Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

This month we discuss with Michael Spezio, a neuroscientist and minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, how he views the importance of how we view ourselves from the perspective of faith and science.

He teaches coursework at Scripps College on neuroethics and his discoveries in the lab are ongoing with a focus on empathy and theory of mind in marginalized communities.

But giving us another view of the human mind are scientists looking at how an AI can develop its own set of ethics. The work at Duke University kicked-off initially via grants from Oxford University and the World Health Organization, and is now looking at decisions that surgeons need to make surrounding kidney transplants.

The impact of this work on ethics will likely be far-ranging, which is in part why the researchers’ findings are of interest to those who are interested in faith’s impact on the whole.

Theologian Phil Hefner lines it up in his commentary this month, reflecting humanity’s perception of itself and the cosmos.

“In cosmic perspective, human beings are smaller than ants, crawling over an insignificant planet,” he writes. “Yet these ants have developed knowledge and technology that enables them to picture the universe and build vehicles that can travel millions of miles into space. They have also gained knowledge of their bodies down to the subatomic level and build vehicles that can improve their lives.”

As is often the case in the realm of faith and science — perspective is everything and often tells us so much more about what we find most intriguing about ourselves and our world.

Susan Barreto
Editor, Covalence

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