SATURN is an interdisciplinary research program in theology and science created and administered by CTNS and supported by a $200,000 grant from Calvin College. 

SATURN starts with the growing scientific evidence for randomness in nature: in dynamic, self-organizing, complex, and autopoietic systems in the everyday world and in quantum processes at the subatomic level, at the macroscopic level through the amplification of quantum entanglement, and at the level of cosmology through quantum cosmology and superstring theory/the multiverse.  These processes suggest philosophically that ontological indeterminism occurs not only at the atomic level but also in the ordinary world of nature and in the universe as such.  Such indeterminism will strengthen claims for emergence, downward/top-down, whole-part, and bottom-up causality in nature from atoms to the cosmos.  These claims are vital to a theological understanding of both general and special providence which is consistent with science (i.e., it is non-miraculous / non-interventionist) and which makes a real difference in the development of natural processes and thus to the history of life on earth (i.e., it is objective).  Robert John Russell, the Principal Investigator of SATURN, calls this “non-interventionist objective divine action” (i.e., NIODA).

The highlight of the program is an international conference in Berkeley in October 2014 and the publication of the results as a book in 2015.  Participants include Jim Bradley, Gerald Cleaver, George Ellis, Niels Gregersen, Alicia Juarrero, Joshua Moritz, Nancey Murphy, Alan Padgett, Ted Peters, Robert John Russell, Jeffrey Schloss, and Kirk Wegter-McNelly.

A pre-conference event will be open to the public and media.  Post conference plans include the development of doctoral and seminary courses at the Graduate Theological Union focused on the results of the SATURN research. 

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Scientific And Theological Understandings of Randomness in Nature” is a program of CTNS funded in
part by a grant from Calvin College through their “Randomness and Divine Providence” program. 
The Calvin program is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

 

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