CATEGORY

RESEARCH

WINNERS 

RESEARCH

Javier Sánchez Cañizares

Singular Universe

Javier Sánchez Cañizares (Córdoba, 1970) has a PhD in Physics from the Autonomous University of Madrid (1999) and a PhD in Theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome (2006). He has been Assistant Professor in the Department of Theoretical Physics of Condensed Matter at the UAM, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at the Faculty of Theology at the UNAV and is currently Associate Professor at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy at the UNAV. He directs the group “Science, Reason and Faith” (CRYF) and is a researcher of the group “Mind-Brain” of the Institute of Culture and Society. He has published over 60 research articles in physics, philosophy and theology. Among others, he has published the following books: “The Revelation of God in Creation: Patristic References to Acts 17:16-34” (EUSC 2006); “Human Morality and the Paschal Mystery. The hope of the Son” (EUNSA 2011); “Reason and faith: the fullness of moral life” (EUNSA 2013); “Creative nature” (RIALP 2018) (with Javier Novo and Rubén Pereda). His main interests focus on the relationship between science and religion, the philosophy of nature and the relevance of quantum mechanics to the understanding of human uniqueness in the universe.

RESEARCH

Juan Arana

The unexplained conscience. Essay on the limits of naturalistic comprehension. 

(La conciencia inexplicada. Ensayo sobre los límites de la comprensión naturalista).

University professor since 1975. Doctor of Philosophy since 1978. Member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of Madrid. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Seville since 1986. Teaching imparted at:: Universities of Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Mexico City, Santiago de Chile, Lima, Montevideo, Río Piedras and Mayagüez (Puerto Rico), Málaga, Granada, Pamplona, Salamanca and Madrid. Humboldt Fellow. Visiting Professor at: Münster Universität, Technische Universität Berlin, Mainz Universität, Paris IV-Sorbonne, CSIC, Madrid. Five recognized six-year research periods. Author of 18 monographs, 6 editions, around 220 book chapters and articles in scientific journals. Editor responsible for 12 collective volumes. Founder-director of three scientific journals and two editorial collections. Member of the editorial board, editorial board or editorial board of 12 scientific journals. Member of the boards of directors of 4 scientific associations. Member of the ethics committee of the CSIC, as well as of the bioethics subcommittee of the same body.

 

About The Unexplained Conscience

The spectacular development of neurosciences and artificial intelligence in recent decades has encouraged the hope of explaining all aspects and dimensions of mental life with the methods and concepts of the natural sciences. However, the phenomenon of consciousness is so far an unmanageable challenge. This book examines all aspects of the problem and concludes that the most characteristic features of consciousness go beyond the intrinsic limits of the naturalistic explanation and probably those of any other kind of explanation.

“In the course of writing this book, I have allowed myself to be quite frank, because I believe that many good works are being published that maintain a conciliatory tone and objectively expose the problems of the human mind, but there are few that are openly confrontational with those that follow a materialistic inspiration (which constitute a large majority among those found in bookshops under the rubric of ‘scientific diffusion’). I find myself in a professional situation that allows me to call a spade a spade, which in the case of the youngest would be imprudent, as their promotion could be undermined. I have therefore taken the risk of saying what I think quite bluntly, making it clear that I am speaking at my own risk, and that I do not intend to be a spokesperson or representative of anyone or anything. In the polemic I have tried to be respectful of people and theories, although as there are different sensibilities, I do not exclude that some readers may find that I sometimes defend my points of view with excessive vehemence. The only apology I can give is that I have tried to be as ironic with myself as I am with my adversaries.

