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The 2022 E.T.S. Walton Lecture on Science and Religion will be given by:

Dr. Mirjam Schilling

University of Oxford

Why are there Viruses in God's Creation?

Date in October or November 2022 to be established.

The lecture will be live streamed on the Christians in Science YouTube channel.

Abstract. For the past two years, the coronavirus pandemic not only disrupted most of our normal activities but also led to an enormous amount of suffering. From experience, we also know the vast amount of suffering other viruses can cause. It is therefore tempting to think of viruses as malicious entities. As Christians, we might further wonder whether the existence of viruses was originally intended by God or what this tells us about his character? However, a proper understanding of the biology of viruses shows that the topic is more complicated and that there is much to be discovered about viruses and many of the bigger questions in life.

The 2022 Walton Lecture is organised by Christians in Science Ireland.

Mirjam Schilling received a PhD from the Institute of Virology, Freiburg, Germany in 2016 and is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the interplay of viruses and the innate immune system. In her free time she has been studying Theology part-time in Stuttgart, Freiburg and Oxford, and she is currently working on her DPhil in which she explores the theological aspects of viruses.

She has written a book in German about her investigations: Warum erschuf Gott die Viren? Mit einer Virologin auf Entdeckungsreise (SCM Hänssler 2021).

The E. T. S. Walton Lectures on Science and Religion

The E. T. S. Walton Lectures on Science and Religion (Walton Lectures in brief) are a series of lectures on currents topics related to science and religion, suitable to an audience of academics and informed lay persons. Each year a speaker, who is a scientist, philosopher, or theologian of international reputation, will be invited to give a lecture, which will be held in one or more locations on the island of Ireland.

The Walton Lectures are named after physicist and Nobel laureate the late Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton. Walton's work as a scientist and his Christian commitment are well documented in the biography written by V. J. McBrierty: Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton, The Irish Scientist, 1903-1995 (Trinity College Dublin, 2003). Walton was a committed member of the Methodist church, and following the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951 jointly to himself and John Cockroft, he spoke on science and religion to audiences in Ireland, the United States, and Sweden.

The Walton Lectures are organised by Christians in Science Ireland.

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