18th European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XVIII)
It has been a consensus in the science and religion dialogue that convergences between both, science and religion, are possible and, indeed, necessary, be-cause both disciplines refer to the same reality and try to interpret and under-stand it. However, in recent years not only the differences between religious hermeneutics and scientific method have been stressed, but also the inherent plurality within both fields of academic study. And in epistemology it has become clear how important perspectives, models and paradigms are, again for both, science and theology. Scientific theory, for example, develops mathematical models or visual representations of phenomena, like brain scans, while theologians are aware of the fact that for religion symbols are indisensible to point to the divine. It is widely accepted that all human under-standing is shaped and guided by models and images, by intuitive approaches and cultural categories. And scientific as well as religious communities pro-vide such categories – for better or worse. Is there real plurality in science? How important, how inspiring and how limiting are scientific models? Is plu-rality of and in religions an indication of their problematic, arbitrary approach towards reality? Is truth itself plural, or is truth a matter of power? When do models and images serve as useful tools, and when do they turn into limiting stereotypes and narrow prejudices – in science, in religion, and in the dia-logue between both fields?
As president of ESSSAT, I cordially invite all ESSSAT members and every-one interested to join us at our eighteenth conference in Madrid, Spain, from April 29 to May 2, 2020. Our local organizing committee (colleagues from Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, our cooperation partner, under the leadership of Sara Lumbreras) is working hard to provide a stimulating venue and interesting programme with and around our conference. We will be stay-ing in the Center Santa María de Los Negrales a little outside of Madrid, but will also spend a full day at the university in the inner city. We already have five confirmed main speakers:
Rana Dajani (Molecular Biology, Jordan)
Silke Gülker (Sociology, Germany)
Javier Monserrat (Psychology, Spain)
Andrew Pinsent (Physics, Theology, UK)
Lisa L. Stenmark (Religious Studies, USA)