HMC Professor to Explore Evolution and Faith

March 21, 2013

David Vosburg
David Vosburg

Equipped with a grant from The BioLogos Foundation, Harvey Mudd College chemistry Professor David Vosburg hopes to spark healthy dialogue on evolution and the Christian faith.

His project, “Catalyzing Compatibility of Evolution and Christian Faith on Secular Campuses: Curricular Resources for Student Groups,” was awarded $80,772 through the foundation’s Evolution & Christian Faith grant program. Founded by Francis Collins—director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the Human Genome Project—The BioLogos Foundation seeks to promote discourse on the relationship between science and religion and to emphasize compatibility between science and Christian faith.

Vosburg will use the funds to develop materials that Christian student groups and churches can use to explore and discuss evolution, creation and Christianity.

“Christian students at secular colleges and universities often feel that their faith is in conflict with the findings of modern science, particularly evolution. My aim is to stimulate conversation and to convey that evolutionary creation can be compatible with Christian faith and even enrich it,” said Vosburg. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders in the church and in science. Christian students need to consider the message of compatibility and to be encouraged to seek truth in the Bible and in nature.”

Materials Vosburg will create include discussion guides, a resource booklet and a book, Engaging Science & Faith, which will serve as a Bible study guide on the subject of evolution and creation. Field-testing of the materials will take place at HMC, Pomona College and a local church.

In addition, Vosburg will give presentations on the topic at various venues, recruit participants in the United States and the United Kingdom, and host an “Evolution and the Bible” conference in October 2014 at HMC.

He plans to draft Engaging Science & Faith during his 2013-2014 sabbatical year at the University of Cambridge in England. “I will have access to extensive library resources, and I plan to immerse myself in topics relevant to Christian faith and evolution,” he said.

While at Cambridge, Vosburg will participate in discussions, seminars and other events at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St Edmund’s College. He will also study self-assembling molecules with Dr. Jonathan Nitschke in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge.

In 2012, Vosburg developed, tested and presented on a seven-week study guide set around the film, From the Dust: Conversations in Creation, which explores mankind’s origin in light of theology, biological evolution and humanity’s search for its place in the universe. Vosburg will continue to screen From the Dust in various venues and lead summer student discussion groups as part of the BioLogos-funded project.