Publications, Reports and Articles

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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 To go on believing in God today, because you had to in order to make sense of the world, would be as outdated as the British Empire or steam trains.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

Report: The Millennium, Seattle and the End of Technology

Since humans began counting, certain numbers have had special significance. There’s a whole literature on the meanings people have attached to various numbers in the Bible - like 3 for the Trinity, 12 apostles and 7 all sorts of things. In our current system of numerals, which we call Arabic, it’s repeats of tens that we especially choose to commemorate. Now we’ve reached the two tens of tens of tens of years ... But what from? Not the Big Bang, nor beginning of the human race, nor what we call western civilisation; we don’t know when any those happened. It’s dated from a person. But why that person? Read More

Report: Cloning in the 21st Century

In December 2008, Margo MacDonald MSP (Independent) published her Consultation paper, The Proposed End of Life Choices (Scotland) Bill. This has now progressed to the introduction in the Scottish Parliament, on 20th January 2010, of a Bill, the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill. Although it was expected that this Bill would be scruitinsed by the Health and Sport Committee, a six- member ad hoc Committee has been formed to scrutinise the proposed legislation. A call for written evidence to this committee was issued on 10th Feb 2010; the deadline for submission is 12th May 2010 , after which point oral evidence will be taken. The Parliament has agreed that the deadline for the end of consideration of Stage 1 of the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill is to be 24th November 2010. All MSPs have been given the freedom to vote on conscience, rather than the vote being subject to party whips Read More

Report: Sustainable Agriculture Report 2002

In 2002 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland considered a report on sustainable agriculture. Read More

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