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London Thinks – A Scientist, an Atheist Biblical Scholar and a Vicar walk Into An Ethical Society…

22nd January 2015 · 7:30pm - 9:30pm

In person | Virtual event

 London Thinks – A Scientist, an Atheist Biblical Scholar and a Vicar walk Into An Ethical Society…

Presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society

And here are some photos too.

Dr Adam Rutherford, Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou and Rev Giles Fraser in conversation with Samira Ahmed about life, the universe, and everything. Chaired by Samira Ahmed.

Religion, science and ethics have always had difficult relationship. From the time of Galileo’s house arrest for heliocentrism during the Roman Inquisition, the Catholic Church’s stance on the use of contraception, religious views on same-sex relationships, among other controversial cases. But are attitudes improving? Scientist – such as Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss – have put forward that a scientific worldview is the right stance for future progress and all religions are irrelevant in the modern world. With the recent abolition of blasphemy law in the UK in 2008, and the Anglican Church’s change in stance on same-sex relationships in 2013, it seems well formed moral and ethical guidance can come from secular as well as religious communities.

Are religious doctrines destined for the bin? Does a wholly secular scientific society miss out on a sense of spirituality and pastoral care? Is the Interstellar film as bad as everyone makes out? These and other questions will be discussed in a very special evening at Conway Hall.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion in the University of Exeter’s Department of Theology and Religion. The main focus of her research is religion and ideology in the cultures giving rise to the biblical texts. She is also noted for her media roles: presenting a three-part television series on the BBC, Bible’s Buried Secrets, and for contributions to numerous television and radio documentaries about religion. She also appears regularly on BBC 1’s flagship religion and ethics debate programmes The Big Questions and Sunday Morning Live. She describes herself as “an atheist with huge respect for religion” and regards her work as “a branch of history like any other”. She loves banging drum ‘n’ bass.

Giles Fraser is currently the parish priest at St Mary’s, Newington and writes a weekly Saturday column for The Guardian, as well as appearing frequently on BBC Radio 4. He is a regular contributor on Thought for the Day and a panelist on The Moral Maze. He is visiting professor in the anthropology department at the London School of Economics. He was previously Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral and director of the St Paul’s Institute from 2009 until his resignation in October 2011. As Canon Chancellor, Fraser fulfilled the role of a canon residentiary with special responsibility for contemporary ethics and engagement with the City of London as a financial centre, and delivering a mean wrist-burn to naughty students and parishioners.

Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, author, and broadcaster. He pretended to be an editor for the journal Nature for a decade is a frequent contributor to the newspaper The Guardian and hosts the BBC Radio 4 program Inside Science, and BBC TV’s The Cell and The Beauty of Anatomy. He has produced several science documentaries and has published books related to genetics and the origin of life. He is very clever.

Tickets: £15 (£5 concs. & Conway Hall Ethical Society Members)

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