Artificial Intelligence / Human Origins

Josh Swamidass is a professor and researcher at Washington University in St. Louis. He’s a warm and welcoming follower of Christ and an engaging communicator. If you’ve not had a chance meet Josh, read his book or hear him speak, I’d encourage you to check out his web-stie Peaceful Science and look up a few of his talks and dialogues on YouTube. A couple of years ago I had the chance to introduce Josh to one of my GFM staff at Iowa State. Tom Ingebritsen is a Professor Emeritus in biological sciences. Tom is on our Central Area Team – he and his teammate Chad Britten would love your prayers for two days of in-person events with Josh on ISU’s campus coming up next Monday and Tuesday.

Tom leads a faculty ministry at Iowa State called the ISU Christian Faculty and Staff Association. On his leadership team, Tom has amassed a wealth of talented and experienced Christian faculty passionate about reaching the University. They’ve been praying and planning for this event for about a year now.

The two main events are highlighted here in these publicity pieces. Josh’s first dialogue on Monday night is with a non-Christian ISU faculty member. The aim of What does it Mean to be Human is not to have a debate. But instead have a conversation seeking truth, clarity and the practical implications of a new and perhaps intimidating discipline – Artificial Intelligence. I’d recommend hanging out a bit at Peaceful Science and reading up on it if you’re new to the conversation yourself.

Pray for the kind of conversations the event will spark on campus. Tom mentioned earlier this week that a colleague in the Math department said to him “I didn’t think there were any other Christians in the Math Department but this event has helped me see there are several, in fact.” Ask God to use the event to catalyze more and more conversations and help Christian faculty take initiative with their faith in relevant issues. Pray especially for opportunities in the biological sciences, philosophy, math, medical sciences. In addition to the evening events, Josh will be speaking at a co-sponsored colloquium with the Math and TADS departments (Theoretical and Applied Data Science) on Tuesday afternoon.

Pray for me as I saddle my trusty stead next Monday morning (get in my 04 Accord that is) and head to Ames, Iowa for two days. I’m there to support Tom and Chad, observe how they and their leadership team guide this event, and say hello and thank you to Josh Swamidass. Watch for a PBR post or two early next week!

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