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Science, Religion, and Bahá’í Faith: A Panel Discussion

Aug 14, 2022
flyer for Science-Religion-and-Bahai-Faith-A-Panel-Discussion featuring head shots of the 4 panelists and 2 facilitators

This webinar will help advance our understanding of the harmony between science and religion. Four panel members from the Wilmette Institute course on Science, Religion, and the Bahá’í Faith will speak on how insights from the Bahá’í Writings together with insights from the sciences–physics, cosmology, evolutionary theory and the social sciences–relate to the need for spiritual development and help contribute to discourses on various topics or issues facing humanity. The panelists will address the importance of diversity, learning about learning, social values, the scientific method, and consultation within the realm of science. They will conclude that studying topics from both scientific and religious perspectives contributes to more effective discourse, better decision-making, and social justice.

The discussion facilitators will be Charlotte Wenninger and Andres Elvira, both currently serving as teaching assistants for the Science, Religion, and the Bahá’í Faith course.

Robert Sarracino’s Slide Show: Physics, Cosmology, and the World of the Spirit: The Unity of Reality

Stephen Friberg’s Slide Show: Scientific Method, Diversity, and Baha’i Consultation



Charlotte Wenninger (Facilitator)

Charlotte Wenninger has been a Bahá’í for over 30 years and has always been interested in the topic of the harmony of science and religion. She has served in many capacities in her local Bahá’í community and participated in interfaith dialogue in her home town of Prince George, BC.  She is married, raised four daughters and currently has ten grandchildren. Charlotte works in health services as an administrator and has an Instructors Diploma.


Andres Elvira Espinoza

Andres Elvira Espinoza is a freelance writer, independent scholar, and second-generation Bahá’í who was born and raised in California. He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy—with a minor in anthropology—at Cal Poly Pomona, and a Master’s degree in bioethics at Loyola Marymount University. His first publication was “The Excellence of h+: Virtue, Utility, and Human Enhancement” in Rutgers Journal of Bioethics. He currently writes and researches freelance, has served as a volunteer Teaching Assistant for two courses at the Wilmette Institute, and intends to return to graduate school to receive further degrees in the next few years. His interests span the sciences and humanities, including the philosophy of science, biomimetics, and literature of all genres.


Stephen Friberg (Physicist, WI Adjunct Lecturer)

Stephen Friberg will speak on, "The scientific method, diversity, and Bahá’í consultation.” Stephen had been fascinated by science and religion since becoming a Bahá’í in New Mexico in his youth. He graduated with a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Rochester in 1985 (quantum entanglement), did a post-doc at Bell Labs, and started the ABS Science and Religion Special Interest Group. He then spent ten years at NTT Basic Research Labs in Japan before returning to the states and the Northern California Bay Area. He continues to pursue the topic of the harmony of science and religion.


Whitney White Kazemipour (Independent Scholar, Academic Writing Coach)

Whitney Kazemipour will speak on, "Harmonizing Bahá’í consultation with social scientific insights to foster effective decision-making and social justice." Whitney has a PhD from UCLA in Psychocultural Anthropology and studied Intellectual & Cultural History for her AB at Princeton. She is interested in the interaction of culture with Bahá’í practices.


Roger Neyman, BS

Independent Scholar and Adjunct Lecturer at WI

Roger Neyman will speak on "Evolutionary insights from the Bahá’í teachings and their relevance to issues facing humanity." Roger has had a lifelong conviction that science and spirituality are both valid and compelling avenues to finding the truth about the world at large and about the human condition. He developed a deep interest in the history of the discourses between the Creationist movement and atheistic neo-Darwinism. The principles of the necessity of independent investigation of the truth and the harmony of science and religion was a starting point towards reconciliation and it was these principles that drew him to the Faith at the age of 43. Since his retirement from a career in Software Engineering in 2012, he has devoted himself to the field of promoting the harmony between science and religion, and, increasingly, to anti-racism discourses within and on behalf of the Bahá’í community.See Faculty Bio


Robert Sarracino, PhD

Physicist, WI Adjunct Lecturer

Robert Sarracino will speak on the topic of "Physics, Cosmology and the World of the Spirit:  The Unity of Reality”.  Robert Sarracino obtained a doctorate in physics from the University of Victoria, BC, in the field of General Relativity. After postdoctoral work in astrophysics at Socorro, New Mexico, he and his wife, Lesley, pioneered to South Africa, where he worked in both academia and industry for some 20 years.  While in South Africa he helped form the Association for Bahá’í Studies in Southern Africa (ABSSA).  He has, additionally, lived and worked in Sulaimani, Iraq (AUIS); Los Alamos, New Mexico (NMC); and St. John’s, Newfoundland (CCORE). He is currently retired, living in St. John’s.  He has had a life-long interest in the harmony of science and religion and has given many informal talks, summer school presentations and more formal presentations, in academic settings, on this topic.  He has been a faculty member for the Wilmette Institute course on Science and Religion for a number of yearsSee Faculty Bio


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