American Scientific Affiliation & Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation
Volume 53, Number 1 JAN/FEB 2011
Carol Aiken has been the ASA’s Executive Assistant since Aug. 4, 1991. She has done a wonderful job and will be dearly missed. She has lived in Massachusetts all of her life. After graduating from Burdett College, she worked for a lawyer and eventually had her own drapery and slipcover business for 14 years. She and her husband, Charlie, adopted a son, Arun, from India in Oct. 1979, when he was four months old. He has a private pilot license. Their son, Heath, is an inhalation specialist in Boston. Their daughter, Heather, is a physical therapist, and she and her husband have a six-year-old daughter, Aidan.
Carol says she has loved her job at the ASA office in Ipswich and has grown and learned from it over the years. She plans to garden and see more of her family upon retirement and enjoy her hobbies of knitting, sewing, and cooking.
We thank Carol so much for her skills and marvelous support, and we hope to see her at the ASA Annual Meetings in the future, where she can enjoy the lectures and meetings without having to WORK!
Marty Herdrich began her duties Nov. 29, 2010. Her family consists of two daughters, Tricia and Alison; son-in-law, Brian; and two grandchildren, Jackson and Madeline. She teaches Kids’ Church at Hope Community Church in Newburyport, MA, and has served there as greeter, voluntary office assistant (occasionally filled in for vacations), past member of the pastoral search committee, and participates in Bible studies. She has also taught Sunday school and was a youth group leader at other churches and was on the Koinonia (Cursillo) Team at the Church of the Covenant in Erie, PA.
Outside office hours, she enjoys “precious time with my grandchildren; reading, particularly Christian inspirational books and positive motivational books; walking, especially along the boardwalk in Newburyport … and in York, ME;” and knitting scarves for her church to give away as gifts.
Marty has worked at General Electric and Erie Insurance Exchange in Erie, PA. More recently, she worked for Aon Consulting in Newburyport, MA. She has also worked for a lawyer, accounting firms, and at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, MA.
Marty heard about the ASA when a friend of a friend who works at ASA told her about this opening, and the rest is now history. Randy Isaac says, “Marty has an excellent record of experience in office management and has the skills to be an effective contributor to our organization.”
Marty says her first week at the ASA office was great, “as everyone is so very kind and resourceful.” She adds, “I’m looking forward to enjoying my time at ASA, as it’s a blessing to me to be here …”
“Science-Faith Synergy: Glorifying God and Serving Humankind” is the theme of this year’s ASA Annual Meeting. Hosted jointly by Wheaton College and North Central College, it will be held on the Naperville, IL, campus of North Central, July 29 through August 1. Key verse is Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Confirmed plenary speakers are
Confirmed symposia topics are
Wheaton profs Rod Scott and Ray Lewis are program chair and local arrangements chair, respectively.
Call for Papers
Abstracts for a paper or poster presentation are due January 15. Guidelines, updated meeting information, and a PowerPoint presentation are at www.asa3.org/ASA/meetingASA.html.
Randall D. Isaac
This new year of 2011 brings us to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the American Scientific Affiliation. From the first fledgling activities of the five founding members, the ASA has devoted itself to providing resources for Christians interested in the issues of science and faith. The world was quite different then. At that time, the structure of DNA had not yet been elucidated, and the age of the universe was unknown, thought to be only a few billion years old. There were few, if any, other organizations addressing issues pertaining to science and Christian faith. Communication was limited to printed materials and the annual conferences.
Today the field is dotted with a wide variety of faith-science organizations, many having been spawned by the ASA in one way or another. Dissemination of information on science and faith is dominated by electronic means, with numerous blogs having a wide range of quality. The ASA continues to be unique in several ways. One is its policy of not being an advocacy group but a voice for a spectrum of opinions within the guidelines of our statement of faith and our commitment to integrity in the practice of science. Another differentiation is our function as a membership organization, providing a network of scientists who have a Christian faith.
