October 22, 2015

Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

WesleyNexus has been producing our monthly Newsletter since March, 2010.  At that time we distributed a
single page message to a few dozen participants.  In that message (found
here ), Maynard Moore, then Vice
President and now President, sounded an aspirational note by inviting others to join our newly born
community.  At the time, our distribution was mostly to persons in the Washington, DC area who were also
engaged in local discussions on science and religion in a number of locations.  Some of these discussion
groups continue to exist while others have been folded into our broader, expanded network that now spans
the globe with participants linking in from all over the world.  As of last month, only 20% of our web
activity came from Maryland, DC and Virginia.  Nearly 2/3 of our site visitors come from other states in
the US with the remainder originating in Europe, Canada, South America and even China, Australia and
New Zealand.  Perhaps our most significant accomplishment has been to sponsor four live web events
annually at the Baltimore-Washington Conference Mission Center as part of Evolution Weekend.  Three of
these events were recorded and can be found on our homepage (www.wesnex.org).  We will be sponsoring
our fifth program on February 12, 2017 which will be available both in-person and live online.  In addition,
we continue to support multiple local DC area events. Details will be included in our online newsletter as
dates become available.

As we mention below, we are pleased to announce two new members to our boards.  Dr. Sy Garte will be
joining our Executive Board.  Sy is a resident of Rockville, Maryland and will be able join us as we work
towards developing our future activities.  We are also reaching out across the Atlantic to Cambridge,
England.  Dr. Christopher Knight has joined our Advisory Board and, along with ten other distinguished
scholars, will provide us with both support and advice.  All in all, this coming year promises to be both
challenging and rewarding.        


With all our growth and program enhancements, WesleyNexus remains an all-volunteer organization and
need support from our participants to continue our presence on the web and to develop in-person
programs.  We thank everyone who helped contribute to this effort.  To continue our programs, we will
need support from others.  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
Damascus, MD 20872


Thanks in advance for your support.

God Bless,

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

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Sy Garte, Ph.D. joins the WesleyNexus Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that Sy Garte will be the newest member of the
WesleyNexus Board of Directors.  Sy is a United Methodist active in his local
church in Rockville, Maryland.  He is also a scientist with a PhD from The City
University of New York in biochemistry.  For more details on his background,
please check out our Board page at
http://www.wesnex.org/H_AboutUs_Bios.html  


Joining the WesleyNexus Advisory Board: Dr. Christopher C. Knight

Christopher C. Knight is the Executive Secretary of the International Society
for Science and Religion (ISSR) and a Research Associate of the Institute for
Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England.  At one time he was a priest
of the Anglican church, in which his last post was as Chaplain, Fellow, and
Director of Studies in Theology at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He is now
a priest of the Orthodox church. He is the author of about fifty book chapters and
papers, as well as two books in the Fortress Press' "Theology and the Sciences"
series. These are Wrestling With the Divine: Religion, Science, and Revelation (2001) and The God of
Nature: Incarnation and Contemporary Science (2007). He is at present working on a third book, focusing
on what he sees as the potential Eastern Orthodox contribution to the science-theology dialogue.  The ISSR
website can be found here:
http://www.issr.org.uk/   

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
How far can a religion professor go when questioning his faith?
The Idaho Statesman

“The Rev. Thomas Jay Oord, a theology professor at Northwest Nazarene University,
carried around deep thoughts about God that some of his fellow Nazarenes find
troubling. Now Oord faces an uncertain future. Statesman reporter Bill Roberts traces
Oord’s journey from an evangelical Nazarene to his waning days at NNU in a two-day
series starting Sunday in the Idaho Statesman.”  Dr. Oord is the WesleyNexus Advisory
Board.  Once the links are available, we will be posting them on the homesite page.  See the promotion
here.


