Senior Lecturer in Science and Religion
As a physicist working in a theological environment, I'm interested in the complex ways that science and religion relate to each other.
Active in physics for many years, I'm known (with Steve Bramwell of University College London) as the discoverer of 'spin ice', currently a major research area in the physics of magnetism. Midway through my scientific career I discovered theology, a moment of awakening not unlike that provided by my first chemistry set at the age of ten. After ordination as an Anglican priest, and spells in university chaplaincy at Oxford, and cathedral ministry in Edinburgh, I now combine my academic interests in physics and theology by running the Science and Religion programme at Edinburgh.
I am currently working on a project to create online distance learning programmes in Philosophy, Science, and Religion (funded by the John Templeton Foundation), along with my colleagues Dr Jamie Collin (Divinity), and Prof Duncan Pritchard (Philosophy).
My research interests include the relationship between the physical sciences and theology, and the impact of science on modern views of the Bible, especially in thinking on miracles and divine action. I am currently working on a book project on naturalism (the philosophical basis for the natural sciences), and the ways that historical debates on naturalism in geology provide a new way of looking at miracles.
MA (Natural Sciences; University of Cambridge, 1992)
MA (Theology; University of Oxford, 2005)
PhD (University of Cambridge, 1992)
Programme Director, MSc in Science and Religion
Conference Secretary - Science and Religion Forum
Council Member - European Society for the Study of Science and Theology
Member of the Doctrine Committee - Scottish Episcopal Church
Co-editor (with Dr Michael Burdett) of the Routledge Science and Religion Series
Editor of the Routledge Biblical Challenges in the Contemporary World Series
Theology and Contemporary Science
Cosmos, cell, and Creator
Science and Scripture
Key Thinkers in Science and Religion
Science and Religion in Literature and the Arts
PhD in Science and Religion
My first career as an experimental physicist has meant that I have a fascination with data - how to gather it, and how to interpret it. And although I keep up interests in physics, much of research at present focuses on how scientists and biblical scholars interpret the data provided by the Bible and the classic texts of Christianity. The Genesis creation stories provide an obvious example, and even now, more than 150 years after Darwin’s Origin of Species, controversy still rages over how they are best understood theologically in the light of modern science. The creationist agenda has tended to dominate the debate, but many fascinating questions arise about the agendas we all bring to foundational texts, whether as scientists, theologians, biblical experts or sceptics.
The doctrine of creation - scientific and theological perspectives
Divine action and miracle - biblical and scientific approaches
The soul - material reality, theological reality, or ...?
Cosmic Christology and the laws of nature
Science and religion in literature and the arts
Renormalisation and explanation - the challenge to scientific reductionism
More information about research projects by Dr Harris are available on his Edinburgh Research Explorer profile.
2 Sep 2017: Invited lecture at The Fruitfulness of Science and Faith, Diocese of Lincoln,
Location: St Nicholas Church, Newport, Lincoln, LN1 3DP. My title: 'With apologies to Albert Einstein: Is physics without religion lame, and religion without physics blind?'
9 Oct 2017: Lecture in 'Science meets faith' series at Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge 'Creation not creationism: What does the Bible have to say to science?'
26 Oct 2017: Plenary lecture at Science-Engaged Theology workshop at St Andrews.
Title - 'Science-engaged theology: Is it better for science to be a "handmaid to religion"
8 Nov 2017: Foundation Hour Lecture at Liverpool Hope University.
Title:‘Is the science and religion debate always a clash of two cultures?’
16th Jan 2018: Lecture at the Scottish Church Theology Soc (Peebles, 16th Jan. 2018)
Conference title: "Approaching the mystery: physics, cosmology, theology. Title of my talk: “God’s particles.”
7 Feb 2018: Boyle Lecture, St Mary-le Bow Church, London.
3 March 2018: Invited lecture at Drake University, Iowa (USA). My title: 'Naturalism and the Problem of the Unity of Science: How Miracles Help'
28 March 2018: Invited lecture at 'Reading is Believing? Sacred Texts in a Scientific Age' conference in Cambridge
5-8 Apr 2018: Lecture at Faraday Institute conference in Malta. My title: 'Science and miracles'
16 May 2018: Christian Theology Senior seminar at the University of Cambridge.
My title: "What's the difference between theistic naturalism and natural theology?"
12-13 July 2018: Plenary lecture at Bridging Two Cultures conference at LMH, Oxford, invited by Michael Burdett
27-31, Aug 27-31, 2018: Plenary lecture at this workshop - Distinguishingscience and metaphysics in evolution and religiontobe held at the Lorentz Center (http://www.lorentzcenter.nl/) in Leiden, the Netherlands, August 27-31, 2018.