Tuesday 20 April 2010 to Thursday 6 May 2010
The 2010 Gifford Lectures will be given by Roger Scruton on the theme “The Face of God”.
Science has a unique authority among thinking people today, and its popularisers have presented a picture of the human condition from which God is absent. Evolutionary psychology and neuroscience are invoked in order to explain our deepest and most precious emotions – the love of God included – as ‘adaptations’, ‘hard wired’ in the human cortex. The earth is seen as an ecosystem, of which we are a part, as transient in our tenure as every other organism. And our social motives are rewritten as ‘reproductive strategies’, the origin of which lies not in the love between self-knowing individuals but in the mindless impulse of their genes.
This picture of the human condition leaves out what is most important, namely the relation between freely choosing persons, who see each other face to face. By understanding the world in the way of popular science we fortify those destructive tendencies in our culture which are wiping away the face of the world. These lectures will be devoted to showing that this is so, and to pointing to the remedy.
Through the series of six lectures some of the most fundamental philosophical, ethical and human issues will be addressed including those of religion and science, of freedom and determinism, of self and other, of the meaning of art, architecture and music, and of sacrifice and scapegoating.
The lecture series will be delivered in School III of St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews. Each lecture will begin at 5.15pm, and following the first there will be a public reception in Lower College Hall. Lectures are free and open to the public as well as to staff and students of the University.