*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Philosophy Now, June/July 2016

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It aims to engage
ordinary people by “convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile
and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter
for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics.”
The June/July issue contained two articles that seemed of particular interest to
those interested in science and religion.  Though they allow four articles to be read
free each month, back issues are not available without subscription.  We thank the
editors of Philosophy Now for allowing us to make an approved copy of both the following articles.  You
can read the current issue of Philosophy Now on their website:
https://philosophynow.org/

Richard Feynman’s Philosophy of Science by Ben Trubody

Richard Feynman was one of the most influential physicists of the last fifty years
and one of the few scientists to effectively reach the larger public.  He won the
Nobel Prize for QED (Quantum Electro Dynamics) and was a personality with
staying power – with references to his bongo playing on the popular TV show
Big Bang.  In Ben Trubody’s article, Feynman is presented as a reluctant
philosopher whose insights into what the scientific enterprise entail challenge
textbook understanding.  Quoting Feynman, the purpose of science is “to find out
ab initio, again from experience, what the situation is, rather than trusting experience
of the past in the form in which it was passed down”.  One should try to see things new, without filters,
without preconcieved notions or expectation.  You can find the full article
here.

Chaos & An Unpredictable Tomorrow by Peter Saltzstein

Much has been written about chaos theory over the past few decades.  From a
scientific perspective, complex systems are understood as deterministic even though
they are not predictable, either in principle or as a matter of practicality.  There is a
sense of holistic understanding within chaos theory whereby everything potentially
can affect everything else.  According to Saltzstein, a philosopher who teaches at
Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway, SC, “what is going to happen in
the world seems to depend on how all the world’s complex systems behave from
moment to moment.  The future, then, is self-organized, but to no particular end, purpose or plan.”  The
question that can also be asked however, is it possible for there to be a general end or purpose that is open
to novel possibilities?  With that question, a new dimension of discussion is opened.  You can read
Saltzstein’s article
here.   


*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
http://www.patheos.com/Topics/Faith-and-Reason

One of WesleyNexus’ goals is to create open and respectful dialog between partici-
pants willing to explore the nature of faith and its relationship to science and reason.  
With so many confrontational voices on the web, it is a relief to see diverse voices
coming together to discuss these issues.  A collection of reflections on faith and reason
has been published recently by Patheos.com.  On this site, contributors discuss the
tension between faith and reason found in faith communities and even in the broader
culture.  While WesleyNexus affirms the compatibility between faith and reason, we
are happy to promote dialog that brings together varied perspectives.  We applaud Patheos for bringing this
collection together.  These contributions are worth reading for personal reflection or, even better, sharing
with others to pursue the questions together.  You can find the webpage
here:

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Infinity, Cosmos, & Panentheism in Nicholas of Cusa by Austin Roberts

In this fascinating article, Austin Roberts highlights the cosmological reflections
of Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) and introduces us to a profound, original figure
who challenged the presuppositions of his time with a “provocative vision of a
centerless, edgeless cosmos.” This view contradicted the Aristotelian/Thomistic/
Neoplatonic hierarchical cosmos -- the "Great Chain of Being"– that “dominated
medieval thought.”  Roberts points to four fundamental ideas developed by
Nicholas that are still philosophically and scientifically relevant.  Just as important,
he develops one of the earliest presentations of panentheism, a theological understanding of the God/World
relationship that has gained significant traction over the past 100 years.  The article can be found
here.   

Thanks to Facebook for presenting this article posted by Austin Roberts.  

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
A Debate Over the Physics of Time by By Dan Falk
Time is one of those concepts which everybody knows, everybody uses and
everybody thinks they understand -- until one asks what it really means.  Then
things get very interesting.  In Dan Falk’s essay, time as understood by physics
and cosmology is explored.  From one perspective, since Einstein, time isn’t real.  
Writing in 1955, Einstein said “for us believing physicists, the distinction between
past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”  Well, not so fast.  
Falk highlights a recent conference where 60 physicists tried to hash out what we
mean by time, its origin and what it means for the “future”.  You can read the
article
here.    

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Did the Universe Boot Up with a “Big Bounce?” by By Clara Moskowitz

In this Scientific American article, Clara Moskowitz reflects on the possibility
that “the cosmos may have rebounded from an earlier contraction and a “big
crunch” into a “big bang” that started things off all over again.”    If so, this
certainly would have an impact on how one views creation, creator and eschatology
– the understanding of how things end.  Or perhaps it makes no sense.  Perhaps
the question itself reaches a limit that makes it unanswerable.  Or perhaps it is
just physicists having fun.  While the mathematics will escape most of us, the question of the origin and
destiny of the universe inspires us all with a sense of awe and humility.  The article can be found
here.  


*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Upcoming Events
Samson in Stone: New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel's Galilee
By Dr. Jodi Magness (sponsored by the Institute for Science and Judaism)
Sunday, September 11, 2016 -
Breakfast 10:00 a.m., Lecture 10:30 a.m.
Bender JCC OF Greater Washington
Rockville, Maryland

Join Professor Jodi Magness in a slide-illustrated lecture describing exciting, recent
finds from excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel's Galilee. Professor
Magness leads a consortium of universities in a project that began in 2011 and has
uncovered mosaics and other material from a fifth century, C.E. synagogue. She will
also discuss the possible implications of the discoveries for understanding Jewish
religious life in ancient Galilee.
http://www.scienceandjudaism.org/events/

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Institute for Science and Religion at Chestnut Hill College
9601 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
September 22, 2016 @ 7:00 am - 9:00 pm

“Do Humans Have Minds? Neuroscientific and Biblical Issues”
Nancey Murphy, PhD
Senior Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA

For more information go to
http://irands.org/

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Summary of Past Events
American Scientific Affiliation Meeting, July 22-25, 2016 by Mike Beidler

From July 22-25, during a nationwide heatwave where the temperatures skyrocketed
above 100 degrees F, the
American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) held its 71st Annual
Meeting at Azusa Pacific University (APU), which is nestled in the San Gabriel Valley
about 25 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  The occasion also celebrated the ASA's 75th
anniversary as North America's premiere network of Christians in the sciences, the
4-year difference reminding the attendees that the organization not only predates the
United States' entry into World War II but also, along with the rest of the Greatest
Generation, struggled to facilitate the difficult balance between its members' civic duties
with the work of the Kingdom.
This year's theme -- Brain / Mind / Faith -- wove a thread throughout the 4-day gathering, which
introduced new ASA Executive Director
Leslie Wickman, highlighted a spectacular new book on the
geology of the Grand Canyon co-written by a number of ASA members (
Grand Canyon, Monument to an
Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon?), and offered an opportunity to engage with
science-and-faith-minded APU students and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Plenary speakers included:

Dr. William "Bill" Newsome, Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University, whose research aims to
understand the neuronal processes that mediate visual perception and visually-guided behavior.  Newsome's
presentation, "Of Two Minds: A Neuroscientist Balances Science and Faith,” highlighted findings from
Brain 2025: A Scientific Vision  -- which was charged with accelerating the development and application of
innovative technologies to construct a dynamic picture of brain function that integrates neuronal and circuit
activity over time and space -- and its implications for the Christian faith.

Dr. Justin Barrett, chief project developer for Fuller Theological Seminary’s Office for Science, Theology,
and Religion Initiatives (STAR) and director of Fuller Graduate School of Psychology's doctoral program in
psychological science, gave a presentation on "Contemporary Trends in the Science of Religion:
Adaptationist and Byproduct Theories and Their Implications,"  Barrett's presentation explored the
cognitive and evolutionary origins of religion, positing that religion is a beneficial evolutionary adaptation
and that theistic belief has a biological basis, hypotheses which in no way threaten the truth of Christianity.

Dr. Roger C. Wiens, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he is principal investigator for
the ChemCam instrument on the Mars Curiosity Rover, gave a phenomenal presentation on “Exploring
Mars with Curiosity: A Scientific and Spiritual Journey.”  Wiens took time to describe the rover's use of
laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy
(LIBS) in order to further NASA's work of better determining Mars'
geological history and whether the red planet's alluvial plains, with its alternating sediments of coarse and
fine grain, may have hosted life at some point.

