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Harvard Atheist Steven Pinker in a Unique Intellectual Duel with Christian Thinker Nick Spencer

Contact: Andi Russell, +44-794-653-9571

MILTON KEYNES, England, June 21, 2018 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Friday June 22nd the second episode of a unique video series, The Big Conversation, will air. Featuring atheist academic Steven Pinker in a rare debate with Christian thinker Nick Spencer, it focuses on the subject ‘The Future of Humanity: Have science reason and humanism replaced faith?’

During their conversation the two thinkers spar on numerous subjects including whether or not Christianity birthed the scientific revolution.

Pinker argues that the rationalism of the Enlightenment was primarily responsible for modern science saying, "It's certainly possible that Christianity is part of the context. Whether it is causal is hard to establish." Spencer responds by pointing out that, "The Christian doctrine of creation legitimized and encouraged the study of the world as a way of understanding and glorifying God."

In another exchange they debate whether secular humanism needs God to ground its moral outlook.

Pinker says that, "Humanism is grounded in our universal humanity, that we're made of the same stuff, we're the same species, we're all sentient." In contrast Spencer argues, "I don't doubt that many of my atheist friends are committed to human dignity and equality. I can't see where the deep foundations for that are."

A psychology professor at Harvard University, Pinker conducts research on language and cognition and is a notable critic of religion. He is the author of 10 books and writes for publications such as the New York Times and Time Magazine. Christian thinker Nick Spencer is Director of Research at Theos and author of 'The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values.' Pinker's latest book 'Humanism Now: The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress' is debated on the programme.

This is the first time the two respected academics have faced each other in debate, challenging the other's views on key questions such as whether science has disproved religion and how Darwin viewed faith and slavery.

While both participants affirm the theory of evolution as an account of human origins, Spencer believes that misplaced belief in scientific progress has led to the catastrophe of "social Darwinism and eugenics" in the 20th Century. Pinker agrees, saying that, "Darwinism is the wrong place to look for a grounding for morality," but nevertheless argues that religion has often blocked moral progress.

The Big Conversation is a unique video series from Premier Christian Radio's popular faith debate show Unbelievable? Hosted by Justin Brierley, The Big Conversation explores science, faith, philosophy and what it means to be human. Future episodes will feature high-profile thinkers across the Christian and atheist community such as Derren Brown, Rev Richard Coles, Daniel Dennett, Keith Ward, Peter Singer and John Lennox.

The first episode, which launched earlier this month, featured a lively and challenging discussion between well known Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and atheist academic Susan Blackmore on the psychology of belief asking, "Do we need God to make sense of life?"

For videos, commentary and the programme schedule visit: www.thebigconversation.show.
 


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