Rethinking Science-Religion Conflict Narratives

Public Lecture, Thursday 4th July @ 17:30, University of Birmingham

Australian Laureate Fellow Professor Peter Harrison will give a free public talk titled, “Rethinking Science-Religion Conflict Narratives,” on Thursday 4th July at 5:30pm in Lecture Theatre C of the Aston Webb Building at the University of Birmingham. A bio and abstract follow, below the poster for the event.

Rethinking Science Religion Conflict Narratives - public lecture

Rethinking Science-Religion Conflict Narratives

Abstract: For several decades now, historians of science have contested the idea that science and religion are inherently opposed to each other and that this opposition has repeatedly played itself out in history.  In spite of their efforts, in public discourse the conflict motif seems as prevalent and powerful as ever.  In this lecture I explore the origins and persistence of the conflict thesis, setting out different versions of conflict narratives and suggesting ways in which they have shaped and reinforced particular self-understandings or group identities.  The social function of these narratives, I suggest, goes some way towards explaining why they remain stubbornly impervious to historical evidence against them.

Bio:  Peter Harrison is an Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He is the former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre at the University of Oxford, where he remains a Research Fellow.  He has published extensively in the field of intellectual history with a focus on the philosophical, scientific and religious thought of the early modern period, and has a particular interest in historical and contemporary relations between science and religion. In 2011 he gave the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, now published as The Territories of Science and Religion, and in 2019 delivered the Bampton Lectures at the University of Oxford.  Author of over 100 articles and book chapters, his eight books include, most recently, Science without God? Rethinking the History of Scientific Naturalism published by Oxford University Press.