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Recent Russell Family Fellowships

2009 J.K. Russell Research Fellowship in Religion and Science
Dr. Francisco J. Ayala

The 2009 J. K. Russell Research Fellowship in Religion and Science

Dr. Francisco J. Ayala
Celebrating the Darwin Year


Whence Morality: Biology or Religion?
Fellow's Public Forum, Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 pm

Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
2301 Vine Street, Classroom 1, Berkeley, CA
Free and open to the public.

How much about human nature is not only rooted in our evolutionary past but fully determined by purely biological processes? Our capacity for reasoning seems to be an adaptive feature that evolved as a consequence of natural selection, but what about our moral and ethical faculties? Contrary to reductionists who argue that our moral codes are merely evolutionary byproducts with no grounding in the transcendent, Dr. Ayala has made the case that while human moral capacity evolved along with rationality, the specific contents of morality—the ethical and religious norms by which we organize society and live our lives—are not determined by our evolutionary history but instead are up to us individually and as a culture to determine.  You are invited to hear Dr. Ayala address this and related fascinating and controversial issues at the frontiers of the creative interaction between science and religion.

Francisco 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. 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.

Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion
J. K. Russell Research Conference, with Dr. Francisco J. Ayala

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.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 - 10:15 am to 5:30 pm
Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley

With militant atheists claiming that evolutionary biology disproves God and with creation scientists and theorists of Intelligent Design challenging the omission of God in neo-Darwinian biology, is there a robust alternative that takes evolution seriously and places it within a credible and persuasive Christian view of the world?  “Yes”, say theistic evolutionists representing a wide spectrum of Christian views: compare B. B. Warfield and Teilhard de Chardin, or Kenneth Miller and Jurgen Moltmann, or Francis Collins and Archbishop Joseph Zycinski, or Celia Deane-Drummond and John Haught.  All of them agree that “evolution is how God creates the diversity of biological species in nature.”  But evolutionary biology, in turn, raises new questions for theological reflection: Do humans share anything about the imago dei with non-human or pre-human life? Is human moral capacity a product of evolution that nevertheless leaves the choice of specific moral codes up to religion?  What is God’s relation to “natural evil”: the suffering, disease, death, and extinction that permeate the history of life on earth? Questions like these and many others provide the basis for this year’s CTNS J. K. Russell Research Conference.


The 2008 J. K. Russell Research Fellowship in Religion and Science
Dr. George V. Coyne, S.J., Research Fellow
Saturday, March 15, 2008, GTU Board Room


Public Forum: "The Dance of The Fertile Universe: Did God Do It?"

Did we come about by chance or by necessity in the evolving universe? Did God make us? Can we conclude that there is an Intelligent Design to the universe? To what extent can the natural sciences address these questions? As to chance or necessity the first thing to be said is that the problem is not formulated correctly. It is not just a question of chance or necessity because, first of all, it is both. Furthermore, there is a third element here that is very important. It is what we might call the "fertility" of the universe. So the dance of the fertile universe is a ballet with three ballerinas: chance, necessity and fertility. What this means is that the universe is so fertile in offering the opportunity for the success of both chance and necessary processes that such a character of the universe must be included in the search for our origins in the universe. In this light, Dr. Coyne will try to present in broad strokes what he thinks is some of the best of our modern scientific understanding of the universe and then return to the questions above.

Conference: "Twenty Years After the New View from Rome: Pope John Paul II on Science and Religion"
Saturday, March 15, 2008, GTU Board Room

When the adventure of exploration, which I wish to summarize here, began I was privileged to be a party to it and, in fact, wrote the Preface to the book, Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding (PPT), whose publication became the inspiration and the guiding beacon for the series of conferences which ensued over a period of twenty years, dedicated to the overarching theme of Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action.

At that time I insisted upon the fact that we were about to engage in a “small beginning.” That small beginning was a conference held at the Vatican Observatory from 21 to 26 September 1987 at the request of Pope John Paul II to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia. One of the first steps in that small beginning was the publication in that PPT volume of an outstanding message of John Paul II on the interaction between the culture of religious faith and that of science. The Pope says, for instance, directing himself to the scientists, philosophers and theologians whose research is contained in the PPT volume: “You are called to learn from one another, to renew the context in which science is done and to nourish the inculturation which vital theology demands. Each of you has everything to gain from such an interaction, and the human community which we both serve has a right to demand it from us.”

