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faithful science

Announcing “Faithful Science“…

A one-day Science & Faith conference – coming August 1.

Speakers and topics:

DALE CAMPBELL – Science & Faith: Key Issues
YAEL KLANGWISAN – Reading the book of Genesis
MYK HABETS – A Scientific Theology
JEFF TALLON – Physics and Faith
MATT FLANNAGAN – Does Evolution Make Belief in God Untenable?
GRAEME FINLAY – The Glorious Ape
NEIL BROOM – Is there Transcendence in Nature?
GRAHAM O’BRIEN – Evolution & Purpose

Organised by TANSA

Hosted by Northcote Baptist.

PDF flyer here.

Y’all come now ya hear? :)

12 replies on “faithful science”

Dale – I am interested to hear how this goes. Be nice if there is some sort of record.
However, would like to know the approximate line up wrt evolution/creationism/ID. Also if there is any discussion of the accommodationism issue which is currently a centre of attention on the internet.

Worth a trip to Auckland, methinks :) (only $10 friggin bucks, w/ lunch!)
The only presenter who I don’t know fully accepts evolutionary theory is Matt Flannagan – though his paper will assert that evolution does not make belief in God untenable. Thus, I know he has no theological barriers to evolution, but don’t know whether he accepts or does not accept the science? But, yes, all the others accept the science.

Oh yes, forgot to answer your question about ‘accomodationism’ (new term from you?) issue. What is it, and are you referring to it being the centre of attention on the internet in general, or your blog recently?

Neil Broom is one of the 3 NZ signatories to the wedge dissent document (and has authored an anti-evolution book) so I’m picking their is more opposition to evolutionary science than might be obvious on the surface.

OK, maybe it’s just the science blogs I read. But Jerry Coyne (particularly) and quite a few other b9iologists have beeen discussing theistic evolution recently. There has been an exchange with Ken Miller (very interesting). Basically some scientists are becoming critical of the very concept of theistic evolution and criticising people like Miller, Collins, etc., and the the very successful NCSE (and the AAAS) as being accomadationist in “allowing” a place for religion in science.

It’s quite a sharp exchange but raises some fascinating issues and is still very respectful. Everyone is, for example, very complimentary of Miller and the work of the NCSE, but still wish to argue their point of view.

I’m just wondering to what extent this has filtered through to those down here who might call themselves theistic evolutionists.

Yes, I probably would have liked to be there – but would prefer a wider context to allow other points of view (e.g. Broom and Flanagan are irrelevant in the wider scientific context). But then again, I guess, that’s not what the organisers wanted.

If you’re referring to “How blind is the Watchmaker?”, then I’m yet to be shown how it, or its author, is anti-evolution. I’ll definitely ask him about his signing of the dissent document though.

You speak of those groups and scientists ” ‘allowing’ a place for religion in science”; but surely they’re merely seeking to demonstrate (perhaps mainly to fellow Christians?) that evolution is compatible with Christianity – which (among other things) is certainly not trying to sneak religion into science.

You’d have found the conference I just attended at laidlaw immediately relevant (Neil Broom was a presenter there as well). It was infinitely evolution-accepting/friendly/affirming.

As for the conference at my church, I’m helping organise it, and the ‘purpose’ if you like, is not to dis-allow other points of view, but rather to raise the issue (or question) of the relationship of faith to science. Each presentation will be followed by a ‘right of reply’ (i.e Q&A) from anyone of any view point. I’d quite love to have some atheists/non-theists/agnostics/non-faith-people there bringing their views/questions.

Dale, I find your defence of Broom amazing. He is a signatory of the dissent list and has written other articles criticising evolutionary science. You may “yet to be shown how it, or its author, is anti-evolution” but that is possibly because you haven’t yet researched this particular question.

Have a read of the book, have a look on the dissenters list (search for New Zealand – there are only 3 entries). Here is what I wrote about him in Who are the “dissenters from Darwinism”?:

“Neil Broom is well known as an ID activist and there is no doubt of his Christian beliefs. He is author of the book How Blind Is the Watchmaker?: Nature’s Design & the Limits of Naturalistic Science. The father of ID, Phillip Johnson, gave the book a glowing review describing it as “in the tradition of my own Darwin on Trial and Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.” (Reviews on the Amazon site are far less complimentary). Broom is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) a web site formed by William Dembski which presents itself as an ID “think tank.””

I wasn’t raising the accomadationist issue to get into debating the actual issue (although the discussion has certainly been fascinating) – just to see if it has registered here yet.

I appreciate your comments on the actual conference. from my perspective though a a more balanced conference would have been better with “right of reply” embedded in the list of speakers rather than Q & A. I also appreciate your interest in having a non-Christian input – I just don’t think this particular format would really encourage that.

What about considering some sort of more open format in future? Organised by a joint committee perhaps.

One of the problems I see is that a restricted format does encourage the airing of some basicallly anti-scientific attitudes as being more respectable than they really are in the wider community. Opposition to evolutionary science (and this whole “naturalism” diversion) is one aspect of this – ammounting to say 20% of the wider community but largely restricted to Chrsitians so amounting to say 45% in the Christian community. Therefore people like Broom and Flannagan would (presumably) get less representation in a more widely based conference.

Personally I would be more attracted to a conference where people like me participated at the speaker level – not just in the audience.

Again, I’m going to ask Broom about his signing of the dissenters list, precisely because I’ve not heard one negative word from his mouth about evolution in and of itself – but then again, Behe also accepts evolution too. I note that the book in question seems to be his only book, and is specifically philosophical in content (Published by ASHGATE (UK), 1999, in their ‘Avebury Series in Philosophy’). Now, I say this not to defend his signing of the dissenters list (which, again, I’ll ask him about), but to suggest that your problems/disagreements with Broom would not be with accepted evolutionary science, but with your philosophical differences.

As for the conference, I’m certainly not ashamed to admit that it is intended to present the view that faith and science are not enemies. And I can’t avoid stating my rejection of the notion that the format (or content) will be “anti-scientific” or “anti-evolution”. Indeed, I’m expecting the conference to stir-up a good many anti-science and anti-evolution Christians. Which is why it’s so ironic that you’d be concerned.

Dale – I have no problem with Broom. He is what he is and his signature on the dissenters list together with his book are evidence of his position. My point is that neither him or Flannagan are representative of the science culture, or of Christian scientists over all.

I think you misunderstand my comments. All I have pointed out is that the specific format of the conference can’t be as representative as one organised on balanced grounds. After all, you yourself suggest that there will be an anti-science backlash from the Christian community. That demonstrates the problem.

And personally, I would welcome the opportunity to participate in this sort of conference – but I wouldn’t put in the effort of travelling to it if voices like mine were restricted to audience participation in the Q&A session. But, given the nature of the conference it is perfectly right and proper that in this instance they are.

Indeed, no one person ever could be representative of “the science culture”.

At any rate, whilst I am unhesitant to admit that the conference will present one view of the faith/science relationship (so not ‘balanced’ in that sense), I maintain that the presentation of that view will be fair and factual.

And as for my warm invitation for you to attend, meet/mix with presenters over am/pm teas and lunch (few chances to do that, I’d say?), and feedback, etc., you are obviously more than welcome to decline.

Thanks for the invite, Dale. I wouldn’t normally travel to Auckland for a meeting so I guess I am unlikely to take you up.
Hope it goes well – and let us know your evaluation afterwards.

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