American Scientific Affiliation &
Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation
Volume 52, Number 5 SEP/OCT 2010
Vern Ehlers was content doing nuclear research at Berkeley, never aspiring to walk “the corridors of power” in Congress. Growing up on a Virginia farm, Francis Collins had no inkling that he would spearhead discoveries leading to life-saving medical breakthroughs.
At this year’s Annual Meeting, held at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, July 30–August 2, I sensed that God had placed them in strategic positions. From one standpoint, these men were elected by voters or appointed by the President. Yet in a higher sense, they and others were called by God. That anointing enables them to withstand the pressure and to work enthusiastically far more than the standard 40-hour work week. As the Apostle Paul said, “Woe is me if I don’t preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16), these individuals would not be happy doing anything other than what God has equipped them to do.
Under the rubric of “Science, Faith, and Public Policy,” presenter after presenter seemed to exemplify the theme verse: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b, NIV). –Dave Fisher
The opening plenary speaker was one of three physicists in the House of Representatives. After a multifaceted career that included nuclear research at Berkeley and teaching physics at Calvin, Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) is completing his eighth and final term. Among his many accomplishments, he oversaw the writing of the first major science policy since 1945.
Newt Gingrich assigned him the job of computerizing Congress. That was a major project with many pitfalls, but he developed a uniform system for the House, with mostly new computers and a uniform software system.
While doing research at Berkeley, he declined several invitations to teach at Calvin College. When he finally yielded, he and his wife chose to attend a church near where race riots had occurred, to help the poor and stabilize the neighborhood. Concerned with the dilemmas of the poor, he realized part of the problem was the city commission, and he aided a number of good people to run for the commission.
When he entered politics, his mother was horrified but decided “whatever damage commissioners would do to their son in the morning, would be undone by Calvin faculty in the afternoon.” His next step was to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives and then the Michigan Senate.
The Hand of Providence
When Representative James McDermott (D-WA) said Congress needed more scientists or scientific advice, Ehlers wrote his Congressman, Gerald Ford, to offer his services and advice. Congressman Ford’s Chief of Staff phoned him the next day to ask him to choose capable scientists of both parties as an advisory committee. Ford later told Ehlers his committee was the only group that didn’t ask for things, but offered help.
Ehlers didn’t want to go to Washington, but eventually felt the Lord’s leading. Vern realized after he got in Congress how many incidental events and experiences had prepared him to work there. After sometimes calling himself an “Accidental Congressman,” he now refers to himself as the “Providential Congressman,” given the preparation the Lord provided him.
When he decided to run, there were 30 candidates for the office. He participated in forums nightly for 30 nights. Lawyers promised good laws, businessmen said they would abolish the deficit. Ehlers countered by pointing out that 174 attorneys and 135 business people were already in Congress, but electing him would double the number of scientists.
Talking Past Each Other
Referring to C. P. Snow’s book The Two Cultures, Ehlers observed that scientific types and others don’t talk intelligibly to each other. Lawmakers need to know enough about science to make intelligent policy. When he arrived, there were no scientists on the House Science Committee staff. One member explained, “We deal with science policy, not science,” primarily deciding who should get money and why. But X-rays and CAT scans were developed by physicists. Nonscientists can fail to recognize potential future innovations and thus fail to fund beneficial research.
As one example, Ehlers was concerned about invasive species that ruin other species’ habitats. After he spoke passionately for a bill to research zebra mussels, one opponent said he saw no point in spending the people’s money on “muscles of zebras.” Quoting Truman, Ehlers said his greatest frustration was having to teach colleagues things that they should have known. He received many environmental awards, and many call him “Mr. Great Lakes.”
Pressures and Prayer
The life of a legislator is not conducive to good family life. The choice is between moving the family to DC or flying home weekends. Ehlers’ wife initially spent some time in DC the first year, but after she had seen virtually every museum, she decided she would return to Michigan, and Vern went home every weekend. The Congressional work week often occupied 80 hours.
Many Christians in Congress meet weekly for prayer. He had opportunities to shape legislation, and also to encourage colleagues to stand for principle in DC’s pressurized atmosphere.
