Category Archives: Science

What does progress do?

This is the second of my series of four talks on progress. The first describes its origins. Human life is unsatisfactory but our lives have been designed, by some kind of god, with potential for improvement. Sometimes we go forward, … Continue reading

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Genetic editing: what the debate tells us about ourselves

Robin Gill’s article in last Friday’s Church Times summarises the ethical debate about genetic editing. This post looks at the presuppositions behind the different positions. Genetic editing is a new technique for altering DNA sequences in plants, animals and humans:

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Suspect science and godless knowledge

Richard Grant’s article Why scientists are losing the fight to communicate science to the public makes two good points about why people are often suspicious of scientists. I shall add a third, which to me is the important one. Grant … Continue reading

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Has evolution made us what we are?

When I told the taxi driver that I was a priest, there was a pause. Then he said ‘Oh. I believe in evolution.’ ‘So do I’, I replied. That was too much for him. ‘I can’t take that.’ The study … Continue reading

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The languages of evangelism

A few years ago in a local wine bar I found myself in unfamiliar company, sitting at a table next to a medium and opposite a committed member of the British Humanist Association. I had not met either before, but … Continue reading

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Evolution as a moral guide

Where do we get our morals from? Should we get them from evolution? Many sociobiologists believe our moral beliefs come from our genes making us maximise our fertile offspring.

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Selfish genes and the contradictions of sociobiology

Are all our moral beliefs misleading products of evolution? Do all our judgements of right and wrong really come from genes busy making us maximise our offspring? The idea has become part of the culture that tells us we are … Continue reading

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What does religion tell us?

This is the second of three posts on ‘religion’. The first describes how seventeenth century thinkers developed ‘religion’ as a new concept: a self-contained feature of society, a private matter to do with beliefs about God and life after death … Continue reading

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Statins and profits

My health has suddenly deteriorated, after reading the latest claim in the debate about statins. Professor Rory Collins, criticising some articles in the British Medical Journal, claims that the only side-effects of statins are muscle weakness in 1 in 10,000 … Continue reading

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God, forces and the laws of nature

You are stranded alone on a desert island. The perfect stereotype: sand, a few rocks, palm tree in the middle. Absolutely nothing to eat or drink. No sign of human presence. You go to sleep, and in the morning you … Continue reading

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