2022-08-16T08:30:00+01:00By Erik Strandness
Erik Strandness on the promise and perils of AI following The Big Conversation between Lord Martin Rees and Dr JohnWyatt
Each of us carries around in our cells about 20,000 different genes – a unique set of biological code which shapes how our bodies develop. As scientists better understand genes and how they work, genetics is becoming a more and more important field of modern medicine, particularly in diagnosing conditions. But this comes with a brand new set of ethical challenges to think through. In this episode, we interview Melody Redman, a clinical geneticist working in the NHS, about her work, and her perspective on it as a Christian doctor.
If the Universe is so big why did God choose to come to a small hill called Mount Zion? If there is sentient life beyond earth would it need redeeming too? Are the Nephilim evidence of aliens and UFOs? Tom answers questions on aliens and the cosmos!
Deep-fakes, Turing Tests and chatbots - AI systems are becoming ever more human-like. Robotics expert Prof Nigel Crook says we need to make sure they are moral too.
2022-07-29T10:55:00+01:00By Peter S Williams
Peter S Williams draws on philosophical arguments and a Big Conversation on AI and Robotics to show why recent claims of a ‘sentient’ AI are still in the realm of science fiction.
We’ve teamed up with the Panpsycast podcast to bring you this week’s episode of Unbelievable? ‘The Mystery of Consciousness’ was a live audience event recorded at the Tung Auditorium in Liverpool. The panellists are Rowan Williams, Anil Seth, Laura Gow and Philip Goff, moderated by Panpsycast host Jack Symes.
If evolution is true then physical death existed before the Fall - how do we reconcile that with scripture? How do we reconcile evolution with the concept of a first man and woman and original sin? Did the Fall also affect the rest of the universe?
In the week the first images from the new James Webb Space Telescope were beamed back to Earth, we are joined by theologian Andrew Davison to consider the spiritual value of cosmology and astrophysics.
Hello, and welcome to Matters of Life and Death. Today we’re going back to our conversation about simulation for part two of this re-broadcast. Last week’s episode discussed the growth of deep fakes and other digital technologies which allow us to simulate human faces and speech with increasing accuracy.
For the next two weeks we’re dipping back into the Matters of Life and Death archive to bring you an episode we first broadcast last year. It’s all about simulation.
2022-06-23T13:48:00+01:00By Peter Byrom
Peter Byrom thinks Richard Dawkins made some of his most revealing remarks during his recent discussion with Francis Collins on The Big Conversation, owing mostly to the good-natured relationship between the two guests, which allowed Dawkins to lower some of his usual defences.
Could it be that some knowledge – including whether your unborn child has a serious genetic condition – is actually not helpful, and even harmful to us?
What does the science of brain chemistry and consciousness tell us about the nature of our mind and our cosmos?
Pregnant women today are offered a battery of tests and screening for their unborn child, looking for an ever-increasing range of conditions and risks. But is the onward march of technology in this sphere always an unmitigated good thing?
Demographic trends reveal clearly the next century will be one increasingly dominated by older people. If God is giving us a lot more folk in their later years, what are they for in church life?
The world’s population is rapidly becoming older and older, with many developed nations seeing unprecedented proportions of their citizens in retirement age. Why is this taking place, and does this presage an era of economic stagnation or a utopia of stability?
2022-06-01T14:53:00+01:00By Erik Strandness
Apologist and former physician Erik Strandness reviews the encounter between the two high-profile scientists and what it tells us about God, design and morality.
In the second part of our conversation on robot rights, we explore three Christian responses to calls for robot personhood, spanning the spectrum of hostility to optimism about the development. What Biblical truths and doctrines can we turn to as we wrestle with what is a fundamentally brand new dilemma? And how would our theology and practice as believers change should conscious, intelligent, autonomous robots come to live among us?
2022-05-24T14:35:00+01:00By Peter S Williams
Philosopher Peter S Williams thinks both Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins overlooked a design inference, within the realm of evolutionary biology, which would go hand-in-hand with the argument from “fine-tuning” (which Dawkins himself described as “a good argument” for God during their debate).
Our most popular episode of Premier Unbelievable?’s The Big Conversation, attracting over 3 million viewers on YouTube, was the debate between Jordan Peterson and Susan Blackmore over the question “do we need God to make sense of life”.
The Big Conversation - Episode 1 | Season 4
If and when autonomous and intelligent robots come into existence, should they be granted rights, or even personhood?
