Yesterday I did my two (mini-)lectures for the bioethics block course at Carey.
The first lecture “Theology and Science : where are we today?” looked at the current state of science and religion/theology interaction. Alerted by Jason I tracked down Time Magazine for 15 August with its cover story “Evolution Wars” (& related story “Face-Off: Darwinians vs. Anti-Darwinians”). Jason has some good questions and observations on his posting along with quite a few comments.
Anyway, the reason I tracked the article down was to use it to emphasize to the class how science-religion interaction is typically portrayed, and to point out that it’s often narrowly defined as an evolution vs. special creation debate. To do so misses out on the dialogue going on in areas such as cosmology, genetics, neuroscience, ethics and the environment. Plus historically its hard to make a case that science and religion have always been, and will always continue to be, mortal enemies. Reality is, as usual, far more complicated than that. For example, have a listen to John Stenhouse’s lecture on science and religion “Galileo’s Dilemma: Science and Religion” given as part of the NZ Royal Society’s EINSTEIN 2005 LECTURE SERIES. (Windows Media audio link here)
Jason’s pondering about whether geography has an effect upon the nature of science-religion discussion is interesting too and similar thoughts were expressed in this editorial – Denis Alexander, “Geography and the Science-Faith Debate”, Science and Christian Belief, Vol. 15, No. 1, April 2003. (PDF Link)
The other lecture, “Transhumanism : Humans as (co-)creators”, filled in the slot from 4:30-5:00pm to end the day. A quick, basic survey looking at various strands of post- or transhuman thought, leading into some questions about how to engage with the ideas behind aspects of technology and technoculture. Both this and previous lecture seemed to go okay – though as with all block courses the information stream has to be compressed somewhat given the limited timeframe and there’s way less room for discussion.
Good to see a full lecture theatre for the course and students prepared to engage with the material – though I imagine it was stretching for many of them.