Update on the Madrid Conference in 2021
The ESSSAT Conference 2020 in Madrid on the subject “Creative Pluralism? Images and Models in Science and Religion” (see the original posting below) has been postponed to 2021. We still hope to hold that conference from 28 April to 1 May 2021. However, given the uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions and local conditions at the venue, the feasibility of holding the conference will be re-evaluated in January 2021. Until then, we strongly recommend that no travel bookings are made. We still hope the situation improves and we can see each other next year. We will keep you informed on how to register for the conference or how to confirm or renew your registration.
In connection with the postponed conference and as president of ESSSAT I want to share with all ESSSAT members some legal matters that occur from the fact that we as a society cannot have our bi-annual General Assembly in 2020, as our bylaws require. This is especially important for those members of ESSSAT Council whose terms ended this spring, and thus for the legal status of the Council as a whole. ESSSAT is registered in Germany, so that German law applies. Germany has dealt with such issues in a special jurisdiction (“Gesetz zur Abmilderung der Folgen der COVID-19-Pandemie im Zivil-, Insolvenz- und Strafverfahrensrecht“ from 27 March 2020 [Act to Mitigate the Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic under Civil, Insolvency and Criminal Procedure Law, an English version can be found here: https://www.bmjv.de/SharedDocs/Gesetzgebungsverfahren/Dokumente/Bgbl_Corona-Pandemie_EN.pdf]). In short, that law allows societies to postpone general assemblies and to extend the terms of all officers for one year.
On the basis of this regulation the Council of ESSSAT has agreed on the following:
The next General Assembly will be held during the Madrid conference on 1 May 2021. If that will not be possible, ESSSAT has the option to go for an online assembly in compliance with the German law.
The tenure of office of all members of the council will be extended to the next General Assembly on the basis of the German jurisdiction.
Both suggestions are in compliance with the German law so that ESSSAT will not endanger its status as a registered charitable society and will continue to have a functioning council.
I hope that all members consent to these decisions. However, I want to point to the fact that according to ESSSAT’s bylaws, an extraordinary General Assembly must be held if more than a fifth of the members request this in written form to the president of ESSSAT. If anyone sees the need to have a General Assembly before Spring 2021, please send a message directly to me as president of ESSSAT (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I extend my warmest greetings and best wishes and hope to meet you in 2021,
(Dirk Evers, President of ESSSAT)
Originally to be held in Madrid, 29 April - 2 May 2020
“Creative pluralism? Images and models in science and religion”
It has been a consensus in the science and religion dialogue that convergences between both, science and religion, are possible and, indeed, necessary, be-cause both disciplines refer to the same reality and try to interpret and under-stand it. However, in recent years not only the differences between religious hermeneutics and scientific method have been stressed, but also the inherent plurality within both fields of academic study. And in epistemology it has become clear how important perspectives, models and paradigms are, again for both, science and theology. Scientific theory, for example, develops mathematical models or visual representations of phenomena, like brain scans, while theologians are aware of the fact that for religion symbols are indisensible to point to the divine. It is widely accepted that all human under-standing is shaped and guided by models and images, by intuitive approaches and cultural categories. And scientific as well as religious communities pro-vide such categories – for better or worse. Is there real plurality in science? How important, how inspiring and how limiting are scientific models? Is plu-rality of and in religions an indication of their problematic, arbitrary approach towards reality? Is truth itself plural, or is truth a matter of power? When do models and images serve as useful tools, and when do they turn into limiting stereotypes and narrow prejudices – in science, in religion, and in the dia-logue between both fields?
As president of ESSSAT, I cordially invite all ESSSAT members and every-one interested to join us at our eighteenth conference in Madrid, Spain, from April 29 to May 2, 2020. Our local organizing committee (colleagues from Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, our cooperation partner, under the leadership of Sara Lumbreras) is working hard to provide a stimulating venue and interesting programme with and around our conference. We will be staying in the Center Santa María de Los Negrales a little outside of Madrid, but will also spend a full day at the university in the inner city. We already have five confirmed main speakers:
Rana Dajani (Molecular Biology, Jordan)
Silke Gülker (Sociology, Germany)
Javier Monserrat (Psychology, Spain)
Andrew Pinsent (Physics, Theology, UK)
Lisa L. Stenmark (Religious Studies, USA)
SEE YOU IN SPAIN 2020!
Dirk Evers, President of ESSSAT,
University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)