American Scientific Affiliation &
Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation
Volume 53, Number 4 JUL/AUG 2011
“The Search for the Historical Adam” is the cover story of Christianity Today’s June issue. The cover says, “Some scholars believe genome science casts doubt on the existence of the first man and woman. Others say the integrity of the faith requires it.” Inside, the opening synopsis states, “The center of the evolution debate has shifted from asking whether we came from earlier animals to whether we could have come from one man and one woman.” The article quotes ASA members on both sides of the issue.
The article’s author, former Time religion editor Richard N. Ostling, devotes the article’s first six paragraphs to Francis Collins, including his genomic expertise, his conversion from atheism, and his rationale for theistic evolution or BioLogos. BioLogos senior fellow Dennis Venema points to the 95–99% “near identity” between the genomes of humans and chimpanzees plus the locations of “pseudogenes” to conclude that “humans are not biologically independent, de novo creations.” ASA Executive Director Randy Isaac interprets, “There was a lot of wiggle room [on Adam] in the past. The human genome sequencing took that wiggle room away.”
Biochemist Fazale Rana counters that “these types of genetic comparisons are meaningless” because they don’t explain “fundamental biological and behavioral differences” between humans and other primates. Theologian C. John (Jack) Collins agrees, “When you start talking about what it means to be human, much more than molecular biology is involved,” adding that “however God produced the bodies of the first human beings, it wasn’t purely a natural process.”
How Important Is the Question?
Physics professor Karl Giberson calls the thesis that Adam and Eve were not historical figures “a secondary or peripheral disagreement that shouldn’t cause us to hurl accusations of infidelity at one another.” But Jack Collins says if Adam and Eve didn’t exist, “we nullify so many things in the Bible [that] it results in a different story,” but he could conceive of Adam and Eve as “the king and queen of a larger population.” Physicist John Bloom argues that if a population of pre-Adamic hominids “collectively evolved into modern man, then the theological foundation for the nuclear family, sin and death appears to be eroded … If [the Bible] does not correctly explain the origin of a problem, should one trust its solutions?” The article is accessible at www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/june/historicaladam.html.
In a June 3 message to members, Randy Isaac wrote that the article “highlights one of the roles of the ASA in fostering dialog on key issues on science and Christian faith.” He encouraged members to go to our Voices blog on this topic www.asa3online.org/Voices/2011/06/03/the-search-for-the-historical-adam/ and express your opinion.
Because of the ASA’s pioneering role in this subject, much of the article’s content is already familiar to many members. With Christianity Today’s circulation of 130,000, the issue is coming to the attention of a wider Christian public. It may open doors to enlightening discussions.
… to register for the ASA Annual Meeting from July 29 to August 1 in suburban Chicago. Check details on the ASA website, www.asa3.org.
An observatory, an arboretum, and the USA’s largest nuclear accelerator are among the field trips planned in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. Yerkes Observatory, operated by the University of Chicago, is the birthplace of modern astrophysics. Among its five telescopes is the world’s largest refractor.
Morton Arboretum is recognized nationally for its research and educational activities—as well as for being a beautiful place to visit.
The Fermilab has distinguished itself with a four-decade record of discovering much of what we know about matter, energy, and the origin of the cosmos. In addition to colliding protons into antiprotons, its 6,800-acre site contains wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and “a home where the buffalo roam.”
Visitors arriving through one entrance pass through an icon entitled “Broken Symmetry.” It symbolizes the concept that the Big Bang produced a billion and one matter particles for every billion antimatter particles, and that this imbalance prevented the primordial universe from self-destructing at its very genesis.
Not bad for “flyover country”!
“You have an incredible gift at your fingertips—literally. Your keyboard,” says the team at Internet Evangelism Day, an interdenominational international initiative of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, based at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, IL. The organization designated May as “Digital Outreach Month,” informing churches about the many opportunities for online evangelism.
On May 15, IE Day partnered with several major publishers to offer free e-book downloads of Christian titles which are normally purchased. They covered web evangelism, social networking and other areas of effective communication. Naomi Frizzell, Chief Communications Officer of the Lausanne Movement, says, “This is a great opportunity to explore digital evangelism. I encourage Christians everywhere to take advantage of these free downloads to learn how to effectively share their faith in the digital world.”
