Spring 2011 Lecture Series

ISAS – Integrating Science and Spirituality

ISAS is an initiative hosted by the Swedenborg Center of Concord, Massachusetts, under the direction of George Gantz. George has a B.S in Mathematics with Honors Humanities from Stanford University and is a lifelong student of science, philosophy and religion.

The goal of ISAS is to explore the range of scientific and religious thinking and to consider the relevance and implications of new scientific findings to our beliefs and understanding about spirituality.

In addition to the Forum section of the SCC website, ISAS hosted live discussion sessions held from 7:30 to 9:00 PM at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center at 1276 Main St., Concord, Massachusetts, in the Spring of 2011. The sessions are listed below:

May 2 (completed) – What is Truth? – The opening session addressed questions of “evidence” and “proof”, the underpinnings of science and the basis for multiple perspectives on spiritual experience.  The limits of evidence and the relevance of Kurt Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems were discussed. The presentation and discussion was led by George Gantz, the series Director. A synopsis is posted in the Forum Discussion under The Nature of Truth. The recording is available at new church audio at this link.

May 16 (completed) – On May 16, about 20 participants joined in the second ISAS discussion forum. Our guest was Dr. Reuben Bell, and he reviewed his background in science and religion and the “two hats” he experienced growing up in Oklahoma – one a firmly religious, fundamentalist background – the second a positivist, scientifically based education. Eventually he left the first hat behind, but always wondered if the two hats could be united in a consistent spiritual-natural framework. He then gave us a stunning introduction to his current initiative – the development of a theistic synthesis of the science of natural evolution. Handouts and a recording of the session are available from the May 16 Synopsis posted in the Forum section. The recording is available on New Church audio at this link.

June 6 (completed) – On June 6, Dr. Justin Junge led a mind-stretching discussion on the human brain. In addition to probing some of the questions about knowledge, truth and science from the previous two sessions, Justin explored some of the latest advances in brain imaging and new scientific discoveries about the brain. However, these advances remain limited and tentative in light of the extraordinary complexity of the human brain, which he described as the most sophisticated and highly ordered object in the universe. While the claims and the graphics about the brain may be bold and detailed, they are really guesses based on a relatively tiny data set. The recording is available on New Church audio at this link.