One of the key reasons that ASA continues to thrive today is the faithful dedication of many staff and volunteers. In this issue, we feature Carol Aiken who has just retired as executive assistant after nearly 20 years of service. She has been the primary interface for our members for each annual meeting during that time as well as many tours and a myriad of calls to the office. We owe her a great debt of gratitude for her contribution of time and effort to help us in our mission. We will miss her greatly.
We are most grateful that God has provided us with a timely and well-qualified successor to Carol. Marty Herdrich is now on board and climbing a steep learning curve. Come to the office or make plans to come to the annual meeting in Illinois at North Central this summer to get acquainted.
This is a good opportunity to publicly express appreciation to the rest of the staff, many of whom work with no or very little pay but whose work makes all the difference to us. Lyn Berg continues as managing editor of the newsletter and the journal. The transformation from submitted articles to printed and electronic formats is not an easy one but Lyn does it effectively on a regular basis. Frances Polischuk continues as our membership manager. This is her 16th year supporting the ASA, returning to us in 2008 after a 7-year hiatus. Previously, she also handled the financial data. Rounding out the office staff is Jim Hill, our bookkeeper who faithfully keeps track of all the transactions. Over 85% of our operating funds come from membership dues and donations from members, leading to a large number of individual transactions to be tracked and recorded.
Extending beyond the daily office operations, Arie Leegwater begins his fourth year as editor of our journal. He is focused on improving the quality of the journal to sustain our reputation as one of the leading publishers of articles on science and faith. Margaret Towne and Dave Fisher are the ever-enthusiastic co-editors of this newsletter, reaching out to all members to collect the bits of information you enjoy reading. Their primary frustrations are the lack of space to publish all the material as well as the challenge of obtaining information from all members.
Terry Gray continues to be the webmaster with the skills to make our resources available to everyone. Jack Haas and Craig Rusbult contribute resource pages that round out a diverse set of topics. We look forward to new initiatives in electronic communication that will enable us to provide more material relevant to the younger generation.
Doug Hayworth is leading our project to evaluate science materials for homeschool curricula. He has gathered a team that is ramping up the infrastructure to be able to document the various options that are available.
Last but not least, the council members who serve five-year terms are the governing board of the organization. With one person elected as a replacement each year, the continually changing composition of the board leads to a dynamic strategic outlook. The contributions of each person are vital to our success. We extend to all of you a heartfelt thank-you.
Celebrating 60 years of membership
Richard H. Bube
Howard H. Claassen
Walter R. Hearn
Truman V. Hershberger
Robert E. Jervis
O. Carroll Karkalits
Kermit O. Ratzlaff
Donald S. Robertson
George E. Speake
Robert G. Ziegler
Celebrating 55 years of membership
Austin F. Anthis
Neal O. Brace
George R. Douglas, Jr.
David O. Moberg
Robert E. VanderVennen
Celebrating 50 years of membership
Jerry D. Albert
Robert D. Anderson
Robert B. Griffiths
Elizabeth M. Hairfield
Robert A. Hirschy
Frederick D. Shannon
Joseph L. Spradley
Walter R. Thorson
Andrew J. Wagner
Richard T. Wright
Edwin M. Yamauchi
ASA President Jennifer Wiseman led the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church in November. This event was sponsored by WesleyNexus. Jennifer is an astronomer with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and is the Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.
Martin Price is leading the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in the academic year 2010–11. Martin is the former executive director of Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), in Ft. Myers, FL. Orin Gelderloos, acting board chair said, “We are pleased that someone with Martin’s stature, leadership and experience has agreed to join us at Au Sable to help further our mission and continue the forward momentum that we have established in recent years.” Martin and others will implement the organization’s strategic plan, focus on student recruitment and develop a viable fund-raising process.
Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies is dedicated to training leaders to steward the Earth through education, restoration, leadership and witness. It offers field-based, university-level courses in environmental science at campuses in the Great Lakes region, the Pacific Northwest, and India—with transferable credits to more than 60 colleges and universities. It provides a framework and services for sustainable community-building and environmental education and restoration programs for children and adults in northwest lower Michigan. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX, hosted a debate Nov. 18, 2010, between Southwestern Seminary professor William Dembski and British atheist Christopher Hitchens. More than 3,500 people assembled to hear them debate “Does a Good God Exist?” An estimated 19,000 viewed it online.
The debaters presented their cases for why the evidence of design in nature does or does not imply God’s existence, and whether his character was good or evil.
Although fighting advanced esophageal cancer, Hitchens spoke with a strong voice and clear mind. He had arranged his chemotherapy around the debate so that he would not be “demoralized.” He labeled the concept of a sovereign Deity “a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea.” He characterized the biblical view of human depravity as “you have to think of yourself as created incurably sick and then ordered under pain of death and eternal punishment to be well.”
Dembski countered the arguments in Hitchens’ book, god is not great. Objecting to the “totalization of Darwin,” he said most theists accept evolution on the micro scale.
It explains how bacteria will gain antibiotic resistance; it will explain how insects get insecticide resistance. But it doesn’t explain how you get bacteria or insects in the first place.
Regarding the charge that Christianity depicts the human race as morally ill, he replied, “We are sick, yes, I would say, but not incurably so. The cure is there, according to Christianity—Jesus Christ.”
The entire debate (2 hrs, 18 min) is archived at www.pcawebcast.com/2010debate and available for a $4 fee per view.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair debated Hitchens at the Munk Debates center in Toronto on November 26. Hitchens criticized religion for blocking Middle East peace, perpetuating poverty by subjugating women as inferior and causing the genocide in Rwanda—which he called “the most Christian country in the world, and one in which many of the people who committed the crimes are now hiding in the pulpit.” He charged that millions of people have died because of the Roman Catholic stance that “AIDS was not as bad as condoms.”
Blair countered that it’s important not to condemn all people of religious faith because of the “bigotry or prejudice shown by some.” For example, health care in Africa has been delivered by those motivated by their religion. “The proposition that religion is unadulterated poison is unsustainable.” Details are at www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/27/world/main7094634.shtml and www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/tony-blair/8164552/Tony-Blair-defends-religious-faith.html.
Blair converted to Catholicism in 2007, after leaving office. He has since established the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to promote understanding among religions and to encourage multifaith participation in education and ending extreme poverty. See www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org.
Wheaton College has accepted the designation of Associate University status with the Faith & Globalization Initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF). Wheaton is the first college in the US to join TBFF, a highly selective group of colleges and universities around the world. This designation recognizes a college’s commitment to teach students about the constructive role of faith in global engagement. Wheaton College Provost Stanton Jones says that in accepting the designation, the College hopes to be a model of civility and collaboration, even as it maintains its distinctively evangelical identity. Details are at www.wheaton.edu/news/releases/10-11_releases/12.01.10_Tony_Blair_Foundation.html
The Affiliation of Christian Geologists (ACG) met at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver in October 2010. Charles Carrigan, assoc. prof. of geology at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL, began the meeting explaining what ACG is, outlining its purpose and history, and sharing its vision for the future. ACG wants to dialogue with seminaries and religion faculty, draft a statement on environmental stewardship, and add more resources to its website.
Over 40 people were present. After Carrigan’s talk, they had fellowship and snacks, and one young man, just about to enter graduate school, commented that finding ACG was such a blessing to him!
Finishing off the meeting on a particularly strong note, geologist Carol Ann Hill gave a presentation on Grand Canyon Caves. She guided attendees through four different caves, showed photographs of the formations, and explained how these formations can be used to track the descent of the water table over time. Dating these cave deposits by U-Pb geochronology shows their formation over time with insights into the formation of the canyon as well. It was a most insightful talk and a great way to end the meeting.
