Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Sarah Coakley on the connection between theology and evolutionary theory

Posted 17 Aug 2013 / 0

Times Higher EducationWhat’s God got to do with evolution?

It is really interesting to see that Coakley, a theologian, is collaborating with Martin Nowak. This is not entirely surprising: after all, the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics that Nowak heads is funded in part by the Templeton Foundation, which likes to support work at the interface of religion and science. I have not had a chance to check out their new edited collection, Evolution, Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation, but I am curious.

This depiction is interesting because it reverses the direction I would have assumed this collaboration would have produced. Rather than an understanding of religion being used to explain how humans have managed to be so cooperative, this interview makes it sound like Nowak’s work is being used to validate a religious view of human nature as being potentially generous, altruistic, and — I suppose — divine. Given how very simple (albeit important) Nowak’s models are, this kind of surprises me. I assume that there is probably far more for those of us who are interested in how cooperation evolves to learn from theology than theology stands to gain from science.

A Minor Post, Ethics, Religion, Web

Leave a Reply