Conversations That Matter: The Crossroads of Science and Human Dignity

The Notre Dame Science and Religion Initiative and the Office of Life and Human Dignity will host a free, three-part webinar series through spring 2022. This series will consider various scientific and theological perspectives about what it means to be human.

Science and technology are valuable resources for man when placed at his service and when they promote his integral development for the benefit of all; but they cannot of themselves show the meaning of existence and of human progress. Being ordered to man, who initiates and develops them, they draw from the person and his moral values the indication of their purpose and the awareness of their limits. (DV)

This webinar series is intended for a general audience. Each session will begin with a 10-minute presentation from each of 3 panelists and be followed by time for Q&A. 


"Editing Humanity? Creating with CRISPR"
Tuesday, April 19, 2022- 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/5:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Watch the recording here!

Featured panelists include:



Maureen Condic - Associate Professor of Neurobiology, University of Utah

Maureen Condic is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on the role of stem cells in development and regeneration and has been recognized by both the Basil O'Connor and the McKnight awards. She is currently a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and in 2018, she was appointed by the President of the United States to the National Science Board. Dr. Condic’s works include Human Embryos, Human Beings (recipient of the 2020 International Expanded Reason Award), and Untangling Twinning as well as numerous basic scientific articles. Dr. Condic participates in both graduate and medical education, having taught Human Embryology in the Medical School for 20 years. She has a strong commitment to public education and has presented over 250 seminars and interviews, both nationally and internationally, on science policy, bioethics, and her own research.



Jeffrey Bishop - Professor of Philosophy and Theological Studies, Saint Louis University

Jeffrey P. Bishop, M.D,. Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy and of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University where he holds the Tenet Endowed Chair in Bioethics. He is also the founding director of SLU's Center for Science, Technology, Religion, and Culture. Bishop's research explores the historical, social, and philosophical conditions that underpin contemporary medical and scientific practices and theories. Bishop's current book project examines the relationship of philosophical anthropology to philosophies of technology and history. He is the author of The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011). Bishop's most recent book (co-authored with M. Therese Lysaught and Andrew A. Michel), Biopolitics After Neuroscience: Morality and the Economy of Virtue (Bloomsbury, 2022), won the 2021 Expanded Reason Award.



Nikolas Nikas - Co-founder, President, and General Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund

Nikolas T. Nikas is co-founder, president, and general counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF), a public-interest legal organization that creates arguments for life to benefit lawmakers, courts, students, and citizens across the United States and abroad. Among other cases, Nikas has litigated ballot initiatives regarding human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, healthcare rights of conscience, clinic regulations, and state-passed limits on late-term abortion. Nikas orgaized and participated in the oral argument preparation for attorneys arguing the following cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), which addressed partial-birth abortion and McCullen v. Coakley (2014), which had to do with free speech for peaceful sidewalk counselors. Nikas has consulted with policy leaders and lawmakers in state legislatures, along with members and legal staff of the President’s Council on Bioethics in Washington, D.C. during the Bush administration. He has testified before the U.S. Senate on abortion and First Amendment rights. Nikas received his B.A. (1979) and M.A. (1981) in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame. He received his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, in 1986 from Arizona State University College of Law. He and his wife Melinda, the parents of five grown children, live in Phoenix, Arizona.

"Trapped in our Jeans? The Role of Genes in Determining Our Self"  
Tuesday, March 22, 2022- 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/5:00 p.m. Pacific Time 

Watch the recording here!

Download the discussion questions and resources.

Featured panelists include:

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Paul Scherz - Associate Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics, Catholic University of America

Paul Scherz is an Associate Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America. He also co-directs the joint Catholic Clinical Ethics program with Georgetown University’s Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, and is an Advisory Fellow at Duquesne University's Grefenstette Center for Ethics in Science, Technology, and Law. He is the author of Science and Christian Ethics (Cambridge, 2019) and co-editor of The Evening of Life: The Challenges of Aging and Dying Well (Notre Dame, 2020). His forthcoming book, Tomorrow’s Troubles: Risk, Anxiety, and Prudence in an Age of Algorithmic Governance (Georgetown), examines the role of risk in contemporary culture.



