April 2014
volume 26 (1)

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Guest Editorial: God and Science – Continuing Challenges and New Opportunities

Pages: 3-4


Neuroscientific and psychological attacks on the efficacy of conscious will

Pages: 5-24


Neuroscience and psychology are increasingly being invoked to cast doubt on the fundamental intuition that our intentions and decisions are causally implicated in our behaviour. The initial attack was launched thirty years ago with the famous experiment of Benjamin Libet on the timing of decisions to perform simple movements. A second prong to the attack was launched in 2002 with the publication of social psychologist Daniel Wegner’s book, The Illusion of Conscious Will. I here summarise the intense debate that has resulted and argue that the anti-conscious-will lobby have failed to make an adequate case to justify their iconoclastic claim.


The Importance of the Church Fathers for Early Modern Astronomy

Pages: 25-51


This article deals with reservations several Church Fathers had to astronomy and the consequences that this had for early modern astronomy. In general, the Church Fathers criticised astronomy as vain curiosity that does Christians no good. I argue that when the early modern astronomers stressed the usefulness of their discipline, it was not an expression of a new utilitarian way of thinking, but an attempt to neutralise these theological objections by highlighting the religious, social and moral benefits of astronomy. The spirit of material utility for which modern science was reproached in the twentieth century originally emerged as a need to legitimise science against the objections of theology.


Divining Darwin: Evolving Responses and the Contribution of David Lack

Pages: 53-78


Christian believers, particularly evangelicals, often react to evolutionary ideas with more heat than light. A significant contribution to clarifying understanding was a book published in 1957, Evolutionary Theory and Christian Belief by the eminent ornithologist David Lack. It was the first attempt to tease out the issues by a scientist of his calibre. Information about this book has recently been published in a biography of Lack. This essay seeks to put Lack’s contribution into the perspective of both past and continuing perceptions of Christianity and evolution.


Obituary: Oliver Barclay (1919-2013)

Sam Berry
Pages: 83-88


Some key issues in the Science and Faith debate

Pages: 89-92


The following was written by Oliver Barclay in 1987 as an introduction to a booklet of edited articles entitled ‘Science and Christian Belief’. Many of these points are still relevant today and this article is reprinted here with permission.


Book reviews

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The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology

Russell Re Manning (ed.), (Roger Trigg)
Pages: 93-94

The Isaac Newton Guide Book

Denis Alexander (ed.), (Allan Chapman)
Pages: 94-96

Science and Belief: The Big Issues

Russell Stannard, (Hilary Marlow)
Pages: 96-96

Human Technological Enhancement and Theological Anthropology

Victoria Lorrimar (Noreen Herzfeld)
Pages: 129-131