On the Order of Things:
Hierarchy in Science and Religion

On the Order of Things: Hierarchy in Science and Religion is an ambitious project in science and religion funded by the Metanexus Institute and coordinated locally by Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC).  The Metanexus Institute works to advance research, education and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion through a broad range of funding and programmatic initiatives.  The CSRC is a university-wide center that engages interdisciplinary research to create new knowledge and a rich understanding of the many intersections of religion and culture.  On the Order of Things: Hierarchy in Science and Religion features a public lecture and related publication series, a collaborative interdisciplinary research project directed by and including members of the Vanderbilt faculty, and related lectures, panel discussions, and publications.

Templeton Research Lectures

The Templeton Research Lectures at Vanderbilt University are funded by a grant from the Metanexus Institute and hosted at Vanderbilt by the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture.  The Templeton Research Lectures promote engagement and original research between the physical, biological, and human sciences and modes of inquiry and understanding found in theology, religious studies, and philosophy. This three-year project seeks to generate original research and progress. We also seek to create a permanent network for vibrant scholarly exchange and interdisciplinary encounters.

The constructive engagement of science and religion is a challenging and complex task.  The usual tendency is for scholars to declare a primary allegiance with one field or the other.  Or often scholarship will treat these two areas as completely separate fields of discourse and inquiry.  The Templeton Research Lectures invite renowned scholars to generate new and creative work by pulling science and religion into creative and constructive engagement.  The promise of this engagement is one of groundbreaking scholarship in areas of signficant importance to our world today.  A complete description of the Templeton Research Lectures Grant Program is posted on the Metanexus Institute's web site. www.metanexus.net/metanexus_online/trl.asp

The Research Seminar

Scales and Hierarchies: Implications for Science and Religion

This three-year research seminar includes Vanderbilt scientists, social scientists, humanists, and theologians committed to a sustained dialogue between science and religion. To help traverse disciplinary boundaries and to examine scientific and religious discourses about their proper objects we use the model of the hierarchy of nature. This heuristic device lets us examine the problem of scale, extending from the very smallest to the very largest. We do not presume that any given discipline, scientific or humanistic, is superior to another. On the contrary, our intuition is that intellectual inquiry and the examined life, including its spiritual dimensions, are not subject to a single set of propositions, no matter what their source. We view the dialogue between science and religion as continuous and ongoing. What we begin as a three-year project we hope to grow into a permanent feature of intellectual life at Vanderbilt University.

Additional Events

Lectures, seminars, and publications, on science and religion will be scheduled throughout the academic year.  These events will feature both external scholars and member of Vanderbilt’s faculty as appropriate to the particular topic.