Science and Religion Forum to take place Feb. 12-13

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Science and Religion Forum to take place Feb. 12-13

February 4, 2011

The Natural Science Department at Northwestern Oklahoma State University will play host to a Science and Religion Forum in the Science Amphitheater on the Northwestern-Alva Campus on Saturday, Feb. 12, and on the Northwestern-Enid campus on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Organized as an open discussion between different and equally valid points of interest, this event’s purpose is not a debate between the two topics.

The Forum will consist of 20-minute talks about the relationship between science and religion presented by two scientists from Northwestern and two pastors from area churches.

Dr. Steve Maier, department chair and associate professor of physics, will talk about word play and how scientific terminology can result in misunderstandings if definitions are not clearly understood. While he continues to teach physics and physical science courses, he also is the adviser for Natural Science Education majors and has been active in the regional/state science fair, Heartland BEST robotics and Selman Living Laboratory Observatory programs. His research interests are in physics education and science teacher preparation.

The Rev. Judye Pistole will talk about the philosophy of religion and how it differs from that of the philosophy of science. Pistole, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Alva, is a former science teacher and secondary school administrator. She recently completed her coursework for a doctorate in ministry at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She has an interest in the intersection of science and theology.

Dr. Aaron Place, assistant professor of biology, will present a talk on “The Life of a Scientist,” in which he will detail what scientists do at work and what they do when they are not at work. Place teaches courses in ecology, evolution and animal behavior at Northwestern. His interests include the behavioral ecology of reptiles and human perceptions of science.

The Rev. J.F Wickey will give a talk titled “Let God be God” where he will discuss God’s place in the world and the role of science in society. Wickey currently is the pastor at Crosswalk United Church in Enid. He is especially interested in justice issues, including the political motivations for degrading science education in American public schools.

This is the fourth year the Science and Religion Forum has been co-organized by Pistole, Place and Wickey.

Place said that this is an opportunity for area residents to learn more about how both science and religion enrich the human condition. Too often science and religion are set-up as adversaries. This is a chance to see how science and religion co-exist and are both essential for human welfare.

For more information about the Forum, contact Place at (580) 327-8673 or