Events |  News

News & Events

Fall 2014 Events

Thursday, September 18
CTNS Student Showcase
To kickoff the 2014-2015 CTNS will give a sampling of the kinds of science and religion research being done at the GTU by doctoral students.
Free and open to the public
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley

Thursday, November 7
Ted Peters Book Launch
Free and open to the public
PLTS Chapel Classroom 2770 Marin Avenue Berkeley, CA 94708

Thursday, November 13
Public Lecture Co-Sponsored by The Swedenborgian House of Studies
The History and Philosophy of Astrobiology (with references to Swedenborg and his work Other Planets)
Free and open to the public
PSR Chapel, 1798 Scenic Drive, Berkeley CA 94709

Spring 2014 News

Ted Davis profiles Ted Peters on Biologos.

Ted Peters to speak at Religion and Transhumanism Conference

Spring 2014 Events

Monday, March 3
CTNS's Robert John Russell and Ted Peters will speak at the Graduate Theological Union's (GTU) 22nd Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts on "Two Books: The Universe and the Bible."
Free and open to the public
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley

Thursday, April 3
CTNS Public Forum with Brian Green (recent Graduate Theological Union Ph.D. and Assistant Director of Campus Ethics at Santa Clara University), "What Science Can and Cannot Say about Ethics."
Free and open to the public
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley

Saturday, April 26
J.K. Russell Conference with Alex Filippenko, "Life in the Universe, Scientific and Religious Perspectives."
Registration required. Please see after April 1 for registration details.
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley

Thursday, May 1
CTNS Public Forum with Oliver Putz, Lecturer in Science and Religion, Santa Clara University, GOD'S SELF-COMMUNICATION IN AN EVOLVING WORLD: EVOLUTION, SELF, AND TRANSCENDENTAL BEING
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley

Fall 2013 Events

Events at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Conference:

1) Friday, November 22-Saturday November 23, 2013
New Challenges in Science and Religion Conference

Sponsored by the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR)
Speakers include Theology and Science Editors Ted Peters, Robert Russell and Joshua Moritz; as well as Philip Clayton, Ron Cole-Turner, Niels Gregersen, David Hogue, Nancy Howell, Ed Larson, Thomas Jay Oord, Michael Spezio, Wentzel van Huyssteen, Kirk Wegter-McNelly, and Jennifer Wiseman. Please see the ISSR conference page for more information.  No registration or fee is required.

2) Saturday, November 23, 2013, 7-10pm
Science and Religion Hospitality Event

Westminster Room of the Royal Sonesta, Harbour Court Hotel, 550 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.
Please join CTNS, along with the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS, the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion (IBCSR - and the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS - for refreshments and a brief presentation.

3) Monday, November 25, 2013, 4-6:30pm
Science, Technology and Religion Group Meeting
"Cosmic Quest, Cosmic Contact: Astrobiology, Astrotheology, Astroethics"

Ted Peters and other CTNS friends will present.
Please see A25-335 in the AAR program book (page 201) for location and other details.

November 1, 2013--The SATURN webpages are now live. See for information on this exciting new project

July 1, 2013 --CTNS is awarded a grant for its SATURN project. For more information please read the press release. The project website will be up soon.

Spring 2013 Events

Friday, February 8-Saturday February 9, 2013
J.K. Russell Conference with Fellow Niels Henrik Gregersen

Tuesday, February 19
Ted Peters on "Outer Space for the Inner Soul"
Newman Center, University of California, Berkeley

Tuesday, February 26
Ted Peters on "The Evolution Controversy: Who's Fighting with Whom and About What?"
Dominican University of California, San Rafael
Please see the event flier for more information. (pdf)

NEW: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Braden Molhoek on "Clones, Sin and Extinction: Theological Anthropology in Light of Evolution"
Dinner Board Room, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley
7:00pm (Event flyer)

Fall 2012 Events

Friday, September 14, 2012
Book Launch for Robert John Russell's new book Time In Eternity: Pannenberg, Physics and Eschatology in Creative Mutual Interaction
Part of the ongoing celebration of CTNS's 30th Anniversary
Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA

Time in Eternity
book launch, with Ted Peters, Bill Stoeger, Lou Ann Trost and Oliver Putz

Gifford Lectures Revisited, A Conversation with Ian G. Barbour

Celebrating Theology and Science’s 10th anniversary.

Celebrating the successful completion of the JTF $400,000 Challenge Grant for the Barbour Chair
Celebrating the close of the CTNS Campaign for the Barbour Chair


All are welcome!