Abortion is a flashpoint issue in both the church and wider culture, with the very language you choose used as a cudgel for either side. So how can Christians talk about it and respond to it in a way which cools tensions rather than inflames them?
This is part two of our re-broadcast of last year’s John Stott episode, to mark what would have been his centenary.
This month marks 101 years since the late John Stott was born, and his centenary last year prompted a flurry of events to mark the centenary of this highly influential vicar, Bible teacher and evangelical leader.
In Britain as in many countries there is a growing campaign to legalise assisted suicide and to make doctors prescribe on request lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. In the second part of our interview with Sarah Foot, a Christian palliative care doctor, Sarah explains why her colleagues are overwhelmingly opposed to this, the ignorance which lies behind many of the arguments for changing the law, and the implications for palliative care should assisted dying be imposed upon it.
Over the past 60 years a new field of medicine has emerged – palliative care. In this episode we interview Sarah Foot, a Christian palliative care doctor, who explains how she treats the physical, mental, social and even spiritual needs of those who are dying, the Christian foundations of the discipline, and what impact her profession has on her.
Following on from our discussion last week on the rise of climate fatalism, we discuss what an authentically Christian response to our environmental crisis would look like. How can we steer a middle path between complacency and despair?
The latest report from the UN’s climate scientists was both incredibly downbeat about climate change and almost entirely ignored by a media fixated on Ukraine. In this episode we consider the communication and changing narratives around climate change, why an unscientific hyper-fatalism has set in with many activists, and what impact this might be having on younger generations terrified humanity itself is going extinct.
In this episode we pick up our conversation from last week about transhumanism and how technology might redefine what it means to be human. We consider what place technology has in today’s social narrative and whether it makes sense as Christians to automatically resist efforts to use cutting-edge science to reshape ourselves.
Billions of dollars are currently being spent by a suite of private firms, mostly in Silicon Valley, pursuing radical research to enhance human capacities. These companies want to put off, or even defeat, aging, upload our minds to computers and give humans new abilities. Is this simply the next frontier for science and something to be welcomed, or should Christians hesitate to endorse research which appears to target our very created selves?
To mark our arrival on the Premier network, we recap how Matters of Life and Death began and what we hope our intergenerational conversations might achieve.
The Omicron variant has in a few short weeks almost taken over the pandemic. This highly transmissible version of covid is raising afresh complicated ethical questions about vaccine distribution and international solidarity between nations. How can we ascertain what is the common good during global crises affecting different countries in different ways?
This week we are resuming our conversation about infertility which begun in our previous episode. If you haven’t yet listened to that discussion, which focused on IVF, we’d recommend pausing this and going back to it as we will build on some of the ideas we explored last time. Today, we moved on to consider new ethical issues among other reproductive technologies.
Today we are delving into a complex and sensitive topic – infertility and IVF. The statistics suggest about one in seven couples will be unable to conceive without some kind of medical intervention, and the most popular form of reproductive treatment is in vitro fertilisation – IVF.
This week we’re digging into assisted dying. A bill to legalise it in England has been introduced to parliament – what does it propose and how likely is it to actually become law?
Mark Driscoll, the hermeneutic of suspicion, Sigmund Freud’s chaise longue, and Paul-Timothy relationships
This episode was inspired by John’s new book – The Robot Will See You Now
In today’s episode we’re returning to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been almost six months since we last dedicated an episode to covid, and since then a lot has happened. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been delivered around the world, but are they going to the right people at the right time?
Last week marked 100 years since the late John Stott was born and there has been a flurry of events to mark the centenary of this highly influential vicar, Bible teacher and evangelical leader.
Today’s topic is simulation. We live in an era when digital technology is making it increasingly easy and cheap to create fake but compelling images or videos of people, or even entirely artificial human-like personalities.
This episode explores one of the most significant and potentially long-lasting ways the covid pandemic has affected church life – the shift to digital.
In today’s episode we’re taking a sideways step from the covid pandemic and instead are discussing social media and free speech.
Microchips. Bill Gates. The mark of the beast. 5G cell towers. False positive rates. Big pharma. DNA alteration. It’s been hard to avoid the swirling morass of misinformation and conspiracy theories around the pandemic. And this confusion and fear have surged in recent weeks as the first covid vaccines have begun to be rolled out. But why have so many people, including many in the church, fallen for untruths about coronavirus?
