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CTNS Members' Winter 2009 E-News

February 27, 2009

News & Events

Member News

Inside Scoop

Network News

Theology and Science Journal News

E-News Subscribers: You may unsubscribe at any time by using the link provided.


News & Events

STARS -- Small Teams Win Large Grants

STARS, "Science and Transcendence Advanced Research Series," a program of CTNS, announced the recipients of two $200,000 grants advancing research in science and transcendence on January 16, 2009.
STARS logoThese grants, in addition to the $120,000 each these teams previously received, will support the expansion of the winning teams' research projects. These two grants are awarded based on an evaluation by distinguished judges and are the final in a series of twenty-seven CTNS STARS grants totaling $1.3 million. The two teams draw from scholars in the sciences and humanities, who represent eight institutions across the United States and the United Kingdom. Consultants to the two teams are represented by eleven institutions from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and northern Europe.

Recipients of Two $200,000 STARS Renewal Grants

The Rationality of Ultimate Value: Emotion, Awareness, and Causality in Virtue Ethics and Decision Neuroscience

"Thus far, this project has created exciting new approaches to research on moral action and virtue. Most remarkably, the project has yielded a novel approach to neuroscience and psychological study of virtuous exemplars within a laboratory context. We have also successfully used semantic analysis to probe for transcendent concepts in the schemas of virtuous exemplars. Finally, our team has formulated a philosophical understanding of virtue that both incorporates this new scientific research and argues for the critical importance of transcendence and exemplarity in moral action." -- Warren Brown, Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary and Gregory Peterson, Associate Professor, South Dakota State University (Co-Principal Investigators). Team details are found at http://www.ctnsstars.org/

Information and the Origin of Life
"Our new philosophical definition of 'interpretation' is providing a novel approach to the scientific question of the origin of life. We have begun to generate models and proposals that are already starting to demonstrate the advantage that even very simple entities gain by interpreting their environment. The theological part of our proposal is that these three-fold patterns in the world also provide ways of talking about the Christian understanding of the life of God and God's interaction with the world." -- Andrew Robinson, Honorary University Fellow, University of Exeter, UK and Christopher Southgate, Research Fellow, University of Exeter, UK (Co-Principal Investigators). The complete press release and team details are found at http://www.ctnsstars.org/

STARS sponsors ground-breaking interdisciplinary research on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality. STARS research is undertaken in a highly innovative way, through small teams of scientists and humanities scholars. Results of the research will be jointly authored by the members of the team, thereby producing a unique synthesis of science and humanities scholarship.

"I am delighted with the extraordinary quality and ground-breaking approaches to interdisciplinary research by these two outstanding teams who have each won a $200,000 renewal grant from CTNS for their STARS research," said Robert John Russell, STARS Principal Investigator and the Ian G. Barbour Professor of Theology and Science In-Residence at the Graduate Theological Union."Their continuing research is at the center of a wide range of scientific area spanned by the twenty-seven STARS grants: from fundamental physics and evolutionary biology to the neurosciences and mathematics. The implications for our understanding of human spirituality, virtue ethics, the scientific question of the origin of life, and the meaning of "ultimate reality" are very promising."

STARS is funded through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.


The 2009 J. K. Russell Research Fellow in Religion and Science
Professor Francisco J. Ayala

Celebrating the Darwin Year, Biologist, Francisco J. Ayala as the 2009 J. K. Russell Research Fellow will give two lectures:

Saturday, April 4, Research Conference, Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion
Tuesday, April 7, Fellow's Public Forum Lecture, Whence Morality: Biology or Religion?

The research conference will be moderated by Ted Peters, Ph.D with responses by John Braverman, Ph.D., Chris Doran, Ph.D., Joshua M. Moritz, Oliver Putz, Ph.D. and Robert John Russell, Ph.D.

