2018 Seminars

With Dr James Boyce. Looking at the history of the draining and enclosure of the commons that were the Fenlands of eastern England, Dr Boyce will look at how those commons used to work, what was lost, who was effected, and how the commons were closed. He will explore parallels between the enclosure of the commons with how Australia was settled, displacing complex indigenous structures of common ownership and landcare with British colonial conceptions of the coercive state and private land ownership.

Nick Spencer delivers the 2018 Edgar W. Conrad Memorial Lecture. Why is it – in our supposedly secular age – that so many politicians like to quote Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan? From Left, Right and Centre, MPs and PMs have used the famous story – although not all in the same way. Drawing on his highly regarded book, The Political Samaritan, Nick Spencer looks at how the parable has been used (and abused), and what that says about religion, politics and public speech today.

COSAC is organised by ISCAST–Christians in Science and Technology, and this year the Emmanuel Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society is delighted to be co-sponsoring this event in Brisbane. The event is timed to coincide with the World Science Festival (Brisbane), sponsored by the Queensland Museum. This is a not to be missed opportunity for Christians interested in science, faith and apologetics here in Brisbane.


2017 Seminars – draft program

  • 9 March: Climate Science, Religion and the Politics of Climate Change
    What do climate scientists say and how scientific are they? What are the usual Christian attitudes to climate science and are they valid? What are the drivers controlling the politics around climate change?
  • 7 April: Indigenous Policy and the Scientific Gaze
    A discussion of Australian Government Indigenous policy initiatives and how they are defined by Western conceptions of objective knowledge which exclude Indigenous (or any) spirituality, and which are often focused on objectives that are foreign to traditionally bonded conceptions of Aboriginal community.
  • 4 May: The Administration of Fear
    A discussion of global security and religion, explored through the lens of the social sciences. Following our media theme in 2016, the focus will be on the nexus between the mass media and politics, looking at the ways in which a climate of fear is politically “useful”.
  • 27 June: Cyber culture
    Dr Matthew Tan will disclose the inner logic of the cyber world to us and its relation to theology.
  • 28 July: Physics, Metaphysics and Theology
    Rev Dr Stephen Ames is a priest who has doctorates in Physics and Metaphysics. This is going to be a two session treat.
  • 18 August: Theology and Landcare with Dr Chris Dalton

 Previous Seminars

  • Barney Zwartz, Centre for Public Christianity senior fellow and former religion editor of The Age, “Religion in the Print Media: How has it Changed; Where is it Going; Why does it Matter?”, 19 August 2016
  • Scott Stephens, Editor of ABC Online’s Religion and Ethics website, “Fighting Words: Recovering Moral Disagreement in a Media Age”, 29 July 2016
  • Rev Dr Graham Cole, Dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Illinois, “Scripture and the Disciplines”; “Scripture and the Sciences”; “The Evangelical and Scholarship”, 21–22 July 2016
  • Michelle Aroney, PhD Candidate, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at The University of Queensland, “Heathenism, Immortality and the Secularisation of the Human Soul”, 10 June 2016
  • Dr Anthony Herbert, Paediatric Palliative Care Service at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, “The Science and Humanity of Palliative Care”, 13 May 2016
  • Scott Stephens, Editor of ABC Online’s Religion and Ethics website, “To See or Not to See: Recovering Moral Vision in a Media Saturated Age”, 11 March 2016
  • Rev. Professor Rodney Wolff, Chair in Geostatistics and Mine Planning at the University of Queensland’s W.H. Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre, “The probability that God exists: A review and a reflection”, 30 October 2015
  • Professor Tom McLeish, Professor of Physics at Durham University, “Faith and Wisdom in Science”, 15 September 2015
  • Dr Kelly Richards, Queensland University of Technology, “Restorative Justice, Risk, and Circles of Support and Accountability: Managing Child Sex Offenders in the Community”, 7 August 2015
  • Professor Kevin Hart, Edwin B. Kyle Chair of Christian Thought at University of Virginia and Eric D’Arcy Chair of Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University, “Does a belief in revelation impose severe limitations on the creative freedom of Christian artists?”, 10 July 2015
  • Professor Robert Mann, Professor of Physics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, “Puzzled by Particularity”, 29 May 2015
  • Professor Terry Halliday, Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, “Religion in the Politics of Lawyers in Struggles for Political Liberalism”, 31 March 2015
  • Dr Tom Aechtner, The University of Queensland, “Mass Media in the Evolution Wars: Anti-evolutionist and New Atheist Persuasion Tactics”, 24 October 2014
  • Professor John Lennox, Oxford University, “Is Belief in the Supernatural Irrational?”, 22 August 2014 — listen to the seminar or to the Q&A with John Lennox
  • Dr Malcolm Buchanan, St John’s University, “Science, Faith and Culture in Tanzania”, 1 May 2014
  • Professor Terence C Halliday, University of Chicago, “Under Siege: China’s Christian Human Rights Lawyers”, 21 March 2014
  • Professor Scott Prasser, Australian Catholic University, “Why is Quality in Education Hard to Do?”, 24 May 2013
  • Professor Michael Drinkwater, The University of Queensland, “The Big Bang Theory: An Astounding Philosophical and Scientific Revolution”, 26 April 2013
  • Professor Ross McKenzie, The University of Queensland, “The Higgs Boson: the Scientific Reality versus the Media Hype”, 12 October 2012
  • Dr John Cook, The University of Queensland, “Climate Change and the Weightier Matters: a Christian View on Global Warming”, 3 August 2012