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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 18 April 2011

Andrew Marr's guests include the neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, who argues that science ought to influence human morality rather than religion; the writer Masha Gessen who describes the extraordinary story of the Russian maths genius Grigori Perelman who solved a mathematical problem that had remained inscrutable for a century but refused to take the credit - or the million dollar prize; Adam Rutherford, geneticist and journalist on decoding the genome and being human and the Revd Lucy Winkett of St James's Piccadilly, London on how the religious sensibility can contribute to the 'good society'.

Producer: Elaine Lester.


    Science can tell us how people ought to behave and address moral questions, according to the neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris. In his book The Moral Landscape, he argues that “Just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, we will see that that there is no such thing as Christian or Muslim morality. Indeed, I will argue that morality should be considered an undeveloped branch of science.”

    The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values is published by Bantam Press.

    Sam Harris

    The quality of our relationships with each other is what determines the ‘good society’, according to the Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Piccadilly in London’s West End. In an increasingly urbanised environment, she argues that human well-being relies upon reclaiming empathy and compassion. Lucy Winkett is taking part in debates concerning the role of the religious sensibility in creating the ‘good society’.

    St James's Church Piccadilly

    In 2001 scientists involved with the Human Genome Project published the first results of reading our entire human genetic code. Ten years on, how much does decoding our genome tell us about being human?

    The scientist Adam Rutherford is presenting The Gene Code, a two-part documentary series on BBC 4 on Monday 18 and Monday 25 April at 9.00pm.

    Adam Rutherford

    The writer Masha Gessen tells how one of mathematics’ greatest problems was solved by a reclusive Russian who refused a million dollars as his prize. She explores the remarkable story of Grigori Perelman in her book Perfect Rigour, despite Perelman’s refusal to give interviews.

    Perfect Rigour: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century is published by Icon Books.

    Perfect Rigour


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