Last October, James Mahaffy, biologist at Dordt College, Sioux Center, IA, gave a talk at a teacher’s convention, stating that Christian colleges, and even Christian high schools, neglect earth science. Wheaton geologist Jeffrey Greenberg states that the following evangelical liberal arts schools offer a Geoscience degree: Calvin, Wheaton, and Olivet Nazarene. Taylor has a geological concentration in Environmental Science.
Microbiologist and immunopharmacologist Carolyn Crocker has written Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters. After teaching biology at George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, she is now president of the American Institute for Technology and Science Education (AITSE). The nonprofit organization’s website says, “Our position is that good science is based on evidence, not mere consensus.” The book is her account of having her contract not renewed because of what she perceives as viewpoint discrimination, as a result of teaching the weaknesses of evolutionary theory as well as its strength. The book is available at www.freetothink.us.
Jack Templeton received the American Jewish Committee’s 2010 National Courage of Belief Award on Nov. 3, 2010. Jack is president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation. This prize goes to individuals who have achieved significant and enduring humanitarian improvements in the world through living out their moral ideals and serving the community. Upon receiving the award, Templeton said that he believed both Israel and the United States had special roles in divine providence. He also encouraged listeners to study the lives of prominent Jewish Americans, and to educate young people about the significant role Jews have played in making the United States a great nation. Templeton Report, Nov. 18, 2010.
Oxford University mathematics professor John Lennox was the central figure in a two-page article entitled “God is a person, not a theory.” Lennox has debated evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins three times, leading the article’s author to label him “academia’s lead champion of Christianity against the post-9/11 ‘New Atheists.’”
One believer had e-mailed Lennox saying when he saw a newspaper report that Stephen Hawking had concluded that God had not created the universe, it “hit him viscerally” and “knocked him for a six.” The interviewer asked Lennox whether it had affected him similarly. Lennox replied, “No, not in the slightest … I thought, ‘What new arguments does he have?’”
Among the points Lennox made in critiquing Stephen Hawking’s newest book, he said, “Mathematics can take on a life of its own.” Regarding the possibility of a multiverse, “I think it is Paul Davies who makes the point that an element of world view philosophy inevitably comes into these cosmological matters.”
Lennox appropriates the word “singularity” to mean “where God did something special.” His list includes the origin of DNA and Jesus’ miracles. He elaborates this and other points in his previous book, God’s Undertaker? and his newest, God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?
British bioethicist Luke Gormally has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics. He was the first research officer and long-time director of the Linacre Centre. More recently, he served as research professor at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, MI. His publications have covered topics that include euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, the sanctity of life in medicine, health-care allocation, and reproductive ethics—applying a life-affirming stance in each instance.
… patients cared for in a religious hospital or practice who seek time-sensitive but restricted interventions—such as emergency contraception—may face delays as their physicians transfer or refer them to nonreligious institutions. Whether these delays are seen as harmful to the patient depends on one’s beliefs about the intervention itself; even among the authors of this paper, judgments vary.
Science and Religion Today, April 23, 2010. “Ethical Dilemma for Doctors in Religious Hospitals.”
At a vespers service at the Vatican on Nov. 20, 2010, to mark the beginning of Advent, Pope Benedict XVI called for politicians, the media, and world leaders to show more respect for human life at its earliest stages, saying that embryos aren’t just biological material but dynamic, autonomous individuals.
Science and Religion Today (Nov. 19, 2010) dealt with doctors receiving formal training on how religious values can impact patient care. The author, Aasim Padela, a clinical scholar and Islamic bioethics researcher at the University of Michigan and fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, said,
Physicians, as members of the healing profession, aim to deliver the highest quality of care to their patients, so part of understanding their patients’ goals—and helping them to reach them through health—requires having some knowledge of the patients’ values.
