CTNS-Vatican Observatory  |   J.K. Russell Fellowship |   SRCP Research Fellowships (2002)


CTNS is committed to drawing theologians, religious scholars, ethicists, philosophers, and historians into conversation with natural scientists. Through this interaction, CTNS hopes to foster a legacy of mutually enriching scholarship that will continue to serve as a foundation for science-religion dialogue. Over its nearly twenty-five year history, CTNS has engaged in some of the most respected and well-known research on the relationship between the natural sciences and theology.


Collaboration with the Vatican Observatory

The Newest CTNS-Vatican Observatory Research Project:
Scientific Perspectives on the Problem of Evil

This newest CTNS-VO collaboration project moves 'behind' and 'prior' to the widely-discussed problem of theodicy in the context of moral evil to what is routinely overlooked: the problem of theodicy in the context of natural evil (i.e., suffering, disease, death, extinction, and so on). The series begins with the problem of natural evil at the level of physics and cosmology, where natural evil serves as a refiguration of and precondition for moral evil in the underlying structure of the fundamental laws of nature. From there it will move to evolution, genetics and thus the biological roots of moral evil.

Physics and Cosmology: Scientific Perspective on the Problem of Natural Evil
Edited by Nancey Murphy, Robert John Russell and William Stoeger, S.J.
First in the new CTNS-VO collaborative series
(Vatican Observatory – Vatican City State 2007.)
ISBN: 978-88-209-7959-1.

CTNS-Vatican Observatory Research Discussion Forum (password required; must use Internet Explorer)

The CTNS/Vatican Observatory Project:
Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action

The CTNS/Vatican Observatory Joint Program: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action(CTNS/VO: 1990-2005). Beginning in 1990, CTNS and the Vatican Observatory co-sponsored a series of international research conferences on “scientific perspectives on divine action.”  The series produced six scholarly volumes with contributions from over fifty distinguished scientists, philosophers and theologians. CTNS Founder and Director Robert John Russell serves as the General Editor of the CTNS/VO series. The summaries from these articles are available on-line.

The CTNS-Vatican Observatory book series is the fruit of a multi-year collaborative research project between the two institutions. It brings together into creative mutual interaction a diversity of topics in contemporary systematic and philosophical theology and fundamental theories and groundbreaking discoveries in the natural sciences. Special attention is given to the theological concept of divine action in relation to the sciences. The series features an international team of scholars including cosmologists, physicists, biologists, cognitive neuroscientists and neuroscientists, philosophers of science, philosophers of religion, systematic and philosophical theologians, historians of religion and historians of science.

The series began with a call from Pope John Paul II in 1979 for "fruitful concord between science and faith, between the Church and the world." In response, Dr. George Coyne, Director of the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, organized the first major international conference in 1987 which resulted in the volume, Physics, Philosophy, and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding (1988). This volume includes an eloquent message from Pope John Paul II on the need for a fruitful dialogue between science and religion. Based on this, Dr. Coyne proposed a major new initiative: a series of five conferences to span the decade of the 1990s. Its goal would be to expand upon the research agenda begun in Physics, Philosophy, and Theology.

In 1990, CTNS accepted Dr. Coyne's invitation to co-sponsor the series and jointly publish the resulting papers. The resulting five publications focus on the problem of divine action from a particular scientific perspective: cosmology and the laws of nature (1993), chaos and complexity (1995), evolutionary and molecular biology (1998), the neurosciences and the person (1999), and quantum mechanics (2001). A multi-year grant from a bay area foundation supported the Center's collaborative work with the Vatican Observatory.

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J.K. Russell Fellowship in Religion and Science

Annual J.K. Russell Researh Fellowship in Religion and Science

The annual J. K. Russell Research Fellowship in Religion and Science brings internationally distinguished scholars in religion and science to the GTU.