 

On many points I have touched on issues of theological relevance, such as the soul-body relationship and human singularity. Being aware that I was on slippery ground there, I asked for advice when I finished the manuscript from some specialists I trusted. One of them told me that in his opinion it should have been something more explicit, because in my book there are hardly any references to God or transcendence. I replied that if the reading produced the feeling of a thunderous silence about God, then I had achieved my goal. I wanted to write an apologetic text without making any mention that could pass for a theological argument. In three or four places I have warned of the imminence of this problem, but declined to enter it. The idea is to put the reader in the trigger to draw his own conclusions. Consciousness cannot support its feet in nature, but neither can it support itself. Ergo, either we take the step towards Consciousness with capital letters or we stay in the air. Is it necessary to be more explicit? If the book tastes little, that’s precisely its purpose: to serve as an appetizer.

 

 

CATEGORY

TEACHING

WINNERS 

TEACHING

Gonzalo Génova and María del Rosario González

Ethics for engineers: between survival and dignity.

(Ética para ingenieros: entre la supervivencia y la dignidad).

Gonzalo Génova is a Telecommunications Engineer (1992), Bachelor of Philosophy (1996) and PhD in Computer Engineering (2003). From 1999 to the present he is a member of the Department of Computer Science of the University Carlos III of Madrid. In the 2013-2014 academic year, he has carried out a research and teaching stay in Santiago de Chile, working at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the Andrés Bello National University, and the University of Santiago de Chile. As part of his research work he has published specifically in the area of computer engineering, and has also cultivated the philosophy of technology.

María del Rosario González is graduate (1996) and has a PhD (2004) in Philosophy and Educational Sciences. Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the Complutense University of Madrid. Member of the UCM Research Group on Civic Culture and Educational Policies. She has been a professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Santiago de Chile. His main lines of work are the Philosophy and Ethics of Education, mainly from a phenomenological and personalistic approach.

About Ethics for Engineers

Nowadays, engineering is not only what makes the world inhabitable, but also what is capable of generating new forms of habitability, and even of transforming our way of being and being in the world. The engineer cannot simply be in the hands of the market or the companies, but must consider the world he creates from his ingenuity. We need engineers capable of ethical reflection, committed to a more humane world, more just, more supportive, more respectful of the dignity of people and nature; engineers with sensitivity, capable of recognizing the sacredness of every human being.

To this end, we have developed this course; Ethics for Engineers: between survival and dignity. The course is not so much about the professional deontology of the engineer, but above all about the ethics explained to his mentality. For the engineer’s mentality, the real is what can be touched and measured, the prototype of rational thinking is mathematical-deductive reasoning, and the best results are obtained following standard procedures. Therefore, it is a priority to confront from the very beginning the difficulties that an engineering student has in recognizing the value of specifically ethical and philosophical thinking, and to be able to achieve a synthesis of scientific, technical and ethical knowledge, which also generates a true awareness of one’s own responsibility in one’s professional life.

TEACHING

John C. Cavadini, James Martin, Patricia Bellm and Christopher T. Baglow

Catholic Educators to Engage the Dialogue Between Science and Religion.

John C. Cavadini is Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life. He teaches, studies and publishes in the area of patristic theology and in its early medieval reception. He has served a five-year term on the International Theological Commission (appointed by Pope Benedict XVI) and recently received the Monika K. Hellwig Award from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Life.

Patricia C. Bellm was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and is Co-Director of the Science & Religion Initiative at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. After a previous career as a chemical engineer and chemist, working in various parts of the world, Patricia Bellm accepted the invitation to study theology at the University of Notre Dame. As a scientist and a theologian, her unique perspective helped her to illuminate the detrimental impact unchallenged claims of incompatibility between science and faith had on Christian stewardship in research and engineering projects.

Working through the perceived conflict between science and faith, she became a passionate supporter of middle and high school teachers who were on the same journey. Rooted in the tradition of Origen and Augustine, she and her team developed the Science & Religion Initiative which effectively changes the way educators understand their Catholic faith informing their work with the next generation of Catholic leaders.

