SRF Annual Conference 2022 - Birmingham

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Topic: Information and Reality – Questions for Religions and Science

Date: 26th - 28th May 2022 (Booking will open in early 2022) (Deadline for registration MIDNIGHT 16th May)

Location: Woodbrooke Study Centre, 1046 Bristol Road Birmingham, B29 6LJ, United Kingdom

DRAFT ITINERARY (09/05/22)

PLEASE NOTE: We are aiming to host this conference as an in-person event, but we remain conscious of the ongoing global situation with Covid so may have to revise our plans at short notice. If this occurs we will endeavour to move our conference to a suitable online event as in recent years.

The conference will address the topic through two strands: (1) Metaphysics, nature of reality and divine/human being (2) The use and ethics of information (data) for science, religion, and society.

Strand 1:

Whilst questions at the interface of religions and science have long been concerned with issues that touch on metaphysics including constitution, personhood, action and interaction (human and divine), these are often addressed from the assumption that, at its most fundamental level, reality is composed of some form of substance. However, there is increasing traction to the idea that information (quantum, biological, digital) are the fundamental building blocks of the universe. What impact does this metaphysical shift have on our theological understanding of the world?

Strand 2:

Information (biological, personal, digital) is increasingly important in understanding the place of religions, ethics, and science in society, for example in AI and medical data collection. What are the theological and/or ethical implications of the interaction of information and science in society?

Keynote Speakers and Titles

The Gowland Public Lecture 2022 will be given by Prof. Niels Henrick Gregersen, University of Copenhagen with the title “The God with Clay: Theology in a World of Mass, Energy, and Information”.

A Response will be given by Dr Andrew Robinson, University of Exeter.

Other confirmed speakers are:

Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst, Pembroke College, University of Oxford - The Many Worries of Many Worlds: Exploring Some Implications of Everettian Quantum Mechanics

Dr Beth Singler, Homerton College, University of Cambridge - Deepfaking God? AI and Religious Creativity, Information, and Disinformation

Revd Dr Peter Phillips, Spurgeon's College - God and the Metaphysics of Information

Dr Matthew Kuan Johnson, University of Oxford and Dr Rachel Siow Robertson, University of Cambridge - Co-Liberatory Framework for Big Data

Rev. Dr Mike Fuller, New College, University of Edinburgh - Big Data: Risks and (Theological) Responses

SRF Annual General Meeting

The SRF Annual General Meeting for SRF Members will take place as part of this conference. Time and date TBC.