Purpose—IRAS () is an independent society of scientists, philosophers, religion scholars, theologians, and others who want to understand the role of religion in our dynamic scientific world.

Activities—Each year IRAS organizes a week‐long conference. The 2011 conference was held at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, June 18–25. Topics are selected to be relevant to current scientific thinking and to fundamental religious questions. (IRAS members pay a reduced rate for conference registration.)

IRAS organizes events at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). IRAS has sponsored more than two hundred fifty meetings at universities, colleges, and theological schools.

PublicationsZygon: Journal of Religion and Science and IRAS Newsletter. IRAS members receive subscriptions to these publications free of additional charge.

Special Relationships—Affiliated Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Member, Council of Societies for the Study of Religion (CSSR).

Membership Dues

$70.00 Individual Member

$80.00 Joint Member (two memberships but one set of publications)

$40.00 Student Member (requires copy of student ID)

$110.00 Institutional Member (supports IRAS's work; $54.00 is tax deductible)

Invitation to Join—If you are in accord with the purposes of IRAS and would like to become a member, please submit an application to the IRAS Council, which reviews and votes on applications at biannual meetings in February and July. For an application write to:

Michael Cavanaugh

744 Dubois Drive

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808


Humanity continues to face serious problems within communities and countries, between nations and religions. Today, however, humanity faces a trio of new problems that threaten all of civilization and even our existence as a species; they might be termed the modern “three horsemen of the apocalypse”:

  • 1) 

    Unsustainable world population growth;

  • 2) 

    Excessive consumption of natural resources;

  • 3) 

    Climate change, most likely caused by our use of fossil fuels.

The IRAS conference in July 2012 will focus on why the world's peoples and nations are mostly failing to deal with the greatest threats to humanity in history. It will examine the root causes of the current unwillingness to take adequate action, be they: human nature, culture, institutions, and/or political/economic competition.

The conference will also consider recent progress, highlighting examples of effective cooperative action at local, national, and international levels. It will then discuss how we might apply the lessons learned from them to the “three horsemen.” Local and community initiatives, in particular, are essential steps in demonstrating feasibility and changing opinion in favor of national efforts.

Speakers include:

George W. Collins II (Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at Ohio State University, Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University's Dept. of Astronomy)

Rita Colwell (Chairman, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.; Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Former Director of the NSF)

Stephen M. Gardiner (Assoc. Professor of Philosophy, U. Washington, Author: “A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral Corruption”)

Normand M. Laurendeau (Emeritus Ralph and Bettye Bailey Professor of Combustion, Purdue Univ., Research Associate in Chemistry, Bowdoin College)

Ruben Nelson (Canada's most widely‐experienced professional futurist. He is a big‐picture strategic thinker, strategy consultant, and media commentator. His specialty is interpreting long‐term change, evolution, and transformation of Western Culture)

Chapel Speaker: Dr. Richard S. Gilbert (Minister Emeritus, First Unitarian Church, Rochester, NY)

Silver Bay provides comprehensive programs for children and can also supply babysitting.

For more information on the conference, see the IRAS website . For more information on Silver Bay, see: .