Who we are ... What we do ... And why
The American Scientific Affiliation, or ASA, was founded in 1941 as an international network of Christians in the sciences. As scientists, members of the ASA take part in humanity’s exploration of nature, its laws, and how it works. As Christians, ASAers want to know not just how the universe operates and came into being, but why it exists in the first place.
Why are we here, and why seemingly alone among all creatures do humans possess the qualities required for scientific research — like curiosity, creativity, and a sense of purpose? When and how did we become this way, and what does that say about our relationship with God?
Who are we, really?
We in the American Scientific Affiliation believe that God is both the creator of our vast universe and is the source of our ability to pursue knowledge — also, that honest and open studies of both scripture and nature are mutually beneficial in developing a full understanding of human identity and our environment.
Two things unite the members of the ASA:
— belief in orthodox Christianity, as defined by the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds, which can be read in full here.
— a commitment to mainstream science, that is, any subject on which there is a clear scientific consensus.
For those topics on which there is no consensus and further study and analysis is needed, ASA members are dedicated to promoting ethically and methodologically sound research and dialogue.
The ASA is not an advocacy organization. Where there is honest disagreement on an aspect of science, Christian faith, or the relationship between the two, the ASA strives to create a safe environment in which dialogue can flourish and diverse, even contrasting, ideas can be discussed with courtesy and respect.
do we do?
ASA's unique mission is to integrate, communicate, and facilitate properly researched science and theology in service to the Church and the scientific community. ASA members are confident that such a goal is not only possible but necessary for an adequate understanding of God and Nature. We believe that honest and open studies of both Scripture and Nature are mutually beneficial in developing a full understanding of human identity, relationships, and our environment. Additionally, the ASA is committed to advising churches and our society in how best to employ science and technology while preserving the integrity of God's creation.
The ASA has four primary categories of activities:
- Publications. The journal of the ASA is Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. It is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal that publishes scholarly articles on issues of science and faith and book reviews of seminal books published in these areas. It is available in print and/or electronic format to all members and subscribers. The ASA newsletter is a quarterly publication sent electronically or in print on request to all members. It is a summary of various member activities. The newest publication is this electronic magazine, God and Nature, which is published only electronically twice a month.
- Website. We strive to make the ASA website a repository of resources for those interested in science and faith. All issues of our journal and newsletter (since 1946!) are available online as well as topical resources and book recommendations. Faith and science news articles are posted regularly. Several blogs enable members to discuss our journal articles, book reviews, and general topics on science and faith. An online membership directory available only to members encourages interactions with colleagues.
- Personal interaction. The ASA encourages personal interaction among Christians in science. We host an annual conference at various locations in North America each year, drawing renown speakers as well as a variety of contributed papers. Approximately 250 people attend each conference. Local ASA chapters are encouraged to meet regularly to bring students and ASA members together in productive discussion and mutual support. The ASA seeks to maintain a vibrant network of Christians in science.
- Community support. The ASA seeks to support churches and other communities in their effort to facilitate the dialog between scientists and Christians. We recommend speakers and homeschool materials and other resources. We work together with organizations such as AAAS and NAE to facilitate a broader interaction and understanding between these communities.
The ASA’s sister organizations in Canada and the UK (the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation and Christians in Science, respectively) frequently partner with the ASA to sponsor events and scholarly work on relevant topics.
must there be an ASA?
Many members of various scientific and religious communities view each other with mutual suspicion, resentment, and anxiety. They are afraid that the "other group” is going to hijack our educational and political systems, then steer our society to ruin.
There are a lot of questionable ideas out there, and we should be on our guard against them. But in order to make the best possible decisions for our future, we need to be willing to hear and evaluate each others' views, not simply dismiss them.
Yet open-mindedness is not a universal value. Some people maintain, "Science is the only certain path for our society.” Others retort, "The Bible is all we need!”
Humans are complicated: we are physical, intellectual, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual creatures. No single academic discipline or human community is going to supply us with everything we need. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we engage in dialogue to learn from each other about matters that concern us all.
ASA is a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.