Rank #1: In God's Image
In his third lecture, Dr Jones explores the power and consequences of natural selection. Differences in animals' physical characteristics vary according to longitude. Creationists see this as evidence of God's subtle design whereas Darwinists point to natural selection. Dr Jones explains how selection works and argues that there is less chance of it in modern Western societies than even a century ago.
Nov 27 1991
Rank #2: Holding Nations And Traditions At Bay
In his second lecture, Edward Said explores the role of intellectuals from different cultures and backgrounds, and the choices that face them when deciding to side with the powerful or with the underdog. He examines that problems of loyalty and nationalism for intellectuals, and argues that their role is primarily to question.
Jun 30 1993
Rank #3: Paradoxes & Pluralism
In this lecture Dr. Jonathan Sacks puts forward the idea of a society which speaks both a public language of citizenship as well as a local language of community in this lecture entitled 'Paradoxes of Pluralism'. Expanding on this concept of pluralism, he asks whether it has diluted religion or created cultural space for the individual.
Dec 05 1990
Rank #4: The Origin of the Universe 1
In his fifth lecture entitled 'The Origin of the Universe 1', Professor Bernard Lovell explores how we observe the horizon of the universe, and contemplates how we formulate theories in terms of known physical laws. He gives examples of evolutionary models and explains the implications of this evolutionary theory.
Nov 07 1958
Rank #5: The Environment of Faith
In this lecture entitled 'The Environment of Faith', Dr Jonathan Sacks considers the state of Britain's religions. He asks; have modern cultures forgotten their faith forever?
Nov 14 1990
Rank #6: The Origins Of War
In his second lecture, recorded at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, John Keegan looks at the origins of warfare, when combat first became purposeful, and examines whether evidence of violence and the need for war is embedded in human nature, or if it is only present in the external factors which act upon human nature. He argues that the evolution of conflict is inextricably linked to the evolution of social groupings.
Apr 15 1998
Rank #7: The Demoralisation of Discourse
In this lecture entitled 'The Demoralisation of Discourse', Dr Jonathan Sacks focuses on how modern morals are founded in faith. It is his belief that without the objective standards of religion we would have no coherent language of ethics.
Nov 21 1990
Rank #8: The Role of Individuality
In his third lecture, entitled 'The Role of Individuality', he considers the importance of individual initiative to a community, and argues for flexibility, local autonomy, and less centralisation in society. Modern organisations, he says, must be more flexible and less oppressive to the human spirit if life is to be saved from boredom.
Jan 09 1949
Rank #9: Speaking Truth To Power
In his fifth lecture, Edward Said considers the basic question for the intellectual: how does one speak the truth? Is there some universal and rational set of principles that can govern how one speaks and writes? He examines the difficulties and sometimes loneliness of questioning authority, and argues that intellectuals should present a more principled stand in speaking the truth to power.
Jul 21 1993
Rank #10: Confucian Ways
Jun 03 2008
Rank #11: The Loss of the Stable State
He delivers his Reith lecture on industrial technology and social change from his series entitled 'Change and the Industrial Society'.
In this lecture entitled 'The Loss of the Stable State', Donald Schon describes how society needs a belief in a calm and constant identity and structure. Exploring times when this stability has been lost, he analyses the human need for the belief of a better time.
Nov 15 1970
Rank #12: Professionals and Amateurs
In his fourth lecture, Edward Said examines the possibility of amateur intellectuals and their influence on society. He explores the notion of the 'non-academic intellectual' and considers some of the current pressures on intellectuals to be marketable and uncontroversial as well as in areas of specialisation, political correctness and authority.
Jul 14 1993
Rank #13: The Imperialism of Political Religion
He evaluates the way in which Western Christians view the Latin-American radical churches and believe that they are listening to the Christian word of the Third World. But are they really hearing from the oppressed and exploited majority of its society?
Nov 22 1978
Rank #14: Culture
He uncovers the history of the idea from its roots at the time of the Crusades to its modern incarnation in the second half of the 20th century. However, we have very little culturally in common with our forebears in say the England of Chaucer's time. And indeed much of the knowledge supposedly at the heart of Western civilisation was actually transmitted via Islamic scholarship. No-one, he argues, can claim exclusive ownership of culture. "The values European humanists like to espouse belong just as easily to an African or an Asian who takes them up with enthusiasm as to a European," he says.
The lecture is recorded in front of an audience at New York University in Appiah's adopted home city. The series is presented and chaired by Sue Lawley
The producer is Jim Frank.
Nov 08 2016
Rank #15: To Know Ourselves
In this lecture entitled 'To Know Ourselves' Professor Halsey explains that to know ourselves we must explore the sources of consensus and conflict. How are differences between classes, sexes, generations and ethnic groups to be depicted? How have they been changing? Considering different division of sociological thought, Professor Halsey evaluates how society tries to bond under the classifications of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
Jan 11 1978
Rank #16: Melting Pot or Bag of Marbles?
In his Reith series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination', he debates British entry into the European Community.
In this lecture entitled 'Melting Pot or Bag of Marbles?', Sir Andrew Shonfield explores integration between the European nations and questions the reasons for of the European Community. He explores the power structures which create the Community's foundations and asks how joining the EC will affect Britain. He advances the debate about what the future will hold for all the European nations.
Nov 07 1972
Rank #17: Genetics and Morality
Recorded at the Centre for Life in Newcastle, Sandel considers how we should use our ever-increasing scientific knowledge. New genetic technologies hold great promise for treating and curing disease, but how far we should go in using them to manipulate muscles, moods and gender?
Jun 23 2009
Rank #18: What We'll Never Know
In the third of this year's Reith Lectures, recorded at the Royal Society during its 350th anniversary year, its President Martin Rees continues to explore the challenges facing science in the 21st century. He stresses there are things that will always lie beyond our sphere of comprehension and we should accept these limits to our knowledge. On the other hand, there are things we've never even dreamt of that will one day be ours to explore and understand. The outcome of the quest for alien life will revolutionise our sense of self in the next two decades. But some things -- like travelling back in time -- will never happen.
Jun 15 2010
Rank #19: Sustainable Architecture
In his third Reith lecture, Richard Rogers examines the ways in which buildings can enhance the public sphere and argues that our sometimes over-zealous preservation of buildings allows our architectural heritage to choke our future. Only by tailoring buildings to the changing needs of people and the environment, he says, can we sustain the public life of our cities.
Feb 26 1995
Rank #20: English Lessons
Spence examines China's relations with the United Kingdom through three centuries of trade, warfare, unequal treaties and missionary endeavours that shaped their mutual perceptions.
Jun 10 2008