In 2019, the Bampton Lectures were given by Professor Peter Harrison, Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. Peter is a former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. He has written numerous books and articles on the historical and contemporary relations between science and religion. In 2011 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, now published as The Territories of Science and Religion (2015). His most recent book is Narratives of Secularization (2017).
The relationship between science and religion is often thought of in terms of competing factual claims or ways of knowing - evolution vs creation, reason vs faith. But arguments along these lines are rarely persuasive. Peter Harrison argues that this is because the dialogue is an expression of commitments to implicit historical narratives about science and religion. The most common is the conflict narrative, which proposes an enduring historical conflict between science and religion. Less commonly remarked upon is a naturalism narrative, according to which there is nothing in the universe but physical forces and entities.
The lectures took place on 12th February and 19th February 2019. They were followed by seminars in the Old Library. The first seminar was on 'Evidence and Religious Belief' and the second seminar was on 'Divine Action in a Disenchanted World'.