The first coronavirus vaccine jabs have already gone into the arms of people here in the UK, as Britain this week became the first country in the world to actually deploy a vaccine which had completed all its clinical trials and been signed off by the regulator. But there remain lots of questions about the vaccine – how has it been made so fast, can we be sure it is safe, who should get it first, and can Christians be given it without compromising on their religious convictions?
The second coronavirus lockdown started here in the UK on 5 November and is due to last the rest of the month. Unlike the first time round in the spring, we aren’t going into this with our eyes closed – we know the lockdown will cause immense economic damage, as well as impacting mental and even physical health. Is this crude, blunt instrument really the best way to tackle the second wave of the covid pandemic?
We received a fascinating question from a listener after our last episode on vaccines, picking up on the competing and perhaps contradictory philosophies behind the anti-vax movement. So we decided to respond to their question and thoughts with a special bonus episode looking over this issue and other developments in coronavirus vaccines since.
In the second part of our conversation on technology during the coronavirus pandemic, we look into our crystal balls and try to imagine what the world of tech will look like in the future, thanks to Covid-19.
There are about 40 different potential covid vaccines already being tested on humans, with almost a hundred more at earlier stages of development in the lab.
We’re back after a slightly longer than expected summer break with a new episode, all about our fears, anxieties and hopes amid the pandemic.
One of the perhaps unexpected results of the coronavirus pandemic is how it has thrown up some fascinating debates about technology.
For many years death has been described as perhaps the final taboo in British society. Rarely it is deemed polite to mention the uncomfortable fact that one day we all will die, let alone try to bring faith or spirituality into that conversation. But in the midst of a pandemic which has already claimed over 50,000 British lives in various ways, is that changing?
Protect the NHS. It has been one of the key government slogans, designed to inspire us to stay with the lockdown so that hospitals do not get overwhelmed by coronavirus patients and services collapse under the pressure. In today’s episode we examine what life in the NHS has been like during the Covid-19 crisis.
First come, first served? Or key workers and politicians before everyone else? How can doctors decide who to treat in a healthcare emergency when there are not enough beds or ventilators to go around?
Our third episode on coronavirus zooms in to focus on how Christians should be thinking and acting during the pandemic.
In this second episode in our series on coronavirus, we explore how Covid-19 is different to plagues in the past.
Our first ever episode of Matters of Life and Death kicks off a short series on coronavirus. Today we take a lightning tour through the history of the church, going all the way back to the Roman Empire, to try and see how Christians have responded to times of plague in the past. What might we have to learn by looking back at times when the world was, as today, convulsed by a devastating virus? Is there wisdom to glean from the way believers in previous generations have acted during pandemics? And why might we interpret these moments of crisis differently today?
Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, and editor of ‘The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith’ argues that the Intelligent Design movement is gaining new converts and has never been stronger. Science historian Adam Shapiro, co-author of ‘Science and Religion: A very short introduction’ responds.
This episode was recorded shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine. Prior to the outbreak of war, Ukraine’s lax surrogacy laws have made it a major destination for so-called ‘reproductive tourism’ for infertile and same-sex couples who wish to have a baby.
Does Tom believe in 6-day creation? When did the first humans ‘made in God’s image’ appear? These and other questions on creation and evolution are tackled by Tom. Plus a bonus song on the end of the episode! Tom and geneticist Francis Collins perform a duet of their song ‘Genesis’. To hear their conversation on ...
Elijah Stephens, director of the documentary Send Proof, joins Justin to discuss his investigation into supernatural healing claims. Miracle researcher Craig Keener shares extraordinary stories - but is it enough to convince atheist skeptic Michael Shermer?
With COP26 the United Nations climate change conference underway in Glasgow, Justin is joined by climate change campaigner Antonia Godber and scientist Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe.
The Texas 'heartbeat' bill, prohibiting termination after 6 weeks gestation has put abortion law in the spotlight recently.
Dr Stephen Robinson and Dr Victoria Lim entered into a 3-year email dialogue as a Christian and agnostic working in science. They tell Justin Brierley what happened.
The Big Conversation - Episode 5 | Season 3
Dr Gunter Bechly is a palaeontologist who became convinced that Darwinian evolution cannot explain the fossil record. He debates Intelligent Design with computational biologist Dr Joshua Swamidass who affirms an evolutionary account.
Stephen C Meyer of the Discovery Institute says that 3 key scientific advances in cosmology and biology have reignited the case for God. He discusses the claims in his new book 'The Return of the God Hypothesis' with Brian Keating, Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego.
