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Conversation explores science, religion and humans' place in the cosmos

By Leslie King | Emory Report | March 12, 2015

A Creation Stories Conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson and Emory astrophysicist Erin Bonning will explore the ways in which science and religion both seek to illuminate the understanding of the place of human beings in the cosmos.

Set for Tuesday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Michael C. Carlos Museum Reception Hall, the event is free and open to the public.

Robinson, on campus for the Candler School of Theology’s Prophetic Voices Conference, and Bonning, director of Emory Planetarium, will discuss the enduring power of creation stories.

"I am fascinated by the way all people — including scientists — use metaphors and storytelling to discuss the world we live in,” says Bonning. “Physicists have an account of the origin of the universe that is in some ways similar to origin stories from other traditions, and in some ways very distinct. Science and religion both exist as important forces in the lives of people, many of whom perceive a fundamental conflict between the two.”

“Too often, the public conversation about science and religion is dominated by the loudest voices from the most extreme positions. It is a great opportunity to be able to have this conversation with Ms. Robinson, who is an extremely accomplished storyteller and a thoughtful writer on religion,” Bonning continues.

“I think the topic of creation stories will be a fascinating frame within which two reasonable people can explore the ways in which science, religion and metaphor inform our human experience,” she adds.

The program is made possible by the Emory College David Goldwasser Series in Religion and the Arts and co-sponsored by the Candler School of Theology.