His Final Plea
In addition to shaping legislation, a scientist in an influential position can counter the widespread misconception that if you’re a scientist, you must be an atheist. For example, in one speech Ehlers said in passing, “That’s the way God made it. We have come up with several theories about how God made it.” Several students came to him afterward to say that comment had affirmed their faith.
Vern is retiring at age 76, after praying that “God would give me the good sense to quit before I dodder around like some elderly colleagues.” Who will replace him? Collectively the scientists in ASA are knowledgeable about many areas. Many areas involve faith, so he exhorted, “All who are scientists or spouses of scientists, you are needed in Congress.”
Francis Collins says Woodrow Wilson’s remark, “I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow,” is a propos to his situation. Speaking as an individual and not in his official capacity as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Collins spoke on “Experiences of a Scientist- Christian in the Washington Fishbowl.” His mandate is to steward medical and behavioral research for the nation: “Science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.” In an attempt to achieve that, he “borrows the brains” of 17,000 employees and administers a $31 billion annual budget.
President Obama nominated Francis in July 2009, and he was confirmed by the Senate in August. Compounding the usual first-year learning curve was the need to study the health effects of the BP oil spill, in coordination with CDC, EPA, and other agencies. In addition, when Congress passed the Economic Recovery Act “stimulus package,” Collins needed to strategize the best ways to spend $10 billion within the two-year duration of the act. He involved 22,000 reviewers to decide how to allocate these funds. Unfortunately, however, science doesn’t operate on two-year cycles. When support from the Recovery Act expires, the projects “will run on fumes.”
Brilliance with and without Conscience
Collins realizes the dichotomy expressed by the late General Omar Bradley: “The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.” To make sure ethical considerations received proper emphasis, he devoted 5% of the Human Genome Project (HGP) budget to them. He also insisted that HGP data not be patented, but that it would be published on the Web every 24 hours. That established a precedent, making immediate data release the norm, greatly speeding the progress of medical advances.
Several companies now analyze an individual’s genome for $400 to $2,500. The laboratory work is quite accurate, but we haven’t discovered all the factors related to the heritability of various diseases. So the prediction you get today could need to be revised in a few years, as we learn more fully which genetic markers point to which disease.
Some testers may be profiteering from this technology. For example, a large percentage of ADHD tests “happen” to turn out positive and “require” thousands of dollars of supplements. The FDA is now becoming engaged in regulating this field.
From Theory to Therapy
Many discoveries are really energizing the genetics field. As one example, Beverly had late stage lung cancer, but four years ago she was treated with a new “smart bomb,” which to this day appears to have removed all traces of the disease.
The first target of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) is glioblastoma, the most common and deadly brain cancer. It now turns out to be five different subtypes.
Every disease has some genetic component. For instance, macular degeneration, once thought to result only from aging, is now known to be influenced by variations in complement factor H.
Criticism before Confirmation
His appointment as NIH director was greeted with some criticism, especially from atheist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith. In a New York Times op-ed, Harris asked, “Must we really entrust the future of biomedical research in the United States to a man who sincerely believes that a scientific understanding of human nature is impossible?” But no Senator questioned his beliefs; his confirmation was unanimous.
Stem Cell Decisions
Collins was also asked to serve as President Obama’s spokesman for expanding the use of embryonic stem cells beyond what the Bush administration had permitted. The Obama administration had a long list of stringent criteria, and 75 stem cell lines have passed the tests and are now usable. Collins considers the embryo a person from conception but finds it hard to argue that it is better to discard a frozen embryo left over from in vitro fertilization than to use it for a therapeutic purpose.
Can a Scientist Follow Christ?
For most of history, scientists have been followers of Christ, nurtured and encouraged by their faith. For centuries, scientists have recognized “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.” More recently, the biblical concept of “the beginning” seems bolstered by observational evidence of the Big Bang.
The fine-tuning of physical constants in nature also fits the “argument to design” apologetic.
Collins asked Dawkins what indication of an Intelligence behind the universe bothers him most. Dawkins answered that it’s the fine tuning that is required for any kind of complexity to have occurred in our universe. Collins’ debate with Dawkins is still on the Time website. On a lighter note, Francis has appeared several times on “The Colbert Report,” which attracts 16 million listeners on The Comedy Channel. He played one of his appearances, available at www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/79238/december-07-2006/francis-collins
He is sad that many young people are being told that faith and science are incompatible. He offered advice from St. Augustine:
In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture, passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.
