Conference on science and theology will be held Sept. 22-23
The North Central Program in Science and Theology (NCPST), in cooperation with the UST Theology Department will host an international conference on science and theology. Discounts are available for St. Thomas students and faculty.
The conference will be held from noon to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, starting with noon registration in the O'Shaughnessy Educational Center lobby and will include dinner at 6:30 p.m. Saturday's schedule begins with an 8:30 a.m. registration in the O'Shaughnessy Educational Center lobby and closes at 4:30 p.m. Lunch will be from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Purpose, design, complexity: The meaning and appropriate use of each of these concepts has been the subject of controversy in the engagement of science and religion over the past century of intellectual history. Does the "sense of purpose" so fundamental to human behavior have no grounding in what's described as a "purposeless" cosmos governed by chance and natural law? Can the apparent "design" of an organism or a natural system be adequately explained without inference to a "designer"? Can the complexity that characterizes the known universe with its several levels of organization be reduced to a simple, ultimate explanation, or does that complexity become more mysterious with each advance to a new level of scientific understanding?
It is expected that a conversation about these concepts as they occur in the fields of cosmology, the life sciences, neuroscience and theology will bring to light the deep connections among them and engender complementary interpretations of their significance to both scientific and theological disciplines. This conference will bring together scholars of international reputation to engage in this conversation.
The keynote address will be given by Dr. John Haught, professor of theology at Georgetown University, the acclaimed author of several books that interpret the theory of evolution. Dr. Peter Harrison, from Bond University in Australia, will ground the conversation in the history of these concepts. Dr. Michael Spezio, from the California Institute of Technology, will examine the conference theme through the lens of neuroscience. Dr. William Stoeger, S.J., from the Vatican Observatory in Tucson, Ariz., will present current developments in cosmology. Dr. Alan Padgett, professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary, will provide a theological context for the scientific presentations.
Each of the plenary speakers will give a major lecture and participate in ongoing discussions following each presentation. A final panel, facilitated by Dr. Noreen Herzfeld of St. John's University, will provide a capstone of insights gleaned from the conference.