This year, CTNS is offering a unique opportunity for a limited number of individuals to have time with Dr. Ayala in a small setting and help support the Campaign for the Ian G. Barbour Chair in the process.
On Saturday, April 4 during the day-long conference lunch break, a limited number of individuals may share a Box Lunch with Professor Ayala, where the $50 per person donation will help support the Campaign for the Ian G. Barbour Chair ($40 is tax-deductible). Registration begins on March 5, 2009.

Francisco AyalaFrancisco J. Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in the School of Biological Sciences and Professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA. He is also Professor of Logic and the Philosophy of Science in the School of Social Sciences. He was awarded the 2001 National Medal of Science and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the California Academy of Sciences. He has twice been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow. A longer CV and conference schedule are on the Fellowship webpage: www.ctns.org/jkr_fellow.html

Photo courtesy of University of California, Irvine.

As soon as the conference registration information is live on the CTNS website (March 5), guests may register on-line or by phone/fax for the:
1) Research Conference (See fees chart below), 10:15 am - 5:00 pm, GTU Library Board Room,
    2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley.
2) The Conference-day "Box Lunch with Francisco" with limited number of seats. ($50 per person),
    2401 Ridge Road.

Conference Registration Information

Conference Registration: CTNS Member
Conference Registration: CTNS Member, FT Student or
Senior (62+)
Conference Registration: General
Conference Registration: General, FT Student or Senior (62+)
Optional donation for Special Box Lunch with Francisco. Very limited seating. Register early. ($40 is tax-deductible)

Join or Renew your membership here and receive conference discount:
2009 CTNS Regular Membership *


Join or Renew your membership here and receive conference discount:
2009 CTNS Student or Senior Membership*

TOTAL payment

Fellow's Forum:
Dr. Ayala will give the Fellow's Public Forum, Whence Morality: Biology or Religion?
on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:00 pm in Classroom 1 of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (DSPT), 2301 Vine Street, Berkeley, just a few blocks north of the GTU Library. Open to the public; No charge. DSPT Campus link: www.dspt.edu/docs/about_us/campus.asp
Map Link

Visit the CTNS website on or after March 5 for more details and to register: http://www.ctns.org/jkr_fellow.html or call the CTNS office at 510-848-8152.

The Ian G. Barbour Chair Campaign Heads for the Finish Line

IGB logo2009 marks the beginning of the final year of the three-year Campaign for the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science. For those new to CTNS, this Chair was established in September 2006 at the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration. This Chair will be the cornerstone of the CTNS mission, ensuring the permanence of its central educational program in an age when science is often seen to conflict with religion. As a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) core doctoral faculty, this professorship will continue to bring the natural sciences into the classrooms of doctoral and seminary students in creative new ways and ensure that future generations be empowered for research teaching and ministry. More information may be viewed on the CTNS website www.ctns.org/chair/.

The CTNS Board of Directors named Dr. Robert John Russell to be the first holder of the Ian G. Robert John RussellBarbour Chair in Theology and Science. Since 1981, Dr. Russell has served as both Founding Director of CTNS and Professor of Theology and Science in-Residence at the GTU.

Due to the generosity of many colleagues and friends, the Chair fund is less than $500,000 away from completion! In this final year we need your partnership to complete this future endowed Chair for future generations to come! 
Every gift counts and we count on you!

There are many ways to make a charitable pledge / gift (fully tax-deductible): write a check, use your credit card, or donate stock. Visit www.ctns.org/chair or call 510-848-8152. Some friends donate to CTNS on a recurring monthly basis. If you'd like assistance with this, please contact us.
CTNS is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. Thank you!

CTNS Director/Professor Lectures in Rome

In early March Robert John Russell will be one of the speakers at a large five-day international conference of the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, under the High Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Bob's lecture is titled, "Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories: A Critical Appraisal 150 Years After 'The Origin of Species'" He will give two other related lectures while in Rome. Information on the conference may be found at www.evolution-rome2009.net or email Paolo Centofanti at pcentrofanti@gmail.com


Call for Applications to the Charles H. Townes Fellowship

In 2003, the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) created a new Graduate Student Fellowship program for doctoral research in theology and science at the GTU. The Fellowship is named in honor of Charles H. Townes, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his co-discovery of the maser and the laser, and a long-time CTNS supporter. Professor Townes is Professor of Physics in the Graduate School at U.C. Berkeley, and has served on the CTNS Board of Directors for over a decade.The purpose of this Fellowship is to honor doctoral students who have demonstrated clear ability to do very promising research on issues related to theology and science. The selection is based on academic excellence. Students in any Area of the GTU doctoral program whose research focuses on theology and science are eligible to apply.

