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Short Course No. 9: Introduction to Science and Religion

Westminster College: Jan 4-6, 2008

Deadline for applications: December 7, 2007
Deadline for Bursary applications: November 2, 2007

Aim of Course

This short weekend course is for busy people who would like to obtain a broad introductory overview of the science-religion debate from top speakers in the field, covering topics such as the historical background to the debate, the various philosophical approaches being taken to relate science and faith, the anthropic principle, evolution, miracles, and environmental issues. There will be plenty of opportunity for interactions with speakers during the periods set aside for questions and discussion.

Speakers (listed in alphabetical order) and topics

See multimedia items for this course or click on specific talk title in the course schedule to see available resources for that talk.

Click on a speaker's name to obtain brief biographical details.


The course will be held at Westminster College, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0AA. Click here to obtain further details about the College.

Westminster College is housed in an impressive late 19th century grade II listed building situated in two acres of gardens within easy walking distance of Cambridge City Centre, the celebrated 'Backs' and other University Colleges. It is located a few hundred metres from St. Edmund's College, the home of the Faraday Institute.

Westminster College is on the main ring road within easy access off the M11 and A14 and has on-site parking. The College is a short taxi ride from the train and bus stations. Airport coach or train from Stansted Airport (the most convenient airport for Cambridge) takes 30-40 minutes. Location map for Westminster College.

Course Schedule

Friday January 4
6.00 pmArrival
6.45 pmDinner
7.45 pmIntroduction
8.00 pmProf. Sir John Houghton: Big Science - Big God
9.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
9.30 pmDrinks Reception - Getting to Know You
Saturday January 5
8.00 amBreakfast
9.00 amDr Allan Chapman: Why do Scientific Writers Sometimes React Irrationally when Faced with Religion? An Historical Survey from the Reformation to Reductionism
10.00 amQuestions and Discussion
10.30 amCoffee Break
11.00 amProf. Roger Trigg: Can Religion be as Rational as Science?
12.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
1.00 pmLunch
2.00 pmRevd Dr John Polkinghorne: Models for Relating Science and Religion
3.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
3.30 pmTea Break
4.00 pmDr Denis Alexander: Does Evolution Have Any Religious Significance?
5.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
5.30 pm
5.30 pmProf. Bob White FRS: Why Care About the Environment?
6.30 pmQuestions and Discussion
7.00 pmGala Dinner
8.30 pmPanel Discussion with 4 Speakers Questions and Discussion
10.00 pmBar and more Discussion
Sunday January 6
8.00 amBreakfast
9.00 amProf. Sir Colin Humphreys FRS: Science and the Star of Bethlehem
10.00 amQuestions and Discussion
10.30 amCoffee Break
11.00 amProf. Katherine Blundell: God and the Big Bang
12.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
1.00 pmLunch
2.00 pmRevd Dr John Polkinghorne: Can a Scientist Pray?