Sara Joan Miles used the experience of her husband’s recuperation from knee surgery to illustrate “From Limping to Walking.” She began with the question posed in 1 Kings 18:21, “How long will you limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” Sara added,
Oh, if our decisions were always so easy! Scripture tells us clearly that the Lord is God, but when it comes to understanding what it means to “follow him,” especially when it comes to policies and practices related to modern scientific and technological matters, the Christian community does a lot of limping—and not just between two opinions. We often find ourselves in numerous camps, wondering how other “Christians” can possibly defend their positions when we are so certain that our stance is the “right” stance.
Her first principle is that God’s creation is good, but not sacred. God is not identified with creation or “nature”—as some religions and our secular culture call it. A worldview that considers creation sacred is loath to touch and investigate it; that would be “the naughty thumb of science,” poking and violating it. Biblically, science is our attempt to understand God’s creative workmanship. But in the Judeo-Christian tradition, science is not only possible, but required.
Balancing Four Legs
Using the illustration of the four legs of a chair, Sara emphasized the need to balance four factors: valuing the individual, valuing benevolence, valuing nonmalevolence, and valuing justice.
She illustrated her point by discussing the pros and cons of using DDT. It is very effective in killing mosquitoes and thus reducing human deaths caused by malaria, a desirable short-term result that stresses benevolence. But in humans, it is an early developmental and reproductive toxin. It is correlated with low sperm count in men, certain forms of cancer, and diabetes. The “leg” of justice requires that we not favor the present generation to the detriment of future generations.
A four-legged chair often wobbles, because its legs are not equal lengths. We make choices, and we make certain legs longer than others, because of self-interested bias. We are too prone to construct our chairs individually, and to seek out others who have constructed similar chairs and thus reinforce our biases. Making decisions on our own, or with people who think only like us, is not good.
Nuancing the Answers
Sara concludes, “We’ll have to understand that our issues are way too complex for easy ‘black or white,’ ‘right or wrong’ conclusions.” Our corporate discernment may take more time than coming up with an answer by ourselves. We may discover that a decision at one point in time was wrong, in light of new knowledge and understanding. But this approach is the only way that we can progress toward walking instead of limping. “Moreover, it is only when we can walk with confidence that we can truly be moral leaders in these fields that God has called us to be.”
Stanley Bull is Associate Director Emeritus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. His Saturday plenary addressed “Renewable Energy: A Walk through Time and into the Future.” He pointed out that for many centuries, humans used sunlight, water, and wind very efficiently. More recently, the high-energy-density form known as fossil fuels became popular. While the benefits have been enormous, the environmental consequences have also become enormous.
The energy enterprise is monstrously large, so trying to change it is a major challenge. Worldwide, 1.8–2 billion people don’t have electricity. We lose roughly 2/3 of our energy with inefficiency. Americans are behind Europeans in developing wave power. Germany has the most solar, but Stan has been there several times and has never seen the sun shine.
Where to Invest?
Solar and wind have no fuel cost but usually require substantial capital investment. The US uses 1,000 gigawatts of power. Solar could provide 8 times that amount at 6 to 9 cents per kilowatt hour. Typical wind turbines are 2.5 megawatts, and they are moving upward. The blades on some units are the size of a 747. A Smart Grid attempts to integrate various sources into a unified network.
Biomass is another useful approach. The first generation of it is ethanol. Follow-on generations could include algae and green diesel.
He pointed out that even minimal investments can produce substantial savings. During the Q&A time, someone asked, “If you had $5,000 to spend, what would you spend it on?” Bull answered, “a caulking gun and high-efficiency appliances.”
Richard Cizik served the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) for 28 years as Vice President of Governmental Affairs. In that capacity, he established NAE’s positions on policies and represented them to the various branches of government. Earlier this year, he co-founded the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.
