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NEW BOOK by Denis Alexander and CUP: "Genes, Determinism and God"

July 17, 2017

 We are deligted that Dr Denis Alexander's latest book is now available to buy.  On 13th July, Dr. Alexander spoke about

 We are deligted that Dr Denis Alexander's latest book is now available to buy. 

On 13th July, Dr. Alexander spoke about the book at the launch in Cambridge University Press bookshop. There were a good number of questions from the audiance followed by some great discussions with nibbles and refreshments. 

The book is available to buy at an introductionary price of £17 from our bookshop

About the Book

Over the past centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics and our increased understanding of neuronal plasticity have all helped to subvert such dichotomous notions. Nevertheless, the media still report the discovery of a gene 'for' this or that behaviour, and the field of behavioural genetics continues to extend its reach into the social sciences, reporting the heritability of such human traits as religiosity and political affiliation. There are many continuing challenges to notions of human freedom and moral responsibility, with consequent implications for social flourishing, the legal system and religious beliefs. In this book, Denis Alexander critically examines these challenges, concluding that genuine free will, often influenced by genetic variation, emerges from an integrated view of human personhood derived from contemporary biology.

Publisher: CUP
Date: 13 July 2017

Faraday Institute at Greenbelt Festival 25-28 August

July 17, 2017

We are delighted to be part of the Greenbelt Takeaway this year.

Download further information (PDF)

We are delighted to be part of the Greenbelt Takeaway this year. The festival of arts, faith and justice that is inclusive, open-minded, participatory and generous in spirit. A great weekend of fun .. come and see us!

Find out more about the festival

If you have any questions about the Faraday stand at the festival please email Eleanor Puttock  on

Alvin Plantinga Wins 2017 Templeton Prize

April 27, 2017

Alvin Plantinga, an American scholar whose rigorous writings over a half century

Alvin Plantinga, an American scholar whose rigorous writings over a half century have made theism – the belief in a divine reality or god – a serious option within academic philosophy, was announced today as the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate. 

The Templeton Prize, valued at £1.1 million (about $1.4 million or €1.3 million), is one of the world's largest annual awards given to an individual and honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. The Prize was established in 1972 by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The 2017 Prize Laureate joins a distinguished group of 46 former recipients, including Mother Teresa, who received the inaugural Prize in 1973. Last year’s Prize winner was Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, who has spent decades bringing spiritual insight to the public conversation. He was preceded in 2015 by Canadian philosopher and theologian Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, the international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers. Czech priest and philosopher Tomáš Halík was awarded the Prize in 2014, Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2013, and the Dalai Lama in 2012.

The announcement was made online on 25 April 2017 at and was announced via email to journalists and on Twitter via @TempletonPrize and #TempletonPrize2017 by the Templeton Prize office of the John Templeton Foundation in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

The Prize will be formally awarded at a public ceremony at The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, on September 24.

Four Events at this year's Cambridge Science Festival

March 6, 2017

The Faraday Institute at the Cambridge Science Festival   "With events from astronomy to zoology, the 2017 Cambridge Science Festival welcomes everyone

The Faraday Institute at the Cambridge Science Festival
"With events from astronomy to zoology, the 2017 Cambridge Science Festival welcomes everyone to explore, discuss and debate Cambridge Science through talks, hands-on activities performances, exhibitions and films." This year the theme is ‘getting personal’, looking at health and disease, our place in the world and our impact on the environment in which we live. We are delighted to have a presence at four events at this year’s University of Cambridge Science Festival.

Monday 13 March: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Exhibition Showcase

St John's College Old Divinity School, All Saints Passage, CB2 1TP

Interested in the Big Questions of life, purpose and meaning? Meet the team from the Faraday Institute and explore the interaction of science and religion, from AI and identity; genome modification and human dignity; to the wonders of the living world. More information available here 
Screening of a recording of the play "The God Particle"
Monday 13 March: 6:30pm - 8:30pm

St John's College Old Divinity School, Main Lecture Theatre, All Saints Passage, CB2 1TP

A scientist and a vicar walk into a bar. Joining forces to solve a perplexing mystery. They discover the real meaning of faith, knowledge, love and the importance of keeping an open mind.
Quote: The God Particle is a romantic comedy with a hint of sci-fi from award-winning co-writer of BBC1’s Miranda, BBC3’s Bluestone 42 and Radio 4’s Another Case of Milton Jones. It’s deep, smart, and very funny.
“...moments of great hilarity... quite simply a show that just works.” **** Three Weeks, Edinburgh Fringe
Filmed at a performance of the play in front of a live audience at The Merlin Theatre in Frome, this screening will be followed by a panel discussion including Director James Cary, Vicar and scientist Canon Victoria Johnson, philosopher of physics Revd Dr Shaun Henson and theologian and philosopher Jamie Boulding. This is a free event and booking is essential.
Sunday 19 March: 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Science Festival Choral Evensong

