Complete Podcast Interview Transcript:


Announcer:                        00:06                    

Welcome to the Purpose Nation Podcast. Inspiring conversations with Christians in science, technology and industries of the future. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit

Daniel Kuebler:                 00:18                    

This is Brad Cooper with Purpose Nation. And today we are really excited to be joined by a biologist, Professor Daniel Kuebler. Professor Keubler, welcome to Purpose Nation!

Daniel Kuebler:                 00:26                    

Thanks Brad! Thanks for having me. Delighted to I talk to you today.

Brad Cooper:                     00:28                    

Welcome and we're super excited to have Professor Kuebler with us. He's our first biologist on the podcast which is great! He's also our first guest who is a head coach of the cross-country running team, I think. is that right Professor Kuebler?

Daniel Kuebler:                 00:28                    

Yes, yes I am.

Brad Cooper:                     00:28                    

So how is the team looking this year?

Daniel Kuebler:                 00:43                    

We have a pretty solid team this year. I'm really excited about it. It's nice that I teach some courses and exercise physiology. This is an overlap between between what I teach and my coaching. So and do a good job of recruiting biology majors to the team as well.

Brad Cooper:                     00:58                    

Oh that's awesome! Yeah you get the double whammy there. So runners and biologists is a great combination. It's awesome. I was on the cross-country team in high school. I love running you know but these days I pretty much get exhausted just chasing my kids up the stairs.

Daniel Kuebler:                 01:14                    

That's where I am every year I get a little slower so I will go a little further in front of me. I mean that's good.

Brad Cooper:                     01:19                    

I think you probably do a good number of kilometers out there on the road. So that's I respect that a lot and that's awesome. So and it's great that also ties into your background which I'd like to just kind of give a quick background anyway. It's kind of hard because you've got a lot going on there. But Professor Kuebler is a Professor of Biology and Department Chair of the Biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville which is a Catholic university, seems like a great school. He teaches evolutionary biology, cell biology and human physiology. And as you just touched on there his research revolves around a couple of areas of regenerative medicine and knee osteoarthritis which I didn't realize it affects this many people of 27 million adults in the U.S. are affected by this. Yeah. He conducts research also on seizure disorders faced by millions of peoples as well including people with epilepsy. And so he's written important papers on these subjects. He's also the co-author of a book called The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories is kind of a book that looks at the different theories of evolutionary thought. It's a great book. We'll definitely have a link to that on the podcast. And he's been published many times in a lot of popular articles on science and the Catholic and Christian faith. And he received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and earn a Master's of Science and Cell and Molecular Biology from the Catholic University of America.  And he also holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from the Catholic University of America. Great stuff always excited especially to hear you know and have guests who are known for some of the research projects at least are focused on curing diseases or things that really can have an actual kind of hands on impact. Sometimes we talk to astronomers is kind of for people it's not as a close connection and you talk about cosmology as to us actually a stuff that can help you know people right now today. So I love talking about that it's kind of near to near and dear to our hearts at Purpose Nation. So Professor Kuebler if you could give us a little bit of an overview of a few of the kind of main high level projects that you're involved with?

Daniel Kuebler:                 03:16                    

Yeah. So for years I had worked on looking at seizure disorders and looking at the effect that diet has on that. There's a lot of people that don't respond to current treatments. And there's a whole range of different sort of causes of epilepsy many of which aren't really known. So treatments that work for certain people but don't work for others. But we found certain diet seem to, particular diets that are rich and fat, tend to reduce seizures so we have an animal model actually fruit flies have seizures that we could treat them different things and reduce their seizures. Then look to see you know how that changes their behavior and what's going on in terms of the metabolites. So it's interesting sort of model to try that then they will come up with ideas of ways to cure humans. But about seven years ago I was approached by some orthopedic doctors who were looking to develop better techniques to use adult stem cells to treat orthopedic injuries like osteoarthritis, tendinopathy and so forth.  And so what they do is we'll extract bone marrow which is rich in certain types of adult stem cells particularly ones that can give rise to cartilage cells and they also will use platelets and adult stem cells from fat and slid into different procedures. But the research on which one might work best for what type of injuries is really in its infancy. So I started working with a number of doctors doing sort of basic lab research to sort of grow these cells see how they respond to different combinations so should you pick a bone marrow with platelets so should you mix bone marrow with fat, how did they behave? We look and see how they behave in cell culture that give us some clues about whether they're going to do well when you put it back into the body.  One of the studies we're looking at right now is looking at how these cells just respond to the fluid that's in the knees. So if you take a you know the synovial fluid out of a healthy knee and compare it to the synovial fluid for someone that has osteoarthritis. Those are two really different environments so for putting stem cells into this sort of nasty environment where you have this inflammation or osteoarthritis fluid, ow well do the cells do and what supplements you have to give them to have the cells you know thrive in that environment to help possibly regenerate the tissue. Thefascinating area because there's so little that's known there's so many questions and it's really an exploding area at the level of basic research to the level of applied research that just so many strains of thought out there and trying to sort through it all is going to take decades I think.