Not Just for Geeks
“You do not need to be technical,” says Tony Whittaker, IE Day coordinator. “There are many simple yet fulfilling ways of being salt and light in cyberspace.” Two new video-clip resource sites demonstrate how to add an evangelistic video to Facebook with one click. These videos can even be downloaded to a mobile phone to share face-to-face. IE Day’s site includes pages on using mobile phones for evangelism, creating “outsider-friendly” church websites and introductory videos, social networking, how to blog or build a website, and much more. Additional information is available at www.IEDay.net.
Randall D. Isaac
The June 2011 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (PSCF) is a good stimulus for thinking about the ASA, and what it stands for and its mission. In this column, I’d like to use the articles as a springboard for highlighting what I see as some of the key characteristics of the ASA.
First of all, Arie’s editorial is a very insightful call to a stronger emphasis on the fundamentals. I was particularly struck by his statement,
We spend an inordinate amount of time and effort attempting to defend Christianity, the Scriptures, intelligent design, and so forth; however, to my mind, far too little attention is spent teasing out what a robust Christian position might mean for scientific practice in a particular discipline.
I would like to encourage all of us to reflect more on what our Christian perspective means for our specific discipline and to share that with colleagues.
Chris Rios’s article on complementarity is an excellent historical perspective on a critical role for the ASA. Exploring seminal ideas that relate mainstream science and basic Christianity is one of our primary objectives. We disseminate these ideas with critiques that allow us to understand a diversity of perspectives. Chris points out how one editor of our journal championed complementarity as key to understanding science and faith, while a subsequent editor respectfully raised questions about its philosophical coherence. This is healthy dialog at its best in the ASA.
Keith Miller addresses one of the most vexing problems in integrating science and faith: theodicy. He takes us through a variety of attempts to address this thorny issue. Keith makes no claim to definitively solve the issue but does offer a helpful set of implications for us to consider. Again, this article reflects a vital role of the ASA, an objective assessment of perspectives on core issues together with a path for reflection.
Junghyung Kim dives into a very specific and detailed aspect of science and faith. By exploring and contrasting the views of Arthur Peacocke and Wolfhart Pannenberg, he addresses what seems to be a fundamental difference between science and faith. Whereas science emphasizes the naturalistic methodology that has been so fruitful in the last few centuries, our faith recognizes the validity of revelation that transcends the naturalistic focus. Favoring one over the other leads to the two differing perspectives that Peacocke and Pannenberg represent. The ASA strives to maintain a balance between the two, respecting each for its own arena. Our role is to explore that balance.
One of the original objectives for the ASA established by its founders was to understand scientific discoveries in light of scriptural teaching. George Murphy’s article on the motion of the earth is a terrific example of doing just that. It is not the role of the ASA to deviate from or alter scientific consensus but to understand it properly. Einstein’s theory of general relativity approximately one hundred years ago has now been verified in many different ways. But its significance and application often continue to be misconstrued. Does this theory really mean that everything is relative and there is no absolute? Does it mean that the earth can legitimately be considered to be stationary and therefore in concordance with some interpretations of Scripture? George takes us through a better understanding of the nuances of what Einstein’s work really means. Similarly, the ASA must continue to explain the significance of scientific work and its implications.
While George’s article illustrates ASA’s role in explaining scientific understanding, Walter Makous’s article illustrates our role in understanding the Bible. Among the details that continue to puzzle us are the ages given in the Bible as part of the genealogical record. He offers further analysis of what can and cannot be concluded from a statistical analysis of those numbers.
We, too, must continue to recognize that we are primarily an organization of scientists and not theologians. We do need to rely on expert understanding of how to interpret the Scriptures. For this reason, we accept theologians with an interest in science as full members of the ASA. Approximately 4% of our members cite theology as their primary discipline. We must continue to seek cooperation between theologians and scientists to help us properly understand the Word of God.
Finally, the role of the ASA is to foster more dialog. Please use our PSCF discussion blog, easily accessible from our homepage, to submit your comments and to continue the discussion.