He says the physician and patient should engage in a moral discussion, with the physician explaining the types of values embodied in each medical action, and they would together decide upon the best ways a patient’s values would be expressed. It is not clear how such skills on the part of the physician can be taught, and there is no consensus as to how to meet the purposes of this training within undergraduate or graduate education.
Just increasing awareness of the influence of religion upon health-care values and behaviors would make clinicians more sensitive to the dynamic interaction between patient values and the values of medicine in the clinical encounter. This awareness may make them more attuned to patient needs and hopefully deliver care that is of higher quality and more patient-centered. However, we have much work to do to develop best practices for imparting such knowledge and skills.
Last August OneNewsNow had an article titled “Donor look-alike service excludes Creator.” They said a Los Angeles celebrity sperm bank is peddling celebrity look-alikes to create babies that will be “attractive,” and critics are concerned about the morality of this. Is it “celebrity worship?”
Jeanne Monahan, a social psychologist and director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council says, “I would say this is a dangerous trend, catering to our very self-centered and, I guess, just beauty-absorbed society.” She adds, “The bottom line is that people are not items to be designed for appearance or utility, but they are created in love and they are created to love and to be a unique reflection of God, their Creator.” She is concerned that many embryos are going to be killed because they didn’t measure up to the qualifications that the sponsors were hoping for.
The sixth annual Evolution Weekend is Feb 11–13. Groups may sign up by e-mailing Michael Zimmerman at email@example.com, giving a contact name and the name of the group. They encourage groups to address ecological issues this year, but evolutionary discussions are always appropriate. This can be done through sermons, meaningful conversations and seminars, discussion groups, church classes, etc. The Clergy Letter Project’s newest initiative is Faces of the Clergy Letter Project. Details are at http://blue.butler.edu/~mzimmerm/rel_evolution_weekend_2011.htm
Last October, the American Academy of Religion held its Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, and hosted a “Science and Religion Hospitality Event.” Their goal was to facilitate members to meet new colleagues, greet old friends, and learn more about the following organizations: Zygon Center for Religion and Science (www.zygoncenter.org), Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (www.ctns.org), and Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (www.iras.org).
The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul had a remarkable combination of exhibits from March to Oct. 24, 2010. It was one of very few museums worldwide allowed to display some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and included remarkable artifacts, paintings, and an audio tour. This particular exhibit, which the Science Museum partnered with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), has never been on display before. The scrolls rarely leave Israel, and the IAA only supports a single exhibition at any one time.
After seeing the five scroll fragments, visitors moved on to a display of the St. John’s Bible, which has been handwritten in the past decade. Visitors saw 28-vellum pages of this Bible which are illuminated with themes, images and technology of the 21st century, and they learned how the vellum is prepared.
Numerous illuminations in the handwritten St. John’s Bible are based on images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Donald Jackson, chief artist and calligrapher, has been inspired by photos of the cosmos that have come from the telescope. Since the St. John’s Bible was commissioned as a way to celebrate and mirror the world we live in today, it makes sense that space exploration and its impact on the world are included in the illuminated Bible.
If you would like to know what life is like on an archaeological dig, or more about Iraq’s origins, or information on the Dead Sea Scrolls, or many other areas, you can download the Biblical Archaeology Society’s free e-books from their website at www.biblicalarchaeology.org/e-books
Notre Dame’s History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) Graduate Program is initiating a new Theology and Science track to function in close collaboration with the University’s theology department. Students will complete what it is, in most respects, a standard theology PhD plus the specific HPS requirements. The deadline for applications to study in the autumn of 2011 is Jan. 15. Details are at http://reilly.nd.edu/hps, follow the link to Student Resources and then Graduate Student Handbook. Additional information is available from program director Don Howard, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is offering an advanced professional degree titled “Science and Theology Focus,” leading to a DMin. Their brochure says they are “Bridging the Word and the World.” Some areas of study include “Biblical Texts in the Word of Contemporary Science,” “Cosmology,” “Theology and Biological Evolution,” “Theology and the Technologies of Human Transformation,” “Theology, Technology and Society,” “Neuroscience in Theological and Pastoral Perspective,” and “Science/Theology and Ministry.” Electives are also available to accommodate each student’s interest and situation. For more information, contact the director, Susan Kendall, email@example.com or (412) 924-1421. Visit www.pts.edu.
