Dordt College News

Dordt College professor selected for John Templeton Oxford Seminars

February 20, 2003

Arnold Sikkema, Ph.D., has been selected to participate in the John Templeton Oxford Seminars on Science and Christianity at Oxford, U.K., for the next three years, beginning this summer.

Annual seminar funding enables awarded participants to engage in scholarly research in the field of science and religion for one month each summer for a total of three years. The intent is to create opportunity for scholars to have dialogue with others from around the world in the sciences and humanities, giving breadth to their scholarship and a context for refining their ideas. The 35 selected participants will be mentored in their writing by recognized scholars in science and religion by means of workshops, discussion groups and research counseling. Arnold Sikkema

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities underwrites this project, supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Participants will be invited to present their research at workshops during the seminars, but will also be expected to continue research and dissemination between seminars, to give lectures both to experts and to lay audiences, to attend conferences where appropriate and to publish in scholarly or popular journals, or otherwise communicate information about the field.

Participants were selected for this opportunity based on proven commitment and competence in the field of science and religion; experience in interdisciplinary thinking; subject of proposed project and likelihood that it will be completed with distinction, with the results disseminated to the scholarly community; likelihood that the seminars will positively influence the applicant’s teaching and other activities in the field of science and religion; and institutional support from the scholar’s host institution for a one-time, one course reduction, or equivalent, preferably during the last year of the seminars, to complete the work related to the Templeton Seminars. Dordt College has granted Dr. Sikkema ¾-time release for Spring 2004 to work on two projects he is currently engaged in.

Dr. Sikkema’s project title is “Causality and Complex Systems.” He plans to investigate, from a Reformed, Christian perspective, the question of causality (the scientific understanding of cause and effect) in relation to complex systems.

“Much of what has developed as Christian perspectives in science deals with either science generally or pre-20th-century physics,” states Sikkema, who wants to address the impact of recent significant developments in physics, such as quantum field theory and complex systems, on our Christian understanding of the universe.

Dr. Sikkema is an assistant professor of physics at Dordt College. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical condensed matter physics from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

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