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2009 Discussions

Date: January 24, 2009

Speaker: Dr. David Steen

Position: Chair, Biology Department, Andrews University

Topic: “Up Close and Personal: Lilliputian Cellular Motors and Other Biological Nano Machines”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 150+

Presentation: Molecular biologists, proteomics experts, biochemistry & bioinformatics specialists, & computer animators & artists at Pixar movie studio have produced detailed animations of molecules & cells. Using several of these, Steen demonstrated “the beauty of the Lord” in nature by projecting on screen amazing microscopic images of the jumping spider, pharaoh ant, a mouse’s cornea, diatoms, a fly’s wing, & a cat flea as well as full-color animations of the inner life of a cell (created by BioVision), the growth of bacterial flagella, cell division, the production of microtubials, & mitochondria in lung tissue. All reveal various facets of God’s nature & creative genius, he emphasized.

Date: February 7, 2009

Speaker: Dr. Greg Constantine

Position: Professor of Art Emeritus; Artist in Residence, Andrews University

Topic: Some Spiritual Experiences in the World of Art That have Knocked My Socks Off!”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 40

Presentation: Emphasizing the spiritual as the sublime mystical “inner life” of the soul that transcends materialism and moves us, Greg’s power point presentation featured 30 scenes from nature (Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls) to music (Pavarotti, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Messiaen), from sacred (Cologne, Chartres, Notre Dame du Haut, St. Peter’s cathedrals) and secular architecture (Parthenon, NYC at night), from Renaissance (Giotto, Michelangelo, Grunewald, Rembrandt) to Modern art (Van Gogh, Della Francesca, Brancusi, Kandinsky, Warhol). With keen insights and wit, he demonstrated that spirituality must transcend materialism.

Date: March 7, 2009

Speaker: Julia Pickett (followed by discussion with a panel of four experts)

Position: Indiana University student; former Andrews University Honors student

Topic: “Attitudes Towards Intimate Partner Violence Among Seventh-day Adventists: An Interplay of Sex and Religion” (her AU Honors Project a few years ago)

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 48


Presentation: A survey of 550 practicing SDAs in Berrien County focused on spouse abuse . Statistics demonstrate significant relationships between gender & attitudes toward domestic partner violence. Pickett discussed the negative aspects of guilt, blame, denial, & spiritualizing this problem versus positive approaches like intervention (usually by clergy), seeking shelter, & recovery. Results show that males (more than females) & conservatives (more than liberals) blame women & urge them to submit. Pickett & panel of four recommended pastoral training, local conference seminars, marriage enrichment programs, Sabbath school discussions, & pre-marriage counseling as solutions.

Date: May 2, 2009

Speaker: Dr. Lawrence T. Geraty

Position: President-emeritus of La Sierra University & archaeologist

Topic: “My Most Interesting Archaeological Discoveries Relating to the Bible”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 130

No Audio Recording

Presentation: Geraty highlighted biblical connections from archaeological digs he has participated in at Heshbon, Madaba Plains, Umayri, Jerusalem, and U-Kim Bilmyval.  Some of these discoveries included finding a reservoir built by Solomon (Heshbon Water Reservoir), watch towers from Isaiah’s time (Madaba Plains), a Baalos Seal Impression from a Caananite king mentioned in Jeremiah (Umayri), an ossuary with “Joseph” etched in the stone (Jerusalem), a tomb with 50-60 skeletons similar to one mentioned in Matthew (Hesban), records of a moneylender (U-Kim Bilmyval), and an early Christian church altar with martyrs buried beneath as mentioned in Revelation.

Date: September 19, 2009

Speaker: Dr. Richard Rice

Position: Professor of Theological Studies, School of Religion, Loma Linda University & author of book The Openness of God (R&H, 1979)

Topic: “Does God have a Future?  The Openness of God Past and Present”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 76

No Audio Recording

Presentation: Rice examined the traditional view of God as an absolute monarch who can do anything, never changes, has perfect knowledge, plans the future in detail, & assigns individuals their destiny versus the open view of God as a loving, sensitive Parent who suffers with us, sometimes changes His mind, responds to our prayers, anticipates the future perfectly & prepares for all probabilities but responds resourcefully to events as they happen to pursue His ultimate goals for humanity. He asked: Which view is more consistent with the Bible, more logical, more helpful?  Is the world God’s invention or God’s adventure?  He closed by giving an overview of reactions to his book since 1979.

Date: October 31, 2009

Speaker: Dr. Nancy Carbonell

Position: Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, Andrews University

Topic: “Gay: The Uncomfortable Truth”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 92


Presentation: Carbonell explained 4 historic paradigms regarding gays (open defiance, an illness, innocent victims, celebrate diversity) and examined the studies by Kinsey (7-point scale, 1940s), Evelyn Hooker (male gays, 1957), the American Psychiatric Association (no longer an illness, 1973), Exodus International (RT or reparative therapy, 1976), NARTH (harmfulness of RT, 1991), various neuroendocrine, genetic, and body odors studies (1990s), Robert Spitzer (failure of homosexual behavior modification, 2001), and the APA Task Force Report (2009). Twelve mental health organizations oppose RT as ineffective & harmful, & homosexual behavior appears in 150 species.

Date: November 14, 2009

Speaker: Dr. Richard Osborn

Position: Associate Director, Western Association of Schools & Colleges Accrediting


Topic: “Academic Freedom and Accreditation on Faith-Based Campuses”

Venue: Biology Amphitheater

Attendance: 63


Presentation: Osborn provided a historic context for current tensions as SDA colleges & universities balance 3 components: accreditation demands, academic freedom, & the 28 Fundamental Beliefs.  He cited a recent Creation/Flood poll from EducateTruth.com, (& respondents’ blogs), a November 2009 petition to LSU’s board, letters (K. J. Reynolds, Richard Hammill, Joseph Smoot) , apt quotations by E. G. White &  Loughborough), and insightful documents by PUC Religion professors (1977), the AAUP’s 1940 Statement, and the GC Annual Council 1984 Statement on Academic Freedom to show that these three components will likely always be in tension and that this is healthy in academia.

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