Conversations That Matter: The Crossroads of Science and Human Dignity Fall 2021

The Notre Dame Science and Religion Initiative and the Office of Life and Human Dignity will host a free, three-part webinar series through fall 2021. 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, followed by time for Q&A. 


"Man, Machine, and the Future of AI"
Tuesday, November 16, 2021- 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time/12:00 p.m. Pacific Time 


Featured panelists include:


Jordan Wales - Associate Professor of Theology, Hillsdale College

Jordan Wales is an Associate Professor and the John and Helen Kuczmarski Chair in Theology at Hillsdale College. His scholarship focuses on early Christian understandings of seeing God as well as contemporary theological and philosophical questions relating to Artificial Intelligence. Currently working on a book on theology and artificial intelligence, he is published in Augustinian Studies and AI & Society, among other journals. He is an advisor to the Holy See’s new Center for Digital Culture, under the Pontifical Council for Culture; and he is an affiliated scholar with the Centre for Humanity and the Common Good at Regent College, University of British Columbia. He received his M.T.S. and Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame after studying under a British Marshall Scholarship in the UK, where he received a Diploma in Theology from Oxford and a M.Sc. in Cognitive Science and Natural Language from the University of Edinburgh. He is a recipient of a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. 


Sofia Carozza- Doctoral Candidate in Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

Sofia Carozza is a Marshall Scholar and doctoral candidate in neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. Sofia completed undergraduate studies in neuroscience and theology at the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated as the valedictorian of the class of 2019. In her current research, she is exploring how childhood experiences of adversity alter neurobiological and cognitive development.




Fr. Alberto Carrara -Director of the Neurobioethics Group, Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum of Rome

Father Alberto Carrara, LC, is the Director of the Neurobioethics Group (GdN) of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum of Rome, a Fellow of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, and a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life where he coordinates the Neuroscience and Neuroethics Project. Father Carrara is a Professor of Philosophical Anthropology and Neuroethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum (Philosophy) and is a Professor of Neuroethics (Psychology) at the European University of Rome. Since 2016, Father Carrara has been a member of the scientific council of the Brain Research Foundation of Pisa, collaborating directly with Stephen M. Stahl (Cambridge University and University of California). Father Carrara has doctoral degrees in Medical Biotechnology (Faculty of Medicine, University of Pisa) and Philosophy (Aetneo Pontifico Regina Apostolorum of Rome). His research interests include: philosophical anthropology, biotechnology, neuroscience, neuroethics or neurobioethics, bioethics, and philosophy of mind to name a few.


"Questioning Gender: Medicine and Theology in Dialogue"  
Wednesday, October 27, 2021- 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/5:00 p.m. Pacific Time 


Check out the discussion guide and resources.

Featured panelists include:


Abigail Favale - Dean of Humanities, George Fox University

Abigail Favale, Ph.D., is Dean of Humanities at George Fox University, where she also teaches seminars in the great books. Her award-winning writing has appeared in The Atlantic, First Things, Church Life, and various literary and academic journals. Her memoir, Into the Deep: An Unlikely Catholic Conversion, was published in 2018. Abigail has an academic background in feminist and gender theory, and her latest book, The Genesis of Gender, will be released by Ignatius Press in early 2022. Abigail lives in Oregon with her husband and four children.




Fr Tad

Fr. Tad Pacholczyk Director of Education, The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. currently serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. Fr. Tad is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes and speaks widely on bioethics and medical ethics. Since 2001, he has taught bioethics classes for seminarians at St. John's Seminary in Boston, Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, MA, Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. As an undergraduate Fr. Tad earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry. He has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University. Father Tad studied for 5 years in Rome at both the Gregorian University and the Lateran University. In 2020, he was appointed to the National Institutes of Health Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board.



Paul Hruz - Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Paul W. Hruz, M.D. Ph.D. is an academic pediatric endocrinologist (hormone specialist) and tenured physician scientist with faculty appointments in both Pediatrics and Cellular Biology and Physiology.  Dr. Hruz has over 20 years of clinical experience in caring for children with disorders of sexual development.  He has received certification in Healthcare Ethics and is a regular contributor to his University's course on Research Ethics for graduate students.  He has authored over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts, scientific reviews and book chapters. Together with his wife Anne, he has raised his five children in St Louis.


"What Does it Mean to be Human?”
Wednesday, September 29, 2021- 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/5:00 p.m. Pacific Time 

Registration for this event is now closed.


Check out the discussion guide and resources.

Featured panelists include:

Melissa Moschella

Melissa Moschella - Associate Professor of Philosophy, Catholic University

Melissa Moschella is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and a Visiting Scholar at the Heritage Foundation’s B.K. Simon Center for American Studies. Her research and teaching focus on natural law, bioethics, and the moral and political status of the family. She is the author of To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education and Children’s Autonomy (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and of numerous articles published in scholarly journals as well as popular media outlets, including Bioethics, The Journal of Medical Ethics, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, The Journal of Law and Religion, The American Journal of Jurisprudence, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Public Discourse. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, received a Licentiate in Philosophy summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and received her Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from Princeton University.


Daniel Kuebler

Dan Kuebler - Professor of Biology, Franciscan University

Dr. Dan Kuebler is a Professor of Biology and Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio where he teaches courses on evolution, cell physiology, and neurobiology, as well as maintaining an undergraduate research laboratory that investigates the properties and applications of adult stem cells from human bone marrow and fat. He is the co-author of The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories (Baker Academic, 2007), a resource for cutting through the competing agendas to gain an unbiased understanding of the scientific issues involved in the debate surrounding evolution. He has also written on a variety of topics related to science, ethics, and public policy. In addition, he helped develop and currently oversees the Covid-19 testing program at Franciscan University.


Chris Baglow

Chris Baglow - Director, Science & Religion Initiative

Chris' 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.


Missed our previous series? Check out our recordings on the intersection of Racial Justice and Life Issues and the intersection of Justice and Pregnancy!