Science and the Modern World: how should one describe the place and authority of science?
Thursday, 6pm, May 14th, at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, The Cambridge Roundtable on Science & Religion dinner and discussion will feature Harvard Professor of the History of Science Steven Shapin and Park Street Church Associate Minister Walter Kim for an evening to address Science and the Modern World. Thanks to major funding from Templeton Religion Trust, we will ask: how should one describe the place and authority of science?The identification of modernity with a scientific view of the world and with scientific procedures has been a commonplace from the late 19th century. The rule of science over the whole of culture was repeatedly announced from about the 1860s through the 1920s. It was said again and again that science had shown that there were no supernatural powers in the world, that technical expertise was all the expertise that was needed, and that on all matters of social significance scientists were the ultimate authority. There were a number of influential books describing the “warfare between science and religion” and announcing that science had definitively won. Yet there is much evidence that such claims did not accurately describe the culture at the time they were made and that they remain descriptively inaccurate. So how does one account for such claims? How should one now describe the place and authority of science in the contemporary world? Steven Shapin is Franklin L. Ford Research Professor of the History of Science. Steve is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and with Simon Schaffer, he was the 2005 winner of the Erasmus Prize, conferred by HRH the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, for contributions to European culture, society, or social science. In 2014, he received the Sarton Medal, the highest honor of the History of Science Society, in recognition of a lifetime of scholarly achievement. His latest book: Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). Since 2010, Walter Kim is Associate Minister at historic Park Street Church in Boston, and has also served as a chaplain at Yale University. Walter received his Ph.D. with distinction from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and maintains research interests in areas of linguistics and in the intersection of biblical theology and culture. Park Street Church is an international congregation, with members from more than 60 countries. Its faith community includes many students and faculty from Boston-area universities. Boston Mayor Menino announced February 27, 2009 as Park Street Day in honor of its bicentennial and contributions to the city.
The Roundtable is by invitation only. If you have questions or comments, please reach Roundtable Coordinator Dave Thom at his MIT office at 617-258-7333 in W11-004 and at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cambridge Roundtable on Science & Religion is co-chaired by:
- Owen Gingerich, Astronomy and History of Science (Emeritus), Harvard University
- Robert Randolph, Chaplain to the Institute and Dean, MIT
- Roundtable Coordinator: David Thom, Associate Chaplain, MIT
Among the recent thirty-seven Cambridge Roundtables on Science & Religion:February 2015 Moral Progress: Does it Exist? If so, What Causes It? Steven Pinker, Harvard University, Psychology
November 2014 The Human Soul – Can it Survive in an Age of Neuroscience? Ken Miller Brown University, Biology and Stan Goldin Harvard Medical School, Neuroscience April 2014 Science & Scientism, part three: Arête and The Normative Explosion (And Why We Only Needed One) Rebecca Newberger Goldstein author of Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away November 2013 Science & Scientism, part two: The Affairs of Louis Agassiz: Race, Religion, and Charles Darwin Christoph Irmscher author of Louis Agassiz, Inventor of American Science Matthew Pearl author of The Technologists and The Dante Club April 2013 Science & Scientism, part one: The Monopolizing of Knowledge? Ian Hutchinson MIT, Nuclear Science & Engineering Ned Hall Harvard University, Philosophy October 2012 American Politics & Religion: Untangling the Web We Weave Robert Putnam Harvard University, Public Policy February 2012 God, Stephen Hawking, and the Cosmos: Is there a Grand Design? John Lennox Oxford, Mathematics Alan Guth MIT, Physics November 2011 Saints, Sex, and Society Sarah Ruden Wesleyan University, Classics April 2011 What do Scientists Really Think about Religion? Elaine Ecklund Rice University, Sociology October 2010 Political Power and Persuasive Presence James Davison Hunter University of Virginia, Sociology Robert M. Randolph MIT, Chaplain to the Institute March 2010 Can We Be Good Without God? Rae Langton MIT, Philosophy William Lane Craig Talbot School of Theology, Philosophy November 2009 Answering the New Atheists Stanley E. Fish Florida International University, Law and Humanities J. Mark Ramseyer Harvard University, Law For a complete list of the first several roundtables, click here.