In Whose Image?
Perspectives from Intersections of Brain Science and Abrahamic Mindfulness

Friday, March 6, 2020 - Sunday, March 8, 2020

Goshen College, Goshen Indiana

The twentieth annual Goshen Conference on Science and Religion took place on the campus of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, Friday, March 6, 2020, through Sunday, March 8, 2020.  The speaker for the 2020 conference was Dr. Michael Spezio.

The first lecture is entitled, "Imagining the True Self: Apophatic Experience beyond Aseity". This lecture introduced positive accounts of Abrahamic mindfulness and distinguish them from several influential, westernized Dharmic forms of mindfulness prior to considering how contemporary apophatic theologies can go beyond aseity in defining human selves and identities, drawing on conceptions in western psychological and brain sciences.

The second lecture is entitled, "Humility as Kenotic Empathy: A Positive Account of Humility and its Dependence upon Theory of Mind and Imaginaries of the True Self." Empathy and theory of mind are typically understood in the West as related to the uncertainty of other minds and the need for knowledge about them. However, empirical work with transformative communities that have positive constructions of humility shows a stronger connection between empathy and humility in openly welcoming and affirming another person as a fully valued "I". This lecture will present these models, connect them with the thought of Edith Stein and with future directions in computational decision neuroscience.

Dr. Michael Spezio

Michael Spezio, 2020 Conference SpeakerMichael Spezio is Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and holds a Visiting Scientist appointment at the University Medical Center (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany. Michael is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He heads the Laboratory for Inquiry into Valuation and Emotion (The LIVE Lab) at Scripps College. The LIVE Lab uses computational models of semantic relations, mental processes, and neural systems to study the dynamic valuation of self and other critical for choices about how to live. This work includes studies of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, virtuous formation, mindfulness, prayer, theory of mind, belief and value updates using available evidence, and the extent to which both temporal horizon and evidence weighting influence interactive learning during cooperation and competition. He developed the first course in Data Science Ethics and Justice at the Claremont Colleges and works on virtue in the practices of science. He is Co-Editor of the journal Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences (Mohr Siebeck) and of the Routledge Companion to Religion & Science. Michael gratefully acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the John Templeton Foundation.Michael Spezio is Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and holds a Visiting Scientist appointment at the University Medical Center (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany. Michael is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He heads the Laboratory for Inquiry into Valuation and Emotion (The LIVE Lab) at Scripps College. The LIVE Lab uses computational models of semantic relations, mental processes, and neural systems to study the dynamic valuation of self and other critical for choices about how to live. This work includes studies of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, virtuous formation, mindfulness, prayer, theory of mind, belief and value updates using available evidence, and the extent to which both temporal horizon and evidence weighting influence interactive learning during cooperation and competition. He developed the first course in Data Science Ethics and Justice at the Claremont Colleges and works on virtue in the practices of science. He is Co-Editor of the journal Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences (Mohr Siebeck) and of the Routledge Companion to Religion & Science. Michael gratefully acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the John Templeton Foundation.

 

 

Christians, Climate, and Culture: Relationships, Tensions and Resolutions

Friday, March 29, 2019 - Sunday, March 31, 2019

Goshen College, Goshen Indiana

The nineteenth annual Goshen Conference on Science and Religion was held on the campus of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, Friday, Marchh 29, 2019, through Sunday, March 31, 2019.  The speaker for the 2019 conference is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.

Dr. Katharine HayhoeKatharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on developing and applying high-resolution climate projections to understand what climate change means for people and the natural environment. She is a professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, and has a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Toronto and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois.

More information about Dr. Hayhoe can be found here.

Lecture 1: Mitigate, Adapt, or Suffer: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts (Public)

"We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be." — John Holdren

Climate change is evident in Iowa, throughout the United States, and around the world. Assessing its impacts on agriculture, water, and the economy is essential to setting sound national and global targets that minimize the costs and maximize the benefits of both adaptation and mitigation. Conventional wisdom, first codified in the UNFCCC’s 1992 agreement to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, suggests impacts are expected to scale with atmospheric concentrations. Here, I explore the relationship between global temperature targets — typically expressed in degrees Celsius, from +2 to +4 --and projected future changes in a series of regional impact-relevant metrics, from drought to energy demand, to answer the question: To what extent do differences in global targets translate into differences in impacts on the Midwest?

Lecture 2: Christians, Climate, and Culture (Public)

Mounting scientific evidence clearly documents the risks posed by climate change to the poor, the needy, and other vulnerable populations, the very people Christians are called to love. As the scientific evidence builds, however, so does the vocal opposition to this evidence: in Canada, the U.S., Australia and even the U.K. Much of the disagreement comes from political and religious conservatives. Why is climate change so polarizing to these communities? What makes it so hard to comprehend and accept? Combining basic tenets of the Christian faith with recent findings from the areas of psychology, sociology, and climate
science, I will discuss potential reasons for these disagreements and the role that shared values may play in moving us forward past these barriers.

Lecture 3: To be announced (Limited to conference participants)

 

 

Islam’s Quantum Challenge: Living Islam in the Age of Science

Friday, March 9, 2018 - Sunday, March 11, 2018

Goshen College, Goshen Indiana

The eighteenth annual Goshen Conference on Science and Religion was held on the campus of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, Friday, Marchh 9, 2018, through Sunday, March 11, 2018.  The speaker for the 2018 conference was Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal.

Dr, Muzaffar Iqbal

Dr. Muzaffar IqbalMuzaffar Iqbal is the founder-president of Center for Islamic Sciences (www.cis-ca.org), Canada, (previously, Center for Islam and Science); editor of Islamic Sciences, a semi-annual journal of Islamic perspectives on science and civilization, and General Editor of the seven-volume Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qur'an. the first English-language reference work on the Qur'an based on fourteen centuries of Muslim reflection and scholarship. The first volume was published in January 2013.

Dr. Iqbal received his Ph.D. in chemistry (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1983), and then left the field of experimental science to fully devote himself to study Islam, its spiritual, intellectual and scientific traditions. More information about Dr. Iqbal can be found here.

Dr. Iqbal presents the complexities of the discourse on the relationship between Islam and science within the broader context of the Muslim encounter with modernity in three lectures.

Lecture 1: Understanding the Islam and Science Nexus: A Discourse on Method

This lecture provides a methodology—an alternative methodology—to understand the Islam and science nexus. In recent decades, the science and religion discourse has been framed mainly by an historically-construed relationship of science with Christianity, presumably in conflict with science, and even though many theologians have attempted to gloss the rough edges, the initially construed binary remains. Thus, a ubiquitous and has always defined the framework of the discourse, even when extended to other religions as diverse as Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. This framing is particularly problematic for Islam. This first lecture explains why and suggests and alternative methodology.

Lecture 2: God, Life, and the Cosmos in an Islamic Mirror

When and how did the cosmos come into existence? When and how did life appear on earth? Is there an end to creation or will it endure forever? The origin and ultimate destiny of human life on earth has always been at the center of the human quest for knowledge, self-identity, and relationship with the Creator and with others. This lecture presents fundamental Islamic beliefs about God, life, and the cosmos and explores their relationship with scientific cosmology and evolution.

Lecture 3: Islam, Science, Muslims, and Technology: Contemporary Challenges

The “challenge of science” is perhaps the most serious challenge that Islam has faced in its fourteen-hundred-year history. Science yields technology and technologies change the way we live, procure food, construct dwellings, communicate and travel—in short, they redefine both space and time around us. Islam has its own peculiar demands on the believers with respect to both space and time. This lecture explores the nature of time and space in Islam and the challenges which Muslims face, both as individuals as well as collectively.

 


Deep Incarnation: From Cosmos to Commitment

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Friday, April 7, 2017 - Sunday, April 9, 2017

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Goshen College, Goshen Indiana

 

The seventeenth annual Goshen Conference on Science and Religion was held on the campus of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana Friday, April 7, 2017, through Sunday, April 9, 2017.  The speaker for the 2017 conference was Niels Gregersen of the University of Copenhagen.  Gregersen presented three lectures on the following topcs:

  • The Cosmic Christ: God in a World of Mass, Energy, and Information
  • Christ and Biology: Creativity and Suffering in a World of Biological Agency
  • Christ and Culture: The Jesus Story and the Cultivation of Commitment

Niels Henrik Gregersen

Niels Henrik Gregersen

Niels Henrik Gregersen (born 1956) holds the PhD from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1987). Since 2004 he has been Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Copenhagen. He was Assistant Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion (1986-1989), Associate Professor in Systematic Theology (1989-2000), and Research Professor in Theology & Science (2000-2004) at Aarhus University.

Gregersen has been a Fellow of Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton since 1996, and the J.K. John Russell Fellow at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley, October 2004 and 2013. He has received several international research awards, among them a research award of $100,000 from the John Templeton Foundation for his work on the constructive interface between science & religion.

He lectures widely in Europe and the USA, and has been invited to be the main speaker to major conferences in South Africa, Asia (China, Japan and South Korea), and in Australia. He writes in Danish, English and German, and has been translated into Swedish, French, Dutch, Russian, Romanian, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.

Gregersen's work focuses on two research fields:

(1) How to develop a constructive Christian theology in the context of secularized and multi-religious Western societies? Within systematic theology, he specializes in the theology of creation and Christology, but has written on most topics of Christian theology.
(2) How to bring about a mutual interaction between science and religion that also allows religious reflection to be an active player? Within the field of science and religion, he specializes in the philosophy of evolutionary biology and the sciences of complexity.

His list of publications contains more than 500 entries, including 5 books, 2 co-authored books and more than twenty edited volumes. He has published some 150 articles in Nordic, German and English books and journals.