The Isthmus Society
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Madison, WI 53706

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Recent Past Event

Isthmus Society Lecture

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Wednesday, October 17th 2012

Room: Pyle Center, UW-Madison
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Free and Open to the Public

Denis Alexander

Genes, Determinism and God

Director of the Faraday Institute
for Science and Religion
at Cambridge University
Event Flyer

Lecture AbstractShow/Hide
Over the past few centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics, and our increased understanding of neuronal plasticity, have all helped to subvert such dichotomous notions. At the same time 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. In parallel the human genome continues to be presented as the “blueprint of life” as in the recent flurry of publications describing results from the ENCODE project. There are therefore many continuing challenges to notions of human freedom and moral responsibility with consequent theological implications. This lecture will critically discuss these challenges.