Veritas at Cambridge
Friday, November 20, 2015

Miracles: Is Belief in the Supernatural Irrational?

November 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Miracles: Is Belief in the Supernatural Irrational?

The Veritas Forum in Cambridge is pleased to announce two events in late November:

Professor John Lennox of the University of Oxford will be giving a lecture on the question whether - in the 21st Century - members of a university like Cambridge can responsibly believe in miracles. He will address objections to belief in the supernatural from philosophy and the physical sciences. There will be a significant amount of time devoted to questions from the audience. The lecture will take place from 7:00pm-8:30pm at Lady Mitchell Hall on the Sidgwick Site of the University of Cambridge.

The second event will be a follow-up dialogue on the evening of Monday, 23 November at the Round Church. This event will feature a discussion of the topic of Prof Lennox's lecture between Arif Ahmed (Philosophy, University of Cambridge) and Tom Simpson (Philosophy, University of Oxford). The event will start at 7:00pm and will include an extended question and answer session with the two speakers. There will also be a wine reception afterward at the Cambridge Union.

The Veritas Forum is proud to partner with: Christian Heritage, The Jubilee Centre, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, The Christian Graduate Society, and Christians in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHAS) 

About the Presenters
Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. In addition, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Executive Education Centre, Said Business School, Oxford University.

He studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he took his MA and PhD. He worked for many years in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Wales in Cardiff which awarded him a DSc for his research. He also holds a DPhil from Oxford University and an MA in Bioethics from the University of Surrey. He was a Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Universities of Wuerzburg and Freiburg in Germany. In addition to over seventy published mathematical papers he is the co-author of two research level texts in algebra in the Oxford Mathematical Monographs series.

His most recent books are Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Target (2011) and a publication on the book of Genesis called Seven Days that Divide the World (2011). He has lectured extensively in North America, Eastern and Western Europe on mathematics, the philosophy of science and the intellectual defense of Christianity.

In 2011, he debated Peter Singer on the question “Is there a God?”.  He has also debated Richard Dawkins on "The God Delusion" in the University of Alabama (2007) and on "Has Science buried God?" in the Oxford Museum of Natural History (2008). He has also debated Christopher Hitchens on the New Atheism (Edinburgh Festival 2008) and in Samford University, Alabama on the question: Is God Great?

His hobbies are languages, amateur astronomy, amateur bird-watching and some walking. John is married to Sally, they have three grown up children and seven grandchildren and live near Oxford.

Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Dr Arif Ahmed is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Previously he was a Leverhulme Research Fellow in the University of Sydney, an Early Career Research Fellow at CRASSH, and a Temporary Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Before that he worked in London and Bristol after studying mathematics at St Anne's College Oxford. His main professional interests are Wittgenstein and Decision Theory and his recent and forthcoming publications include Wittgenstein's 'Philosophical Investigations': A Critical Guide and Evidence, Decision and Causality (both Cambridge University Press). Politically libertarian, he is also a local Trade Union official and caseworker. Theologically he is an atheist and regularly speaks for atheism in public debate, most recently with Prof. William Lane Craig and Prof. Gary Habermas.

Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Tom Simpson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow at Wadham College. He has joined the School from Cambridge, where he was a Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, and was also educated (BA, MPhil, PhD). Between degrees he was an officer with the Royal Marines Commandos for 5 years. He works on trust, the role this plays in transmitting knowledge, and on a variety of applied ethical issues.

History at Veritas at Cambridge

The Veritas Forum has had a presence in Cambridge for several years, hosting discussions on the basis of a system of ethics; whether capital markets can be moral; the gospels as public truth; science in the public square; and the relationship between human dignity, biomedical ethics and emerging technologies.

In 2013,

philosopher Arif Ahmed and philosopher and theologian Prof Keith Ward discussed their worldviews in "(Un)Believable?: An Atheist and a Theist Philosopher share their world-views".

In 2011,

The Veritas Forum at Cambridge invited a panel of speakers to discuss the relation of existing market structures to the financial crisis. In “Can Capital Markets be Moral?,” Richard Barkham, Group Research Director at Grosvenor, Mark Campanale, Director of Four Elements Capital and Founder Director of the UK Sustainable Investment Forum, Martin Clark, Development Director of Citylife, Revd. Richard Higginson, Director of Faith in Business and Lecturer in Christian Ethics, Graeme Leach, Chief Economist and Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors and Michael Schluter, Chairman of the International Jubilee Network, discussed causes of the crisis and possible solutions in the light of their faith.

In 2009,

The Veritas Forum at Cambridge explored the question, “Good without God?” Theologian Prof Oliver O’Donovan shared his views on the difference Christian theology makes to ethics.

In 2008,

Elaine Storkey, President of Tearfund, theologian and sociologist, delivered an address on “Faith in a Pluralistic Society”.