Welcome to Science, Spirit, and Scripture, my blog on all things related to the definition and meaning of life in Christianity AND science.
My name is Lucas Mix and I live in the middle spaces between science and theology, acting as a translator and tour guide for people on both sides – and generally enjoying life and academia. I have two bachelors degrees, a BS in biochemistry and a BA in comparative religion from the University of Washington. After discovering a call to study the intersection of science and religion, I pursued advanced degrees in both. I received a PhD in evolutionary biology from Harvard University, with a thesis on “the evolution of photosynthetic reaction centers in bacteria: a phylogenetic perspective.” During that time I also started contracting with the NASA Astrobiology Institute on interdisciplinary communication. Related to that research and work, I edited a quick and dirty introduction to astrobiology for scientists – The Astrobiology Primer (2006) – and wrote a survey of astrobiology for the general public – Life in Space: Astrobiology for Everyone (Harvard University Press, 2009). After my doctorate, I went to seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA and was ordained priest in The Episcopal Church. Since that time, I have served as a curate at Church of the Apostles, an inner city emerging church in Seattle, and as a chaplain and professor at the University of Arizona. I am a also a member of the Society of Ordained Scientists, a group of priests and deacons who are active in the sciences and work toward integration of life, faith, and reason in the modern world.
Starting in 2013, I’ve been working on a project to explore “Meaning, Purpose, and the Definition of Life.” The John Templeton Foundation supported me financially (Grant ID #36093) and the Haig Lab at Harvard (Organismic and Evolutionary Biology) hosted me for 2 years. I am wrapping up with a book on the history of vegetable souls, the mortal, natural explanatory principle that differentiates life from non-life in Aristotle. These souls were generally accepted from Aristotle until the 16th century. You can read more about my work on this blog or see my more general blog on Postmodern Christianity here.
In fall of 2015, I moved to Princeton, NJ to work at the Center of Theological Inquiry, investigating what people want from a “definition of life.” What work do concepts of life do in theology, philosophy, biology, policy, law, and ethics?