In addressing the members of Le Moyne’s graduating class this past Sunday, Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, gave special attention to both of our current McDevitt Chairs.
Early in her remarks, Dr. Cantor appealed to words of Father George Coyne, SJ, McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy, to tell the graduates that they are “born of stardust” and so, as they work to give back to the universe the are, in a sense, closing a cosmic circle billions of years in the making. Dr. Cantor challenged the graduates to continue the lives of engagement they have begun at Le Moyne and to recognize the power they hold to shape the world through the stories they write with their lives. Dr. Cantor especially emphasized the power of collaboration and cited the efforts of Dr. Martha Grabowski, McDevitt Chair of Information Systems, who, as Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Arctic Oil Spill Response Committee forges robust partnerships among diverse groups and individuals working to “shield from damage one of the most fragile and important zones on earth.”
The McDevitt Center congratulates Le Moyne’s graduating class.
Read the full text of Dr. Nancy Cantor’s address: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/05/su_chancellor_nancy_cantor_add.html#incart_river_default
As another contribution to our occasional series Vital Conversations, we would like to share this interview conducted by Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator of Closer to Truth. This video features Dr. William Dembski, a philosopher, theologian, and mathematician, who suggests that attention to the natural world provokes a kind of wonder and awe that naturally lead to questions about God.
The idea that there is a deep and unresolved conflict between the science of evolution and Christian religious beliefs (at least for Christians in the United States) has become a cultural commonplace; producing a great deal of heated hand-wringing and angry denunciation from vocal minorities on both sides of the issue.
But how real and deep is this alleged “conflict” in the lives and beliefs of actual faith communities. Two recently published studies provide some insight into this question.
The MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins, conducted by Eugena Lee and Max Tegmark (Dept. of Physics & Kavli Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Meia Chita-Tegmark (Dept. of Psychology, Boston University), examined peoples’ personal beliefs and the official views of the faiths to which they belong. According to their results, only 11% of Americans belong to religions that openly reject evolution or the Big Bang theory. This is in stark contrast to the 2012 Gallup Poll, which showed that 46% of Americans hold a creationist view of human origins. Why the difference? The MIT survey concludes, “The main divide in the origins debate is not between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious com-munities who embrace science.”
A second study conducted by the BioLogos Foundation (a group founded by Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, to promote “the search for truth in both the natural and spiritual realms”) and the Barna Group reports on telephone interviews with over 700 pastors in various protestant Christian denominations from across the United States regarding their personal beliefs on creation and evolution. In contrast to the MIT survey, this study finds that over 50% of protestant pastors either strongly believe or lean toward believing that God created life in its present form in 6 days. However, it also finds that the majority of clergy across all viewpoints agreed with the statement “Just as scripture should influence human interpretation of science, science should also inform our understanding of scripture.”
As another contribution to our occasional series Vital Conversations, we would like to share another interview conducted by Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator of Closer to Truth.
In this video, Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health and former director of the Human Genome Research Institute, discusses the ways in which he, as a believer in God, tries to represent a middle ground in what he sees as the “unnecessary battle” between science and theology.
Dr. Nancey Murphy, Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, is a leading contributor to research on science and religion. Holding advanced degrees in both theology and philosophy of science, her research interests include the role of modern and postmodern philosophy in shaping Christian theology, the relations between theology and science, and the philosophy of mind and neuroscience. Murphy is a popular lecturer who has presented papers at universities throughout the continental United States, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. She is also a celebrated author whose Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning (Cornell University Press, 1990) won the American Academy of Religion award for excellence as well as a Templeton Prize for outstanding book in science and theology.
Although Dr. Murphy had to cancel her lecture in our Science and Religion series, we would like to provide our readers an opportunity to get acquainted with, or learn more about, her rich and stimulating work.
We’re presenting links to two interviews with Dr. Murphy in which she discusses issues relating to science and religion: namely the soul; evolution, creation, and intelligent design; suffering; and the origins of the cosmos.
The first, a print interview, appeared in The Christian Century (December 27, 2005, pp.20-26), and illuminates Dr. Murphy’s conviction that “[s]eparating religion and science is a strategy that ultimately fails.” http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=3310.
The second is an audio interview aired on the popular public radio program To The Best of Our Knowledge hosted by Steve Paulson (September 23, 2011). In this engaging interview, Murphy discusses body-soul dualism and explains why she rejects this view.
This is a reminder that Nancey Murphy’s lecture scheduled for tonight, Thursday, April 25, has been canceled. We hope to reschedule her talk for the Fall 2013 continuation of our Science & Religion in Modern America lecture series.
On Friday, April 19, five McDevitt Information Systems Scholars presented their original research at the eighth annual Le Moyne College Scholars Day conference. Here, we present a glimpse into the months-long research projects of three of these scholars.
