Nicholas Spencer: The Great Debate (1860)

This week we tackle the fascinating and complex relationship between science and religion, in the company of the academic and writer Nicholas Spencer. Spencer takes us back to a dramatic moment of conflict that began at the end of the 1850s with the publication of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of the Species. This book ignited a fierce debate about his new theory of natural selection and of humanity’s place in the world. The feud would become increasingly bitter over the year that followed. It would ultimately lead to the famous Oxford debate between T.H. Huxley (“Darwin’s bulldog”) and Bishop “Soapy” Sam Wilberforce in June 1860. Spencer guides us through all this history, taking us back to meet Darwin himself. He gives us an insight into Darwin's personal life, his relationships with his wife and family and the effect losing his beloved daughter Annie had on his faith in God. Nicholas Spencer is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and director of the think tank Theos, which investigates the place of faith in society. His new book is, Magisteria: The Entangled Histories of Science & Religion For more, as ever, visit our website: Show notes Scene One: Charles Darwin receiving a letter from clergyman and novelist Charles Kingsley, in November 1859, congratulating him on The Origin of Species, an advance copy of which he has just read. Scene Two: The publication of the most controversial book of the age – not On The Origin of Species but Essays and Reviews, in March 1860, igniting a passionate debate about Biblical texts. Scene Three: The famous Oxford debate between T.H. Huxley (“Darwin’s bulldog”) and Bishop “Soapy” Sam Wilberforce in late June 1860. Memento: One of Charles Darwin’s notebooks, written when he returned from his voyage on the Beagle, as his theory of evolution began to take shape in his mind. People/Social Presenter: Violet Moller Guest: Nicholas Spencer Production: Maria Nolan Podcast partner: Ace Cultural Tours Theme music: ‘Love Token’ from the album ‘This Is Us’ By Slava and Leonard Grigoryan Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_ See where 1859 fits on our Timeline

Om Podcasten

In each episode we ask a leading historian, novelist or public figure the tantalising question, "If you could travel back through time, which year would you visit?" Once they have made their choice, then they guide us through that year in three telling scenes. We have visited Pompeii in 79AD, Jerusalem in 1187, the Tower of London in 1483, Colonial America in 1776, 10 Downing Street in 1940 and the Moon in 1969. Chosen as one of the Evening Standard's Best History Podcasts of 2020. Presented weekly by Sunday Times bestselling writer Peter Moore, award-winning historian Violet Moller and Artemis Irvine.