Writer's Log: Stardate 21-1-12
I just responded to this interesting query from Iran:
"I am a PHD student in Iran. My field is philosophy of religion. I am going to choose a subject for my thesis. After consulting with my professors, I decided to set my thesis in the domain of your thoughts. So I would feel honored if you recommend me a topic."
I would love to know the back story of this request. I have, over the years, had some positive interactions with Islamic scholars, but those have been few and far between and I wonder how my work is on the radar of this graduate student. A book published in Iran titled Can Science Dispense with Religion? has a contribution from me. And when I was the editor of Science & Theology News I actively sought contributions from Islamic scholars. I even co-wrote an editorial with a fellow Islamic academic immediately after 9-11 to make a small statement that our cultures were not at war with each other, regardless of what was happening in the airport security lines. I also have seen my work quoted in some publications in Iran. But these are hardly enough to explain this inquiry. I really can't imagine this grad student saying to his advisor "I want to write a dissertation on science & religion" and his advisor telling him "Email Karl Giberson."
Perhaps the best explanation is that this grad student has emailed 35 scholars in Western countries and I am merely the first one that has responded.