The 2018 Russell Family Research Fellowship in
Religion and Science

 

New Perspectives from Science on Human Origins

Click here to register. (Please note, registration is now closed--you may register on-site)



Ron Cole-Turner

CTNS Public Forum, Thursday, March 8

Research Conference, Saturday, March 10

Ron Cole-Turner teaches theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Throughout his career, he has been fascinated by the religious significance of new developments in science and technology, especially when they challenge the way we see our own humanity. His recent work is framed by two questions--where have we come from and where are we going? In 2016, Ron published The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins , exploring the latest developments in the science of human origins from the standpoint of Christian theology.

Ron is one of the co-founders of the International Society for Science and Religion and currently serves as a vice president and as a member of the Executive Committee. Over the years he has served on the Advisory Committee of the John Templeton Foundation and of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, a program unit of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He also served as an advisor to a AAAS project to help seminary faculty across the US give more attention to the natural sciences.

Other recent books include Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Transcendence and Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification. Recent articles and book chapters carry titles like "Christians and Other Transhumanists" and "Spiritual Enhancement." Of all his writings, Ron is probably best known for a baptism hymn, "Child of Blessing, Child of Promise," included in nearly every major new English-language Protestant hymnal worldwide from Scotland to New Zealand.


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Fellow's Public Forum Lecture with Ron Cole-Turner:


The Human Surprise: The Unexpected Science of our Origins and Why It Matters for Theology
Thursday, March 8, 2018, 7pm

Richard S. Dinner Board Room
Graduate Theological Union (Flora Lamson Hewlett) Library
2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, California, USA

Over the past decade, scientific discoveries have suggested a new and surprising view of the origins of today's human family. The classic "Out of Africa" story, prominent among scientists from the mid-1990s until just recently, held that "modern" Homo sapiens emerged as a distinct species about 200,000 years ago and spread around the world, replacing all previous forms of humans. This view has been called into question by several recent developments, such as DNA studies that show widespread interbreeding between various forms of ancestral humans, including Neandertals. Just since 2017, researchers have published unexpected discoveries suggesting that modern humans come into existence not in a flash but in many small modifications stretching back further than we once thought. The human story is a tale of multiple hominin lineages overlapping in time, with periods of separation followed by interbreeding. As more discoveries are made, how will our view of ourselves change in the future? Building on the 2016 book, The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins, this talk will discuss what these new scientific findings suggest for Christian theology, centering on our need for redemption and our understanding of Jesus Christ as incarnate in this complex hominin lineage.

The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins (E-Book) is available free at TheologyPlus.

This event is free and open to the public.


The Annual Russell Family Research Conference
Saturday, March 10, 2018, 1pm-5pm

New Perspectives from Science on Human Origins: Three Challenges for Christian Theology

Richard S. Dinner Board Room

Graduate Theological Union (Flora Lamson Hewlett) Library

2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, California, USA

Registration required. Register here. (Please note: registration is now closed--you may register on-site)

Over the past decade, scientific and technical advances have transformed our understanding of human evolution. Paleogenomics (the recovery, sequencing, and analysis of genomic DNA from ancient individuals) provides powerful tools for retracing the steps of our evolutionary past. Newly discovered species such as Homo naledi point to multiple hominin lineages living simultaneously. New findings and advanced analysis of tools and cultural artefacts from Neandertals and other early humans tend to undermine our confidence in any cultural "big bang" that separates behaviorally modern humans from our earlier ancestors. Many of these findings are summarized in the 2016 book, The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins. Discoveries since 2016 point to ever greater complexity in the story of human origins, with more precise details but less definitional clarity or simplicity in basic concepts and categories, such as the species Homo sapiens. These discoveries directly challenge three classic Christian theological ideas: (1) Human uniqueness and the "image of God", (2) human "fallenness" and the meaning of redemption, and (3) human diversity and unity. Addressing this challenge, even if only in a provisional way that keeps the door open for more discoveries and more revisions in our view of our origins, is beneficial for any theology that seeks to understand the core themes of the Christian faith, centered in Christology, in light of the best available insight into creation.

The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins (E-Book) is available free at TheologyPlus.

Respondents: Jamie Fowler, Jay Johnson, Braden Molhoek and Joshua Moritz

 

Conference Schedule

1:00pm

Registration

1:15pm

Welcome and Introduction

1:30pm

Fellowship Lecture: Ron Cole-Turner

2:30pm Response #1
2:50pm

Response #2

3:10pm Response #3
3:30pm Response #4
3:50pm Break
4:05pm Panel Discussion
4:20pm General Q&A
4:35pm Final Remarks from the Fellow
4:50pm Presentation of the 2018 Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship
5:00pm Refreshments
5:30pm Adjournment

 

 

 

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