Religion and science relationship to be discussed at GVSU conference on May 13


By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


Scientists, philosophers and theologians from around the world will gather in Grand Rapids to discuss the relationship between science and religion during an annual conference, hosted by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University.


The Grand Dialogue in Science and Religion conference will be held Saturday, May 13, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences’ Hager Auditorium (room 119), located on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The event is free and open to the public.


This year’s event will focus on interfaith exploration, including breakout sessions on Islam and providence, interfaith perspectives on God and evolution, Islam and violence, and the anthropic principle.


This year’s keynote speaker is Scott Davison, professor of philosophy at Morehead State University. His presentation, “Science, Faith, and Answers to Prayer,” will take place at 10 a.m.


Davison has written extensively on issues in the philosophy of religion, including in the book “Petitionary Prayer: A Philosophical Investigation,” and entries regarding prophecy and petitionary prayer for the “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy” and “On the Intrinsic Value of Everything.” He currently serves as associate editor of Faith and Philosophy and book review editor for the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.


This year’s Grand Dialogue is a part of An Abrahamic Inquiry into Science and Religion, a three-year program funded by a nearly $1 million grant the Kaufman Interfaith Institute received in 2016 from the John Templeton Foundation.


Throughout the course of the project, prominent philosophers, physicists and biologists from around the world will join together during annual workshops and conferences in West Michigan and the Middle East. Their objective is to better understand the ongoing debate between moderate and fundamentalist approaches to religion in Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, which generally pits science against religion.


This year’s conference is also being funded by the Fetzer Institute.


To register for the conference, visit