The Kirbas Institute and the Fetzer Institute Present

The Sanctity of Nature Conference

October, 2010

Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Conference Participants

Dr. Dennis Alexander

Dr. Denis Alexander is the Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at Cambridge, where he is a Fellow. Dr Alexander was previously Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Programme and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge. Prior to that Dr Alexander was at the Imperial Cancer Research Laboratories in London (now Cancer Research UK), and spent 15 years developing university departments and laboratories overseas, latterly as Associate Professor of Biochemistry in the Medical Faculty of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, where he helped to establish the National Unit of Human Genetics. Dr Alexander writes, lectures and broadcasts widely in the field of science and religion. Since 1992 he has been Editor of the journal Science & Christian Belief, and currently serves on the National Committee of Christians in Science and as a member of the International Society for Science and Religion.

Dr. Noah Efron

Dr. Noah Efron chairs the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society at Bar Ilan University, in Israel. He is also President of the Israeli Society for the History and Philosophy of Science, and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. He has been appointed to serve on the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s committee to evaluate and regulate genetically modified agriculture and invited to participate in Knesset deliberations on human cloning. Efron has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a fellow of the Dibner Institute for History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and a fellow at Harvard University. He was recently selected to receive a Greenwall Ruebhausen Fellowship, which will support a brief tenure as a visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Mellon, Rothschild, Posen, John Templeton and Thomas J. Watson Foundations, as well as the Israeli Academy for Higher Education.

Dr. Darrel Falk

Dr. Darrel Falk is President of The BioLogos Foundation (, an organization founded by Dr. Francis Collins, who is now the head of the NIH. He is Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where he has taught since 1988. His courses have included vertebrate physiology, comparative anatomy, microbiology, molecular biology, developmental biology, cell biology, general biology, general zoology, vertebrate biology, history and philosophy of biology and genetics. Falk has given talks about the relationship between science and faith at many universities and seminaries in the last several years. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Scientific Affiliation. He is the author of Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology.

Dr. Rebecca J. Flietstra

Dr. Rebecca J. Flietstra is Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She earned a BA in biology from Calvin College and her PhD in physiology from Kansas University Medical Center. Rebecca won a Templeton Science and Religion Course Award in 1999 and gave science and religion seminars at Oxford in 1999–2001. This year she spoke on “Rooting Evolution in Grace” at the Wesleyan Theological Society, Duke University. Other topics have been “Consciousness, Synaptic Plasticity, and the Means of Grace,” “Biology of Grace,” and “Evolution and the Golden Rule” (given at the ASA annual meeting at Pepperdine University in 2002). She has attended science and religion conferences at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, CA.

Dr. Robin Gibbons

Dr. Robin Gibbons is the Alexander Schmemann Professor of Eastern Christianity at the Graduate Theological Foundation. He was professed as a Benedictine Monk at St Michael’s Abbey Farnborough in England in 1973 and ordained priest in 1979. It was there that he became introduced to the Eastern Church, especially the Byzantine Tradition. He is also an iconographer and one of his major works can be found in the Monastery of Christ in The Desert (Abiquiu, New Mexico). Dr. Gibbons has written many articles and been a contributor to several books, in 2006 publishing a small monograph on “The Eastern Church” and a major work on Christian space, House of God: House of God’s People. Dr. Gibbons is the Administrative Director of Centre for the Study of Religion in Public Life Kellogg College, Oxford University.

Dr. John Kerr

Dr. John Kerr is a graduate of the Universities of Toronto, Leeds, and Nottingham. After graduating from Toronto, he held a Short Service Commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Flying Officer. He was Athlone Research Fellow at Leeds University and was a Visiting Research Fellow at both Merton College Oxford and the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. He taught chemistry, physics, logic, and theology at Winchester College and has been a visiting lecturer at several British and American universities. He was ordained in the Oxford Diocese in the Anglican Church 30 years ago and was one of the founders and second warden of the Society of Ordained Scientists. John was the first Bruton-Rockefeller Resident Scholar, and he now is Episcopal Chaplain to the faculty, staff, and students at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

Dr. Nancey Murphy

Dr. Nancey Murphy is the Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. She is highly sought as a speaker at national and international conferences on philosophy and the relationship between theology and science. Murphy serves on the board of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley, and is a member of the Planning Committee for conferences on science and theology sponsored by the Vatican Observatory. A prolific writer, Murphy has published numerous articles in journals of theology, philosophy, and science. Her first book, Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning, received awards from the Templeton Foundation and the American Academy of Religion. Most recently she co-edited Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will (2009) and contributed to The New Yoder (2010), Science and Religion in Dialogue (2010), and Philosophy of Religion, Physics and Psychology: Essays in Honor of Adolf Grunbaum (2009). Other recent publications include: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action: Twenty Years of Challenge and Progress (2008), Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will (co-authored with Warren Brown, 2007); Physics and Cosmology: Scientific Perspectives on the Problem of Natural Evil (co-edited with Robert Russell and William Stoeger, SJ, 2007); Evolution and Emergence: Systems, Organisms, Persons (co-edited with William Stoeger, SJ, 2007); and Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies? (2006).