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Is war between science and religion inevitable?

Debate overview

Queen’s University Belfast hosted the latest event in our Global Challenges Debates Series on 25 October, hearing from world-leading experts to discuss some of the greatest challenges facing us today.

In the seventeenth century the Church condemned Galileo for teaching that the earth revolved around the sun. In the twenty-first century Creationists and Darwinians attack each other in the courtroom over the teaching of evolution in schools. No wonder that the idea of a perpetual warfare between science and religion has gripped the popular imagination.

Two leading scholars took up this issue and asked: Is war between science and religion inevitable? Or are there other ways of thinking about the whole issue?

The speakers were Professor David Livingstone (Queen’s University Belfast) and Professor John Hedley Brooke (Oxford).

  • Date & Time
    Thursday 25 October, 5pm - 6.30pm Doors open at 4.30pm
  • Location
    The Graduate School, Queen’s University Belfast Refreshments served following the debate
“The Queen’s University Belfast Global Challenges Debates bring together some of the world’s leading academic thinkers, to discuss innovative ideas about major global phenomena. They provide an opportunity for students, staff and the wider public to engage with exciting research, and to reflect together on some of the world’s most pressing challenges in the twenty-first century.” Professor Richard English
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement
Profile - Richard English

Debate details

  • Profile - John Hedley Brooke

    Professor John Hedley Brooke

    MA PhD (Cambridge), MA (Oxford), HonFISSR

    From 1999-2006 John Hedley Brooke was the first Idreos Professor of Science & Religion at Oxford University. He has published extensively on history of chemistry, Victorian science and the historiography of natural theology. In 2014 his Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives was republished by CUP as a Canto Classic.

    John Hedley Brooke was Professor of the History of Science at Lancaster University before becoming the first Andreas Idreos Professor of Science & Religion at Oxford (1999-2006), where he was Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre and Fellow of Harris Manchester College.A Gifford Lecturer (Glasgow University 1994-5) and a member of the International Academy of the History of Science, he was designated a “Distinguished Fellow” by the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, in its inaugural year (2007).

    He has been President of the British Society for the History of Science, the Historical Section of the British Science Association, the International Society for Science and Religion, and the UK Forum for Science & Religion. He has lectured worldwide, enjoying opportunities to demythologise popular anecdotes about science and religion.

    Books include his prize-winning Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives, republished as a “Canto Classic” by CUP in 2014; Reconstructing Nature (the Glasgow Gifford Lectures co-authored with Geoffrey Cantor); and Science & Religion around the World, co-edited with Ronald Numbers.

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  • Profile - David Livingstone

    Professor David Livingstone

    OBE, DLitt, FBA, MRIA

    David N. Livingstone is Professor of Geography and Intellectual History at Queen’s University Belfast and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of a number of books including The Geographical Tradition, Putting Science in its Place, Adam’s Ancestors and Dealing with Darwin. He was awarded an OBE in 2002, the Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Academy, the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and an Honorary D. Litt. from the University of Aberdeen. He delivered the Gifford lectures in 2014 and the Dudleian Lecture at Harvard in 2015.

Getting Here


Queen's University Belfast,
The Graduate School,
University Rd,
Belfast, BT7 1NN
More Information
Debate Start 5.00pm
Wheelchair accessible Yes
Parking Available Yes (limited spaces)