The STEAM Project on Peaceful Science

The Peaceful Science forum was just mentioned at the blog/newsletter of the STEAM project of @Cootsona, here In this article, Drew explains:

Those of you who have been reading eSTEAM weekly, will know that I tend to stick with the science and leave much of the theological and Biblical work to the experts, especially pastors and church leaders. I also won’t pick sides in theological debates. What I will do is point you to lots of good resources, and in this particular instance, paying attention to those who are taking seriously the possibility of a historical Adam. Why? Well at root, this issue is Biblical and for those whose hermeneutic and understanding of key New Testament texts (Romans 5, I Corinthians 15) doesn’t require a historical Adam, this discussion might seem like much ado about nothing. The science isn’t troubling if your theology doesn’t require a real Adam and Eve. But many Christians do want a real Adam because of the connections in those New Testament texts to Christ (and we all need a real Christ, right?). So this week will be lots of lists and links to resources and scholars to help you consider a historical Adam, Biblically and theologically, in a manner that also considers the science.

In a surprisingly readable, brief, and dense summary full of tons of links, Drew gives a great overview of most the positions in the debate. We are making an impact. Here is what they write about us:

The second is a STEAM project scientist, Joshua Swamidass, whose day job consists of running a computational biology lab at Washington University in St. Louis. You will recall last week in looking at the evidence, it was all about genetics. Swamidass wonders if we should look at genealogy rather than genetics. It gets us out of many of the challenges raised by the genetics. Like any good scientist, he is testing that hypothesis, including one of the more active science and faith forums on the internet where historical Adam and Eve and related topics are widely discussed from a range of Christian perspectives.

The STEAM project funded the “Inquiry Into Common Ground” at WUSTL, a now completed project designed to study how to engage emerging adults with science and theology. Our final report included this text,

  1. Peaceful Science was launched with insight gleaned from the Inquiry into Common Ground.

  2. Currently the Peaceful Science website has about 100,000 page views per month, and about 3K unique visitors per month, after launching its forum about 7 months ago. The growth rate is still very strong

  3. Our largest demographic group is age 25-35 years (25%), but we draw a mixed group from age 18 to 65.

  4. An ongoing partnership was initiated with Fatih Ascent (@JSmith, Jeremy Smith: I Disagree with Dr. Swamidass), an apologetics ministry. A talk about evolution Dr. Swamidass gives each year at their high school summer camp has a large measurable impact on these students, many of whom have never met a Christian who affirms evolution. Before and after statistics indicate that students (1) come to believe the Bible and evolution can be consistent (53% to 81%), (2) see more common ground between the Bible and science (61% to 80%), (3) no longer believe YEC is essential to the Gospel (39% to 11%),

  5. Peaceful Science has become a training ground for young adults in the sciences wanting to engage the public. Here are two quotes from young adult scientists who have become closely involved with us:

I find it worthwhile and beneficial to spend time at Peaceful Science first and foremost because of the quality and diversity of participants and the uncommonly congenial tone in the discussions. There are few forums where leading voices from very different camps (such as Intelligent Design, theistic evolution, even atheism and agnosticism) can seriously discuss hot-button issues in a calm, clearheaded way. Forum participants are also interested in a wide array of topics from theology, Biblical studies, philosophy, NT studies to biology, genetics, information theory and physics, making this an ideal place to learn new things beyond my own discipline. By investing time in PS, I am spurred to explore a large range of topics related to science and faith, something that will be beneficial in pursuing my eventual goal of becoming a public voice as a Christian scientist. I am also learning how to publicly dialogue with people of differing views in a sympathetic, responsible and fruitful manner. Lastly, I benefit from engaging in discussions with people of very differing views and serving as an effective representative for my own “camp”.

   Daniel Ang (@dga471)  , Physics PhD Student, Harvard

I’m very glad to invest time into Peaceful Science as the forum offers a wealth of fascinating information from informed people with a range of perspectives on origins issues. Perhaps more important is its model of fruitful dialogue on some very contentious issues. We probably won’t all end up agreeing, but we should understand each other better. As an evangelical Christian beginning an academic career as a postdoc in evolutionary biology I’m convinced that the Peaceful Science community is together developing a new way forward for the church in engaging with evolution and the community of research scientists.

   Zachary Arden (@Zachary_Ardern) , Evolutionary Biology Post Doc, Germany

I’m particularly impressed by the young adults that find themselves with us. Even though most of our posters are not young adults, it turns out that the largest demographic group reading us is young adults. What we write here matters. A New Generation Wants a Better Way


Survey results regarding Josh’s talks from Faith Ascent here: