Genes Determinism and God
Dr. Denis Alexander (University of Cambridge) will present The Gifford Lecture Series at St. Andrews beginning December 3, 2012. The lecture series will be delivered in School III of St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews. Each lecture will begin at 5.15pm, and following the first there will be a reception in Lower College Hall. Lectures are free and open to the public as well as to staff and students of the University.
|Monday, December 3rd
||Genes, History and Ideology
|Tuesday, December 4th
||Reshaping the Matrix of Genes and Environment
|Thursday, December 6th
||Genetic Variation and Human Behaviour
|Friday, December 7th
||Molecular Genetics, Determinism and the Imago Dei
LECTURE 1: Genes, History and Ideology
This lecture provides an introduction to the general theme of the series, raising the question of whether variant genes are involved in constraining us to follow one particular future, and showing how the long historical debate between the idea of the mind as a blank slate compared to the idea of innate dispositions has been powerfully influenced by competing ideological priorities. The dichotomous language of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, arising in the late 19th century, has provided the biological parameters for this discussion, and has been re-framed numerous times in the past 100 years, most recently as ‘genes’ and ‘environment’. Academic opinion has tended to oscillate between the two poles, a trend that has continued up to the present day, but which is now being subverted by recent advances in the biological sciences. It is concluded that these advances lead to a very different understanding of the role of genes in the construction of human identities, an understanding which readily lends itself to an engagement with natural theology. [more]
Gifford Lectures Online
The online Gifford Lectures database presents a comprehensive collection of books derived from the Gifford Lectures. In addition to the books, the Web site contains a biography of each lecturer and a summary of the lecture or book. The Web site also contains a biography of Adam Lord Gifford, a copy of his will bequeathing money to the four major Scottish universities to hold the lectures, a brief description of natural theology, an introduction to each of the four universities and news about forthcoming Gifford-related events.
How to Use the Database
Given the variety of disciplines represented by the lectures and the renown of the lecturers, the information contained in this database is invaluable for scholars around the world. Students and researchers will be able to access a vast array of material dealing with religion, philosophy, physics, biology, psychology and history. Word searches can be conducted and key words identified across volumes, allowing the researcher to investigate a variety of topics.
The Gifford Lectures
The prestigious Gifford Lectureships were established by Adam Lord Gifford (1820–1887), a senator of the College of Justice in Scotland. The purpose of Lord Gifford's bequest to the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews and Aberdeen was to sponsor lectures to “promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term—in other words, the knowledge of God”.
Since the first lecture in 1888, Gifford Lecturers have been recognized as pre-eminent thinkers in their respective fields. Among the many gifted lecturers are Hannah Arendt, Niels Bohr, Etienne Gilson, Werner Heisenberg, William James, Max Mueller, Iris Murdoch, Reinhold Niebuhr, Albert Schweitzer and Alfred North Whitehead.