Science for Seminaries Resources

Curricular resources from the Science for Seminaries project have been developed by partner institutions and a series of educational science videos has been produced by AAAS for classroom use. Project resources are searchable by topic, resource type, ecclesial family, seminary, and core curriculum area. Use the filtering tool at right to explore the archive. For more information about curricular resources, please contact the school(s) that produced those resources.

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Awe & Wonder: Scientists Reflect on Their Vocations

Exploration of the world around us evokes a sense of awe and wonder. The emotional response to nature often stimulates curiosity and intrigue leading to an exciting journey of scientific discovery. This inspiring short film provides insight into the thoughts of various scientists who discuss their fascination with the beauty and complexity of nature, and how their observations of the natural world can cause reflection on the bigger questions of life.

  • Course Categories: General Theology
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment, History & Philosophy of Science, Life Sciences, Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind, Physics and Cosmos
  • Tags:
    evolution, astronomy, philosophy, science and religion, biology, Dr. Sylvester James Gates Jr., Dr. Michael Ruse, Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Dr. Guy Consolmagno, Dr. Justin Barrett, Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Dr. Jeff Hardin, Dr. Neil Shubin, Dr. Sean B. Carroll, awe and wonder, what makes us human, connections in nature, mathematics, Dr. Allan Wilson, Dr. Richard Potts

Biological Evolution and the Kinship of All Life

Charles Darwin once said, “the crust of the earth is a vast museum.” Today, we have access to innovative technology and years of valuable research data that allow us to observe this dynamic museum of the world in a new way. Modern genetics has given insight into the mechanisms driving evolution which has allowed us to better study the story of life on earth. The narrative of natural history gives context for understanding the role of humanity in light of evolutionary history. This short film discusses the key ideas surrounding the process of natural selection and evolution, the observation of convergence in biological organisms, and the human connection to evolutionary history.

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies, General Theology
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment, History & Philosophy of Science, Life Sciences
  • Tags:
    Darwinism, Biological Evolution, science and religion, Dr. Jeff Hardin, paleontology, Dr. Neil Shubin, kinship of all life, common ancestor, DNA, human evolution, Dr. Sean B. Carroll

Tiktaalik: Evidence of Evolutionary Change

Thinking about time on the scale of tens of millions of years is a concept that a paleontologist deals with on a regular basis. In this intriguing short film, Dr. Neil Shubin discusses the discovery of a fossil that seems to bridge the gap between life in water and life on land. Dr. Shubin dives into the fascinating concept of homology and structural evolution through observation of the humerus bone and how it presents in fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and humans.

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies, General Theology
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment, History & Philosophy of Science, Life Sciences
  • Tags:
    science and religion, biology, evolutionary biology, tiktaalik, fossils, homology, paleontology, Dr. Neil Shubin

What Makes Evolution a Theory?

What is a theory? Does the observation of gravitational force involve the same process of definition as gravitational theory? The misconceptions surrounding the term “theory” stem from differences in how the term is defined between scientists and the average non-scientist. Dr. Jeff Hardin discusses the key ideas relating to the definition of scientific theory and what this term means in the context of evolutionary biology.

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies, General Theology
  • Science Topics: Earth Science & Environment, History & Philosophy of Science, Life Sciences
  • Tags:
    science and religion, what makes evolution a theory, evolutionary biology, evolutionary theory, natural selection, Dr. Jeff Hardin

Frontiers of Neuroscience: Charting the Complexities of Our Brains

Technological advances in neuroscience have given insight into the neuronal connections in our brains and have given us the ability to map out electrical activity between neurons. This understanding of neurological circuitry has allowed scientists to manipulate electrical activity in brain cells and observe neurological responses. Results from monitoring neuronal activity indicate that our brains have tremendous plasticity not only at a young age but also throughout adult life. In this film, we learn how neurological diseases can be treated based on our ability to correct synapses that have been damaged. Dr. William Newsome discusses the need for what he calls a “comprehensive theory of brain processes” which involves the use of a multidisciplinary scientific approach to neuroscience research.