Celebrating 35 Years of Membership
John D. Buckwalter
R David Cole
Peter W. Corfield
Forest C. Deal Jr.
William C. Duke Jr.
Thomas G. Harrison
Richard K. Herd
Glenn E. Holt
Randall D. Isaac
Richard E. Johnson
Sherman P. Kanagy II
Robert A. Kistler
John A. Knapp II
Kathleen E. Lewis
Esther M. Martin
James A. Rynd
Steven R. Scadding
Bruce W. Schweitzer
David L. Sikkenga
Gary W. Thorburn
Nolan A. Van Gaalen
John G. Verkade
David C. Ziegler
Vernon Ehlers, former US Congressman and physicist, received an honorary degree at the University of Michigan commencement ceremony on April 30. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder sounded the theme of the day: “Graduates should take the skills and experience they gained at the university to become leaders who will change their communities and the world.” It is not surprising that Vernon was chosen to be honored, as he is definitely a leader who has had significant influence.
The Ecumenical Round Table (ERT) on science and religion met at the Episcopal Wasatch Retreat and Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT, April 27–30. This is a consortium of denominational delegates interested in matters of science, technology, and Christian faith. Attendees at this year’s meeting included the members of the Executive Council Committee on Science, Technology and Faith of the Episcopal Church, board members of the Presbyterian Association on Science, Technology, and Christian Faith (PCUSA), members of the ELCA Alliance for Faith, Science, and Technology Network (Lutheran), and representatives of the United Church of Christ Science and Technology Network. The United Methodist Church was unable to send representatives this year, but it is also a member.
In addition to discussing better ways to deal with issues of science and faith at the congregational level, participants heard from several scientists and theologians. Presentations dealt with the growing scarcity of usable water and its implications for future political conflicts and economic impacts, the effects of climate change on water resources, and the imbalance between the US and European use of water and the needs of the rest of the world. A document produced last October of Christian NGOs that met at the World Vision headquarters in Washington, DC, entitled “A Common Christian Statement on Water” was distributed (cf. http://thewaterproject.org/pdf/Christian-Statement-on-Water.pdf). ASA members in attendance were Karl Evans and George Murphy (ELCA) and Sara Miles (PCUSA). * Sara Miles
Physicist Paul Carr established the Carr Scholarship in Science and Religion at the Boston University School of Theology where his father, Rev. Auburn Carr, graduated in 1932. This year, Eric Dorman, a third-year doctoral student in the Boston University Division of Religious and Theological Studies, is the 7th winner. Eric is interested in the Hindu contributions to the science-and-religion dialogue. A paper he co-wrote for a religion and science course titled “Hinduism and Science: The State of South Asian Science and Religion Discourse” will be published in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science in Sept. 2011.
Stephen Meyers started the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies (IBSS) in 1994. It is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization with the goal of educating people about the Bible and science. Their website gives information and provides free Bible courses that can be downloaded at www.bibleandscience.com/onlinelearning/courses.html. They also have an online gift shop with ancient biblical replicas.
IBSS is working on setting up a Bible and science museum, possibly in Lancaster, PA, but they are open to other possibilities. Also, they are looking for people who can write science and Bible-related courses. If you have a PowerPoint presentation, they can turn it into a course online. They hope to add a two-year seminary program in the future. Stephen went to Westminster Theological Seminary; his thesis was “A Biblical Cosmogony.” His main job is at the Philadelphia International Airport, and he works for IBSS voluntarily, part time. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Matthew Stutz, assistant professor of geoscience at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and member of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists (ACG), was featured on the New York Times website on April 11, reporting his research on the global distribution of barrier islands. The article says,
There are more barrier islands than we thought. These narrow pieces of sandy land that parallel ocean shores in many parts of the world shield beaches from ocean waves and protect the ecology of lagoons and marshes. And using new satellite photographs, scientists have found almost 13,000 miles of shoreline occupied by more than 2,000 barrier islands worldwide—an increase in number and extent of about 30 percent over estimates made in 2001.
