What do Scientists Around the World Think about Religion and Why does it Matter?
Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, and director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University
Thursday Nov 12th, 7pm, The Cambridge Faculty Roundtable will feature Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, and director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University, as we ask, “What do Scientists Around the World Think about Religion and Why does it Matter?”
Guest participants will be ushered into a six-person on-line roundtable conversation with a mix of faculty from around the greater Northeast1 that will begin after a lead-off webinar. Guests are feel free to work with us to invite a colleague to join them. All of our guests enjoy the option of receiving a $50 gift certificate for dining to launch the evening!
Chairpersons Anne E. C. McCants, a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow and Professor of History at MIT, and J. Mark Ramseyer Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, and David R. Thom, MIT Chaplain with The Leadership Connection, are dedicated to fostering dialogue that explores the intersection of science, faith, and philosophy. Founding Chairpersons include Owen Gingerich, Astronomy and History of Science at Harvard University, Emeritus; and Robert Randolph, Chaplain to the Institute, MIT, Retired.
After a 2018 evening2 Former Dean of Harvard College and Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science Harry Lewis commented, “It was the kind of night that should be the norm in academia — serious conversation among smart people about contested issues, with pretty much everyone who spoke and counter-spoke both witty and civil.”
To what extent are scientists responsible for how religious people are responding to science? We offer faculty a break from on-line teaching and committee meetings to enjoy exploring this intersection of faith, philosophy and science by mixing3 with different colleagues.
Our evenings are made possible thanks to funding from contributors to The Leadership Connection, generous local scholars, Cornerstone Commissioning, and The John Templeton Foundation.
1. Roundtables are now open at Chicago and Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Duke and Cornell, and the universities near-by to these several fine institutions.
Originating in Amherst MA amidst the Five Colleges, The Roundtable caught on at Harvard & MIT, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Yale, seating thousands of faculty for in-person Roundtable conversations over the last 18 years. All 12 Roundtable sites are linked here: cambridgeroundtable.org/roundtables
2. Normally meeting in-person at the Harvard Faculty Club, every Roundtable begins with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, assigning six guests to each table for brief remarks from presenters, followed by dinner & discussion. Meeting on-line in July, featuring 2019 Templeton Prize Winner and Dartmouth Physics Professor Marcelo Gleiser and MIT Mechanical Engineering Professor Cullen Buie, the Faculty Roundtable hosted 686 participants!
3. Harvard University’s Stephen Greenblatt, in his The Swerve, noted that ancients such as Cicero knew the value of dialogue and how intellectual humility matters as much as the content of the controversy: The activity of choice, for cultivated Romans, as for the Greeks before them, was discourse… “That the villa's powerful owner and his friends took pleasure in grappling with such questions and were willing to devote significant periods of their very busy lives to teasing out possible answers reflects their conception of an existence appropriate for people of their education, class, and status.”
Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University, from his National Book Award winning The Swerve, How the world became modern, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2011, pp. 69-71. Used by permission.