  • Course Categories: Ethics, General Theology, Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Tags:
    neuroscience, science and religion, Dr. William Newsome, Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Frontiers of Neuroscience, brain circuitry, brain cells

Caring for the Health of Your Brain

How can we cultivate a healthy brain? Is it possible to correct brain damage from disease and trauma? Understanding neuroscience and physiology of the brain allows us to make informed decisions about how to preserve brain health. In this film, Dr. Huda Zoghbi discusses how brain exercises, avoiding mental stress and trauma, and maintaining a healthy diet can improve brain health.

  • Course Categories: General Theology, Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Tags:
    science and religion, caring for the health of your brain, brain health, dementia, alzheimers, plasticity, healthy diet, Dr. Huda Zoghbi

Synthetic Brains and Identity

Imagine if you could remove a single neuron from your brain and replace it with an artificial neuron that could mimic the original neuron’s activity. Would you still be inherently you? What if you replaced 100 billion neurons in your brain with artificial neurons? Would this change things? In this video Dr. William Newsome examines the question of “what is me?” in relation to neuroscience.

  • Course Categories: General Theology, Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Tags:
    neuroscience, science and religion, synthetic brains, artificial neurons, Dr. William Newsome

Is the Human Mind Predisposed to Religious Thought?

For centuries, humans have gravitated towards religious belief in a supernatural being. Even across cultures, the tenets of various religious beliefs seem to have similarities and recurrent patterns. Why does this happen? Is there some human tendency that causes humans to be receptive to the idea of religion? Dr. Justin Barrett explores the human mind in the context of religious expression and acceptance of the idea of supernatural beings. Dr. Barrett points out the consistent tendency across cultures for children to perceive design and purpose in the world from an early age. The study of human cognition seems to indicate a tendency or predisposition to accept a religious narrative concerning origins, life on earth, and eternity. This topic of the human tendency towards religion is important as we seek to understand more about our minds and our perceptions of the world around us in the context of religious thought.

  • Course Categories: Ethics, General Theology
  • Science Topics: Neuroscience, Brain, & Mind
  • Tags:
    psychology, science and religion, Is the human mind predisposed to religious thought, human mind, cognitive science, Dr. Justin Barrett

Science and Religion: The Draper-White Conflict Thesis

There is a popular conception that the historical relationship between science and religion has always been one of conflict or even all-out warfare. Historians of science call this the “conflict thesis.” In this video, historians of science Dr. Lawrence Principe and Dr. Edward Davis examine the historical roots and social context of the conflict thesis. Principe and Davis explain that the conflict thesis can be traced primarily to the popular works of two 19th century Americans: John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White. Principe and Davis argue that Draper and White’s use of the language of “conflict” and “warfare” falls far short of the historical reality. Nevertheless, the popularity of these two works and the global influence of these two works still inform current views of how science and religion intersect.

  • Course Categories: Church History, General Theology
  • Science Topics: History & Philosophy of Science
  • Tags:
    conflict thesis, science and religion, the draper-white conflict thesis, John William Draper, Andrew Dixon White, Cornell Univeristy, Dr. Lawrence M. Principe, Dr. Edward Davis

Humans in a Vast Universe: Astronomy and Cosmic Significance

As we study the vast expanse of the universe, we are encountered with knowledge about origins and the expanding universe which shapes our understanding of where humanity fits into the story of the world. The perspective of looking outward at our galaxy and the estimated 400 billion galaxies beyond ours, evokes a sense of awe and stimulates inquisitive minds to ask bigger philosophical questions. This short film discusses the topics of our connection with the universe, the expanding nature of the universe, and the existence of exoplanets.

  • Course Categories: Biblical Studies, Church History, Ethics, General Theology, Pastoral Theology
  • Science Topics: Physics and Cosmos
  • Tags:
    astronomy, Space exploration, science and religion, Dr. David Charbonneau, space and exploration: Humans in a vast universe, big bang, energy and matter, origins of universe, Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Dr. Guy Consolmagno


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In furtherance of the AAAS mission of advancing science in service to society, AAAS|DoSER’s role in the Science for Seminaries project is to support efforts to integrate science into seminary education. AAAS|DoSER does not advise on or endorse the theological content of the participating seminaries.