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DoSER Holiday Lecture: Are We Only Our Genes?

1200 New York Ave, Washington, DC

Almost 200 people joined DoSER on December 13 for the 2012 Annual Holiday Lecture which explored the complex relationship between genes and human identity. Renowned molecular biologist and scholar of science and religion, Denis Alexander, described recent advances in developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics and behavioral genetics, including the flurry of publications describing results from the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) consortium, and discussed their implications for notions of human freedom and responsibility. Journalist Steve Paluson responded with a discussion of the similar issues raised by developments in the field of neuroscience. Watch the lecture in its entirety below.

Video Menu

  • Opening Remarks by Edward G. Derrick: 00:01 - 1:44
  • Opening Remards by Jennifer Wiseman: 01:50 - 08:13
  • Denis Alexander: 08:35 - 56:40
  • Steve Paulson: 58:22 - 1:14:43
  • Audience Q&A: 1:15:00 - 1:43:37

Opening Remarks

Edward G. Derrick, Chief Program Director, AAAS Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs

Jennifer Wiseman, Program Director, AAAS Dialogue on Science Ethics and Religion


Denis Alexander, Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University, UK

Denis Alexander is the Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, where he is a Fellow. Dr. Alexander was previously Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Program and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge. Dr. Alexander writes, lectures and broadcasts widely in the field of science and religion and his books include such titles as Creation and Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? Alexander has also co-edited with Ronald Numbers the recent collection of essays entitled Biology and Ideology: From Descartes to Dawkins. Since1992 he has been Editor of the journal Science & Christian Belief.

Steve Paulson, Executive Producer and interviewer for the nationally syndicated public radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge

Steve Paulson is the executive producer and an interviewer with To the Best of Our Knowledge, a Peabody Award-winning radio program produced at Wisconsin Public Radio and syndicated nationally by Public Radio International.  Paulson has written for Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, The Atlantic Online, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent and other publications. His radio reports have also been broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. His recent book, Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science, was published by Oxford University Press.

Read the AAAS news story about the event.

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