Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

How the Hippies Saved Physics
David Kaiser in the June issue of Scientific American has written a fun article extracted from the book
he wrote about a group of Ph. D. physicists that formed a Berkeley based gathering of physicists
called the Fundamental Fysiks Group.   This group of scientists acquired their credentials during a time
when the job market for physicists was shrinking and the ability to get meaningful employment in their
discipline was increasingly difficult.  To cope with these uncertainties, the group began to meet at 4:00
on Fridays at Lawrence Livermore.  Kaiser may have overstated the impact of this group but presents
an entertaining description of a group of scientists that many may have never heard of.   The article
can be found

Science in Congregations
The Science in Congregations  initiative is a grant program that is funded by the John Templeton
Foundation and calls for a sustained, creative collaboration between practitioners in the fields of
science (scientists or science educators) and theology / faith practice (pastors) who are already engaged
with one another through shared participation in the life of a congregation.  (From the Scientists in
Congregation website.)  

Reminder: Evolution Weekend is on February 10-12  
There are now 500 congregations registered for Evolution Weekend which takes place on February 10-
12, 2012.  If your church has not registered and wishes to do so, please contact Michael Zimmerman
at  The web page for this year’s Evolution Weekend can be found

Annual Question from
Every year, presents a provocative question to a diverse group of scientists and intellectuals
and posts their response.  This year’s question is “What is your favorite deep, elegant or beautiful
explanation?”  There are 192 responses this year from thought leaders with expertise ranging from
physics to business.  The list of contributors with links to their responses can be found

“Science can help church keep its young folk”
Gary B. Sherman, a veterinarian and life scientist from Montgomery County, Maryland posted a
United Methodist News Service Commentary recently addressing the importance of the “United
Methodist Church to be more accepting of science throughout all our ministries for the benefit of all
God’s children.”  Dr. Sherman has taught and conducted research for 25 years and now serves as
National Program Leader for Veterinary Science at the USDA’s National Institute of Food and
Agriculture. He is a member of Oakdale Emory United Methodist Church in Olney, Md.  His article
can be found
here.  A referenced article from the Barna Group on reasons youth leave the church can
be found

United Methodist 2012 General Conference
Al Kuelling, a United Methodist living in Indiana has pointed out that there are three petitions that will
be presented at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference that support a positive relationship
between science and religion within The United Methodist Church.  The petitions can be found
(Note: The text was provided by Al Kuelling.)  

Biological Evolution and Its Critics
Note: WesleyNexus Participant Feedback
A number of WesleyNexus participants wrote replies to our posting anti-evolution materials on our
website.  You can find them

The Huffington Post has a science and religion section that posts regular and engaging articles by a
variety of commentators.  In
Once More, With Feeling: Adam, Evolution and Evangelicals, Pete
Enns does a nice job of laying out the challenge faced by many, though not all, evangelicals as they try
to engage what we know about biological evolution and the text in Genesis.  

Science and Origins, Byron Borger reviews two books that could not be more different.  The Soul
of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy by Nancy Pearcey & Charles Thaxton and The
Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions by Karl Giberson and Francis
Collins.  Published in 1994, the Pearcey and Thaxton book has not aged well and, within the scientific
community, has essentially been ruled as irrelevant.  However, it does reflect the perspective of many
evangelicals as noted by Pete Enns in the above mentioned article.  The Giberson and Collins book
was published last year and presents a new line of thinking for those within the evangelical community
still struggling with the issue of biological evolution.  The very fact that Byron Borger chose a book
that is clearly outdated to support balance within his review reflects the truly difficult task that many
evangelicals have coming to grips with current findings in the biological sciences.

The article in First Things
Intelligent Design: Atheists to the Rescue by Howard Kainz also reflects
this ongoing tension and argues for support against biological evolution from an unsuspected source:
secular atheists.  WesleyNexus supports the United Methodist Book of Discipline which states that
“we affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in determining what
is scientific.” (160.  Part IV - Social Principles - I. The Natural World) and therefore side with
Giberson and Collins on the status of evolutionary understanding in biology.  We also recognize how
difficult it is for many in the Wesleyan tradition to come to grips with this understanding while still
affirming their faith.  The topic is important and one around which conversation is needed.  So let’s

God Bless,
Rick Barr, Secretary, WesleyNexus
January 28, 2012