Scholarship Winner’s Reflection: Victoria McKinnon

For 2016-2018, the CSCA is offering five scholarships per year (up to $1600 each) to send Canadian students to science-religion conferences of their choosing. Here is a reflection from Victoria McKinnon (McMaster University, MD Program), one of 2016’s winners.

Victoria McKinnon attended “A Postsecular Age? New Narratives of Religion, Science, and Society”–a conference held by the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science & Religion. (July 27-30, 2016, St. Anne’s College, Oxford, UK.)

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Victoria McKinnon with Alister McGrath

The purpose of this year’s Ian Ramsey Centre conference was to investigate the interdisciplinary subfield of secularism studies and its implications. Four of the plenary talks in particular stood out to me.

The first was Professor Graham Ward’s talk, titled “Secularism: The Dead Debate.” The overarching thesis was that secular modernity is a “metaphysical and theological construction” that forms a convenient narrative for some while simultaneously repressing others. Ward argued that even those who identify with a purely secular narrative are unavoidably influenced by religion. He concluded with the hope that we will begin as a society to recognise the lack of truth behind a “neutral” secularity, and that instead we will seek a more holistic picture of our cultural underpinnings, without relying on a false sense of anti-religious modernity. I appreciated this talk because it provoked me to reconsider my previous conceptions regarding modern secular society and to reflect on the potential repercussions of society’s tendency to shoo religion out of everyday cultural discourse. Continue reading

Addiction: Diseased Brain, Divided Will, or Restless Heart?

Judith Toronchuk (PhD McGill) teaches physiological psychology for Trinity Western University. She has published on affective neuronal selection, and both the phylogeny and ontogeny of affective social behaviour. She describes for us here the latest developments and challenges in the science of addiction for our society and Christian faith. That focus calls for our attention with opioid, marijuana, nicotine, gambling, porn, and alcohol addictions staggering our society. Toronchuk’s essay is intended as an invitation. Readers are encouraged to take up one of the insights or questions, or maybe a related one that was not mentioned, and draft an article (typically about 5,000-8,000 words) that contributes to the conversation. These can be sent to Dr. Toronchuk at toronchu@twu.ca. She will send the best essays on to peer review and then we will select from those for publication in an Addiction theme issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. The lead editorial in the December 2013 issue of PSCF outlines what the journal looks for in article contributions. For best consideration for inclusion in the theme issue, manuscripts should be received electronically before 31 October 2017.

Looking forward to hearing your perspectives,

James C. Peterson
Editor of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

Scholarship Winner’s Reflection: Dayna Nelson

The CSCA is once again offering five scholarships of up to $1600 each to send Canadian students to science-religion conferences of their choosing. Here is a reflection from Dayna Nelson (B.A. cand., University of Waterloo), one of 2016’s winners.

Dayna Nelson attended the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation (July 22 – 25, 2016, Azusa Pacific University).

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Andrew Reeves, Colborne Kemna, Dayna Nelson, and Timothy Opperman at ASA 2016.

ASA 2016 was a fantastic success, and it was my favourite of the conferences I’ve attended so far. The theme “Brain, Mind and Faith” was of particular interest to me because it focused on the interplay between psychology and religion–topics that are normally handled separately in my studies. Since I have not had the opportunity to study these in an integrated fashion, I was more than thrilled to explore it, albeit briefly, here.
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Thoughts on “Is Genesis History?”

by Bob Geddes

Bob GeddesI will be dating myself here: many, many years ago, actor Lily Tomlin, a master of many comedic roles, would portray a precocious five-year old girl named Edith Ann. Sitting in a vastly oversized chair, she would regale listeners with stories about her daily adventures, which often included her dog Buster. She would end each segment by saying “And that’s the truth,” followed by a moist, lip-induced raspberry. We are in a time where there is much focus on what is truth and what is factual. “Fake news” is a daily buzzword.

American Del Tackett, founder of “The Truth Project,” is the feature commentator of a movie creating another buzz in some Christian circles, entitled “Is Genesis History?”. I have not seen the movie, although it is being shown in selected Canadian cities on Tuesday, March 14. As a former geologist and retired minister, I have received a few emails seeking my advice on whether one should go see it. While not yet having access to the movie, I do trust those who have given it a geological review. Continue reading

Scholarship Winner’s Reflection: Timothy Opperman

The CSCA is once again offering five scholarships of up to $1600 each to send Canadian students to science-religion conferences of their choosing. Here is a reflection from Timothy Opperman (Regent College, Vancouver), one of 2016’s winners.

Timothy Opperman attended the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation (July 22 – 25, 2016, Azusa Pacific University).

Timothy (right) with Denis Lamoureux at ASA 2016.

I had a fantastic time attending the annual conference of the American Scientific Affiliation, and I felt particularly fortunate that my first time was the 75 Anniversary of the ASA. My mind was spinning with excitement as I arrived at Azusa Pacific University, and I had high expectations of quality lectures and presentations, as well as hope for some genuine connections with fellow attendees. I am pleased to say that my expectations were thoroughly exceeded. Not only were the presentations engaging and challenging, but I also met some of the most fascinating people from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Every element combined into an excellent experience that I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in the intersection of science and religion. Continue reading