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Scientists

Detailed information about the 2022 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2021 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2022 Forum's Networks. 

 

2021 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 (Col 1:16) and (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).

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.

Participants are strongly encouraged to view the talk "Seven Arguments from Science for the Existence of God", which will be released on www.foclonline.org/ in March, and to read the book “God’s Undertaker – Has Science Buried God?” by Prof. John Lennox. These give an introduction to some basic convictions the Scientists Network has, which cannot be presented every year.

 

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 dialog 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 a pharmaceutical/medicinal 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 e.g. universities, churches, and schools.


NETWORK SPEAKERS

 Zachary Ardern is a researcher in bacterial evolutionary genomics based in Germany. He has a background in biology and philosophy, and his research is on some of the fundamentals of evolutionary theory. Zachary studied for his PhD in New Zealand and completed his thesis on experimental evolution in 2016. In his spare time, he is active in organising and giving apologetics talks in various settings, from churches and IFES student events to skeptics’ groups.

 

Harald Binder is a passionate and inquisitive scientist (chemist). After a three-year period working as a teacher of chemistry and biology at a secondary school, he now works with the Christian organisation Studiengemeinschaft Wort und Wissen doing research and giving lectures. His topics of interest are in molecular paleontology, origins of life, molecular biology, and philosophical questions about the understanding of life. He is married to Elisabeth and they have four grown-up children and (so far) three grandchildren.

 

Wayne Grudem is Distinguished Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He is a graduate of Harvard (BA), Westminster Seminary-Philadelphia (MDiv, DD), and the University of Cambridge (PhD). He has served as the president of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999), as a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, and was the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (2008). He has written more than 25 books, including Systematic Theology (2nd edition, 2020), Christian Ethics (2018), The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and TodayBusiness for the Glory of God, Politics According to the Bible, and (with Barry Asmus) The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution. He also co-edited (with John Piper) Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Over 300 of his articles and lectures are available at www.WayneGrudem.com.

 

Jan Hábl is happy husband and father of two children. He is professor of pedagogy at University of Hradec Králové (Czech Republic) and pastor in Církev bratrská (Free Evangelical Church). He has written number of books and articles including Even if No One is Looking. Foundational Questions of Ethical Education (Wipf & Stock, 2018), On Being Human(e) (Wipf & Stock, 2017), Character Formation: A Forgotten Theme of Comenius's Didactics (2011).

 

Harald Jung is president of the Heidelberg Institute for International Studies and Leadership and professor and dean at Liebenzell International University (IHL) (both Germany). He studied economics and theology in Mainz, Frankfurt (Main), Oberursel, and Heidelberg, and completed his PhD at the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). After working in business consulting (LSP Mainz/Rüsselsheim), he became assistant professor at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena (School of Theology and School of Behavioral Sciences). He is also a trained business coach, and had different teaching positions such as at the VFH Wiesbaden and the FH Nordhausen. Between 2009 and 2011, he first taught at the Theological Seminary of the Liebenzell Mission, and has been professor for ethics and social teaching at Liebenzell International University since 2011. There, he was the founding program director of the newly developed undergraduate program "Theology/Social Works in an Intercultural Context" and is currently the dean for research and university cooperation. He also is a member of the advisory board of scholars of the Tangens Institute for Cultural Hermeneutics and Research of Living Environments, Marburg (since 2013), vice president of the German Society for the Promotion of Economics and Ethics, (GWE), Mainz, and together with Prof Chr. Mueller (Univ. of Muenster), co-editor of the Journal of Markets and EthicsAdditional information: https://www.heidelberg-institute.de/executive-council/harald-jung

 

John Sanford conducted genetic research as a Cornell University professor for over 30 years. This research has resulted in more than 100 scientific publications and several dozen patents. In addition to producing numerous new crop varieties, John's research resulted in new genetic engineering technologies. A large fraction of the transgenic crops grown in the world today involved use of the biolistic “gene gun” process, of which John was the primary inventor. John also started and sold two successful biotechnology companies. Since the year 2000, John has engaged in science-based Christian apologetics, defending the truth of Scripture. He has published numerous scientific papers and books in the area of biblical genetics. Websites: FMSfound.org  LogosRA.org  logosresearchassociates.org  geneticentropy.org   BINP.org   contestedbones.org  sexualholocaust.org

 

James M. Tour is the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas, USA. Tour’s scientific research spans across many areas of nanotechnology, from medicine to nanomachines and new materials. He has founded more than 10 companies based upon his research, two of those now public companies. He has over 700 research publications and over 140 patent families, with an h-index = 150 and total citations of ~110,000.