Thursday, September 27, 2012
CTNS Public Forum: Theology and Science--Bottom-up? Exploring John Polkinghorne's Epistemology
Dr. Knut-Willy Saether, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Volda University College and NLA University College, Bergen, Norway
Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA
7:00pm, free and open to the public.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 (Please note, new date!)
CTNS Public Forum: Lies, Damned Lies, Science and Theology
Bishop Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston-upon-Thames
Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA
7:00pm, free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 17, 2012
Science and Religion Hospitality Event at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Conference
Wilford B-3rd Floor, Hilton Chicago

Join CTNS, IRAS, ZCRS, and IBCSR for our 2012 Science and Religion Hospitality Event at the American Academy of Religion Conference.

Past Events

Sunday, December 11, 2011
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Scientific Cosmology
CTNS 30th Anniversary Conference
Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA
1-6:15pm; See conference page.

Friday, November 18, 2011
"Religion and Science in Modern America"
Public Forum with Edward Davis
Tucson Room, Church Divnity School of the Pacific, 2401 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA
4 pm;

This talk, illustrated with numerous images, shows how Americans have debated the religious meaning of science from the 1920s (the period of the famous Scopes “Monkey trial”) right up to the present day.  Dr. Davis begins with the concerns of William Jennings Bryan and the Protestant fundamentalists of the Scopes era, using cartoons about evolution to show why they so strongly opposed teaching it in public schools.  Then he surveys how liberal Protestants responded to Bryan’s claims, focusing on popular pamphlets about science and religion that were written by leading scientists of the time, such as Robert Millikan, Arthur Holly Compton, and Edwin Grant Conklin.  This is followed by a short look at the current situation, pointing out what has changed and what has not changed since the 1920s.
Edward B. Davis is Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College (Grantham, PA), where he teaches courses on historical and contemporary aspects of Christianity and science.  Best known for studies of the English chemist Robert Boyle, Dr. Davis edited (with Michael Hunter) The Works of Robert Boyle, 14 vols. (Pickering & Chatto, 1999-2000), and a separate edition of Boyle’s subtle treatise on the mechanical philosophy and the doctrine of creation, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1996).  He has also written numerous articles about religion and science in the United States, including a study of modern Jonah stories that was featured on two BBC radio programs and an article in American Scientist (May-June 2005).  His current project, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Templeton Foundation, examines the religious activities and beliefs of prominent American scientists from the period between the two world wars. See event flier.

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Science and Spirit Conference, with Craig Boyd, Joshua Moritz, Thomas Oord, LeRon Shults and Amos Yong
Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA

The Pentecostal movement, considered by many demographers to be at the vanguard of the global expansion of Christianity, has often been thought of as bringing up the rear in terms of intellectual sophistication and engagement with the academic enterprise. Recent developments within pentecostal scholarship, however, suggest openings for theological dialogue, not least at the interface of the theology-and-science conversation. Two recent books in the field – James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong, eds., Science and the Spirit: Pentecostal Engagements with the Sciences (Indiana University Press) & Amos Yong, The Spirit of Creation: Modern Science and Divine Action in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Imagination (Eerdmans) – are suggestive that such an exchange of ideas is already underway. This CTNS event features four respondents to the proposals in these volumes, all of whom are prominent in the theology-and-science enterprise, and a rejoinder by one of the books’ authors. There will also be time for audience interaction with the panelists about the significance of the pentecostal appearance in this field of inquiry as well as about the opportunities and challenges lying at this intersection. This event is free and open to the public. See event flier.

September 9, 2011
"Icarus' Second Chance: Ethics as New Frontier for the Space Enterprise?" with Jacques Arnould
Dinner Board Room (2nd Floor, GTU Hewlett Library, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA), 11:10am to 12:30pm

Jacques Arnould is an ethicist working at the National Space Centre in Paris and the author of God vs. Darwin (Adelaide: ATF Press, 2009). He will be speaking on his work on ethics and the exploration of extraterrestrial life. This event is free and open to the public.

April 14, 2011
Public Forum with Joshua Moritz on "Chosen from Among the Animals: The End of Human Uniqueness and the Election of the Image of God"
7pm, Graduate Theological Union Library, Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley (free and open to the public)

What does it mean for human beings to be created in the ‘image and likeness of God’? In both popular opinion and the minds of many scientists and academics, the idea of human uniqueness and human superiority has been linked to the Christian doctrine of the imago Dei. Among Christian philosophers and theologians the connection between the unique nature of humans and the divine likeness has similarly been assumed and even systematically argued for. Pursuing what is called the comparative approach to theological anthropology these philosophers and theologians have asked, in what ways is human nature different from the nature of animals and, therefore, like the nature of God? In contrast to these scholars, Moritz questions any concept of the image of God that equates the imago Dei with some characteristic or capacity which presumably makes humans unique—in a non-trivial way—from other animals. He concludes that the image of God is—exegetically and theologically—best understood in light of the Hebrew theological framework of historical election. Viewing the imago Dei as election incorporates the findings of contemporary biblical studies and takes seriously scientific understandings of both evolutionary continuity and the psychosomatic unity of the human person.