Brad Cooper:                     05:34                    

Yeah it sounds like it that's pretty amazing and sounds like you know you're part of being on the forefront of it there at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  So if you can also just tell us real quick about, give your chance to give a plug for your college there because I mean this is great stuff and pretty cutting edge you know research that you're involved with at university that's also happens to be a Catholic university. So I mean you tell us at the university as well in your department there?

Daniel Kuebler:                 05:55                    

Yes. Our department here at Franciscan, it is an undergraduate only but you know our goal with our students is to pair them. Most of them are looking at allied health fields you know medicine, physical therapy, doctors of physical therapy, physician assistant programs and so forth or going on to Ph.D. programs and really the only way to fully to teach science is actually to have students do it. And that's something that we really emphasized here so all of our faculty have active research programs going. We have funding to support students during the year and during the summer. But 70 percent of our students end up doing research with faculty before they graduate. And that's really essential I think at the undergraduate level so a lot of times you think you go to a small undergraduate school you might not get many research opportunities and that's not the case here. You have to have those to really prepare students to go into graduate school or medical school.  It's a really exciting time in our universe because we really made an effort to increase the research that goes on in the sciences. We have a lot of young faculty members that have come in with research programs that are excited to work with the students. And so you get a student focus to work with the faculty member and you get to do some really interesting and sort of cutting edge research at a relatively small university.

Brad Cooper:                     07:07                    

That's great. And again with the Catholic faith you know that you hear a lot about at universities I mean even Harvard had a Christian foundation. And so you know some some schools will talk about a quote unquote sort of the Catholic tradition or a quote unquote Christian you know tradition for your university, university as I understand it, it's kind of more than just you know a tradition you're sort of living out and acting out your faith as well.

Daniel Kuebler:                 07:26                    

Yeah without a doubt. I mean it is a you know a truly Orthodox Catholic University it's a commitment that our father Scanlon who was the president of the university back in the 70s 80s and 90s sort of made. And it's really an organic thing because it's not something that we have to legislate from the top down. The students that we bring in are looking for an organic Catholic you know authentic Catholic environment and the faculty we bring in. They want to be here because of that authentic Catholic environment and so you just have a very unique atmosphere on campus and you really feel passionate about these students because you could see that they're driven to serve God to serve Christ and so you want to give them the best preparation because you know when they get out there in a medical school and they go out there to grad school they're going to have to you know stand up for things that are going to be difficult.  So you want to make sure that they are well prepared for that you know spiritually philosophically theologically but more importantly you want to make sure they're prepared scientifically. So they're going to be able to thrive when they get out there and their peers are going to respect them and respect their opinions because they are well prepared. They know what they're talking about.

Brad Cooper:                     08:33                    

All right. That's great. Now take us back a little bit into your own personal background. I seen it as an undergrad in English so how did we get from England you to biology and sort of you can walk us through. Maybe I'm guessing there was some interest in science or biology back there in the childhood or teen or early college years but sort of how did you come into into the work that you're in now?

Daniel Kuebler:                 08:57                    

Really as a child, as a teenager that I never really saw sciences never really on my radar. I had some engineers in the family but there is no basic scientist in the family so it wasn't something that I was aware of really growing up and I think I went to college and I switch my major every semester for the first two years. And so you know I was interested in a lot of different things about my junior year I decided you know maybe I'll go to med school. And so I started taking all the prerequisite to go to med school to apply, to settle down and being an English major because I was the fellow that I loved to write and love to read. And the professors I had at the english department at the Catholic University were excellent.  But what really sort of set me on my path was in my senior year there I was asked to do research in the lab of a professor.  He's now the Chair at Catholic University of America, Venigalla Rao, and that's when I really realized that science was about asking questions and exploring frontiers. You know I think growing up we thought science was the classiest going to memorize all the answers and boom boom is going to back out. I never really had a you know a great experience in the science in high school and so when I had the experience in the lab where I'm like so nobody knows the answer to this now. So you've got to come up with this experiment we're going to do to try to answer this and then you have to think well will this experiment actually answer this and is all the this year at the forefront of knowledge.  The puzzle solving the thrill of discovery really captured me and I was only working on bacteria viruses time but I really was brought into that and that really changed my view of science and my desire to go into science.

Brad Cooper:                     10:31                    

That's amazing. Couple of things you highlighted there is this something I heard in other various interviews too is one it seems like there's a professor or somebody who sort of connects the dots or you and making it kind of more interesting from a problem solving our puzzle solving and he said it's just great. And also can you talk about your Catholic faith background?

Daniel Kuebler:                 10:50                    

Yeah I was raised Catholic and you know when I went off to college I went to Catholic University went to Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. So my faith was always part of my life but it wasn't I don't think really my faith until I ended up going to Cal-Berkeley for my Ph.D. I think you know when you're Catholic University and everybody's you know sort of Catholic you sort of don't think about it. So something you do you know a lot of my friends you know were time to go to Mass on Sunday and don't really challenge as much in your face. And then being at Berkeley in that environment sort of thought, Why am I Catholic? Why do I believe the things that I do. Because you were challenged on that. It was in that environment that I really I think took started to take my faith seriously and it actually became my faith and I sort wanted to understand why did I believe or do the things that I did.

Daniel Kuebler:                 11:36                    

Why would I want to live my life in this way? In that environment when you're challenged you either say well it's not worth it or you sort of double down and really understand what it is that you're living for. And that was the way it happened with me being in an environment that wasn't necessarily amenable to my faith was what made my faith sort of develop into what it is now.

Brad Cooper:                     11:57                    

And what were some of the steps you took to sort of I guess gird up against some of the challenges that you saw? Were there particular books or philosophers or you know was her resources or people that you sort of turn to that sort of provide you with some of the background on OK,  Well here, because I'm guessing also you're you're at Berkeley and then you know the field that you're in those two combinations are not necessarily wide open for people to sort of insert God into the picture of evolution or creation. So I mean what were some of the things that you can think back to that that sort of supported you during that time?

Daniel Kuebler:                 12:32                    

Yeah. Initially you know there was a lot of conversations I had remember a couple of Post-Docs and other labs that were interested in sort of some of these questions. They didn't fall on the same side of the issues necessarily that that I did but I did find a few people that were interested in talking about these things, about you know what is the implication of the evolutionary understanding of the human person. Does that mean that there is no God? We would discuss some of these things and it was nice to have people that were open and interested in talking about these.  And then the other day was just finding a community of believers in Berkeley and you know no matter where you are, where you live, you can find people and find friends that actually are fine to live out their faith and you really need that particularly in an environment like that.  And then I still have in contact with some of those people even though it's been 20 years now I think since I was out there that that's absolutely essential I think that type of environment is finding people that are open to you and open to discussing these things even if they don't agree with you can really be beneficial.  And then finding people that actually a like minded in the faith.

Brad Cooper:                     13:39                    

And now taking us back up to sort of present day, one or a few of the other discoveries that have been made recently or kind of key issues that you're involved with that people in our audience may have heard of. What are both the promises of those? And then also on the flipside what are some of the potential ethical concerns that we need to be aware of?

