Tuesday Aug. 4
- Title: God and the Multiverse
- Speaker: Deborah Haarsma
The last 100 years have transformed our understanding of the universe. We now know that the universe is ancient, beginning in a Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, and that it continues to expand today, at an ever-increasing rate. We’ve also seen amazing evidence that some physical laws and constants are fine-tuned for life, as well as hints that our universe is part of a much bigger multiverse. What does all this have to do with God? This talk will give an overview of a range of religious and non-religious responses to these exciting discoveries.
Wednesday Aug. 5
- Title: God, Evolution, and Morality
- Speaker: Loren Haarsma
Evolution is usually thought to reward selfish behavior. Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, however, offer several scientific hypotheses for how altruism and a sense of morality could have evolved in human beings. When these hypotheses are presented, they are sometimes accompanied by philosophical claims that morality and religion are nothing but genetic and social constructs, that human morality cannot be objective, and that religious beliefs cannot be true. These philosophical claims are unnecessary additions; they can be separated from the scientific hypotheses without scientific loss. Many religions include the concept of divine revelation in human history. Divine revelation allows moral and religious claims to have objective status without negating the evolutionary origins of moral and religious inclinations.
Thursday Aug. 6
- Title: Evolution and Christianity: Past, Present, and Future
- Speakers: Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma
A great deal of scientific evidence supports the theory of evolution. Some scholars have claimed that if evolution is true, then religious beliefs such as Christianity must be false. Christians in North America have responded to this claim in a variety of ways, including young-earth creationism, old-earth progressive creationism, intelligent design, and evolutionary creationism. The latter view asserts that the scientific theory of evolution and the religious beliefs of Christianity can both be true. In this talk, we’ll summarize the history and current status of these views. Some Christians today still have significant concerns about the science of evolution and its theological implications, yet recent surveys also reveal openness to the conversation. New resources and approaches are increasing the dialogue among pastors, teachers, and scholars on evolution.
Deborah Haarsma serves as the President of BioLogos (founded by Francis Collins), a position she has held since January 2013. Previously, she served as professor and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Deborah is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. She completed her doctoral work in astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and her undergraduate work in physics and music at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn.
Loren Haarsma is a professor in the Physics Department at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. His current scientific research is studying the electrical activity of nerve cells, and computer modeling of self-organized complexity in biology and in economics. He completed his doctoral work in physics at Harvard University, his masters work in physics at University of Washington, and his undergraduate work in physics and mathematics at Calvin College.
Deborah and Loren are authors of Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (2011, 2007), a book presenting the agreements and disagreements of Christians regarding the history of life and the universe. Together, they have explored the science and theology of origins, speaking at numerous conferences, colleges, and churches.
The Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum is a group of people looking for truth in faith and science and how they work together. Some of us are scientists, some are clergy, but all of us want to delve deeper into the mysteries of faith and science and see what we can figure out together.
In 2014, the Forum organized our first summer lecture series, consisting of dinner, lecture, and discussion on various topics for 10 weeks.
For more information about the group, contact rkrentzwee[at]gmail[dot]com. There also is a discussion group over on Facebook.
More information can be found at www.lafsf.org.