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Cathedral to explore 'interface between science and faith'

Blackburn Cathedral is hosting a series of five talks and panel discussions on science and faith, starting on 7 April ...

The series will comprise five highly accessible talks, conversations and panel discussions from a range of speakers, each event held in the north transept of Blackburn Cathedral, 7:30 – 9pm.

The series has been coordinated by Rev Dr Mike Kirby who is a Blackburn Cathedral Curate and Lecturer in Radiotherapy Physics at Liverpool University.

Mike said today: “This series is designed to inform but also promote thought and prayerful discussion on the interface between science and faith; from academic discussion to the challenges of faith in everyday scientific contexts.

“Accessibility has been the key aim in designing the series – so that there is a wide range of topics, all with a desire to engage with and inform about the comparability that can exist between people of science and their faiths.

“Science and faith do not, in our view, sit on opposite ends of the spectrum forever fighting against each other; they can complement each other extremely well, helping us all to understand more and more of the universe by answering different questions about it.”

The series begins on April 7 with a talk by Rev Dr Mike Kirby which will give an accessible overview of the arena of discussion points between science and faith, from a perspective of the life of a real (25 year plus) medical physicist and priest.

On April 14, the Rev Canon Michael Wedgeworth leads a conversation on Ethics and Life Sciences, using his considerable experience of NHS healthcare programmes and initiatives in the North West of England, as well as being a priest at the Cathedral.

On April 21 and May 5, the Cathedral will welcome two world-renowned speakers on science and religion; Professor John Brooke and Professor Keith Ward.

Both need little introduction, such is their prominence in the academic world; suffice to say they each have published hundreds of books, papers and articles on the science/faith interface – and are well known for the ease with which they can bring across their subject matter to their audiences in highly accessible ways.

Prof Brooke is going to look outward – and examine the extra-terrestrial debate; Prof Ward looking into the world of the very small and quantum physics.

The series completes this year with a Question Time style panel discussion moderated by Rev Dr Mike Kirby and bringing together real scientists and real faith; both Christians and other faiths. With key scientists from the medical and physical sciences (principally from Rosemere Cancer Centre), everyday issues and challenges of science and faith will be open for discussion and question.

Entrance is FREE; all are welcome. Please note; there is no parking on the Cathedral grounds but there are a number of public car parks nearby.


Thursday 7 April: Introduction to Science and Faith – the arena of discussion with * Rev. Dr Mike Kirby; Blackburn Cathedral Curate and Lecturer in Radiotherapy Physics at Liverpool University.

Thursday 14 April: A conversation on Ethics and the Life Sciences; led by Rev Canon Michael Wedgeworth; Honorary Assistant Priest, Blackburn Cathedral and Chair of Healthwatch Lancashire.

Thursday 21 April: Science, Faith and the extra-terrestrial life debate; with Prof John Brooke; Emeritus Professorial Fellow, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.

Thursday 5 May: Stephen Hawking, Quantum Physics and the death of materialism with Prof Keith Ward; Christ Church, Oxford and Professorial Research Fellow, Heythrop College, London.

Thursday 12 May: Question Time – Real Science, Real Faith - a discussion chaired by Revd Dr Mike Kirby, Blackburn Cathedral Curate and Lecturer in Radiotherapy Physics at Liverpool University. The discussion panel will include Glyn Shentall, Head of Radiotherapy Physics, Rosemere Cancer Centre; Helen Clements, Head of Radiotherapy, Rosemere Cancer Centre and Dr Alison Birtle, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Rosemere Cancer Centre.

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