Biography of the winners

EXPANDED REASON AWARDS FIFTH EDITION

TEACHING CATEGORY

John P. Slattery, Curtis L. Baxter, Katharine Hinman and Jennifer J. Wiseman

SCIENCE FOR SEMINARIES PROGRAM

John P. Slattery is a Senior Program Associate with AAAS DoSER, and co-manages the Science for Seminaries project. He earned a B.S. in computer science from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in religious studies from Saint Paul School of Theology, and an interdisciplinary PhD in the history and philosophy of science and systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame. John’s research focuses on interactions between Christianity and science, both historically and in modern times. He is especially interested in the intersections of liberation theology with the current conversations of science, technology, and theology. He has published two recent volumes: Faith and Science at Notre Dame: John Zahm, Evolution, and the Catholic Church (2019) and Christian Theology and the Modern Sciences (2020). You can also find his work in academic journals and online. Dr. Slattery has been featured in Commonweal MagazineReligion Dispatches, and Daily Theology, and is also a Fellow at the Grefenstette Center for Ethics in Science, Technology, and Law at Duquesne University.

 

Curtis L. Baxter III is a Senior Program Associate with AAAS DoSER, and co-manages the Science for Seminaries project. After finishing his BA in religious studies and a minor in biochemistry, Curtis earned a Master of Theological Studies degree from Wesley Theological Seminary. His focus while in seminary was ethics, historical and public theology. Curtis is passionate about all things at the nexus of faith and the public square. Previously, he worked with various organizations that facilitate constructive conversations between people of faith and their communities on important issues.

 

Katharine (Katy) Hinman is the Associate Program Director for AAAS DoSER. Originally from Decatur, Georgia, she earned a BA in biology from Carleton College, a PhD in ecology and evolution from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a MDiv from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Her dissertation research focused on bat pollination of agave plants in southeastern Arizona. She was also the Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit that works with faith communities on environmental issues. Prior to joining DoSER, Dr. Hinman was the pastor at College Park First United Methodist Church in College Park, Georgia.

 

Jennifer J. Wiseman is the Director of AAAS DoSER. She is also an astrophysicist, studying the formation of stars and planetary systems using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes. Dr. Wiseman studied physics for her bachelor’s degree at MIT, discovering comet Wiseman-Skiff in 1987. After earning her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1995, she continued her research as a Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and as a Hubble Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wiseman also has an interest in national science policy and has served as an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. She has worked with several major observatories and is currently a senior astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center.  She is also a public speaker and author, and enjoys giving talks on the inspiration of astronomy and scientific discovery to schools, youth and church groups, and civic organizations. She is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation and a former Councilor of the American Astronomical Society.

ABOUT SCIENCE FOR SEMINARIES PROGRAM

Since its inception in 2014, the Science for Seminaries project of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Program (DoSER) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has brought cutting-edge science and scientists into graduate seminary courses throughout the US and Canada. The Science for Seminaries project offers grants to seminaries to incorporate modern, accurate scientific studies and results into at least two core seminary courses, and to hold at least one major event on campus during the 18-month grant period. By bringing forefront scientific engagement to theological education, Science for Seminaries prepares religious leaders to engage with forefront science through their journeys of faith and community leadership. Since the project began in 2014, Science for Seminaries has given grants to 42 seminaries, including 16 Evangelical Protestant seminaries, 15 Mainline Protestant seminaries, 10 Roman Catholic seminaries, and 1 Jewish seminary. Science for Seminaries has so far assisted in the integration of science into over 200 courses and 150 science-themed campus events, reaching over 175 faculty members and 5000 seminary students through coursework, and thousands more through campus events. Beyond individual courses, grants, and events, the Science for Seminaries project has created, nurtured, and supported a network of individuals focused on the questions addressed in this award. The staff of the DoSER program, supported by the larger organization of AAAS—the largest general scientific society in the world—has carefully recruited and collaborated with professors, scientists, and administrators who continue to seek to address the basic questions of meaning in their seminary studies. Specifically, the Science for Seminaries project has brought together individuals who want to ensure pedagogical and formational best practices by exposing future pastors to the key scientific discoveries that will drive future philosophical debates around knowledge, humanity, and ethics. Science, at its best, is a collaborative effort to uncover truth by individuals of all cultures, languages, and backgrounds. The Science for Seminaries project helps seminary professors, students, and administrators have access to the best and most accurate science not only through coursework and events, but also through the collaboration of like-minded colleagues and local scientists, as well as a new array of resources created by Science for Seminaries project leaders, the advisory committee, and the staff of the AAAS DoSER program. 

