ISSR is pleased to announce its new partnership with St Mary-le-Bow church in organising and hosting the prestigious Boyle Lectures on Science and Religion.


The first lecture to be held as part of this partnership will be delivered Monday 18th February 2019. This lecture will be delivered by ISSR’s President, Professor Michael J. Reiss, and we are delighted to have Professor Janet Soskice as the respondent.

Science, Religion and Ethics

For much of human history, religion was presumed to be either the or a principal source of
ethics. Over time, two developments challenged this. First was the establishment of the
discipline of moral philosophy. Foundational texts, such as Kant’s Groundwork of the
Metaphysics of Morals, and the growth of coherent, non-religious approaches to ethics,
notably utilitarianism, served to marginalise the role of religion. And then, secondly, the late
twentieth century saw the rapid growth of evolutionary biology with its enthusiastic
presumption that biology was the source of ethics. In this lecture I begin by surveying these
developments and then examine the extent to which religion is still needed for a coherent
account of ethics.

Michael Reiss is Professor of Science Education at UCL Institute of Education, Visiting
Professor at the Universities of Kiel, York and the Royal Veterinary College, Honorary
Fellow of the British Science Association and of the College of Teachers, Docent at the
University of Helsinki, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Priest in the
Church of England. His research interests are in science education, bioethics and sex
education. He is President of the International Society for Science & Religion and of the
International Association for Science and Religion in Schools and writes on the interface
of science education and theology.

All previous Boyle Lectures can be found on St Mary-le-Bow’s YouTube channel using the following link:


The original Boyle Lectures were given as a series of sermons at a number of churches in London and Westminster following their establishment in 1692. The ‘original Boyles’ lasted until about 1730, although sporadic later ‘Boyle Lectures’ continued to be given in the centuries since then. The lecture series was revived in 2004 at one of its original locations, the Wren church of St Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside in the City of London.



The Previous Lectures in the Series were:


2004 (John F Haught)

“Darwin, Design and the Promise of Nature”


2005 (Simon Conway Morris)

“Darwin’s Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation”


2006 (Philip Clayton)

“The Emergence of Spirit: From Complexity to Anthropology to Theology”


2007 (John D Barrow)

“Cosmology of Ultimate Concern”


2008 (Malcolm Jeeves)

“Psychologising and Neurologising about Religion: Facts, Fallacies and the Future”


2009 (Keith Ward)

“Misusing Darwin: The Materialist Conspiracy in Evolutionary Biology”


    2010 (John Hedley Brooke)

“The Legacy of Robert Boyle – Then and Now”


2011 (Jürgen Moltmann)

“Is the World Unfinished? On Interactions between Science and Theology in the concepts of Nature, Time and the Future”


2012 (Celia Deane-Drummond)

“Christ and Evolution: A Drama of Wisdom?”


2013 (John Polkinghorne)

“Science and Religion in Dialogue”


2014 (Alister McGrath)

“New Atheism – New Apologetics: The Use of Science in Recent Christian Apologetic Writings”


2015 (Russell Re Manning)

“Natural Theology Revisited (Again)”


2016 (Sarah Coakley)

“Natural Theology in a Changed Key? Evolution, Cooperation, and the God Question”


2017 (Robert J Russell)

“Theological Influences in Scientific Research Programmes: Natural Theology ‘In Reverse’”


2018 (Mark Harris)

“Apocalyses Now: Modern Science and Biblical Miracles”



ISSR is also pleased to present the transcript for the 2018 Boyle Lecture, which was delivered by ISSR Fellow Dr Mark Harris (University of Edinburgh), with his kind permission, as part of our ISSR blog series. The title of the lecture is:
‘Apocalypses Now: Modern Science and Biblical Miracles’
The lecture was videoed, and has been posted on YouTube, and on St. Mary-le-Bow’s website, with details below:
The transcript can be viewed on our ISSR blog page at the following web address: