Conversations on Science and Faith

La Jolla Presbyterian Church is participating in a project called STEAM: Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministry. This two year project is presented with the help of a grant from the Templeton Foundation and Fuller Theological Seminary, and seeks to engage young adults (college and post-grad) in a discussion of science and faith with leading scientists who are Christians.

As part of this project, our church is hosting series of discussions to provide young adults and members of the church and community an opportunity to “Meet a Christian who is a Scientist”. Each event will begin with a fellowship dinner for young adults with the invited speaker. Each speaker will share their stories of faith and scientific exploration to encourage conversations about science and faith. After the presentation we will have ample time for discussion and questions.

La Jolla Pres has actively worked to explore how we can best live out our faith as we serve God and our community. We recognize that God has a story, every person has a story, and we can fulfill our Godly calling best when we embrace the intersection of our collective stories. This project aligns well with our vision of learning from one another as we equip others to understand God’s story and how he works in individual lives. We hope our exploration of the intersection of faith and science will broaden the understanding of attendees and help create an environment where such seemingly challenging discussions are encouraged.

Previous Speakers…

Dr. Cindy Gustafson Brown

Synergistic Passions
Scientists throughout history to the present day have found the natural world to be inherently beautiful and inspiring, from the microscopic to the astronomical, leaving them in awe of the Creator. Come hear how the study of nature has been historically considered a worshipful endeavor, and how we can still draw close to God through the vocation of science today.

Cindy Gustafson Brown received her PhD in genetics at UC San Diego, where she continued on as an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow. In 2001 she was an adjunct professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. Since 2003, she has been a lecturer at UC San Diego, where she has taught 12 courses, including cancer biology, cell biology, HIV/AIDS, several microbiology courses and several labs. She has received the Barbara J. and Paul D. Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSD Academic Senate and the Outstanding Teaching Award in Math, Engineering and Science from the students of Revelle College at commencement, 2015. She is currently working on the third edition of her interdisciplinary textbook, HIV/AIDS Pandemic.

Jeremy Kua (Chemist)

Science and Theology Jeremy Kua from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Kua regularly teaches General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Chemistry & Society. He has also taught two classes related to the origin of life: “Chemistry of the Origin of Life” for junior and senior science majors, and “Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Life!” for a broader audience. His research interests are in the area of chemical self-assembly and complex systems, so not surprisingly he is interested in the origin of life from a chemical perspective. One of his projects is to construct an energy map for networks of prebiotic chemical reactions, and he serves as a research mentor to undergraduate students with his group working in this area. Jeremy regularly attends Ethnos community church in the UTC area. He enjoys reading, crossword puzzles, and he served as a chemistry consultant on the boardgame Bios Genesis – centered on the origin of life!

James Brailean (Electrical Engineer)

ames Brailean, Ph.D, founded PacketVideo in 1998 and became its CEO in 2000. Under his leadership, PacketVideo launched the world’s first commercial end-to-end wireless mobile media delivery platform in 2000, and helped create a new industry for wireless multimedia communications He is currently the co-founder and managing partner of BFT Equity Partners and Karmel Capital. The fund focuses on investments in early stage companies with disruptive technology or manufacturing processes.

Dr. Brailean has a PhD in electrical engineering from Northwestern University and has over 20 patents in the area of video compression and transmission. He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mobile Entertainment Forum for his contributions to the acceleration of the development and adoption of mobile multimedia services worldwide.

Douglas Given (Geophysicist)

Science and Theology Doug Given from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Doug Given is a Geophysicist and the National Earthquake Early Warning Coordinator for US Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior and Caltech Seismological Laboratory. Mr Given is leading the charge to build the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system for the west coast of the U.S.

Doug joined the USGS in 1978. He has pursued research onto the seismicity and tectonics of southern California and conducted field investigations of several large earthquakes including Haiti in 2010. He managed the Southern California Seismic Network for 19 years.

Doug has been an adjunct professor of geology at Pasadena City College since 1991. He is a lifetime resident of southern California and lives with his wife in La Crescenta, two blocks from the Sierra Madre Fault. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church USA and enjoys hiking, reading, guitar, and genealogy.

David Levy (NeuroSurgeon)

Science and Theology Dr. David Levy, MD from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Dr. David Levy, MD is a neurosurgeon who attended Medical School at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and obtained his Neurosurgical Training at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He did a Fellowship in Endovascular Neurosurgery at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Levy has published numerous scientific articles in the neurosurgical literature and wrote the book Gray Matter: a neurosurgeon discovers the power of prayer…one patient at a time, published by Tyndale House, detailing the dramatic intersection of medicine and faith, and the power of forgiveness. The book has been translated into the French and Romanian languages.

Dr. Levy has been the recipient of the Best Doctor Award in 2007 – 2014 and America’s Top Surgeons Award 2015-2016. His pastimes include caring for the poor and less fortunate around the world. He has performed neurosurgery in Kenya and The Congo.

Dr. Levy was appointed Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at University of California, San Diego 2013 – 2017.

