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Science & Faith – The Uniqueness of Humans

faith colorSaturday, October 22, 2016
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation  – 7:00 pm
Discussion – 7:30 pm

Discussion facilitator: Dr. Bob Reinovsky

This discussion examines 6 topics which are sometimes used to distinguish humans from other primates:  aggression; theory-of-mind; applications of the Golden Rule; empathy; transmission of culture; and a capacity for anticipation/deferred gratification.

About the Presenter:

Dr. Reinovsky is a practising scientist and program manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Science & Faith – Saturday 17

God and ParameciumSaturday, September 17, 2016
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation  – 7:00 pm
Discussion – 7:30 pm

Discussion facilitator: Carl and Jackie Allen

This presentation is built around the study of extraterrestrial samples, and the opportunities they provide to understand time, place, and life thru the lenses of personal experience, mythology / theology, and science.

About the Presenters:
Carl Allen is NASA’s curator of extraterrestrial samples, and Jackie Allen is an accomplished space science educator.

Science and Faith: Did Neanderthals Go to Heaven?

Saturday, April 16, 2016God and Paramecium
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation  – 7:00 pm
Discussion – 7:30 pm

Discussion facilitator: Charles (“Chick”) Keller, Ph.D.

In this talk we will trace the advance of fossils starting back some 7 million years ago as hominids seem to develop into larger brained, more able creatures.  In particular we will look at a possible common ancestor of us and Neanderthals and ask what’s different about them and us.  Then I will discuss how it seems brains develop to a level of complexity that not only makes the species able to cope and survive but also are sufficiently plastic to give them much more complex, unexpected capabilities.  But these apparently didn’t arise on their own, and this perhaps leaves a place for both Adam and Eve (with the Creator giving them information as the biblical God does) and at least some Neanders who came into contact with humans and learned from them, to know good from sin perhaps giving them the possibility of eternal life.

 About our presenter:

Charles (“Chick”) Keller has a PhD from Indiana University in astronomy and astrophysics. He has been Research Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a Group Leader in Computer Modeling at LANL (Earth & Space Sciences Division), Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Branch of the University of California’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, a member of  the Los Alamos Laboratory Environmental Ethics working group–”Our Common Ground”, a Faculty Member–Univ. of New Mexico at Los Alamos, a member of the External Advisory Committee, Department of Physics, New Mexico State University, Los Alamos Lab Representative on University of California’s University Committee on Research Planning, and an IGPP research fellow (sabbatical) Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Chick has been President of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico, as well as on the boards of the Los Alamos Concert Association, Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra, Los Alamos Choral Society, and Co-founder the Pajarito Environmental Education Center.

Science & Faith: Human Genetics

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation  – 7:00 pm
Discussion – 7:30 pm

Discussion facilitator: Glenn Magelssen, Ph.D.

Due to billions of years of evolution, humans share genes with all living organisms. The percentage of genes or DNA that organisms share records their similarities. We share more genes with organisms that are closely related to us. For example, study of the chimpanzees genome indicates a difference of about 1.2% from humans. However, there are still significant differences between us. A video will be used to illustrate our genome differences with other living things and will describe the role of chromosomes, DNA, RNA and proteins in the development of a human being. We will briefly mention how the field of epigenetics has increased our understanding of how environment impacts who we are by switching genes on and off without changing our DNA sequence. We will also mention how the Male Y chromosome is being used to trace our human origin.

About our presenter:

Glenn Magelssen has a PhD from the University of Colorado. His scientific research has included solar physics, laser and ion beam fusion, neutral nets, code development and stockpile stewardship. He has studied theology most of his life and taken a four year course called EFM from the University of the South on Old and New Testament, Christian history and Christian Theology. He has been influenced by many authors including C. S. Lewis, Joseph Sitler, Walter Wangerin, Richard Feynman, John Steinbeck, Clarence Jordan and Paul Tournier.

Science & Faith: Intelligent Design Theory

Date: February 20, 2015
faith colorRefreshments 6:30 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm
Discussion 7:30 pm

Discussion facilitator: Gerry Odell Wood, Ph.D., C.I.H.

Everyone who accepts the Hebrew Scriptures as revealed truth believes in intelligent design of the universe and its inhabitants; but what is this Intelligent Design (ID) Theory? To its proponents, a few scientists and groups in the UK and US, it’s a scientific conclusion and method based on observations and logical deductions. To its detractors, including many scientists of faith and a Pennsylvania court, it’s not science and does not belong in science classrooms. This talk will explore these points of view and encourage each person to decide on the merits of the arguments.
Gerry Odell Wood, Ph.D., C.I.H. (Ret) graduated from the University of Oklahoma (BS in Chemistry 1965) and the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry 1969) before completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the Physical Chemistry Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 1972. He then joined the Industrial Hygiene Group at LANL where he worked for 32 years except for a sabbatical at the U.S. Army Edgewood laboratories (1986-1987) . His specialty became testing and modeling of air-purifying respirator cartridges. Certified Industrial Hygiene (C.I.H.) active status was held from 1976 to 2004. He consulted with CDC (NIOSH), OSHA, EPA, and the U.S. Army before and after leaving LANL.

Science and Faith: Evolution of a Canon

God and ParameciumFriday, December 18
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation – 7:00 pm
Discussion – 7:30 pm:

Discussion facilitator: Dr. Paul Shoemaker

Dr. Shoemaker will talk about his personal journey from being a non-believer in his childhood and during his young adult years – including the time he spent as an undergraduate student at NM Tech – to becoming and serving as a Lay Canon in the Episcopal Church (Diocese of the Rio Grande).

Dr. Shoemaker is a senior research scientist at Sandia National Labworking on nuclear waste disposal problems.

Science and Faith: The Fine Tuned Universe

“The Fine Tuned Universe: Its Age and Beginnings”

Saturday, November 21, 2015
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation  – 7:00 pm
Discussion – 7:30 pm

Discussion facilitator: Glenn Magelssen, PhD

Dr. Magelssen has done research in solar physics, laser & ion beam fusion, neutral nets, code development and stockpile stewardship. He is also a theologian.


Science & Faith…a continuing series

“How Christianity Laid the Foundations for the Scientific Revolution: Why Modern Science Emerged in Europe and Nowhere Else”

October 17, 2015
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Discussion – 7:00 pm
Presenter – Dr. Nelson Hoffman

Many people view science and religion as being in conflict, but it’s clear that in the foundations of modern science (that is, empirical mathematical science) a crucial enabling role was played by Judaeo-Christian theology, together with Greek philosophy and Roman law, during the Middle Ages. We can almost say that without Christianity, modern science would not exist.

Dr. Hoffman is a physicist in the Plasma Theory and Applications Group of the Computational Physics (XCP) Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Science & Faith

March 21, 2015
Refreshments – 6:30 pm
Presentation – 7:00 pm

Soteriology after Darwin

Exploring the potential impact of science, specifically evolution, upon religion – Adam & Eve, Original Sin, Jesus’ mission.

Presenter – Dr. Morrie Pongratz, Rocket Scientist
Dr. Pongratz worked at EG&G, Los Alamos and at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for over 40 years.  Work experience includes nuclear test diagnostics, active experiments in space including barium releases and neutral particle beam tests, satellite-based test ban treaty monitoring and nuclear forensics.Four-time recipient of LANL Distinguished Performance Award

Science & Faith…a continuing series

Dec 2014SF web