What's New !
Check the Events page for recent posts on upcoming events.  Also check the
Announcements
page for messages about science and religion developments.
January 2013
Nobel Prize Winner in Physics to Participate in Evolution Weekend Panel
Dr. John Mather, Nobel Prize in physics, 2006 will be participating in a panel discussion
with Dr. Connie Bertka  (Co-chair of the Smithsonian Human Origins Project), Rabbi
George Driesen (Founder and President of the Institute for Science and Judaism), and
Thomas Burnett (recently part of the BioLogos Foundaton team and now with the
National Academy of Sciences).  The panel discussion will provide expert commentary
following the live webcast of “Evolving Universe, Evolving Faith” a production of
Darkwood Brew online Christian ministry (Omaha, NE) in celebration of Evolution
Weekend.  The flyer of the event can be found here.

Reviews of Tom Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos      
Tom Nagel is University Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University and
a distinguished critic of reductive materialism which states that everything can be
understood by understanding chemistry and biology.  In Tom Nagel’s recent book,
Mind
and Cosmos, Nagel lays out in a short, crisp fashion his criticism of “materialistic
naturalism”.  Not surprisingly, his book has stimulated quite a response.  

In October, Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg published an article , “
Do You Only
Have a Brain? On Thomas Nagel”, in The Nation, deeply critical of his position.  Then in
January in The New York Review of Books, H. Allen Orr, in a tone a little less strident
but no less critical, challenges Nagel’s naturalistic teleology.  In “
Awaiting a New
Darwin", Orr, though admitting that one cannot rule out the possibility of teleology in
nature, asserts that the real question “is not whether teleology is formally compatible with
the practice of science. The question is whether the practice of science leads to taking
teleology seriously.” Since, for Orr, the scientific evidence for teleology does not exist,
there is no reason for taking it seriously now.  To do so will require a radical change.  

For many in the science and religion dialog, however, Orr’s assertion is old hat.  Science
is methodologically ill-suited to uncover intimations of purpose.  
John Haught, Philip
Clayton
, Michael Ruse, John Cobb and John Polkinghorne, to name just a view,
have presented cogent arguments for teleology within an evolutionary framework.  But
the conversation will continue with Nagel’s book being the most recent catalyst.  

Profiles In (Evolutionary) Courage       
Over the last few years, Michael Zimmerman, founder of the
Clergy Letter Project (and
also a member of the WesleyNexus Advisory Board) has highlighted individuals who
have responded to intimidations against the teaching of biological evolution by standing
up and being heard.  The stories of
Denise, Al, Ron and other clergy, and Zack provide
evidence of how difficult it is in some communities to stand up for the teaching of solid
science.   

Myth of Universal Love
On January 5th, Stephen Asma wrote a provocative thought peace for the NY Times
Stone Forum
where he questions the viability of universal love as a moral principle for
which we should all strive.  As he puts it, “in the light of the new year, it’s worth
considering how far we actually can, or should, extend this good will.”  In answering this
proposal, Asma states that he is not a proponent of universal love.  As a self-described
secularist, he views the problem from an evolutionary perspective.  “Empathy is actually
a biological emotion (centered in the limbic brain) that comes in degrees, because it has a
specific physiological chemical progression. Empathy is not a concept, but a natural
biological event —an activity, a process”.  A person who stands squarely within the
Wesleyan tradition of loving one’s neighbor will find this article a challenge, both for the
faith itself and the dialog of faith with science.  As such, it provides a stimulus for critical
thought.  The article can be found
here.  

November 2012

Book Reviews by Dr. Walter Shropshire
Newberg, Andrew, Eugene D’Aquili and Vince Rause, Why God Won’t Go Away -
Brain Science & the Biology of Belief (Ballantine Books: New York 2001) ISBN 0-345-
44034-X  $14. As reviewed Nov. 16, 2012 by Walter Shropshire for WesNex.

Fagg, Lawrence W.,
The Becoming of Time – Integrating Physical and Religious Time
(Scholars Press: Atlanta, Georgia, 1995) ISBN 0-7885-0059-7 $20.46. As reviewed
November 16, 2012 by Walter Shropshire for WesNex.

Pruett, Dave,
Reason and Wonder: A Copernican Revolution in Science and Spirit
(Praeger: Santa Barbara, California 2012) ISBN 978-0-313-39919-0 $58. As reviewed
October 13, 2012 by Walter Shropshire for WesNex.

Your Brain on Prayer
“Through the Wormhole”
is a Discovery Channel program narrative by Morgan
Freeman.  In a recent video, Andrew Newburg’s research is featured on prayer and brain
activity.  A short clip from the program can be found
here.

Evolution Weekend: Webcast Video on February 10, 2013
Chicago's Adler Planetarium and the popular internet television studio Darkwood Brew
(www.darkwoodbrew.org) will offer a fully interactive telecast called
“Evolving
Universe, Evolving Faith”
featuring top theologians and scientists.   The program,
which will stream in high definition video from Darkwood Brew's web studio in Omaha,
will highlight current theories concerning the evolution of the universe and the
implications they hold for faith in the modern world.

A live chat will be enabled for viewers who choose to enter conversation with others
from around the world or field questions to the guests.  Darkwood Brew (www.
darkwoodbrew.org) is run out of
Countryside Community Church in Omaha, NE with
Clergy Letter Project member,
Rev. Eric Elnes in charge.  Programs are broadcast live
every Sunday, 6pm EST/5pm CST (rebroadcast with live chat at 10pm EST/9 CST).

To have your congregation participate, please register with the Clergy Letter Project at

www.
evolutionweekend.org.

October, 2012

Donate To WesleyNexus online

As WesleyNexus continues to grow in our promotion of science and religion dialogue
across the country, additional expenses are being incurred that put pressure on the
modest financial resources currently available for this effort.  To extend the offerings of
resources, programs and networking, WesleyNexus has now made it possible to donate
online through Paypal.  The
Donate button is on the main page and allows anyone with a
credit card and an email address to access Paypal’s secure payment process.  Our main
objective is to secure enough funds before December 31 to upgrade the website
permitting continuous dialogue among those in a our growing online community. Since
WesleyNexus has no employees, no offices, and only minimal operational expenses (web
registration and hosting, program promotion and a few office supplies), nearly 100% of
each donation goes towards science and religion dialogue and networking.   Please
consider donating today.  No amount is too little.  All contributions will be properly
acknowledged for tax purposes. If you have any questions concerning our budget, please
send an email to WesleyNexus@aol.com.

September, 2012

The Royal Society
Sir Paul Nurse received the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2001 and was recently
interviewed by Michael Powell of the New York Times.  The interview focuses on the
Royal Society, the English bastion of scientific learning since time of Sir Isaac Newton.   
The article can be found
here.


.       
Take a Look at What's New !