Daniel Kuebler:                 13:58                    

Yeah I think what's really been sort of been in the news recently and one of the things that I think is something that's going to have wide ranging implications if we pursue it as a society is this genetic engineering of embryos and sort of this crisper technology to be able to go into an embryo and switch out a gene that is defective and replace it with a healthy one. On the surface you know again that sounds like a great thing we're going to be able to cure diseases. But the reality is that this technique is going to change, I think if it ends up making it into the clinic is going to change the way we really view humanity in the way we actually produce children. Becauseif you know it's very difficult to legislate and determine where you draw the line between fixing a problem fixing the disease and where it becomes enhancement. People will argue about where that line is. I don't think there is an easy to define line and once you start doing genetic manipulation of embryos and you start doing things that can handsomely techniques genetic enhancement where you're replacing you know a normal copy gene with a more enhanced copy for example you start to get to the point where that is the way we expect our children to be. And that requires that of IVF in vitro fertilization. So the normal way of procreation is suddenly going to become sort of secondary and I think with the factors that might come into play with you know insurance companies that we have. If we're born with this gene we're not going to insure you or we expect you know people with this genetic make up not to exist or be born that changes I think the way that we now expect to procreate.  And I don't think anybody really appreciates that. But that's something we're right at the beginning of this phase. But if you look 30 40 years down the road that's exactly where we end up. I don't think people are aware of that. As we start down this road you know and I think you know a lot of the CRISPR technology the genetic manipulation you know so you know if you have a lot of these early papers they're showing this practice in human embryos you can remove a defective gene that causes this you know rare blood disease, for example, in an embryo. You know in reality what people are going to do is create a bunch of embryos screened them find the one that doesn't have that disease and go ahead and implant that one.  There's going to be few cases where I think you're going to actually need to do CRISPR to remove a defective gene if you make 10 embryos most of them aren't going to be carried to disease genes. I mean you can screen for them and implant them. And so I don't think this CRISPR technology is really going to be useful so much for preventing disease but it is going to be tempting to use that to genetically enhance traits and we already see that with IVF where you know you have these gender disparities that there's more boys than girls. When you allow for IVF in certain countries. So you got to see this mentality that you're going to select for the traits of your children then select for traits that you deem beneficial.  And I think you know first of all you have to do this all IVF and you know as the colleague of ethical issues with that partly because you start to make life a commodity that you can manipulate buy and sell. Also you know you see going down the road that it might be the case where you're expected to produce children through IVF because you're expected to ensure that they don't have certain genetic predispositions, they have other genetic enhancements and there's going to be economic pressures towards that I think as well. When you look at insurance and medical care and so forth particularly given the need to drive down the cost of medical care.

Brad Cooper:                     17:30                    

Right. And it seems like some of this is accelerated due to something you mentioned it called crisper and sort of in layman's terms and enough you can sort of just tell us what it is and why if it has sort of accelerated people's thinking on this even as you said even may not even be that they're using it necessarily. Sounds like you're saying well you know forget Chris for just the fact that you can sort of determine you can read the genes and see what defects they have and only select the embryos that don't have those. But what we see in the news is sort of the pushing pushing forward of the CRISPR but what is that?

Daniel Kuebler:                 18:02                    

CRISPR is a technology to much more effectively go in and snip out a certain section of the DNA. And so you can target virtually using the CRISPR cast night technology any sort of region any gene the crisper will go in and cut a piece out and you can insert a different piece into that into that region. And the thing about CRISPR, a lot of times these technologies when you do this the older way to do it, it was difficult to get the exact region to be removed. We would often get very low successes and you would also get sometimes it would cut in the wrong spot and you'd get these what are off target sites where you want to remove this piece but you also removed another piece and so forth. With CRISPR you're less likely to get these off target things where you.. Hey I'm trying to hit region X instead I hit region Y and it's much more specific and much more successful now. It's still at the point where you do get cases where you know you get these off target sites. And so there are still problems with it but it's much more effective and also cost effective. It's relatively cheap to do compared to previous ways of doing so the genetic engineering. So it's not only it's faster, it's cheaper and it's more accurate.

Brad Cooper:                     19:16                    

Any kind of small lab now around the world can sort of start doing some of these things which I guess is part of the issue is that, if it was something very expensive or difficult you might have a better chance of sort of keeping an eye on it. As far as the regulation goes and things like that but it sounds like, it's something like you know pretty soon, you can you know it's almost like putting something in the microwave and heating it up.

Daniel Kuebler:                 19:35                    

Yeah it's not technically that difficult for a trained biologist to do it. And it's very useful in the animal model systems to create specific mutations that you want to study and I want to see what happens when we do this to this gene. I want to see if this affects you know how does it affect the mouse with the immune system. So it's a very, very useful research tool. It's like you said it's very accessible to the research community. But then when you get to human embryos and you're modifying the human genome you are now you're getting to the point where you're right. It's going to be hard to monitor who's doing this and who isn't. And right now there are no sort of global regulations, there's no state regulations, no national regulations. I know the National Academy of Sciences came out with a position paper and they were just saying well we need to do this thoughtfully and in stages.  And you know we should proceed with research on this. You know there's sort of no oversight necessarily in terms of this research on a global scale or on a national scale. I mean different universities might have different policies and they have you know human subjects review boards that would review anybody doing this type of research at the university. But there's no sort of ban on it or concern about you know what or wherewe might end up next. And I think that's typical of the scientific community though I think.  There's a mindset that science is here to serve us and that we want to just go ahead and do what we can do. So if we're able to do this scientifically we should go ahead and do it. There's a lot arguments, well somebody is going to do it somewhere, so we might as well do it here and not let somebody else just run ahead and do it do it the wrong way. But I think you know that's sort of shortsighted. I'm just saying it's really hard to regulate globally. You know you just know somebody is going to be doing this and move it into the clinic I think at some point.