And so from that small beginning where have we arrived? I would propose that, having accomplished a great deal in defining the principal issues in coming to understand God’s action in the universe in light of our scientific knowledge in areas ranging from cosmology to the neurosciences and having begun to refine a research methodology to address those issues, we are at a new beginning. A sampling of the issues which came to be more acutely defined as the series progressed would include: diversity in the metaphysics employed in understanding the nature of God, the interplay between general divine action and special divine action as well as between God’s activity in nature and in history, the status of natural theology, interventionist versus non-interventionist approaches to understanding God’s action, the limits of science, the nature of the laws of nature, the understanding of quantum indeterminacy, physical evil, reductionist versus an emergent philosophy of nature, the role of information theory, and so on. The adventure continues and the excitement of discovery is there. Our past experience presents a rather well defined road for the discoveries that lie ahead.
— George V. Coyne, S.J., Vatican Observatory

Brief Biography

Dr. George V. Coyne, S.J., was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and became a member of the Society of Jesus the age of 18. He obtained his bachelor's degree in mathematics and his licentiate in philosophy at Fordham University, New York City in 1958 and completed the licentiate in sacred theology at Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1965.

For his doctorate in astronomy at Georgetown University in 1962, Coyne carried out a spectrophotometric study of the lunar surface. He spent the summer of 1963 doing research at Harvard University, the summer of 1964 as a National Science Foundation lecturer at the University of Scranton, and the summer of 1965 as visiting research professor at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
Coyne was visiting assistant professor at the University of Arizona (UA) Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) in 1966-67 and 1968-69, and visiting astronomer at the Vatican Observatory in 1967-68. He joined the Vatican Observatory as an astronomer in 1969 and became an assistant professor at the LPL in 1970. In 1976 he became a senior research fellow at the LPL and a lecturer in the UA Department of Astronomy. The following year he served as Director of the UA's Catalina Observatory and as Associate Director of the LPL.
Coyne was appointed Director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope John Paul I in 1978, and in that same year he also became Associate Director of the UA Steward Observatory. During 1979-80 he served as Acting Director and Head of the UA Steward Observatory and the Astronomy Department, and thereafter he continued as an adjunct professor in the UA Astronomy Department.

Dr. Coyne’s interests have ranged from the study of the lunar surface, to the birth of stars. He has pioneered a special technique, polarimetry for astronomical research. Currently he is studying cataclysmic variable stars, binary stars where one star is a superdense object which is capturing matter from its companion. He is also searching for protoplanetary disks about young stars. He has published more than 100 articles in reviewed scientific journals and has been the editor of several books.

Parallel to his scientific research he has developed an interest in the history and philosophy of science and in the relationship between science and religion. He founded the series of studies concerning controversies about Galileo, entitled: Studi Galileiani. In 1987 Dr. Coyne invited Robert Russell, the CTNS Director, to participate in a major international conference on science and religion convened by the Vatican Observatory. Its publication, Physics, Philosophy and Theology included a very influential statement on these issues by Pope John Paul II. Following this, Dr. Coyne asked CTNS to join with the Vatican Observatory in co-sponsoring a decade-long series of international research conferences on the theme, “Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action,” resulting in the publication of six volumes. Dr. Coyne served as the head of the section on epistemology and science of the Galileo Commission, constituted by John Paul II in 1981. He has lectured widely on the results of that Commission.

As Director of the Vatican Observatory he was a driving force in several new educational and research initiatives, including the Vatican Observatory Summer Schools and the Vatican Observatory Research Group in Tucson, Arizona. He retired as Director in August 2006. After spending a sabbatical year as an Associate Pastor at St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Raleigh, NC, he returned to the staff of the Vatican Observatory and continues as President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation.



The 2006-2007 J. K. Russell Research Fellowship, Celia Deane-Drummond
March 2007
Professor Celia Deane-Drummond

J. K. Russell Fellow’s Public Forum:
"Genetic Futures and Our Search for Wisdom”
Professor Celia Deane-Drummond.

Forum Description
This lecture begins with an overview of the meteoric rise in genetic science over the last half century. The potential impact on all life forms- from microbes to humans- is enormous. The medical applications of genetic science sit uneasily in the shadow of eugenic practices of the last century. Geneticists are more modest today about the evolutionary potential of genetics in the human species. Yet genetics continues to fascinate or horrify. New controversial developments, including, for example, cloning and associated stem cell research has heightened both public discussion and controversy about genetic techniques. What are the ethical issues raised by such developments? How can we make decisions where such decision-making is fraught with controversy? My suggestion in this lecture is that theology has something to contribute to this debate, not by simply opposing the new in science by asking, for example, ‘Are we playing God?’, but by offering the tradition of wisdom, more particularly, that found in practical wisdom or prudence. Such wisdom is one of the classic virtues, which sits alongside charity and justice in finding a way through to a genetic future. Yet such an interdisciplinary weaving remains a search, a search that never is complete, for genetic science continues to surprise and fascinate both scientists and non-specialists alike.

