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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 143 - February 2018


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February 2018 Newsletter No. 143
We have started the year with many fantastic interactions including courses, ministry training for Church leaders, school workshops for both pupils and teachers and our first public lecture of the year  "God, Artificial Intelligence and Humans" which was full to capacity.  The next few months will be equally busy with Science Festival panels, the final two seminars of the term and not to mention our course "Disasters, Faith and Resilience."This course will be a stimulating weekend looking at 'disasters' from many perspectives and bringing together a variety of people and cultures. In addition we are delighted to welcome our new Course Director Prof. Hugh Rollinson, you can listen to a podcast to find out more about him. 

Course: Disasters, Faith, and Resilience

Westminster College (Cambridge)

13-15 April 2018

This course explores the causes and effects of disasters on those caught up in them, and the role that religious faith has on those affected. We cover disasters with undoubted human causes, including the Lockerbie air crash, murders and epidemics, and so-called ‘natural disasters’, such as the New Orleans hurricane and the Haiti earthquake, which killed 230,000 people. It transpires that ‘natural’ disasters often owe their major impact to human factors. An international panel of expert speakers will address theological aspects thrown up by our experience of disasters and suffering; scientific causes and possible responses to disasters; and the practical ways in which we might respond as individuals and as communities to disasters both at home and abroad. The weekend will be enriched by personal testimonies from those who have been through deep disasters in Haiti, New Orleans, Lockerbie and Africa.

There are various options for attendance at this course depending on your budget and interests.  

Deadline for applications: 26 March 2018
Workshop: Extending life at any cost
Extending life at any cost is currently a ‘hot topic’ in the fields of medicine and social care and was the theme of the most recent Faraday Day Course on 15 February. In collaboration with the Woolf Institute and held in the new Woolf Institute conference room speakers were drawn from the academic community and practitioners in the field. The question central to the day was ‘What constitutes a good death?’ Prof. John Wyatt (UCL) considered this question in the light of the technological advances in medicine, and the potential problem of medical over-treatment at the end of life, whereas Prof. David Jones (Oxford) discussed the process of decision making and the ethics of with-holding treatment in the light of the philosophical model of virtue theory. A pastoral approach was provided by Naved Siddiqi (Woolf Institute) who described the changing landscape of death with a particular emphasis on the changing faith profile in the UK and by Rev. Derek Fraser (lead chaplain at Cambridge University Hospitals) who spoke powerfully from both a professional and personal perspective on the qualities that contribute to dying well in a hospital and hospice setting. It was a great day attended by a diverse group of over 50  people, from academics, family members considering care options to care practitioners.
Read Ruth Bancewicz's "Reflection for Lent " from Science and Belief
Listen to an interview with our new Course Director Prof.Hugh Rollinson. Find out about some of his interests, scientific career and much more! 
Research Seminar Series 
We have had a great start to the seminars for the Lent term with two more remaining. 

20 February
Resisting blind chance and 'senseless' cosmos: Historical perspectives on science, ethics and nature
Dr Louise Hickman
(Newman University, Birmingham)

6 March
The Colour of Disaster: New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina
Revd. Dr Roger Abbott
(The Faraday Institute)

Our seminars are held at 13:00 on alternate Tuesdays during full term in St Edmund’s College. A free sandwich lunch and drinks are served from 12:30 onwards. All are welcome.
Fantastic New Video "The Theology of Suffering:Natural Catastrophes andHurricane Katrina - Stories of Impact"

Explore the relationship between Hurricane Katrina survivors and their faith – a faith that enabled them to rebuild their community in the wake of devastation and profound loss.

Day Course in Plymouth
24 February 
St Andrew's Church, Plymouth.
Science: Exploring God's Creation

Speakers: Revd Dr Ernest Lucas, Dr Cherryl Hunt, Prof. Keith Fox and Dr Trevor Stammers.
For further information contact Dr David Huntley

Course in Hong Kong 
Click here to Listen to an interview on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire about the "Extending Life at Any Costs?" workshop
Can't make our events in person, don't worry, all of our seminars, talks, lectures and public festivals are available on the Multimedia part of our website. We have over 600 talks for you to watch or listen to at your convenience. 
Faraday Bursaries
Wish to attend a Faraday course but need some assistance? Please get in touch to see if you may qualify for a bursary. 
Upcoming Events
Cambridge Science Festival 2018 

How do we make sense of the world in times of adversity?
14 March 2018 19:00 – 20:30 Old Divinity School (St. John's) CB2 1TP

Ever wondered what we do in times of adversity? Why do disasters strike? Why are some people more resilient than others? How do we make sense of it all? Interviews and Q&A with researchers in a range of fields dealing with disasters, health and scientific advances.
Booking is essential via EventBrite. 
Doors open at 18:30 and refreshments finish at 21:15

In addition there will also be an interactive exhibition showcasing the Faraday Institute's research projects. This will be from 18:15-19:00 and 20:15 - 21:15

God and Epilepsy
13 March 2018 18:00 - 19:30 Mill Lane Lecture Rooms 8 Mill Lane CB2 1RW 

Very rarely, people with epilepsy have mystical experiences during their seizures. This may be why the ancients called epilepsy the Sacred Disease. Dostoyevsky had such seizures and wrote about them in The Idiot. Professor Alasdair Coles and Dr Joseph Tennant describe modern day examples of people with these unusual seizures, and what they can teach neuroscience, psychology and theology.

