Although the interaction between science and religion is of enormous public interest and significance, it has too often become entrenched in poorly-informed and opinionated debate. There is an urgent need for educational resources in the area that are widely available, and that provide the tools for enlightened discussion. As the only university in Europe that both specialises in the area, and which also has expertise in the provision of massive online teaching, Edinburgh is uniquely situated to make a difference here.

We will create two inter-related streams of online resource, to be run jointly by Edinburgh’s Divinity and Philosophy faculty in collaboration with faculty in the Sciences:

(i) A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on ‘Philosophy, Science and Religion’.
(ii) An Online MSc in ‘Philosophy, Science and Religion’.

Both courses will be the first of their kind and will be mutually supporting. The MOOC will engage the broadest possible audience while the MSc will offer an advanced treatment of the issues. The MOOC will thus contribute to a philosophically informed public debate about science and religion, thereby nurturing demand for the more advanced MSc, which in turn will foster the next generation of researchers.

This project builds on substantial expertise unique to Edinburgh:

(i) Philosophy’s highly successful MOOCs in ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ and ‘Philosophy and the Sciences’, which regularly attract 100K+ annual enrolments, and which attract a broad demographic of students worldwide.
(ii) The Templeton-supported MSc in ‘Science and Religion’, which is hosted by Divinity and co-taught with Philosophy alongside faculty from History and the Sciences.

The project will draw on Edinburgh’s exemplary international research profile to create a high-profile and durable contribution to both the public and academic understanding of the relationship between philosophy, science and religion.