Scientists

2018 European Scientists Network

The European Science Network is committed to two main purposes: (1) Increase the praise of God the Creator-Saviour through what humans study and know in His creation – Colossians 1:16: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him”; (2) Put scientific findings in the context of His Word so that what we know about His creation will not obfuscate our knowledge of Himself – 2 Cor 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

In order to achieve its purposes, the European Science Network is geared to serve two kinds of audiences: (1) Scientists and Christians interested in science will obtain the knowledge, language, and courage to do science and speak about science within the framework of a Bible-informed Christian understanding of the cosmos. (2) Christians of all backgrounds will be helped to understand and interact with scientific findings and claims in a way that is truly apologetic, integrating scientific facts into the Christian worldview in an affirmative, active way rather than only defensively and reactively. At the same time, the demarcation lines will be demonstrated between scientific facts and their interpretation by naturalistic vs. Christian worldviews. We do not shy away from sensitive subjects like the evolution debate and ethical implications, engaging in constructive, respectful discussions.
 

NETWORK LEADERS

Alexander Fink is Director of the Institute for Faith and Science (Institut für Glaube und Wissenschaft) in Marburg, Germany (www.iguw.de). He studied physics at the universities of Bayreuth and St. Andrews (UK) and received his PhD at the Institute for Biophysics at the University of Regensburg. After having worked as an industrial product manager, he became director of SMD graduates' ministry (Akademiker-SMD, the German branch of IFES) until 2014. His passion is the dialogue of science, faith, and worldviews. Hence he founded the Kepler-Forum in Regensburg, coorganising the annual Regensburger Symposium (www.regensburger-symposium.de) at the University of Regensburg. Since 2008 he has been a member of the ELF Steering Committee and has co-led the Scientists Network. Together with his wife, Alexander enjoys raising his two children.

 

Peter Imming received degrees in pharmacy and chemistry and a PhD and venia legendi in pharmaceutical chemistry from a German university. He has been involved in drug chemistry teaching and research in Germany, the UK, China, and other countries. Currently, he is head of the pharmaceutical chemistry department of a German university. His research focuses on the design and synthesis of new drug substances and on molecular mechanisms of drug action. He has a strong interest in the relation of science and Christian faith, frequently lecturing on related topics by invitation of universities, churches, and schools.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Ola Hössjer has been Professor of Mathematical Statistics at Stockholm University, Sweden, since 2002. He has done research in statistics and probability theory with applications in population genetics, epidemiology, and insurance mathematics. Hössjer is the author of 85 peer-reviewed papers, he has supervised 13 PhD students, and in 2009 he received the Gustafsson prize in Mathematics. He has also published several articles and book chapters on Christian apologetics and has written the forthcoming book Becoming a Christian.  He is part of the elders board of a Pentecostal church in his hometown of Sollentuna, and he is the proud father of two daughters.  

 

Nagy Iskander grew up in a Christian family in Cairo, Egypt, and he developed his own personal faith in the Lord as a young teenager.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery (MBBCh) from  Ain Shams University in Cairo and worked as a junior doctor in the Middle East before moving to the UK to continue his postgraduate training in surgery.  There he obtained a fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons in London and another fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons in Glasgow. He practiced surgery in the UK for twenty-five years. At present he is devoting his time to his Arabic ministry.   He produces Arabic television programmes such as Creation Answers, Beginnings, Creation: Fact or Fiction? and You Created Me a Human Being,  which are broadcast globally on Christian satellite TV. He has also led ArabicCreation Conferences in Australia, the Middle East, Canada, and the USA.

 

Erkki Vesa Rope Kojonen has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Theology since 2014. His work is on the intersection between theology, philosophy, and the natural sciences. He is the author of many philosophical and theological papers on these subjects as well as the book The Intelligent Design Debate and the Temptation of Scientism (2016), a full-length philosophical and theological analysis of the arguments used in the ID debate by all sides. He is currently working on a research project on new theological engagements with biological science. He is also the editor of the Finnish science and theology magazine Areiopagi.fi. Find out more about his publications at http://blogs.helsinki.fi/ekojonen/other-publications/

 

Peter Saunders was born in New Zealand and originally trained as a general surgeon before serving with the Africa Inland Mission in Kenya and completing two years mission training at All Nations Christian College in the UK. Since 1992 he has served full-time with Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organisation with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members, first as Head of Student Ministries, and since 1999 as Chief Executive.  His current work involves leadership training, teaching evangelism and ethics, medical mission, writing, editing, and media work. He has been a member of the ICMDA (International Christian Medical and Dental Association) Board since 2003 and is also Campaign Director of the Care Not Killing Alliance, a coalition of over 40 organisations in the UK promoting palliative care and opposing euthanasia.  His wife Kirsty is a community pediatrician and they have three sons, Christopher, Benjamin and Jonathan. www.cmf.org.uk; www.carenotkilling.org.uk; http://pjsaunders.blogspot.com/

 

Richard Weikart is professor of modern European history at California State University, Stanislaus, and Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.  He has published six books, including most recently The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life and Hitler’s Religion.   He has also published extensively on the history of evolutionary ethics, eugenics, social Darwinism, euthanasia, and scientific racism.  He has been featured in several documentaries, including Ben Stein’s Expelled, as well as on many radio programs.  He recently produced a documentary to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation called Exploring the Reformation and Revivals in Germany.

 

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

Day 1

What is the Evidence of Purpose in Nature?
Erkki Vesa Rope Kojonen

Many believe that evolution shows nature to be without design. A common way to defend design is to criticize the scientific and philosophical basis of evolutionary theory. In this presentation, Dr. Kojonen argues that the evidence of purpose in nature is robust, including the fine-tuning and rationality of the laws of nature, as well as biological teleology. He shows how this evidence may also be defended as part of a "natural theology" (Richard Swinburne) or "design discourse" (Alvin Plantinga) by evolutionary creationists or theistic evolutionists, who do not reject the viability of evolution. However, doing so requires rejecting the idea of scientism - the belief that science is the only way to know about reality.

 

Are Miracles Possible? Can a Scientist Believe the Biblical Miracles? 
Alexander Fink 

In a secular culture an event that cannot be explained by purely natural means seems impossible. This talk explores philosophical roots of this commonplace issue, and shows what science within its methodological limits can really say about the possibility of miracles. A central question in this context is whether we have evidence that the universe is causally closed. Following the argument that miracles cannot be excluded by science, we will finally explore the question how we can understand and explain biblically reported miracles. This talk aims to give an apologetic example of how a Christian scientist can increase the plausibility for an atheistic listener that the biblical miracles have indeed happened.

 


Day 2

The Dehumanizing Impact of Modern Thought: Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and Their Followers
Richard Weikart

Secular ideologies since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment period have undermined the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic, thereby demoting humans to being either machines or nothing but animals.  This talk will examine how Darwin and subsequent biological determinists, Marx and other environmental determinists, and Nietzsche contributed to dehumanizing tendencies in our culture.

 

Is Evolutionary Ethics Compatible with Christian Ethics?
Richard Weikart

Many evolutionists from Darwin to the present have argued that normative ethics have a biological basis and originated through the evolutionary process.  In this view ethics is merely a tool—some evolutionists even say an illusion—that helps humans survive and reproduce.  It is neither objective nor universal nor immutable.  Dr. Weikart will discuss various historical and contemporary examples, including sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, and then he will offer a critique of evolutionary ethics.

 


Day 3

A New Population Genetics Algorithm with a Unique Origin of Humanity
Ola Hössjer

Population genetics uses mathematical principles to describe how the genetic makeup of a population changes over time through mutations, natural selection, random genetic drift, recombination of chromosomes, and migration. It has been applied in order to infer that we share a common ancestry with apes, that our ancestors emigrated from Africa about 50 000 years ago, and that the Homo population was never smaller than a few thousand individuals. However, the theory is full of gaps and weaknesses. In this talk, Dr. Hössjer will describe a recently published algorithm based on the premise that humanity started from one single couple with created diversity. He will argue that it has great potential to fit real data better than the prevailing common ancestry algorithms, and briefly mention about ongoing work to implement the unique origin algorithm.

 

The Uniqueness of Humans: The Bio-Mechanics of Walking and Balance
Nagy Iskander

We will explore the marvelous design of the human skeleton including the joints, muscles, and ligaments as well as the blood supply and the nervous system that controls the movements of the human body. This fine-tuned design could not arise as a result of random mutations and natural selection. We will also compare the bio-mechanics of bipedal walking in humans to quadrupedal locomotion in apes.
 


Day 4

Responding to the Transgender Challenge
Peter Saunders

The transgender movement has exploded internationally in the last few years fuelled by celebrity endorsement and high level media and political support. It raises profound challenges which are cultural, legal, medical, theological, and pastoral. What are its ideological and cultural roots? How has it impacted medicine and law? What is the science behind it? What is the difference between sex and gender and between transgender and intersex? How is the transgender agenda impacting the church and what opportunities and threats does it bring? How do we respond to the ideology and those involved both biblically and pastorally? 

 

How to Challenge People's Worldviews by Science
Alexander Fink and Peter Imming

We will discuss the implications and challenges this week’s learning will have on our ministries and refer to previous experiences - positive and negative - we have personally had or encountered.  What specific steps can we take at home? Which resources can we use and share? What would help us as scientists to be effective messengers for Christ in our context? How can we motivate more Christian scientists to participate in this process?

 


 

 

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