Special Invited Guests Print

In addition to all of the informative plenary addresses, this year's Annual Meeting features two sessions highlighting special invited guests. The first panel will have journalists from the Washington Post address the coverage of religion in the new world of online journalism. The second, this year's Templeton Lecture, will continue the theme of exploring the intersection of science and religion.

Religion and Politics Section and AAR Public Understanding of Religion Committee
Sunday, 1:00 PM–2:30 PM

Colleen McDannell, University of Utah, Presiding

Theme: Blogging God: On Faith at www.washingtonpost.com.

What is the value of online discussions of religion in American public life? Do features like On Faith contribute to the public understanding of religion, and to the understanding of the role religion plays in American political life? On Faith, a daily, online forum of the Washington Post, is one of the paper's most popular features. Sally Quinn, co-moderator of On Faith, will present on how she helped developed this popular feature, what they intended when they began and how the On Faith section has developed over time. Respondents will be David Waters, editor of On Faith, Susan Thistlethwaite, On Faith panelist and co-chair of the Religion and Politics Section, and Jason Bivins, associate professor of philosophy and religion at North Caroline State University.


David Waters, Washington Post

Susan B. Thistlethwaite, Chicago Theological Seminary

Sally Quinn, Washington Post

Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University

Templeton Lecture — Francisco José Ayala: Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion
Sunday, 8:30 PM–9:30 PM

Francisco J. Ayala is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He received his PhD in genetics from Columbia University. Ayala was awarded the 2010 Templeton Prize for his achievements as an evolutionary geneticist and for his opposition to the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two. His research focuses on the genetic diversity of populations, the structure of parasitic protozoa, and the origin of malaria. He has been a major voice on the ethical issues related to the study of human evolution and a frequent spokesperson in the debate between evolution and creationism. Ayala has published 1,000 articles and is author or editor of thirty-five books including Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion (National Academies Press, 2007) and Am I a Monkey? Six Big Questions about Evolution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and recipient of the 2001 National Medal of Science.