Long Reads

30th June 2020

The ‘Scientific Interpretation’ of the Bible and the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom

By James C. Ungureanu In his Autobiography, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) gave three specific reasons for his growing religious doubts. He became morally revolted by the God of the Old Testament, whom he characterised as a “revengeful tyrant.” Moreover, the discovery of the “fixed laws of nature” made belief in miracles seem “incredible” to him. Finally, he concluded that recent historical-critical scholarship—or biblical criticism—demonstrated that the Gospels were completely…

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2nd June 2020

A Brief Look at the History of Extraterrestrial Life Debate

By Parandis Tajbakhsh A lithograph of the hoax's "ruby amphitheater", as printed in The Sun. Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain). In 2018, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) began its two-year mission searching for extrasolar planets, orbiting around 200,000 stars located within 300 light-years of the Earth. TESS followed in the footsteps of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009to find Earth-sized or smaller planets around…

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21st April 2020

Are there 100,000,000 creationists in the USA?

By James Riley In June, 2019, Gallup released their most recent poll of public attitudes on evolution and creation in the USA. According to their survey, 40% of the sampled US population were creationists. That is, when asked: “Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?” 40% of respondents selected: “God created human beings pretty…

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22nd November 2017

How should we respond to prejudices about belief?

By Stephen H. Jones Reflections on Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All The publication of The Runnymede Trust’s report Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All in 1997 was a watershed moment in the history of recognising and opposing anti-Muslim prejudice. The first British policy report to focus on the problem of Islamophobia, it is often credited with popularising the term. Last week an updated report, Islamophobia: Still a Challenge…

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7th March 2017

Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

By James Riley If you can believe what you read, “FAKE NEWS” is everywhere these days. Shot onto the media scene like a lexical gag, the phrase was fired from the mouth of President Donald J. Trump as he confronted CNN reporter Jim Acosta during the then president-elect’s first press conference. Although the words are much older, Trump has certainly made the…

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25th October 2016

Old Categories, New Territories, and Future Directions: A Response to Bernard Lightman

By Peter Harrison Map of Universe, 14th Century. Bodleian Library A note from the editor: In a previous article on this site, historian of science Bernard Lightman offered a reflection on the new work of Peter Harrison. Harrison’s book, The Territories of Science and Religion, seeks to outline how conceptions of science and religion have changed throughout history, and details the inadequacy of projecting our present categories…

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11th October 2016

Material Apologetics: Interpreting the Purpose of Answers in Genesis’ Ark Replica

By Tom Kaden Recently, the conflict between religion and science—or, to be more precise, between a loud religious minority and an important part of modern biology—took the unusual form of a 150-metre-long wooden ship. After about six years of planning and building on July 7, Answers in Genesis, America’s largest creationist organization, opened its Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky. In a later round of…

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13th September 2016

Peter Harrison’s The Territories of Science and Religion: A New Peter Principle

By Bernie Lightman The front cover of Harrison's The Territories of Science and Religion. Peter Harrison’s new book,[i] based on the Gifford Lectures that he delivered at the University of Edinburgh in 2011, is essential reading.  It is the most important study of the history of science and religion since the publication in 1991 of John Brooke’s Science…

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29th March 2016

‘Most people don’t have the time to be concerned with systems of ideas, because they have day jobs’

By John H. Evans Chris Nurse - Skull Crucifixion-Wellcome Images John H. Evans offers a sociologists’ view on science and religion debates John H Evans is the author of Playing God? Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate  and Playing God? Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. Here, he talks to…

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12th February 2016

Darwin Day: Celebrating Without Deifying

By Alexander Hall Today, Friday February 12th 2016, is the 207th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. Celebrated around the world as ‘Darwin Day’, events across 6 continents from Tel-Aviv to Tokyo will commemorate the English naturalist’s work, explore his legacy, and discuss the current state of affairs in the field of Evolutionary Biology and beyond. Whilst the majority…

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