When Cizik went to Oxford several years ago, he said not to expect him to sign any statement or become a spokesman for climate change. But Sir John Houghton and others convinced him that, although scientists disagree somewhat about the magnitude, climate change is really happening. Earth’s temperature is rising faster than ever in history.
Reasons for Resistance
Cizik’s appearance at the ASA was shortly after his return from the Aspen Environmental Forum. That group advocates a shift in thinking. Some evangelicals are unconvinced by scientific data because of a suspicion of science. A fairly common reaction is that many scientists espouse evolution as a substitute for God; thus, “Evolutionists are saying climate change, so we reject it.”
The “This World Is Not My Home” mentality implies that the purpose of being a Christian is just to go to heaven when we die. One Christian radio network claims to know the date the world will end.
Vision v. Hallucination
Rich said the church needs a vision and a strategy to deal with human rights, global warming issues, and poverty; “A vision without a strategy is a hallucination.” The greatest problems are pride, apathy, and greed. Part of the solution includes simple things; converting to high-efficiency light bulbs could take numerous power plants off line, thus reducing pollution substantially.
He charged, “Some in this town are willing to sacrifice the entire planet for pursuit of their profit.” An audience member responded that most physical disasters of climate change will accrue to the poor, “but won’t the spiritual disaster accrue to those who refuse to renounce their greed?” Cizik agreed, quoting Rev. 11:18, which says, “I will destroy them who destroy the earth.”
Jennifer Wiseman began with a quotation from John Calvin, “For astronomy is not only pleasant, but also very useful to be known: it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God.”
She began with an overview of the universe. Our sun is a star, Earth is a planet in this one star system, there are billions of stars in our galaxy, and there are old stars and “baby” stars in gas clouds (nebulae). We now know there are actually hundreds of billions of other galaxies. An exoplanet is a planet outside our solar system.
She then recounted some of the recent excitement of the Hubble Space Telescope, sharing the thrill of last year’s Space Shuttle servicing mission, and then showing some spectacular images from the repaired and new instruments installed on the observatory. (An IMAX movie called Hubble 3-D was released recently, covering the servicing of Hubble as well as dramatic presentations of its scientific discoveries. Additional information and images can be found at www.hubblesite.org)
Where Exoplanets Fit In
Our Milky Way galaxy has 100 to 200 billion stars, and our technology has improved to being able to find and study them. Over 400 exoplanets have recently been detected, mostly indirectly—by looking for tugging motions on a star (Doppler shifting, astrometric wobbling), and by looking for starlight dimming as an exoplanet passes between its sun and the device that is observing it. Imaging exoplanets directly is extremely difficult, because stars are a billion times brighter than planets. So looking for a planet is like looking for a firefly around a lighthouse. Nevertheless, improvements in technology are allowing the first crude images of extrasolar planets.
Most planets that we’ve detected have been much larger than Earth or in orbits very different from that of Earth, due to the limits on our technical observing capabilities. But that technology is improving rapidly, and it is now completely expected that we will be able to discern how common earth-like planets are and even detect some within the near-term. This is a profound jump from what had been science fiction to the very real situation of knowing whether other star systems might be habitable, or even inhabited, by life we could recognize. Astrobiologists are already studying the atmospheric “markers” that could tell us if an alien planet can support life, or is, in fact, already hosting life, such as simple microbes.
Are Humans Significant?
Considering the vastness of the universe and the possibilities of life elsewhere brings profound questions about the significance and uniqueness of life on Earth, including human life. Not being central can be interpreted as a loss of significance, if based on “geographic” position. Our solar system is certainly not in any central location in the galaxy, and our galaxy is in no absolute center of the universe. We can feel insignificant, just as the Psalmist prayerfully noted,
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8, TNIV)
Indeed, even the devoutly religious scientist-scholar Blaise Pascal said, “What is man in nature? Nothing in relation to the infinite, all in relation to nothing, a mean between nothing and everything.” But significance can be measured in other ways, such as the profound significance of advanced life (us) being able to contemplate its own existence and purpose. Jennifer observed, “Biblically we are significant, because of God’s choice.” Psalm 8 elaborates that idea, continuing with this astonished exultation, “You have made them a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned them with glory and honor.”