A native of Grand Cayman and Savannah, Georgia, Jay Martin is a doctoral candidate in Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame and serves as Co-Director of the Science & Religion Initiative in the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.  His primary area of research is at the intersection of Roman Catholic theology and contemporary philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, and politics.  This research has deeply influenced his own approach to the dialogue between science and religion, particularly with respect to analyzing the discourse of both modern science as well as its religious detractors.  As a former secondary educator in the American Catholic school system, Martin sees his work with the Science & Religion Initiative in a broadly evangelizing context.  The Initiative endeavors to share with high school students not only the Church’s teaching on the compatibility between science and religion but also the rich history of ecclesiastical support for and critical role in the development of the sciences.

Christopher T. Baglow is Full Professional Specialist in the Science and Religion Initiative of the McGrath Institute for Church Life of the University of Notre Dame. Since 2005 he has directed numerous programs of faith-science integration at Catholic high schools, and is Director of Foundations New Orleans, a week-long summer seminar for Catholic high school science and religion teachers. Baglow is the author of the high-school textbook Faith, Science and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge.

About Catholic Educators to Engage the Dialogue Between Science and Religion.

The Science & Religion Initiative in the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, IN, exists to serve the Church by promoting the dialogue between science and religion in Catholic secondary education in America.  Since its inception in 2014, the Initiative has sought to provide opportunities for Catholic educators and administrators to learn more about the science and religion and to create effective and innovative curricula that address the perceived conflict between faith and reason.  By creating a full complement of seminar and in-service programming, which brings teachers and administrators together with leading figures in the fields of physics, astronomy, biology, theology, and philosophy, as well as through the creation of educational and academic resources to be used in the classroom, the Science & Religion Initiative has trained several hundred educators in the Catholic school system in the United States.  The Science & Religion Initiative is supported by the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation.

HONORABLE MENTION

Brad Gregory

The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society

Brad S. Gregory is Professor of History and Dorothy G. Griffin Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught since 2003, and where he is also the Director of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.  From 1996-2003 he taught at Stanford University, where he received early tenure in 2001.  He specializes in the history of Christianity in Europe during the Reformation era and on the long-term influence of the Reformation era on the modern world.  He has given invited lectures at many of the most prestigious universities in North America, as well as in England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Romania, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Israel, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand.  Before teaching at Stanford, he earned his Ph.D. in history at Princeton University and was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows; he also has two degrees in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. 

Professor Gregory’s first book, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Harvard, 1999), received six book awards. He was the recipient of two teaching awards at Stanford and has received three more at Notre Dame.  In 2005, he was named the inaugural winner of the first annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities, a $50,000 award from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture given to the outstanding mid-career humanities scholar in the United States.  His book The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (Belknap, 2012) received two book awards, garnered over 100 reviews internationally, and has been or is currently being translated into Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.  His most recent book is entitled Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts that Continue to Shape Our World (Harper, 2017). 

HONORABLE MENTION

David Wilkinson

Science, Religion and the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence.

f the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe is just around the corner, what would be the consequences for religion? Would it represent another major conflict between science and religion, even leading to the death of faith? Some would suggest that the discovery of any suggestion of extraterrestrial life would have a greater impact than even the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions.

It is now over 50 years since the first modern scientific papers were published on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Yet the religious implications of this search and possible discovery have never been systematically addressed in the scientific or theological arena. SETI is now entering its most important era of scientific development. New observation techniques are leading to the discovery of extra-solar planets daily, and the Kepler mission has already collected over 1000 planetary candidates. This deluge of data is transforming the scientific and popular view of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Earth-like planets outside of our solar system can now be identified and searched for signs of life.

Now is a crucial time to assess the scientific and theological questions behind this search. This book sets out the scientific arguments undergirding SETI, with particular attention to the uncertainties in arguments and the strength of the data already assembled. It assesses not only the discovery of planets but other areas such as the Fermi paradox, the origin and evolution of intelligent life, and current SETI strategies. In all of this it reflects on how these questions are shaped by history and pop culture and their relationship with religion, especially Christian theology. It is argued that theologians need to take seriously SETI and to examine some central doctrines such as creation, incarnation, revelation, and salvation in the light of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.