June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Community Engagement Division
26.851.1 - 26.851.12
How Dialogue on ‘Ingenuity in Nature’ Increases Enthusiasm For Engineering and Science in Traditional Religious CommunitiesThe perceived conflict between science and traditional religious beliefs appears to be one reasonwhy some young people decide against pursuing careers in engineering and other STEM fields.A three year grant from the BioLogos Foundation, to help traditional religious communitiesappreciate the ingenuity displayed by our evolving universe, is assisting in alleviating thisunfortunate trend. Engineering students and faculty members work together to develop, anddeliver, seminars in local schools and churches that demonstrate compatibility between scienceand religion, with emphasis on the role that engineering can play in this ongoing dialogue.Religions and religious denominations often take a simplistic view of origins based largely on aparticular interpretation of creation accounts offered by the special revelation of sacredscriptures. The project team is currently working to complement this view with up-to-dateinformation from science and engineering. The application of concepts from the field ofengineering has proven useful in helping religious groups engage in this kind of interaction withscience. In the process, appreciation for ingenuity in nature and enthusiasm for engineeringappear to be increasing in participating religious communities.Among several other outcomes, preliminary survey data indicate that a strong majority ofparticipants agree that their participation in the aforementioned seminars not only “helps meappreciate the ingenuity that underlies our universe,” but also “increases my enthusiasm forscience or engineering.” Engineering students who serve on the project team have alsoacknowledged significant benefits as a result of participating in this project. Data from a separatesurvey indicate enhancements in their communication skills, their ability to lead in the midst ofcontentious issues, and their understanding of personal mission and purpose. They alsoexperienced an increased enthusiasm for engineering and science.
Halsmer, D. M., & Odom, P. W. (2015, June), How Dialogue on 'Ingenuity in Nature' Increases Enthusiasm for Engineering and Science in Traditional Religious Communities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24188
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