The J. K. Russell Fellow’s Research Conference:
“The Evolution of Sin and the Redemption of Nature”
Professor Celia Deane-Drummond
Saturday, March 31, 2007

Conference Lecture Description and Respondents
Drawing on animal ethnographic studies, this article considers the possibility of a form of morality existing in animals and its relationship with human morality. "Given this capacity, I argue that first we need to reflect more carefully on human sin and evil in evolutionary terms. Second, I question the adequacy of the traditional divide between ‘moral’ and ‘natural evil’ as well as consider the possibility of ‘anthropogenic’ evil. Third, I suggest that a theological response to non-human morality should include discussion of the atonement, but traditional categories prove inadequate. Fourth, drawing on Sergii Bulgakov, I explore the symbol of shadow sophia as representing a multivocal theodicy that is potentially capable of holding together a tapestry of different dimensions of evil. Finally, I discuss the redemption of nature in the light of the foregoing discussion." --Celia Deane-Drummond

Respondents: include: Marc Bekoff, James Haag, Nathan Hallanger, William O'Neil, Oliver Putz and Robert Russell.

Brief Biographical Background:
Celia Deane-Drummond graduated with an M.A. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and a doctorate in plant physiology at Reading and Letcombe Research Station (Oxford University). She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Vancouver, Canada in the biophysics group at Cambridge University, and as a lecturer at Durham University. She then shifted her academic focus to theology, earning a BA with honors from Bristol. Her Ph.D. research at Manchester University specialized in Moltmann's thought.
After working at the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture in Manchester, she obtained a PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 1994 she began teaching at Chester College (now, the University of Chester). Her scientific and theological experiences have served her well in research. Celia has published over thirty articles in scientific journals and she has been active in interdisciplinary research, particularly in relating science to theology. Her first major book was Theology and Biotechnology: Implications for a New Science (Cassell, 1997). Since then she has published numerous monographs including Creation through Wisdom: Theology and the New Biology (T & T Clark, 2000), The Ethics of Nature (New Dimensions to Religious Ethics) (Oxford: Blackwell 2004), Genetics and Christian Ethics (New Studies in Christian Ethics) (Cambridge University Press, 2006), Wonder and Wisdom: Conversations in Science, Spirituality, and Theology (John Templeton Foundation Press and Novalis, 2006). Her edited collections include Re-Ordering Nature: Theology, Society and the New Genetics; Brave New World? Theology, Ethics and the Human Genome (both 2003) and Future Perfect? God, Medicine and Human Identity (2006). She was awarded a Chair in Theology and the Biological Sciences at the University of Chester in 2000 and founded the Centre for Religion and the Biosciences at the University of Chester in 2002.


The 2005-2006 J. K. Russell Research Fellowship,
September 14-15, 2006
Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett

The overall goal of the Fellowship events is to explore the
richness and diversity of views on theistic evolution and the way
they offer a robust alternative to the conflict model of evolution
and creation. Details are below.

Thursday, September 14, 7:00 pm, The J. K. Russell Fellowship Public Forum: "A Case for Theistic Evolution: Who's Fighting Whom about What?" (Part 1)
Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett, at the GTU in Berkeley. Location: The GTU Board Room, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley. No charge. Please arrive on time.

Friday, September 15, 9:15 am - 5:00 pm:
The J. K. Russell Research Conference, "Assessing The Case(s) for Theistic Evolution" (Part 2)

The task for the scholars participating in the 2006 J.K. Russell Fellowship will be a constructive one, namely, to make a justifiable case supporting Theistic Evolution. Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters will initiate the discussion on Thursday evening by explicating their co-authored paper, "A Case for Theistic Evolution." During Friday's sessions, a series of scholars will present papers with different perspectives on theistic evolution.

The numerous key discussants in attendance will analyze issues, weigh arguments, and put forth constructive suggestions for furthering the cause of theistic evolution in the wider public controversy.

