2006 ESSSAT Prizes

The ESSSAT Research Prize 2006 is awarded to Anne Runehov from Uppsala, Sweden, for her work Sacred or Neural? Neuroscientific Explanations of Religious Experience: A Philosophical Evaluation. This dissertation was defended at Uppsala University. In dealing with neuroscientific explanations of religious experience, Runehov has addressed a topic that is both controversial and ‘cutting edge’. Her analysis of two neuroscientific research programs, by Persinger and by Newberg and d’Aquili, both of which have attracted much scholarly and public attention, is of interest for scholarly discourse as well as for public debate. With clear definitions and carefully crafted arguments, this study makes a significant contribution to the emerging field of neuro-theology. The Prize, sponsored by the Radboud Foundation, consists of 2000 euro, as well as coverage of travel to and particiaption in the next European Conference on Science and Theology, to be held in Iasi, Romania, April 5-10, 2006, where she may present her research. An abstract of Runehov’s thesis is available at http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=4718

Scholarly study of the interactions of science and religion is not just a matter for academics. It is also of major public interest, as controversies over evolution and intelligent design, concerns over genetic technologies, and wonder about the mysteries of the universe show. The ESSSAT Communication Prize has been awarded to Mr. Kresimir Cerovac. Every month since 1998, Croatian Catholic Radio has broadcast programmes on science and theology and on scientific developments that present ethical challenges. Subjects treated range from evolution via ecology to the human brain, from cloning to artificial intelligence, from the Big Bang to mysticism. Mr Cerovac has also authored more than 120 newspaper articles and a book. The ESSSAT Communication Prize is sponsored by the Counterbalance Foundation, and consists of 1500 euro, as well as coverage of travel and particiaption in the XIth European Conference on Science and Theology.

The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 has been awarded to Andreas Losch, Germany, for a contribution on the personal, constructive component in scientific and theological research. Constructive-critical realism allows him to describe in a new and interesting way the epistemological and methodological relationship between science and theology. The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 consists of 1000 euro and free participation in the ESSSAT Conference in Romania.