This year, one award will be given. Students who are working on the comprehensive exams at an advanced level (the equivalent of the "special comprehensive exams" in the Area of Systematic and Philosophical Theology) or students who have finished his/her comprehensive exams and is working on the dissertation or dissertation proposal, are invited to apply.

Submit your best paper and CV to CTNS by March 16, 2009. Applicants may send their materials via email to director@ctns.org, mailed to CTNS at 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley 94709 or delivered to the CTNS offices at 2452 Virginia St., Suite 401, Berkeley.

The Fellowship will be announced on April 4th at the completion of the J. K. Russell Research Fellowship Conference. For details, visit http://www.ctns.org/chas_townes_fellowship.html. To see previous Charles H. Townes Fellows, visit www.ctns.org/chas_townes_fellowship.html



Journal News

Theology and Science News

CTNS members should have received this first volume of 2009. If you just joined or renewed your membership, another batch of names will be sent to Taylor and Francisc soon. Please allow 6 weeks.

Volume 7, Number 1 /2009 (February 2009)


CTNS Publications in 2008 by Nathan Hallanger

Astrotheology and the ETI Myth by Ted Peters

Metaphysics and Natural Science by Owen Thomas

Resonance: Hearing the Christian Mystics Through Metaphors Drawn From Physics by Susan D'Amato

Entropy, The Fall, and Tillich: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Original Sin by David Bradnick

On the Origins of Critical Realism by Andreas Losch

Book Reviews

Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution by Denis O. Lamoureux.
Reviewed by Jack Maze

God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens by John F. Haught.
Reviewed by Derek R. Nelson

Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth by Laurel Kearns and Catherine Keller, eds.
Reviewed by Chris Doran

T & S cover*CTNS members will receive all four issues of the current year's journal if memberships are received by November 1, 2009. If you are a new member, allow six weeks to receive your first volume.

Scholars wishing to submit articles for consideration to Theology and Science may contact Joshua Moritz, Managing Editor, by emailing theology-science@ctns.org or by writing to Theology and Science, CTNS, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, CA 94709 USA (510) 848-8152, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm PDT on Thursdays-Fridays.

If you are interested in writing a book review or submitting books for review, contact
Dr. Nathan Hallanger, Book Review Editor, via email: bookreviews@ctns.org.

Please send editorial comments or suggestions to: theology-science@ctns.org. Information for authors or reviewers may be found at www.ctns.org/theology_science.html.

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CTNS Member News

Members' On-line Journal Access

On-line access to Theology and Science
As a current member* of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, you are entitled to access the on-line version of Theology and Science free of charge.

Theology and Science on-line is hosted by InformaWorld, (www.informaworld.com), a site hosting journals, eBooks,abstract databases and reference works published by Taylor & Francis, Routledge, Psychology Press and Informa Healthcare.

Simply email support@informaword.com, tell them you are a CTNS "society" member and ask for your username and password.

*Note: Allow 6 weeks after joining CTNS or renewing your membership, to receive your login information from InformaWorld. If you don't use email but have web access, please contact CTNS.

If you are unsure if your CTNS membership is current, or have other questions, please contact the CTNS Membership Coordinator at ctnsinfo@ctns.org.

Members Access On-Line Articles from The CTNS Bulletin

If you are a new CTNS Member, you may have not received the username and password to access Volumes 10-22 of The CTNS Bulletin articles via PDF files on the website. (The CTNS Bulletin is the predecessor to Theology and Science.)