Matthew said, “A lot of islands don’t have any published literature describing them. Our study gives at least a starting point.” The site notes that higher sea levels and severe storms have caused barrier islands to erode, hurricane Katrina being one example. * Kent Ratajeski, ACG
The National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology program has had a “Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus” competition for the last five years, awarding schools for their conservation leadership. Two of the six winners are Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) members: Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Reston, VA, and Montreat College in Montreat, NC. EMU has an innovative program to collect recycling by bicycle and the largest solar deployment in Virginia, which generates electricity from high-efficiency photovoltaic panels on the school’s library roof.
Montreat has had competition among their four residence halls to save the most energy, encouraging students to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. They also provide training in gardening, bringing fresh produce to the college. Andrea Thompson, co-president of the student-led group, Seeds, said, “We hope that the Chill Out award will continue bringing recognition to our school for our respect of God’s creation both in and out of the classroom.”
CCCU afflilate Baylor University in Waco, TX, also won. Baylor was chosen because of its recycling at home football games. More than 6.5 tons of trash were recycled during the 2010 season. Smith Getterman, Baylor’s sustainability coordinator, said, “Receiving national attention for our sustainability efforts draws attention to the fact that we, as Christian institutions of higher education, are at the vanguard of addressing important environmental and societal issues. Paul writes in Colossians, “for in him all things were created.” Therefore, we should see our institutions’ emphasis on stewardship of God’s creation as another way for us to be in service to the Lord our God.” CCCU website, May 9, 2011.
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a Vatican advisory panel, hosted a conference in April on the causes and consequences of retreating mountain glaciers. The scientists affirmed climate change and called for urgent measures to stem the damage. They called for reduction of CO2 emissions and reduction in methane and other pollutants that warm the air. The report said, “We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their wartersheds, aware that we all live in the same home.” They are committed to ensuring that everyone on the planet receives fresh air and clean water.
Pope Benedict has been called the “green pope” for his environmental concerns. In 2008, the Vatican installed photovoltaic cells on the roof of its main auditorium, and in 2009, a solar cooling unit was installed in its main cafeteria. The Vatican has joined a reforestation project which attempts to lower CO2 emissions. The Associated Press, May 10, 2011.
Pope Benedict XVI made an 18-minute call to the twelve astronauts aboard Endeavor and the International Space Station on May 21. He thanked them for helping us learn about the wonders of the universe, finding an intersection between science and religion. He offered his support of the space exploration program and sent blessings to the American, Russian and Italian astronauts. Nick Carbone, Time NewsFeed, May 25, 2011.
The National Center for Science Education included the following in their April 29 email. “A new poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News in twenty-four countries found that 41% of respondents identified themselves as ‘evolutionists’ and 28% as ‘creationists,’ with 31% indicating that they ‘simply didn’t know what to believe’ according to a press release issued by Ipsos on April 25, 2011.”
They state that in the USA, acceptance of evolution was higher among respondents who were younger, with a higher level of household income, and with a higher level of education. The survey was conducted online last September with approximately 19,000 participants from 24 countries. For the press release, visit www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5217 For NCSE’s collection of material on polls and surveys, visit http://ncse.com/creationism/polls-surveys. Glenn Branch, NCSE
On April 5, a judge in Illinois ruled that Illinois pharmacists cannot be forced to dispense emergency contraception if doing so violates their religious convictions. Requiring them to sell “morning-after” pills would violate the state’s right-of-conscience law. The attorney who represented the pharmacists said, “The judge’s decision makes clear that religious people don’t have to give up their religion, don’t have to check their conscience at the door, to enter the health care profession.” The attorney general’s office will appeal this decision. Other states are focusing on this subject as well. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, April 6, 2011. Richard Yeakley, Religion News Service.
As director of the Evolutionary Neurobehavior Laboratory at the Boston School of Medicine, Patrick McNamara has worked on “developing an evolutionary approach to problems of brain and behavior. He currently is studying the evolution of the frontal lobes, the evolution of the two mammalian sleep states (REM and NREM), and the evolution of religion in human cultures.” He says that for people the world over “religious experiences and beliefs influence whom they marry, how they rear their children, whom they spend time with, and how they comport themselves in daily life. It may well be that we would not be as we find ourselves in the 21st century if our ancestors had not been intensely religious for most of the ‘life’ of our species.” He thinks it’s the perfect time to develop a “real science of religion,” aided by breakthroughs in “anthropologic, cognitive, and neuroscientific studies of the manifold features of religious experiences and in evolutionary approaches to religious experiences and behaviors.” Science and Religion Today, Jan. 11, 2011.
