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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 108 - January 2015

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2015 and we also welcome our new administrator Rachel Simonson. Rachel takes over from Polly Stanton who retired at the end of 2014. No doubt many of the readers of this newsletter will have contact with Rachel in the future, as they have had with Polly over the years.

The first event of the new term will be a free public lecture by Prof Glynn Harrison of Bristol University, entitled “Identity, self esteem and the Image of God.” This will take place in the Queen’s Lecture Theatre, Emmanuel College at 5.30p.m. on Tuesday 13th January, followed by a drinks reception.

The first seminar of the new term will be on 20th January, when Dr Mark Harris of Edinburgh University will speak on “‘The trees of the field shall clap their hands’ (Isaiah 55:12): What does it mean to say that creation praises the Creator?” As usual this will take place in the Garden Room, St Edmund’s College, 13.00-14.00, preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30.

Coming up in 2015:
‘Exploring Science and Religion’ - a one-day course in Hereford on 28th February 2015.  Is the universe designed? Did our genes make us do it?  When does life begin? This one-day course will explore a number of key questions in the dialogue between science, religion and ethics: Topics to be covered include: Cosmology and the Big Bang; Genetics and Determinism; Ethical Challenges in Contemporary Science; Science and the Bible. ADD WEB LINK

‘Science and Religion: The Big Questions’ – a weekend course in Cambridge on 20th-22nd March 2015  This weekend course is for busy people who want to gain a broad introductory overview of the big questions in science and religion from top speakers in the field. Philosophers, scientists, historians and theologians will tackle a wide range of topics such as the conflict myth, rationality and knowledge, the nature of matter, God’s action in the world, genetics and determinism, ethical challenges in science.  There will be plenty of opportunity for group discussion and to interact informally with the speakers over the course of the weekend. ADD WEB LINK

Finally don’t forget our annual Summer Course, ‘Science or Religion: Do We Have to Choose?’ The following key topics will be covered in the course:  historical and philosophical perspectives on science and religion; the relationship between religious belief and different scientific disciplines, including physics, evolutionary biology and neuroscience; and some of the ethical issues raised by science.  Lectures will be delivered by a team of international speakers including Prof Alister McGrath, Prof Simon Conway Morris, Dr Barbara Drossel, Dr Erin Joakim, Prof Peter Clarke, Revd Dr Ernest Lucas, Dr Jamie Aten, and Dr Michael Burdett. In addition there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and group discussion as well as informal interaction with speakers. Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit some sites associated with Cambridge’s scientific heritage.  ADD WEB LINK

Other courses will be added to the website as details become available – so do visit it regularly. ADD WEB LINK

The Faraday Institute is co-sponsoring a conference in Australia on “Rediscovering the spiritual in God’s creation.” This will take place 10-13 March 2015 and the director Bob White will be one of the key speakers. For more details see:

Dr Ruth Bancewicz’s new book God in the Lab: How science enhances faith was published last month by Monarch. Topics covered include creativity, imagination, beauty, wonder and awe, and the book also includes stories from Faraday Advisory Board member Dr Harvey McMahon, Faraday Associate Dr Robert Sluka, Dr Ruth Hogg, Dr Rhoda Hawkins, Dr Jennifer Siggers and Professor Jeff Hardin. A number of events will be held in the US and UK on this theme in 2015, and there will be a special series of articles, podcasts and videos. To order or find out more please go to

Several new Test of Faith resources are also now available. These are designed to provide an introduction to the main issues in science and faith for a general audience. A French edition of the DVD has now been published by the Presses Bibliques Universitaires, and is accompanied by online study resources. Also, a Dutch version of the DVD and course material has been published by ForumC. For details of these and other language versions, please go to

In December the Revd Dr Rodney Holder spoke on ‘Science and Faith – Friends or Foes?’ to the Cambridge Theological Federation and gave a similarly titled talk to 50 Year 13 pupils at Bishop Hatfield Girls School. He also gave a talk entitled ‘Cosmology, Fine-Tuning and God’ to Ely Astronomy Club. He discussed his book Longing, Waiting, Believing: Reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (Abingdon: BRF, 2014) with John Polkinghorne:

Note that videos of Faraday courses, lectures and seminars are available from and on iTunes U, as well as on the Faraday web site In addition, listen to Faraday interviews with John Polkinghorne and others on Sound Cloud (

A new Faraday Paper has been added to our free on-line collection, now numbering 18 in all in English, with a further 82 translations into many different languages, Farsi being the latest linguistic addition. The new Paper entitled ‘Science, Religion and Truth’ is by Dr John Taylor, Head of Philosophy at Rugby School. The first Faraday Paper in Farsi has now appeared (Paper No 1) and Faraday Paper No 3 in Farsi will be posted shortly. To download free Faraday Papers click on or for print copies order on line from the Faraday Shop.