To provide the public with evidence for an old earth “in a graciously communicated format,” Oklahoma ASA members Ken Wolgemuth and Greg Bennett have established the website www.oldearthcreationsociety.org. They also make information available to seminaries, Bible colleges, and other key organizations through Solid Rock Lectures, www.solidrocklectures.org. Bennett says,
On both sites, I’ve been gathering the geologically-oriented publications of ASA and others so that there is a common location for articles from multiple organizations—including our own—all related to geology.
In November, Susan Campbell, in her blog Still Small Voice: Religion, Faith, Spirituality, shared that Richard Sosis, an associate professor of anthropology at UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and two colleagues at Boston University are co-editing a new journal on the biological study of religion. It will be titled Religion, Brain & Behavior and will begin publication this year. Sosis says that the time is right for this publication. “The biological study of religion has been growing rapidly, especially in the last couple of years. The journal is multidisciplinary and will publish research on religion from various approaches, including cognitive science, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology.”
Ten journalists from the US, the UK, and China were selected last spring for the sixth annual Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowships in Science and Religion. Inaugurated in 2004, the fellowships include a program of research and scholarship at Cambridge University in England. This program starts with seminars with some of the world’s foremost physicists, cosmologists, philosophers, biologists, and theologians. Each fellow conducted an independent research project related to the intersection of science and religion.
On his Discover magazine blog, science journalist Chris Mooney recently described the two weeks he spent as a participant. He said, “When it comes to theology, I still see great value in the clarification of religious concepts, and in learning what the most thoughtful believers actually think and argue, and why.” As for the science seminars with experts like Denis Alexander (historical models for the relationship between science and religion), they “have been invaluable and insightful.” He said all the speakers spoke in a scholarly fashion, presenting expert takes on their respective fields. Templeton Report, June 23, 2010.
The John Templeton Foundation (JTF) has a new website, www.templeton.org. It includes a video biography of Sir John Templeton, thematic videos about JTF’s core funding areas, and video interviews with grantees.
The 2009 film Creation: How Darwin Saw the World and Changed It Forever is available on DVD, for digital download, or on-demand. There are some additional items on the DVD including Denis Alexander discussing issues related to the film. For information about Creation visit http://creationthemovie.com.
Fifteen professors from mainland China will attend a seminar on “Teaching Science, Philosophy and Belief” at Calvin College June 27–July 22, 2011. All profs and their universities must agree to add a course in science and belief to their curricula, or to improve an existing course. Messiah College profs Edward (Ted) Davis and Robin Collins will direct it, with participation from Owen Gingerich, Alvin Plantinga, Jeff Hardin and Robert Russell. A Templeton grant will cover all travel, seminar expenses and books. See www.calvin.edu/academic/philosophy/chinavirtues/summerseminar.
This is a very significant event. It is stimulating the dialogue of science and faith in China! Participants will gain a deeper understanding of some basic historical and philosophical issues in science and belief and will consider models of how science and religion interact. They will discuss whether science refutes or supports religious belief and other topics. At the end of the seminar, each participant will have developed a preliminary syllabus that would be suitable for a science and religion course.
Ted Davis has been to China twice to teach short courses. His current research, supported by the National Science Foundation, examines the religious lives and beliefs of prominent American scientists from the early twentieth century. Ted has lectured abroad at many universities and has given most edifying presentations at ASA Annual Meetings. This is an important mission and we thank Calvin College for its support.
to report what you’re doing. Please send the information to either editor, using the contact information under Contact Us.
