Forward Together: Why Dialogue is Important

Why is the dialogue between science and religion important? Opening plenary at the Forward Together event, June 2021.

This session was hosted as part of the 2021 virtual 25th Anniversary event, “Forward Together: Where Science, Ethics, and Religion Intersect in a Changing World.

Most people, including many scientists, claim a religious affiliation. Scientists seeking to foster genuinely inclusive discourse about science and society issues should be prepared to engage respectfully and constructively with people of faith. This session discussed why dialogue between scientific and religious communities is important and the work that the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program has done to foster this engagement.

Opening plenary: Why is the dialogue between science and religion important?

Forward Together, June 2021

Speakers and Moderator

Nalini Nadkarni smiling

Nalini Nadkarni, Professor of Biology, University of Utah

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is a Professor of Biology at the University of Utah. She studies ecological interactions in rainforest canopies with support from the National Science Foundation. She has written over 140 scientific papers and three scholarly books. She shares her knowledge through collaborations with faith-based groups, artists, corporations, and the incarcerated. Her work is featured in journals ranging from Science to Playboy Magazine, and in public media such as Science Friday, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, and RadioLab. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the AAAS Award for Public Engagement, the William Wilson Award for Achievement in Social Justice, and the Archie Carr Medal for Conservation.

Jennifer Wiseman smiling.

Jennifer Wiseman, Director, AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Program

Dr. Jennifer J. Wiseman is the Director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program. She is also an astrophysicist at NASA, where she is the Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. She studies the formation of stars and planetary systems using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes. Dr. Wiseman studied physics for her bachelor’s degree at MIT, discovering comet Wiseman-Skiff in 1987, and earned her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1995. She is also a public speaker and author, and enjoys giving talks on the excitement of science and astronomy to schools, youth and church groups, and civic organizations. She is a Councilor of the American Astronomical Society and a former President of the American Scientific Affiliation.

Dr. Katy Hinman

Katy Hinman, Associate Director, AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Program

Dr. Katharine (Katy) Hinman is an Associate Program Director for DoSER. She earned a BA in biology from Carleton College, a PhD in ecology and evolution from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a MDiv from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Her dissertation research focused on bat pollination of agave plants in southeastern Arizona. She was also the Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit that works with faith communities on environmental issues. Prior to joining DoSER, Dr. Hinman was the pastor at College Park First United Methodist Church in College Park, Georgia.

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