AUDIO: The legacy of Peacocke: a man who believed in creationism *and* evolution

Arthur Peacocke

40 years ago, the late Anglican biochemist Arthur Peacocke delivered a Bampton Lecture at Oxford University about “Creation and the World of Science”. It was his belief that creationist beliefs did not need to oppose scientific evidence.

It is common for believers of God as a creator not to believe in evolution — but Peacocke said that his belief that “creation is an ongoing process” enabled him to believe in both ideologies.

In a special audio documentary, atheist Joel Birkett explores Peacocke’s legacy and asks what Peacocke’s arguments means for today’s Anglicans and biochemists.

Comments from the producer Joel Birkett:

Joel Birkett in the Parkside radio studios

“I have often felt that rhetoric and petty arguments can cloud what is a very interesting debate. Although I am not religious myself, I think it’s deeply important to gain a stronger understanding of what other people believe and why it is possible for them to reject years of scientific research when it appears possible to be a member of both schools of thought.

“I often say to myself ‘Why not just say God did it [evolution], surely you can still have faith and accept evolution as a well-supported scientific theory?’

“When making the piece, I was conscious about upholding the dignity of those whom I may have disagreed with. I felt it was important to declare my own stance and then simply present the views of others, rather than argue with the participants and push my own beliefs onto them, which is what a lot of other outlets have done.

“My conclusion in the programme is of course my own opinion based on what I’ve been told by the people I spoke to and further research. I am not claiming that I am objectively correct. This topic is part of an ongoing debate and I felt that Peacocke’s viewpoint was an interesting one to remember.”

If you feel that there is a side to the story that needs to be told, Joel welcomes your thoughts via:

A special interactive version of the story can be found on Joel’s website.


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