News & Blog

A black and white photograph of Dr Anna Halafoff
23rd November 2021

S2 Episode 2: Science, (Con)spirituality and COVID-19 with Dr Anna Halafoff

New-age spirituality, wellness and alternative health practices have been cast in a new light as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded. The relationship between these practices and established or mainstream science and public health has tended to be an uneasy one, and this unease has only increased during the pandemic, with online spiritualist and wellness communities providing fertile ground for the growth and spread of increasingly anti-establishment and conspiratorial ideas.

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9th November 2021

Seminarians, Popes and Evolution: A View from Brazil

By Marcio Antonio Campos Pope Francis addressing an audience at the Galeão Air Force Base, Brazil 2013. Tania Rego/ABr, CC BY 3.0 BR, via Wikimedia Commons Are seminarians who know what popes have said on evolution more likely to make peace with Darwin? When Pope Francis said in 2014 that God was not “a magician, complete with an all powerful magic wand”,…

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a sepia image of five adults at seance table with ectoplasm streaming below a table
27th October 2021

S2 Episode 1 – Fingerprinting Ghosts: Science, Technology & the Occult with The Media of Mediumship Project Team

The Media of Mediumship project is running jointly at the University of Stirling and the Science Museum Group. The project team comprises Principal Investigator Professor Christine Ferguson, Co-Investigator Dr Efram Sera-Shriar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Emma Merkling. In this very spooky episode, Christine, Efram and Emma tell us how from the late-Victorian era, novel technologies of the…

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Newspaper cartoon from 1875 depicting Draper wearing Eastern costume
26th October 2021

Tyndall, Draper, and “Eastern” Religions

By Bernard Lightman When John Tyndall, well known physicist and superintendent of the prestigious Royal Institution, delivered his “Belfast Address” in 1874 as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science he touched off a storm of controversy that lasted for several years.  The lecture was a tour de force, covering the entire history of science and its complicated relationship to philosophical materialism, particularly with reference…

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12th October 2021

‘For the Study of’: A one-sided agenda on religion and science?

By Willem B. Drees Is it significant that the name of the International Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society has explicitly ‘for the study of’ in the name? It might be merely a smart move in a secularized academic context, where engagement with religious convictions is more easily accepted if the beliefs of others are the object of study, rather than seen as convictions that…

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5th October 2021

STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts Conference: reflections from Africa

From 7-9 July 2021 we held our annual INSBS conference, STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism. Postponed in 2020 and held online in 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in this post three of our members from Africa reflect on their online conference experience. Belief and Science is not always a Toxic Combination By Ganiyat…

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20th July 2021

All the Light Here Comes from Above: Edward Hitchcock, Man of Science, Man of Faith

by Robert T. McMaster Image from William S. Tyler, History of Amherst College During its First Half Century 1821 to 1871 (Springfield, Mass.: Clark W. Bryan and Company, 1873). Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864) was not the only star in the firmament of American science in the nineteenth century, but he was certainly one of the brightest. Raised among the wheat and rye fields of Deerfield, Massachusetts, he was expected to…

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3rd June 2021

Episode 9: Science and Religion in Mass Media with Dr Tom Aechtner

In the final episode of Season 1 of the Science & Belief in Society Podcast, we’re re-joined by Dr Tom Aechtner, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Science in the School Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. Tom talks us through the persuasive and rhetorical tactics used by both pro- and anti-evolutionist media and explains what science communicators can learn from their anti-evolutionary counterparts. Alongside his work on…

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24th May 2021

STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy and Pluralism Online conference, 7-9 July 2021 This conference took place from 7-9 July 2021 online. The final programme can be found at the following Download link: INSBS-Conference-2021-Final-ProgrammeDownload Included in the Programme are the following two plenary events. These are public lectures. Intersectional Approaches to Diversity in STEMM: Belief, Culture, and Inclusion The lack of diversity…

