GENE ENGINEERING AND THE COMMON GOOD

Paul Louis Metzger

Saturday, April 16

10:45 – 11:45am

Science can do a lot of things, but should it? Take gene engineering or manipulation, for example. It is important that we affirm science in its advance of the common good, including advances in genetic research. However, we must also account for ethical considerations that help us discern where such research goes beyond rightful bounds and manipulates human dignity. Drawing from a variety of ethical traditions in search of a global ethic that affirms the sacredness of all life, this workshop will aim to assist us in accounting for new research in genetic engineering and its import for the advance of the common good while also seeking to provide appropriate ethical parameters and boundaries.


Is Jesus Greater than Anti-Evolutionism?

S. Joshua Swamidass

Saturday, April 16

10:45 – 11:45am

Christian engagement with the sciences for several decades has focused on scientific arguments against evolution. Often, the Church looked to “anti-evolutionism” to define its confidence, witness, unity and devotion. Even if evolution is false, is this really proper? Our anti-evolutionism did not convince scientists to abandon evolution, but during the Dover Trial in 2005 it led us into war. Sharing from my experience as a science professor at a leading secular university, I want to offer alternative way forward. Despite our doubts, the Gospel itself is still compelling and powerful in science. At the current moment, even if we reject evolution, we can turn to Jesus from our anti-evolutionism. Science waits, and a living God is here. Will we enter in?


Fostering Dialogues in Science and Religion

Se Kim

Saturday, April 16 

10:45 – 11:45am

As we are constantly reminded in polls of the American public, the dialogue between scientists and religious communities continues to be conflicted and strained. Nonetheless, continuing such cross-community conversation remains essential for improving the public perception of science and the health of the nation as a whole.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) recently completed the Perceptions Project to dig to the roots of the perceptions and misunderstandings that can hinder interactions between scientific and religious communities. While the project involved several religious groups, it primarily focused on the Evangelical Christian community, given their prominence and considerable influence on public support for science. The project hosted workshops across the country with pastors and scientists for time of honest and respectful dialogue in an effort to dismantle stereotypes and build new relationships.  

This short workshop will present the key lessons of the AAAS Perceptions Project in fostering dialogue and improving mutual understanding, even when there may not always be agreement. A key resource developed from the project, a discussion starter “Same World, Different Worldviews”, will be shared as a tool for attendees to facilitate local conversations. From this workshop, we hope to encourage the leaders of scientific and faith communities to continue seeking new opportunities to exemplify a fruitful mode of conversations and impact the national discourse on science.


Christian Reactions to Darwin

Paul Farber

Saturday, April 16 

12:00 – 1:00pm

Description: The workshop will examine the wide range of opinions of Christian theologians in the United States to the appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species (1859).  Within most denominations, there was a diverse set of reactions, and it is instructive to examine some of the positions expressed.  Opinions varied from seeing Darwin's ideas as strongly supporting Christianity on the one hand, to undermining the faith on the other.  The workshop will explore how these ideas relate to contemporary ideas.


Faith and Health  

Robert Potter

Saturday, April 16

12:00 – 1:00pm

Further exploring the theme of the common good, the relationship of faith and individual human health is explored by a physician who practiced traditional scientific medicine while attending to the patient’s spiritual dimension. Current evidence for the positive effect of religious practice on high-level health will be presented. Case studies will be discussed that will inform pastors and spiritual leaders as to how they can participate in the enhancement of human health.


When Galileo Goes to Jail: Rethinking Galileo’s Controversy with the Church and its Meaning for Today

Michael Gurney & Derrick Peterson

Saturday, April 16th

12:00-1:00pm

When spoken in the context of faith and science, the name of Galileo is almost inevitably associated with a scientifically backward and oppressive church standing in the way of scientific progress while harshly persecuting its greatest thinkers to do it.  From magazines, to television shows, to pop culture at large, Galileo is a symbol of scientific courage in the face of dogmatic tyranny.  But is this really what happened?  As one looks into the details, a much more complex picture emerges.  Join us as we dive into the fascinating story of Galileo’s friendship with Pope Urban VIII, and the political, theological, and scientific twists and turns that eventually pitted the egos of these two personalities against one another. What we are left with is not the clash of two abstract ideas—“faith” and “science”—but the much more interesting mess of lived existence.


Problem of Probability / Stretching the Statistics

Joshua Stager

Saturday, April 23

10:20 – 11:20am

At the center of the complexity of interpreting scientific evidence is the requirement to understand probability and statistics.  Using clear and easily grasped logical and mathematical terms, the workshop participant will gain insight that allows for understanding the roles of probability and statistics in the assessment of scientific evidence.  This workshop will allow church leaders to more confidently evaluate the strength and scope of scientific claims.


INTERPRETING GENESIS ONE

John Walton

Saturday, April 23rd

10:20am-11:20am

Though the contemporary conversation surrounding Genesis 1 distinguishes anumber of different positions, most fundamentally it is not driven only by diverse interpretations but by diverse hermeneutical approaches. This workshop will build on the methodological foundation laid in the plenary session by discussing the specific issues in Genesis 1 and how I apply methodology to arrive at conclusions about the message of the text. Specifics of my interpretation will be discussed, including the idea that establishing order is the primary focus, and that God’s presence in sacred space is the theological foundation.


The Practice of Integration: How Science and Faith Work Together

Jon Robertson & Rebekah Josberger

Saturday, April 23

10:20 – 11:20am

Description: In this panel discussion, we will hear from Christian professionals in a variety of walks of life on how they navigate the interaction of science and faith in their work. The focus will be less on the theoretical relation between science and faith and more on the 'praxis' of how they approach scientific issues within a context of faith and specifically their approach when possible conflicts seem to present themselves.


The Common Good and Environmental Ethics

Steve Kolmes

Saturday, April 23

11:35am – 12:35pm

The Common Good, or notion that we should strive for the flourishing of all humans, provides us with a compass to help direct our thoughts in areas of environmental concern as diverse as water quality, air pollution, the release of toxins, sustainability, and others. This workshop will present ways that this idea informs us in these environmental arenas, and will provide a chance for pastors and leaders to discuss how this might be applied to their congregations.


An Appropriately Scientific Theology

Sameer Yadav

Saturday, April 23

11:35am – 12:35pm

Theology has endured much criticism for being an “unscientific” or even “anti-scientific” discipline.  A great many of these complaints are badly formulated, but the motivating thought behind them is almost certainly right: theologians have an obligation to do theology “in the light of science.”  The aim of this talk is to specify what that obligation is and what it implies for the task of theology today.