To view the CTNS Bulletin on-line:

  1. Click on the link below.
  2. In the dialog box, enter the 2009 CTNS Member's username and password (The username is membership, and the password is bridges.)
  3. Search for the article of your choice.

Click here to access the CTNS Bulletin.

You may search by author, article title, or volume year. (Note that the password will be changed in 2010 and will be included in the Members E-News).

Note: This is a separate on-line access system from the current CTNS journal, Theology and Science, which is hosted at Informaworld.com.


Inside Scoop

CTNS Friends and Associates in the News

Ted Peters Participated in Live On-Line Panel February 8
National Geographic Community Channel hosted a live on-line discussion on Evolution -- Celebrating Darwin's 200th Birthday on February 8, 2009 where CTNS Board member and Professor of Systematic Theology (PLTS and GTU) participated along with co-author and biologist, Martinez Hewlett and others. These experts in the fields of biology, molecular science, and theology discussed the topic of evolution and its significance in today's science community, education, and its relationship to religion and theology.

Former Vatican Observatory Director and CTNS Colleague Honored
Father George Coyne, an astronomer, Jesuit priest, and former director of the Vatican Observatory, has won the American Astronomical Society's George Van Biesbroeck Prize for 2009, awarded every two years for "long-term extraordinary or unselfish service to astronomy." The prize, says the AAS, recognizes "the diversity and scientific richness he has brought to the astronomical community through his visionary leadership of the Vatican Observatory Summer School and its long-term mentoring program, and for the unique role he has played at the juncture of science and religion."

Former CTNS Student Wins Award
Whitney A. Bauman, who completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union working with CTNS faculty, was a recent recipient of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise. Whitney received his award for his forthcoming publication, From Creatio ex Nihilo to Terra Nullius: The Colonization of Creation, (forthcoming Routledge, 2009.) Whitney served on staff of CTNS for many years, working in the Science and Religion Course Program, and then as Managing Editor of Theology and Science. He now serves as Assistant Professor of Religion and Science, Department of Religious Studies, Florida International University in Miami. From all of us, "Congratulations!" More information can be found at

Information for applications for next year may be found in the Network News section below.

Order Russell Book Here and Help CTNS

Order From Cosmology from Alpha to Omega by Robert John Russell using the CTNS-Amazon portal and help CTNS! Order through the Amazon.com portal on ctns.org, where a small portion of your purchase price of this volume and any others ordered at the same time will help CTNS. Visit: http://www.ctns.org/pub_books.html

Bay Area Friends: Donate a Vehicle and Help CTNS

CTNS has partnered with Volunteers of America's Bay Area Charity Connection to receive tax-deductible funds from your vehicle donation! If you live in the greater San Francisco Bay Area (potentially as far south as San Jose and as far east as Sacramento), this "turn-key" system takes care of the paperwork, while helping CTNS and the donor by providing the "leg work" and a tax-deductible donation.

Here's how Charity Connection works: The automobile donor notifies Charity Connection of their donation. Charity Connection arranges for pickup of the donated vehicle (or the donor may request to drive the vehicle to the Oakland yard) and the paperwork to accept title. Charity Connection then provides the donor and the public charity (CTNS) with a receipt for the vehicle, and assumes responsibility for its transportation, storage and sale. The title is not transferred until the vehicle is sold, and all administrative tasks are handled by Charity Connection.

If you would like more information on this fund-raising program, or if you would like to donate an automobile and name the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) as your charity, please visit www.voaba.org/ and click on "Donate Your Vehicle," e-mail info@voaba.org or call Charity Connection at 1-800-559-5458.

NOTE: towing is free for the donor, (but the cost of the towing is $75.00 and will be covered by the Beneficiary who will receive half of whatever is received MINUS $75.00.) If the vehicle is drivable, then please drive it in to Oakland if possible.

Use GoodSearch and Raise Money for CTNS

Have you heard about GoodSearch? It is a search engine powered by Yahoo which allows you to raise money for the nonprofit organization of your choice. You may enter "CTNS" into the "Who do you Goodsearch for?" box, hit verify, then do a word search as your would with any search engine. Check it out at: www.goodsearch.com, and you will be earning money for CTNS! If enough friends use this engine, we could build up a nice fund to help support the center!


