Matters of Life & Death

In each episode of Matters of Life and Death, brought to you by Premier Unbelievable, John Wyatt and his son Tim discuss issues in healthcare, ethics, technology, science, faith and more. John is a doctor, professor of ethics, and writer and speaker on these topics, while Tim is a religion and social affairs journalist. We talk about how Christians can better engage with a particular question of life, death or something else in between.

Human enhancement 1: Calico, the dragon tyrant, transhumanism, and monkeys playing Pong

9 Mar 2022

Billions of dollars are currently being spent by a suite of private firms, mostly in Silicon Valley, pursuing radical research to enhance human capacities. These companies want to put off, or even defeat, aging, upload our minds to computers and gi.....

Relaunch: How we started, baby boomers and millennials, the pandemic as catalyst, and the signal to noise ratio

2 Mar 2022

To mark our arrival on the Premier network, we recap how Matters of Life and Death began and what we hope our intergenerational conversations might achieve. We then reflect on how the pandemic and its acceleration of digital technology has shaped s.....

Coronavirus: The Omicron variant, mandatory vaccination, pandemic solidarity, and memories of authoritarianism

17 Dec 2021

The Omicron variant has in a few short weeks almost taken over the pandemic. This highly transmissible version of covid is raising afresh complicated ethical questions about vaccine distribution and international solidarity between nations. How can w...

Reproductive technologies: the ’Google baby’, Oliver O’Donovan, 14-day-old embryos, and techno-optimism

9 Dec 2021

This week we are resuming our conversation about infertility which begun in our previous episode. If you haven’t yet listened to that discussion, which focused on IVF, we’d recommend pausing this and going back to it as we will build on some of the i...

Infertility and IVF: Hidden wounds, premature quintuplets, embryo donation and the procreative-unitive bond

10 Nov 2021

Today we are delving into a complex and sensitive topic – infertility and IVF. The statistics suggest about one in seven couples will be unable to conceive without some kind of medical intervention, and the most popular form of reproductive treatment...

Assisted dying: The Meacher Bill, radicals in the Lords, Canada’s slippery slope and fragile conscience protections

8 Oct 2021

This week we’re digging into assisted dying. A bill to legalise it in England has been introduced to parliament – what does it propose and how likely is it to actually become law? And zooming out a little, what are the social factors behind this rene...

Abusive leadership: Mark Driscoll, the hermeneutic of suspicion, Sigmund Freud’s chaise longue, and Paul-Timothy relationships

30 Aug 2021

Today’s episode is a little hard to sum up – we begin by reflecting on the recent series of scandals around abusive church leaders, before going to discuss how contemporary culture thinks about sex and power (and in particular how they are exploited)...

The Robot Will See You Now: Human uniqueness, AI musicians, surveillance capitalism and ditching Google

20 Jul 2021

This episode was inspired by John’s new book – The Robot Will See You Now – which was published last week. It’s a multi-author volume he has co-edited with the theologian Stephen Williams, where they have gathered an array of theologians, academics a...

Coronavirus: Miscounting deaths, the Sun’s front page, key workers with long covid and vaccine generosity

26 May 2021

In today’s episode we’re returning to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been almost six months since we last dedicated an episode to covid, and since then a lot has happened. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been delivered around the world, bu...

John Stott: Double listening, salt as preservative, incarnational mission, and the challenge of evangelical hagiography

4 May 2021

Last week marked 100 years since the late John Stott was born and there has been a flurry of events to mark the centenary of this highly influential vicar, Bible teacher and evangelical leader. He also had a huge impact on John's own life and career...

Simulation: Deep fakes, image as sacrament, David Beckham in Mandarin and therapy chatbots

15 Mar 2021

Today’s topic is simulation. We live in an era when digital technology is making it increasingly easy and cheap to create fake but compelling images or videos of people, or even entirely artificial human-like personalities. Machine learning tools and...

Digital church: Worship on Zoom, pandemic revival, time-shifting and Gnosticism

24 Feb 2021

This episode explores one of the most significant and potentially long-lasting ways the covid pandemic has affected church life – the shift to digital. Ever since the first lockdown began almost a year ago, churches of every shape and size and from e...

Social media and free speech: Fake news, Facebook’s ’Supreme Court’, the Capitol riot and YouTube algorithms

22 Jan 2021

In today’s episode we’re taking a sideways step from the covid pandemic and instead are discussing social media and free speech.The banning of Donald Trump from every social media platform following the deadly riot earlier this month at the US Capito...

Coronavirus: Misinformation

16 Dec 2020

Microchips. Bill Gates. The mark of the beast. 5G cell towers. False positive rates. Big pharma. DNA alteration. It’s been hard to avoid the swirling morass of misinformation and conspiracy theories around the pandemic. And this confusion and fear ha...

Coronavirus: Vaccines - part 3

11 Dec 2020

The first coronavirus vaccine jabs have already gone into the arms of people here in the UK, as Britain this week became the first country in the world to actually deploy a vaccine which had completed all its clinical trials and been signed off by th...

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