Baylor University
Environmental Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Baylor > Environmental Science > Beyond the Classroom > SCRES
SCRES

Baylor Society for Conversations in Religion, Ethics, and Science

Baylor Society for Conversations in Religion, Ethics, and Science (Baylor SCRES) is a society dedicated to stimulating disciplined and thoughtful conversations between the many branches of science and different religious perspectives and faiths. The Baylor Society pursues a wide variety of interfaces including cosmological, ethical, and social perspectives. The Society has current projects on the origins of time and the universe, on medical ethics and in environment and society.

History:

The Baylor SCRES was founded in 2005, with support from Metanexus Institute (http://www.Metanexus.net/Institute/) managing funding for the Templeton Foundation (http://www.Templeton.org/). The Baylor SCRES is thus linked to a national network of similar organizations in the Metanexus Local Societies Initiative. The Initiative "emphasizes building organizations, dynamic associations of people who explore the implications of the science and religion interchange."

Dr. Susan Bratton, Chair of the Environmental Science Department and Dr. Gerald Cleaver, head of the Superstring Phenomenology division of the High Energy Physics Program in the Department of Physics and head of the Early Universe Cosmology Division of Baylor’s Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics, and Engineering Research (CASPER), are co-chairs of the Baylor SCRES.

Membership:

Membership is open to all Baylor students and faculty and to residents of the central Texas region interested in pursuing civil dialog between religion and science. At present there are no dues or membership fees.

If you are interested in becoming a member contact:

The Department of Physics
One Bear Place # 97316
Waco, TX 76798
Phone: 254-710-2511
Fax: 254-710-3878
E-Mail: Physics@baylor.edu.

The Department of Environmental Science
One Bear Place # 97266
Waco, TX 76798
Phone:  254-710-3405
Fax:  254-710-3409
E-Mail: EnvironmentalScience@baylor.edu.

2008-2009 Activities:

Pace of Baylor SCRES events continued to accelerate in 2008-09:

During the spring 2008 semester, the lunchtime discussions were paired with informal evening lectures (either 5:30pm or 7pm on alternate Tuesdays), on varying issues associated with the interplay of science and theology, given generally by Baylor faculty, and once or twice a semester by invited off-campus experts in their fields. Baylor speakers were Dr. Matthew Stanford, Dept. of Psychology, (Demons or Disorder); Dr. Gerald Cleaver, Dept. of Physics (Before the Big Bang: String Theory, God, and the Origin of the Universe); Dr. Chris Kearney, Dept. of Biology (Understanding God through Nature and the Word: Genesis from a Scientific Perspective and Evolution at the Molecular Level); Dr. James Marcum, Dept. of Philosophy, (Mitochondrial Eve); Dr. Walter Bradley, School of Engineering and Computer Science, (Must a Christian Believe in Design? and What Does the Creation Story in Genesis Actually Tell Us?); Dr. Robert Marks, School of Engineering and Computer Science, (Evolutionary Informatics: Measuring the Cost of Success); Dr. Frank Beckwith, Dept. of Church-State Studies,(Defending Life); and Dr. Matthew Stanford, Dept. of Psychology, (Mental Illness: Through the Eyes of Faith). A panel discussion was also held to analyze the movie Expelled.

Off campus invited speakers were Dr. William Dembski, SBTS, (Darwin’s Unpaid Debt); Dr. Randy Isaacs, ASA, (What Does Calculus Have to do with Christianity?), Dr. Owen Gingerich, Smithsonian Observatory, (Four Famous Myths of the Copernican Revolution and Divine Handiwork: Evolution & the Wonder of Life), and Dr. Ted Peters, Pacific Lutheran University, (The Controversy Over Stem Cells: Whose Fighting With Whom?). Dr. Francis Collins, was also scheduled to present The Language of God, but was unable to come to Baylor because of inclement weather.

