The Church Scientific workshops were a series of four evenings with talks, discussion and group work. They formed the core curriculum of the project, helping participants to think about their own scientific work in the light of Christian philosophical perspectives.
The guiding question was “Could a Christian worldview make you a better scientist?”, introduced by Elaine Storkey in the launch event. The scientists’ workshops then addressed the following questions, picking up on various themes from Elaine’s talk:
- What is science, and why do it? Two talks: “Biblical foundations for science” and “A religious history of science”
- How do we get scientific knowledge? Three talks: “Panic attacks, doctors and reductionist science”, “How do theories come and go?” and “What do we really know?“
- Could knowing Jesus make you a better scientist? Two talks: “How can worldviews shape science?” and “Science with Christ as Lord?“
- How can we scientists engage fellow Christians? Two talks: “The call of the scientist” and “Presentation skills“
The talks were packed with ideas, and we’ve created a special Prezi show (viewable here if the inset below is too small) to try and display how these fit together. Even if you weren’t with us in the workshops, you may find this an interesting glimpse of what we looked at.
The group discussion sessions really just gave participants time to scratch the surface of how the ideas might work out in their own scientific work. But participants have been invited to sign up to give a short talk in one of the forthcoming science cafes. And to help them prepare, there’s a bonus workshop on:
5. Preparing a presentation: two talks on “Ways to relate a Christian worldview to scientific projects” and “How to make a poster-style Prezi”.
Thus we hope that the café evening talks will open up insights into the projects of some PhD students and other local scientists, while drawing in an audience to help the speakers explore Christian perspectives that might enhance their work.
The big questions
Through Church Scientific we intend to address a number of questions, and some of these received a fair amount of attention in the workshops. Some of the main themes that emerged were about definitions of “science”, avoiding reductionism, the relationship between faith and knowledge, and the meaning of “objectivity”. We’ll share more about these in future posts.