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DoSER’s Science for Seminaries Wins Expanded Reason Award

Science for Seminaries faculty take a paleobiology laboratory field trip in 2019. | Lilah Sloane-Barrett/AAAS

AAAS’ Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) program has received the 2021 Expanded Reason Award in the teaching category for their work connecting religious leaders with the latest scientific research and promoting dialogue between and among religious and scientific communities.

The award goes to AAAS’ John Slattery, Curtis Baxter, Katy Hinman and Jennifer Wiseman for their work on the Science for Seminaries project.

Science for Seminaries, a DoSER initiative active since 2014 in partnership with the Association of Theological Schools, supports seminaries from  the U.S. and Canada as they incorporate science into their coursework and campus life. Its aim is to foster a positive understanding of science among future religious leaders and encouraging dialogue on scientific topics among religious communities. To date, 42 seminaries representing a range of religious traditions and reaching thousands of seminary students have taken part in the project.

Science for Seminaries speaks directly to the anthropological, epistemological, and ethical questions posed by the Expanded Reason Awards by requiring participating seminaries to incorporate cutting-edge scientific studies into at least two core courses and to hold at least one major event on campus throughout their 18 months of participation in the project, according to the DoSER team.

“The Expanded Reason Award confirms what we have known for a while about the Science for Seminaries Project,” said Slattery, co-lead of the project. “Direct science engagement with seminary professors makes for better pedagogy for teachers, creates well-informed religious leaders, and opens the door for a lifetime of positive and enriching science engagement for religious communities. We are thrilled with the honor of this award and look forward to continuing our project for years to come.”

The University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Spain and the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, inspired by a proposal of the pope emeritus to widen the “horizons of reason,” teamed up to create the Expanded Reason Institute. Since 2017, the institute has bestowed the Expanded Reason Awards upon “research and teaching programs that, from the various particular sciences, pose fundamental questions and seek answers in open reason, always at the service of truth, the person and the transformation of society,” according to the institute.

Each winning team receives a prize of 25,000 Euro. They also receive an invitation to present at the Expanded Reason Congress, an international symposium to be held in 2021 or 2022 that explores the dialogue between science, philosophy and theology in academia today.

In addition to DoSER’s teaching award, the institute honored three individuals or teams with research awards and named one research honorable mention. A full list of winners is available on the Expanded Reason Awards website.


Andrea Korte

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