Faith, science lecture series explores perspectives
“A lot of people think if you are in a scientific field that faith is irrelevant, and if you have faith, then science is irrelevant,” said Group Leader of Scientific Services for the Very Large Array Debra Shepherd Ph.D.
To consider the dichotomy, Shepherd is bringing a lecture series to Socorro.
The purpose behind the series is to explore how faith and science coexist with each other, and how one influences the other to force positive benefits, Shepherd said.
“A lot of people think faith and science have nothing to do with each other,” she said. “Faith can influence science positively for a better understanding of who we are in a better environment.”
The faith and science lecture series begins at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 20, at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. This is the first time the lecture series is being held in Socorro.
“To me this is exciting,” Shepherd said. “I hope to bring a new sense of communication together.”
Shepherd says that it’s a personal decision how people integrate science and faith together. For some, it can be how to become a better Christian, how to approach work and have a better attitude towards faith. For others, there is no interaction between the two. For the first part of the series there will be guest speakers. The first guest speaker is Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, who is an author, speaker and astronomer and lead project scientist from Hubble Space telescope.
The other guest speakers are mostly scientists, but there will be pastors from various churches who are interested in answering questions from the faith perspective for audience members who have questions, Shepherd said.
The guest speakers need to respect both sides of faith and science.
“It’s all about communication and understanding with interests, with people,” she said.
Shepherd is also actively looking for biologists, chemists, sociologists and psychologists for guest speakers.
“Whether there is an overlap with faith and science, each individual will be able to think about life and how faith and science relates to their personal lives,” she said. “We need to decide if this is important in our lives.”
The second part of the lecture series includes how faith overlaps with science and gives people a perspective about facts in their own lives.
“I’m trying to provide intelligent role models who also have faith,” Shepherd said.
The series is a collaboration with all the churches in Socorro. She expects about 50 people at the first event at Paul’s Methodist Church.
“The interest has been incredibly high,” she said.
The lecture is free and snacks and drinks will be available. It will take place every third Thursday of the month for the next three months.
On the Sunday following the Sept. 20 lecture, a group discussion will be scheduled where people can talk about their faith and science experiences.
“I hope this will be so dynamic people from all over town will want to come and do this every year,” Shepherd said.