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Over the years, the pendulum has constantly swung between ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ in the shaping of human destiny, a ‘scientific’ pendulum but one that has usually been exaggerated by ideological factors. In recent decades, however, the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics and our increased understanding of how the brain changes have all helped to subvert this either/or.
Nevertheless, the media still report the discovery of a gene ‘for’ this or that behaviour, and 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, with ongoing implications for human freedom, moral responsibility, the legal system, and religious belief.
On 10th July 2017 Denis Alexander, drawing on his forthcoming book of the same name, discussed these challenges, what they say about religious faith, and what Christian faith can say to them.
Denis Alexander is Founding, now Emeritus, Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St Edmunds College, Cambridge and the author of a number of books on science and faith
Image by reasonsforgod via Flickr, available under this Creative Commons Licence