Since the Bible is virtually silent on the presence of life elsewhere, one could interpret the finding of plentiful life in the universe as a sign of God’s marvelous bounty. Alternatively, one could interpret an apparent uniqueness of life on Earth also as God’s plan.
However, an additional question arises for Christians: If there are sentient beings on an exoplanet somewhere, would this alien life experience the presence and redemption of God “in person,” as was done on Earth through Jesus Christ? We know biblically that there is one God responsible for everything, and one Lord and Savior in Christ, but how Christ’s redemption operates for the entire universe is a subject of much interesting theological contemplation.
Rick Potts is the curator of the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. He interrupted his research in the Rift Valley of Kenya to give a private tour of this exhibit on Thursday evening, and to give a presentation titled “Challenges to Understanding Human Evolution in a Religious Context” on Sunday evening.
Potts lamented that much of the interface on human origins has been shaped by people averse to religion. It needs to be led by those who have spent years studying both sides, making the ASA ideal for that role. He said his background is firmly in Christian teaching, “a Protestant with the emphasis on ‘protest.’” He discovered doubt was not an enemy of faith, but essential for deepening it. He sees the value of reconciling what others perceive as conflicts.
Characteristics of Humanity
Some qualities of being human that he presented were bipedalism, small canine teeth, and a large brain that is only 2% of our body weight but that consumes 60% of our fuel. This brain can read the minds of others, appreciate humor, offer compassion, and is good at deception. It allows us to imagine, understand symbolism as in music, art, or words. We can live everywhere, making fire, tools, and clothes. We contemplate our origins, share our food, and each of us is an ecosystem of microbes. Humans evolved over millions of years in response to a changing world. Fishing, agriculture, and domesticated animals all helped our survival. Some challenges posed by human evolution are extinction of species, common ancestry (we’re all connected), natural selection (is it a material process or divine?), survivability and adaptability, and a shared sense of awe.
Rick stated that some people disagree with the Human Origins exhibit thesis, and he has organized a support group, the Broader Social Impacts Committee (BSIC) which includes a variety of religious people including Randy Isaac and Jim Miller. On Sept. 10, there will be a special tour for clergy and on March 27, 2011, there will be a Public Forum of Science and Faith. His main goal with the exhibit is to inspire inquiry and further the public’s understanding of science.
Randall D. Isaac
This issue is devoted to a montage of moments at our annual meeting in Washington, DC, last month. We had one of the highest attendances ever at 250 registrants. It may have been the first time we held a meeting within easy walking distance of a subway station in a major metropolitan area. This was our first meeting at a Catholic institution and it certainly was the first time we explicitly addressed the theme of science, faith, and public policy. Our program chair, Susan Daniels, did an outstanding job organizing the program, aided by local arrangements chair Paul Arveson. Being in DC, they were able to attract exceptional speakers as well as a large attentive audience.
Many of us who have never worked in positions relating to public policy weren’t really sure what to expect from this meeting. We were rewarded with a stimulating set of talks that showed how Christians in science are and can play a vital role in public policy. One pervasive message was a challenge to each of us to become involved in public policy. Our presence as Christians with an expertise in a scientific discipline can have a major impact.
I am indebted to my Wheaton College classmate, Mark Shepard, for recently alerting me to a book that espouses a very similar challenge. In April 2010, James Davison Hunter published To Change the World, and he was interviewed by Christianity Today in their May 2010 issue. Though he did not explicitly address the science community, I’d like to apply his concepts to that arena.
Hunter argues that a direct attempt to change culture through explicit confrontation on ideas or values will not be effective. He decries the politicization of many efforts to embed Christian values into our laws, whether from the right or the left. The Constantinian Christianity of dominance should not be our aim. Nor does he support quietism, or withdrawal from the public square. Rather, he maintains that as Christians we are called to live a life of “faithful presence.” We are to be in the world, present and active as leaders and members of our professional and lay communities, faithful in our commitment to Christ and following him. Some of the most influential factors in shaping culture, he claims, are the elite institutions of society that choose to engage culture, that become incarnate rather than war against it. We need to be present and participate in those institutions.
