In February, several Christian Scientists participated in a three-day conference on science and religion hosted by the University of Texas in Austin. The range of other participants can be seen in the diverse backgrounds of the featured speakers. Michael Ruse is a philosopher of biology from the University of Guelph in Canada, Alvin Plantinga is a philosopher of religion from the University of Notre Dame, Frederick Grinnell is a medical researcher and author of a book on the scientific attitude, and Phillip Johnson is a law professor and outspoken opponent of the way evolution is taught in the schools. In addition to hearing these speakers, over a hundred participants came to discuss thirty-five specially prepared papers on the theme of "Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise. "
The conference was dedicated to fostering dialogue between those who believe that the universe can be fully explained without any reference to God (naturalism) and those who believe that the universe was created and continues to be governed by God (theism). Previous clashes between these two views—over such issues as the teaching of evolution in the schools—have uncovered substantial differences on such questions as the nature of science and the authority of the physical sciences in society. It was to these deeper issues that the speakers and participants addressed themselves during the conference.
Our Features Editor, Kim Shippey, reports that among those Christian Scientists who joined this discussion were Professor Colin Campbell of Principia College in Illinois; John Hueffner, a Christian Science practitioner and the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Texas; and Dr. David Nartonis of the Committee on Publication office at The Mother Church.