Highlighting Community: Spring Lectures, The Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science

Through the Highlighting Community feature, ESN shares the work of likeminded organizations and groups. Today, we’re delighted to tell readers about two free upcoming lectures at Messiah College, sponsored by Messiah College Ministries and The Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science. Historian of science and friend of ESN Ted Davis is organizing both lectures. You can browse his blog at BioLogos here.


Lecture 1: Darwinism and the Victorian Soul

A free lecture sponsored by Messiah College Ministries and The Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science.

Speaker: Dr. Edward J. Larson, University Professor of History and Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law, Pepperdine University

Date: Monday, 27 February 2017, at 7:00 pm

Location: Messiah College, Grantham, PA. Details below.

The basic idea of evolution rapidly captured Anglo-American science after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, but there was much resistance to extending that to theory to human evolution—especially the evolution of human consciousness, higher critical thought, and morality, which are often associated with the human soul. Dr. Larson compares reactions to Darwin’s two most famous books, On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. He also compares Darwin’s views with those of Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection. Finally, he examines the views of Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins, and the Roman Catholic Church. Overall, Dr. Larson offers an historical perspective on how scientists and other people have accepted evolution without rejecting the idea of a supernatural soul.

Further details on location: Hostetter Chapel Sanctuary, Messiah College, Grantham, PA. Directions and a campus map are here: http://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/524/campus_map.pdf.

Lecture 2: Science and Religion with a Southern Accent: Scripture, Science, and Southern Identity in the Shadow of the Civil War

A free lecture sponsored by Messiah College Ministries and The Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science.

Speaker: Dr. Monte Hampton, historian and pastor

Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2017, at 7:00 pm.

Location: Messiah College, Grantham, PA. Details below.

Southern Presbyterian theologians enjoyed a prominent
 position in antebellum southern culture. Beginning in the
1840s, Southern Presbyterian theologians like Robert L.
Dabney, Benjamin M. Palmer, John L. Girardeau, and
 James Woodrow (an uncle of future president Woodrow
 Wilson) identified biblical orthodoxy as the basis of
 southern culture and southern culture as the protector of
 the authority of scripture. They brought their perspective
 to bear on such diverse concerns as racial amalgamation,
Yankee commercialism, radical democracy, women’s
 rights, public schools, philosophical empiricism, higher
 criticism of the Bible—but especially natural science.
 Developments within modern science seemed to express 
the rationalistic spirit of the age and to threaten the long-
held Protestant conviction that science was the faithful
 “handmaid” of theology. They saw threats in polygenist
 anthropology (the popular mid-nineteenth century
 hypothesis that human races were in fact distinct,
 separately created species), geology, and evolution. While seeing themselves as defenders of the developing myth of the Lost Cause and guardians of southern culture, they experienced a crisis about modernity as they grappled with the nature of scientific and religious knowledge and how to relate them to a Southern culture in the shadow of the Civil War and reconstruction.

Further details on location: Hostetter Chapel, Messiah College, Grantham, PA. Directions and a campus map are here http://www.messiah.edu/visitors/direction.html.

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