What does this mean for us as Christians in science? First of all, I believe it means that we must strive for excellence as scientists. Each of us should seek to be the most respected, best quality scientist we can be in the most prestigious institutions of science. The quality of our work in science and genuine respect for others’ work are crucial factors in our reputation in the scientific community. I have often written in this column and elsewhere about the importance of integrity in science. It is very important that ASA as an organization has a commitment to integrity in the practice of science. Without a high degree of integrity in our professional work, we cannot be present in the science community in an effective way.
Secondly, I believe it means that we must maintain fidelity to the gospel of Jesus Christ and continually seek God’s guidance as to what that means. As our colleagues who do not share our faith experience our genuine engagement rather than a desire to dominate, we can also avoid compromising our faith or hiding our relationship with God. The ASA has a clear statement of faith, centered on the Apostles’ and the Nicene creeds, that articulates the basic elements of Christian faith. Our commitment to the Word of God and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is fundamental in our walk with him.
Finally, combining these two elements into a “faithful presence” means, as Hunter puts it, that we need to live a life in “creative tension.” We do not and will not have all the answers for integrating science and Christian faith. Hunter speaks of affirmation and antithesis. We must not compromise our integrity in science, twisting or modifying our notions in and of science in order to fit some convenient scheme of integration that we may prefer. Nor dare we compromise our faith, shading the basic tenets of our beliefs to force a better concordance. Neither cognitive dissonance nor compromise is an option. Rather, a life of creative tension means that we live in both worlds of science and faith, though we may not be able to solve all the tensions between the two. The creativity that flows from that tension may lead us to a deeper understanding of God and his relationship to us. While we affirm the basic findings of science, we recognize the gap between our faith and the scientism that too often permeates our community. May we follow Jesus’ example of embracing the tension of being fully God and fully human.
The medical ethicist, Lew Bird, once said that “Maturity is the ability to accept ambiguity—and to be able to resolve it in specific situations.” As scientists with a Christian faith, maturity may mean accepting that we aren’t able to reconcile all of science with our understanding of God’s providence in our lives. We need to live in that ambiguity and also strive for clarity, speaking with courage while building common ground.
This “faithful presence” of Christians throughout the scientific community is what we at ASA seek to foster and enable. Researchers in every field stake a claim for Christ wherever they demonstrate integrity and excellence in that discipline. We encourage and support one another as we exercise that faithful presence in the church, in our vocation, and in public policy.
Celebrating 30 years of membership
Renwick B. Adams
George A. Carnegis
W. Grainge Clarke
Ronald V. Hodges
Gordon P. Hugenberger
Duane R. Kauffmann
Randall A. Kok
Le Roy C. Kroll
John F. Leslie
David B. MacKay
Thomas S. Smith III
Eugene D. Takalo
Peter J. Vibert
Timothy P. Wallace
Douglas A. Wiens
Gerald Cleaver, physicist, Baylor University, and Keith Miller, paleontologist, Kansas State University, are candidates for the 2011–2015 term.
Up to four sessions were held simultaneously. Limited space allows us to give a brief report of the presentations; however, audio of most of them will soon be available on our website.
Living as a Christian in the Workplace
Princeton physicist Robert Kaita dealt with the common impression that a professional in a secular institution encounters constant hostility toward his Christian faith, while a professional at a Christian institution has it easy. He believes that in either venue, the pressure to succeed could be a greater challenge to a life of faith than any questions of its intellectual credibility.
Several presenters provided information about policy matters. Because of the detail and complexity, it’s difficult to summarize them in the space available here. Therefore, we are listing the topics and speakers and suggest that you listen to their presentations on-line.
On “Federal Agency Policy”
On “Public Policy”
On “Space Policy”
Science Education and Law
History of Science
Several Korean scientists and engineers established the Christian Forum in Science and Engineering (CFSE) in 2005, using the ASA as its model. Concerned about Korean society’s tendency to devote “religious” times to church activities and to restrict “professional” resources to the workplace, the organization attempts to integrate the two. Implementing this goal, the group has developed a small solar-panel project in a Cambodian church and an efficient, low-pollution heating system in Mongolia. In 2009, CFSE launched Sharing and Technology, Inc., a nonprofit organization to expand the usage of appropriate technology internationally, and to involve young people more extensively.
