Since their inception in 1888, the Gifford Lectures have become the foremost intellectual event dealing with religion, science and philosophy. Lectures are given in the ancient Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St. Andrews.
Professor Sarah Coakley delivered the 2012 Gifford Lectures in April at the University of Aberdeen on the subject of Sacrifice Regained: Evolution, Cooperation and God.
In this series, Coakley explores the implications of recent developments in the mathematical study of “evolutionary dynamics” for ethics, metaphysics, the philosophy of science and theology. Arguing that the last decades of the twentieth century saw a notable failure of nerve in universal accounts of religious rationality, and a simultaneous obsession with the “selfishness” of evolutionary phenomena, Coakley seeks to clarify afresh the importance of the countervailing sacrificial dimensions of evolutionary processes for central issues in the philosophy of science and ethics. Thereby she moves to suggest a transformed way forward in the task of “natural theology”.