For many, this has not been the summer they may have expected or hoped for back in the winter or spring. Still, some of you may have a chance to get away from your normal routines, or maybe you’ll need to take a trip to bring students to college in the fall. Or maybe you have or soon will be resuming a commute that has been interrupted. In any event, I thought you might appreciate some of these podcasts and other listening options that deal either with science and faith, or with science topics that come up often in faith communities. Happy listening!
Sean Carroll’s Mindscape
Sara Imari Walker shares her journey from training as a physicist to becoming an astrobiologist and tackling questions about life and its origins. I’m still grappling with her ideas, but I’m intrigued by an information-centric approach to questions of life to complement the biochemical and molecular focus one more typically encounters.
I was fascinated by this conversation with Michael Levin, because while I knew about the remarkable regenerative abilities of planaria, I did not know much of anything about the role that electrical circuits played. I’d like to learn more, so don’t be surprised if this becomes a future blog topic.
We’ve talked about issues related to data bias before. If you’d like to get more in depth on the topic, try this interview with Catherine D’Ignazio and then maybe seek out her book or other work.
The Jim Rutt Show
Note: Host Jim Rutt can get a little salty with his language at times, but not to an extent that I felt it was distracting.
Melanie Mitchell is a leading figure in AI, so I appreciated her take on why it has not yet delivered on all that was initially hoped. I found the discussion of how naming and metaphors influence and perhaps bias our thinking about what AI can and cannot do.
Jessica Flack’s ideas about coarse-graining and top-down causality are very interesting to me. Her experience and examples working with primates are helpful for engaging with an otherwise abstract topic.
The Language of God
Speaking of primate research, who better to talk about it than Jane Goodall. And Francis Collins knows a thing or two about the primates we call humans. There’s a video version and an audio-only version below that.
The Bible Project
ESN contributor S. Joshua Swamidass is interviewed about his book The Geneological Adam and Eve and what current science does and does not say about the historical possibility of two people being common ancestors to all humans.
New Wine FM
About halfway through this episode, you can hear an interview with Ruth Bancewicz of the Faraday Institute talk about her work helping people reconcile their Christian faith with science through wonder and awe.
Church of the Geek
Branching out into sci-fi, the guys at Church of the Geek dig into the recent Disney+ Loki series, which I felt had a lot of theological themes even if the narrative was a bit disappointing.
And if you’re looking for some reading suggestions, check out their brief comic book review/recommendations, like this one for Way of X, part of a thematically-rich and narratively-uneven revamp of the X-Men comics currently in progress.
If that little taste gets you interested in Way of X, I’d recommend this interview with writer Si Spurrier, where he elaborates on the overtly religious themes of the book and what role he sees for religion in a society where eternal life already exists.
Finally, the American Scientific Affiliation meeting has ended, but if you were unable to attend live, you can still purchase a Sunset Pass and get full access to all of the archived slides and recordings of talks.
I hope there is something here that is uplifting and helps you get where you want to go!
About the author:
Andy has worn many hats in his life. He knows this is a dreadfully clichéd notion, but since it is also literally true he uses it anyway. Among his current metaphorical hats: husband of one wife, father of two teenagers, reader of science fiction and science fact, enthusiast of contemporary symphonic music, and chief science officer. Previous metaphorical hats include: comp bio postdoc, molecular biology grad student, InterVarsity chapter president (that one came with a literal hat), music store clerk, house painter, and mosquito trapper. Among his more unique literal hats: British bobby, captain's hats (of varying levels of authenticity) of several specific vessels, a deerstalker from 221B Baker St, and a railroad engineer's cap. His monthly Science in Review is drawn from his weekly Science Corner posts -- Wednesdays, 8am (Eastern) on the Emerging Scholars Network Blog. His book Faith across the Multiverse is available from Hendrickson.