Dr. Audrey (Ellerbee) Bowden, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University,
presented on “Imag(in)ing a Brighter Future for Healthcare,” giving the audience an overview of the
Stanford Biomedical Optics Group's work in developing and deploying novel tools, such as optical
coherence
tomography, for optical imaging at the microscale and nanoscale.  Bowden's presentation was a
perfect wrap-up to the Annual Meeting with her encouragement to make our work a spiritual experience.  
She asked us to consider Proverbs 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to
search things out."  Bowden further reminded us that as we exercise certain elements of our shared faith --
dependence (James 1:5), humility (Philippians 2:3-4), and a proper God-focused perspective (Romans 3:23-
24) -- in our respective fields, we all must work to be the light of Christ (John 9:5) to the world (Matthew 5:
14).

During the event's celebratory banquet, Dr. Edward B. “Ted” Davis, Professor of the History of Science at
Messiah College and former ASA president, examined the ASA within the historical context of science and
religion in America using a plethora of primary sources, including the intriguing early-20th century cartoon
work of E. J. Pace and ASA founding member Irwin Moon's "Sermons from Science."
One highlight of the Annual Meeting actually occurred before the first plenary session was held, taking the
form of a half-day workshop that gave an instructive overview of introductory topics in science and religion
that can be used in Sunday schools.  Dr. Denis Lamoureux, Associate Professor of Science and Religion at
St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta, gave lessons on (1) "Beyond the 'Evolution' vs. 'Creation'
Debate, introducing attendees to the various views of origins; (2) "Ancient Science in the Bible," which
argued that the Bible cannot and should not be utilized as a scientific textbook; (3) "Intelligent Design:
Delusion or Divine Revelation?", which explored the idea that nature -- as a whole -- does indeed reflect a
divine Creator; (4) "Galileo the Theologian," which examined Galileo’s own principles of biblical
interpretation; and (5) "Darwin’s Religious Beliefs," which presented evidence that Darwin never
descended into full-blown atheism and remained to the end of his days powerfully impacted by his
perception of an intelligently designed cosmos.  (Audio slides of all five lessons, with handouts and
discussion guides, are available online
here.)  Having engaged with Lamoureux on a number of occasions
and utilized his materials throughout the last eight years, I can't help but praise the depth of his pastoral
sensibilities.

In addition to the pre-meeting workshops, plenary sessions, panels, and 75th Anniversary-themed
presentations, ASA members participated in a variety of half-hour breakout sessions in the following
categories:  Life and Environmental Sciences; Teaching Faith and Science; Physical Science; Literature,
Science and the Bible (including a brilliant presentation by Kansas State University geologist Keith Miller on
"Natural Evil and the Mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien"); Appropriate Technology and Stewardship; and Mind
Sciences.

Next year's Annual Meeting, with the theme of Exploring New Heights for Science and Stewardship, will
take place at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, from July 28-31, 2017.

*     *     *      *    *     *     *     *
Just in!

An Evening Conversation with Deborah Haarsma in Washington, D. C.
Conversation with Deborah Haarsma on “God and the Multiverse.”
Date:
Monday, September 12, 2016 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Location:
National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

To register, go to:
http://www.ttf.org/event/evening-conversation-deborah-haarsma-washington-d-c

The Emergence of Life: On the Earth, in the Lab, and Elsewhere
Thursday September 15, 2016  |  9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

"The emergence of life is among the most compelling questions in astrobiology. This symposium brings
together scientists, humanists, and authors to explore what we know about the origins of life, how we came
to know it, and what it means. Organized around the spaces in which we explore the origins of life--in
terrestrial nature, in the laboratory, and on other planets--participants will include biologists, geochemists,
physicists, historians, philosophers, and authors, each discussing a different aspect of or approach to an
origin of life. Each session will feature commentary by a noted journalist and/or author."

More information at:
http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/news/originslife.html?loclr=eanfwk
August 16, 2016