Ashland University to Hold Second Faith and Society Lecture

Ashland University to Hold Second Faith and Society Lecture

8/25/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – Dr. Deborah Haarsma, who serves as president of the BioLogos Foundation, will speak as part of Ashland University’s second Faith and Society Lecture to be held Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre on the AU campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Haarsma will speak on “Can Science and the Bible Work Together? Christian Perspectives on Creation, Design and Evolution.” The one-hour lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Haarsma has been president of the BioLogos Foundation since January 2013. BioLogos Foundation is a Christian advocacy group that aims to contribute to the discussion on the relationship between science and religion and emphasizes compatibility between science and Christian faith.

Prior to joining BioLogos, she served as professor and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Gifted in interpreting complex scientific topics for lay audiences, Dr. Haarsma often speaks to churches, colleges and schools about the relationships between science and Christian faith. She is author (along with her husband Loren Haarsma) of Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (2011, 2007), a book presenting the agreements and disagreements of Christians regarding the history of life and the universe.

Many congregations, Christian high schools and Christian colleges use the book as a guide for navigating Christian debates over creation and evolution. She edited Delight in Creation: Scientists Share Their Work with the Church (2012) with Rev. Scott Hoezee, an anthology of essays by Christian biologists, astronomers, mathematicians and other scientists.

She and Hoezee directed The Ministry Theorem, a project of Calvin Theological Seminary and the Calvin College Science Division to provide pastors and ministry leaders with resources for engaging science in the life of the church. She also contributed to the Faraday Institute’s Test of Faith (2010) film and curriculum, and to Keith Miller's Perspectives on an Evolving Creation.

Haarsma is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. She has studied very large galaxies (at the centers of galaxy clusters), very young galaxies (undergoing rapid star formation in the early universe), and gravitational lenses (where space time is curved by a massive object). Her work uses data from several major telescopes, including the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico, the Southern Astrophysical Research optical and infrared telescope in Cerro Pachon, Chile, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in orbit around the earth.

Haarsma completed her doctoral work in astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and her undergraduate work in physics and music at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn.

This is the second lecture in the Faith and Society Lecture Series, which is designed to give AU students the ability to hear experts discuss critical topics of faith and its implications in contemporary society. The Hilda Bretzlaff Foundation is the lead sponsor for this inaugural year.

“The Faith and Society Lecture Series is intended as open and welcoming public forums where members of the Ashland University community can hear nationally known speakers reflect on how Christian faith intersects with different dimensions of society,” said AU President Dr. Carlos Campo. “We believe this lecture series fulfills part of our objectives for helping students understand how faith and moral behaviors can bring potential solutions to many difficult issues.

“Our hope is these lectures will demonstrate the relevance and truth of the Christian faith as well as generate a thoughtful response in our students, faculty, staff and community,” he added.

Those with questions can contact Dr. Mark Hamilton, associate professor of philosophy, at or 419.606.0197.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###

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