"Genes, Determinism and God"
Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
Wednesday, October 17, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
The Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street
Over the past few centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics, and our increased understanding of neuronal plasticity, have all helped to subvert such dichotomous notions. At the same time the field of behavioural genetics continues to extend its reach into the social sciences, reporting the heritability of such human traits as religiosity and political affiliation. In parallel the human genome continues to be presented as the "blueprint of life" as in the recent flurry of publications describing results from the ENCODE project. There are therefore many continuing challenges to notions of human freedom and moral responsibility with consequent theological implications. This lecture will critically discuss these challenges.
Sponsored by the Isthmus Society, with additional support from the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.