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HPP/IRC Seminar Alister McGrath, "The Search for Coherence in Science and Religion"

Alister McGrath delivers his talk "'Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone" The search for coherence in science and religion'' for the 2014-2015 Humane Philosophy Project/Ian Ramsey Centre seminar at Blackfrairs Hall, University of Oxford.


In 1611, John Donne penned his poem "The Anatomy of the World", in which he expressed the fear that new developments in science and philosophy were eroding any sense of coherence within the world. Many feel that some exponents of modern science encourage this sense of meaninglessness and incoherence - for example, Steven Weinberg's assertion that, the more we understand the universe, the more pointless it seems. This lecture explores these continuing concerns about incoherence, and considers how science, religion, and philosophy may interact to offer a deeper and richer vision of reality, which engages with the deepest ethical, aesthetic and spiritual concerns of humanity. ALISTER MCGRATH, the new Andreas Idreos Professor at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, holds three Oxford doctorates: A DPhil from the Faculty of Biological Sciences in molecular biophysics, a DD for research in historical and systematic theology from the Faculty of Theology, and a DLitt for research in science and religion from the Division of Humanities. His specialist interests include the philosophy of explanation in science and religion, the theological application of a “critical realist” epistemology, and the development of natural theology as an interface between theology, sciences, and the arts. His most recent book Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal (2014) is a critical study of the development of the theology of the Swiss theologian Emil Brunner, focussing especially on his approach to natural theology, and the interface between theology and the natural sciences. Following the huge critical and popular success of his recent biography of CS Lewis (2013), McGrath is also researching the origins and development of Lewis's distinct views on the relation of science and faith.


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