2008/2009: Science and Religion

In 2008 the 3rd edition of the CONGres conference took place. In this edition the theme was ‘Science and Religion‘.

On December 10th, 2008 the CONGres committee of study association CONGO organised a symposium on the topic  of Science and Religion: The Meaning of Life Science.

The committee of this years’ symposium consisted of a new chairman, Sicco the Knecht, vice-chairman Esther van Duin, treasurer Dyan Ramekers and Renee Rooijmans as secretary. Other members were Jasper Winkel, Lieneke Janssen, Hedwig Ens, Inger van den Bosch, Hannah Eggink, Feline Smeenk, Saskia Botterhuis and Renate Buijink.

The symposium was a big success; seven distinguished speakers enlightened us on the big questions of life. As a committee we are very thankful for their presence and their inspiring lectures and take pride in the energy they put into this event.

In a birds flight the conference left us with the following: Karel van Dam provided a perfect overview of the definitions and views in this, sometimes heated, debate. Bert Theunissen, gave a historical overview of the relationship between science and religion and disproved a number of famous historic events and tackled eminent preconceptions on the subject. David Linden, a cognitive neuroscientist, explained, most elegantly, how evolution has turned the human brain into a creative entity that can understand love, religion and God.

Cees Dekker, who is well known for his great scientific interest which he combines with a Christian lifestyle, argued that science is a method to study the world around us and religion is a worldview.  Jan van Hooff enthusiastically took the audience on a journey around the world to show that morality exists, in the animal kingdom, without any signs of religion.

Dick Swaab tested the religious among the audience with questions such as: ‘if God meant to create man, why all the other species of homo?’. Finally the eloquent and worthy advisory of Richard Dawkins: Alister McGrath closed the ranks with a mind blowing lecture on Darwinism as a world view which he finds to be unjust. In the panel discussion at the end of the conference all speakers and audience were invited to discuss the topic, guided by a number of statements.

It was clear that all seven were extremely interested in the subject and willing to convince each other and the audience of their views.

Overview speakers and subjects:

Prof. Dr. Karel van Dam – introduction

Prof. Dr. Bert Theunissen – Historical relations between science and religion: the case of evolution

Prof. Dr. David Linden – The Brain and the Religious Impulse

Prof. Dr. Jan van Hooff – Religion as a natural phenomenon

Prof. Dr. Cees Dekker – Science, faith and worldviews

Prof. Dr. Dick Swaab – Neuro-theology: demasqué of religions

Prof. Dr. Alister McGrath – Darwinism as a worldview? Reflections on Recent Scientific Atheism