Launching Peaceful Science

Peaceful Science is launching, a diverse community of scholars, advancing science in a fractured society, engaging the grand questions together.

Peaceful Science is a diverse community of scholars, advancing science in a fractured society, engaging the grand questions together. We see a new way forward where we organize around common questions, values and virtues, rather than seeking agreement on particular answers. In dialogue with others, we want to understand and to be understood.

We want to make space for differences with a civic practice of science, aspiring to humility , tolerance, and patience . Questions, we believe, should be welcomed with courage , curiosity, and empathy . Scientists, at our best, engage questions with rigor and honesty . Practicing these virtues grows trust, even when we disagree on the most contentious of questions.

We are topically organized around the question: What does it mean to be human? We are launching, initially, with three topic areas: ancestry , art , and artificial intelligence . Questions about human origins are included , but our interests extend far beyond those of origins.

We are diverse and we value lucid self-disclosures (which we sometimes term “confession”). Transparency builds trust. Speaking for myself, I am a Christian that affirms the Lausanne Covenant. Peaceful Science, the organization, however, includes scientists and scholars with many different personal beliefs and non-beliefs. Along with most scientists, I also affirm evolutionary science. Peaceful Science , however, is committed to serving everyone, including those who do and do not affirm evolution.

We are guided by a trust-building strategy , rather than a knowledge-deficit model or an appeal to authority. We invite trust by seeking understanding and common ground, and by acting in ways worthy of trust. We want to be trustworthy. This follows the AAAS/DoSER recommendations explained in Scientists in Civic Life , so effectively demonstrated in their Science for Seminaries program, where I served as a science advisor.

We serve overlooked communities, institutions, and scholars with innovative partnerships, collaborations, and content . Our audience includes communities with questions and conflicts about human origins, but we are also engaging broader questions too. On all fronts, we are seeing trust grow in unexpected places as we respond to difficult questions with empathy, humility, and rigor.

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@swamidass, I’m interested in the 3 topic areas (ancestry, art, and artificial intelligence). These seem very different. Are these basically coming out of your own interests?

I would say that ancestry has definitely been the focus on the forums. Do you anticipate the other topics having significant discussion here as well?

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We certainly do expect discussion here on these other topics, though I expect will be of a different tenor. We are also creating new venues for engagement, such as place to display and even purchase art.

These topics were chosen based on our strengths, relationship to the grand question, potential for deep partnerships and dialogue, and scholarly leaders that have stepped up to take them forward. This is not just my personal interest. They also will expand in time. We picked this strategically as our starting point. But they are just the starting point, I imagine, for the first couple years.

These topics are also far more connected that you might imagine. All of them have already been covered at times in the forum, and you can expect their share of our content to increase. They will often be in dialogue with one another. Ancestry, also, is larger than just Adam and Eve and evolution. It includes, also, questions about race and inheritance. Some audiences will emphasize this over evolution.


@moderators and others on the forum, I hope, will adopt a relentlessly invitational posture. We want to welcome new ways of engaging our central question. When necessary, we will create protected spaces for new communities to grow on the forum, and even entirely new venues.

Join me in inviting the larger conversation!

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Not quite “art” yet, but we now have a shop with some logo merchandise. As I said, not quite “art,” but that will change in the coming quarter:

https://art.peacefulscience.org/

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