Considering the theological/philosophical implications

A question came up in one of my classes and I promised my students I would ask it here. Do scientists doing origin of life research consider the theological/philosophical implications of their work? Obviously, when working in the lab scientists should follow the data wherever it leads. But what about when they are having a beer after work?
I think the same question could be asked about scientists in evolutionary biology or really any area of research that could impact people’s faith.


I can speak only for myself and, I suppose, people I know well in evolutionary biology. For that group, the answer is “no”. Of course I work with extant archosaurs, so the theological/philosophical implications seem minimal. But I can recall only a small handful of mentions of any such thing at SSE/SSB meetings, and the most prominent was occasioned by spotting Todd Wood at one. When I was a grad student, we hosted Will Provine once, and the conversation did turn to religion. But that’s about it.


I think this is a great research hypothesis. We should apply for grant funding to sponsor after word beer chats! :wink:


Chats over drinks are the primary reason for attending meetings.

However, I once had a major epiphany while talking with two colleagues when we had arrived well before a Gordon Conference started, in the morning in the absence of beer!

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Well, this was very helpful.

Philosophy and theology are what you do when having a beer after work.

I wasn’t trying to minimize the fields. I apologize if anyone was offended. I just know some great ideas have been developed in unconventional locations. Rumor has it that Richard Feynman did his best thinking in strip clubs.

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