2014 CONFERENCE STATEMENT
Science and Religion in a Globalizing World
The 60th Anniversary Conference of
The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science
August 2-9, 2014
Star Island, New Hampshire
Co-Chairs: Whitney Bauman and Karl E. Peters
IRAS was founded in 1954 in response to a civilization crisis: the moral and motivational resources of traditional religious and cultural practices and beliefs had proved inadequate to constrain horrid barbarity, and techno-scientific progress had given rise to weapons whose use could destroy civilization. At the same time, scientific advances carried the portent of enormous improvements in the human prospect, and the human sciences seemed to promise understandings that could foster their attainment and help head off catastrophe. IRAS leaders thought that old traditions should be reformed and that the new scientific story about the world and humanity’s place in it was “good news” that could enable that reformation.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of IRAS (and the upcoming 50th anniversary of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science in 2015), we will consider the relevance and significance of religion and of science--and of IRAS--in a world that has changed in many ways since the mid-twentieth century. Since that time, on the one hand, the “religion and science” nexus has emerged as a space of significant multi-disciplinary initiatives in colleges, universities, theological schools and religious communities – space that has continued to attract substantial public attention. On the other hand, the “modern” faith in a future marked by ever increasing scientific and moral progress has become less credible.
In light of developments in the sciences, religious studies and society, we will explore new and enduring questions: “Can either science or religion, or both taken together, enable us to organize and govern ourselves in harmony with the Earth with enough wisdom to cope with the emerging conditions of the 21st Century? If so, what do we require in our understandings of religion, science, ourselves, and the cosmos? Which insights stand the test of time? What about our inherited enterprises of science, religion and society must be re-conceived, re-thought and renewed?” The following topics will provide a framework for our inquiries.
FORMAT, ACTIVITIES, AND CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
The conference format will feature a single, daily plenary lecture in the morning (except for two lectures on Monday), followed by small discussion groups and further discussion groups in the afternoon, as well as workshops and other activities. We will return to the evening plenary session to engage the plenary lecturers with questions and comments that will carry our thinking forward in a collaborative-constructive way.
All conference attendees will be invited to propose workshops on the themes of the conference, as well as workshops that examine the future roles of IRAS in relation to its founding ideas and the wider context of science, religions, and society in which we now live.
In our work and play together, we will be joined by members of another conference called Star Gathering II and the Star Gathering II Youth conference. They will be welcome to attend IRAS sessions. Likewise, IRAS attendees will be welcome to attend the variety of offerings of Star Gathering II.
Contact Marion Griswold, Registrar, or register below.
IRAS 2014 Conference Registration
Star Island Room Rates
ARCHI PELAGOS CHILDREN'S PROGRAM
This year, the IRAS Archi Pelagos children's program will be conducted in partnership with Star Gathering 2, with whom IRAS will be sharing Star Island. Children (younger than high school age) will meet in their groups each morning from 9-12, during the IRAS theme talks. Morning programs will include island exploration and beach time, marine lab visits, art and other projects, field games and playground time, and conference-themed, age-appropriate activities. There will be optional Arts & Crafts programs in the afternoons from 2-3, and evening activities (such as theatre games and a bonfire sing-a-long) will be offered from 7:30-8:30. While morning programming is "officially" children's time, adults are invited to join in the afternoons and evenings. There may be a youth talent show, so your kids may want to bring instruments, magic tricks, juggling balls, or skits.
Two adult staff members, from the IRAS and SG2 conferences, will lead each group. All staff members are chosen carefully by joint conference leadership, and are required to pass a criminal background check. This year, we look forward to working with experienced SG2 staff; we welcome new IRAS Archi Pelagos staff member and artist Anna Birch; we welcome back long-time Archi Pelagos staff and IRAS conferee Susan Treleaven; and we welcome Ruth Orme-Johnson, who grew up attending IRAS conferences years ago, and will rejoin us in a different capacity as Archi Pelagos staff!
High school age youth will register for the Star Gathering 2 Youth Conference, which will have a separate slate of activities.
Copyright 2013 by The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science