Astrobiology: Geddes & Fayter @ McMaster

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Event Details

“ASTROBIOLOGY: A Link in the Science and Faith Dialogue”
A free public lecture

LOCATION: University Club – lower dining room (Alumni Memorial Building), McMaster University

DATE and TIME: Friday, 6 December 2013, 4:15-5:45pm

ABSTRACT: Astrobiology in all its forms is something that theologians and many believers have accommodated down through the ages. This talk will examine this premise from a historical and cultural context, and then use the long standing debate and response over the Mars microbes of meteorite ALH84001 as an example of current thinking. Recent survey results will be shared that show that while non-believers think extraterrestrial life discoveries would be a great shock to Christianity and other belief systems, theologians and believers suggest quite the opposite. In addition, the current embracing of astrobiology as a science requires an element of belief and is driven by questions of human purpose and destiny. For this reason alone there are many opportunities for science and faith to share a mutual interest.


The Rev. Bob GEDDES (M.Sc., M.Div.) was a mineral exploration and Ontario survey geologist for about 15 years. He was also the pastor of the South Gate Presbyterian Church in Hamilton for 19 years until his retirement. He is Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation and has closely followed the scientific and theological discussions surrounding the Martian microbes of meteorite ALH84001 since their publication in 1996.

The Rev. Paul FAYTER (M.A., M.Div.) is a United Church minister and an historian of science specializing in the intersections among Darwinism, natural theology, planetary astronomy and interplanetary science fiction. He began studying extraterrestrial life debates seriously in grad school in 1978. While keeping up with the modern theological and scientific literature, he has focused on ideas about Mars and Martians, especially in the 19th century. He has taught at York U and U of T over a period of 30 years.

Please note: the 4:15 start allows for reduced campus parking rates commencing at 4.00pm.

Sponsored by the Hamilton Area Science & Religion Forum and the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation.

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