The Dialogue Between Science and Theology

Josh Swamidass

S. Joshua Swamidass M.D. Ph.D.

Q & I Question: What is Truth?

I understand science as a conversation among scientists. Theology is a conversation among theologians, but it is also a conversation in the Church. The proper relationship between theology and science is dialogue, a meaningful exchange between two communities with different ways of understanding the world. Each community, theological and scientific, has its own legitimacy and autonomy. Good conversations are shaped by constructive resistance, not capitulation. Dialogue includes an exchange of good-faith questions. Whether they come from theology or science, questions should be taken seriously, answered with honesty, rigor, and empathy. What should the Church expect to gain from dialogue? A coherent theological voice could rise, making sense of everything together. Even in a scientific world, we could understand, and we could be understood. The grand story, the true story that makes sense of the world, this theology is forged in dialogue. A confident and understandable voice is possible, centered on Jesus, not Adam. This theological voice is what the Church stands to gain in dialogue with science. This voice, also, might be emerging, at least in part, as the conversation unfolds around The Genealogical Adam and Eve.

Associate Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis S. Joshua Swamidass MD PhD is a scientist, physician, and associate professor of laboratory and genomic medicine at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). He leads research group that uses artificial intelligence to explore science at the intersection of medicine, biology, and chemistry. His work and editorials have been published or covered in WIRED, The Scientist, Science, Nature, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Swamidass is the author of The Genealogical Adam and Eve, a regular Veritas Forums speaker, and is often engaging the public with the science of human exceptionality, human origins, and artificial intelligence. Dr. Swamidass is the founder of Peaceful Science, a partnership with WUSTL, to advance science by together engaging the grand question: What does it mean to be human?

S. Joshua Swamidass M.D. Ph.D.


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