Scientific and religious communities have come together in classrooms, houses of worship and online through a number of inclusive outreach efforts supported by AAAS' Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion program.
Michael Hamburger, professor of geophysics at Indiana University, and Adrienne Keller, an Indiana University Ph.D. candidate in ecology, worked with Bob Whitaker, lead pastor at the Evangelical Community Church in Bloomington. The trio planned a series of workshops centered on the scientific, ethical, and religious dimensions of climate change and environmental stewardship.
"It became a discussion of how we bring our various communities together in a meaningful way using our different areas of expertise and our different perspectives," said Keller.
The workshops brought together members of the university's scientific community with leaders and members of five different area evangelical congregations for small-group discussions on religious and scientific views of climate change and environmental stewardship. The final workshop joined the two perspectives at a nearby state park to discuss the spiritual and scientific aspects of their natural setting.
Added Whitaker, "We live in a community where faith and the intellect live side by side. We live in a community where conversation is needed between people of faith and people in the scientific community and sometimes doesn't happen. And we can find common ground. And I think we achieved all those things in these workshops."