Biology, Race, and Public Theology: Justice at the Intersection of Christian Thought and Natural Science

As we struggle with Covid-19 and the injustices it has amplified, we have an opportunity to bring both biology and theology to bear in our service of God and neighbour.

Biology has both shaped and been shaped by profoundly unjust social biases. And yet, the science of human diversity remains key to understanding both health and happiness.

The popular concept of race does not fit with contemporary biology (biological “race” as a population structure is not present in humans), but genetic diversity can tell us a great deal. It can help us understand disease and susceptibility as well as the history of human migrations.

Biology, Race, and Public Theology brings together bishops and senior church leaders from around the world to share their experiences, hear from experts, and think creatively about how we address race and justice, aware of the past, informed by the best of current thinking, and hopeful for the future.


Key Speakers

The past: The origins of “race science” and its entanglement with biology

Award-winning British science journalist Angela Saini will discuss her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, which was named a book of the year by The Telegraph, Nature and Financial Times. Ms Saini presents science programmes on the BBC, and her writing has appeared in New Scientist, The Sunday Times, National Geographic and Wired.


The present: Population genetics and human diversity

Prof Carlos Bustamante teaches population genetics at Stanford and is the Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary, and Human Genomics. He is an internationally recognised leader in the application of data science and genomics technology to problems in medicine, agriculture and biology. He advises the US federal government as well as private companies and non-profits on medical, veterinary, and agricultural genetics and genomics.



The future: Current issues for the UK and hopes for the future

Political scientist and theologian Dr R. David Muir is Head of Whitelands College and Senior Lecturer of Public Theology & Community Engagement at the University of Roehampton. He is also the Director of Faith in Britain, a member of the Kirby Laing Institute of Christian Ethics (Cambridge), and former Executive Director for Public Policy and Public Theology for the Evangelical Alliance UK.

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Video Resources

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Biology, Race and Public Theology: Session 1 – The Past, with Revd Dr Chigor Chike

This is a recording of ECLAS’ Biology, Race and Public Theology online retreat for senior Christian leaders. Featuring a theological reflection from the Revd. Dr Chigor Chike, this session covered the origins of “race science” and

Reflection Creation
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Biology, Race and Public Theology: Session 2 – The Present, with Prof Carlos Bustamante

The second session of our online retreat for senior Christian leaders featured Prof Carlos Bustamante from Stanford University speaking about population genetics and human diversity. Prof Bustamante is the Founding Director of the Stanford Center for

Interview Ethics
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Biology, Race and Public Theology Session 3: The Future, with Dr R David Muir

In the final session of our online retreat, the Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard, ECLAS Co-Director and Research Fellow, interviews Dr R David Muir, Head of Whitelands College and Senior Lecturer in Public Theology & Community Engagement.

Interview Ethics
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Science Fiction and Public Theology

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Viral Science and Public Theology: Talking about Nature and Neighbour in a post-Covid World