This science-engaged theology project will use recent findings in evolutionary biology to clarify the “biocultural” character of human beings in theological anthropology. The primary investigators will examine three particular themes in this area -- morality, purposiveness, and aesthetics -- and will develop mentoring relationships with practicing scientists to support their investigations.
The project will draw on the latest research on niche construction, gene-culture coevolution, and cultural evolution (including, but not limited to, work done under the banner of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis) to show the mutually constitutive interplay of biological and cultural processes in hominid evolution. Nature-culture continuities identified in this biology literature will be considered for each of the project's three theological foci. The project will chart new pathways in science-engaged theological anthropology and contribute to bringing the field up to date in terms of its engagement with current evolutionary thinking.
A workshop and an open access journal special issue will bring a wider network of researchers into the project to treat themes in theological anthropology that are related to, but extend beyond, the three foci of the PIs. These additional themes will include topics such as rationality, language, sociality, domestication, religion, and co-creation. The PIs will also conduct a series of interviews with scientists working on biocultural evolution, which will be published online and will widen the public impact of the project.