W. R. (BIll) Klemm is a neuroscientist with a large number of research publications and substantial international recognition of his research. Whatever caused him to think that we ought to think about neuroscience and religion in the same context? Trained in fundamental biology and raised in Christian tradition, he is well aware of the clash between the scientific principles of evolution and certain religious doctrines. And, as a neuroscientist, he also sees a growing clash over the scientific view that mind comes from brain and the religious view of an immortal soul. It would seem that on both fronts, religion is fighting a losing battle. There is no doubt that mind clearly resides in the brain. Unresolved is the question of whether the brain is the only place mind exists.
Today's major religions arose from the Middle East and Asia and are largely unchanged from their primitive state more than two millennia ago. None of these have adequately accommodated science. We still quibble over evolution. How will we acquire the boldness and insight to accommodate the science of mind with religion? Many people do not think accommodation is possible, yet Dr. Klemm argues that neuroscience and religion can and should inform each other. After all, religious beliefs are constructed from what brains think. There is room in this universe for both. Indeed, Klemm believes that science and what we call spirituality are what the universe is all about.
But there is a problem. Religious people frequently are poorly informed about science, and scientists don't know as much as they think they know about science. Each group tends to disdain the other.
Remember Einstein's claim about "spooky physics?" That jibe was aimed at quantum mechanics. Now we have even spookier things, like string theory, parallel universes, dark matter, and dark energy. How do they relate to neuroscience? Or religion?
In recent years, Dr. Klemm has been pondering such things. Some of his colleagues have called him a "Renaissance man" because his thinking about neuroscience extends into other fields such as medicine, psychology, education, law, social and political interactions, as well as religion. In the Fall of 2013, he took the unprecedented leap of creating a college course at Texas A&M University in Neuroscience and Religion, which he plans to continue and eventually hopes to take on-line to a mass audience.
He has a new book being released in April by Prometheus/Random House: Mental Biology. The New Science of How Brain and Mind Relate.
Angela Wrigglesworth, a native Houstonian and 1999 graduate of Texas A&M University, was Ms. Wheelchair Texas 2004. She is a fourth grade teacher and received her Graduate Degree in Multicultural Urban Special Education from St. Thomas University in Houston. In 2012 Ms. Wrigglesworth was selected as the Klein Independent School District’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. Additionally, she was awarded the 2004 Houston Chronicle Crystal Teacher Award in which she and five other educators were selected out of 1600 nominees for their outstanding teaching abilities. Ms. Wrigglesworth has been an active volunteer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for many years and is a member of the National Task Force on Public Awareness. Angela is the state coordinator of the Ms. Wheelchair Texas Foundation and also serves on the Board of Directors for Camp For All, a barrier free outdoor recreational facility for children and adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities. She considers herself an expert in the art of giving and receiving help and shares that message as a keynote speaker across the country.
Dr. Don Curtis is Assistant Dean for High Impact Programs for the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University. He is also a visiting assistant professor of American History and Director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program.
Dr. Curtis received his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 2000 with a specialty in American Military and Diplomatic History. He has been at Texas A&M since 1993 and has previously served as Honors Program Coordinator for the University and Director of Undergraduate Student Services for the College of Liberal Arts. He has undergraduate degrees in Biological Science and History from the University of Nebraska and an MA in Military History from NU as well.
He is the author of Hard Times Come Again No More: General William S. Graves and the American Military Intervention in Siberia 1918-1920; Dr. Curtis has also authored several articles in military history and the applications of honors programs and learning communities in higher education.
Dr. Curtis has been married to his wife Kari for fourteen years. They have a seven year old son, Ben, a lab/hound mix puppy and an antisocial cat.
Andrew Roblyer took the stage in his first lead role at age 6 and made his directorial debut in his backyard the following year. Even at that young age, the power of storytelling fascinated him. Nearly two decades later, Andrew’s love of theatre is rivaled only by his passion for exploring the nature of communication and the power of story. This passion has expressed itself in many forms throughout Andrew’s life, and while some may seem unrelated, they all contribute to his unique perspective on art, storytelling, and relationship.
Andrew graduated from Texas A&M (Class of 2011) with a degree in Theatre Arts. During his time at Texas A&M, Andrew founded The Honorable Bards, an entirely student-run theatre company which provided an artistic outlet for students in technical and otherwise time-consuming degree programs. He was selected as a student director for the inaugural Texas A&M Student New Works Festival and premiered his first short play, Collage: A Trilogy at the same festival two years later. Andrew has also studied classical ballet and ballroom dance and was both a competitor and coach in competitive forensics at the high school and college level.
Outside of theatre, Andrew’s interest in intercultural dialogue and communication led to his selection as the Secretary General for the first Model Arab League conference held at Texas A&M University. He was also the first Texas A&M student to be accepted to the U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship Program, allowing him to travel abroad to study Arabic and learn about Middle Eastern theatre along the way.
Andrew is a founding board member of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out, an organization that uses narrative and storytelling to empower those who grew up in abusive homeschooling environments. The empowering nature of storytelling has also led Andrew to be actively involved in organizations such as the Texas A&M GLBT Resource Center, where he was an active member of the Speakers Bureau, and the Gay Christian Network (GCN), where he volunteers as an official GCN Ambassador to promote healthy dialogue and relationship.
Currently, Andrew is the Founder and Artistic Director of This Is Water Theatre, the first and only professional theatre company in Bryan/College Station, TX, where he is working to challenge how the “Facebook Generation” thinks about theatre.
Michel Slotman received his BSc and MS in Biology from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. He obtained a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University in 2003 based on his research on the genetics of hybrid sterility between two species of African malaria mosquitoes. He subsequently received post-doctoral training in the Department of Entomology at the University of California at Davis, where he studied the population genetics of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. He returned to Yale University in 2005 where he conducted additional post-doctoral research on the molecular evolution of immune genes in the Anopheles species complex. In 2008 Dr Slotman moved to the department of Entomology at Texas A&M University where is currently is an assistant professor in medical entomology. His lab studies the evolutionary and behavioral genetics of disease carrying mosquitoes.
A native of San Antonio, Cliff Dugosh has spoken to thousands of individuals throughout Texas and several states in the past twenty years. Having done over 900 speeches with audiences that have ranged from kindergartners to corporate executives, Cliff has spoken all over Texas and has also delivered speeches in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, Kansas City, Denver and numerous other cities. With a passion for college students, Cliff has spoken to students at Texas A&M, Stanford University, West Point, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, and the University of Texas.
Cliff has a bachelor's degree in health education and a master's degree in adult education from Texas A&M University. Cliff was one of twenty seniors to receive the Buck Weirus Spirit Award and was also named the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Senior in the Department of Health and Physical Education. Following graduation, Cliff was actively involved in educational affairs and youth ministry throughout San Antonio.
From 1999-2006, Cliff served as the assistant director for leadership training and development for Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center. In this capacity he worked with Texas A&M’s top student leaders. Cliff has spoken at 75 Aggie Mom’s and A&M Clubs and 25 Muster ceremonies. In 2000, he was honored as a Fish Camp namesake.
Since 2007, Cliff has spent time speaking throughout the nation and spending time at O’Connor High School in San Antonio.
For the past 20 summers, Cliff has volunteered as a counselor at Dream Street, a camp in southern California for children with life threatening or terminal illnesses. He was honored by San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District as its 2006 Pillar of Caring.