Three scientists will take audience members on a guided tour into the wonder of nature at Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face community discussion.
Titled, “Why Beauty Matters: Radical Amazement, Spirituality, and the Ecological Crisis,” the discussion will feature Dr. Tim Rogalsky, Associate Professor of Mathematics at CMU; Dr. Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology at CMU; and Randy Herrmann, an engineer who works at the University of Manitoba.
The event happens Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00 PM at Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.
“All three of us are going to introduce things that we study within our disciplines that can be fairly easily understood and that are just totally amazing,” Rogalsky says, adding that his talk will explore spiral patterns found in flowers, and what we can glean from this natural display of beauty.
The phrase “radical amazement” comes from the Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who has argued that the root of the environmental crisis lies in the way that we as humans have changed our posture toward the natural world—from awe, wonder, and amazement, to detachment, control, and manipulation.
In 1955, Heschel wrote, “As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Humankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation.”
“Seeing nature through eyes of radical amazement may be exactly what our world needs today,” Rogalsky says. “It is also precisely the natural posture of the religious person... Science has the power to explain. Religion has the power to inspire. Inspiration has the power to galvanize people to action. The presentations (on November 2) will attempt to bring all of that together.”
He adds that for each of the scientists who will present, scientific inquiry is an act of worship that helps them connect to God. Some people think about science as being a dry, boring process, when in fact, it’s the exact opposite: Scientific inquiry is a creative act that reveals how interconnected everything in the natural world is.
“Scientists are uniquely positioned to reveal (the) beauty (in our world),” Rogalsky says. “I want people to be inspired by the beauty we can’t always see, but that we can investigate.”
Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.
“Why Beauty Matters” is the second of four Face2Face events CMU is scheduled to host during the 2016-17 school year. For details, visit cmu.ca/face2face.
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.
For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.
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