Perhaps I should take this opportunity to introduce myself. I have been
a silent participant in this listserver for quite some time; this is my
first posting. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at the
University of Scranton in Scranton, PA. Besides teaching General
Biology, I teach lecture and laboratory courses in Cellular Biology and
Developmental Biology. My research relates primarily to cellular and
molecular mechanisms of trophoblast development in mice.
I have followed many of the discussions on this listserver with great
interest. If I may, I'd like to propose a new topic for discussion. I
would be interested in hearing how professors at secular and Christian
colleges/universities integrate their faith in the teaching of
science-related courses. How much freedom do you feel you have inside
or outside the classroom? What, specifically, do you do in the
classroom or in your interactions with individual students (or other
faculty and staff) to communicate your faith?
Greetings and welcome, Brian. I have always considered the ASA to be
something of an 'educational' more than a 'religious' organization, because
many of the members are college professors like yourself, and because
it seems that our main task is educating both the scientific and Christian
communities about matters such as integration of faith and science.
I would encourage you to examine back issues of the ASA's journal,
Perspectives. There is an on-line database to the journal on the ASA
web site (www.calvin.edu/chemistry/ASA). You can search under keywords
such as 'teaching' and 'education' to find some relevant articles.
(We are trying to get back issues of the ASA journal uploaded).
Also, there are some professors who have written books and articles
on this subject, including some of the struggles they have had regarding
academic freedom. Dick Bube is one example of this. Steve Schimmerich's
web site has a large collection of on-line resources.
The Inter-Varsity faculty organization is focused precisely on the question you
asked; its director, Tony Morrison, is a very wise and experienced leader, and
their small team travels around the country and keeps up with student cultural
trends. They understand what students are thinking about.
Some 'bridges' that many in ASA have written about include:
1. History: the convergence of Christian theological ideas and the origin
of modern science in the 15-17th centuries.
2. Origins: as you mentioned. Also consider destiny.
3. Meaning: human aspirations for purpose, significance, identity etc.
4. Values: a non-relative reference point for ethics in relation to
man-man and man-nature (environmental) relationships.
5. Epistemology: the person as the site of knowledge as described by M.
Polanyi, W. Thorson, J. Neidhardt, and others.
6. Metaphysics: the notion of levels of reality or levels of meaning in the
structure of the world, as opposed to reductionism. (E.g. Monod's concept
of gratuity). Complementarity also supports this view of the world.
7. Daily living: non-random, practical acts of kindness, as you mentioned.
May God bless your efforts.
Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
9500 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817-5700
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-4511 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)