The Voice: Spring 2003
Sikkema to participate in Oxford seminar
Dr. Arnold Sikkema has been selected to participate in the John Templeton Oxford
Seminars on Science and Christianity at Oxford University in England over the next
three years, beginning this summer. For one month each summer, Sikkema and his
fellow participants will do scholarly research in the field of science and religion,
giving them an opportunity to have dialogue with other scholars from around the
world in the sciences and humanities, and helping them broaden their scholarship and
refine their ideas. The thirty-five participants will be mentored by recognized scholars. They
will interact in workshops, discussion groups, and research counseling.
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities underwrites the project, which is supported
by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Participants are invited to present
their research at workshops during the seminars, but are also expected to continue
their research between seminars. They will give lectures to experts and to lay
audiences, attend conferences where appropriate, publish in scholarly or popular journals, and generally
communicate information about the field.
Participants selected for the seminars were judged to be committed to and competent
in the field of science and religion; to have experience in interdisciplinary thinking;
to be likely to complete their projects with distinction and disseminate the results
to the scholarly community; and to be likely to incorporate information into their
teaching and other activities in the field. In addition, participants needed institutional support
in the form of release time from their host institutions. Sikkema will have
a three-quarter-time release next spring to work on two current projects.
For his project, Sikkema plans to investigate, from a Reformed, Christian perspective, the
question of causality (the scientific understanding of cause and effect) in relation to
Much of what has developed as Christian perspective in science deals with either
science generally or pre-20th-century physics, says Sikkema. He wants to address the impact
of recent developments in physics, such as quantum field theory and complex systems,
on our Christian understanding of the universe.
Sikkema teaches physics at Dordt College. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical condensed
matter physics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.