Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /var/sites/f/ on line 378
News | The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 76 - May 2012

1.  Elliott Sober public lecture
2.  Martin Nowak public lecture
3.  Bill Newsome seminar on free will
4.  Bill Newsome London Pentecost Festival lecture
5.  Michael Ward seminar on C S Lewis
6.  On-line lecture archive and resources
7.  November reception – advance notice
8.  Closing date for research associate job applications
9.  Publication date for new book by Rodney Holder
10.  Faraday courses
11.  Test of Faith news
12.  LASAR news
13.  Staff activities

1. On 24th May at 5.30 p.m. we look forward to this term’s Faraday Public Lecture to be given by one of the world’s leading philosophers of biology, Prof. Elliott Sober from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will be speaking on ‘Naturalism and Evolutionary Theory’. The lecture will be given in the Buckingham House Lecture Theatre of Murray Edwards College and will be followed by a drinks reception and bookstall. Entrance is free and all are welcome.

2. This lecture is part of a mini-series on evolutionary biology and the second lecture in the series, this time in collaboration with the Divinity Faculty, will be given by the distinguished Harvard mathematician Prof. Martin Nowak on 28th May at 5.30 p.m. in the same venue on the topic ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’. Prof. Nowak has recently published some important articles and reviews on this topic in Nature.

3. This month we look forward to the arrival of Prof Bill Newsome, professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, who will be spending the next four months on sabbatical with The Faraday Institute, during which period he will be a Visiting Fellow at St. Edmund’s College. Prof. Newsome will be giving the first Faraday Research Seminar of this new term on 15th May at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Seminar Room of St. Edmund’s College with the title ‘”Free Choice” and the Brain: Interpreting Volition in a Post-Libet Era’. The seminar is preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30 p.m. For those unfamiliar with the Libet experiments, basically they suggest that we make decisions before we are consciously aware of making decisions. Does that challenge the idea that our choices are freely made?

4. If you want to find an answer to that question but don’t live in Cambridge, then you can also hear Prof. Newsome speak in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre of Kings College London on 23rd May at 7.30 p.m. with the title ‘Brain, Mind and Free Will’. This is a ticketed event (£5 only) and tickets can be purchased on-line at There are limited spaces so early booking is recommended.

5. Another Faraday seminar coming up this month that will interest many people is ‘Science and Religion in the Writings of C S Lewis’ to be given by Dr Michael Ward, Chaplain at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, on 29th May. Dr Ward is author of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis, a book which drew a lot of public interest when first published in 2010.

6. All these seminars and indeed all our public events can be viewed afterwards on-line either on the Faraday web-site at or at the University of Cambridge web-site at We are aware that the sound quality has been a bit variable on some of our on-line resources and aficionados will therefore be pleased to hear that we are currently investing in a package of better quality recording equipment.

7. An advance date for the diary for those from the Cambridge scientific community. The Faraday Institute is hosting a reception on Monday, 19th November at 6.00 p.m. in the Guildhall, Cambridge, for all those who self-identify as Christians within the Cambridge scientific community, be they in university departments, research institutes (such as LMB, Babraham or the Sanger) or in local companies. We did certainly consider making this reception open to all scientists with any kind of religious belief, but realized that wouldn’t be practical – not least because the Guild Hall wouldn’t be big enough and our budget would run out! So apologies to those from other religions – this is all a bit experimental and we’ll see how this first reception works out (we are expecting many hundreds to be there). Further details and advance registration is at: reception/. The evening will start with a free buffet at 6.00 p.m., there will be a short talk by the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS, and plenty of opportunity for mingling and chatting. Please note that the web-site has a down-loadable poster and we would be grateful if you could pass this on to interested friends who fit this category.

8. Today is the final day for those wishing to apply for the Research Associate position in Natural Disasters to work with Prof Bob White in Cambridge (see Faraday web site for details).

9. Today is also the official publication today of Dr Rodney Holder’s new book The Heavens Declare: Natural Theology and the Legacy of Karl Barth (Templeton Press, 2012), which is now available at a substantial discount from the Faraday on-line shop.

10. The Faraday Institute Summer Course is nearing capacity but there are still places on the exciting ‘God and Genetics’ course scheduled for 14-16 Sept 2012 (details on the website).

11. Two new Test of Faith resources have been released online: interview clips with Professor Sir John Houghton (, and Test of Faith videos with Spanish subtitles, by the group Razón y Pensamiento Cristiano, Santiago de Chile ( Also new from Test of Faith is a youth tour, an extension of the ‘Test of Faith: Live!’ UK school events, featuring the In Yer Face theatre company as well as the usual music, theatre, experiments, multimedia and science presentation. To host a visit from the tour, please email Helen Kendall: (flier at

12. Later this month the LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) team will be hosting a conference for teachers and others who are interested to ensure that the relationships between science and religion are well addressed in schools. Key speakers will include Michael Poole who will be talking about explanations and the historian Professor John Hedley Brooke who will get everyone thinking about Newton. The team will also present findings from a survey of 2613 students exploring their thinking about how science and religion relate. The conference is on 19th May at St Edmund’s College Cambridge and is called: Creativity, Creation and a Big Bang: Science and Religion in the School Curriculum. To register please go to the Conference page on The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion website at

13. As usual the past month has seen Faraday staff out and about giving lectures and in the media. Dr Rodney Holder was in debate with Prof. Lawrence Krauss concerning the latter’s new book A Universe from Nothing on the Premier Christian Radio Show ‘Unbelievable’: He also spoke on ‘God and the Big Bang’ to an audience at Christ Church, Cambridge. The Director took part in a panel discussion in Cambridge organized by the student science society Triple Helix, gave three lectures to different universities in Helsinki, spoke at St. James Church in Tunbridge Wells and gave a series of lectures on creation and evolution at Lee Abbey, a conference centre in Devon.

Denis Alexander Bob White
[Director]  [Associate Director]