Vancouver lectures by Ian Hutchinson, “Monopolizing Knowledge”

A series of public lectures by Ian Hutchinson in the Vancouver, BC area will be held from January 23 to 25 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (UBC), Trinity Western University in Langley (TWU), and Simon Fraser University in Burnaby (SFU).

BIO: Ian Hutchinson is Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He and his research group are international leaders exploring the confinement of plasmas hotter than the sun’s centre aimed at producing practical energy for society from controlled nuclear fusion reactions, the power source of the stars. He is an active Christian and has written and spoken widely to university and church audiences on the topic of science and Christianity. His 2011 book Monopolizing Knowledge explores how the error of scientism feeds today’s culture wars.

Dr. Hutchinson is giving three public lectures, one each at UBC, TWU, and SFU, and is leading a faculty discussion at TWU as well. All events are free and open to the public.


Monopolizing Knowledge: Scientism’s inconsistent rejection of faith
UBC (4:00pm Wednesday, Woodward IRC, Room 5 – more info)
TWU (7:30pm Thursday, Northwest Auditorium)

The widespread error of scientism — the belief that science is all the real knowledge there is — is responsible for much of the modern suspicion of science; and it underlies the militant atheist arguments against religion.  MIT professor, Ian Hutchinson, shows how scientism is an impoverished view of knowledge and the primary cause of the culture wars.  Rejecting scientism enables a principled intellectual reconciliation of science with religious faith, and with other academic disciplines.


Monopolizing Knowledge: An MIT physicist explores science and faith
SFU (12:30pm Friday, AQ 3149)
[co-sponsored by the SFU Christian Leadership Initiative] 

Are science and the Christian faith at war? Has science won? Or is there more to knowledge than a narrow scientism allows? Is there perhaps even such a thing as knowing God? Is Christianity credible in the light of modern science? MIT Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Ian Hutchinson, drawing on his recent book “Monopolizing Knowledge”, will talk about the characteristics that make science so persuasive and powerful, but restrict its scope. Understanding both science’s strengths and its limitations makes possible a truly constructive relationship between science and faith. That was once the norm in the Christian world.


Faculty Discussion on “Faith, Evidence, and Reason”
TWU (1:10pm Thursday, Northwest Auditorium)
Speaker: Ian Hutchinson
Panel of Respondents:
Myron Penner (TWU, philosophy)
Jens Zimmermann (TWU, English)
Christopher Morrissey (Redeemer Pacific, philosophy)

Religious believers have faith. Today’s anti-theists often portray faith as the antonym of evidentiary belief, and criticize believers as unthinking “faith-heads”. How much truth is there in that portrayal? What sorts of reasons or evidence do we have for the Christian faith? For example, to what extent do we have scientific evidence for Christianity? What is faith, and how does it fit with evidence and reason? A brief talk will set forth some of these questions, and suggest some fruitful directions where answers can be found.


Please use the following Facebook event pages to join and share with your friends: UBC, TWU afternoon, TWU evening, SFU.

All events are co-sponsored by the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation and the Vancouver Area Science & Religion Forum.

Additional notes about TWU events:

  • Northwest Auditorium (building #28 on this map); pay parking is available nearby.
  • The TWU events are also co-sponsored by Trinity Western University and the Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture.

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