All I've got time to share with you this week is the exciting news that we will be providing coverage of the Society of Catholic Scientists conference happening at the University Notre Dame from June 7-9. We will be sharing interviews with Stephen Barr, the president of the SCS, about the Society and the conference in the coming weeks, along with more interviews hopefully to come with speakers and other people involved in putting things together. Bill and I are excited about this chance to help out a group that we think is doing such important things by bringing Catholic scientists together!
In this episode we roll out a new format for Season 2.
We recap Season 1 (April 2018 - March 2019) and the three focus areas of the podcast so far:
- Discussion of the fundamentals of the question whether it's reasonable to believe in both science and the Catholic Christian faith, and some exploration of particular topics, like the role of geology in the interpretation of the book of Genesis.
- Review and comments on the speakers at the Society of Catholic Scientists Conference 2018.
- Interviews with scientists and scholars living out their Christian faith, many of whom are actively trying to spread the truth that the presumed conflict between science and religion is false, born from shoddy understandings, strawman arguments, and reactions against hypocrisy. Three of these people (Patricia Bellm, Chris Baglow, and Jay Martin) do this work at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.
We then go on to discuss our plans for coming episodes, turning to topics of religion, spirituality, and psychology (including topics like child development and addiction) where the intersection of faith and science allows us to build new solutions or give tremendous new life to old solutions to the problems of human life.
What sense can we make of the ancient and medieval idea that "the soul is the form of the body" in the light of contemporary neuroscience and psychology?
Highlight this idea's differences from Platonic and Cartesian dualism.
History of psychology as a discipline. Psychology has not evolved (a) master paradigm(s) that compel the bulk of the field to adhere to them the way that plate tectonics did for geology, Newtonian classical physics and then quantum and relativity did for physics, etc.
Peace of Soul (Fulton Sheen) remark that psychology has been furtively recycling Christian ideas and passing them off as new for a long time
Examining the convergence points of the advice for living from the Bible and Tradition, modern psychology, and the contemporary self-help / New Age-y movement that continues to spread and adapt through large sectors of modern culture.
Confidence, faith, negative tapes...
Twelve Step spirituality (Richard Rohr and the intense overlap between 12 Step and Catholic spirituality)
Even many of us who are explicitly Christian have internalized a kind of Lutheran / Jansenist belief that we are so terrible that, in essence, God made a mistake in going to all this effort to save us, because we're not worth it. This is one of a number of areas in contemporary Catholic and Christian culture where we have let our understanding of Scripture and Tradition get very warped and imbalanced.
Issues surrounding how the Christian and scientific understanding of universal history could fit together.
What will "the end of the world" look like? Will it be the end of the whole universe or not? Will there be human colonies on other planets, orbiting other stars? How would the Apocalypse play out then?
You can find That's So Second Millennium at all of these places:
@infamousDrG on Twitter
That's So Second Millennium page on Facebook
giesting -at- alumni.nd.edu is Paul's email address
Please be in touch with your feedback, ideas for new episodes, and conversation of any kind!
Themes we'd like to grapple with in the Year of Our Lord, 2019, and beyond:
Last year was largely about the intellectual challenge leveled by many against religion, and we will continue talking about that as the podcast moves forward.
Paul's mission this year to work through Road to Reality
This year we also want to broaden the scope to include places where religion and faith converge, which means we're going to discuss psychology.
Looking forward to the SCS conference topic for this coming year: what it is, and has been, to be human. Neuroscience and what it implies for anthropology, and where it meets Catholic Christian anthropology coming the other way.
What is consciousness, anyway? What parts of the brain seem to be involved, and what do they do?
What is free will, anyway? Where are those breakpoints where the soul would have to affect the body in order for that to even work?
Crisis points in the way people in the post-Christian West approach the world.
Center for Ethics & Culture annual conference in 2018: Wilfred McClay & John Waters
"we care about everything, but without God... we have responsibility for everything, but we know that we are flawed and unable to provide solutions"
Post-Christian in this context includes both people who have explicitly renounced the Christian faith of the West and those who have a Christian identity in their back pocket somewhere but in reality are not relying on Jesus Christ or his teachings to guide their lives in any conscious way.
Christianity is a demanding religion. If you suck away all the grace and help it promises, but leave some of its demands for social justice or purity of intention, you have a recipe for constant internal condemnation.
Wilfred McClay (University of Oklahoma) on “Guilt in the Immanent Frame”, and John Waters on “The Importance of Not Being God: A Higher Power Is Indispensable for Human Beings and Human Societies”
No, not THAT John Waters.
We are changing some things for the new year. Bill and I have really enjoyed doing the podcast so far, and have gotten the chance to talk to some fascinating people. On January 7, we will have a new year's episode where we discuss new directions for the content of the podcast in the coming year.
In the meantime, enjoy the updated website format here at tssm.podbean.com. I think it looks a lot cleaner and better, and it gave me the excuse to put a photo of Kilauea Iki on the front page.
Finally, be on the lookout for our special episode on the Star of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve!
We hope you've enjoyed the podcast so far, and in particular our last two episodes with Guy Consolmagno.
TSSM has been running for over six months now, and we would love to get your feedback on how to make it better:
- What topics or approaches have you liked and want more of?
- Whom should we seek out for interviews? We definitely are cooking up our own lists, but you can influence us!
- What should we do less of?
- What about the audio works or bothers you?
- Volume (too low, too high, not consistent enough?)
- Quality (noise, voices muffled, other problems)
Feel free to comment at our Facebook page (look at the Links section to the right) or send Paul an email (there is also a link for that). We are really looking forward to hearing from you.