Francis Collins told Newsweek, “I simply would argue you need to be thoughtful when you’re asking a question—is this a faith question or a science question? As long as one keeps that distinction clearly in mind, then I don’t see a conflict.” He added, “There is, of course, a group of rather vocal people who disagree with that, people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I obviously don’t agree with their perspective, but I refuse to demonize them. I think they share with me the awe of what science can teach us about nature and the joy of that discovery and the promise that has for bettering the human condition. They don’t share with me the sense that there are other valid ways of finding truth. In terms of being the director of NIH, I don’t think anybody who’s worked with me would be able to identify a circumstance where my personal beliefs about faith have in any way interfered with my role as a scientific leader.” Science and Religion Today, Dec. 21, 2010.
“Science depends on testing and religion on trusting,” says John Polkinghorne, particle physicist and Anglican priest. “Science treats the world as an object that can be broken down and tested through experiments that can be replicated. Religion involves encounters between subjects—between persons and between persons and God—which are never the same. Both science and religion pursue truth, and both need humility to recognize when they may be wrong. Religious people don’t have a monopoly on humility or on goodness and compassion, but they know these virtues come from God (incharacter.org. March 22). April 20, 2010, Christian Century, p. 8.
“The same mosquito can go to mosque on Friday and church on Sunday. If a mosquito can work interfaith, then so can we,” said Peter Salifu of the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association. He spoke in May to a crowd of more than 100 Muslim and Christian faith leaders, representatives from NGOs and the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone, about the groundbreaking work going on in Nigeria for interfaith health messaging on malaria.
One observer said “the buzz” in the room felt like the beginning of something powerful—a growing realization that faith leaders can play an essential role in health messaging. They have the trust, the community links, the platform and the recognition to spread key preventative messages about this devastating but preventable disease to their congregations. The Tony Blair Foundation is attempting to mobilize this channel to wipe out the disease that is one of the biggest killers of children under five in Sierra Leone.
More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual, according to new research from Rice University. The general public associates spirituality and religion, but the study found that spirituality is a separate idea—one that more closely aligns with scientific discovery—for “spiritual atheist” scientists. The May 5 Science Daily previewed an article to be published in the June issue of Sociology of Religion.
Through in-depth interviews with 275 natural and social scientists at elite universities, 72 of the scientists said they have a spirituality that is consistent with science, although they are not formally religious. Elaine Howard Ecklund, assistant professor of sociology at Rice and lead author of the study, said, “Our results show that scientists hold religion and spirituality as being qualitatively different kinds of constructs. These spiritual atheist scientists are seeking a core sense of truth through spirituality—one that is generated by and consistent with the work they do as scientists.”
Seeking Significance, Making Meaning
These scientists see both science and spirituality as “meaning-making without faith” and as an individual quest for significance that can never be final. They find spirituality congruent with science and separate from religion, because of that quest. Ecklund said, “This challenges the idea that scientists, and other groups we typically deem as secular, are devoid of those big ‘Why am I here?’ questions. They too have these basic human questions and a desire to find meaning.”
She added, “In their sense of things, being spiritual motivates them to provide help for others, and it redirects the ways in which they think about and do their work as scientists.” The spiritual scientists allege there are boundaries between themselves and their nonspiritual colleagues because their spirituality facilitates engagement with the world around them. While nonspiritual colleagues might focus on their own research at the expense of student interaction, spiritual scientists claim to have a sense of spirituality that provides nonnegotiable reasons to help struggling students to succeed. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505124039.htm
Fifty years ago the first copies of The Genesis Flood were published. Written by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, this was the beginning of the modern creationist movement. Morris founded the Institute for Creation Research in 1970. Answers in Genesis, another creationist organization, will be celebrating this anniversary with some events this year.