Dr. Laura Harbert (Psychologist)

Jun2017Harbert from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Laura Robinson Harbert is a clinical psychologist and an ordained Presbyterian minister. She served as Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary from 2014 – 2016 and is currently an Affiliate Professor at Fuller’s School of Psychology, teaching in the area of the integration of psychology and theology. She also maintains a private clinical practice as well as speaking at retreats and special forums and volunteering with Home Boy Industries.

Laura has a B.A. from Wheaton College (1981), M.Div. (1986) from Fuller Theological Seminary, and Ph.D.(1988) from Fuller‘s Graduate School of Psychology. Her doctoral dissertation was on the role of forgiveness in emotional healing.

The science of psychology explores question such as: How do we define and assess mental health? How do people change? What is the relationship between the body and the mind in illnesses like depression and anxiety; How do our relationships from childhood shape the contours of our adult attachments? For psychologists who are also followers of Christ, the intersection of psychology and theology also inspires other questions: Is there a relationship between sin and psychopathology? What does the spiritual mandate of forgiveness look like for a victim of child sexual abuse? What kind of religious belief contributes to human flourishing and when is it a component of some form of mental illness?

We will be exploring together this rich integration of psychological science and Christian faith in the lecture and discussion on June 2rd as part of the Conversations on Science and Faith.

Laura and her husband Mike have five children between the ages of 24 and 31. She loves reading, exploring on her tandem bike with her husband, cooking, hiking, and trying to become a gardener.

Dr. Satyan Devadoss (Applied Mathematics and Computer Science)

Oct17Devadoss2 from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Satyan Devadoss is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Applied Mathematics and Professor of Computer Science at the University of San Diego. Before arriving at USD in 2016, he was a professor at Williams since 2002, along with holding visiting positions at Ohio State, UC Berkeley, MSRI, Harvey Mudd, Université Nice, and Stanford. Underneath a mathematical framework lies a strong desire for proper visualization, from drawings to redesigns to photography, with support over the years by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Mellon Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation.

Dr. Darrel Falk (Biology)

STEAM Nov 2017 Falk from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Darrel Falk, Professor of Biology, Emeritus, Point Loma Nazarene University. Senior Advisor for Dialog and former President, BioLogos. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Falk obtained his PhD in Genetics at the University of Alberta. Following post-doctoral fellowships at the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Irvine, he joined the Biology faculty at Syracuse University. After eight years there, he chose to leave his tenured position to spend the remainder of his career in Christian higher education, mostly at Point Loma Nazarene University. Beginning in 2008, he worked with Francis Collins in the formation and launch of BioLogos, an organization now well known for its role in espousing the evolutionary view of creation within the evangelical sphere of Christian faith. Falk served as BioLogos President from 2009 until 2012. His most noteworthy publication (2004) is Coming to Peace with Science.

Dr. Deborah Haarsma (Astrophysicist)

HaarsmaCut from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Deborah Haarsma serves as the President of BioLogos, a position she has held since January 2013. Previously, she served as professor and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gifted in interpreting complex scientific topics for lay audiences, Dr. Haarsma often speaks to churches, colleges, and schools about the relationships between science and Christian faith. She is author (along with her husband Loren Haarsma) of Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (2011, 2007), a book presenting the agreements and disagreements of Christians regarding the history of life and the universe. Haarsma is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.

Dr. Grace Kuo (Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Family Medicine and Public Health)

Science and Theology with Dr. Grace Kuo from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Dr. Grace Kuo is a pharmacist and health services researcher. Currently she is Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. She serves as the Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Program Development at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of SDPharmNet (San Diego Pharmacist Resource and Research Network), Director of PharmGenEd (Pharmacogenomics Education Program), and Trustee of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Research Institute. Her clinical expertise is primary care pharmacy practice. She conducts practice-based research related to medication safety, inter-professional collaborative clinical practice, and pharmacogenomics, with grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She teaches pharmacy/medicine/graduate students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows.

Dr. Michael Lodahl (Professor of Theology and World Religions)

STEAM with Dr. Michael Lodahl April 2018 from La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

What on Earth Are We Humans Here For? Answers in Genesis 1!
While debates still rage between so-called creationists and evolutionists, we may be in danger of missing the far more pressing and profound issues of the opening chapter of the Bible and the ways in which we human beings are portrayed there. In this talk we will explore the roles of biblical language, imagery and metaphor in helping us come to a more adequate understanding of why in the world we are here in the world.

Michael Lodahl is Professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, where he has taught since 1999. He is the author or co-author of nine books, including The Story of God: A Narrative Theology; Claiming Abraham: Reading the Bible and the Qur’an Side-by-Side, which was a finalist title for the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing; and, most recently, Renewal in Love: Living Holy Lives in God’s Good Creation with co-author and PLNU biology professor April Cordero. Lodahl is particularly interested in Jewish-Christian-Muslim theological conversation and in Christian theology’s necessary contribution to ecologically aware living.