Additionally Dr. Gerald Cleaver organized the Wheaton College Spring Science Symposium, String Theory and the Multiverse: Philosophical and Theological Implications, March 26-27, 2008 and attended the by-invitation-only Workshop on Cosmology and Theology at the Wheaton Science Station, August 10-15, 2008.

2007 Events

Pace of Baylor SCRES events picked up in 2007. The SCRES co-sponsored, with the Department of Physics, a series of talks by external speakers on origins of the universe issues. The talks began with Dr. Jailson Alcaniz from the National Observatory of Rio de Janeiro, lecturing on Dark Energy and Some Alternatives on February 28. Then Dr. Patrick Hartigan, of Rice University, talked on the effects of Magnetic Fields in Stellar Jets. The series concluded on April 18 with Dr. Yun Wang, of the University of Oklahoma, speaking about the Dark Side of the Universe. The Baylor SCRES assisted with the travel expenses of each speaker and arranged a banquet dinner for students and faculty with each speaker.

The Baylor SCRES was a co-sponsor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s 2007 Summer Theological Institute, entitled Faith and Faithfulness: Christianity in the Age of Scientific Discovery, at Texas Lutheran University, July 9-13, 2007. Dr. Gerald Cleaver was on the STI’s organization committee, and was the “scientist in residence” at the STI. The Baylor SCRES arranged for 4 of the 6 STI speakers and provided funding for some STI general expenses and advertising.

Dr. Gerald Cleaver was invited by First Lutheran Church, Temple, TX, to speak on October 17 to the church’s 7th grade confirmation class, parents, and all interested congregational members on the Complementarity of Science and Faith.

Student members

Baylor student members include graduate and undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers: Graduate students have included two visiting Chinese students participating in Calvin College’s Advancing Scholarship on Science and Religion in Chinese Philosophy and Religious Studies program (funded by the John Templeton Foundation)—to which Baylor is an associate. A Chinese postdoc participating in Calvin’s program at Baylor has also been attending Baylor SCRES events.

Publications and presentations

Although the Society is only a couple of years old, society members are actively working on scholarly projects. Some ventures related to the Baylor SCRES are:

Publications

Susan Bratton, has written, Ecology and Religion, a chapter for the Oxford University Press Handbook on Religion and Science.

Gerald Cleaver, is the author of Before the Big Bang: String Theory, God, and the Origin of the Universe. An extended version of this article is being prepared for publication in the American Scientific Affiliation’s Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.

Presentations

Gerald Cleaver, The God of the Stringy Multiverse, Workshop on Cosmology and Theology, August 10-15, 2008.

Gerald Cleaver, The Beauty, Order, and Complexity of Creation Revealed through the New Cosmology, Chapel Service, Wheaton, March 26, 2008.

Gerald Cleaver, The String Landscape & Multiverse, the Anthropic Principle, and Anselm’s Ontological Argument, Baylor Engineering and Research Seminars, February 13; Wheaton String Theory Symposium, March 26, 2008.

Gerald Cleaver, Before the Big Bang: String Theory, God, and the Origin of the Universe. Presented at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, January 2006;  Metanexus 2006; and at Faith and Faithfullness: Christianity in an Age of Science, Seguin, Texas, July, 2007.

Susan Bratton, Christian Views of Nature and in Early Church Art, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Waco, Texas, October 5, 2005.

Susan Bratton, Christ as Orpheus, American Academy of Religion, Philadelphia, PA.

