Since I’m a pastor, my scientific interest is a sideline to my basic profession and vocation. It basically got started when I was a campus chaplain at the University of British Columbia. In the campus bookstore, I found a book by Stephen Jay Gould, titled Wonderful Life. That book sparked my interest in science. That was back in 1989. Ministry duties kept me from studying the subject in detail until about ten years ago. After building a library of science books, I decided to put my thoughts together in a book, Evolving Certainties: Resolving Conflict at the Intersection of Faith & Science.
As a teen, my first job was as assistant to the local veterinarian where I found working with animals fascinating. Animal behaviour became my favourite topic when I majored in biology at Rutgers. At that time I also had the opportunity to work for a prominent ethologist at Princeton training owls for his research program, and with his encouragement, I also published an article on the auditory system of caiman. Moving then to McGill in Canada, I worked in the zoology department on the auditory system of bats, and then in physiological psychology on tree shrews. During my post-doc at Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, I continued research on neural mechanisms of hearing in monkeys.
Well, like many other CSCA members, I am not a scientist. I am a seminary student (graduating May 2023 if all goes well) writing a thesis in science, theology, and intellectual honesty.
I have been fascinated by science since I was a kid. I remember watching astronauts on television and desiring to become one. In high school, I decided that I would study Physics because of its powerful explanatory scope of the natural world. Unfortunately, my university didn’t have Physics at the time, so I picked Microbiology over Public Health because I felt that a basic science would satisfy my curiosity for understanding the principles by which the natural world operates.
I wanted to be a botanical illustrator when I was in grade 7 because I liked labeling plant parts in neat diagrams. But in grade 10, when my teacher couldn’t answer my question about why a car kept moving on a road when there was no net force exerted upon it, I decided to study physics. This was further confirmed by a grade 11 & 13 physics teacher’s encouragement, and in university, I worked with another CSCA past president, Robert Mann, on gravitation and cosmology in my late undergraduate years. But because of faith-science challenges that I was not willing to engage due to my narrow ecumenical views, I switched to condensed matter theory for graduate school. In that field, I found a PhD advisor who was using the particle physics methods that I found exciting to study materials exhibiting features like superconductivity and magnetism.
The Lake Huron beach where I spent my summers as a kid had many rocks and wasn’t very sandy. I was fascinated by them. I also discovered that one of the founding professors of geology at the local university was a respected elder at our church. I thought if he has it all worked out, that’s good enough for me.
My default track was to follow in my father’s footsteps as an Educator, but in my last year of High School, I developed a keen interest in the new discipline of Computer Science. Even though I have changed a lot since those days, nothing compares to the changes in the IT Industry during that time, and it has been exciting to have a front-row seat and be part of those changes.
I came to psychology sulking and reluctant. The discipline was too young, too incapable of answering the questions that interested me. But while I struggled to get decent grades in biology and philosophy, I received high As in psychology without trying. Finally, tired of fighting my God-bestowed talents, I accepted that psychology was where I belonged.
Dr. Colin C. M. Campbell, who taught at McMaster University for 15 years in the Department of Physics and in the Department of Computer Science.
I love evolutionary science and see it as God’s natural mechanism for creating all life on earth. It also helps students break out of the false dichotomy and allows them to worship God through his Words (Scripture) and His Works (Nature).