Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 75 - April 2012


1. Review of recent Science, Religion and Atheism Course
2. Faraday Summer Course (8 – 14 July)
3. Christians in Science Conference (13 – 16 July)
4. 'God and Genetics' Course (14 – 16 Sep)
5. Review of Science Week Panel Discussion
6. Job vacancy
7. Faraday staff activities
8. Test of FAITH
9. More Faraday staff activities

1. We have just completed our Cambridge week-end Faraday Course on Science, Religion and Atheism, attended by more than 50 delegates and speakers coming from the UK, USA, Canada, Romania, Germany and Russia. The aim was not to discuss the existence of God but to review the way in which the narratives describing science-religion discourse are told depending on the metascientific beliefs of the narrator, either historically or today. The result was a fascinating pot-pourri of perspectives and the week-end was full of surprises as different speakers interpreted their brief in varying ways. Philosophy, cosmology, evolutionary biology and the history of science and religion were all addressed during the broad-ranging talks. As usual nearly all the talks were filmed and recorded and will be appearing on the web-site shortly at www.faraday-institute.org.

2. Our ever-popular Summer Course 'Science and Religion - the View Both Ways' will be held at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge, July 8-14, and as usual we have an impressive array of international speakers, all experts in their field. If you are thinking of coming on the Course, early registration is recommended as the Course is filling up fast. Bursaries are available (awarded by open competition) for those wishing to come from low-income countries and we have just received extra funding to support the funding of teachers who may wish to attend our courses.

3. This summer a major residential international conference on science and religion organized by Christians in Science is being held at Queens' College, Cambridge, 13-16 July. The dates have been coordinated so that those coming to the Faraday Summer Course can move straight over to Queens' College just down the road if they also wish to attend this important conference during the same trip. Further details and on-line registration may be found at http://www.cis.org.uk/conferences/.

4. Further away, but not that far away, is the Faraday 'God and Genetics' Course [Sep. 14-16] which is also beginning to fill up. Further details are on our web-site and the Course is warmly recommended for all those interested in this topic. Teachers should again notice that extra bursaries are now available for them to attend Faraday Courses such as this one.

5. The past month saw a standing room only attendance of more than 200 at the Faraday panel discussion on 'Brain, Mind, Neurons and Free-Will' held as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. Focusing mainly on questions from the audience, the panel of experts presented an array of views that certainly helped to clarify the questions even if not giving all the final answers on this challenging subject. An MP3 recording of the event may be found on the Faraday web-site, though sadly not a video version due to a technical glitch.

6. The Faraday Institute is advertising a Research Associate position in Natural Disasters to work with Prof Bob White in Cambridge. Deadline for applications 1 May (see Faraday web site for details).

7. Whilst the April vacation break here in the UK provides a break from regular Faraday activities in Cambridge, it is also quite a busy time for Faraday staff who are out and about both in the UK and overseas giving lectures and speaking at conferences. Some of these events for the coming month are listed below in case recipients of this newsletter happen to be in the vicinity.

8. The Test of Faith project [http://www.testoffaith.com/] continues to post new resources at their web-site, the newest being Interview clips with David Wilkinson at http://tinyurl.com/d7xybdt and with John Polkinghorne at http://tinyurl.com/cb5t8sd. The past month the Project Leader, Ruth Bancewicz, has been in Madrid where Test of Faith materials are being developed in Spanish.

9. During the past month the Director gave lectures on evolution in Kuala Lumpur at a collaborative event between Cambridge University and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (details in the News section of our web-site); again on evolution at a Christians in Science meeting in Bristol; and a more general science-religion talk at the Peterborough Theological Society. The Course Director spoke on 'Science and Religion: Friends or Foes' to the Christians in Science group in Edinburgh, and to a packed audience of mainly physicists at Imperial College on 'Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?' He was also interviewed by the BBC for a forthcoming programme on cosmologist Georges Lemaître.

Denis Alexander Bob White
[Director] [Associate Director]


5th April Denis Alexander, panel discussion on topic "To what extent should we allow manipulations to the human body?" 11.00 a.m. organized by Triple Helix. Venue: Cavonius Centre on West Road (next to the Stephen Hawking Building), Cambridge.

11th-12th April. Denis Alexander lectures in Helsinki, Finland. Contact Shaun Rossi [Shaun.Rossi@om.org] for further details.

18th April. Denis Alexander, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, general talk on science and faith launching a new series of talks for the Anglican Rochester Diocese. Contact Stephen Keevil [ stephen.keevil@kcl.ac.uk] for details.

18th April. Rodney Holder, Christ Church, Cambridge, talk on 'God and the Big Bang'. 12:15 lunch, 13.00 talk. benjamin.t.randall@hotmail.com

23rd-27th April. Denis Alexander giving 5 talks as part of Lee Abbey Retreat, Devon. Further details from: Sharon@leeabbey.org.uk.

3rd May. Denis Alexander. Norwich Cathedral. 'Genes, Determinism and God'. See: http://www.cis.org.uk/groups/norwich/.

12th May Bob White at King's Langley for a Men's Breakfast meeting, 'Take Ten: The Religious Beliefs of Ten Famous Scientists', contact John King gjohnking@btinternet.com

15th May. Rodney Holder. Leading day on science and religion for Hereford Diocese Continuing Ministerial Education programme.