October 22, 2015

Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

A rather quaint question batted about in some social settings is to ask where one “got their education?”
Colleges and universities are the bastions of learning, the repositories of journals and massive book
collections.  Rules restricting access are universal and necessary, and most people will never again have
access to such resources after graduation. However, all this is becoming a thing of the past.  With the
massive resources now available on the Internet in text and video, we are a mouse-click away from
inexhaustible libraries unavailable a generation ago. The Wesleyan heritage values education as a foundation
for faith-filled living.  This month we are highlighting resources that we hope will stretch your thinking,
promote discussion and provide new insights: as philosopher Josiah Royce wrote “insight is knowledge that
makes us aware of the unity of many facts in one whole, and brings us into contact with these facts and the
whole wherein they are united”. We hope you find some insight here.               

WesleyNexus is an all-volunteer organization and relies on our participants to continue our presence on the
web and to develop in-person programs.  We thank everyone who helped contribute to this effort.  Going
forward, we will need support for our ongoing programs and to accumulate funds for the rest of the year.  
As always, all funds that we collect as donations are spent on maintaining our web presence, sponsoring
programs, distributing the newsletter, and promoting activities of other organizations within the science and
religion space.  
All contributions are acknowledged for tax reporting purposes either through PayPal receipt
or by letter.
Please consider supporting us with a contribution either through the PayPal DONATE link
below, or, by sending a check to:   


WesleyNexus, Inc.  
24500 Fossen Road
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Thanks in advance for your support.

God Bless,

Rick, Maynard, and the rest of the
WesleyNexus Board of Directors

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Introduction to The Sources of Religious Insight by Jacquelyn Kegley

Jacquelyn Kegley of California State University, Bakersfield is one of the
preeminent scholars on Josiah Royce, who lived from 1842 – 1916.  Most of
his productive years were spent at Harvard University where, along with
William James, question of religious knowledge, experience and meaning were
systematically addressed.  His impact was wide ranging and significant as he
addressed the philosophical issues of a society changing rapidly due to
communication, transportation, technology and science.  Kegley’s article focuses
on
The Sources of Religious Insight which may be Royce’s most accessible book.  
It is in this book that Royce lays out his understanding of personal religious insight, the necessity for
community and a balance between the two. In this book, Royce defines the term The Beloved Community,
later adopted by Martin Luther King, as “a spiritual or divine community capable of inspiring and achieving
the highest common good. He believed each individual should strive toward this goal of achieving the
Beloved Community, and that the more individuals who join the effort, the greater the possibility of its
realization.”  Though the book is over 100 years old, Kegley gives a solid case for revisiting this text during
our current tumultuous times.  As she says in here closing sentence, “this book brings us a treasury of
insight for our time”.  The article can be found
here.

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The War on Stupid People: American society increasingly mistakes intelligence for human worth.
by David H. Freedman

When one says that one is interested in science and religion, the first reaction
of people may be to puzzle over what that might mean and the second might
be that it is for “smart people”, theology geeks or science nerds.  That is almost
correct because both areas of knowledge are infinitely rich and deep with experts
whose writings are nearly incomprehensible without long and rigorous training.  
With that in mind, it is very sobering to read David Freedman’s article pointing
out how American culture has moved towards idolizing exceptional intelligence
and talent, frequently minimizing the value of those with average ability.  As he
says, ‘as recently as the 1950s, possessing only middling intelligence was not likely to severely limit your
life’s trajectory… the 2010s, in contrast, are a terrible time not to be brainy. Those who consider
themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over micro-
aggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the non-smart”.  For Christians in particular, his
reflection should give one pause.  For those engaged in science and religion the task is quite formidable.  
How can we spread the wonder and beauty of science for those who may have been turned off at an early
age thinking they could not understand?  Conversely, how do you make it understandable while not being
patronizing or overly simplistic?  The same applies to theology.  The Wesleyan approach is to invite one to
learn as much as one can while recognizing with humility the infinite expanse of what one does not know,
and give thanks.  The emphasis on Christian education beyond the high school or college classroom should
invite everyone to join in learning scripture but also about how the universe and its contents are incredibly
and wonderfully made.   I invite you to read this article
here.

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Why Teleology isn’t Dead by John Farrell.  

John Farrell is a science writer whose specialty is to ask questions about
how science and technology affect human beings.  He is the author of the
book
The Day Without Yesterday: Lemaître, Einstein and the Birth of Modern
Cosmology
published in 2005.  In this article, Farrell addresses the question
of teleology in nature.  Teleology, from the Greek telos, meaning end or purpose,
was central to the philosophy of Aristotle and was used by Aquinas in one of
the arguments for the existence of God.  Science, however, has increasingly
marginalized the concept and has had less and less cause to incorporate it in
scientific understanding.  As Farrell points out, this may be starting to change.  
“A recent spate of books by scientists suggests that science itself may have room for a new form of
teleology, a new way to quantify and grasp a goal-driven directionality in nature, one more robust than the
Aristotelian version, but one unafraid to acknowledge a progressive movement in the evolution of life
toward consciousness”.  Citing the work of Simon Conway Morris, Stuart Kaufman and Terrance Deacon,
Farrell highlights how complexity and evolution can work together to influence the development of life and
eventually the emergence of conscious humans. Morris gets the lion’s share of attention focusing on his
most recent book, The Runes of Evolution.  Morris is an advocate of Darwinian evolution and should not
be mistaken for one who promotes Intelligent Design.  However, that does not mean he is a Darwinian
reductionist.  You can read the whole article
here.  


