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  • James Gregory Lecture: Simon Conway Morris on the Emergence of Life Watch
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Publications, Reports and Articles

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Report: Living With Uncertainty - Risk And BSE

First it was sheep cloning, then pigs hearts for humans, then it was BSE. Animals have been big news of late. Keeping pace with these developments is the SRT Project’s work on genetic engineering in non-human life forms, now nearing completion. In this edition of the SRT Bulletin we look at some of these topical issues. Read More

Report: Human Stem Cell Patents would be Unethical

The working group on bioethics of the Conference of European Churches and its predecessor EECCS has for several years been engaging with the issues surrounding the patenting of biotechnological inventions. The group consists of specialists drawn from European Protestant and Orthodox churches in Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the UK. Our range of expertise includes biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, law, medicine, medical and technological ethics, and practical theology. Read More

Report: Patenting Life?

Once upon a time we knew that animals were products of nature. We used them and “owned” them, but it was different from owning a pair of shoes. Animals could get up and walk away; shoes couldn’t. And unlike patent leather, you couldn’t patent a cow. Patents are about inventions, and since when had human beings invented an animal? Read More

Report: What Future for Nuclear Power?

It is our view that the future prospects for nuclear power cannot properly be assessed in isolation from an overall understanding of energy production and use in the UK. In this respect we are disturbed that the Government’s assessment of the different sectors of the country’s energy requirements is apparently being done on a piecemeal basis - coal, nuclear, renewables, etc. Many experts, as well as ourselves, have repeatedly stressed to the Government that in an area so strategic to the country’s well being - not only economic, but also environmental, and in health and safety - it is profoundly lacking in foresight to assess the prospects in any particular sector of energy, without setting out an overall, long term energy policy. This should address not only the balance of energy supply methods, but the necessary portfolio of investment incentives and fiscal policy to reduce energy consumption, encourage energy efficiency. Read More

Report: Hasn’t Science Disproved Christianity?

For many people, to suggest that science and belief in God belong together would be greeted by blank amazement or suspicion. No one in their right mind would question the power of science to tell us what is true about the universe around us. Science is the way to see the world. Religion is, at best, unnecessary - a private matter, for those who are into that sort of thing. If there’s a conflict, it’s automatically decided in favour of science. To go on believing in God today, because you had to in order to make sense of the world, would be as outdated as the British Empire or steam trains. Read More

Report: What The Churches Are Doing on Climate Change

The Church of Scotland SRT Project has been active in addressing climate change at national and international levels for a number of years. In 1989 SRT produced a booklet ‘With Scorching Heat and Drought’ to explain the issues to the churches, followed by sections in its booklet ‘Seeing Scotland from the Summit’ in 1993. It has contributed to various reports to the General Assembly and a number of submissions to the UK Government. Read More

Report: Church Energy Saving In Scotland

Saving energy is one of the key elements in the move to a more sustainable use of resources and care for the environment. Churches are typically large, old, listed buildings with intermittent patterns of use, and so can easily waste a lot of energy. In late 1978, the Church of Scotland took the pioneering step of tackling its energy use by launching probably the world’s first energy efficiency scheme for churches and related buildings. The impetus came for its Society, Religion and Technology Project, and began with sending energy efficiency guidelines, letters and publicity sheets to Church of Scotland Presbyteries and office bearers, and also to some Scottish Episcopal and other churches. Some 3000 churches in Scotland were made aware of the scheme. Read More

Report: Moral and Ethical Issues in Gene Therapy

Genetic research has advanced in a dramatic fashion in the last decade or so, to the point where it has now become possible to attempt therapeutic genetic modification, in a few cases of human genes, where a defects exists which manifests itself in certain serious diseases. This possibility, known as gene therapy, is only in its infancy. At present, no one knows how effective it will prove to be, even in the few conditions on which it is being tried - whether it will only be of relatively limited application, or whether it will open up many wider possibilities. It suffers both over-optimistic claims from some quarters and exaggerated dangers from others, over which the church needs to be discerning. It is, of course, not possible to assert exactly where the possibilities opened up by today’s technology will lead in terms of future developments, but various ethical and moral issues are implicit in the technology which it is important to draw to the Church’s attention, so that it is forearmed in an area where developments have been taking place at a bewildering pace. An editorial in the “New Scientist” in April 1994 drew attention to the need to weigh up what may still be future issues today, before the technological “horse” bolts from the stable and it is too late to lock the door. Read More

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HISTORY of SRTP

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