The Science for Seminaries grant at Ambrose Seminary has allowed Ambrose to build on existing points of collaboration, and it has helped develop new avenues between the Seminary and its theology faculty and Ambrose University and its science and behavioural science faculty. This includes recruiting Dr. Matthew Morris, an evolutionary biologist teaching in the University, as a science advisor. In addition, we have expanded this collaboration to build relationships with neighbouring institutions, including teaming with Dr. Robert Sutherland at the University of Lethbridge.
This fall, two Ambrose Seminary core courses included scientific integration: OT 502 Pentateuch taught by Dr. Beth Stovell and PT 501 Personal Formation and Development taught by Professor Mark Buchanan. Dr. Stovell’s course brought in Dr. Morris’ knowledge of evolutionary science to help students explore concepts of science and faith with a particular focus on creation and evolution (September 16) and on the biblical and ecological significance of naming (November 29). Professor Buchanan’s course included research by John Van Sloten, our interdisciplinary advisor, who researched and presented three one-hour science segments: September 24 on what the study of neurology can teach us about spiritual experiences; October 24 on Theory of Mind and its implications for spirituality; and October 29 on various cognitive biases and their implications for faith and faith formation. In the winter 2020 semester, two more courses will include scientific integration: ED 501 Teaching and Learning, taught by Dr. Arch Wong, and TH 650 Trauma and Theology, taught by Dr. Christina Conroy. Both of these courses will integrate scientific insights from neuroscience by working with Dr. Sutherland.
Thus far, Ambrose Seminary has hosted one of three events with science integration: the “Seminary Supper with a Scientist” event on November 7, 2019. Many seminary students attended to speak with Dr. Morris and with Dr. Stovell about their scientific (and theological) questions. Two more events will occur in the winter 2020 semester. The “Faith, Life, and Learning” event in February 2020 will explore faith and biology with Dr. Darrel Falk as the invited speaker. Finally, our annual Ambrose Research Conference (ARC) in March 2020 entitled “Faithful Science: How the Sciences Impact Faith and Learning” will function as an institution-wide science and theology conference. ARC 2020’s plenary speakers will be Dr. Robbin Gibb, a neuroscientist at the University of Lethbridge, and Dr. Jesse Popp, an Indigenous environmental and ecological scientist at Mount Allison University; Ambrose faculty will be the respondents.