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Gifford Lectures Now in Video Online




You can now view Gifford Lectures online here!

“Since the first lecture in 1888, Gifford Lecturers have been recognized as pre-eminent thinkers in their
respective fields. Among the many gifted lecturers are Hannah Arendt, Noam Chomsky, Stanley Hauerwas,
William James, Jean-Luc Marion, Iris Murdoch, Roger Scruton, Eleonore Stump, Charles Taylor, Alfred
North Whitehead, and Rowan Williams.

The online Gifford Lectures database presents a comprehensive collection of books derived from the
Gifford Lectures. In addition to the books, the Web site contains a biography of each lecturer and a
summary of the lecture or book. The Web site also contains a biography of Adam Lord Gifford, a copy of
his will bequeathing money to the four major Scottish universities to hold the lectures, a brief description of
natural theology, an introduction to each of the four universities and news about forthcoming Gifford-
related events”.  From the website.  

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The Middling Power of the Placebo Effect by Ross Pomeroy

For non-scientists and scientists alike, the placebo effect is a bit of a puzzle.  
While physics can demand precision in expected experimental outcome
within a miniscule fraction of one percent and other disciplines struggle to
attempt precision as close to the physics gold standard as possible, medical
science exhibits in drug trials the maddeningly disruptive force of consciousness
on experimental outcomes.  In Pomeroy’s article, the author deflates the hype
and looks at the placebo effect from a more realistic perspective.  For one not engaged in medical research
professionally, Pomeroy provides some helpful perspective.  The article can be read here.    

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Upcoming Events

Newly Posted Event
Process Theology from the Pros!
June 27. 2016 @ 9:00 PM Eastern,  6:00 PM Pacific online

“Join Philip Clayton and Tripp for some constructive (and possibly)
postmodern theological goodness next Monday. They will tackle three
classical doctrines from a process perspective - and you get to vote for
which doctrines. So head on over, sign up, vote, and share. Click here
to register
http://ow.ly/k0cK301sYxP — with Philip Clayton and
Tripp Fuller.

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IRAS Conference taking place now!

The Summer Conference is IRAS’s flagship event. It is an exceptional opportunity to get away from daily
routines long enough to engage in deep and trans-formative learning; to encounter others with a passion for
human well-being; to participate in respectful and informed dialogue illuminated by the best scientific,
religious and philosophical insights. All of this occurs in a setting that is physically beautiful, ecologically
responsible, psychologically safe, intellectually reliable, personally challenging, spiritually uplifting and
family/child friendly. Each Summer Conference explores a focal question that demands the best of science,
religion, spirituality and philosophy to map its dimensions. The theme of the 2016 IRAS Summer
Conference, scheduled for June 25-July 2 on Star Island (off the coast of New Hampshire) is
How Can
We Know? Co-creating Knowledge in Perilous Times:
What does knowing and living reliably,
inclusively, sustainably and humanely now require of us – as persons, communities, institutions and
whole societies?
  As a collaborating partner with IRAS, WesleyNexus benefits from the following
discounts available to those in our network. Any person in the WesleyNexus network – any of you who
subscribe to our monthly newsletter – can take advantage of these discounts:
Conference registration at a 30% discount
Room and Board 30% discount on Star Island, plus another $50 back.
      More information on our website www.wesnex.org
      More information on the IRAS website
www.iras.org

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Brain/Mind/Faith

Ted Davis and Justin Barrett will be two of the five plenary speakers at the
American Scientific Affiliation 2016 Annual Meeting at Azusa Pacific
University in Azusa, CA. The ASA Annual Meeting is being held on
July 22-25, 2016. “Brain  |  Mind  |  Faith” will include various topical areas
for parallel oral sessions. These areas include: Christian Women in Science
and Engineering, Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Mind
Sciences, Teaching Faith and Science, and more. There will be both introductory
and advanced workshops on issues in science and faith. Be sure to stop by the BioLogos booth and receive
additional papers and information on science and faith. –  (From Biologos.org). Mike Beidler, Chair of the
Metropolitan Washington Section of the ASA, along with several others in our section, will be attending the
Azusa Conference, and we hope will offer his usual, insightful report for a future WesleyNexus newsletter.
See more at:
http://network.asa3.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=798428
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June 26, 2016