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Paul and Bill focused on the 2020 elections as a point of tragically little focus in discourse or reasoning—but a good starting point for wide-ranging conversation about humanity’s desperate search for balance, hope, and sustainability in our hearts and minds. The desire for a higher wisdom—a happy medium, a golden mean—has always been complicated …
 
Brad Stalcup joins Paul and Bill in this episode to talk about his recent entry into the world of Catholic education. He began teaching religion to high school freshmen and sophomores in this fall semester of 2020—a time that Paul describes as a “baptism of fire” because of Covid-19 and today’s unusual circumstances overall. The vast majority of th…
 
In this episode, Paul and Bill are back together for a conversation that catches up on past episodes which pondered big problems in science, government, the economy, personal well-being, and more. The pondering focused on solutions as matters of step-by-step processes, but as our conversation starts, we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the enormity …
 
A solo episode from Paul. These are the notes I used... the audio is balanced differently. Insight by Bernard Lonergan and 20/20 hindsight. What else (besides the coronavirus and similar epidemics) are we not preparing for? Can we? We can't know all the unknowns, and it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to quantify the risks even for th…
 
or Paving Paradise and the Parking Lots Bill and Paul discuss attitudes toward masks, and then consider why the science wasn't more settled on the subject long before Covid-19. We discuss the obsession of modern society with all things novel and consider how this plays out in science, politics, and our individual lives and families. 1. A discussion…
 
This is part 2 of our interview with Richard Garrett, author of The Kids Are Smart Enough, So What’s the Problem? Find an overview of his distinguished career in this story about Dick’s zeal for researching and promoting education reform. (The story was written for Purdue’s College of Engineering by Bill last year.) Dick’s book traces his growing c…
 
...or as Paul wanted to put it, "Lies, D--d lies, and p-values." This episode contains a conversation between Paul and Bill in which you’ll learn new things about their experience in particular fields—geology and journalism, respectively—and where their zeal to harvest and connect information bumps up against troublesome uncertainty. You’re accusto…
 
Paul and Bill welcomed Dick Garrett to our podcast. Find an overview of his distinguished career in this story about Dick’s zeal for researching and promoting education reform. (The story was written for Purdue’s College of Engineering by Bill last year.) Dick’s book, The Kids Are Smart Enough, So What’s the Problem?, traces his growing concerns ab…
 
At the time of this taping, Paul was in the middle of the Metis “bootcamp” program learning the capabilities, tools, and insights of data science. This conversation ranged widely in the realm of data analysis and management, examining its relevance to Paul’s field of geology but also exploring the world’s immersion in what Bill would call a data ec…
 
Bill interviewed a leading Catholic voice in public affairs, especially in bioethics and the culture of life: Richard Doerflinger. His latest column for Catholic News Service examines the implications of the “Science Wins” maxim publicized by Pfizer Inc. in a recent TV commercial. You can see the commercial here. Doerflinger mentioned libertarian b…
 
Paul and Bill discussed autism—a subject that arose in Paul’s discussion with Pat Flynn in his own podcast. John Ratey, popular psychologist, talks about how our sensory apparatus affects how we function in everyday life. Paul’s comments on the subject of autism connect candidly with recollections from his early life. Hilaire Belloc, a legendary Br…
 
Part 2 of a three part conversation between Paul and Bill, where the main themes are skepticism, Catholic education, the mysterious absence of the Spanish Flu from our historical consciousness prior to 2020, and the philosophical conundrums of materialism, transgenderism, and scientism. Paul and Bill continued their conversation about skepticism to…
 
In this episode we begin with an unscheduled excursion into the realm of the neurobiology of the two hemispheres of the brain and the psychology of reparenting (with nods to our past conversations with Darcia Narvaez, and about codependency and Twelve Step work). We discussed the questions related to whether psychology based on a right-brain/left-b…
 
In this episode, Bill presents excerpts from an interview with fellow Secular Franciscan Tim Short, director of formation for the Indiana Region. They discuss, among other things, St. Francis' attitude toward creation and how it relates to the larger picture of the medieval Christian intellectual world and the birth of modern science. Tim Short, OF…
 
In this episode, Bill and Paul discuss the coronavirus, economics and risk, and the L'Aquila earthquake trial. Paul and Bill continued a discussion that began in the previous episode. They allowed the sense of gravitas they felt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to push them along a path through many uncertainties—where it’s tempting to rely on …
 
Bill and Paul discuss the topic on everyone's mind, the coronavirus and social distancing, through the lens of social polarization and isolation that already so characterized American, Western, and modern society in general. One should not assume that “social distancing” breaks connections. Paul and Bill got together to talk about the subject and f…
 
In this episode, Bill and Paul discuss the role of deacons and others filling the role of "elder" in the Catholic Church, and the need for parishes to work hard at learning how to communicate with each other in this new technologically mediated cultural world. Bill mentions new work by the McGrath Institute to help parishes with this task. Photo: a…
 
Paul, still missing his Watson Bill, opens up a discussion about questions of economics and political science, ranging from rural U.S. parishes to the geopolitics of an ideal future. This podcast's title and logo were inspired by the "What Should I Do?" discernment retreat put on by the Indy Catholic young adult ministry this past weekend.…
 
For my money, it's harder to believe in the Christian Last Things of life after death, judgment, and the end of the world than it is to believe in the "First Things" of creation and providence. The prophetic and apocalyptic literature of the Bible predict, or seem to predict amid very strange language, some very difficult things to square with our …
 
Unfortunately, this week Paul got deathly ill and that prevented us from recording the promised "end of the world" episode. Here instead is a re-edited version of Bill's interview with Fr. Robert Spitzer from August 2018 (originally run as Episode 20). One of our earliest interviews and still, amid all the great guests who have given time to this l…
 
