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January 16, 2014

Annual Symposium on Science and Faith to Address "Free Will in the World of Neuroscience"

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – On February 27 and 28 Northeastern Seminary (NES) and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Roberts Wesleyan College will host the 2014 Barnes Science and Faith Symposium. This year’s featured speaker is Dr. Warren Brown, professor of psychology and director of the Lee Edward Travis Research Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Brown will discuss the theological implications of contemporary neuroscience research relative to the concepts of free will, personal agency, and virtue. The symposium, underwritten by the David and Avis Barnes Science and Christian Faith Symposium endowment, will take place in the Roberts Cultural Life Center at Roberts Wesleyan located at 2301 Westside Drive in Rochester, N.Y.

Dr. Warren BrownDr. Brown’s research focuses on the subject of cognitive and psychosocial disabilities that occur when there is no functional corpus callosum to connect the two sides of the brain. He has also studied callosal function in dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. Most recently, Dr. Brown and other colleagues have researched the psychology and neuroscience of exemplars of the virtues of compassion and generosity, work that has resulted in a $1.2 million grant from the Templeton Foundation.

In addition to authoring or coauthoring over 75 scholarly articles and 15 chapters in edited scholarly books, Dr. Brown has written and presented on the integration of neuroscience and Christian faith. He was principal editor and contributor to Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature (1998) and wrote (with Nancey Murphy) Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will (2007). Most recently, he coauthored (with Brad Strawn) The Physical Nature of Christian Life: Neuroscience, Psychology and the Church (2012).

Starting in the 1980s Roberts Wesleyan College has provided a lecture series designed to expose students to diverse perspectives on historic and contemporary issues by scholars of various worldviews. These presentations have helped confirm the life of scholarship and pursuit of truth and perspective, and have helped students face honest challenges to traditional faith and practice. A significant goal of the series has been to help students integrate their religious faith with issues of science and technology such as the question of origins, wise stewardship of resources and biotechnology.

The Barnes Science and Faith Symposium is made possible by the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. David Barnes, who have been active participants in the Roberts Wesleyan College community since the 1970s. Dr. Barnes, professor emeritus in biology, taught at Roberts from 1970-2004. His wife Avis taught in the Pavilion School District for 30 years. They created the Barnes Symposium to endow in perpetuity an annual Science symposium on Issues of Science and Christian Faith. Topics that illustrate the nature and scope of the symposium include: Christian Views of Origins, Archaeology and the Bible, Biological Determinism, Genetic Engineering, Stem cell research, environmental issues, Biotechnology, Global warming, globalization, evolutionary theory and religious belief and new frontiers in Science and faith.

All symposium events are open to the public. ASL interpretation is available upon request.  For more information or to register call 585.594.6134 or visit

About NES:

Since opening its doors in 1998, Northeastern Seminary on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan College has continued to grow in prominence as a significant resource for the church community in upstate New York.  Northeastern Seminary is a multi-denominational graduate school of theology offering five academically and professionally accredited degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Theology and Social Justice, Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership, and Doctor of Ministry.  The student body is comprised of more than 30 different Christian faith traditions represented among 180 students and 350 graduates ministering around the nation and world. For more information visit or call 585.594.6800.

About Roberts:

With an enrollment of nearly 2,000 students and a tradition of excellence since 1866, Roberts Wesleyan College is a leader among liberal arts colleges with a Christian worldview.  Roberts offers more than 50 undergraduate programs, as well as graduate programs in education, school psychology, school counseling, health administration, nursing education, nursing leadership & administration, strategic marketing, social work, counseling in ministry, and strategic leadership. Roberts Wesleyan also offers innovative undergraduate degree-completion programs for working adults in health administration, nursing, organizational management and teacher education. For more information, visit

Barnes Symposium 2014