Nour Sahraoui is a senior biology major who will be attending SUNY Upstate Medical University following graduation this May. Her project was entitled “Measuring Twitter User Influence During Extreme Events on College and University Campuses.” Nour says that she finds interesting correlations between information systems and biological systems and is interested in continuing to pursue these topics after entering medical school this fall. Nour, who acknowledges that she did not have a twitter account prior to beginning her research, says she is grateful for the incredible experience she gained as a McDevitt Scholar and for the ways it moved her beyond her comfort zone.
Manuel Nyagisere is a sophomore physics major from Nairobi, Kenya. His research project explored climate change and its impact on the survival of arctic indigenous people (specifically the Inuit in Northern Canada). Manuel detailed how climate change in the Arctic is impacting the traditional harvesting activities of indigenous peoples and exposing their traditional ways of life to serious threat. Manuel urged that protecting the Inuit will require a collaborative effort between the federal and state governments as well as non-governmental agencies.
Patrick Curtin is a sophomore biology major who hopes to attend SUNY Upstate Medical University in the fall of 2015. He performed a literature review to analyze arctic oil spill response as it relates to arctic bird species. Being an avid birder, it was natural that Patrick would focus on birds; creatures that—along with seals—are most heavily impacted by oil spills. Patrick also voiced his frustration at the lack of data regarding the effect of spills on birds between the early 1990s (immediately following the 1989 Exon Valdez Oil Spill) and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
The McDevitt Center congratulates Nour, Manuel, and Patrick for their hard work and dedication during the 2012-2013 academic year. We also congratulate Karissa Goessl ’13 and Katherine O’Neill ’14 who also presented and Alex Constantino ’14 and Collin Nicol who were unable to participate at Scholars Day.
Dr. Jennifer Glancy, Professor of Religious Studies, and Dr. Karmen MacKendrick, Professor of Philosophy and Associate McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy, have been awarded an Enduring Questions grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). With the support of this grant, they will develop and teach a course organized around the question, “What Does Prayer Do?” In addition, Glancy and MacKenrick will organize and host public lectures addressing this question in collaboration with the McDevitt Center’s Science and Religion in Modern America initiative.
The NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports faculty members in the teaching and development of a new course that will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question. The NEH defines Enduring Questions as “questions to which no discipline, field, or profession can lay an exclusive claim… questions that have more than one plausible or compelling answer.” This program funds only ten percent of received applications per year. Past recipients of this grant have examined questions surrounding the concepts of a just war, time, free will, and morality.
Six McDevitt Information Systems Scholars, mentored by Dr. Martha Grabowski (McDevitt Chair in Information Systems), have spent the 2012-2013 academic year researching various issues surrounding oil spill response and the Arctic. In addition to scouring the depths of libraries and studying many kinds of documents, they have also met with leading experts in oil spill response, whale hunters from Barrow, Alaska, and top state government officials. Some had the opportunity to travel to Seattle, Washington and others to Fairbanks, Alaska to further their research.
On Friday, April 19, 2013 they will present the fruits of their months-long academic research at the annual Le Moyne College Scholars Day Conference. Each will offer a brief presentation followed by a question and answer period. We invite our followers to attend the conference. It is free and open to the public.
Schedule for McDevitt Scholars:
10:15 a.m – 10:30 a.m
Karissa Goessl ‘13, finance and business analytics
“The issues in Oil Spill Response Logistics”
11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Katherine O’Neill ’14, psychology
“Increased Shipping and Navigation Technologies in a Melting Arctic”
2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Nour El-Houda Sahraoui ’13, biological sciences
“Measuring Twitter User Influence During Extreme Events on College and University Campuses”
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Manuel Sande Nyagisere ’15, physics
“Climate Change and Its Impact on the Survival of Indigenous Peoples”
3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Alexander Constantino ’14, finance and information systems
“The Development of Market Growth from the Integration of Autonomous Robotic Vehicles in the Arctic Region”
3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Patrick Curtin ’15, biological sciences
“Arctic Oil Spill Response: Data Collection in the Arctic Specific to Arctic Bird Species (A Literature Review)
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Closing Reception and an opportunity to meet available McDevitt Scholars
*Collin Nicol, Fall 2012 McDevitt Information Systems Scholar, conducted research in the various responsibilities of the Coast Guard in the Arctic region. He will not be presenting at Scholars Day. He has, however, recently graduated from the Police Academy. We congratulate him and wish him the best of luck.
The Scholars Day program is available here: Scholars Day Program 2013
As another contribution to our occasional series Vital Conversations, we would like to share an interview conducted by Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator of Closer to Truth—a fabulous set of richly produced short films featuring leading scientists, philosophers, theologians, and creative thinkers discussing fundamental issues of science, religion, meaning, and purpose.
In this video, Dr. Robert John Russell (who recently lectured here at Le Moyne) discusses the necessary interaction and integration of both science and theology and argues that only the two together can allow us to a better understanding of the world.