Judith Toronchuk, co-chair of the the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation's 50th anniversary celebration committee, shares details of the celebrations.
The Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation (CSCA) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a conference at the University of Toronto Mississauga, July 28-31. Our theme, “Moving Forward Together: The Future of Science and Faith,” will explore the intersection of science and faith across a broad range of frontiers.
It will be chock-full of lectures, workshops, and discussions on important issues such as climate change, the environment, and artificial intelligence, along with continuing developments in astrophysical cosmology, geology, cutting-edge technologies, evolutionary biology, renewable energies, human psychology, and public health.
At this year’s event, several world-class scientists will address topics important for a Christian understanding of the world. Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland, a physicist at the University of Waterloo, will challenge us with “Science Studies the Question: How? Religion Wonders about the Question: Why?”
Molecular immunologist Denis Alexander, former director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and Emeritus Fellow at Cambridge University in England, will tackle the question, “Are We Slaves to Our Genes?”
Megan DeFranza, theologian, author, filmmaker and coach, will reflect on the often-controversial topic “Male, Female, and the Intersex in the Image of God.” Combining interviews and her own theological teaching, she has directed an award-winning documentary and created a video curriculum on Scripture and gender.
Victoria Lorrimar, in philosophy and theology at the University of Notre Dame, Australia, is a theologian with additional qualifications in biology. She will update us on discussions about “Human Technological Enhancement.”
Former IBM master inventor turned entrepreneur Joanna Ng now specializes in AI in augmented cognition, the internet of things, and blockchain. She founded Kingdom on Earth Ministry in 2019 to equip Christians to seek Kingdom impact in their careers. She will discuss “Artificial Intelligence and Information Science in Christian Service.”
Anyone is invited to join us, either in person or virtually. Students are especially welcome, and generous student scholarships are available. Registration and further information can be found at csca.ca/2023.
Our meeting, organized with the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), will include attendees from our counterpart Christians in Science in the UK and ISCAST from Australia. The ASA held its regular annual meeting for the first time in Canada at York University in 1972. The Canadian members realized there was a need for a uniquely Canadian organization, leading to the founding of CSCA the following year.
One of the best things about CSCA/ASA conferences is the opportunity for fellowship, networking, and forming life-long friendships with like-minded Christians over coffee, shared meals, and many fun social events. Several exciting field trips are being planned, including a visit to Ontario’s famous Royal Botanical Gardens, led by CSCA horticulturist Valerie Sikkema. An all-day trip to the Royal Ontario Museum will include a tour of the new and fascinating “Dawn of Life” exhibit, with leadership from ASA paleontologist Keith Miller. Geologist and pastor Bob Geddes will lead a trip to the Guelph area, with stops to visit glacial geomorphology, the A Rocha Cedar Haven Eco Centre, and Crieff Hills Retreat Centre.
As part of this year’s celebrations, the past presidents of CSCA have been giving hybrid in-person and video lectures across Canada, each hosted by a different local chapter. The emphasis in these monthly lectures is on the integration of science and faith with developments in the speakers’ own specialties. In January, Robert Mann, former head of physics at the University of Waterloo, discussed his long career in quantum physics and cosmology in the lecture “To Infinity & Beyond.” Gary Partlow, emeritus professor of biomedical science at the University of Guelph, spoke on “A Christian Scientist in a Secular University.” Arnold Sikkema, chair of mathematical sciences at Trinity Western University and executive director of CSCA, lectured on "The Cosmic Drama Unfolds: Science and the Creation-Fall-Redemption Narrative.” James Peterson, Professor of Christian Ethics, Roanoke College, who was CSCA president while at McMaster University, presented on the controversial topic “Is MAiD Making a Bed We Want to Sleep In?” These lectures and many more can be found on our website and our YouTube channel.
For the past fifty years, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation has facilitated discussions about science and Christian faith across Canada with interdisciplinary lectures and discussions regularly held both in local and national meetings. We have eleven local chapters across Canada, from BC to Nova Scotia. Our website features a variety of resources for Christians. For example, we have produced a series of pamphlets, Faith and Science, eh? edited by Mark McEwan. Topics include quantum physics, carbon dating, radiometric dating, randomness, ecology, earth science, and genomic evolution. Together with the ASA, we publish the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith, edited by medical ethicist and ordained minister James Peterson.
CSCA is a fellowship of scientists who jointly affirm the historic creeds and authority of Scripture and the integrity of science. They seek to understand God’s revelation in creation and how best to use science for God’s glory in our world. Along with research and teaching scientists from many disciplines, the fellowship includes pastors, historians, philosophers, theologians, and others interested in integrating faith with scientific knowledge. Read our newsletter at csca.ca/50. And join us in Mississauga in July to celebrate our 50th anniversary!
Judith Toronchuk, PhD, MAThS, is retired associate professor of psychology at Trinity Western University and co-chair of CSCA’s 50th anniversary celebration committee.
Image: Geologist and pastor Bob Geddes leading a field trip (credit CSCA)