EcolChange seminar – Anne Kull about the role of religion in studying nature

Seminars of Department of Botany, Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology and Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Speaker: Anne Kull, she explores relationships between science and religion. She is based at the School of Theology and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Tartu University.

Title of the talk: Struggling over Nature

Time: Thursday, 4. April 2018 at 15.15

Place: Tartu, Lai 40-218 (Vaga auditorium)


Pic from here


Nature stands at the very centre of an intense struggle today. We witness it in passionate controversy over basic questions. People often turn to religions to add weight to their opinions and strategies.

Lynn White, Jr., in his very influential essay in Science „The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis“ (1967) claimed that due to „orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature,“ Christianity „bears a huge burden of guilt“ for the contemporary environmental crisis. There had been other critics long before, e.g., Ludwig Feuerbach, etc. Is traditional Christian thought about nature ecologically bankrupt? And anyway, what is the role of the idea of nature in our understandings of technology, theology, God, laws of nature, etc? While we are near consensus that nature is not a script from which we can read off values and meanings, there are also good reasons to insist that nature and sciences (rather than inherited philosophies and theologies), should serve as baseline for our thinking. If our perennial traditions have the same status as poetry – how does one bring poetry to bear on scientific knowledge? And, do we know what we are talking about, when we talk about Christian understanding of nature?


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