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Reconciling Science and Faith Conference: Contemplating Reason and Relationship

April 4-5, 2024

A Creighton Evening at the Luminarium with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.

*Luminarium Road Closing Notice for Attendees

Please register to join Creighton University which is hosting a special evening with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. at the Kiewit Luminarium.

The evening will begin with a reception in the Kiewit Luminarium River Room from 6-7 p.m. followed by special access to the flex space area and some exhibit prototypes with Tom Rockwell. From 8-9 p.m. Fr. Spitzer, S.J. will present his talk: “Science at the Doorstep to God”. Afterwards attendees are welcome to explore the Luminarium and enjoy Night Light programming.

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.’s talk is the kick-off event for the Creighton conference on the Reconciliation of Science and Religion, which will be held the following day on Creighton’s campus in the Mike and Josie Harper Center from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

This conference welcomes the perspectives of all religious traditions and faiths.

  • Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
    at the Kiewit Luminarium
  • Friday, April 5, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
    at Mike & Josie Harper Center, Creighton University

The conference is open to everyone. Registration is required as the number of attendees is limited. Registration link to come.

Conference Registration Fees

Free for all members of the Creighton community, but please register via Eventbrite to help with planning.

  • $30 for attendees interested in coming ONLY to the Friday conference sessions at Creighton University

*If someone is experiencing financial difficulties they should contact the conference organizers.

Call for Papers

According to the Catholic intellectual tradition, faith and reason are “mutually illuminating.” Pope John Paul II wrote in Fides et Ratio, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth…" For this reason, there have long been calls for intentional integration across disciplines. In the 19th century, for example, Jesuit educators made this integration explicit by coupling education in the natural sciences with along with the subjects including philosophy, theology, literature, arts, and Greek/Latin.

 While today many study the relationship of science and religion, integration still does not always occur across the disciplines in universities. And outside university walls, there is frequent reference to a so-called “warfare between science and religion” which the subtitle of a recent book terms “The Idea That Wouldn’t Die.” This can lead many to develop a bifurcated sense of the world: religious questions are the subject of theology or spirituality and questions about the natural world belong to the natural sciences, with no overlap between these questions.

The goals of this conference are:

  1. To provide a forum in which academics from various disciplines can come together to collectively engage in the intellectual work of the reconciliation of faith and reason.
  2. To accompany students in their intellectual and faith development as Creighton University exists for students and for learning.
  3. To stimulate interest in the broad questions of faith and reason and their mutual compatibility in the broader Omaha and national/international community.

This conference aims to highlight the provocative questions and insights that emerge when inquiries in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities—from astronomy, neuroscience, and psychology to sociology, history, literature, and theology and more—meet at intersections between science and religion. The organizers seek papers that address the topic of reconciling religion and science in a broad sense, in many contexts, from many perspectives, and across disciplinary boundaries.
This conference welcomes the perspectives of all religious traditions and faiths.

 Possible examples include presentations on topics such as:

  1. Historical analyses of general or specific incidents in the integration of science and religion
  2. Philosophical or theological approaches to the reconciliation of science and religion
  3. The intersection of scientific questions with religious questions in areas such as evolutionary biology, modern physics, neuroscience, psychology, medicine, etc.
  4. Sociological or anthropological approaches to the study of science and religion
  5. Studies of practice: how do various faiths and populations grapple with questions of science and religion?
  6. Pedagogical innovations: scholarship on teaching science and religion.

Please submit paper title and abstract of up to 250 words. Include name and affiliated institution. We also welcome panel/group presentation proposals. Creighton students will be presenting and participating in this conference, so we welcome students from other universities as well; abstracts may be submitted for poster presentations, panel discussions, or solo-student presentations.

Abstracts will be accepted beginning December 19th.

Submit your paper

Thursday Agenda

Keynote speaker:

  • Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, PhD – “Science at the Doorstep to God”

Reception will be held before the event.

Kiewit Luminarium

Kiewit Luminarium
345 Riverfront Drive
Omaha, NE 68102

Friday Agenda

Three keynote talks spread throughout the day

  • Joseph Vukov – "Navigating Faith and Science: From Conflict to Dialogue with Humility"
  • John H. Evans – “The History and Future of Religion in Bioethics”
  • Lisa Miller

The rest of the day will be interspersed with contributed papers from conference participants.

Mike & Josie Harper Center, Creighton University

Speaker Biographies

Robert Spitzer

Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, PhD, is a Catholic priest in the Jesuit order and president of the Magis Center and the Spitzer Center for Visionary Leadership. Fr. Spitzer was president of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009, significantly increasing programs and curricula in faith, ethics, service and leadership..

He currently appears weekly on EWTN in Father Spitzer’s Universe. His newly published books are Science at the Doorstep to God, Science, Reason, and Faith: Discovering the Bible and Science at the Doorstep to Christ.

Joseph Vukov

Dr. Vukov is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at Loyola University Chicago. He is also Associate Director of the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola, and an Affiliate Faculty Member in Catholic Studies and Psychology. Nationally, Dr. Vukov also serves as the Vice President of Philosophers in Jesuit Education.

Dr. Vukov's research explores questions at the intersection of ethics, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind, and at the intersection of science and religion. He regularly publishes and presents on his work. In 2022, he published Navigating Faith and Science, and in 2023, he published The Perils of Perfection. In Spring 2024, he will publish a book that grapples with questions arising from new forms of Artificial Intelligence.

John Evans

John H. Evans is the Tata Chancellor’s Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, Associate Dean of the Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Institute for Practical Ethics at the University of California, San Diego. He specializes in examining debates that involve religion and science in the public sphere, as well as using social science to contribute to humanistic and ethical debates.  He is the author of seven books and over 65 articles examining science, bioethics, and religion.  His most recent books are The Human Gene Editing Debate (2020, Oxford University Press) and Disembodied Brains: Understanding our Intuitions about Neuro-Chimeras and Human-Brain Organoids (2024, Oxford University Press).

With Elaine Ecklund of Rice University Evans co-founded and co-leads the Network for the Social Scientific Study of Science and Religion. In addition, Evans and Ecklund also co-direct a re-granting project funded by the Templeton Religion Trust dedicated to research in this area. Among other honors, in 2020-2021, Evans won the UC San Diego Academic Senate Distinguished Research Award. He is an Elected Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion.

Lisa Miller

Dr. Miller is Editor of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality, Founding Co-Editor-in-Chief of the APA journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice, an elected Fellow of The American Psychological Association (APA) and the two-time President of the APA Society for Psychology and Spirituality. A graduate of Yale University and University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her doctorate under the founder of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, she has served as Principal Investigator on multiple grant funded research studies. Dr. Miller speaks and consults around The Awakened Brain and The Spiritual Child for the US Military, businesses (including tech, finance, HR and sales), personal development, faith based organizations, schools and universities, and for mental health and wellness initiatives.

Lisa Miller, PhD, is the New York Times bestselling author of The Spiritual Child and a professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the Founder and Director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the first Ivy League graduate program and research institute in spirituality and psychology, and has held over a decade of joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical School. Her innovative research has been published in more than one hundred peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, including Cerebral Cortex, The American Journal of Psychiatry, and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.



Luminarium Road Closing Notice

Riverfront Drive will be closed from the South end (the road connecting to Douglas street and downtown), so that Luminarium access will only be from the North side (Abbot Drive, turn right on Riverfront Drive, pass Gallup and arrive at the Luminarium).