Dept. of Zoology, Carmel College in collaboration with Indian Institute for Science and Religion, New Delhi, organized a National conference for two days, 23-24 January, 2015. The title of the conference was “God, Cosmos and humanity: Science in Dialogue with Religion”. It was attended by Faculty and students across the state.

The conference began with welcome address by Dr. Sr. Aradhana AC. She stressed upon the combined strength of Science and Religion to solve contemporary issues. She welcomed all the dignitaries, guests and audience attending the conference.

This was followed by concept address by Dr. Fr. Victor Ferrao. He explained the coming together of Science and Religion in current times and that both are very much required to understand and search answers for various mysteries, universe and humanity. He stressed upon continuing to forge these frontiers as humanity needs both.

After this, Mrs. Molly Joseph introduced the keynote speaker to the audience. Keynote Address titled ‘Science and Religion in search of origins: the complementarity of science and Religion’ was delivered by Dr. Fr. Job Kozhamthadam. He first explained the role of IISR, New Delhi to bring together the findings of Science and understanding of religions to build up a better humanity. He explained in depth about the origin and evolution of life with many theories supporting and contradicting the views. He finds the collaborative and constructive interaction between science and religion should continue and that scientists and religious leaders should be encouraged to investigate further and deeper into the ultimate questions and their answers.

The First Technical session began with presentation by Dr. Fr. Victor Ferrao titled ‘The Big Bang Theory and its consequences to Religion’. Dr. Victor explained the fine points of the Big Bang theory and contribution of scientists like Einstein, Alexander Friedman, Lemaitre’s and Hubble. Various theories pertaining to the origin of universe were vividly explained by him. He also explained about their consequences to religion. He concluded his talk by urging all to understand the universe, humanity and God for betterment of life.

Post lunch, the second technical session started with an interesting and amazing talk by Principal Dennis D’Sa titled ‘Fine tune universe for life’. He explained in detail the composition of universe and galaxies and that earth is very insignificant part of it. He explained that how physical components lie within narrow range and have been fine-tuned and adjusted to make life possible on earth.

Third technical session was a presentation ‘Science in Religion in the quest for happiness’ by Dr. Melvin Chagas Silva which touched a chord with the audience. He put forward meditation as a powerful source of healing and that it can combine both science and religion beautifully.

The fourth and the last technical session of the day was a presentation ‘Religious experience and Pain’ by Rev Fr. Noel D’costa. He added another dimension to the concept of conference by putting forward the idea of reducing pain through religion and prayers. He provided scientific evidence of it through Neurosciences where a particular part of brain getting activated during meditation and reducing pain.

First technical session of the second day i.e. 24th January began with presentation ‘David Bohm’s Holographic Paradigm and Science-Religion perspective’ by Dr. Kamladevi Kunkolienkar where she explained the link between Physics and Religion through David Bohm’s idea of interconnectivity in the universe. She explained it through Holo movement of involving and evolving orders. A believer in metaphysics, he finds individuals are complementary to each other.

Next, Dr. Beula Pereira presented the first paper of the conference titled ‘Alcohol use in ritualistic practices’. She explained that religion is controller. To stay happy and healthy rituals performed gather and bind communities and people. She spoke of rituals being performed in Goa in area in Shiroda, Benaulim and Verna points to local using feni as offering to supernatural entities, powers and spirits which are helpful and protective in Devasthans like Bodkeshwar, Kundeshwar temples and in Bali jatra.

Dr. Aldinha Braganza Gomes presented next paper titled ‘Near-Death Experience: Mysterious Reality or An illusion’. She explained a very mysterious, less explored topic of near death experience (NDE) and its implications. She gave evidences of many medical professionals conducting studies on children having or not having near death experience. It is proved that they do not relate to brain dysfunction rather they are hallucinations, culturally rooted, and individual based. But they do provide consolation to the bereaved family and individuals experiencing it become believer in super power.

The last paper presentation of the day was by Ms. Monica Malik. In her paper ‘Beyond matter and Belief’ she took up holistic views on reality. Reality, is explained in religion as what we perceive through five senses and through science which quantum physics teaches us. There is need to look beyond matter and belief to find ultimately truth that is reality. She implored the audience to find the answer to existence through science and religion together.

Dr. Manoj R. Borkar concluded the technical session with his presentation on Goa Indigenous   Ecological Knowledge Systems. He put forth the point that science and technology have escalated the ecological crisis. The traditional wisdom with scientific objective embedded in Goan Culture and Practices where virtually everything living is worshipped has the potential to sustain the sensitive ecological balance. The presentation was followed by an open Question & answer session and report reading. The conference concluded with the valedictory function, distribution of certificates to all the participants and the final vote of thanks by Dr. Manoj R. Borkar.