New College Lectures
Genetics, God and the Future of Humanity
Sept 11th, 12th & 13th 2018
Rapid advances in genetics, robotics and other sciences are challenging our understanding of what it means to be human. Can science resolve key ethical questions? What role does religious thinking play in the age of genomics? And how do scientific and religious ways of knowing relate?
What do medical and behavioural genetics tell us about the limits of human freedom? And how does our current understanding of human genetics relate to the Judaeo-Christian conviction that humankind is made in the image of God?
How far do we go in manipulating humans using genetic engineering and in the creation of cyborgs? Where are the boundaries between healing and enhancement, and, as science continues to shape the future of humanity, how will we recognise these boundaries?
Dr Denis Alexander will seek to discuss and address these questions and more at the 2018 New College Lectures this September.
Tues 11 Sep
Opening Event - "Is There Purpose In Biology?" [Dr Alexander, Oxford: Lion, 2018] Book Launch - 6:00pm
Wed 12 Sep
Lecture 2 - Are We Slaves to Our Genes?: Faith and Human Freedom - 7:30pm
What does medical and behavioural genetics tell us about the limits of human freedom? And how does our current understanding of human genetics relate to the Judaeo-Christian conviction that humankind is made in the image of God?
Thurs 13 Sep
Lecture 3 - Genetic Engineering: Faith and the Future of Humanity - 7:30pm
How far do we go in manipulating humans using genetic engineering and in the creation of cyborgs? Where are the boundaries between healing and enhancement and, as science continues to shape the future of humanity, how will we know?
Dr Denis Alexander
Dr Denis Alexander is the Founding Director [Emeritus] of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge, where he is Emeritus Fellow. He is a past chair of the Molecular Immunology Programme and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at The Babraham Institute, Cambridge. Dr Alexander was previously at the Imperial Cancer Research Laboratories in London (now Cancer Research UK) and spent 15 years developing university departments and laboratories overseas, latterly as Associate Professor of Biochemistry in the Medical Faculty of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, where he helped to establish the National Unit of Human Genetics. From 1992-2013 he was Editor of the journal Science & Christian Belief, and Dr Alexander also served as a member of the executive committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. Having given the Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews University in 2012, these lectures were published by CUP in August 2017 under the title 'Genes, Determinism and God'.
New College Lectures History
In 1986 the College set up a Trust to conduct an annual series of public lectures. This resulted in the formation of the New College Lectures. Each New College lecturer is asked to take up some important issue or aspect of contemporary society and to comment on it from the standpoint of their Christian faith and professional expertise. These lectures have become an important public event and have attracted large interest and generated much discussion. Many of the New College Lectures have been published in a variety of ways.
- View a Complete List of the Previous New College Lectures
- View a Complete List of the Published Outcomes
The inaugural New College lectures were delivered in 1987 by Professor Malcolm Jeeves of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. In subsequent years lecturers have come from Australian and overseas universities as well as the wider community. The 2005 New College Lecture series received much attention as it broached the important topic of ‘Church and State’ addressed by The Hon John Anderson, The Hon Kevin Rudd and Rev Dr Andrew Cameron (Moore College). Over 850 people attended over two nights to hear this landmark lecture series. The New College Lectures continue to grow and in 2013 the lectures were attended by more people than ever before with delegates coming from near and far to hear Professor Stanley Hauerwas.
Lecture summaries, videos and audio from the more recent New College Lectures are available under previous lectures.