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Alister-mcgrath
Alister McGrath
David-papineau
David Papineau
Chris-french
Christopher French
Stephenlaw
Stephen Law

Oxford Debate: Scientism, Religion, and the Limits of Reason

Alister McGrath, David Papineau and Christopher French Chaired by Stephen Law

Thursday, 31 March 2022

6:00pm

1 hour

Oxford Martin School: Lecture Theatre

£7 - £12.50

Two scientists and a philosopher, Professor Alister McGrath, Professor David Papineau, and Professor Chris French debate scientism, religion, and the limits of reason.

Critics of religious, New Age, spiritualist, and other popular forms of divine or supernatural belief are often accused of scientism or excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge. Believers in the divine or supernatural argue that scientists are crossing a line or boundary separating those topics or subjects that are the proper province of science and those that are beyond its capacity to adjudicate. They say scientists are guilty of an arrogant failure to recognise that there are ‘more things in heaven and Earth’ than are dreamt of in their philosophy, and of supposing science is best placed to answer questions that can only be answered by employing other disciplines, forms of inquiry, or ‘ways of knowing’. ‘You scientists’, say the believers, ‘may come this far, but no further.’ But is this fair? Can’t science investigate the supernatural, and provide evidence for or against the existence of God? Is it true that many legitimate questions really are off-limits to science?

McGrath is a former molecular biophysicist and now professor of science and religion at the University of Oxford. Papineau is professor of philosophy of science at King’s College London. French is emeritus professor of psychology at Goldsmiths, specialising in the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences.

Discussions are chaired by Dr Stephen Law, a philosopher and academic, author of bestselling introductions to philosophy for adults and children, and editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Journal Think.

Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Project People Foodbuy Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre City Audio Visual Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Royal Academy of Arts Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Pasture to Plate
 

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Project People Foodbuy Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre City Audio Visual Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Royal Academy of Arts Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Pasture to Plate