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.
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).
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.
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.