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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 31 - August 2008

The past two years we have held two-week Summer Courses, but this year decided to pack everything into one week, a Course that attracted some 40 delegates from 12 different countries, among whom were represented many academic disciplines and several journalists, including a Nigerian writer who publishes a column on science and religion for one of Nigeria’s daily newspapers. We also welcomed 14 different speakers. As well as lectures from many of our regular speakers, highlights this time also included those from newcomers such as Prof. Ed Larson on Darwinism and Eugenics, Profs. Dean Zimmerman and Alan Torrance on personhood, and Prof. Darrel Falk on evolution. Some of the thoughts and feelings generated by the course were captured by one of our enthusiastic Irish delegates, Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh on his ‘Anti-matter’ blog [].

The Faraday Institute does not usually publish books, but we have made an exception for Rodney Holder’s excellent book ‘Nothing but Atoms and Molecules? Probing the Limits of Science’ which has gone out of print for the second time. In order to keep the book in print, we have just published a fresh edition. The book is a carefully formulated critique of the scientific reductionism of Richard Dawkins and others, together with a presentation of arguments for religious faith. Professor Alister McGrath writes of the book: ‘One of the best and most accessible refutations of the scientific reductionism that underlies much of today’s hostility towards religion, made even more relevant by its reappearance in Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion.’ The book can be ordered on-line from the Faraday shop at the bargain price of £6 plus postage and packing. 

The take-up of orders on our special offer on Denis Alexander’s new book ‘Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose?’ (Oxford: Monarch; pb 382pp, retail: £10.99, our price £6 viz 45% discount) has also been encouraging. The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, writes of the book: ‘Very timely, thoughtful, thorough and full of integrity. It speaks the languages of both science and faith in a remarkably clear and accessible way.’ The book is also available using our on-line ordering service. The launch of the book has been associated with the publication of various articles and reviews, for example at:;;

Faraday Papers continue to be posted on the web-site ( in different languages. Suitably enough for the week that sees the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, there are now six Papers posted in Chinese in both simplified and traditional Chinese script. The first paper in French will be appearing shortly.

Before a welcome lull during August, the Faraday Staff have as usual been on the road speaking in various contexts. The Director gave four talks at the annual conference of the Society for Ordained Scientists in the beautiful retreat centre of Scargill in Yorkshire, a centre sadly about to close. Associate Director Bob White spoke on ’Christianity, climate change and sustainable living’ after dinner to a packed room in The George Pub, in the Cambridgeshire Village of Elsworth, a favoured location for retired Cambridge academics.


Denis Alexander                                                       Bob White

[Director, Faraday Institute]                          [Associate Director]