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2nd Annual Science & Religion Forum

Date: October 25, 2007
Phone: 269-471-6023

The Andrews University Theological Seminary and Physics Department are hosting the Midwest Religion and Science Society's (MRSS) annual autumn conference on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007.

This year's program, "To Know as We Are Known," will focus on issues that theologians and scientists wish that other disciplines knew more about. The forum was begun in 2006 under the direction of Karen K. Abrahamson and with the support of the Theological Seminary and AU Architecture Library for the purpose of interdisciplinary conversation.

The Midwest Religion and Science Society (MRSS) has recently invited Abrahamson and physics professor, Gary Burdick, to serve as steering committee members on its regional six university/college panel. Participating organizations in the MRSS include Andrews University (MI), Bethel College (IN), Bluffton University (OH), Goshen College (IN), Manchester College (IN), and the University of St. Francis (IN). These organizations meet twice yearly for the purpose of engaging in interdisciplinary conversation (see for the 2008 conference featuring Ralston Holmes III). In addition, MRSS director Carl Helrich, Goshen College, and Abrahamson are working with the MRSS steering committee to form the Midwest Center for Religion and Consciousness, which will study the question of consciousness, particularly in regard to the role of systemic order as understood from complexity theory and the ethical/moral responsibilities that arise from human consciousness as a high-level property within complexity theory.
This year's forum speakers represent a broad range of disciplines in the sciences and religion:

Karen K. Abrahamson, MA, PhD (Cand.), is managing editor of Andrews University Seminary Studies and a member of the adjunct faculty of Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences. She is currently writing her dissertation “Telos in Scripture and Contemporary Metaphysical Discussions of Teleological Argumentation,” which is concerned with the question of order and its relation to the so-called telic cause. She has conducted research in the Netherlands, Austria, Italy and England.

Gary Burdick, PhD, is professor of physics at Andrews University and assistant dean for graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Burdick is the author of a number of scholarly articles and has engaged in extensive travel for presentation on his research in physics. He was awarded the North Central Regional Young Investigator by the Sigma Xi Research Society in 2004.

Ben Clausen, MS, PhD, has degrees in geology and physics. He has performed nuclear physics research at several National Laboratories resulting in dozens of abstracts and articles in the peer-reviewed literature. During his 20 years as a research scientist at the
Geoscience Research Institute, lectured worldwide on science and religion topics, and in 2006 co-authored The Book of Beginnings.

Raoul Dederen, PhD, Dr es ScMor, is a former dean and professor emeritus of the department of theology and Christian philosophy at the Andrews University Theological Seminary. He has served as an observer at the World Council of Churches and is an expert in ecclesiology.

Martin Hanna, PhD, associate professor of historical theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, has worked in the Bahamas and at Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica, where he was chair of the religion department, associate professor of education and leadership, and director of the Ellen G. White Seventh-day Adventist Research Center.

Lee LaVanway, AS, is CEO and Market Master of the Benton Harbor Fruit Market, a member of the Andrews University adjunct faculty, and an environmental and food-supply activist. LaVanway actively researches temperate fruit-growing areas around the globe and lobbies for the preservation and protection of American food supplies and farming districts at the local, regional and national levels.

The schedule of events is as follows:

9:00 am  Breakfast and devotional with Raoul Dederen
              Location: Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Commons (main floor)

10:15 am  Gary Burdick, session coordinator
                Lee LaVanway
                Location: Physics Department, Price Hall, Science Complex (follow signs)
                (after each speaker there will be a brief question-and-answer session)

11:15 am  Interdisciplinary Breakout sessions (discussion of issues raised in Session 1A)
                (group sizes will be limited to 10 people)

1:00 pm    Lunch (Architecture Library)

2:30 pm    Karen K. Abrahamson, session coordinator
                Ben Claussen
                Martin Hanna
                Location: Physics Department, Price Hall, Science Complex

4:00 pm    Interdisciplinary Breakout sessions (discussion of issues raised in Session 2A)
                (group sizes will be limited to 10 people)

5:45 pm    Consensus Session
6:30 pm     Supper (Seminary Commons)

The meetings are free, although a donation of $20 is requested to help cover the cost of meals. You may register by leaving a message at (269) 471-6023, or by emailing

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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104