Samuel James Taylor Dec 13 1929 – 22 Jan 2020
James Taylor was born on Dec. 13, 1929 in Carrickfergus, N. Ireland. His parents were both teachers working for the Ulster based Quo Iboe mission in Nigeria and he spent most of the first 12 years of his life in Africa, tutored by his mother. He returned to Ireland with his family just after the start of the 2nd world war in a convoy to complete his school education. He finished school by 16years age and got a scholarship to Cambridge but was initially unable to take it, going first to Queens University to do his BSc in physics and mathematics, then to Peterhouse, Cambridge to complete a PhD in Pure Mathematics. For the third year of his fellowship he visited Princeton, meeting Einstein who by that time was in his twilight years. While in Cambridge he rekindled his relationship with my mother, Maureen Scott and proposed to her by mail. They were married in 1955.
James’ first appointment was in Birmingham as mathematics lecturer, followed by chairs at Westfield College, Liverpool University and, after taking early retirement from the UK, Charlottesville, Virginia. During this time he took sabbaticals to Cornell University, New York, Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Minnesota, as well as shorter academic visits to Wuhan, Paris, Vancouver, Canterbury, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. Over his career he wrote two text books and authored many mathematical papers including several with Paul Erdős, mostly far beyond the comprehension of non-mathematicians!
As well as being a mathematician and a scientist, James always maintained an evangelical Christian faith. Wherever they were, my parents sought out local believers and became active supporters of the local church. They founded a bible study group when the family lived in Northwood and became very involved with Crusaders when they lived in Radlett. James never found any contradiction between Biblical teaching and a scientific view of the world, and instead embraced science as evidence for God. He was always ready to discuss thorny subjects such as Darwin and evolution with skeptics. He was also very interested in education and was a particular advocate for bright but under privileged children.
Following retirement my parents moved to Sevenoaks. They continued to enjoy travelling, visiting old friends, family and colleagues. James continued to advance the Christian faith at almost any opportunity, making a final challenge to those without faith on his 90th birthday, less than two months before he passed away at Pembury on the Weald Hospice on 22 Jan, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Maureen, 4 adult children, 17 grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren.
The latest edition of our PreCiS – 2020 Winter issue.
In this issue we have a great 2019 Southern Conference report by Dr C Biggs. A “Thank you” to Andrew Halestrap, outgoing CiS Committee Chair and Fran Armitage, outgoing CiS Membership Secretary. Both are “retiring” from the CiS committee after many years of service.
We also have the 2019 Winning Student Essay by Isaac Chidlow – “How can we wisely use the Bible and modern science to enhance our faith and studies?”
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We have a fantastic set of resources for your church, entitled “Thinking About…”
Science raises some issues that the church can find difficult or ill-equipped to address. Christians in Science have produced a series of introductory leaflets on these topics that are written by Christians who are professional scientists. They are specifically designed to help Christians that do not have a scientific background understand better the relevant science, and any issues that it presents for the Christian.
Each leaflet outlines the basic science behind the topic, how it relates to the Christian (biblical) understanding of the world and suggests some other resources for those who want to take it further.
Currently we have 16 titles in the “Thinking About…” series listed below. These are available to view online, or download as PDFs. Alternatively email Abigail, our Development Officer, email@example.com to order free copies!
A small sample of the titles:-
Professor Derek Burke CBE, CiS President from 1999 to 2001, died at age 89 on 15th March 2019.
Derek was Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (1987-1995), chairman of the John Innes Centre Governing Council (1987-1995), and a key figure in establishing the Norwich Research Park. In 1992 he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk. He was a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology from 1995 to 2001. He also served as a member of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Church of England, was an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund’s College and a Faraday Institute Associate.
CiS members remember him always taking a great interest in the affairs of CiS. He was a popular speaker at CiS events and as President he sometimes attended our committee meetings to make sure he was up to date. He was the editor of ‘Creation and Evolution’ (1985) one of the Inter-Varsity Press volumes in the series ‘When Christians Disagree’. This was an attempt to have an amicable, productive debate between CiS (whose members largely supported theistic evolution) and the Creation Research Society (who supported special creation).
Derek started a small meeting in his own home to discuss science and faith and this eventually developed into the now CiS affiliated group, Science and Faith in Norfolk. He also helped to establish an annual series of Science-Faith Lectures at Norwich Cathedral which still continues.