The Big Conversation - Episode 4 | Season 3. Many physicists have pointed out the extraordinary ‘fine tuning’ of the physical laws of the universe that have allowed life to develop within the cosmos.
Sam Devis is a former Christian and produces a podcast called When Belief Dies. One of the triggers for his faith deconstruction was reading Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ and the consequent questions this raised, particularly around evolution. Andrew Halestrap is emeritus professor of biochemistry and senior research fellow at Bristol University ...
In 2005 a high profile trial saw the Dover School District taken to court for promoting Intelligent Design (ID) as an alternative theory to evolution in classrooms. 15 years on Mike Behe a prominent biochemist and ID advocate who took the stand as a defence witness, talks about what the ...
Oxford professor Alister McGrath recently joined Justin, Lucy and Ruth for a livestream to take listener questions on science and faith and to talk about his new memoir ’Through a Glass Darkly’.
In a bonus mid-week episode Justin shares his own thoughts on why God doesn’t step in to stop ‘natural evils’ like coronavirus, plague and natural disasters.
Erik Strandness responds to a recent debate between ‘Side A and B’ gay Christians
Neonatal doctor Erik Strandess responds to a new debate on Adam, Eve and evolution
Justin Brierley has moderated hundreds of lively debates on Christianity and atheism, but when a renowned Christian apologist met a popular YouTube personality at a Californian megachurch, it turned out to be one of the most remarkable events the broadcaster has ever hosted
Astrophysicist Luke Barnes reviews The Big Conversation between celebrated cosmologist Sir Roger Penrose and Christian philosopher William Lane Craig
Sir Roger Penrose disagrees with William Lane Craig on the cause of the Universe. Daniel Ray examines why the famous cosmologist can’t bring himself to accept the God hypothesis.
Following his Big Conversation with cosmologist Roger Penrose, renowned Christian philosopher William Lane Craig outlines three ways the science of the universe points to God
These former atheist scientists now believe in God because of the evidence
Geologist and priest Michael Roberts is convinced the earth is 4.6 billion years old. He shares ten questions he’d like to ask Christians who believe the earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old
For more debates, updates and bonus content sign up at www.premier.org.uk/unbelievablenewsletter
John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University & Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University, go head to head in the 4th episode of The Big Conversation. Filmed in front in front of a live audience in London, they debate science, faith and the evidence for God.
Justin Brierley is joined by Astrophysicist and President of Reasons To Believe, Dr Hugh Ross and professor of physical chemistry Dr Peter Atkins to discuss whether the origins of the laws of nature lie in God or in ‘nothing’
Following his debate with John Lennox on The Big Conversation, Prof Michael Ruse explains why he’s not a New Atheist, but not a Christian either.
Popular atheists including Steven Pinker say that science, human rights and reason are a result of the Enlightenment conquering religious superstition. That’s just another fairytale, argues Nick Spencer
For the full video, further episodes, updates & bonus content sign up http://www.thebigconversation.show
Be the first to watch, listen and download at http://www.thebigconversation.show
Atheist comedian Ricky Gervais debated the existence of God on prime-time TV recently. David Robertson publishes an open letter in response.
Is atheism fundamentally flawed? Chris Goswami investigates
After giving birth to her first child, Jennifer Fulwiler began to question her long-held atheism.
Douglas Ell was shocked to discover overwhelming evidence for God in an unlikely place
Daniel Rodger explains why he believes evangelicals shouldn’t be afraid to stand against abortion
Read the amazing testimony of Francis S. Collins, M.D, Ph.D
With the release of Unbelievable? Why, after ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian, Justin Brierley makes the case for a creator
Christians are often upset by Richard Dawkins. But Heather Tomlinson believes we also have many reasons to thank the controversial atheist
On Epiphany - the time when Christians traditionally remember the visit of the Magi to the Christ child - Jonathan McLatchie explains three theories as to what caused the star over Bethlehem
Do atheists have a monopoly on science? ‘No’ says theologian Alister McGrath, responding to three questions raised by physicist Jim Al-Khalili
Scientist and BBC broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili is president of the British Humanist Association. He tells Justin Brierley why his search for meaning hasn’t led him to God
Thousands of Brits will be trying to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse today (March 20, 2015). Science buff Jonathan McLatchie, explains why these unusual astronomic events give us a window into our privileged place in the solar system.
Drawing on his studies in forensic pathology, David Instone-Brewer explores the science of crucifixion.
