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Science and Religion Seminars

The Northern Plains Ethics Institute has completed the Spring 2021 presentations for the long running, town-gown Science, Religion, and Lunch Seminars (SRLS). See the Previous Presenters and Topics section below for the listing and links to the recorded presentations.  

If you would like to showcase your talents, research, or thoughtful contemplation in natural or social science, religion, or the combination of the two to a new audience in the future, then we would love to hear from you. SRLS fosters thoughtful, accessible dialogues on religion or science, with a special focus on the intersection between the two.  Presenters take the seminar’s first 40 minutes to develop their ideas for the diverse town and gown audience, and then answer questions for 20 minutes, or until we get kicked out of the room.

If you are interested in giving a seminar, then please contact Dennis Cooley at Please send a title and a short abstract. If you know of someone you think would be a good presenter, then please pass that contact information on to us.

The Seminars are held between 12:00 p.m. and 1 p.m. every other Tuesday of the semester. Each presentation may take up to 40 minutes of the hour, with the remaining 20 minutes devoted to questions and comments from the audience.

Upcoming Topic(s)

Check back for updates and upcoming presentations.Click on the title of the presentation for the full flyer.

This Fall semester's dates and presentations:

November 2nd - Kenton Rodgers, Science: What It is, What It Isn't, & What It Is Good For

November 16th - Tyler Waltz, topic TBA

November 30th - Tony Flood, topic TBA

December 14th - Dennis Cooley, It's Because No One Likes You: How Some Experts Undermine Trust of all Experts

Presentations for the Fall Semester will be on campus in the NDSU Memorial Union, Room of Nations, and simulataneously via ZOOM. 

Reminders for each presentation are sent out a week in advance. If you would like to be on the SRLS/NPEI email listserv, please send your request here

If you are interested in giving a seminar, then please contact Dennis Cooley at

Previous Presenters and Topics:

To give you some idea of how deep and wide the SRLS’s range is, I’ve included our speakers and topics from previous outstanding offerings. Click the links to see the presentations or check out the NPEIs YouTube Channel for more:

Syed Sajid Ahmad, A Few Notes from Afghan History Through Its Ages

Swami Tattwamayananda, Minister-in-charge of the Vendanta Society of Northern California, Essence of Yoga

Ganapathy Mahalingham, Surrogate Evolution - What We Waste with Material Culture

Teri A. Finneman, "I Always Watched Eyewitness News Just to See Your Beautiful Smile": The Ethical Implications of Sexism & TV News

Ann Denton - "Paradoxes between Science and Morality" 

Ahmed Afzaal - "Introduction to Prosocial"

Scott Forschler - "Determinism and Free Will"

Mark Hagerott - "The Pandemic is Accelerating Digital Transformation"

Syed Sajid Ahmand - Defining Ground Rules to Facilitate Sustainable Dialog

Dennis Cooley - It's Because No One Likes You: How a Few Experts Can Destroy Everyone's Credibility. Short Flash Presentation here.

Full Cooley presentation here

Sudarshan Srinivasan - Introduction to SGI Nichiren Buddhism. See the presentation here

Donald Miller - Do Spiritual Forms of Health and Healing Really Work?

Jane Schuh - No Rømmegrøt for You! Controversies over Gluten-Free Diets

Tony Flood - René Girard on Violence, Religion, and the Social Order

Keith Donohue - Learning about human variation: lessons from psychology’s replication crisis

Walt Clinton - Is skepticism compatible with Christianity?

Clayton Hilmert - What is Mindfulness Materialism and is it Bad for You?

Katie Gordon - When Science and Religion Meet in Mental Health Care

John Helgeland - How to Have a Constructive Conversation about Religion

Mark Chekola - Happiness/Well-Being Studies

Donald Miller - The Ethics of High Drug Prices

Anne Denton - Science vs. Morality

Swami Ishatmananda - Special Edition SRLS from the Head of the Vedanta Society, Chicago

Joel Hektner - The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Optimal Human Development

Larry Reynolds - Role of Animals and Animal Scientists in Food Security and Sustainability

Arthur Turner - Agnosticism, Atheism, and Morality

Ron Gaul - New Atheism

Clay Routledge - The Quest for Meaning in Secular America

David Pretty - Your life, your type…live it!

Mike Christoffers - Bioethics of Gene Drives

Claudia Tomany -  The Fantasy of Viking Atheism in the Modern White Supremacy Movement

Ganapathy Mahalingam - Toward Hindutva: the essence of being a Hindu

Stephanie Manesis - Compassion on the Battlefield in WWI and WWII

Syed Ahmad - Dynamics of So-called Islamic Terrorism and How to Eliminate It

Swami Atmarupananda - Can Religion Be Open, Universal, and Scientific?

Mark Hagerott - Can Humans Flourish in the Age of Robots, Cyberspace, and Artificial Intelligence

Jodi Tangen - The Jungian Shadow

Charles Sawicki - Religion and the Formation of Empires

Russell Colson - Searching for Common Ground Between Science and Faith

John Helgeland - Inspiration

Spring 2022 SRLS Dates

We have set the schedule for the Spring 2022 Semester. The presentations will also be in-person in the Memorial Union, Room of Nations on the NDSU campus and available via Zoom and the NPEIs Facebook page. 

The dates are:

January 18th, February 1st and 15th, March 1st and 22nd, April 5th and 19th, and May 3rd. 

Please contact Dennis Cooley @ if you would like to present. 

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Last Updated: Friday, October 22, 2021 12:37:07 PM
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