The theme of the 18th Annual Summer Conference of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity will be “The Scandal of Bioethics: Reclaiming Christian Influence in Technology, Science, and Medicine.” It will convene at Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL, July 14–16. All serious proposals relevant to the study of bioethics are welcome, with abstracts due March 1. Contributed papers and posters must be submitted as 250–300-word abstracts plus a CV/resume. See www.cbhd.org/events/the-scandal-of-bioethics.
He joined the ASA in 1954 and enthusiastically shared ideas about how to integrate faith with his scientific profession. Walt Hearn observes, “I remember Russ Maatman as a serious but very gentle Christian scholar, even when he was forcefully making a point. I wish we could all be like that!”
Vernon Grounds died Sept. 12, 2010, at age 96. Considered one of the foremost leaders and thinkers in the founding of the evangelical Christian movement, he served Denver Seminary for over 60 years as Academic Dean, Second President, President Emeritus, and Chancellor. He was known for his lifelong commitment to social action, concern and care for the needs of the poor and under-represented, and a mentor to leaders at the local, regional, national, and international levels. His biography, Transformed by Love: The Vernon Grounds Story, was published by Discovery House Publishers in 2002. He was a contributing editor of Christianity Today, and wrote several books and hundreds of articles, including “God’s Perspective on Man” in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (forerunner of PSCF) available at www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1976/JASA12-76Grounds.html.
The chapter met October 2, 2010 at Steve and Sonja Blake’s home in Van Nuys for a short time of worship and a lecture by Joel Green of Fuller Seminary. After an informal potluck mixer on the patio and a short time of worship, Joel spoke to the approximately 40 attendees on “The Bible, Science, and the Soul: What Are They Saying about the Soul?”
Much of his lecture focused on the issue of what it means to be human. After discussing how this question is treated in the scriptures, literature, and film, Joel discussed how advances in neuroscience and molecular biology explain many of the functions associated with the soul in post-Descartes Western Christianity in terms of biological processes. Rather than bemoaning these developments, Joel argued that the scriptures are consistent with a monist perspective and that neuroscience raises many fruitful theological questions about the nature of spirituality, salvation, ecclesiology, and missions, among others. For example, because both the scriptures and neuroscience support the idea that spirituality is embodied, conversion and spiritual transformation should not be viewed as involving our “inner selves” but our whole selves. Neuroscience’s understanding of the importance of community reaffirms the importance of spiritual community—i.e., the church—in our spiritual growth.
After unpacking his monistic view, Joel discussed several difficult questions—including what it means for us to be made in God’s image, the relationship between humans and animals, and life after death.
Cook, Alan M. –Watertown, MA
Dahlin, Joel T. –College Park, MD
Dornbush, Andrew M. –Shoreview, MN
Duerr, Jeffrey M. –Newberg, OR
Dykstra, Amy B. –Coon Rapids, MN
Fan, Joyce L. –Madison, WI
Forman, Franklin W. –Rockford, IL
Franklin, Scott R. –Plainview, TX
Franklin, Barbara P. –Hillsburgh, ON Canada
Guandalini, Stefano –Flossmoor, IL
Kirtland, Joseph D. –Sioux Center, IA
Lefers, Mark A. –Kenosha, WI
Morris, Timothy R. –Westminster, CO
Probin, Jamie –Charleston, SC
Sawyer, Benjamin J. –Wheaton, IL
Thoelen III, Robert E. –Enfield, CT
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The Newsletter of the ASA and CSCA is published bimonthly for its membership by the American Scientific Affiliation. Send Newsletter information to the editors: David Fisher, 285 Cane Garden Cir., Aurora, IL 60504-2064. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and Margaret Towne, 8505 Copper Mountain Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89129. E-mail: TowneMG@aol.com. Both receive e-mail through email@example.com
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David Fisher, Margaret Towne
Managing Editor: Lyn Berg