Skeptics in the Pub Podcast - Cambridge

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Monthly interviews with the speakers from Skeptics in the Pub.

Skeptics in the Pub Podcast — Cambridge, aims to promote science, skepticism, rationality and critical thinking. We aim to interview as many people on the Skeptics in the Pub circuit as they pass through Cambridge as we can. The hope is to provide an alternative for those as who can't make the monthly meetings, as well as covering additional topics for the interest of those who do attend.

Download Denis Alexander 03-12-2011 (19.96 MB)

Duration: 21:45 m - Filetype: mp3 - Bitrate: 128 KBPS - Frequency: 44100 HZ

Denis Alexander

  • Denis Alexander
  • A recent trend by two different campaigning groups has been to propose a stark choice between 'creation' and 'evolution'. On one side the 'new atheists' wish to invest evolutionary discourse with a narrative of atheism, whereas on the other side the 'creationists' see Darwinian evolution as incompatible with their interpretation of sacred texts. The philosophy of science maintained by these polar opposite positions is rather similar: both maintain that scientific knowledge stands in some kind of opposition to religious knowledge. The traditional Christian doctrine of creation, however, supports neither position, and is more about ontology ("Why are we here?") rather than origins ("Where did we come from?"). Ever since 1859 (the publication date of Darwin's On the Origin of Species) many Christians have viewed evolution as the scientific account that describes the way in which the creator God has brought about all the biological diversity that we observe on this planet, both now and in the past. The term 'Christian Darwinian' was already in use by 1867. The earliest written religious response to On the Origin of Species, dated 18th November 1859, was from Darwin's friend the Revd Charles Kingsley, who wrote that "All I have seen of it awes me". It is suggested that the evolutionary narrative should continue to stimulate awe for its complexity, beauty and generation of emergent properties, reflecting a universe that is ordered, intelligible and finely tuned in a way that renders life possible, and perhaps inevitable.

    Denis Alexander is Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St. Edmunds College. He was previously an open scholar at Oxford University where he read biochemistry before carrying out research for a PhD in neurochemistry at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. Following this he spent 15 years in academic positions in the Middle East, latterly (1981-86) as Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Upon his return to the UK he worked at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) and since 1989 at The Babraham Institute where he was Chair of the Molecular Immunology Programme and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development, before leaving in 2008. Dr Alexander has published numerous articles and reviews, particularly in his research field of lymphocyte signalling and development, most recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. He is also Editor of the journal Science & Christian Belief and contributes papers as part of the Cambridge Papers writing group. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Rebuilding the Matrix - Science and Faith in the 21st Century (Oxford: Lion, 2001) which provides a general overview of the science-religion debate.


    Keywords: science, religion, skeptics, cambridge, sceptics, evolution, biology