Scholars presenting papers include: Ian G. Barbour, Philip Hefner, Antje Jackelen, Alex Garcia-Rivera, Robert John Russell and Thomas Tracy.

Discussants include: Michael Dodds, Ian Barbour, John Noonan, Adrian Wyard, Lou Ann Trost, W. Mark Richardson, Richard Randolph, Kirk Wegter-McNelly, Noreen Herzfeld, Greg Cootsona, Walter Hearn, Doo Hee Lee, Margaret Wetheim. GTU doctoral student discussants include Whitney Bauman, Gaymon Bennett, Chris Doran, R. Daren Erisman, Mark Graves, James Haag, Nathan Hallanger, Joshua Moritz, Oliver Putz, and Nancy Wiens.

Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett

Martinez Hewlett is a molecular virologist, a philosopher, and a novelist. He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and is Adjunct Professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union. He has published over 30 scientific and philosophical papers and one novel. He is a founding member of the St. Albert the Great Forum on Theology and the Sciences at the University of Arizona ; and he served as facilitator for philosophy of science in the Program on Integrative Medicine at that university's College of Medicine. He is co-author, along with Ted Peters, of Evolution: From Creation to New Creation (Abingdon) and Can You Believe in God and Evolution?: A Guide for the Perplexed (Abingdon).

Ted Peters is an ordained Lutheran pastor, a systematic theologian, and a consultant in the dialogue between science and religion. He is Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He serves as editor-in-chief of Dialog, A Journal of Theology and co-editor of the CTNS journal, Theology and Science. He is author or editor of a dozen books including GOD—The World's Future (Fortress); Playing God? Genetic Determinism and Human Freedom (Routledge); and Science, Theology, and Ethics (Ashgate). He co-edited Bridging Science and Religion (Fortress 2003) which has now been translated into six other languages.


Ian Barbour is the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Science, Technology and Society, Emeritus, at Carleton College . He was awarded the Templeton Prize in 1999.

Alejandro (Alex) García-Rivera is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley .

Philip Hefner currently serves as the editor-in-chief of the journal Zygon . He is also a former Director of the Zygon Center for Science and Religion and Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago .

Antje Jackelen is the Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science. She is also Associate Professor of Systematic Theology/Religion and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Robert John Russell is Founder and Director of CTNS and Professor of Theology and Science at the Graduate Theological Union. He is also co-editor of the journal Theology and Science .

Thomas Tracy is Professor of Religion in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Bates College.


Past Fellowships

The 2004 Fellowship

Niels Henrik Gregersen, the J. K. Russell Fellow for 2003-2004, is Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Copenhagen. The fellowship forum and conference events are scheduled for October 5-15, 2004 in Berkeley, CA.

Niels Henrik Gregersen holds his PhD from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark 1987. Having served as Research Professor in Theology & Science at Aarhus University 2000-2003, he was recently appointed Chair of Systematic Theology at Copenhagen University.

Photos From the 2004 J. K. Russell Conference Events
GTU Dean Arthur Holder Welcoming Niels Gregersen Lecturing at Forum
Profs. Ted Peters, Niels Gregersen,
Bob Russell (L to R)
Niels Gregersen Teaching

Gregersen's primary research fields are contemporary constructive theology and science-and-religion. His work on the theological perspectives in complexity studies is well-known, and he received from the John Templeton Foundation a significant award for his cutting-edge research in this area.

Gregersen's list of publications contains more than 400 entries, including 3 books, 2 co-authored books and more around 15 edited vols. He has edited or co-edited The Concept of Nature in Science and Theology I-II (Geneva: Labor & Fides 1997-98), Rethinking Theology and Science. Six Models for the Current Dialogue (Eerdmans 1998), Scientific and Theological Worldviews I-II (Labor & Fides 1999) , The Human Person in Science and Theology (Edinburgh: T & T Clark/Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), Design and Disorder: Perspectives from Science & Theology (T & T Clark 2002), From Complexity to Life: On the Emergence of Life and Meaning (Oxford University Press 2003), and The Future of Lutheran Theology (Fortress 2004).

From 1992-2003 he has been a leader of the Danish Science-Theology Forum, 1996-2002 Vice-President of The European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT), 2002 founding Executive Committee member and trustee for the International Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ISSR). In 1999 he was elected as member of The Learned Society , Denmark, and he served as its President in 2002 and 2003.

Gregersen was general editor of Studies in Science and Theology and of Issues in Science and Theology 1996-2002 , associate editor of Encyclopedia of Science and Religion vols. I-II (MacMillan Reference, 2003) and serves as systematic-theological editor of Dansk teologisk Tidsskrift since 1993.

As the 2003-2004 J.K. Russell Research Fellow at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Niels Gregersen will explore with his audiences and respondents the significance of complexity studies for understanding the emergence of hierarchical structures in biology. What is the ontological status of the emergent structures of the world? In which sense may higher-level structures play a top-down causal effect on the future of evolution? How do the selection rules of complexity fit in the physical laws of nature? Does Darwinian theory need to be supplemented in order to account for the actual ‘progress' in evolution? How can God interact with a self-developing world? And what is the meaning of it all, if scientific theories are interpreted theologically from an informed scientific perspective?

Friday, October 8, The CTNS Fellowship Public Forum, “Complexity Studies and Theories of Emergence: What Does It All Mean for Religion?” 7:00 pm in the Pacific School of Religion Chapel (PSR), 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, California. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, October 9, The J.K. Russell Research Conference, “The Complexification of Nature: Supplementing the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm” 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, PSR campus, 1798 Scenic Ave., Seeley G. Mudd classroom 103, Berkeley, CA. Conference Respondents: Philip Clayton (Claremont School of Theology & Claremont Graduate University); Nancey Murphy (Fuller Theological Seminary); Ted Peters (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary); Robert J. Russell (GTU and CTNS) and Jeffrey Schloss (Westmont College).

Wednesday October 13 , an additional community event with Niels Gregersen: “Grace in Nature and Culture: Revisiting Luther's Doctrine of Creation”, the annual Luther Lecture at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS).

Past CTNS Russell Research Fellows

Francisco J. Ayala — 2009
Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion

George V. Coyne — 2008
Twenty Years After the New View from Rome: Pope John Paul II on Science and Religion

Celia Deane-Drummond —2007
The Evolution of Sin and the Redemption of Nature

Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett — 2005
Assessing The Case(s) for Theistic Evolution

Niels Henrik Gregeren — 2004
The Complexification of Nature: Supplementing the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm

Paul Davies — 2002-2003
Multiverse and Anthropic Fine-Tuning: Philosophical and Theological Implications

Archbishop Joseph Zycinski — 2001-2002
Forum: "Metaphysical Presuppositions in Stephen Hawking's Physics of Creation" J.K. Russell Research Conference: "Beyond Necessity and Design: God's Immanence in the Process of Evolution"

Philip Clayton — 2000-2001
The Emergence of Spirit

John Cobb, Jr. — 1999-2000
Science, Theology and Whitehead's Philosophy

Nancey Murphy — 1998-1999
Neuroscience, Mental Causation, and Freedom of the Will

Mary-Claire King — 1997-1998
Theological and Ethical Implications of Recent Research in Genetics

John Haught — 1996-1997
Science, Religion, and the Role of Metaphysics

Margaret Wertheim — 1995-1996
Women in Science, Women in Theology

George F.R. Ellis — 1994
What Does Scientific Cosmology Tell Us About God

Mary Gerhart & Allan M. Russell — 1993
Metaphoric Process as the Reformation of Worlds of Meaning in Theology and Natural Sciences

CTNS Decade Conference — 1992
Building Bridges Between Theology and Science: Beginning the Second Decade of CTNS

Holmes Rolston, III — 1991
Genes, Genesis, and God in Natural and Human History

Robert W. Jensen — 1990
Does God Have Time? The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Concept of Time in Physical Sciences

John Polkinghorne — 1990
The Church and the Environmental Crisis: Which Way Are We Heading? God's Interaction with the World: Research Proposals by John Polkinghorne The Challenge of Physics to World Religions

Lindon Eaves — 1989
Genes, Culture and Personality: An Empirical Approach

William R. Stoeger, S.J. — 1988
Cosmology and What It Tells Us About Physical Reality Philosophical and Theological Implications of Contemporary Cosmology-the Philosophy and Theology of Creation

Ernan McMullin — 1987
The Viability of Natural Theology from a Roman Catholic Perspective in Light of Contemporary Science and Philosophy

Wolfhart Pannenberg — 1986
The Doctrine of Creation and Modern Science

Arthur R. Peacocke, SOSc — 1985
Critical Realism in Science and Religion

Philip Hefner — 1984
Do the Sciences Throw Light on God's Presence in the World?

Ian G. Barbour — 1983
Toward a Theology of Technology

Andrew Dufner, S.J. — 1981-1982
Science, Theology & Spirituality


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