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A major new four-year long series of lectures looking at the debate between science and religion could help science teachers meet their obligation, under A Curriculum for Excellence, to enable young people to "express opinions and make decisions on social, moral ethical, economic and environmental issues".

Described as a "vision for a better world", the James Gregory public lectures on science and religion will begin later this month at St Andrews University, where some of the world's top experts are due to explore the natural tensions between the two subjects.

Lecture topics will include subjects such as the origin of life, human creativity, biological evolution, global warming and the future of the planet, genetics and medical ethics, psychology and religion, biotechnology, cosmology and the origin of the universe.

The first lecture on December 20, by the Bishop of Durham, NT Wright, will pose the question: can a scientist believe in the resurrection?

Another lecture will debate the role of science in Islam.

The lecture series was developed by Eric Priest, professor of theoretical solar physics, and Alan Torrance, professor of systematic theology, and named after one of the most famous scientists to work at St Andrews (in the 17th century).

The aim is to break down barriers and encourage constructive dialogue and an exchange of ideas on the many points of contact between science and religion.

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