Health and Medicine
Climate Change and Environmental Policy
Science and Technology Ethics
Hank Bestman and Jordyn Brandsma presented a poster entitled “Systems Biology: A Sampling of Research Approaches and in Silico Tools.” David Hollman’s poster was “The Benzene-OH Potential Energy Surface,” and Anding Shen’s was “Human Resting CD4+T Cells Co-Cultured with Endothelial Cells Are Permissible for HIV-1 Infection without Signs of Activation.”
On Friday, before the Annual Meeting began, two very informative all-day seminars were presented. Ted Davis’ class was “A Short History of American Religion and Science,” and Denis Lamoureux led the class on “Scripture, Science, and Origins: An Overview.”
We’ll provide more detail on the field trips in the next issue. Meanwhile, for a taste of NASA’s Goddard Space Center and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History’s David C. Koch Hall of Human Origins exhibit, visit Charlie Reece’s excellent photographic tour at http://albums.phanfare.com/isolated/PPdcimkg/1/4773011.
Richard B. Barrueto died March 10, 2010, at age 82. He was born in Guatemala City and became a biochemist. His many charitable and philanthropic activities included Latin America Mission, Rotary International, and the Fellowship Foundation. He was chairman of the board of Agros International, committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for rural families in Central America and Mexico by enabling landless communities to achieve land ownership and economic stability.
Aay, Heny –Grand Rapids, MI
Anderson, Kirsten L. –Wichita, KS
Applegate, Charles S. –Brookfield, WI
Bak, So Yang –Vancouver, BC, Canada
Ball, Mary –Jefferson City, TN
Belvin, Gary D. –Baltimore, MD
Billman, Timothy E. –Lakewood, CO
Boys, Diane K. –Tillsongburg, ON, Canada
Brekke, Erik –Carol Stream, IL
Byene, Diane A. –Northfield, VT
Carkner, Gordon –Vancouver, AB, Canada
Chong, Edwin K. –Fort Collins, CO
Classen, Aldo R. –Greely, CO
Cole, Jim –Albany, OR
Corwin, Luke A. –Batavia, IL
DeNeefe, Steven J. –Westchester, CA
Dicken, Alan –Dundas, ON, Canada
Dik, Bryan J. –Wellington, CO
Donaldson, Anthony L. –Riverside, CA
Dunbar, Lee E. –Elkton, VA
Ensign, Amy A. –Rochester, NY
Fossett, L Alan –Riverside, CA
Fox, Cade –Bend, OR
Furlong, Laurie –Orange City, IA
Gattis, Tony –Arlington, VA
Glanzer, Daralynn –Wilkesboro, NC
Gray, Linsley S. –Downers Grove, IL
Grosh IV, Thomas B. –Mount Joy, PA
Gross, Robert E. –Decatur, GA
Harms, John F. –Grantham, PA
Hartman, Roger D. –Tulsa, OK
Henderson, Joseph V. –Wheaton, IL
Hernandez, Lisa –Riverside, CA
Heumier, Timothy –Simi Valley, CA
Hewitt, Clark –Tappahannock, VA
Higgins, Tim –Clarksville, MD
Hollman, David –Statham, GA
Howell, Timothy D. –Cornelius, NC
Jackson, Douglas H. –Rochester, NY
James, Dennis R. –Lindenhurst, IL
Jewett, Erin –Maple Grove, MN
Keller, Wally A. –Newcastle, CA
Kok, John H. –Sioux Center, IA
Koperski, Jeffrey –University Center, MI
Laird, Jean M. –Montgomery, TX
Lam, Jonathan D. –Fitchburg, WI
Larson, Amy S. –Champaign, IL
Lee, Robert –Jefferson City, TN
Lin, Jimmy C. –Baltimore, MD
McMillan, Amanda M. –Franklintown, PA
Michalka, Joseph R. –Belton, MO
Moodie, Jessica –Talbott, TN
Moore, E Maynard –Bethesda, MD
Nalliah, Ruth E. –Huntington, IN
Ntam, Moses C. –Auburn, AL
Pache, Herb –Waterloo, ON, Canada
Paulson, Kendall R. –Azusa, CA
Peters, Bethany –Edmonton, AB, Canada
Pfotenhauer, John M. –Madison, WI
Phillippy, Douglas C. –Grantham, PA
Pottinger, Willard K. –Hamilton, ON, Canada
Price, William O. –Kent, WA
Prior, Heather M. –Edmonton, AB, Canada
Pritchard, Molly K. –Pensacola, FL
Quammen, Diane L. –Mukileto, WA
Realsen, Jaime M. –Parker, CO
