Ph. 281-477-8400 | Hours: 9 - 5 M - F, Tues 9 - 9

The RACS Network

The LTL has partnered with St. Mary's University and Rice University on a funded grant  from the International Research Network (ISN) for the Study of Science and Belief in Society.

Project Title: Religion and Astrobiology in Culture and Society (RACS Network)

Start Date July 1, 2021

Our goal is to establish a multidisciplinary network of scholars to address the social and cultural aspects of religion and astrobiology. Astrobiology is a robust, well established, multidisciplinary, science community that is increasingly relevant as world powers are set to colonize the moon in less than a decade, currently canvassing Mars for life, and planning missions involving extra-terrestrial mining operations (primarily asteroids). We will focus on the social and cultural aspect of the science described above as understood by religious, spiritual, un-believers, or non-religious cultures through various traditions, positions, and worldviews.

Stay tuned for our activities!

We will have a monthly online reading seminar/book club, a series of public seminars/lectures, two one-day digital symposia and a final symposium/workshop.

You will want to subscribe to the RACS  YouTube channel and our Facebook page, which will archive and disseminate recordings of our events. Stay tuned for updates on how to do this.

  • Stephen Bullivant Lead PI - (Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion, St Mary’s University, London, UK (0.5 FTE) Professorial Research Fellow in Theology and Sociology, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia (0.5 FTE)St. L)
  • Richard Playford Co-I- (Lecturer in Religious Studies, St. Mary's University, UK.)
  • Janet Siefert Co-I- (Associate Research Professor, Rice University, Houston, Texas and Director of Communications, Lanier Theological Library, Houston, Texas.)
  • Joseph O. Baker (Assoc. Prof. of Sociology, East Tennessee State University, USA), Editor-in-chief of Sociology of Religion, and co-author of Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture (NYU Press, 2017).
  • Elisabetta Canetta (Senior Lecturer in Applied Physics, St Mary’s University, UK), currently co-editing a book on teaching science and religion.
  • Andrew Davison (Starbridge Senior Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences, Cambridge University, UK), author of Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine (CUP, 2021).
  • Elaine Howard Ecklund (Professor of Sociology, Rice University, USA).
  • José Gabriel Funes (former Director of the Vatican Observatory, Italy).
  • Shaun Henson (Dept. Lecturer in Science and Religion, University of Oxford, UK), author of God and Natural Order: Physics, Philosophy, and Theology (Routledge, 2014)
  • Antonio Eusebio Lazcano (Professor, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico), former President of ISSOL: International Astrobiology Society.
  • Alan Nixon (Sydney Institute of Business and Technology, Australia).
  • Michael Ruse (Prof. Em. In the Philosophy of Science, University of Guelph, Canada), author of Can a Darwinian be a Christian? The Relationship Between Science and Religion (CUP, 2004), and co-editor of The Cambridge History of Atheism (CUP, 2021).
  • Victoria Smolkin (Assoc. Prof. of History, Wesleyan University, USA), author of A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism (Princeton UP, 2018) and currently writing a book on Russian Cosmism.
  • Benjamin Zeller (Assoc. Prof. of Religion, Lake Forest College, USA), author of Heaven’s Gate: America’s UFO Religion (NYU Press, 2014), and editor of Handbook of UFO Religions (Brill, 2021)