Here in Seattle, the University of Washington recently opened a spectacular and expensive ($106 million) new building for its natural history museum, the Burke Museum. A friend visited there yesterday — I have not yet had a chance to do so — and sent along photos. We were both struck by how the exhibits lay it on thick with regard to evolution as an unguided process. Large signs seem aggressive in advertising the curators’ position: “EVOLUTION ISN’T PLANNED,” declares one display. Another insists that life is “SHAPED BY NATURE,” and, by implication, by nothing else.
The culture invests great energy and wealth to bombard us with messages like these. That’s the case even as, at deeper and deeper levels, science reveals evidence of a plan, foresight, a deliberately shaping force working upon nature. We find this in the study of life and of the universe, where the presumed conflict between science and theology seems increasingly a matter of legend rather than reality. Putting the legend to bed is the theme of an upcoming conference we are delighted to announce today. It’s the Westminster Conference on Science and Faith, to be held April 3 and 4, in the Greater Philadelphia area, co-sponsored by the Center for Science & Culture. The theme: “Design & Designer: The Convergence of Science & Theology.”
Perhaps you’ve heard about this coming weekend’s blockbuster Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, but you live on the East Coast and Dallas seemed to be too far to travel. The Westminster Conference is a different and equally exciting program, and possibly more geographically convenient for you. More information about the event is here. The website includes a schedule of speakers. And go here to register online.
We’ll be hearing from Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, John West, Marcos Eberlin, Melissa Cain Travis, and other dynamic and enlightening speakers. Scientists and other scholars will discuss “Appreciating Design & Designer,” “The Return of the God Hypothesis,” “Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose,” “Orphan Genes: The Limitless Dictionary of Life,” “Foresight in Reproduction,” “The Debate Over Design in the Early Church,” and more.
Like the Dallas Conference, the Westminster Conference will also include an innovative youth track led by biologist Daniel Reeves. We’ve listened to parents who have told us they wanted a separate, more accessible approach geared for their junior and high school age kids.
Young people and adults alike are on the receiving end of the culture’s insistence on blind material processes alone shaping life and the cosmos. There’s an urgent need for balance. That is what we’ll be providing in April in Philadelphia. Please consider joining us!
Photos: Burke Museum, University of Washington, by Diane Medved.