RESEARCH CATEGORY

Carter Snead

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN: THE CASE FOR THE BODY IN PUBLIC BIOETHICS

Carter Snead is Professor of Law and Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame. 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 the author of What It Means to be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics (Harvard University Press, October 2020), chosen by the Wall Street Journal as one the “Ten Best Books of 2020.” He has served as General Counsel to President Bush’s Council on Bioethics, as the US government’s chief negotiator at UNESCO for the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, and as the U.S. Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics. From 2008-12 he served on UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee, a 36-member body of independent experts that advises member states on bioethics, law, and public policy. The IBC is the only bioethics commission in the world with a global mandate. In 2016, he was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life, the principal bioethics advisory body to Pope Francis. He is also an elected fellow of The Hastings Center, the oldest independent bioethics research institute in the world.

ABOUT THE WORK

What It Means to be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics (Harvard U. Press 2020) makes two core arguments, one methodological and the other substantive. First, because the purpose of law is to protect and promote the flourishing of persons, it is always necessarily grounded in and animated by a set of presuppositions regarding what human beings are and what constitutes their thriving. Accordingly, the richest and most powerfully explanatory method of understanding law generally and the law and public policy concerning bioethics (“public bioethics”) specifically, is via an inductive “anthropological” analysis meant to uncover the law’s underwriting vision of personhood. Substantively, the book argues that when one applies this anthropological mode of inquiry to the vital conflicts of public bioethics (the law and public policy concerning abortion, assisted reproduction, and end of life decision making and assisted suicide), there emerges a vision of the person as atomized, solitary, and defined essentially by his capacity to formulate and pursue future plans of his own invention. This incomplete and thus false picture of life as humanly lived makes a very poor foundation for the law and policy of bioethics. What is needed, and what the book offers, is an “anthropological corrective” that takes seriously human embodiment and the associated gifts and challenges arising from our vulnerability, mutual dependence, and natural limits. Put simply, the book argues that by virtue of our lives as embodied, fragile beings in time, we are made for love and friendship. For the law to be truly wise, just, and humane, it must be grounded in this truth.

RESEARCH CATEGORY

Jeffrey Bishop, Andrew Michel and Therese Lysaught.

BIOPOLITICS AFTER NEUROSCIENCE: MORALITY AND THE ECONOMY OF VIrTUE

Jeffrey P. Bishop, MD, PhD holds the Tenet Endowed Chair in Bioethics and is Professor of Philosophy and of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University (SLU). Bishop also served as the director of the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at SLU from 2010-2018. In 2021, he won the H. Tristram Engelhardt, MD, PhD Award for “provocative voices in bioethics.” He is a Life Member of Clare Hall Cambridge University and an elected Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion. He recently completed a book co-authored with M. Therese Lysaught and Andrew A. Michel, Biopolitics After Neuroscience: Morality and the Economy of Virtue  (Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming in 2022). His first book, The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011) was called “the most important book” published in 2011 by the editor of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Religion and Ethics page. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and Christian Bioethics, and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics (2016-2020). Bishop’s scholarly explores the historical, political, and philosophical conditions that animate contemporary medical and scientific theories and practices. He is currently working on a two book projects, Structure and the Dynamic Heart: A Reflection on Being-Good, and Divining the Spirits: Technics, Culture, and the Work of Human Hands. The former is book exploring the intersection of ethics and metaphysics, and the latter is a work in the philosophy of technology and culture. He publishes articles diversely in medical science, medical humanities, philosophy, and theology journals, as well as articles on pop culture, theology, and philosophy. He is also the founding director of the International Academy for Bioethical Inquiry.