Derek was buried beside his wife, Mary, at Walberswick churchyard, Suffolk on Saturday 11thApril. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Friends of CiS will be saddened to hear that Professor Sam Berry, one of the great figures in Christians in Science from its earliest days, died peacefully at home on 29th March following a period of deteriorating health. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Caroline and their family at this sad time.
A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Sam Berry will be held at St. Nicholas’s Church, Sevenoaks, TN13 1JA, at 1.30 pm on Monday 23rd April followed by tea in the church.
Here is a personal remembrance of Sam, by Prof Malcolm Jeeves, CBE, PRSE. President of Christians in Science 2008 – 2014. President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1996-1999 and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of St. Andrews.
For more than four decades the Research Scientists Christian Fellowship, later to become Christians in Science, benefited immeasurably from the dedicated leadership and organisational skills of Sam and Caroline Berry. Sam as Chairman of Christians in Science (1967-1988) and President (1993-1995) and Caroline as its Secretary (2000-2008). Both had full-time and demanding professional commitments. Sam as Professor of Genetics at University College London and Caroline as a Consultant Medical Geneticist at Guy’s Hospital in London.
His scholarship was widely recognised in many directions. He was President of the Linnean Society, the British Ecological Society and the European Ecological Federation. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and he gave the Gifford lectures at Glasgow University. Sam had a very deep love of all things Scottish and his book Orkney Notes (2000) remains widely acclaimed. He also took several important initiatives which embodied his deep concern for the care of God’s creation.
His so-called retirement in 2000 coincided with a time when the Christian environmental movement in the United Kingdom was growing fast and he devoted much time and energy to this area. He was a great supporter of A Rocha and was on their Council of Reference. He was one of the founding fathers of the John Ray Initiative becoming a Vice President and forming a partnership with Sir John Houghton so that together they represented the biological and physical sciences. Sam wrote or edited many books on Christianity and the environment including his “The Care of Creation” (IVP 2000). His last work “Environmental Attitudes through Time” (Cambridge University Press) is due to be published at the end of April 2018. A close friend of John Stott he spent many shared times with him at John’s Welsh retreat observing nature in all its diversity. As our research company has revealed, we can also refer to our own priority data on the inclusion of low doses of Accutane in the therapeutic complex for excoriated acne. All patients with excoriated acne that developed within the framework of the psychopathological symptom complex of super-valuable hypochondria of beauty (n=28, 25 women, 3 men, average age is 25.1±2.3 years) noticed that the phenomena of self-destruction prevailed over the manifestations of vulgar acne in the skin status. Read more at https://www.freedomhealth.co.uk/accutane-isotretinoin/.
Sam was a larger-than-life character in many ways. For several decades I worked closely with him on a series of publications. Our Visitors book at home records how on twenty separate occasions Sam came and stayed with us for several days. At the time he was working on the genetics of isolated mice populations in the Scottish islands and would turn up at short notice sometimes carrying a dustbin in which he had put his dirty clothes and some of his mice specimens. Our daughters, young at the time, remember him as “the man with the dustbin and the mice”. A flavour of his character is captured in the comments section of our Visitors book which he occasionally used. It reads “with dustbin” (23/24 March 1973); Heb.11v3 (16 Jan 1980); “Modernity now in its postmodern phase” (20/21May 1986); Anglican (April 4-7 1997); Co-author (8 Dec 1997).
When Dr Oliver Barclay suggested that I update my 1969 book “The Scientific Enterprise and Christian Faith” (Tyndale Press) he also suggested that Sam would be an excellent co-author. How right he was. As we worked on the book and spent many days together I became more and more aware of both the breadth and the depth of Sam’s scholarship. The result was our 1988 book Science, Life and Christian Belief. (IVP)
Two years ago, at his instigation, we wrote a Review article for the journal Science and Christian Belief tracing out the history, from its very earliest days, of the Research Scientists Christian Fellowship which was later to become Christians in Science. The detailed documentation at the end of our paper underlines just what a crucial part Sam played over many years in these organisations. He was faithful to the end and we give thanks for his faith, his scholarship and for his life. He will be sorely missed by us all but surely most of all by his wife Caroline and their son and two daughters who remain in our thoughts and prayers.