Science, Secularization, and American Democracy


Science, Secularization, & American Democracy: Laboratories & Liberty in the Imaginations of American Jews

Tuesday, March 3, 2020  •  12:00noon  •  West Hall, Room 135  •  ASU Tempe Campus

Religion and science are often believed to be at odds with one another: science, seen as the vehicle that drives secularization, is assumed to conflict with religion, pushing it out of public life.

But what happens when secularization is seen not as a threat to religious expression, but a platform that elevates it?

Join us as Noah Efron (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) draws upon the example of early 20th century American Jews to explore how a "scientific" America invites religious inclusion and bolsters American democracy.


Noah Efron is a professor at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) and founding chair of the interdisciplinary program on Science, Technology and Society. Efron has served as the president of the Israeli Society for History & Philosophy of Science and been on the executive committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. He is also a standing member of Israel's National Committee for Transgenic Plants and has participated in Knesset deliberations about human cloning legislation.

Efron is author of A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), as well as two other books, and has written many essays and articles on the complicated intersection of knowledge, religion, and politics. He considers himself to be an avid student in the ways that changes in technologies, societal institutions, and socio-political ideologies influence one another. Lately, he has become obsessed with the decline of faith in “facts” and scientific experts that some circles are reporting (and worries late at night that his chosen field may have contributed to this frightful development).Efron has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a fellow of the Dibner Institute for History of Science and Technology at MIT, a fellow at Harvard University, and a visiting professor at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania.

He is also a former member of the Tel Aviv City Council and the host of a popular podcast, The Promiseland Podcast, the world’s leading podcast on Israeli politics.

This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are kindly requested

This event will be recorded & live-streamed at


Tuesday, March 3, 2020 • 12:00noon • West Hall, Room 135 • ASU Tempe Campus