February 24, 2011
Public Forum with George Ellis on “Cosmology and Ultimate Causality”
7pm, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Tucson Room (free and open to the public)

The deep issue in both cosmology and human life is what underlies the existence of the laws of nature, which define the possibility space within which the universe and life comes into being. Is the ultimate reason pure chance, probability, necessity, or purpose? Is their nature prescriptive or descriptive? The possibility of meaning and ethics has to have been built into the foundations that gave physical existence its structure, suggesting a higher intention is realised through physical reality. The kind of ethics that is compatible with this view is a kenotic (self-emptying) ethic that invokes a respect for the freedom and integrity of others as a basic principle underlying the nature of existence. As a result, two kinds of causation: intentional and impersonal, which undoubtedly both exist, occur in an intertwined way. 

George F. R. Ellis is Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town, South Africa. His research has focused on on relativity theory and cosmology and complexity studies.  His books include The Large Scale Structure of Space Time, with Stephen Hawking (1973), Flat and Curved Space-Times, with Ruth Williams (1988, revised 2000), The Dynamical Systems Approach to Cosmology, (Ed), with John Wainwright (1996), On The Moral Nature of the Universe: Cosmology, Theology, and Ethics with Nancey Murphy (1996), The Far Future Universe(Ed) (2002), and Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will (2009) (Ed) with Nancey Murphy and Timothy O'Connor. He was a participant in the Vatican Observatory/CTNS series of meetings on "Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action", 1991 - 2000, was CTNS's J.K. Russell Fellow of Science and Religion in 1994, and took part in CTNS's first Science and the Spiritual Quest project (1998/1999). He was a founding member of the International Society of Science and Religion (President, 2004-2006) and in 2004 he was awarded the Templeton Prize.

October 15-16, 2010
J.K. Russell Research Fellowship in Religion and Science with Thomas F. Tracy

Conference: Scientfic Vetoes and the "Hands-Off" God: Can We Say that God Acts In History?
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Public Forum: When we Say that God Acts, What Do We Think God Does?
Friday, October 15, 2010

April 23-24, 2010
Three Breakthroughs in STARS Research: A Two-Day Event Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Religion

  • Are we alone in the universe? How the search for ET can, and should be, ramped up.

  • How complex life evolved by interpreting its environment and how that ability offers humans an openness to its 'environment,' the transcendent.

  • What neuroscience can teach us about human values and their transcendent source.

"Humanity stands at the crossroads of destiny. STARS is the most exciting initiative yet on confronting the challenge of who we are and how we fit into the great cosmic scheme."
--Paul Davies

"STARS" is CTNS's new ground-breaking research program on science and transcendence. Its goal is to sponsor research by small teams of scientists and humanities scholars on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality. "STARS," shorthand for "Science and Transcendence: Advanced Research Series," builds on CTNS's three decades of cutting-edge programs in the interdisciplinary field of theology and science through local and international research, teaching and public service. Now STARS is breaking new ground, moving beyond familiar questions by funding creative and innovative interdisciplinary research.

You are invited to a special two-day event celebrating STARS research on April 23-24, 2010 in Berkeley, California. You will meet Paul Davies, internationally acclaimed physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and STARS keynote lecturer, who will tell us how the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) can succeed. You will also meet two of the outstanding STARS teams and hear the latest results of their work on virtue ethics in light of the neurosciences and on how a capacity for interpreting the environment helped enable the evolution of life and undergird human openness to transcendence. STARS is funded through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

All proceeds from this event will support the fund for the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science at CTNS/GTU and will be matched by the Templeton Foundation.


Friday, April 23rd, 7-9pm Paul Davies Lecture, "Are We Alone in the Universe? How the Search for ET Can, and Should Be, Ramped Up"

Saturday, April 24, 10am-12pm STARS Research Conference with Christopher Southgate and Andrew Robinson, on "Information, Evolution and Transcendence: Science, Philosophy and Theology in Creative Interaction"

Saturday, April 24, 1pm-3pm STARS Research Conference with Warren Brown and Michael Spezio, on "Virtue Ethics, Neuroscience and the Transcendent: New Insights from the Interaction between Neuroscience, Psychology, Philosophy and Theology"

For more information please visit the conference website, contact conference coordinator, Melissa Moritz at melissam[at] or call the CTNS offices at (510) 848-8152.


To view more past events go here.

back to top

2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709-1212 •   Tel: 510-848-8152 Fax: 510-848-2535 • •   Site Map  •   Search