Political divisions, in the United States in particular, have led us to assume that much about the “other side,” including the notion that they don’t care about the same things as us. But we all want some form of human thriving – our desires just might be mediated and facilitated by different institutions. In one person’s world, it may be their university; in another’s, their church. These lead to fragmented worlds where people can’t understand each other’s language. However, identity is not binary, and we are increasingly finding that there are people who can fill the gap. What special role do those with a foot in both of those worlds have to play? How can we identify our vulnerabilities so that we can speak more clearly and honestly with one another?

Elaine Howard Ecklund, PhD. is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology in the Rice University Department of Sociology, director of the Religion and Public Life Program in Rice’s Social Sciences Research Institute, and a Rice Scholar at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Most recently, she and John Evans, of the University of California at San Diego, have received a $2.9 million grant to create a new field of sociological research examining how identities and beliefs are related to attitudes about science and religion. She is the author of Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think (2010) and most recently, Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion (2019).

 

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Next week, January 26th, at 2 pm Eastern, we will speaking with Briana Pobiner, PhD, who is a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, as well as a Sinai and Synapses Fellow.

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