The Rev. Professor Alasdair Coles is a neurologist in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Cambridge University. His research is primarily focused on multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology. His research also investigates the spiritual lives of people affected by neurological disease.

Dr Joseph Tennant is a cultural psychologist at St Edmund’s College, in the Faraday Institute. His research focuses on the psychology of religion and of morality. His current research is on mystical experiences during epileptic seizure.

Book here.

Public Lecture 
17:30 - 19:00 16 May 2018 
McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Prof. Sir Colin Humphreys
Science and the reliability of the Bible

Followed by a drinks reception. 

Summer Course: Science, Faith and Human Flourishing
1-6 July 2018
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

This year's summer course "Science, Faith and Human Flourishing" addresses a number of big questions that have enormous impact on how we understand the world around us and how we learn to flourish in a changing environment. What is the nature of the physical universe? How do human beings grow spiritually and morally, even in extreme circumstances? What is the nature of religious experience? How does the impact of robotics and AI technologies affect our understanding of what it means to be human? How do religious scientists relate their scientific understanding to their scriptures and traditions? What does it mean to talk of purpose in biology and how is this relevant to ordinary believers? In this five-day course, we will explore the relationship between science and religion from a variety of perspectives – scientific, historical, theological and philosophical. A team of world-renowned speakers from a range of disciplines will contribute to the dialogue from their own experience and expertise in the keynote lectures. Additional workshops on a range of topics will enable us to explore specific scientific topics in more depth. There will be the opportunity to explore Cambridge's scientific heritage through a number of guided tours.

Please book before 31 May. 
Faraday "Out and About" - Where will we be? 

The Faraday Team are busy out presenting to a plethora of audiences and a range of places, here is a selection of where some of the team will be in the next month: 

Denis Alexander
9 March: Denis will talk at the Annual Open meeting for the Link House Trust on the topic "Has Science made faith Redundant?'

Ruth Bancewicz
20 February: Ruth is speaking on' God in the Lab: When curiosity leads to wonder, awe, and the big questions of life’, at the Christians in Science meeting Surrey Heath.
4 March: Ruth will be speaking at Comberton Baptist church on the positive interaction of science and faith. 
5 March: Ruth will talk at CiS Norfolk on "God in the Science Lab: curiosity, awe and the meaning of life"

Keith Fox
22 February: Keith will be on a panel discussion following the play "Faith in the Questions" in Southampton. 
22 March: Science and Religion: Has Science Buried God, St Paul's Catholic School, Milton Keynes 

Alexander Massmann
13 March: Alexander will take part in an open discussion about "Genome Editing: How far should we go?."This open event in part of the Cambridge Science Festival" and organised by The Babraham Institute as a part of the European funded project ORION

Hilary Marlow
7 – 8 March: Hilary will be leading a study workshop for military chaplains at Amport House in Portsmouth. The workshop will tackle a range of issues in science and Christian faith, including our response to global environmental issues.

26-28 March: Hilary and Caroline Tee will host an academic colloquium in Cambridge on the subject of “Reading is Believing? Sacred Texts in a Scientific Age”. This will bring together textual exegetes, historians and commentators to discuss ways in which the world has posed challenges to the scriptural traditions of Islam and Christianity. For more details see

Bob White
20-22 March: Bob will be giving the Walton Lectures in Ireland (in Cork, Dublin and Belfast) on 'Are natural disasters Acts of God? Lectures are at 1930. 

Faraday "Out & About " - What have we been up to? 

Beth Singler has been made Vice-Chair for the advisory board for Google DeepMind and RSA's Forum for Ethical AI

8 February: Rodney Holder spoke on 'God or the Big Bang?' at Faringdon Corn Exchange, Faringdon, Oxon.

5-9 February: Hilary Marlow was the leader and speaker at a biblical studies break at Sarum College, Salisbury, on the topic “Creation, Christian Faith and a Precious World”. Eleven participants from a range of backgrounds gathered to discuss biblical texts in depth, the relationship between science and faith, and our response to global environmental issues.
9-10 February: Hilary Marlow was an invited respondent at a conference in Athens entitled “Orthodox Christianity and the Reassessment of Scientific Knowledge” This was part of the three-year TWCF-funded research project “Science and Orthodoxy across the World” and brought together theologians, clergy and scientists , most of whom were from the Orthodox tradition, to discuss the issues that science raises for Orthodox Christianity and vice versa. The participants covered a wide spectrum of theological positions regarding the Orthodox Church’s relationship to science, but were all keen to engage in the debate and to highlight key issues in Orthodoxy’s engagement with modernity. Dr Marlow responded to a paper by Orthodox theologian and ethicist, Dr Perry Hamalis, on the ethics of Radical Life Extension.

Our School Outreach Team has continued their fantastic interactions with a wide range of ages and audiences, January saw them delivering sessions in schools, Cathedrals, ministry training weekends and much more. In the upcoming month they will be at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire, Norwich Cathedral, Sawston Village College and delivering many sessions for British Science Week. If you would like more information about these events or to arrange something in your school, church or youth group from our School Outreach Team, please get in touch 

The following paper has been published: Rodney D. Holder (2017), ‘Thomas Torrance: Science, Theology, and the Contingent Universe’, Participatio: The Journal of the T. F. Torrance Theological Fellowship, vol. 7, 27-48.

The Faraday Papers (now numbering 20) have already appeared in book format in Spanish and will soon be appearing as books also in Swedish and English. To find out more about these papers go to our website at 
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