Responding to Dawkins, Hawking and the New Atheism
Professor John Lennox is a top Oxford Mathematician. He is also a committed Christian. He chats to Justin Brierley about his debates with Richard Dawkins, his own journey of faith and why Christianity makes sense of science, life and the Universe.
Philosopher AC Grayling has made it his mission to show why people have as little reason to believe in a deity as they do in the Tooth Fairy. Justin Brierley meets the atheist professor who believes he has seen the future – and God’s not part of it.
Rice Broocks is a US church leader. His new book ‘God’s Not Dead’ gathers together various lines of evidence for the existence of God.
Christian philosopher Prof Keith Ward and atheist philosopher of science Michael Ruse debate some of the issues raised by the new DVD documentary series The God Question. It explores whether advances in science are undermining or supporting belief in God.
New DVD documentary series The God Question explores whether advances in science are undermining or supporting belief in God. Christian thinker Prof John Lennox and atheist physicist Lawrence Krauss debate some of the issues raised by the video series..
The SETI programme has been listening to the universe for signs of intelligent life for over 50 years.
Russell Stannard is emeritus professor of Physics at The Open University. He is a Christian and presenter of the RE Today Services Science & Belief videos
Brother Guy Consolmagno has an asteroid named after him. The planetary scientist for the Vatican talks to Justin Brierley about his journey of faith, his scientific research and answers questions from listeners on the interaction of science and Christianity.
Do science and genetics support the existence of a ‘first’ human couple? How should we interpret the first chapters of Genesis? Do we need a historical Adam & Eve to make sense of sin and salvation?
In a podcast special, atheist scientist Adam Rutherford and Christian biochemist Fazale (Fuz) Rana of Reasons To Believe, discuss the latest advances in synthetic bio-engineering and whether they support or contradict the view that life is a product of design.
Was the emergence of the first self-replicating organism a result of design or the blind forces of nature?
Claims of UFO sightings and alien abductions have been widespread in the last few decades. Is there any substance to the sightings, do UFOs appear in scripture and would discovering alien life make a difference to the Christian faith? Is evidence for UFOs on a par with evidence for supernatural ...
Alom Shaha grew up in a Muslim background in London but became an atheist in his teens. Now a science teacher he has written about that journey in his book “The Young Atheist’s Handbook”. He chats with Tom Price of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics about Love, God, Narnia, ...
Recorded at Imperial College London. Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross of Reasons To Believe debates atheist biologist Lewis Wolpert. Ross brings evidence for God from Big Bang cosmology, explaining why scientific advance provides a testable model of Biblical Creation. Wolpert says that belief in God is a by-product of evolution and ...
Young Earth Creationists (YEC) claim the earth and universe is only some 6000 years old according to the Bible and that science that goes against this is flawed. Old Earth Creationists (OEC) argue that the Bible does not commit us to a 24hr day view of creation days, but that ...
Hugh Ross is an astronomer and founder of Reasons To Believe, an apologetics organisation aiming to show why modern science confirms and supports the Christian worldview. Paul Davies is a British astrophysicist and popular science author currently based at Arizona State University.
Lawrence Krauss is a Cosmologist at Arizona State University who describes himself as an “anti-theist”. His latest book “A Universe From Nothing” has received both acclaim and criticism for its attempt to answer the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
Is our physical brain one and the same with the consciousness, thoughts and perceptions we experience? Is matter all there is ultimately? Keith Ward is a prominent Christian Philosopher & Theologian. The Former Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University. He believes in an immaterial mind, as well as the ...
A show marking January’s Feast of the Epiphany which marks the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. Various astronomical theories have been put forward for what might have constituted the “Star of Bethlehem” that guided the Magi as recorded in Matthew 2. Christian Astrophysicists Hugh Ross and Jeff ...
Edgar Andrews is Emeritus Professor of Materials at the University of London and the author of “Who Made God?” He returns to support the view that only God explains the ability of science to make sense of the world around us. Lewis Wolpert is Emeritus Professor of Biology at University ...
Stephen Meyer is a leading proponent of Intelligent Design who directs the Centre for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. His most recent book “Signature in the Cell” claims to show that the DNA code is the product of intelligent mind, not naturalistic processes. Keith Fox is ...
6 months ago Sye Ten Bruggencate and atheist Paul Baird met to discuss Sye’s presuppositional approach to proof of God. Sye claims that the fact Paul believes in laws of logic, maths, science and rationality prove that God exists. The show was a popular download with many subsequent online debates. ...