Science and religion come of age at St Paul’s Cathedral

In the UK, the dialogue between science and religion is often defined by aggression and tribalism; no progress is made and views become entrenched. But the Drawbridge Lecture, a long-established lecture series organised by the Christian Evidence Society, which has always featured leaders and thinkers from the Christian tradition, will break that deadlock this year. It will be delivered at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Tuesday 22 May 2018, by the agnostic and world renowned cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser.

Professor Gleiser, who is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and the author of several best-selling popular science books, has long championed a positive re-engagement between the sciences and the humanities, including religion and the arts. His lecture, entitled, ‘Unknowns in Heaven and Earth’, will consider the scientific developments of the 21st century, from genetic engineering and artificial intelligence, to cosmology and the search for alien life, and call for people across the science and faith divide to ‘confront the unknowns in heaven and earth, many of them crucial to our shared future on this planet.’

The Revd Dr Gillian Straine, a trustee of the Christian Evidence Society, and the organiser of the lecture, says: ‘Many atheist and agnostic scientists are committed to a sort of faith position in which only they can understand and describe the world, and in which science is the only legitimate form of knowledge. Professor Gleiser is different. He understands himself as a fellow traveller with philosophers and theologians in a much wider pursuit to understand the world.’

The lecture will be followed by a conversation between Professor Gleiser and the Revd Dr Andrew Pinsent, Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. Says Gillian Straine: ‘We hope to do something mature and honest in the field of science and religion. The event has already sold out, and we look forward to an exciting evening.’

The Drawbridge Lecture is a lecture series of the Christian Evidence Society. The Society was founded in the 19th century to present the case for the Christian faith in an age of scepticism. Previous Drawbridge lecturers have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Russian dissident poet of the Cold War era, Irina Ratushinskaya, and Professor Alister McGrath.

Professor Marcelo Gleiser is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the Presidential Faculty Fellow award for the White House and the National Scientific Foundation. He is the author of several books of popular science, including The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected (2016) and The Island of Knowledge(2014).

Date and time: Tuesday 22 May 2018, 6.30pm
Venue: The Crypt, St Paul’s Cathedral, London
Contact: The Revd Dr Gillian Straine: 07398164477 or by email