Network News

This section is provided as a service to CTNS members and friends.

Conferences Coming up


The 2009 Wesleyan Theological Society meeting at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, March 5-7, 2009. Speakers: I. Howard Marshall, Bruce McCormack and Thomas Jay Oord. Additional meeting information is on the WTS website: http://wesley.nnu.edu/wts/index.htm

Conference of the Reseau Blaise Pascal "Sciences, Cultures et Foi"--March 28-29, 2009 (Lyon, France), Can We Trust Science? Between Fascination for Techno-Science and Ecological Criticism, What Hope is There? Philippe Deterre, moderator; Email: contact@sciences-foi-rbp.org. Website: http://sciences-foi-rbp.org/

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies in Limerick is hosting the 2009 Congress of the European Society for Catholic Theology. The theme is "The Eager Longing of Creation: Interdisciplinary Theological Perspectives on Ecology and Economy," August 20--23, 2009. This will be the first time that the conference will take place in Ireland and it will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the society. Early booking is advised. All information as well as on-line registration facilities can be found at: http://www.mic.ul.ie/theology/ESCT/Conference.html. Further information via email: mary.t.martin@mic.ul.ie.

Christians in Science announces a conference titled "Celebrating Darwin? Creation, Evolution and Theological Challenges" on Saturday, November 1, 2008 in London, UK. Details and booking information may be found at www.cis.org.uk/


Postdoc Faculty Position

Job opening in 'Theology and Science' at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Postdoc: "The Problem of Divine and Human Agency in a Scientific Worldview"-- Faculty of Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen. Closing date: 1 March 2009. http://www.ru.nl/vacatures/alle_vacatures/


Announcement: The 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise

The application deadline for the 2010 Award is May 31, 2009. Annually twelve post-doctoral scholars from all over the world will be awarded $10,000 each for the best doctoral dissertation or first post-doctoral book related to the topic "God and Spirituality." Prize winners are expected to participate in an awards ceremony and a common colloquium. The award includes an additional stipend of up to $10,000 (for two years) per winner for giving public lectures at the invitation of academic institutions.Visit


"Science & Religion Today" Blog

CTNS recently learned of a Blog titled, Science & Religion Today led by former writers for Science & Theology News. Science writer Heather Wax is the Editor, with Dan Messier serving as Assistant Editor and Karl Giberson as Editor-at-Large. Currently, subscriptions are free, or you may prefer to visit the blog from time to time for articles and announcements of interest to you. The Blog is interested in hearing from you with articles or news of interest in the science and religion arena. http://scienceandreligiontoday.blogspot.com/


Closer To Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God is Airing on PBS Nationally

Remember to check your local PBS listings for Closer To Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God, produced by new CTNS Board member, Dr. Robert Kuhn. The new production of this television series, for which Dr. Kuhn serves at executive producer and series creator, is airing in select cities. Closer To Truth focuses on three fundamental and interrelated subjects: Consciousness (brain, mind, free will, personal identity, alien intelligence, parapsychology), Cosmos (cosmology, fundamental physics, philosophy of cosmology and physics, emergence, science and religion), and God (philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, critical thinking).

Featured are 128 of the world's leading scientists, philosophers, scholars and thinkers including some members of the CTNS Board of Directors such as Francisco Ayala (honorary member) and Nancey Murphy and CTNS Director, Robert Russell.

Look for your local PBS stations' program listings on the CTT website. If you're not able to tune in for the broadcast, there is a wealth of information, as well as video clips, are on the Closer to Truth website: www.closertotruth.com. NOTE: CTNS does not have DVDs of these programs.

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We'd like to hear from You.
We would appreciate your comments about this E-News via email or via written letter.
Bonnie F. Johnston, CTNS E-News Editor
Email: ctnsinfo@ctns.org
fax. 510-848-2535