The Matter of Mathematics

Russell Howell has co-authored the textbook Complex Analysis for Mathematics and Engineering which is in its sixth edition, and is the co-editor of the HarperOne book Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith. His essay here describes the latest challenges for mathematics and Christian faith. The essay is intended as an invitation. Readers are encouraged to take up one of the insights or challenges, 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. Howell. He will send the best essays on to peer review and then we will select from those for publication in a mathematics 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 full consideration for inclusion in the theme issue, manuscripts should be received electronically before 30 June 2014. [Update: The special issue was published in June 2015.]

For those readers who prefer to take a literary approach in sharing their ideas, please submit essays (up to 3,000 words), poetry, fiction, or humour inspired by the invitational essay to Emily Ruppel for possible publication in God and Nature magazine.

Looking forward to hearing your perspectives,

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

Unique Storms, Unique Discoveries

As some of you are aware, most of England has been inundated with rain and lashed by gale force winds for the better part of the last two months. Although there has been widespread flooding and thousands of homes left without power, from a scientific point of view, there have also been some very interesting discoveries resulting from these storms. A couple of weeks ago I went down to Lyme Regis: the place where fossil hunting began. The storms had brought down several new portions of the fossil-filled cliffs onto the beach. At some personal risk (after all, one is standing under quickly eroding cliffs!), you can walk along and find amazing specimens of Jurassic era fossils, many of which are small enough to take home.

But a much more exciting find was recently made at Happisburgh in Norfolk. Unusually vicious tides exposed footprints from a tribe of early human ancestors that date between 850,000-950,000 years old. They are more than twice the age of the previous oldest European tracks, and show that people were already present at this early age at the boundaries of Europe.

Yet, scientists had less than two weeks to record this unique find, before the same forces that exposed the tracks also destroyed them. It is an event to make vivid the theme of Ecclesiastes: that all is fleeting. These precious traces of long-extinct life were revealed for just a moment before disappearing forever: all memory of them erased by the ever-lapping sea. I wonder what legacy––culturally, ecologically, and spiritually––we will leave for those who will someday find the traces of our culture?

Written by Bethany Sollereder, Student and Early Career Member of the CSCA Executive Council

From Cosmos to Psyche: Call for Abstracts

Please visit the main conference website for information and registration.
(The call for abstracts was closed at the end of February.)

FROM COSMOS TO PSYCHE “All things hold together in Christ” (Colossians 1:17)

ASA CSCA CiS 2014 Annual Meeting
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
July 25–28, 2014

A Message from Program Chair Robert Mann

“All things hold together in Christ” is a phrase that speaks to the integration of God’s love, justice, and intelligibility in the person of Jesus. At this annual meeting, we want to explore how the various scientific disciplines hold together with both scientific and theological integrity. Our goal at this annual meeting is to explore this across the breadth of the sciences, from cosmos to psyche.

Our topical areas for parallel oral sessions are as follows:

  • Physical Sciences: Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy – Chair: Colin Humphreys
    • Exploring the latest results in the relationship between the physical sciences and Christian theology.
  • Life Sciences: Biology, Medicine, Bioethics – Chair: Patricia Fitzgerald-Bocarsly
    • Going beyond the traditional creation/evolution dialogue to examine how current research informs and is informed by Christian faith.
  • Mind Sciences: Psychology, Neuroscience, Psychiatry – Chair: Heather Looy
    • How do these sciences enable us to understand the renewal of our minds with the mind of Christ?
  • Environmental Sciences: Ecology, Geology, Meteorology/Climate – Chair: Don Morton
    • What are appropriate ways for these disciplines to facilitate our roles as stewards of the earth?
  • Christian Women in Science and EngineeringChair: Gayle Ermer
    • Considering methods for increasing the participation of Christian women in STEM fields and that describe means by which that participation benefits society and brings glory to God.
  • Emergence: Information Theory, Complexity, Theology – Chair: Arnold Sikkema
    • Bringing together the broad range of scientific disciplines to understand how higher-level phenomena emerge.
  • Science and Technology in Service of the PoorChair: Michael Clifford
    • Appropriate technology and economic development; health and medical care in developing countries; response to natural disasters.
  • Other Topics
    • Any issue relevant to science and Christian faith including experiences in education or dialog, communication of ideas, biblical interpretation, theological implications, etc.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION IS NOW CLOSED (as of 28 February 2014).

CONFIRMED PLENARY SPEAKERS
Confirmed Plenary Speakers: Best, Coles, Netterfield, Page, Schloss

  • Megan Best, MD (Bioethicist, Palliative Care Physician, Australia): “Brave New World” (Friday evening lecture open to the public)
  • Rev Alasdair Coles, PhD, Dept. of Clinical Neurosciences, Cambridge University, UK: “Brain, Soul and Psyche: Embodied and in Christ”
  • Barth Netterfield, PhD (Director of Balloon Astrophysics Research Group, Depts. of Astronomy and of Physics, University of Toronto, Canada): title TBA
  • Don Page, PhD (Dept. of Physics, University of Alberta, Canada): “The Optimal Argument for the Existence of God”
  • Jeffrey Schloss, PhD (Distinguished Professor and T.B. Walker Chair of Biology, Westmont College, USA): “Evolution, Moral Cognition, and the Question of Human Exceptionalism”