Redline, Rebecca A. –Breinigsville, PA
Reynolds, Julie –Columbus, OH
Reynolds, Sarah J. –Lawrence, KS
Reynolds, Nathaniel D. –Haven, KS
Rich, Anna E. –Cleveland, TN
Richardson, Kaylan –Morristown, TN
Rockwell, David C. –Naperville, IL
Rudisill, Daniel W. –Akron, PA
Schmidt, Norman E. –Statesboro, GA
Sebestyen, Andres –Hamilton, ON, Canada
Senn, William –McKinney, TX
Steenwyk, Steven –Grand Rapids, MI
Stoelk, Kristina –West Linn, OR
Storteboom, Heather –Fort Collins, CO
Stull, Malinda A. –Wilmore, KY
Sutherland, Scot M. –Lancaster, CA
Sykes, J. Aubrey –Grand Rapids, MI
Thebeau, Lydia –St Louis, MO
Timmer, Kevin J. –Sioux Center, IA
Timmons, Leonard –Duluth, GA
Tims, Hannah S. –Grantham, PA
Trotter Wilson, Catherine S. –Acton, MA
Tsai, Annie Y. –Azusa, CA
Tsui, Tommy K. –Dundas, ON, Canada
Turnbull, Thomas –Bristol, TN
Van Cott, Donna G. –Selma, IN
Vetter, Philip –Princeton, NJ
Wagner, James P. –Prior Lake, MN
Walters, Leisel –Madison, TN
Ward, David A. –Jackson, TN
White, Jonathan D. –Tigard, OR
Wilson, George G. –Sudbury, MA
Witten, Kyle T. –Melbourne, KY
Wu, Marcelo –Edmonton, AB, Canada
Zhou, Ziliang –Riverside, CA
Zwier, Paul J. –Grand Rapids, MI
In order to provide more current information, we have transferred the Coming Events feature to the ASA website, www.asa3.org. Most items listed there contain links providing more details. Click any word or phrase that is underscored, and it will direct you to additional information about that event.
The Affirmation of Faith in the Annual Meeting worship service was taken from John Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
When we behold the heavens, we cannot but be elevated by the contemplation of them, to Him who is their great Creator; and the beautiful arrangement and wonderful variety which distinguish the courses and station of the heavenly bodies, together with the beauty and splendor which are manifest in them, cannot but furnish us with an evident proof of his providence. Scripture, indeed, makes known to us the time and manner of the creation; but the heavens themselves, although God should say nothing on the subject, proclaim loudly and distinctly enough that they have been fashioned by his hands: and this of itself abundantly suffices to bear testimony to men of his glory. As soon as we acknowledge God to be the supreme Architect, who has erected the beauteous fabric of the universe, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power. To God be the glory.
Margaret Towne asked some attendees what impressed them most about their experience. They responded:
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. Just as newspapers report statements made by people of various viewpoints and opinions without endorsing them, inclusion in this newsletter does not constitute or imply official ASA endorsement.
The 2011 ASA Annual Meeting will be from July 29 to August 1, in Naperville, Illinois, hosted by Wheaton College and North Central College. Co-chairs are Rod Scott and Jim Baird. The theme verse, Prov. 4:7, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding,” sets the stage for the meeting that will be focusing on “Science-Faith Synergy: Glorifying God and Serving Humanity.”
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: email@example.com and Margaret Towne, 8505 Copper Mountain Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89129. E-mail: TowneMG@aol.com. Both receive e-mail through firstname.lastname@example.org
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©2010 American Scientific Affiliation (except previously published material). All rights reserved.
Editors: David Fisher, Margaret Towne
Managing Editor: Lyn Berg