Today's episode is getting recorded in a tight slot on Sunday night. Bill is out of town at a workshop on self-publishing and Paul has spent an awful lot of time over the last three days peering into the engine bay of a 1987 Jeep Wrangler and screwing and unscrewing things. Robert Barron and Brandon Vogt pulled excerpts from the Joe Rogen - Dawkins…
 
This week Bill prods Paul along as he recovers from a massive proposal hangover. This week's episode is the end of a much longer conversation that may or may not otherwise remain on the cutting room floor about Jordan Peterson and other topics as far afield as Homestar Runner. We run down the list of Gold Masses that have been publicly announced to…
 
Dr. Jonathan Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Science and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. He is also the vice president and a co-founder of the Society of Catholic Scientists. In this “part 5” of our interview, Dr. Lunine notes that planetary science was not always a distinct field. It drew upon co…
 
In this week's episode, we discuss the possibility of extraterrestrial life in our own solar system. Dr. Lunine talked about extraterrestrial life. It’s very possible that at least microbial life exists on other planets, he said, but the chances of complex, multicellular life are much more difficult to estimate. We simply don't know what the possib…
 
Dr. Jonathan Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Science and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. He is also the vice president and a co-founder of the Society of Catholic Scientists. In this “part 3” of our interview, Dr. Lunine talked about exoplanets. The discovery of planets outside our Solar System ha…
 
Dr. Jonathan Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Science and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. He is also the vice president and a co-founder of the Society of Catholic Scientists. In this “part 2” of our interview, Dr. Lunine cited the book Secularity and Science by Elaine Ecklund (mentioned and linked…
 
Dr. Jonathan Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Science and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. He is also the vice president and a co-founder of the Society of Catholic Scientists. Here is information about the Vatican Observatory. It was one of the starting points for Lunine’s exploration of the compat…
 
Father John Hollowell is a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He is well-known for his blog, “On This Rock.” His pastoral duties include parish leadership and chaplain roles at DePauw University and the Putnamville Correctional Faciltiy. Fr. Hollowell spoke with Paul Giesting about the number of priests throughout history who have also been…
 
This is the second half of TSSM’s interview with Megan Levis. We talked at greater length about this graduate student’s research and its good fit with values-informed thought, with the Society of Catholic Scientists, and even literature. The Society held its third annual conference at the University of Notre Dame a few months ago. In Megan’s presen…
 
Megan Levis is a fifth-year graduate student in bioengineering at the University of Notre Dame. The topic of her talk at the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Scientists was “Created in the Image and Likeness of Man.” She described the University’s bioengineering program. Growing what can be deemed the beginnings of a human brain, for pu…
 
Karin Öberg is Professor of Astronomy and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University. Planetary formation—or stars and stellar evolution—is a focus of her research. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Catholic Scientists. See her CV here. Öberg spoke of her first academic route to …
 
In this episode we have Jonathan Lunine on the podcast, this time talking to him about his own spiritual journey from Judaism to Catholic Christianity, and from the secular surface of life as a scientist to a deeper life where the beauty of science is one prominent part of a larger whole of human experience. We also get the chance to discuss some o…
 
Dr. Benjamin Rybicki, a member of the Society of Catholic Scientists, is Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Public Health Services at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. He received his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the epidemiology, demographics and genetics of sarcoidosis, Parkinson’s di…
 
Sonsoles de Lacalle, a physician and neuroscientist, has recently taken the position of professor and Chair, Health Science, at California State University Channel Islands. She previously served as associate professor of biomedical sciences at Ohio University and Director of the Office of Advanced Studies in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Os…
 
In today's episode we sit down with Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, a Dominican friar, biologist, and bioethicist on the faculty at Providence College. Similarly to our interview with Fr. Lawrence Machia, we discuss the way in which science and a vocation to both the priesthood and life in a specific religious order intertwined in his life, with the additio…
 
For background on Fr. Machia and Dr. Vanden Berk and this interview, see the show notes for Episode 68. In Episode 69, we mentioned approvingly one of the many books about Galileo, who was central to Fr. Machia’s talk at the conference. The book is Galileo’s Daughter. Contrary to a still-commonplace assumption in popular culture and the average per…
 
Father Lawrence Machia, OSB, is a Benedictine monk at St. Vincent College and Archabbey in Latrobe, PA. The public can view his 2019 Society of Catholic Scientists presentation on You Tube. Father Machia’s talk made reference to Galileo’s letter to Benedetto Castelli. Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk is an associate professor of physics at St. Vincent Colleg…
 
The conversation involving Dr. Condic, Dr. Giesting and Schmitt turned to the complexities of the nation’s debate about abortion. That debate engages a mix of biological facts (which may or may not be probed in the full context of updated knowledge), personal experiences, and deeply held principles, positions, and emotions including authentic sympa…
 
Our discussion of totipotent, pluripotent, and plenipotent stem cells helped to clarify a complex subject of great importance to many people, such as those who suffer from diseases awaiting therapies capturing the power of these cells. Dr. Maureen Condic, as a pioneer in this field, contributed insights in 2013 by developing the concept of plenipot…
 
University of Utah’s information page for Dr. Maureen Condic. She is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy, with an adjunct appointment in Pediatrics. Her research focuses on the role of stem cells in development and regeneration. She has taught human embryology in the University’s Medical School for 20 years. See Dr. Condic’s biograph…
 
This is the second part of our panel discussion with two conference attendees, Merissa Newton, a philosophy instructor at the University of New England and Geoffrey Woollard, a cancer researcher at the University of Toronto. [This file is vastly improved from the original version; Bill was able to provide a backup from his portable microphone.] The…
 
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