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Posted: 16 April 2014, 17:47

André Aleman, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, has a head-to-head with Nigel Bovey.

Professor, what does your work entail?

My background is in neuropsychology. I conduct studies on psychiatric syndromes, such as schizophrenia and depression, by investigating the brain and its disorders. Increasingly, we are focusing on the ageing process and mild cognitive impairment, which might be the early phase of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is psychiatry and how is it different from psychology?

Psychiatry is a medical specialism about mental disorders. Psychology offers a broader view of human thought processes – perception, memory, cognition and so on. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who can prescribe medication. A...

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Picture made up of mosaic images of the earth

Posted: 12 February 2014, 23:47

Astrobiologist Professor Stephen Freeland, whose research includes the genetic code used by the majority of life on Earth today, talks to Nigel Bovey about the origin and future of the universe, and why he believes God is no ‘smoking gun’ designer.

Professor Freeland, what are your responsibilities?

I am part of the Hawaii team of the Nasa Astrobiology Institute, but my main work is as the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Maryland, which is in Baltimore, USA.

What is astrobiology?

According to Nasa, it is the search for life’s origin, distribution and future within the Universe. More generally, it is an interdisciplinary effort to understand life in a physical universe.

What fascinates you about astrobiology?

On one level, it connects with my doctoral...

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Posted: 06 February 2014, 8:55

We recently discovered a number of books for sale on Amazon with our name on them – Christian Evidence Society – even though we haven’t had anything to do with them for over a century.

When we dug deeper, we found they were books we published back in the 19th century, when our society was a lot younger than now (we were founded in 1870). The books were scanned and republished a couple of years ago by some enterprising American publishers. They give a fascinating glimpse into the issues which prompted debate between Christians and sceptics over 100 years ago.

Several of the publishers have very kindly sent us copies of their new editions of these long-forgotten books.

We were fascinated to see that one book, Faith and Free Thought, published in 1880, has a preface by Samuel...

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Photo of a hand holding a lit lightbulb

Posted: 03 February 2014, 22:07

One of the biggest objections to religious faith today comes from scientists who argue that the universe has no need of God. But is that actually true?

A good percentage of scientists disagree that science and faith are incompatible. Many of them are religious believers themselves and experience no clash between the work they do in science and the prayers they pray in church.

In this series of short articles, Proving God, we introduce the issues surrounding science and faith, including areas which are passionately argued over by atheists, philosophers and religious thinkers.

The articles are in a sequence, so you might find it best to read them in order. But you’ll also find plenty to think about (and argue over!) by dipping into them at random.

What’s the issue? – Today’s new...

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Photo of a man wearing Google Glass

Posted: 28 January 2014, 22:04

The Six Million Dollar Man, Robocop and The Matrix share common DNA – human beings enhanced by technology. Bionics, cybernetics and neuro-enhancers are not just figments of fertile movie-making imaginations. Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute researches the implications of human enhancement. In America, super-warrior technologies are being developed for battlefield deployment. Professor Brent Waters, the Stead Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, talks to Nigel Bovey about the theological implications of emerging technologies and the accompanying philosophy known as posthumanism.

Professor Waters, what is posthumanism?

Posthumanism is a commitment to use technology to extend longevity and enhance physical...

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Posted: 21 January 2014, 15:36

A series of parody videos in which science and religion figures are interviewed by Jeremy Praxman are available on YouTube.

The videos, which were produced in association with Christian Evidence, feature Professor Richard Ditchkins, author of The God Revulsion, Geoff Meadwell, high priest of pagan worshippers (and chartered accountant), and Professor Zeitgeistscheizer, author of The God Hallucination.

In the video above, Praxman and Richard Ditchkins discuss the conundrums and contradictions in the modern-day debate between science and religion.

‘They’re not opinions, Jeremy, they’re fundamental principles forged on the anvil of rigorous scientific investigation’ – Professor Richard Ditchkins

See the other interviews here…

Geoff Meadwell, high priest of pagan worshippers
...

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Posted: 04 January 2014, 14:00

The clash between the church and Monty Python over The Life of Brian is the stuff of Internet legend. Simply entering ‘Life of Brian’ into YouTube points you to the full 1979 debate where Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark, together with Malcolm Muggeridge, the broadcaster and satirist, clashed with John Cleese and Michael Palin over the iconoclastic film on a chat show.

Muggeridge dismissed it as ‘a tenth-rate film that wouldn’t disturb anyone’s faith’, but his and the bishop’s patronising put down of the Pythons is now widely seen, even by Christians, as an own-goal which discredited religion for many people.

The debate was revived on BBC Radio 4 a few days ago when Michael Palin guest-edited the Today programme and took a fresh look at the TV footage with John...

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Photo of the scrap of papyrus mentioning Jesus's wife

Posted: 05 December 2013, 16:46

Fifteen months ago, in September 2012, a small piece of ancient papyrus (pictured above) caused controversy when a Harvard scholar claimed it was part of a lost Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. The writing on the papyrus contained a conversation between Jesus and his disciples in which Jesus said, ‘My wife…’

The announcement, by Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School, kicked off a media stir, since her announcement was timed to publicise a TV documentary about the discovery. And it also stirred up a scholarly debate conducted online.

Just three days after publication, Francis Watson, Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, argued that the papyrus fragment might be a modern fake. ‘Most of its individual phrases are taken directly from the Coptic...

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Photo of stained glass showing the hands of St Mark writing his Gospel

Posted: 09 October 2013, 17:11

Biblical scholar Richard Burridge talks to Philip Halcrow how the four Gospels offer four different perspectives on the one man. ‘We don’t have a one-size-fits-all Jesus’, he says.

Anyone who steps into a cathedral or church – to pray, learn about history or admire architecture – may be able to spot them: an eagle hovering next to a man writing a scroll, as well as similar images of an ox, a winged lion and a man with wings.

The figures appear in stone above the door of Rochester Cathedral and in a stained-glass window at Dundee Cathedral. They can be seen on glass processional doors in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. And they are also in the windows of the chapel at King’s College London. Down the corridor from the chapel, the Dean and Professor of Biblical Interpretation, the Rev...

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Photo of Keith Ward

Posted: 02 October 2013, 15:42

Philosopher, theologian and Anglican priest, Professor Keith Ward has spent his working life wrestling with big ideas. The Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London, and former Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University has written more than 30 books on topics including religion, ethics and the Bible. He talks to Nigel Bovey about proof, probability and the role of religion.

Professor, how did you get into theology?

By accident! I went to the University of Wales, in Cardiff, to read music but wasn’t very good at it, so I switched to philosophy. I then discovered that the bits that interested me most were questions about God and the soul, so I gradually moved into theology.

I wasn’t a Christian but I’d always had a sense that there was more to life than just what...

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