Andrew Michel, MD is a clinician, educator, and scholar. Michel currently serves as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Michel’s scholarship has focused on the interface of philosophy (virtue ethics), theology, contemplative spirituality, and clinical psychiatry. Michel’s academic ventures are heavily informed by daily clinical engagement with veterans who suffer with a range of negative affective experience, including psychiatric conditions connected to trauma, addiction, and disruptions of mood and cognition. Michel’s style of practice has a contemplative foundation, centered in being deeply present in solidarity with persons suffering with psychiatric illness, with the aim of healing and flourishing in the context of vulnerability. Dr. Michel formerly served as an Assistant Training Director of the Vanderbilt Psychiatry Residency Training Program and also formerly served as the Chief of Psychiatry of the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital System across middle Tennessee. Michel was involved in crafting cases and facilitating case-based learning groups for Vanderbilt Medical School’s innovative case-based learning curriculum, known as Curriculum 2.0, in the Foundations of Medical Knowledge year. He continues as a site coordinator and supervisor for the Vanderbilt psychiatry resident trainees rotating at the VA Hospital. Dr. Michel has recently accepted a position as a founding clinician-educator in Belmont University’s new College of Medicine and will begin this venture in the fall of 2021.

M. Therese Lysaught, PhD, is Professor of Moral Theology and Healthcare at the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Care Leadership at the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago. Her scholarly work brings into conversation the fields of theology, medicine, bioethics, and global health. Her books include Biopolitics After Neuroscience: Morality and the Economy of Virtue  (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022, co-authored with Jeffrey P. Bishop and Andrew Michel); Catholic Bioethics and Social Justice: The Praxis of US Healthcare in a Globalized World (Liturgical Press, 2019, co-edited with Michael McCarthy); Caritas in Communion: The Theological Foundations of Catholic Health Care (Catholic Health Association, 2014); On Moral Medicine: Theological Perspectives on Medical Ethics, 3rd edition (Eerdmans, 2012, co-edited with Joseph Kotva); and Gathered for the Journey: Moral Theology in Catholic Perspective (Eerdmans, 2007, co-edited with David Matzko McCarthy). Both Catholic Bioethics and Social Justice and Gathered for the Journey have received awards from the Catholic Press Association. In addition to writing over 100 articles/essays and presenting over 100 conference papers and invited lectures, she has served as a visiting scholar with the Catholic Health Association; on the Board of Directors of the Society of Christian Ethics; on the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) at the US National Institutes of Health; on the advisory board for the Program of Dialogue Between Science, Religion, and Ethics at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and as a member of the U.S. Catholic-Episcopal Theological Consultation under the aegis of the USCCB. She is a founding member and the incoming editor of the Journal of Moral Theology and a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. For more on her work, click here.

ABOUT THE WORK

Biopolitics After Neuroscience: Morality and the Economy of Virtue began as a project exploring the neuroscience of virtue. What we found, however, surprised us. First, we found that the neuroscience of morality was a subtle fusion of two distinct sciences—neurobiology and positive human science—each with their own approaches, methodologies, models, and theories. Even more, we discovered that at the heart of the neuroscience of morality stands a model for human behavior that was thin, fragile, meager, and gaunt—an anthropology deriving from the lineage of homo economicus. Put differently, the model for moral behavior was in fact the same model for economic behavior. Tracing these models of human behavior in neuroscience of morality from the journal science through the popular neuroscience, this project demonstrates the social and moral imaginary that shapes the scientific questions. We argue that quest of the neuroscience of morality stands in a long lineage of thinking and rationality that traces its roots through the neoliberalism of Becker, Friedman, and Knight to John Stuart Mill’s positive social science and to Bentham’s, Ricardo’s, Malthus’s, and Townsend’s empiricism, finding its foundation in David Hume’s and Francis Bacon’s skepticism. Along the way, we make clear that neoliberal political economy, with its thin moral anthropology, stems from Hume and rather than Adam Smith, and it shapes the claims by neuroscience in a way that aligns itself with the biopolitics of moral behavior. We conclude by asking what it will take to free not only neuroscience, but contemporary science as a whole, from economization and the politico-philosophical commitments of the neoliberal age in order to reorient it toward a more human science”. 

