Faith, science together again

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The faith and science lecture series continues to explore different perspectives of how science and faith can coexist with one another.

The lecture series started last year in September; each lecture looks at one person’s viewpoint on their science and faith, said Debra Shepherd, Ph.D., group leader of Scientific Services for the Very Large Array. So far for speakers, there have been scientists from different fields, and some people have come as far as Albuquerque to attend the lectures, she said. Several people who attended the lectures told Shepherd it was great to have these discussions in Socorro, and they were very enthusiastic about it, she said.

“We are getting participation from atheists, agnostics and most of the Christian churches,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd said the best attendance was the first lecture, and the second was during New Mexico Tech’s 49ers homecoming weekend. The lowest attendance for a lecture so far is 35 and the highest is 65. Some people find the lecture series very interesting. After each lecture, there have been 10 to 15 people who participated in the discussions about faith and issues they have or are wrestling with, she said. They found it helpful to have someone to talk to and share their own perspectives, including the more personal side of what the speaker has to say, she said.

“People outside of the field of science don’t know what scientists think about faith,” Shepherd said.

People who come together to talk about faith and science find it thought provoking, she said. The lecture series returns Feb. 21 with Dr. Fred Phillips, a New Mexico Tech geology professor who will give a lecture on “Geology and Genesis: Scientific and Theological Perspectives on the History of the Earth.”

On March 21, Shepherd will give a lecture on “From the Infinite to the Subatomic, Where Do We Find God?” The last lecture will be on April 18 and will be given by the Rev. Lance Logan from the Montgomery Church of Christ in Albuquerque. His topic will be “God Called the Universe into Existence: How Does He Hold It Together?” Each lecture starts at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

Last year was the start of the first of three lectures, with two in astronomy and one in physics. Speakers for the faith and science lecture series put in a lot of effort in what they believe in and every question that is brought up is answered with respect, she said. Each speaker from the lecture series comes from a different field of science and discusses their relationship of faith with their science, she said.

“We were going to hold it off to decide whether we were going to continue, but we had such a good response we will continue the lectures in the fall,” Shepherd said.

Next year’s faith and science lecture series goal will be to broaden the field and get more perspectives from people who teach or work in the field of climatology, psychology and sociology.