CTNS awarded $200K for Project SATURN

The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) has been awarded a $200,000 research grant from Calvin College[1] for Project SATURN (Scientific and Theological Understandings of Randomness in Nature). The purpose of this grant is to study the scientific warrants for and theological implications of randomness, propensities and indeterminism in nature - including such natural phenomena as the self-organization of the rings of Saturn out of apparently random processes and gravitational interactions.

To date, scholars in the theology and science community have made a strong case for three closely related claims: 1) that God acts at the atomic and subatomic levels of nature, 2) that such divine action makes objective differences in the course of nature, and 3) that God does so without violating or suspending natural processes.  Such divine action is referred to as NIODA or non-interventionist objective divine action.

The purpose of this new grant is to study the possibility that discoveries in the natural sciences over the past decade point to this perspective at many more levels in nature ranging from macroscopic physical and biological processes of daily life to the universe as a whole.      

The SATURN project will bring together a dozen scholars in the natural sciences, philosophy, history of science, and theology for a public event available online and a private research conference at CTNS.  The results will be published as an edited book and articles in scholarly and popular journals.  New courses will also be created for seminary and doctoral students incorporating this new research.   

Participants include physicists Gerald Cleaver and George Ellis, historian Ted Davis, philosophers Alicia Juarrero and Nancey Murphy, theologians Niels Gregersen, Joshua Moritz, Alan Padgett, Ted Peters, and Kirk Wegter-McNelly, and theologian and physicist Robert Russell (Principal Investigator). 

The program runs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015, with a conference in Berkeley in October 2014.

For more information please contact CTNS at www.ctns.org or call us at 510-848-8152.  Detailed information on how to register for the public conference and access the online materials will be available in the Spring of 2014.

Founded in 1981, CTNS' mission is to promote the dialogue and creative mutual interaction between theology and the natural sciences through research, teaching and public service. CTNS one of the GTU's Centers of Distinction.


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[1] Calvin College received its funds through a major grant from the John Templeton Foundation.