RESEARCH CATEGORY

Michael Dominic Taylor

THE FOUNDATIONS OF NATURE: METAPHYSICS OF GIFT FOR AN INTEGRAL ECOLOGICAL ETHIC

Michael Dominic Taylor, PhD, is a founding member of the International Laudato Si’ Institute of Granada and former assistant professor at the Edith Stein Institute of Philosophy (Archdiocese of Granada, Spain). He is beginning a new position as Visiting Fellow at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH. He holds degrees in philosophy, bioethics, biology and environmental studies. His interests have always been centered on the illumination of the beauty and wonder of Creation as expressed through ecology, anthropology, ethics, and metaphysics, specifically the participatory “metaphysics of gift.” He writes on bioethics, environmental ethics, transhumanism, solidarity, economics, integral ecology, theology of the body, Dante, and Thomistic metaphysics. He is the author of The Foundations of Nature: Metaphysics of Gift for an Integral Ecological Ethic (Cascade, 2020), a work that expands upon the groundwork laid in his first publication, Towards an Integral Ecological Ethic: The Renewal of Metaphysics in the Thought of Stratford Caldecott (2017).

ABOUT THE WORK

With this book, Taylor proposes a new ontological foundation for the fields of ecological ethics and bioethics alike, as two sides of the same coin. Metaphysics of gift, founded in the fundamental recognition of the gift of existence, represents the widest possible paradigm, most adequate to appreciate the depths of reality. This proposal contends with the fact that virtually all modern and postmodern thought has lost the ability to hold together both our intrinsic relationality to all other created beings, and the radiant unity of truth, goodness, and beauty of creation. Both the technocratic paradigm that views all of nature mechanistically, with indifference towards the good, and its antagonists – the eco-philosophies that attempt to emphasize relationality and the intrinsic value of non-human creatures – carry partial truths that must be recognized but that are insufficient for a truly integral ecology. At the same time, a metaphysics of gift can reorient and restore bioethical principles and procedures, often subverted by their own unacknowledged ontology, towards a trajectory that brings a new radiance to the meaning of freedom, autonomy and consensus that is built upon and upholds solidarity. This more radical alternative is rooted in the classical tradition and yet is fresh and vibrant, founded in the metaphysical synthesis of Aquinas and its subsequent developments by Ferdinand Ulrich, Erich Przywara, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and David L. Schindler, among others. Based in the giftedness of existence shared by all, a metaphysics of gift offers a deeper and more satisfying vision of all things, one that can restore hope in our common future, transform our relationships with the most vulnerable of our human brothers and sisters as well as the rest of creation, and speak to every aspect of human existence.

HONORABLE MENTION RESEARCH CATEGORY

Christopher Kaczor

THE GOSPEL OF HAPPINESS: HOW SECULAR PSYCHOLOGY POINTS TO THE WISDOM OF CHRISTIAN PRACTICE

Dr. Christopher Kaczor is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.  He graduated from the Honors Program of Boston College and earned a Ph.D. four years later from the University of Notre Dame. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Kaczor did post-doctoral work as a Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow at the University of Cologne. He was appointed a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life of Vatican City, a fellow of the Word on Fire Institute, and William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. The winner of a Templeton Grant, he has written more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. An award winning author, his sixteen books include Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for a Meaningful LifeDisputes in Bioethics, Thomas Aquinas on the Cardinal Virtues,  Abortion Rights: For and Against, 365 Days to Deeper Faith The Gospel of HappinessThe Seven Big Myths about Marriage A Defense of Dignity The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, The Ethics of Abortion, O Rare Ralph McInerny: Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame ProfessorLife Issues-Medical Choices; Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love; The Edge of Lifeand Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition. Dr. Kaczor’s views have been in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostNational Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.

ABOUT THE WORK

Just as Aristotelian metaphysics provided a new basis for the natural theology of Aquinas’s time, so too, positive psychology provides a basis for a natural moral theology in our own time. this book marshals the empirically verifiable findings of positive psychology that show the wisdom of the Christian tradition. Christian warnings about the dangers of greed, coveting a neighbor’s goods (social comparison), and pride find an empirical verification. Likewise, positive psychology vindicates the wisdom of Christian teaching on the importance of forgiveness, of gratitude, of humility, and of serving one’s neighbor. moreover, positive psychology also can be a service to Christian believers by helping them in their struggles with willpower, by providing new motivations for prayer, and by helping them identify their signature strengths. Finally, this book argues, in a variety of ways, that it is folly to think that even the best of psychology can serve as a replacement for Christianity.