College &
Cara Wall-Scheffler, Seattle Pacific University

Funds provided by a grant from the BioLogos Foundation's Evolution and Christian Faith Program

Seminar Description

Christian scientists in evolutionary biology and paleobiology are immersed in a polarized culture, actively promoted by some Christians and atheists who push the notion that science and faith are at war.  This seminar will encourage and assist young Christian scientists (graduate students and early career scientists) to negotiate this theological tension.  We will examine the major role that Christians have played in the history of paleontology, paleoanthropology and evolutionary biology; means of negotiating societal tensions; and the role that these young Christian scientists can have in the alleviation of these tensions. 

We will draw on the expertise of four guest speakers:  Mary Schweitzer (dinosaur paleobiology, North Carolina State University); David Lahti (behavioral evolution, Queens College, CUNY); Ronald Numbers (history of science, University of Wisconsin); and Rob Barrett (theology and science, congregational issues, Colossian Forum).

We will conclude our week with a field excursion to northern Michigan to collect Middle Devonian fossils. 

Participants will receive a stipend, free lodging during the seminar in apartments operated by Calvin College, free books, and a small travel allowance. The accommodations are spacious and will accommodate spouses and families.

About the Directors

Ralph Stearley is a paleontologist with broad interests in the history of
life. He received his BA in biological anthropology from the University of
Missouri and MS and PhD in geosciences with emphases on paleontology
from the University of Utah and the University of Michigan respectively.
He is professor of geology at Calvin College, where he has taught since
1992. His published research has included work on marine invertebrate
ecology and paleoecology, fluvial taphonomy, the systematics and evolution
of salmonid fishes, and Pleistocene mammalian biogeography. He was privileged to be able to co-author, with former Calvin colleague Davis Young,
The Bible, Rocks and Time, published by InterVarsity Press in 2008.


Cara Wall-Scheffler was in the inaugural class of Gates Scholars to Cambridge University and completed her PhD there in 2005. Since then she has worked at University of Wisconsin, University of Washington and now is professor of biology at Seattle Pacific University. Her research focuses on how extinct and extant populations of humans use locomotion to gain access to their resources, with a specific focus on human body shape and physiology that allows locomotion even under stressful situations such as that experiencedby females during pregnancy. She has worked with the Faraday Institute and BioLogos with the specific goal of educating people about evolution in general, and human evolution in particular.


Application Information

Applicant Information, including who may apply and how to apply, can be found here.

The application deadline is April 21, 2014.


Seminars @ Calvin
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
fax 616.526.6682