Connect Conference 2023
Science, Faith and Ethics
was held Online – March 11th
(Recordings for each of the talks, are listed below)
Lecture 1: John Bryant – A life in science and faith: wonder and responsibility
Available on our YouTube channel – https://youtu.be/MRgsNLAdYTo
Abstract: Is being a Christian in Science any different from being a Christian in any other area of human activity? The answer is both No and Yes. No, because the imperatives to love God and love our neighbour are universal. Yes, because firstly the pursuit of science gives us a direct insight into the work of the creator God and secondly because science brings its own challenges in fulfilling the ‘love imperatives.’ These challenges include, amongst others, facing and making decisions about ethical and social issues arising from our science and working to ensure inclusivity in the practice and application of science.
Bio: John Bryant was Professor of Cell & Molecular Biology at Exeter University and is now Professor Emeritus. His research focussed on DNA and genes, especially on DNA replication. He established one of the first UK university courses on Bioethics for Biologists and has also been an advisor to the H E Academy on Teaching Ethics to Bioscience students. John’s most recent book, co-authored with space scientist and CiS member, Graham Swinerd, is entitled ‘From the Big Bang to Biology, Where is God?‘.
Lecture 2: Cara Parrett – Connecting to Climate Change
Available on our YouTube channel – https://youtu.be/9j6fFjUkRZs
Abstract: Climate change presents a very real example of a disaster scenario into which our Christian theology can, and should, have something to say. However, Christian ideas about creation care and suffering can sometimes seem somewhat disconnected from the global case study of climate change. My conservation career raised many ethical and theological questions and, by talking about them, and sharing some encouraging Christian responses, I hope to shed light on how our Christian voice can ‘join the table’. By doing so, we will feel better equipped and motivated to connect these issues to our faith, and perhaps help our churches do the same.
Bio: Cara Parrett grew up in South Africa, earning an honours degree in marine biology and oceanography from the University of Cape Town. After contributing to research and conservation projects across several different countries she came to the UK to work at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, where she now works on the Youth and Schools Programme. Motivated by a desire to create inspiring opportunities for young people to pause, think and discuss their big questions about science and religion, she is often found presenting in schools and religious settings, and sometimes also talking to adults. She was the CiS Oliver Barclay winner in 2019.
Lecture 3: Dr Nathan Bossoh – Science, Christianity, and representation: ethnic dimension in past and present
Available on our YouTube channel – https://youtu.be/sARRxGZoeM4
Abstract: Science and faith, just like any other area of social or religious inquiry, has a history. Most UK Christians working in the sciences likely know something about the role of Christianity in the rise of modern science. Less known, however, are the ways in which Christian contributions also aided in developments such as the marginalisation of African scientific knowledge, and the emergence of racial science. Today, the representation of black scientists is strikingly low across all stages of UK academia, and this results in black Christians struggling to identify with a career path in science. By shifting the focus of standard historical narratives, I hope to shed light on key ethnic dimensions within science and religion, and in doing so, I bring to light some new sources of inspiration for the next generation of black Christians in science.
Bio: Nathan Bossoh is Research Curator of the African Collections at the Science Museum London where he is working to deliver a report appraising over 5000 historic African materials. Nathan has published on the history of science, technology, and religion, and his main research centres around the historical intersections of science, religion, race, and empire with a particular interest in Britain and West Africa. Nathan won the 2018 Christian’s in Science student essay competition.
Lecture 4: Dr Zachary Ardern – Facts and Faith versus Fake News: responding to disinformation as a Christian in science
Available on our YouTube channel – https://youtu.be/4IcLRxJKyPg
Abstract: Christians should be known as people who love truth and love people. All Christians can participate in the task of testing, telling, and proclaiming the truth; but those in science may have a special role given the way that our society tends to weight scientific truth, and the truths proclaimed by scientists, particularly highly. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested a lot of our society’s key institutions and showed that many people have little faith in some of them, with deadly consequences. Careful truth telling in Christian community about science – including controversial issues such as coronavirus or evolutionary theory – can build trust, promote human flourishing, and witness to the trustworthiness of the Christian message.
Bio: Zachary Ardern is a postdoctoral fellow in evolutionary microbial genomics, based in Cambridge and originally from New Zealand. His research has included work on genes in the virus causing COVID-19, and he has been active in promoting a science-informed response by Christians to issues such as COVID-19 and evolutionary theory. He received the 2022 Oliver Barclay Award from CIS.
Lecture 5: Dave Hutchings – Will Science Save Humanity?
Abstract: What part can science really play in saving people? Is it a gift from God, unlimited in its potential for good? Alternatively, is it fool’s gold, offering only overstated hopes or dangerous distraction? How should Christians think about their role as a scientist – is it a special calling in its own right, or simply a profession? By learning from the thoughts of those who have gone before us – some of them many hundreds of years ago – perhaps we can answer these questions for our own lives. Perhaps, even, we can understand more how to play our own part in honouring Jesus’ words: “I have come that they may have life to the full.”
Bio: David Hutchings is a physics teacher and author based in York, England. A Fellow of the Institute of Physics, his books include Of Popes and Unicorns (OUP 2022); God, Stephen Hawking and the Multiverse (SPCK 2020) and Let There Be Science (LionHudson 2017). David speaks and writes regularly on the relationship between science, Christianity, philosophy, and history.