New Approaches to Science-and-Religion
- Twentieth Century

International Symposium

29 June-1 July 2006


Thursday 29 June 2006

14.00     Registration

Theme: New Approaches to Science-and-Religion

Chair: Norbert Elsner (Göttingen)

14.15     Nicolaas A. Rupke (Göttingen): Old and New Approaches

14.45  Simon Conway Morris (Cambridge): Does Evolution Have Directionality, Even Destinations?

15.30     Tea

16.00-    Ulrich Kutschera (Kassel): Science-and-Religion in Germany Today


Keynote Address (venue: Paulinerkirche)

Chair: Michael Ruse (Florida-Tallahassee)

17.15     Ronald L. Numbers (Madison): Intelligent Design

18.30     Sherry reception

Friday 30 June 2006

Theme: Eminent Lives in the Biological Sciences-and-Religion

Chair: James R. Moore (OU/Cambridge)

09.00     Mario di Gregorio (L'Aquila): Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919)

09.30     Torsten Rüting (Hamburg): August Forel (1848-1931)

10.00     Volker Wissemann (Jena), Johannes Reinke (1849-1931)

10.30     Coffee

11.00     Karen E. Wonders (Göttingen): Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

11.30     Thomas F. Glick (Boston): Teilhardian Evolutionists in Catholic Spain

12.00     General discussion

12.30     Lunch


Theme: Eminent Lives in the Physical Sciences-and-Religion

Chair: John L. Heilbron (Berkeley and Oxford)

14.00     Edward B. Davis (Messiah College), Robert Millikan (1868-1953)

14.30     Gebhard Löhr (Göttingen/Osnabrück), Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

15.00     Jason M. Rampelt (Cambridge): Arthur Eddington (1882-1944)

15.30     Tea

16.00     Martin Riexinger (Göttingen): Abdus Salam (1926-1996)

16.30     Subrata Chattopadhyay (Maharajah's Institute of Medical Sciences, Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh): The Hindu Perspective with Reference to Satyendranath Bose (1894-1974)

17.00-    General discussion


19.00     Conference dinner, Burgschänke Plesse


Saturday 1 July 2006

Theme: Locating Ourselves

Chair: Thomas F. Glick (Boston)

09.00     Frederick Gregory (Florida-Gainesville): Baptist background

09.30     Ronald L. Numbers (Madison): Seventh-day Adventist back­ground

10.00     Robert J. Richards (Chicago): Catholic background

10.30     Coffee

11.00     Michael Ruse (Florida-Tallahassee): Quaker background

11.30     Nicolaas A. Rupke (Göttingen): Dutch Reformed background

12.00     General discussion

12.30     Farewell lunch


Venue: Seminar room, Old Library, Papendiek 14.


In recent years, accompanied by debates about Intelligent Design, a "God gene," and "religion as a meme," the issue of science-and-religion has drawn international attention. Literature on the subject is burgeoning, written by authors from a wide range of academic disciplines. From them we learn, among other things, that "science" and "religion" are character­ized by a considerable plasticity of meaning and, moreover, by an equally considerable variability of interplay. Varieties of interaction range from cooperation to competition; from peaceful coexistence to territorial conflict; from mutual enhancement to all out warfare; from cooptation to eradication – "complexity" being a key word.

Nowhere is this complexity more evident than in the many concrete "lives in science-and-religion," and we intend to use the biographical approach to explore the relationship. Reconnecting with the early classics by the Lutheran theologian Otto Zöckler (Gottes Zeugen im Reich der Natur, 1881) and the Catholic church historian Karl Alois Kneller (Das Christentum und die Vertreter der neueren Naturwissenschaft, 1903), we shall examine the religious conduct of science in the case of mainly Christian but also Jewish, Muslim and Hindu scientists.

Moreover, we shall be concerned to "locate" the scientists' views by determining their cultural coordinates. Which socio-political interests were and are being served by their stances as well as by the spin-off literature on their views? And, if new understanding is to be gained from "putting lives in science-and-religion in their place" – to paraphrase David Livingstone – why not also "locate" the views of those who write about these scientific-religious lives? What were the purposes of all those historians, popularizers and many others who have written about such great religious scientists as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin or have brought Albert Einstein's name and reputation to bear on "God-and-the-universe?" In carrying this approach to its fair conclusion, we intend to end the conference with an autobiographical session in which a number of the conference participants address the topic of their past and present work, "revealing" its connections with their religious background, upbringing, education, career purposes and other constitutively relevant factors.

The conference brings together experts from science, history, philosophy and theology, and marks the concluding phase of a research project on "Eminent scientists and religious belief – twentieth century," funded by the John Templeton Foundation at the Göttingen Institute for the History of Science. Additional funding for this conference has been generously provided by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.