The Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion (IRC) conducts research into religious beliefs and theological concepts in relation to the sciences. Research into beliefs focuses on the application of scientific tools to religious phenomena, such as in the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR). Research into theological concepts focuses principally on those metaphysical principles, such as persons, that are important to theology and are being seen from new perspectives by current developments in science. Members of the Centre also carry out extensive work on the history of science and religion, often challenging simplistic accounts of what has been a complex and varied interaction.
Besides research, the Centre also runs a series of public seminars, generally once every two weeks during term time, attracting up to a hundred people. Recent speakers have included Ernan McMullin, O’Hara Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Notre Dame, on Darwin and the other Christian Tradition, Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor in Divinity at Cambridge, on Evolution and the Problem of Divine Providence and Roger Scruton, Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Oxford, on Neuroscience and the Soul. Speakers over the next twelve months include Iain McGilchrist on neuroscience, religion and the divided brain and Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, famous for her work on the discovery of radio pulsars.
Due to the extremely high level of public interest in matters connected with science and religion, members of the Centre are also frequently asked to give public presentations, provide comments to the media and give talks at schools. Such appearances contribute to the many ways in which the Theology Faculty has an impact in the wider community. In the last twelve months, members of the Centre have contributed to programmes and articles for the BBC, Channel 4, the Times Higher Education Supplement, the Church Times and the Catholic Times. In the international media, the Centre has also been consulted recently by Avvenire in Italy and NHK Japan Public Broadcasting.