STeLA (Science and Technology Leadership Association) is an international student association which aims to empower participants with leadership skills for solving global issues and to create an international network of future leaders in science and technology. It has four branches, including the USA (MIT, Harvard, Stanford, UC-San Francisco, and UC-Berkeley), China, Japan, and France. It has an annual eight-day conference which brings together about 50 top university students to focus on the intersection of science, policy and ethics, and global challenges. This year’s forum theme is “Environmental Sustainability: Energy, Water, Biodiversity,” on Aug. 21–28 at Stanford U. Visit www.stelaforum.org * Walt Hearn
On the last Friday of every other month, a science-and-religion discussion is held at 3 p.m. in the Human Origins exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The next one will be on July 22, and then again on Sept. 30. Everyone is welcome.
A new book, Cultivating the Spirit, written by researchers from UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute who dealt with Spirituality in Higher Education, states that college students who apply themselves to spiritual growth do better in school, are happier, and become more effective leaders. After seven years of study, they found that college students often slack off in formal religious practice, but they often experienced significant spiritual growth, especially if professors encouraged them to see their education as a chance to discover meaning and purpose.
Alexander Astin, co-author of the book, says “We believe that the findings provide a powerful argument that higher education should attend more to students’ spiritual development.” He said that such development is not only an important part of the college experience but also promotes other positive outcomes of college.
The researchers had received a Templeton Foundation grant, and Christopher Strawski, program officer in human sciences at the Foundation said,
During an important time of learning and transition in the lives of many young people, the results of this survey provide strong evidence of the beneficial effects for college students of such activities as self-reflection, meditation and generosity. Sir John thought these were pivotal to the process of spiritual development and self-improvement.
Alaimo, Elizabeth –The Dalles, OR
Baltazar, Ulises –Missouri City, TX
Bancewicz, Ruth M. –Cambridge, UK
Befus, Matthew A. –Heredia, Costa Rica
Burch, Beth –Huntington, IN
Cameron, Mandy –Newberg, OR
Carlson, Jennifer –Lancaster, CA
Carlson, Steve –Lancaster, CA
Carrier, Karma J. –Bedford, MA
Daniels, Patrick J. –Salem, OR
Dassen, Victoria C. –Mississauga, ON, Canada
Fawzi, Nicolas L. –Washiington, DC
Hardin, Jeff –Madison, WI
Korte Jr., Don W. –Mequon, WI
Li, Yang –Miluo, Hunan, China
Minnery, Gregory A. –The Woodlands, TX
Nall, Trenton –Auburn, AL
Roberts, John R. –Buckinghamshire, UK
Runyon, James P. –Wheaton, IL
Ruppel, Emily C. –Richmond, KY
Siberio, Diana Y. –Newburgh, NY
Van Wyck, Nathan R. –Grantham, PA
Vaughn, Alexander E. –Athens, GA
Worley, Larry J. –Greenville, SC
to report what you’re doing. Please send the information to Emily Ruppel, the incoming editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dwight A. Schwartz is the Mid-Atlantic area director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s (IVCF) Graduate and Faculty Ministries, described at www.intervarsity.org/gfm. July 26–Aug. 3 he will attend the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students’ (IFES) World Assembly 2011 on the Jagiellonian University campus in Krakow, Poland, www.ifesworld.org/worldassembly.
Dwight will facilitate a Ministry Forum (roughly: a panel discussion) on “Science and Faith,” involving two sessions of approximately 75 minutes each. The goal is “to share and provide resources on the topic and steer conversation.” The congress includes those engaged in campus ministry from all over the world, from IFES’s 136-member movements, plus affiliated groups in another 24 countries. Dwight would appreciate prayer as he participates in this strategic event.
Five Muslim, five Christian and five Jewish scholars wrote essays to make up Abraham’s Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict. They include President Jimmy Carter, Arik Ascherman, Miroslav Volf and Calvin and Yale emeritus professor Nicholas Wolterstorff—writing in a nonacademic style to make their ideas accessible to a wide reading audience.