 

Sebastian Vaduva serves as the director of the Griffiths School of Management and IT within Emanuel University of Oradea. He was born in Communist Romania, but moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio as a teenager. He started his first company (a butcher shop) at the age of 17, and since then he has personally been involved in over 25 startups. Sebastian obtained a marketing degree in 1998 and an MBA in 1999. In 2005 he permanently moved back to Romania, where he obtained his second Ph.D. in Entrepreneurial Public Management in 2012. He has participated in several ministry outreach efforts, including the Romanian Academic Network and a weekly radio program on Radio Voice of the Gospel, through which he ministers primarily among young people, young professionals, and business executives. He has authored or co-authored 15 books and 40 academic articles, edited ten conference proceedings, and serves as a visiting professor at several universities across the world. In 2019 he became the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ethics in Entrepreneurship and Technology with Emerald publications. He is married to Lois, who shares his passion for Christian education, and together they have a daughter, Evelina.

 

Alin Vrancila is the chief academic officer at Multnomah University and the co-founder of Ready for Online (www.readyforonline.com). He teaches residentially and online and has been doing that for the past 10 years. Former CRM Manager and Tech Consultant, Alin earned his B.S. in computer science and marketing and his M.A. in intercultural studies, and he is currently a doctoral candidate with Oxford Center for Missions Studies in Oxford, UK. His research focus is online education, specifically focused on developing a new instructional design paradigm for online learning.  Alin is actively involved in community development work in South Sudan and is the CEO of Grain for Pain (www.grainforpain.com), a non-profit organization active in Uganda and South Sudan. Together with his wife Dianne, they live in Portland, Oregon and they have three children: Josephine Kate, Isla Joy, and Christopher Jameson.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

Day 1

How Should We Read Genesis 1-3?

Wayne Grudem

How old is the earth? Is it important that there was really an Adam and Eve who sinned? In this session, Wayne Grudem explains the three most commonly held views among Evangelicals about how to understand Genesis 1-3, including their similarities, their differences, and their theological implications.

 

The Degeneration of the Genome – and How Genetics Points to Adam and Eve

John Sanford

There are now strong evidences that support a literal Adam and Eve and refute human evolution. Genetic evidences for a literal Adam and Eve include: 1) discovery of Eve's mitochondrial sequence; 2) discovery of Adam's Y-Chromosome sequence; and 3) evidence of rapid human genetic degeneration since the Fall (genetic entropy). We have also falsified the negative claims made by others that Adam and Eve could never give rise to so much human diversity, and could never give rise to current allele frequencies. Evidences against human evolution include: 1) new fossil evidence; 2) new evidence against "junk DNA"; 3) evidence negating strings of beneficial mutations; and 4) evidence that all genomes must degenerate (genetic entropy).


Day 2

Fine-Tuning in Biology

Speaker to Be Announced

Fine-tuning is a concept often applied in cosmology, but how valid is it to use ‘fine-tuning’ in biology? The speaker will discuss one particular aspect of fine-tuning in biology, namely the double layer (‘bilayer’) of lipid (fat) molecules that surround all cells. He will describe the complexity of lipid bilayers in some detail and discuss the philosophical and theological ramifications of such fine-tuning.

 

Scientists Remain Clueless on the Origin of Life

James Tour

In this session, James Tour will speak about how scientists are clueless on life’s origin, covering the four classes of compounds (amino acids, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates) and their assembly into a cell. Specifics on the state of origin of life research will be presented.


Day 3

Genomic Evidence for Common Descent: Implications for a Christian Account of Origins

Zachary Ardern

Various lines of genomic evidence support the biological relatedness of all life on Earth. It is commonly thought that this claim undermines a theistic account of biological origins, and perhaps particularly a Christian one. One strand of this objection is that common descent undermines natural theological arguments from biology. In this talk I will focus on unpacking some of the genomic evidence, explaining data which I believe all accounts should attempt to deal with. I will also briefly outline some possible routes for theistic 'bio-theological' arguments. 

 

Teaching from a Distance in a COVID World: Best Practices for Online Scholars (Joint Session with the Academic Network)

Panel Discussion: Jan Habl, Sebastian Vaduva, Harald Jung, and Alin Vrancila

One of the great challenges in a COVID world is how to effectively teach and connect with students from a distance.  This panel of experienced professors will share best practices they have found for teaching online and ways to connect with students relationally.  They will discuss tools and apps, as well as ways to adapt curriculum, syllabi, and lesson plans.


Day 4

Dry-Aged Bones: Soft Tissue and Cells in Dinosaur Fossils

Harald Binder

Beginning in the 1990s there have been several reports about preserved bio-macromolecules in Mesozoic dinosaur fossils. Due to experience in the laboratory in handling substances like these, flexible tissue and fragments from bio-macromolecules – millions of years old – are completely unexpected. What is the interpretation of this experimental data and what may it tell us about earth history?

 

Fossils, Genes, and the Bible

All Network Speakers

Panel Discussion led by Alexander Fink and Peter Imming

Scientists collect data and try to make sense of them. Often conflicting theories arise, as worldview presuppositions enter into the interpretations. How can we compare different approaches and decide on the best explanation? We want to try to summarise and compare the different positions on how to think about scientific evidence within a Christian worldview. The audience is encouraged to ask questions!

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