The following was contributed by Randy Isaac, Executive Director of ASA (first published under “The Director’s Corner” in the Summer 2014 edition of the ASA/CSCA Newsletter). Republished with permission.
“All things hold together in Christ,” the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colosse. His profound insight into the universality of God’s creative and sustaining power through Christ continues to bring us awe and wonder as we study the world of nature. Exploring that comprehensive perspective is the challenge for the ASA/CSCA/CiS* annual meeting this summer. The theme “From Cosmos to Psyche” reflects the entire spectrum of the universe. From the origin of the cosmos to the ability of our minds to have consciousness and to be able to reason, the unifying factor is Christ. As Christians in the sciences, we study nature not only to quell our deep curiosity to understand the world in which we live, but also to glorify and worship our God who created it.
Five outstanding plenary speakers, from Australia, UK, Canada, and the USA, who were profiled in our previous issue, will be addressing topics such as bioethics, cosmology, neuroscience, and biology. In addition, there will be a record number of contributed papers from our members, nearly 90 talks in four parallel sessions. There will be symposia on the physical sciences, life sciences, mind sciences, and environmental sciences, as well as a focus on emergence, theology, and on the application of science and technology in service to the poor. Some of these are discussed in more detail in this issue of the Summer 2014 ASA/CSCA Newsletter.
In addition, we are featuring two workshops by highly regarded leaders in the field. John Walton will teach a workshop on Genesis while Stephen Freeland will lead one on the origins of life. There are fascinating field trips to Niagara, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and a McMaster Campus Tour visiting the Nuclear Research Reactor and the Origins Institute. Our new affiliate, Christian Women in Science, will get together and have a special session. Finally, we are coordinating with “Academy Regained,” a special symposium by the contributors of a forthcoming book by that title. The science chapters will be covered in our meeting on Monday morning while the other chapters will be discussed at Redeemer College on Monday afternoon.
While the intellectual discourse at these meetings is a major attraction, I’d like to emphasize the human interaction factor. In today’s world, we are flooded with audio and video material of all types. It is often difficult to ascertain the quality and credibility of these materials. Furthermore, the only human interaction is the endless stream of comments that are usually unhelpful. In contrast, in our meetings, there are opportunities for personal interaction with other attendees as well as with the speakers themselves. Most attendees of past meetings report that this is the most valuable part of the meeting. During meals and in between sessions, there is time for discussion and sharing our personal perspectives.
We are interactive human beings with a capability and a need to connect with others. Those connections can be through electronic or written means but nothing can replace the need for direct personal engagement. Our annual meetings continue to provide that interaction in an environment of open discussion and often vigorous debates. Differences of intellectual opinion are respected throughout the meeting. A highlight of our time together is the awesome opportunity to worship God together, singing hymns and giving praise to our Creator.
We invite you to come experience one of our meetings for yourselves. Act now to register online here. We look forward to seeing you!
*This is a joint meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Association, and Christians in Science (UK).