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4th May 2021

Episode 8: Science and Non-Religion with Dr Lois Lee

Dr Lois Lee is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent, and is the Principal Investigator on the Understanding Unbelief programme. You can read her Researcher Profile here. In this episode, we talk with Lois about the relationship between science and non-religion and the perceived affinity between the two. Through her ground-breaking research on non-religion and unbelief, Lois discusses…

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23rd April 2021

Registration: STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy & Pluralism

Online conference, 7-9 July 2021 Conference format Due to constraints imposed by COVID 19, this conference will be entirely online. Sessions will be held throughout the day in order to enable people from different time zones to participate. Participants will be given the option of pre-recording their presentations, with recordings being submitted in advance of the conference dates.  If you have any questions or concerns about access or the conference…

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12th April 2021

Episode 7: Historical Research on Science and Religion – The Conflict Thesis Revisited with Dr James Ungureanu

Dr James Ungureanu is Historian in Residence at the George L. Mosse Program in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can read his Researcher Profile here. In this episode James and Will welcome Dr James Ungureanu, Historian in Residence in the George L. Mosse Program in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in…

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9th March 2021

Episode 6: Science and Religion in African Contexts with Dr Bankole Falade

Dr Bankole Falade is a Research Fellow with the South African Research Chair in Science Communication, Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University. A social psychologist, Dr Falade’s work focuses on the interactions between science and religion; perceptions of health and disease in Africa; and public trust, interest, engagement with and attitudes to science. You can read Bankole’s researcher profile here. In this…

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23rd February 2021

Science and Social Stereotypes

***This blog post originally appeared on the University of Birmingham website, 10 February 2021, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the University of Birmingham.*** 11 February was the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To mark the occasion network members Carissa Sharp and Stephen Jones explore…

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15th February 2021

How to Build an Academic Network

By Stephen H. Jones and Paula Brikci  On 5th February, the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society launched a call for grants to support the development of regional academic networks. In this blog, drawing on the insights of scholars from across the field, Stephen H. Jones and Paula Brikci look at what makes a good academic network and what anyone thinking of establishing…

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15th February 2021

Call for Papers: STEMM and Belief in Diverse Contexts: Publics, Praxis, Policy & Pluralism

Update 16 March: Call for Papers is now closed. Online conference, 7-9 July 2021 In the last decade, there has been significant growth in social scientific and humanities research focusing on science, religion and belief in society. Greater attention is being paid to the varied ways in which perceptions of different aspects of STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics) have been, or are, influenced by religious and non-religious…

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9th February 2021

Episode 5: The Humanist Blockbuster and the Evolutionary Epic with Dr Alexander Hall

In this episode, we welcome Dr Alexander Hall, who discusses his research into the popular media representation of science and religion in the 20th century. Dr Hall is a historian of science and environmental historian. He is a member of the Science and Belief in Society management team, and you can read his Researcher Profile here. Alex introduces us to ways of presenting science which…

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4th February 2021

Announcing our first International Research Network grant awards

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash We are pleased to announce the first awards made via our Seed Funding and Small Research Grants scheme. We have been able to award funding to fifteen projects in this first round of funding. Projects will focus on conducting socially relevant research across a variety of aspects in the field of religion and science in society, in a broad range of countries.

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26th January 2021

Podcast Special: Pew Research Center

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash The Pew Research Center is a fact tank which focuses on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. For example, they study U.S. politics and policy; journalism and media; internet, science and technology; religion and public life; global attitudes and trends and U.S. social and demographic trends. To carry out such research, the team at Pew Research conduct public opinion polling, demographic…

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18th January 2021

Emergent Themes in the Study of Science & Belief in Society

PhD Workshop Online 12 – 16 April 2021 The International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society (INSBS) will be running an international PhD workshop online from 12-16 April 2021. The workshop is open to anyone currently enrolled on a PhD programme and conducting research on any social or cultural aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths or Medicine (STEMM) in relation to any religious, spiritual or non-religious…

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