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The 2018 American Scientific Affiliation

Annual Meeting

July 27–30

Gordon College, Wenham, MA

Meet the Plenary Speakers

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. Since 2009 he has served as the director of the National Institutes of Health, the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009.  

Collins is the author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006), in which he describes his own conversion from atheism to Christianity, and presents the case for an intellectually satisfying harmony between the worldviews of science and faith. He is also the founder of the BioLogos Foundation which has emerged as a much-needed civil and winsome meeting place for serious discourse about how scriptural and scientific truths can inform each other.

Nigel M. de S. Cameron PhD, MBA is the founder and president emeritus of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technology in Washington DC. He is also the Technology/Futures editor at UnHerd.com. In the 1990s he served as Distinguished Professor of Theology and Culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and was the first provost of Trinity International University. More recently he was a research professor and associate dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law in the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2016 he was Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Science and Society at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Recent speaking engagements have included conferences hosted by The Economist magazine in Hong Kong, Spain, and the Champalimaud Foundation conference in Portugal on the world in 100 years' time. Cameron has also represented the United States on delegations to the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO, and has been a participant in the US/EU dialogue Perspectives on the Future of Science and Technology.

His most recent books are Will Robots Take Your Job? A Plea for Consensus (Polity/Wiley, 2017) and The Robots Are Coming: Us, Them, and God (CARE Trust, London, 2017). He co-wrote with Joni Eareckson Tada How to be a Christian in a Brave New World (Zondervan, 2006) and co-edited with Charles Colson Human Dignity in the Biotech Century: A Christian Vision for Public Policy (InterVarsity, 2004). 

Noreen Herzfeld is the Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict. She holds degrees in computer science and mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in theology from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Herzfeld teaches courses in both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Theology at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict, reflecting her two primary research interests.

Herzfeld is the author of In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Spirit (Fortress, 2002), Technology and Religion: Remaining Human in a Co-Created World (Templeton, 2009), and The Limits of Perfection in Technology, Religion, and Science (Pandora, 2010). She has also published numerous articles on diverse topics such as cyberspace as a venue for spiritual experience, embodiment as a sine qua non for personhood, the religious implications of computer games, and the prospects for reconciliation among Christians and Muslims in Bosnia.

Douglas A. Lauffenburger is Ford Professor of Bioengineering and (founding) head of the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. His major research interests are cell engineering: fusion of engineering with molecular cell biology, with central focus on systems biology approaches to complex pathophysiology in application to drug discovery and development. Lauffenburger has co-authored a monograph entitled Receptors: Models for Binding, Trafficking & Signaling (Oxford University Press, 1993) and co-edited the book entitled Systems in Biomedicine: Concepts and Perspectives (Elsevier, 2010). More than 100 doctoral students and postdoctoral associates have undertaken research education under his supervision.

Lauffenburger has served as a consultant or scientific advisory board member for numerous biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and his awards include the Galletti Award from AIMBE, the Coburn Award and Walker Award from AlChE, and the Distinguished Lecture Award and Shu Chien Career Achievement Award from BMES. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and has served as president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, chair of the College of Fellows of American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering, on the Advisory Council for NIGMS, and as a co-author of the 2009 NRC report on A New Biology for the 21st Century.

Jeff Schloss received his undergraduate education in biology from Wheaton College and his PhD in ecology/evolutionary biology from Washington University. He is currently senior scholar at the BioLogos Foundation and distinguished professor and T. B. Walker Chair of Biology at Westmont College, where he also directs the Center for Faith, Ethics & Life Sciences. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Wheaton College, the Creation Care Study Program, and has been a Danforth Fellow, a Crosson Fellow at the University of Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion, a Plummer Fellow at St. Anne's College Oxford, a Witherspoon Fellow in Theology & Science at Princeton's Center of Theological Inquiry, and a Senior Fellow at Emory University Center for Law & Religion. His scholarly interests include theoretical perspectives on the evolution of human cooperation, morality, and religious cognition—including the philosophical and theological entailments of these theories. Collaborative volumes include Altruism & Altruistic Love (Oxford), Evolution and Ethics (Eerdmans), The Believing Primate (Oxford), and Darwinian Perspectives on the Moral Sentiments (Transaction). Recent publications have appeared in Behavioral and Brain Sciences: Religion, Brain, and Behavior; Theology & Science; PNAS; Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences.

Pre-Meeting Workshops on Friday, July 27, 2018

"Science for Service: Diagnostics for the Developing World"
Facilitated by Alynne MacLean
Friday, July 27, 9 am–12 pm

This workshop will begin with audience participation as we learn together how immunoassays work. After an overview of all the components needed to assemble rapid flow tests, each participant will get a chance to put together his/her own sample. Please note: since we will not be working in a low-humidity environment, the tests will not be usable. We'll finish our time together with a presentation containing stories of how these tests are being used in the poorest parts of our world.

Alynne grew up in Massachusetts and attended Gordon College. It was the summer before her junior year that she went on her first mission trip and God grew her heart for his people in the poorest places on Earth. Eventually, this led her to pursue a PhD in bioanalytical chemistry and to found Science with a Mission. SMI manufactures rapid diagnostics (for diseases such as HIV, malaria, and typhoid) and partners with mission agencies and individuals around the globe—bringing physical and spiritual healing.

"Reworking the Science of Adam"
Facilitated by S. Joshua Swamidass
Friday, July 27, 2 pm–5 pm

What does science tell us about the theology of Adam? What scenarios does the evidence rule out? What scenarios are possible and plausible? Honest scientific answers to these questions are critically important. These conflicts drive opposition in the church to a scientific understanding of our origins.

The last year has been notable for several major developments, all of which will be covered in this workshop. More than one correction has been made to our understanding of how evolutionary science interacts with the theology of Adam. For example, a paper published in PSCF shows, with genealogical science, how Adam and Eve could have been ancestors of us and de novo created, as recently as just 10,000 years ago. A much larger range of historical Adam scenarios are possible. A larger range of theological positions are consistent with the genetic evidence. There is, now, an opportunity to rework our understanding of the science of Adam.

Joshua is a physician, scientist, and assistant professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University in Saint Louis. He leads a computational biology group that studies information at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and medicine. He also is a speaker for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Veritas Forums. Recently, he served as a science adviser for AAAS Science for Seminaries, and now blogs at Peaceful Science (peacefulscience.org/)

Worship Team

Worship will be lead by a local worship team. On Sunday morning, we will welcome Dr. Sean McDonough to the pulpit. Dr. McDonough is a Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He came to Gordon-Conwell in 2000 from Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji, where he had served as the Chair of the Biblical Studies Department and as a lecturer in New Testament. Dr. McDonough remains active in ministry. He is a Sunday School teacher and occasional preacher at First Congregational Church in Hamilton. He is also a speaker for Medair, a Christian relief organization based in Switzerland.

His research interests include creation/cosmology in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, Hellenistic Judaism, Greek philosophy and religion and the Book of Revelation. Publications include Cosmology and New Testament Theology (Co-Editor: Jonathan Pennington, Continuum, 2008); Christ as Creator: Origins of a New Testament Doctrine (Oxford University Press, 2010); Creation and New Creation. Christian Doctrine in Historical Perspective Series. Milton Keynes: Paternoster (2015). 

Dr. McDonough’s personal interests include supporting Boston's sports teams, spending time with his family, traveling and hiking.