University Church, Great St Mary's Senate House Hill, CB2 3PQ
A traditional service of Choral Evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer in the University Church, with a visiting preacher, to celebrate the Science Festival.
The speaker will be Revd Dr Roger Abbott, Research Associate at the Faraday Institute, who will discuss the cultural and religious impacts of natural disasters. More information here

Saturday 25 March: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Open House on Science and Religion

Merton Hall Farmhouse, JJ Thompson Avenue, CB3 0FD
Visit the University Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre and meet staff from the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, staff from the forthcoming Ely Science Festival, and Muslim friends who are interested in the interface between Islam and Science. Further details here.

Workshop on Faith, Energy and Society 3rd March 2017

February 15, 2017

Workshop on ‘Faith, Energy and Society’ The University of Cambridge’s Strategic Research Initiative

Workshop on ‘Faith, Energy and Society’

The University of Cambridge’s Strategic Research Initiative for energy researchers, Energy@Cambridge, would like to invite you to attend a Workshop on Faith, Energy and Society, in partnership with The Faraday Institute, Woolf Institute, Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry (VHI), Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE). The event is organised by Dr Jonathan Chaplin, Director of the Kirby Laing Institute; member, Divinity Faculty, University of Cambridge.

The workshop is part of the Energy@Cambridge’s Grand Challenge called, ‘In Search of “Good” Energy Policy’, whose aim is to identify optimal practices and principles for designing and implementing the best possible energy policies.

Date: 3 March 2017 (10:00 – 17:00)

Location: Garden Room, St Edmund’s College, CB3 0BN Cambridge

Program: The workshop will explore theological dimensions to energy and environmental policy making and engage faith-based groups within the university and beyond. The resulting papers and discussions will help inform policy makers of the ethical, cultural and social issues that underlie our current and future policies.

The main questions the workshop will address include:

1. What insights or practices from faith traditions might shed light on cultural or ideological drivers of ‘bad energy’ practices (e.g. ‘consumerism’, carbon-dependent conceptions of economic growth, resistance to lifestyle change, instrumentalist views of nature, etc.) and hindering ‘good energy’ initiatives?

 2. What insights or practices from faith traditions might be relevant to the question of the distribution of institutional and societal responsibilities that the provision and management of energy demands, i.e. the state and other tiers of political authority, industry, households, markets, civil society?

The workshop will consist of three sessions. The first two sessions are panel discussions addressing the main questions concerning cultural drivers and societal responsibilities and the contributions that faith groups might have on policy debates. The third session is a moderated discussion among representatives from faith groups and experts from industry and government intended to integrate the ideas raised in earlier sessions with the practical constraints of policy making.

 Session 1: Cultural drivers of ‘bad energy policy’: insights from faith traditions

 Session 2: Allocating responsibilities for ‘good energy policy’: insights from faith traditions

 Session 3:  Policy applications: moderated roundtable

Confirmed contributors include:

Prof Tim Cooper (Co-Director, Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and products, Nottingham Trent University)

Dr Ed Kessler (Director, Woolf Institute)

Dr Fazlun Khalid (Director, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences)

Dr Jeremy Kidwell (University of Birmingham)

Dr Hilary Marlow (Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and Cambridge Divinity Faculty)

Mr Gopal Patel (Director, Bhumi Project, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies)

Dr Laszlo Zsolnai (Business Ethics Centre, Corvinus University; Buddhist Economics Research Platform)

Associates of the Cambridge University ‘In Search of “Good” Energy Policy’ project:

Dr David Good (Behavioural science)

Dr Jacqueline Lam (EPRG and Hong Kong University)

Professor David Newbery (Public policy)

Dr Jim Platts (Engineering)

Prof Michael Pollitt, Professor of Business Economics and Director, ‘In Search of “Good” Energy’ Policy (GEP)

Dr David Reiner (Political science)

Dr Sandy Skelton (Economics of consumption)

To register: please complete your details at the link below.

Places are limited and we will be in touch to confirm your registration.

For further information contact Dr Jonathan Chaplin (KLICE) ( or Professor Michael Pollitt (Energy@Cambridge) (

Read more news from 2017