I was privileged last week to attend the Pensmore Dialog on Science & Faith at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri. It was a wonderful two-day conference and I thought well worth sharing a few notes and thoughts for those who could not attend, or those who did attend and need/want reminders.
The key speakers were: John Lennox, Oxford Professor of Mathematics and a great influence on me personally; Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute, who focuses on Intelligent Design; and Fr. Robert Spitzer, a philosopher of science, Jesuit priest, and former dean of Gonzaga.
In the following posts, I will go through each of the sessions I was able to attend. However, due to scheduling (some happened before I could arrive, others were concurrent and you could only attend one), I was unable to see them all. The college is sending out DVDs in the coming weeks which will have the other sessions as well, so as I receive them I will continue to post -- so expect another round of posts on this topic in a few weeks.
I will take a moment in this post to just say that I was very impressed by College of the Ozarks. To bring in speakers of this quality at an absurdly low cost ($25 each) was already a surprise. A wonderful catered meal and great venue was also nice.
On top of that, I was impressed with the campus itself. It is unbelievably beautiful, for starters. Secondly I thought their philosophy was clever. They pride themselves on everyone graduating debt-free, which is a shock in today's culture. They accomplish this partly by scholarships and grants of course, and low-cost efficient management of the school to keep tuition down. But the big "win" comes from deals with local businesses--especially the large number of hotels in the Branson area. Every student is provided a 15-hour per week job where the pay goes to cover their tuition.
As a result, a new graduate has four years of experience on their resume, no debt, and a degree. It's a really interesting idea. And unlike the stereotypical conservative Christian campus, they purposefully held this dialog on science and faith, which was very open to a wide variety of ideas and generally accepted the scientific facts (if not interpretations) of the day.
So I was, for one, very impressed with College of the Ozarks. A lot will likely change before my oldest is going to college in 8 years, but if they stick to the process they seem to be using, I would have no problem exploring that as an option.