It is an oft-repeated fallacy that faith and science cannot mix, so the Highland Theological College UHI was delighted to host two public lectures at the Inverness Science Festival 2018 in May. Dr Ruth Bancewicz from the Faraday Institute in Cambridge presented the first session, under the title of ‘God in the Lab: When curiosity leads to wonder, awe, & the big questions of life’. Ruth explained the significance of her own faith to her scientific practice and also discussed the contributions of many significant scientists of our generation who are also people of faith. Dr Bancewicz also presented a fascinating discussion of the concept of beauty within the environmental realm. She drew the audience to the inexorable conclusion that while science can provide the answer to many of life’s questions, it is not the only legitimate means of interrogating the big questions of life. Ruth’s talk was well received and she fielded a number of fascinating questions from the floor after her presentation.
Dr Innes Visagie, Lecturer in Pastoral and Practical Theology and Programme Leader for the Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree, presented HTC’s second session at the Inverness Science Festival. His topic was: ‘Protons, people and planets: the explanatory power of Science’. Developing some of the themes mooted by Ruth the previous evening, Innes examined the question of science’s power to explain by asking and answering questions from a variety of perspectives—hence, the protons, people and planets. In doing so, he established that science, quite clearly, has great power to answer many questions regarding life and the world around us, but not all. Dr Visagie went on to show that other intellectual approaches, be they philosophical or even religious, provide equally valid answers to many important questions. Again, some fascinating discussion with those in attendance followed the lecture.
The Inverness Science Festival 2018 was a great event that saw many local people of all ages engaging with a wide variety of STEM-related events. It was a privilege for Highland Theological College UHI to be involved in the event and we look forward to future fruitful collaboration.
Dr Jamie Grant, Vice-Principal (Academic),
Highland Theological College UHI
You can find details of other science festivals around Scotland here.