The essay that surprised Clark most was contributed by Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesia’s former president—and the first that was democratically elected. Clark says, “The title tells it all: ‘Omnipotence needs no defense.’ He’s saying, ‘You don’t need to kill people for Allah. He’s just fine without your help.’”
To be published by Yale University Press, the book is funded by a $189,000 grant provided by the John Templeton Foundation and administered through Calvin’s Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity.
Conferences on Tolerance
Along with the book, the Templeton grant will fund a conference on religious tolerance at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The two-day event, co-sponsored by Georgetown’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, will feature nine of the book’s contributors. Clark hopes to hold further conferences on the subject in Indonesia, Israel and Nigeria. More details are at www.calvin.edu/news/archive/templeton-grant-for-religious-tolerance.
His book The Dark Side of Charles Darwin (Green Forest, AK: New Leaf Press) was published earlier this year. Jerry reports, “It has sold very well so far and was number 5 in its category on Amazon a couple of weeks ago. So far 11 reviews are on Amazon, all five stars, and I already have five speaking engagements related to the book. The feedback I find very rewarding!”
In retirement, Lawrence founded the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology, for which he was awarded a Centennial Medal. He and his wife, Alison, also founded three Anglican residential halls at Sydney U. and New College at the U. of New South Wales.
Deibler’s wife Carolyn recalls, “Sadly in January 2011 my husband had to go to the emergency room. He was admitted, had three surgeries, and after 6 weeks in ICU, he died.” He was buried on the couple’s 34th wedding anniversary.
The local DC Metro Section of the ASA was established April 11, 2011. It replaces the historical “Washington-Baltimore Section,” which was active since the 1960s. Section Secretary is Paul Arveson, Assistant Secretary is Dick Fischer, and Treasurer is Maynard Moore. They consider the chapter’s jurisdiction to include ASA members in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia (though any member is welcome, of course).
Several members attended a May 3 meeting sponsored by the National Science Federation. The new section hopes to have an official chapter meeting in September, with details to be announced on the ASA website in both the Local Chapters and Coming Events areas.
Paul encourages members to make every effort to attend future meetings, stating, “There is something special about meeting other fellow scientists/ Christians face to face, rather than merely through email, blogs and the like. Remember Heb. 10:25, ‘not neglecting to meet together ... but encouraging one another ...’” * Paul Arveson
We would like to express what an edifying and enjoyable experience it has been to co-edit the ASA newsletter the last nine years. We have learned so much about the science and faith interchange as well as the amazing members of the ASA during these nine years. We’re proud to be part of an organization whose members think so deeply, write so persuasively and serve so unselfishly. From more than 1,700 miles apart, the two of us communicated with each other easily and worked together so smoothly and made decisions peacefully. Then we e-mailed our joint efforts to Managing Editor Lyn Berg, who assembled it into its polished final form. It was so rewarding to work with each other plus Lyn, Carol Aiken, Marty Herdrich, Don Munro, and Randy Isaac. Both of us visited the office in Ipswich a few years ago, and it was a delight to see that setting.
Thanks also to Martin and Bonnie Price who introduced Margaret to the ASA and recommended her to be a newsletter co-editor. Thanks to Derek Chignell for making Dave aware of the ASA. Also, thanks to so many of you who informed us over the years of events, ideas, and activities of interest.
Our best wishes to Emily Ruppel as she shares her many gifts and continues this mission as she develops the new role as the ASA’s Associate Director for Communications. We encourage you to support her by sending her information about our activities or insights on this remarkable dialogue. —Margaret Towne and Dave Fisher
As a newsletter, this publication presents news spanning a spectrum of activities, reports, and publications in order to keep readers abreast of a variety of events and views. Inclusion in this newsletter does not constitute or imply official ASA endorsement.
The Newsletter of the ASA and CSCA is published bimonthly for its membership by the American Scientific Affiliation. Send Newsletter information to the incoming editor: Emily Ruppel, PO Box 668, Ipswich, MA 01938-0668. E-mail: email@example.com
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©2011 American Scientific Affiliation (except previously published material). All rights reserved.
Editors: David Fisher, Margaret Towne
Managing Editor: Lyn Berg