Brad Cooper:                     21:20                    

OK. Yeah it sounds like folks seem to go out and watch that movie Gattica with Ethan Hawke and I mean there's other science fiction things that talk about the potential downfalls of stuff like this. And yeah as you said I mean I think it's just also part of it is how this happens in other technology fields as well where the pace of change is almost accelerating and it's hard enough for sort of laypeople to keep up with these things and understand the terminology. So glad to have someone like you on trying to clear this up for us, Professor Keubler. a little bit. Now contrast that though with things that you are doing and that are kind of happening now and how that can help people with knee osteoarthritis and things like that?

Daniel Kuebler:                 21:52                    

Yeah I think the regenerative medicine field although sort of in its infancy and it does get some bad press because there are doctors out there and clinics out there that do things that there's really no scientific basis for charging people to take advantage of people that are in sort of desperate situations. Medically that the regenerative medicine is I think going to be in the next 10, 15 years with a new way of doing medicine. And it's I think it will change the way the medical field is structured. You have these adult stem cells throughout the entire body. And their job is mainly to repair damage tissue to either by secreting growth factors to help tissue heal or themselves to actually turn into new functioning cells. And so if you have these there and regenerative medicine is largely to what's the best way to extract them and move them to help at the side of the injury? Normally your body we have injuries, stem cells from the bone marrow could be mobilized into the blood and might hold to the side injury. But the idea is we could put more there. You know that's going to hopefully help with the healing process. But you know with any new technology and new treatment there are people that are going to respond to it. There's different techniques that you could use. Some are going to be better than others. There's different types of cells, there's different combinations. And so there's so much complexity here that answering those questions is going to take a lot of research and a lot of effort. But I think it's really really exciting because it's looking at sort of the patient and the doctor now being at the center rather than seeing a pharmaceutical company being at the center of treatment.  Or hey do we need to get an artificial knee or can we take my own stem cells or you know maybe placental cells or placental tissue and use that to help treat the knee and then hold off you from having to have an artificial knee for five 10 years or hold off having to have you know shoulder surgery for 5 to 10 years you know that's something that's at the level of hey these are my cells, my doctor, we do this and can be cost effective compared to a surgical intervention putting in an artificial joint. I think that's exciting because it makes things more personal in medicine. It also I think could drive the cost down. And there are no ethical concerns so other than people that are doing some of this stuff without you know without good you know science backing them up. But I it's really an exciting field.

Brad Cooper:                     24:14                    

That's great. Yeah that's very exciting. And looking forward to some of the things that are coming out of that research and what you're doing. Think here a little bit and just talking about sort of the mixing of faith and science.  And you talked about a little bit earlier. You know at Berkeley and I know you've written a lot of articles about this in recent times especially related to evolution. It's a word in itself that sort of sparks things one way or another with people. How do you in these conversations in the articles you're writing and people you talk to and especially students you know who will be coming to your Catholic college there. How do you personally work to help people understand evolution and how that fits with Catholic or Christian faith?