List of 2008-2009 Activities of the Baylor Society for Conversations in Religion, Ethics, and Science (BSCRES)
(BUASA denotes the Baylor Student Chapter of the American Scientific Affiliations)

2008/2009 Joint BSCRES/BUASA Planning Meetings
January 16, 2008 at 8am
February 6, 2008 at 4pm

Joint BSCRES/BUASA Lectures (5:30pm unless otherwise noted)

2008
January 22: Dr. Matthew Stanford, BU, Demons or Disorder

February 5: Dr. Gerald Cleaver, BU, Before the Big Bang: String Theory, God, and the Origin of the Universe

February 19: Dr. Chris Kearney, BU, Understanding God through Nature and the Word: Genesis from a Scientific Perspective

March 4: Dr. James Marcum, BU, Mitochondrial Eve

March 19: Dr. Francis Collins, NIH, 8:30pm, The Language of God

    Related activities: BSCRES/BSASA Officers Breakfast with Collins
    Faculty lunch with Collins
    Visit of Francis Collins to Baylor postponed to future date due to flights closed at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for bad weather

April 1: Dr. Walter Bradley, BU, Must a Christian Believe in Design?

April 15: Dr. Robert Marks, BU, Evolutionary Informatics: Measuring the Cost of Success

Apr 29: Dr. Frank Beckwith, BU, Defending Life

September 9: Dr. Randy Isaacs, ASA Science, A Misused Weapon in a Religious War

September 29: Dr. Robert Marks, BU, What Does Calculus Have to do with Christianity?

October 7: Dr. Walter Bradley, BU, What Does the Creation Story in Genesis Actually Tell Us?

October 21: Dr. William Dembski, SBTS, Darwin’s Unpaid Debt

October 28: Dr. Matthew Stanford, BU, Mental Illness: Through the Eyes of Faith

December 3: Dr. Owen Gingerich, Smithsonian Observatory, 3pm, Four Famous Myths of the Copernican Revolution, & 7 pm, Divine Handiwork: Evolution & the Wonder of Life

    Related activities: Banquet with Dr. Gingerich for BSRES, BUASA, & Physics Dept. Faculty.

2009
February 13: Dr. Ted Peters, PLU, 3:30pm, The Controversy Over Stem Cells: Whose Fighting With Whom?

    Related activities: Breakfast & Dinner with Dr. Peters for BSCRES & BUASA officers
    Lunch with Dr. Peters for the Dept. of Philosophy
    Open conversation with Dr. Peters after lunch

March 3: Dr. Chris Kearney, Evolution at the Molecular Level

April 15: Panel Discussion by BU Faculty Drs. Walter Bradley, Robert Marks, Phyllis Tippit, & Lorin Matthews on Expelled

Joint BSCRES/BUASA Luncheon Discussion Meetings

2008
February 12: Discussion of Dr. Cleaver’s Lecture

February 26: Discussion of Dr. Kearney’s Lecture

April 22: Discussion of Dr. Mark’s Lecture

May 6: Discussion of Dr. Beckwith’s Lecture

September 10: Discussion of Dr. Isaac’s Lecture

October 16: Discussion of Dr. Bradley’s Lecture

October 30: Discussion of Dr. Dembski’s Lecture

2009
March 4: Discussion of Dr. Kearney’s Lecture

Additional Activities of the Officers of the BSCRES

March 26-27, 2008: Dr. Gerald Cleaver organized the Wheaton College Spring Science Symposium, String Theory and the Multiverse: Philosophical and Theological Implications

Other Related Activities:
Lectures (and Panel Session) by Drs. Gerald Cleaver, Don Page, Robert Mann, and Robin Collins

Chapel Presentation by Gerald Cleaver

June 13-17, 2008: Dr. Susan Bratton attends Metanexus Conference in Madrid, Spain

August 10-15, 2008: Dr. Gerald Cleaver attended the by-invitation-only, Workshop on Cosmology and Theology at the Wheaton Science Center in South Dakota.

Additional BSCRES Activities:
The BSCRES jointly participated with the Baylor Dept. of Philosophy in, Advancing Scholarship on Science and Religion in Chinese Philosophy and Religious Studies, a program of Calvin College funded by the J. Templeton Foundation. Relatedly, during the fall semester of 2007 and the spring semester of 2008, one postdoc and two graduate students from China participated in most BSCRES activities.