Scholars to Offer Views on Science and Religion

Though science and religion sometimes seem at odds, they both seek to explain human experience.

Scholars Harold Oliver and Thomas Carlson will share their views of the complex relationships between the two in talks Thursday and Friday, April 11 and 12 at UC Santa Barbara.

The discussions, which are free and open to the public, are part of UCSB's "Science, Religion, and the Human Experience" series, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

Oliver, an emeritus professor of the philosophy of religion at Boston University, will speak on "The Complementarity of Science and Religion" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11 in the McCune Conference Room of UCSB's Humanities and Social Sciences Building. In his talk, Oliver will make the case that science and religion say different things about the same domain, namely, human experience.

"I will argue that science and religion, rather than being contradictory or restricted to separate compartments, are best described as being complementary to each other," Oliver said.

Carlson, an associate professor of religious studies at UCSB, will speak on "Modernity and the Mystical: Science, Technology, and the Task of Human Self-Creation" at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, also in the McCune Conference Room.

"My talk will argue that through modern science and technology we are very concretely reshaping what it means to be human -- and in such a way that the future of the human itself cannot be foreseen," Carlson said.

"While engaged, then, in a kind of 'self-creation' by techno-scientific means, we do not actually know what or who we are becoming."

The series is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, which seeks to encourage "a fresh appreciation of the moral and spiritual dimensions of life." UCSB and Columbia were the first two universities to be selected to receive Templeton grants to stage lecture series covering science and religion.

Stanford University and Israel's Bar-Ilan University were added to the foundation's program for 2002. UCSB will also offer a Templeton-sponsored series of lectures in 2003.

In addition to their talks, Templeton lecturers meet with UCSB students and faculty during their visits. The lecture series has a web site ( that includes speaker biographies and abstracts of each talk.

The final speakers in the 2002 UCSB series are:

Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor (emeritus) at Harvard University. "The Depths and Shadows of Experience." 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9.

Corwin Pavilion.

Bruno Latour, philosopher, anthropologist, author.

"The Specific Regime of Enunciation of Religious Talk."

7 p.m. Friday, May 10. Corwin Pavilion.

Attention Editors: Please note that the venues for both April lectures have been changed to the McCune Conference Room of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

They were previously scheduled to be held in the Isla Vista Theater.

Share this article