Daniel Kuebler:                 24:51                    

Yeah, I think that's a great question and I see students that struggle with this all the time and adults that struggle with this all the time. As a Catholic university, one of the benefits we have is to look at you know some of the things that particular most recent post Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict have written about this and I think what they've read is phenomenal particularly what Pope Benedict has written and he always looks at it as this that the Catholic understanding and the Christian understanding of the creation and particularly creation of humans that tends to be what people get concerned about the most. Where did we come from an evolutionary understanding by looking at two aspects of the same question and that you know evolution is looking at the physical origins of the human body where when we talk about creation of a human person you're looking at what is a human being in relation to God and that there is something more than just this physical body that we are and you look at Genesis and talks about God then breathing life into man from the dirt. Thereis a physical element of us right. This is the dirt you know there and that Genesis account that there is this life of God breathed into us to create us into the soul and the body there that understanding of humans should make you think well wherever the physical body came from and however the physical body of all, there's more to human life, more to being human just that. And I think just having that understanding can make people open to sort of looking at what does evolutionary theory have to say because it's not necessarily threatening their faith as much. The problem I think is that there's often an assumption amongst the scientific community that man is just nothing more than a material being, nothing more than just your physical makeup that you know is not a scientific position. That's a philosophical position and I always see it my students to try to understand that you know like if you're going to claim that man is just a material being or if you're going to claim a man that has an immaterial soul is this sort of material being with an immaterial soul both ofl those are philosophical claims.  And science isn't going to be able to edjudicate those so someone that the material is there and believes that evolution just shows that we're material means is not making a scientific claim. And so you've got to understand that and I think once people sort of understand that they're more able to engage inthose type of questions. I think evolution to me, it's sort of resonant with sort of the way God works with with us. You know God allows us, he's not a jealous creator you know he lets humans in you and I to co-create with that we can produce children.  You know we don't do that on our own. God allows us to work with him to create children. I think the same way with the universe God allows the universe to work with him, to create. And I think that's more to me and more profound and mysterious view of God and how he works with us and it gives me a more profound and mysterious view of the universe and that's what's at the heart of science is a mystery. I'm a cell biologist andfor all that we know about the cell and how a cell works and we can study it and we can continue to study and there's new journals every year thousands of papers on the site. At the heart of the cell what makes a cell different from a not a living thing?  There's a mystery there that we haven't been able to penetrate. And but that's not saying that we'll never be able to penetrate but there is a mystery that we don't quite understand that this is the level all mystery in front of a of a very simple cell. How is it able to do all these amazing things. And that's the same way we look at God. We can understand God to some extent, but at the heart there's a mystery. And I think there's that resonance between science and our faith that, the heart of reality is a mystery. But that doesn't mean we don't want to try to penetrate that mystery and that's the way I like to approach science and I think that resonates with my understanding of God.

Brad Cooper:                     28:32                    

That's good. And there must be some things too though that putting aside the internal in-house debates amongst Christians on the age of the universe or you know our evolution and what level is there evolution or not. Does seem like though that I'm guessing it's seeing some of the complexity you see of even the smallest cell that one can sort of, even if it's not a scientific sort of exploration, your faith exploration and seeing God's work. I mean you must see some of that and just say OK well it does seem like some of this is guided but I mean even if you can actually prove it but things like that complexity from dirt as you said to the incredible complexity of a cell there could be some guiding hand there.

Daniel Kuebler:                 29:07                    

Yeah. I mean there is and that some people will argue of hey there must be a guiding hand sort of directing this. I take a slightly different view but I think you know just as profound as that that God has created a world that can on its own produce and that in itself requires a very specific world, a very specific universe. A universe that can create life is not a trivial thing. A universe that can allow for evolution to proceed. It's not a trivial thing you know. And so that's where I see sort of the hand of God that we have this universe that create these ordered structures and produce these things. This universe was designed to be this way, to create life and allow life to flourish and allow the origin of people like you and me that could know love and serve Him and that's where I see the hand of God.  So you can see we have the very specific ordered universe that can allow for these types of things that even though we don't know exactly how that may have occurred, we understood natural way. You know how a first cell could have come from prebiotic chemistry. I think that would make me even more astonished that the universe God has created that wow we live in a universe that actually can produce life. God has given us the universe and is saving and every moment a universe that can create life. That to me is more mind boggling than God sort of directing it as it's happening.

Brad Cooper:                     30:26                    

Right. In biology do you see, obviously you're at a Catholic university so you're seeing a lot of students coming into the field because you know just the fact that you're at the university. But in other universities what's your sense of Christians entering either you know going into pre-med and becoming doctors? I mean is that something we should be concerned about at all and are some of these things potential roadblocks for people? And if so what would your advice be? You know so if someone's listening and they're considering a career in biology or microbiology or some of these fields you've talked about or medicine, what should they be concerned about in terms of what's coming up preparing themselves for, I shouldn't say it's a bit concerned. Preparing themselves to sort of experience and what do we do to sort of help them along?