Chris Baglow - Director, Science & Religion Initiative, University of Notre Dame

Chris Baglow’s leadership of the Science & Religion Initiative involves the creation and direction of programs that assist Catholic leaders in bringing the Catholic faith and modern science into dialogue for the sake of the New Evangelization. Chris is from New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from Franciscan University in 1990, and immediately began a career in Catholic theological education that has spanned high-school, undergraduate, graduate and seminary teaching. After completing his M.A. at the University of Dallas (1996) and his Ph.D. at Duquesne University (2000), Chris was Junior Professor of Theology at St. Joseph Seminary College (2000-2003), the Sue Ellen Canizaro Chair at Our Lady of Holy Cross College (2003-2009), and Professor of Theology at Notre Dame Seminary (2009-2018). In 2005, he began his research in science and religion, and in 2009 published the first high-school textbook on the topic, Faith, Science and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge. From 2011-2014 Baglow directed the Templeton-funded Steno Learning Program in Faith and Science for Catholic Secondary Educators (SLP), a week-long seminar experience for Catholic science and religion teachers.


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Christine Rosen - Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia

Christine Rosen is senior writer at Commentary magazine and a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. She is also a senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society.

Her books include Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement (Oxford University Press, 2004); My Fundamentalist Education (PublicAffairs, 2005); and The Extinction of Experience (W.W. Norton, forthcoming). 

Her writing has appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Democracy Journal, Prospect, Hedgehog Review, MIT Technology Review, and The New England Journal of Medicine, and she is a frequent guest on radio and television programs. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Emory University. She also teaches martial arts and holds a second-degree black belt in aikido. She lives with her children in Washington, D.C..

"Morality and the Microscope: The Basics of Bioethics"
Thursday, February 17, 2022- 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/5:00 p.m. Pacific Time 

Watch the recording here!

Download the discussion questions and resources.

Featured panelists include:

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Carter Snead - Professor of Law and Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame

Carter Snead is professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, concurrent professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and the director of Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. He is one of the world’s leading experts on public bioethics – the governance of science, medicine, and biotechnology in the name of ethical goods. His research explores issues relating to neuroethics, enhancement, human-embryo research, assisted reproduction, abortion, and end-of-life decision-making. He is most recently the author of What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics (Harvard University Press, 2020), named one of the ten best books of the year by the Wall Street Journal and winner of the 2021 Expanded Reason Award.



Charles Camosy - Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University

Charles Camosy is an Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he has taught since finishing his PhD in theology at Notre Dame in 2008. Among other places, his published articles have appeared in the American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of the Catholic Health Association, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News and America magazine. He has a monthly “Purple Catholicism” column with Religion News Service and is the author of six books. His most recent book, published in July 2021 (New City), is Losing Our Dignity: How Secularized Medicine is Undermining Fundamental Human Equality. He is also the founding editor of a new book series with New City Press called The Magenta Project. In addition to advising the Faith Outreach office of the Humane Society of the United States, the pro-life commission of the Archdiocese of New York, and Holy Name Medical Center, Camosy received the Robert Bryne award from the Fordham Respect Life Club and received the 2018 St. Jerome Award for scholarly excellence from the Catholic Library Association. He has four children, three of whom he and his wife Paulyn adopted from a Filipino orphanage in June of 2016.


Kristin Collier

Kristin Collier- Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Program on Health, Spirituality, and Religion, University of Michigan

Kristin Collier, MD, FACP is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Michigan where she serves as the director of the University of Michigan Medical School Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion. She also serves as an associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program where she oversees the primary care track. She received her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and completed her internship, residency and chief residency at The University of Michigan Hospitals. Her academic interests are in the overlap of spirituality, religion and medicine, and her peer reviewed work has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the Annals of Internal Medicine, The Journal of General Internal Medicine, and the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She also has had writings published in Notre Dame’s Church Life Journal, Theopolis and America Magazine. She is also the proud mother of four boys.

Missed our previous series? Check out our recordings on: