Baylor to Host Science and Religion Conference April 11-12

April 3, 1996

WACO, Texas-Baylor University's College of Arts and Sciences will host a conference on the relationships between science and religion Thursday and Friday, April 11-12, in Jones Hall of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.

The keynote address, "Science and Theology: Conflict or Convergence?" will be delivered at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in Jones Hall by Dr. Robert John Russell, professor of theology and science at the Graduate Theological Union.

"This meeting addresses the tension most people perceive between religion and science," said Dr. Dawn Adrian Adams, assistant professor of biology at Baylor and one of the organizers of the conference. "This first meeting will set the goals for our conference."

Russell is the founder and director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. He taught physics at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., before returning to California in 1981. His publications include Quantum Cosmology and the Laws of Nature: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action and Chaos and Complexity. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Conference sessions begin at 9 a.m. Friday in Jones Hall with Dr. Nancey Murphy, associate professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. She will discuss "Theology, Cosmology and Ethics."

Murphy's professional interests include science, religion and postmodernism. Her 1990 book, Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning, received the Templeton Award for Books in Theology and the Natural Sciences, and an American Academy of Religion Book Award. Murphy is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren.

Dr. Rosalie Beck, associate professor of religion at Baylor, and Dr. Jim Patton, professor and chair of psychology at Baylor, will respond to Murphy's lecture, from 10-10:45 a.m.

The next session begins at 11 a.m. in Jones Hall with Dr. Ted Peters, professor of systematic theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. Peters will address "Genetics, Ethics, and Theology: Are We Playing God?"

Peters has been principal investigator for a three-year research project funded by the National Institutes of Health on "Theological and Ethical Questions Raised by the Human Genome Initiative." The findings of this project will appear in a volume titled Genes, Religion and Society.

Dr. Ben Pierce, associate professor of biology at Baylor, and Dr. Dan McGee, professor of religion at Baylor, will respond to Peters' lecture from noon-12:30 p.m.

Following a lunch break, sessions continue at 2 p.m. in Jones Hall with Russell, who will discuss "Did God Create the Universe at t=0?"

Dr. Walter Wilcox, associate professor of physics at Baylor, and the Rev. Timothy Vaverek, pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Waco, will respond to Russell's lecture from 3-3:45 p.m.

The final session begins at 4 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring all of the speakers and Dr. Stuart Rosenbaum, professor of philosophy at Baylor and one of the organizers of the conference.

Sponsors for the conference include Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences, the Baylor Lecturers Committee, Baylor's Departments of Biology and Philosophy, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union.

The entire conference is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Adams at (817) 755-2911 or Rosenbaum at (817) 755-3368.

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