June 22, 2005
The Harmony of Faith and Science
In cities and towns across America, the Center for American Progress is engaging the public in conversations on religion and policy, giving voice to those whose hopes and concerns have been lost in highly polarized debates. Our series of national conversations began in Denver and will continue throughout the year. In Kansas City, our conversation will focus on science and faith. How can these systems of inquiry and belief enhance each other and strengthen our lives? How can we articulate a vision that embraces both? Our panelists will discuss evolution and intelligent design, stem cell research, as well as the truths that spring from both science and religion. Please join our panel of experts and leaders in a provocative, lively conversation.
Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.
Myra Christopher became President of the Center for Practical Bioethics in December 1994, and continues to serve as its Executive Director, a position she has held since the Center’s inception in 1985. In addition to providing oversight to the Center, Christopher served as the National Program Officer of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation’s National Program Office for State-based Initiatives to Improve End-of-Life Care. These roles allow Christopher to continue her lifelong mission to improve care for seriously ill people and their families. An author and frequent speaker on bioethical issues, Christopher has made presentations to such prestigious national organizations as the American Hospital Association, Group Health Association of America, the National Health Lawyers Association, AARP, and the American Philosophical Association. Because of Christopher’s involvement with the Nancy Beth Cruzan case, Senator John Danforth sought her assistance in drafting and introducing the Patient Self-Determination Act. In 1991, she was appointed Vice Chair of the Kansas Commission on the Future of Health Care by the gGovernor and served in that capacity until 1994. She also consulted with the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations on patients’ rights and organizational ethics standards. Christopher is currently a member of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, the National Advisory Board for the Duke Institute for Care at the End-of-Life, the expert panel for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development and the advisory board for the Federation of State Medical Boards.
Jack Krebs is a member of the Kansas state science standards review committee. The committee is the author of the current pro-science Draft 2 of the standards that is being threatened by the creationist “Intelligent Design” movement in the state. Krebs is also Vice President of Kansas Citizens for Science (KCFS), a group that has been actively defending science and science education from creationist and anti-evolutionary attacks since the first Kansas state science standards situation in 1999. He is a member of various national pro-science groups such as the National Center for Science Education and the Panda’s Thumb weblog. Krebs has a broad background in the many facets of the “creation/evolution debate,” and more generally in the relationship between science and faith within both our culture and ourselves as individuals. He is a veteran high school teacher and former curriculum director, with undergraduate degrees in anthropology and education; teaching credentials in math, sociology, and world history; and curriculum experience in science, math, language arts, social studies, and human health and sexuality. Krebs’ primary interest as an anthropology student was in comparative religion and belief systems. Since then he has maintained his interests in the history and philosophy of science as well as science itself; comparative religion and metaphysics, with an emphasis on the differences between Western and Eastern viewpoints; and the sociological and political culture of our country.
Rabbi Mark H. Levin D.H.L. has served as a Rabbi at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, Kansas, since 1988. He co-chaired the Partnership for Children from 2001 until 2003. He also serves on numerous other boards including the National Board of American Reform Zionists Association, the Advisory Board of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee, and is on the Advisory Committee of United Community Services. Finally, he founded and served as the Vice Chairman of the MAINstream Coalition, a group dedicated to public education. Rabbi Levin graduated magna cum laude with distinction in religion from Boston University. While in school, he spent a year abroad in Israel at Hebrew University. After graduation, Rabbi Levin spent a year interning at Temple Sinai in Washington D.C. Most recently, Rabbi Levin earned a Doctor in Hebrew letters from the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He lives in Prairie Village, Kansas with his wife, Leslie, and their two daughters.
Rev. Dr. Myron McCoy is currently the President of the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. Before assuming that position in 2003, he served as the Senior Pastor at St. Mark United Methodist Church beginning in 1992. From 1988 until 1992, he was District Superintendent, of Chicago’s Southern District, Northern Illinois Conference, Methodist Church. Pastor McCoy taught preaching at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary from 2000 until 2003. Over the course of his career, Pastor McCoy has served as a member of the board of directors of South Central Community Services (1993-2003), Project Image (1987-1995), and Protestants for the Common Good (1995-2003), among others. In 2002, he received the “Spiritual Leadership Award” from South Central Community Services, Inc. in Chicago. He has also received numerous a Community Service Award (2001), the Torchbearer of Excellence Award (2000), a Faith and Social Action Award (1998), as well as many others.
John Tamilio III accepted the call to be the Senior Minister of Colonial Church in Prairie Village, Kansas – a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, in 2004. Situated in one of the most religiously conservative parts of the country, Colonial Church, the second largest UCC congregation in the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ, offers a progressive alternative to fundamentalist thought and it has nourished Tamilio’s interest in scholarly writing, which has been his focus over the past few years. After he completed his Master of Arts degree with a dual concentration in British and American Literature (1992), Tamilio began teaching writing and literature at Salem State, North Shore Community College, and Endicott College. He also became the Coordinator of Communication Skills and English as a Second Language at the Salem State Learning Center. Tamilio recalls, “It was during this time that I should have started applying to Ph.D. programs in English, but didn’t for some reason. There was something missing in my life, something else that I needed to do. I knew that it had something to do with philosophical and theological inquiry.” After much exploration, Tamilio entered the Master of Divinity program at Andover Newton Theological School in 1993, the year he married Susan Rebecca Walo, a fellow Beverly native whom he began dating as an undergraduate. Upon completing the M.Div. degree, Tamilio was ordained into full ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ (UCC), a moderate-to-liberal mainline Christian denomination. The month after his ordination, Tamilio began his pastorate at the First Congregational Church in Wakefield, New Hampshire, where he had a very successful five-year ministry. In October 2003, William L. Bauhan Publishers of Dublin, New Hampshire published Tamilio’s first book, Blind Painting: Poems, a 2003 nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters.
Melody Barnes is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where she directs the Faith and Progressive Policy initiative and focuses on religion and domestic policy issues, including civil rights, women’s health and gender equity issues, and the judicial confirmation process. From December 1995 until March 2003, Barnes served as Chief Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Senator Kennedy’s Chief Counsel, she shaped civil rights, women’s health and reproductive rights, commercial law, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments. Barnes’ is a member of the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, The Maya Angelou Public Charter School, and The Moriah Fund. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors in history.