Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Perceptions Project

On Friday, March 13, 2015, I attended a conference down at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC.  The conference was part of the Perceptions Project sponsored by the AAAS.  It is part an effort to build a better bond between scientific and religious communities.

Perceptions: Science & Religious Communities

Science and religion issues are often fought at the extremes.  A goal of conference is to improve communication so that more moderate voices in religious community, who also accept science, can make it clear to other religious people, specifically in the evangelical community, that it is not an either-or situation.  The conference was focused on the issues of origins,  more specifically human origins and issues of global warming/climate change.

I ran into Eugenie Scott of NCSE shortly before the conference opening.  We have met a couple of times before.

A also ran into a few people whose name I knew, but whom I had never met.  I was even surprised by a few who were familiar with this blog.

Ronald Numbers (Wikipedia), author of the book, The Creationists (Wikipedia) which is a history of the creationist movement mostly since the publication of Darwin's Theory of Evolution.  Dr. Numbers autographed my copy of his book. 

Hugh Ross of Reasons To Believe.  I have followed some of the work by RTB and have written some on it before, having attended one of their local seminars.  I used to follow some RTB podcasts, but they changed their feed a couple of years ago and I failed to follow-up.

I met the current president of the Biologos organization, which was originally started by Francis Collins of NIH (Wikipedia).  They are a group of Christians who take the extra step of accepting the scientific evidence for human evolution.  I don't know that much about this organization, but I plan to do a little more research and might start linking to some of their resources when I want to address the biological evolution aspects in a Christian-friendly way.

I also had an enjoyable conversation with a member of a local Dominican School (I think he was a student, but he could have been an instructor) who talked about the history of their Order in science.  We also discussed some Fundamentalist groups in Catholicism (Wikipedia: Dominican Order, Albertus Magnus).

The primary emphasis of the conference was that science does not necessarily have to be the enemy of religious belief. 

I've got over six pages of notes from the conference, and may write more about it in the future.

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