Since 1981, J. K. Russell Fellows have been in residence at CTNS/GTU every year to conduct research, teach doctoral and seminary courses and present public lectures at the GTU and at other San Francisco Bay Area locations. These Fellows include Ian G. Barbour, Philip Clayton, John Cobb, Jr., Paul Davies, Celia Deane-Drummond, Lindon Eaves, George F.R. Ellis, Niels Henrik Gregersen, John Haught, Philip Hefner, Martinez Hewlett, Robert W. Jensen, Mary-Claire King,  Nancey Murphy, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Arthur R. Peacocke, Ted Peters, John Polkinghorne, William R. Stoeger, S.J., and Joseph Zycinski.

The annual J.K. Russell Fellowship in Religion and Science was created in memory of John K. Russell (1896-1958). Mr. Russell, born of Italian immigrants, was an industrial engineer and humanitarian.

2011 J. K. Russell Research Fellowship / CTNS 30th Anniversary Conference
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Scientific Cosmology
The speakers for the God and Creation conference will be the 2011 J.K. Russell Research Fellows.

Past CTNS J.K. Russell Research Fellows

Thomas Tracy--2010
Scientific Vetoes and the "Hands-Off God": Can we Say that God Acts in History?

Francisco J. Ayala—2008-2009
Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion

George V. Coyne—2007-2008
Twenty Years After the New View from Rome: Pope John Paul II on Science and Religion

Celia Deane-Drummond—2006-2007
The Evolution of Sin and the Redemption of Nature

Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters —2005-2006
Assessing The Case(s) for Theistic Evolution

Niels Henrik Gregersen — 2003-2004
Complexity Studies and Theories of Emergence: What Does It All Mean for Religion?;
The Complexification of Nature: Supplementing the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm

Paul Davies — 2002-2003
Multiverse and Anthropic Fine-Tuning: Philosophical and Theological Implications

Archbishop Joseph Zycinski — 2001-2002
J.K. Russell Research Conference: "Beyond Necessity and Design: God's Immanence in the Process of Evolution"
Forum: "Metaphysical Presuppositions in Stephen Hawking's Physics of Creation"

Philip Clayton — 2000-2001
The Emergence of Spirit

John Cobb, Jr. — 1999-2000
Science, Theology and Whitehead's Philosophy

Nancey Murphy — 1998-1999
Neuroscience, Mental Causation, and Freedom of the Will

Mary-Claire King — 1997-1998
Theological and Ethical Implications of Recent Research in Genetics

John Haught — 1996-1997
Science, Religion, and the Role of Metaphysics

Margaret Wertheim — 1995-1996
Women in Science, Women in Theology

George F.R. Ellis — 1994
What Does Scientific Cosmology Tell Us About God

Mary Gerhart & Allan M. Russell — 1993
Metaphoric Process as the Reformation of Worlds of Meaning in Theology and Natural Sciences

CTNS Decade Conference — 1992
Building Bridges Between Theology and Science: Beginning the Second Decade of CTNS

Holmes Rolston, III — 1991
Genes, Genesis, and God in Natural and Human History

Robert W. Jensen — 1990
Does God Have Time? The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Concept of Time in Physical Sciences

John Polkinghorne — 1990
The Church and the Environmental Crisis: Which Way Are We Heading? God's Interaction with the World: Research Proposals by John Polkinghorne The Challenge of Physics to World Religions

Lindon Eaves — 1989
Genes, Culture and Personality: An Empirical Approach

William R. Stoeger, S.J. — 1988
Cosmology and What It Tells Us About Physical Reality Philosophical and Theological Implications of Contemporary Cosmology-the Philosophy and Theology of Creation

Ernan McMullin — 1987
The Viability of Natural Theology from a Roman Catholic Perspective in Light of Contemporary Science and Philosophy

Wolfhart Pannenberg — 1986
The Doctrine of Creation and Modern Science

Arthur R. Peacocke, SOSc — 1985
Critical Realism in Science and Religion

Philip Hefner — 1984
Do the Sciences Throw Light on God's Presence in the World?

Ian G. Barbour — 1983
Toward a Theology of Technology

Andrew Dufner, S.J. — 1981-1982
Science, Theology & Spirituality

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