• James Gregory Lecture: John Chryssavgis on “A Christian response to the ecological crisis” Watch
  • James Gregory Lecture: Simon Conway Morris on the Emergence of Life Watch
  • James Gregory Lecture: “Theology, Spirituality and Hope: Reimagining Mental Health” Watch
  • Will a particular form of religion dominate the world in this century? Watch

Publications, Reports and Articles

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Report: Brain Imaging and its Impact on Society December 2010

The SRT Project was involved, along with scientists from various Scottish universities, in the development of a report about the new technology of brain imaging. Read More

Report: Synthetic Biology Report May 2010

Major developments over the last sixty years in the fields of biology, physical sciences and engineering have contributed to the emergence of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is concerned with artificial or unnatural living organisms or life. Life is a difficult concept, especially as we tend to think in terms of human or sentient life. However, in synthetic biology, life is considered in biochemical terms and is mostly concerned with some of the simplest forms of known life, such as bacteria and viruses. Read More

Report: End of Life Issues May 2009

Issues surrounding the end of life continue to provoke controversy and debate, with deeply and passionately held opinions on all sides of any argument. The position of the Church however remains that, while the relief of suffering is an obligation, the artificial ending of life is unacceptable. Read More

Report: Energy and Transport - Moving Forward May 2008

In 2007 we brought a report to the General Assembly entitled “Energy for a Changing Climate”; it dealt with how we produce energy, how we use it, and how we can save it.  What was said within that report was that two even more intractable problems remained to be addressed: heating and transport.  The 2008 report focuses on transport. Read More

Report: Energy for a Changing Climate May 2007

In contrast to fossil and nuclear fuels, renewable energy offers alternative sources of energy for the future that will not run out, which in general add little to the pollution and waste problems caused by fossil fuels, without the risks attendant on nuclear power. Read More

Report: Embryo Research, Human Stem Cells and Cloned Embryos Report May 2006

A multi-disciplinary working group of the SRT Project has produced a report on human stem cell research and embryology, which was debated at the Church of Scotland General Assembly on 23 May 2006. It assessed the scientific developments in adult and embryonic stem cells and cloning, in the context of case studies on their potential use to treat Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and and motor neurone diseases, diabetes and blood disorders. The report warns against overclaiming the potential of different approaches, which are mostly far from therapeutic application. It re-examines the complex issue of the moral status of the human embryo, recognising the differences of view within the Church. Read More

Report: Can we Find a Shared Vision for Biotechnology?

Vision is something which motivates us, rooted in certain values we hold. Scientists, companies, governments and regulators have positive differing visions about biotechnology - like discovery, prosperity, sustainability, competitivity. Such visions may not however be shared by the public, especially concerning food, agriculture and the environment. The vision of progress through technology has been increasingly challenged in Europe. A more sceptical attitude has emerged, which may construct innovation in terms of risk as much as benefit. To be accepted by society, biotechnology has now to fulfill certain conditions, an invisible social contract. For example, if an application is unfamiliar, it must be in control of people who are trusted and whose motivations are shared; it must not challenge fundamental values, or present high consequence risks unless there is a comparable benefit to the end user… Read More

Report: Genetic Risk Regulation; Society & Ethics

In recent years genetic engineering has emerged on to the threshold of becoming a practical technology in agriculture and medicine. As it has done so, it has posed many complex questions regarding risk, regulation, societal structures and ethics. But these are apt to be treated too much in isolation in their separate disciplines. There has been a general recognition of the need to integrate risk assessment with other disciplines, and this paper is an attempt to do this, by considering the interrelation of these facets. It arises out of the membership of its three authors on an expert working group into the ethics of genetic engineering, being run by the Society, Religion and Technology Project of the Church of Scotland, of which I am Director. I am a chemist formerly a nuclear inspector, now turned ethicist, John Eldridge is a sociologist with special interest in media and risk studies including the BSE situation, and Joyce Tait works in environmental management, with a background in risk perception and regulation. We do this in the context of an analysis of the two different types of regulation applied to the potential risks associated with applying genetic engineering to agriculture - the precautionary and the reactive. Read More

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image A short history of SRTP has been prepared by Dr. John Francis.
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