CTNS has created and administered a number of Fellowships, programs and research projects central to our mission of bridging science and religion through research, teaching, and public service.
The annual Russell Family Research Fellowship brings internationally distinguished scholars in religion and science to the Graduate Theological Union for a period of research, teaching and public events.
The Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship helps support doctoral students at the Graduate Theological Union working in science and theology.
Transition, Assessment, and Strategies for the Future (TASF) is a three year program funded by the John Templeton Foundation to assess past major programs of CTNS (SRCP, SSQ and STARS) and to develop new programs which will build on the successes of these past programs.
The Astrotheology Project is a program run by Ted Peters with funding from a private donor, Richard Procunier, to study current astrobiological research, and its relation to philosophy, theology and ethics. The program explores such questions as the place of humans in the universe, the ethics of space exploration, and the implications of extraterrestrial life for Christian theology and for other religious traditions. A book from this project, Astrotheology: Science and Theology Meet Extraterrestrial Life, edited by Ted Peters, with Martinez Hewlett, Joshua M. Moritz and Robert John Russell is forthcoming from Cascade Books (2018).
SATURN is an interdisciplinary research program in theology and science, which starts with the growing scientific evidence for randomness in nature: in dynamic, self-organizing, complex, and autopoietic systems in the everyday world, in quantum processes at the subatomic level, and at the level of cosmology through quantum cosmology and superstring theory/ the multiverse. The philosophical implications of the indeterminism we see in the world help us in forming a theological understanding of both general and special providence which is consistent with science. Robert Russell calls this “non-interventionist objective divine action” (i.e., NIODA). The highlight of the program was an international conference in Berkeley in October 2014. A volume of papers from the conference has been accepted for publication.
CTNS and the Vatican Observatory began a new season of research on the topic of Scientific Perspectives on the Problem of Natural Evil, producing one volume so far.
Physics and Cosmology: Scientific Perspectives on the Problem of Natural Evil , edited by Nancey Murphy, Robert John Russell and William Stoeger, S.J.
Past Major Programs
The goal of this program, managed by CTNS, was to sponsor research by small teams of scientists and humanities scholars on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality. STARS research was undertaken in an innovative way: through small teams of scientists and humanities scholars. The STARS program awarded twenty planning grants of $20,000 each, five research grants of $100,000 each and two research grant renewals of $200,000 each. STARS was funded through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
Science and the Spiritual Quest promoted dialogue among leading scientists on the connections between their scientific work and their religious or spiritual identities. During its seven years the Science and the Spiritual Quest program involved over 120 distinguished senior scientists in dialogue at the intersections of science and spirituality. In conferences and workshops around the world, SSQ demonstrated that scientists of Nobel caliber can also be people of faith, and that those who are not traditionally religious can offer insights of great value to religion. SSQ was funded through grants from the John Templeton Foundation. Publications from this program include Practicing Science, Living Faith: Interviews with 12 Leading Scientists (Columbia University Press, 2007), Science and the Spiritual Quest: New Essays by Leading Scientists (Routledge, 2002), and Faith in Science (Routledge, 2001).
The Science and Religion Course Program was an eight-year initiative to encourage the teaching of science and religion in seminaries, colleges, and universities worldwide. The Course Program was initially administered by Gordon College and focused primarily on scholars in North America and England. From 1998-2002, CTNS administered and broadened the program in a variety of ways, which centered principally on three aims: (1) to strengthen the base of scholars currently teaching in this field, (2) to broaden the impact of science and religion on leading research universities and theological seminaries, and (3) to further internationalize dialogue by introducing and cultivating programmatic work in Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, continental Europe, and Latin America.
During the four years CTNS administered SRCP, course awards were distributed to institutions and professors across the globe. A total of 336 Course Awards of US $10,000 each were offered, and many of the syllabi are available on the CTNS website. Though the program is over, the community of scholars and the legacy of pedagogical resources that the Course program created continue to influence ongoing dialogues between science and religion. The SRC program was made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
Beginning in 1990, CTNS and the Vatican Observatory co-sponsored a series of international research conferences on “scientific perspectives on divine action.” The series produced six scholarly volumes with contributions from over fifty distinguished scientists, philosophers and theologians.
The Vatican Observatory-CTNS book series is the fruit of this multi-year collaborative research project between the two institutions. It brings together into creative mutual interaction a diversity of topics in contemporary systematic and philosophical theology and fundamental theories and groundbreaking discoveries in the natural sciences. Special attention is given to the theological concept of divine action in relation to the sciences. The series features an international team of scholars including cosmologists, physicists, biologists, cognitive neuroscientists and neuroscientists, philosophers of science, philosophers of religion, systematic and philosophical theologians, historians of religion and historians of science. Chapter summaries from these volumes are available here. Multi-year grants from a Bay Area foundation supported the Center's collaborative work with the Vatican Observatory.
The Ethical and Theological Implications Raised by the Human Genome Project
From 1991 to 1994 CTNS ran a project on the ethical and theological implications of the Human Genome project, with Robert Russell and Ted Peters serving as Co-PIs. For this three-year project, CTNS scholars explored the theological assumptions underlying the ethical debates surrounding the NIH research to map and sequence the human genome. The program included six national and European conferences and produced several publications, including Genetics: Ethics of Social Justice , edited by Ted Peters. This program was funded by the National Institutes of Health.