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About us


NeverOffTopic.com is part of the LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) Project.

The LASAR Project

LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) is a project based at Canterbury Christ Church University, in the School of Teacher Education.
The LASAR Project was motivated by a concern that there is a strong public perception (reinforced by some popular media) that science and religion are in some sense opposites, that is that science is an atheistic activity.

In particular, we were concerned that school pupils may come to accept this as a normative standard: something that is both incorrect, and which could deter students who hold a religious faith from considering science as a suitable basis of future study and career.

Such an effect would not only be unfortunate when there is widespread concern about the limited numbers of young people seriously considering science careers, but in principle could set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people of faith are significantly deterred from science, this runs the risk of them missing out on interesting and fulfilling careers as well as science science to be denied great scientific minds!


The aims of this project

LASAR is looking at this issue from two complementary directions. We are conducting research which will help us find out more about exactly what secondary age students do think about science and religion, something of the factors which they feel influence their views, and how their ideas shift over time.

We also have a website called Epistemic Insight with curriculum materials and approaches which can support teachers in engaging primary and secondary age pupils in the area of science and religion.

In this way we hope to make sure that there are sufficient accessible and balanced presentations to help pupils to recognise that this is a nuanced area where there are no simple answers (so scientists hold a wide range of faith positions and views on religious matters), and offer them interesting resources to stimulate their own thinking in this area.


Team – Current and Previous

Prof. Berry Billingsley (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Sherralyn Simpson (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Dr. Aga Gordon (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Finley Lawson (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Laura Hackett (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Mina Cullimore (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Dr. Joshua Heyes (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Dr. Joanna Malone (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Dr. Dani Shalet (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Dr Mehdi Nassaji (LASAR, Canterbury Christ Church University)

Dr Keith S Taber (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge)
Fran Riga (based in Cambridge)
Helen Newdick (Institute of Education, University of Reading)
Dr Denis Alexander (Faraday Institute Director)

Please see epistemicinsight.com for more information about our team.


For more details about our findings, click here


Website Design

Our website was designed by ThinkNoodle Ltd

Our website artist is Rory: www.roryroryrory.com

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)