Daniel Kuebler:                 31:05                    

Right. No I think it's a great question as students answer these what can we expect and what should they be prepared for. Particularly if you're going into research, going into a Ph.D. program I think that's where there's certain difficulties there versus difficulties going into medicine. I think you run up to more really ethical issues, practical ethical issues when you go into medicine in terms of particularly you know euthanasia and abortion and things like that. But if you go into science and you're going into a Ph.D. program in science I think you end up in an environment where there is this sort of underlying assumption that religious beliefs are outdated that science is going to be able to answer our questions that there isn't anything that science can't figure out eventually. And so it can be sort of a draining environment to be in.  That said I think there are plenty of serious Christians in the sciences. I just don't think they're that vocal. Some of the more strident you know materialist atheistic voices there are in the sciences and I think there's different societies that I think you can join to have like minded colleagues. The American Scientific Affiliation is one of the groups, a Christian group, and then the Society for Catholic Scientists and there are student members there. There is meetings networking opportunities I think finding other people that take their faith seriously and are top notch scientists or just starting their career is going to be helpful. And there are very eminent scientists like Francis Collins who is I think a role model for a lot of Christians who go into science and say hey there's nobody at the top of this field who is clearly well-respected but has not put his face on the shelf or that he wears it on his sleeve and it doesn't affect his ability to do top high quality science. And I think you know having people like that is important and finding role models and I think you can find those. Sometimes it takes a little bit of asking if you're in a graduate program somewhere. There will be somebody on the faculty and probably a few that are good and committed Christians and then just get to know them.  They can be role models for you and they can give you advice.

Brad Cooper:                     33:03                    

And hopefully we can have more Franciscan University grads out there you know alumni that folks can go to ultimately here.

Daniel Kuebler:                 33:11                    

Actually that's our goal.

Brad Cooper:                     33:11                    

Yeah that's great. The debates that you talked about you know with atheists and things like that and again what we're hearing in the popular press and cross a Catholic and other Christian leaders in these fields seems like it's importan. ometimes put the journal of Christian debates aside so that we can sort of coalesce around a common view. And as you said I mean some of these things are fast approaching so we don't really have time to argue about some of these kind of more minor things. Yes. I mean on key issue. Yes. But in terms of the pace of this it seems like it's accelerating and it seems like frankly there's some urgency that's needed.

Daniel Kuebler:                 33:41                    

Yeah I think there is and I think there is a lot more collaboration between the Catholics and Christians in terms of these issues because of the urgency about these things. You know these cloning genetic manipulation, euthanasia things like that that I think that you're finding more willingness to work together and I think there's a lot of outlets that scientists can voice their concerns in popular press at churches, speaking at churches, speaking at religious events. I think there needs to be more effort by scientists, Christian scientists to be speaking to other Christians in public settings to let them know what they're doing and what's going on and to make these issues more visible because I think once you do that you start to bump into other people who are in the same boat, who are also scientists and you start to that work better and I think there are places that we could do a better job of sort of getting that voice out there because it's not often portrayed by the popular press that there are scientists that have grave concerns with genetic manipulation of human embryos or there are scientists that have grave concerns about embryonic stem cell research and so forth whatever the topic happens to be.  But I think often we have to go out and do it ourselves.

Brad Cooper:                     34:55                    

Amen to that Professor Keeler. Thank you so much for being one of those voices that are out there and willing to sort of put your faith out there too. And in relation to some of these issues and writing many articles and contributing to adding that voice to many of these issues so. So thank you so much for that and thank you for your time today, Professor Keubler. And so what is the next, I don't know when school starts there, but what sort of the first few weeks of cross country? How many kilometers is a team log every week?

Daniel Kuebler:                 35:21                    

You know right now we just started classes yesterday we were first meet coming up this weekend and you know right now they're probably getting close to 120 kilometers.

Brad Cooper:                     35:21                    

Oh wow!

Daniel Keubler:                 35:21                    

They are, I'm not.

Brad Cooper:                     35:36                    

Oh OK. You got your whistle there and you're just blowing it and faster! faster!

Daniel Kuebler:                 35:40                    

Not quite to that level yet but it's true. That's one of the reasons why I should be looking at osteoarthritis because I know one of my good knees is going to need these in about 10 years so maybe keep me running for now.

Brad Cooper:                     35:53                    

Well I'll be lucky to do one kilometer I think out there here soon. And so 120 that sounds pretty daunting. So that's that's great. That's awesome again. Thank you. Professor Keubler so much for your time today and I just wish you had blessings on you and your work!

Daniel Kuebler:                 36:04                    

OK. Thank you Brad. Pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for your work with Purpose Nation.

Brad Cooper:                     36:08                    

Likewise. Thank you. And we'll be talking to you. Take care!

Announcer:                        36:13                    

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