Last March, I had the privilege of being part of the organizing committee and helping with the largest dialogue we have seen at the University of Toronto in over 20 years. New York Times bestselling author and Intelligent Design (ID) scientist Dr. Stephen Meyer, Evolutionary Creationist Professor Dr. Denis Lamoureux of the University of Alberta, and famous new atheist scientist Dr. Lawrence Krauss faced off on the topic: “What’s behind it all? God, science, and the universe.” They addressed the following questions over the course of the evening: Has a scientific explanation of the universe replaced the need for God as cause of its origins? Could life on our planet exist apart from divine intervention? Is there evidence for a designer?
That evening 1200 people filled Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto and thousands around the world watched it live via YouTube. It was quite a dramatic event! Krauss unfairly and aggressively attacked Meyer. Meyer came down with a severe migraine, so severe that he couldn’t read his notes and at certain points couldn’t string some of his complex ideas together. Lamoureux brilliantly undermined the core assumption that evolution necessarily equals philosophical naturalism, in other words, that Darwin’s theory shows no need for God. Lamoureux did this by directly quoting from Darwin himself (!) where Darwin references a Divine Mind behind it all.
Even famous new atheist scientist Dr. Richard Dawkins watched most of the dialogue that evening from his home in Oxford and took time to put in his two cents afterwards in his typically aggressive and dismissive style.
Atheist Dr. Larry Moran, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, came to the dialogue and said the following afterwards: “Krauss tried to dismiss ID by saying that it never makes predictions but Meyer countered effectively by pointing out that ID predicts that most of our genome is functional and claiming that the prediction was confirmed by the ENCODE study….Lawrence Krauss is an expert on cosmology but he’s very weak on biology. I know it’s common for physicists to think they are experts in everything but that’s just not true. It was demonstrated in last night’s debate.”
Also, atheist professor P.Z. Meyers said: “Krauss…let Meyer steer it into subjects that Krauss knew little about…Krauss is a good, enthusiastic speaker and I’ve found him informative and entertaining when he’s talking about his area of expertise — cosmology. He should stick to that. I have approximately zero interest in hearing him lecture about biology, or philosophy, or Russian literature, and I think any of those would be a painful experience.”
It was encouraging to see after the dialogue, during the reception at Wycliffe College, Christian and non-Christian professors talking with one another. A number of secular student friends attended and we carried on in conversation into the evening.
The discussion continued around the world in forums and numerous articles long after the event. To date over 50,000 people have watched it around the world.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
PROF. DR. LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS, an atheist, is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. He was born in New York City and moved shortly thereafter to Toronto, Canada, where he grew up. He received undergraduate degrees in both Mathematics and Physics at Carleton University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982), then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows (1982-85).
He joined the faculty of the departments of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University as assistant professor in 1985, and associate professor in 1988. In 1993 he was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and Chairman of the department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University. In August 2008 Krauss took up his new post as Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University.
Prof. Krauss is the author of over 300 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and writing, including the Gravity Research Foundation First Prize Award (1984). Prof. Krauss is the author of many acclaimed popular books, including, The Fifth Essence: The Search for Dark Matter in the Universe (Basic Books, 1989), which was named Astronomy Book of the Year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and Fear of Physics (Basic Books, 1993), now translated into 12 languages. His newest book, a bestseller, A Universe from Nothing: Why there is something rather than nothing, with afterword by Richard Dawkins, appeared Jan 10, 2012. In his spare time, when he is not writing, lecturing etc, he enjoys scuba diving, fly fishing, and mountain biking.
STEPHEN C. MEYER, a Christian and Intelligent Design advocate, received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He has authored the New York Times best seller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013) as well as Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009), which was named a Book of the Year by the Times (of London) Literary Supplement in 2009. In his first book on intelligent design, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009) Meyer examined the mystery of the origin of the first life. With Darwin’s Doubt, he has expanded the scope of the case for intelligent design to the whole sweep of life’s history.
Meyer’s research addresses the deepest mystery surrounding the origin of life and the origin of animal life: the origin of biological information necessary to produce it. Meyer graduated from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, in 1981 with a degree in physics and earth science. He later became a geophysicist with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in Dallas, Texas. In 1986 as a Rotary International Scholar, he began his training in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University, earning an M.Phil. in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1991. His doctoral thesis was titled “Of Clues and Causes: A Methodological Interpretation of Origin-of-Life Research.” He returned to Whitworth in the fall of 1990 to teach philosophy and the philosophy of science. He left a tenured position as a professor at Whitworth in 2002 to direct the Center for Science and Culture full time. Prior to the publication of Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, the writing for which Meyer was best known was an August 2004 review essay in the Smithsonian Institution-affiliated peer-reviewed biology journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. The article laid out the evidential case for intelligent design, presenting it as the best explanation for the origin of the biological information necessary to produce the new forms of animal life that arose abruptly during the Cambrian explosion.
Meyer’s many other publications include contributions to, and the editing of, the peer-reviewed volume Darwinism, Design and Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2004) and the innovative textbook Explore Evolution (Hill House Publishers, 2007). Meyer has also published editorials in national newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The National Post, The Daily Telegraph (of London) and The Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on national television and radio programs such as NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightly News, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, Good Morning America and the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS. He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top national media. He has also been featured prominently in the science documentaries Icons of Evolution, The Case for a Creator, Darwin’s Dilemma and Unlocking The Mystery of Life, the latter which was shown on PBS and which Meyer co-wrote with producer Lad Allen.
DENIS O. LAMOUREUX, a Christian and theistic evolutionist (also known as evolutionary creationism), received three earned doctorates: a Ph.D. in Oral Biology-Dental Development and Evolution (University of Alberta), a Doctor of Dental Surgery, DDS, (University of Alberta), and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Theology-Science and Religion (University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto). An award winning teacher, Dr. Lamoureux is an Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. His appointment is the first tenure-track position in Canada dedicated to teaching and research on the relationship between scientific discovery and Christian faith. Lamoureux’s academic specialty focuses on the modern origins controversy. Previous to this he was a clinical instructor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Alberta from 1991 to 1996, had a private dental practice, and served as a Canadian Armed Forces Dental Officer (he received United Nations & Canadian Peace Keeping Medals in 1980 and 2003).
With Phillip E. Johnson, Lamoureux co-authored Darwinism Defeated? The Johnson-Lamoureux Debate on Biological Origins (1999). Lamoureux has also written Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution (2008) and has condensed this book into into a more accessible version entitled I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution (2009). Lamoureux has debated John Walton, C. John Collins, and William Barrick in Four Views on the Historical Adam (2013). In addition to this, he has given over 250 public lectures throughout Canada and the United States.
ABOUT THE SERIES:
The Religion and Society Series is a movement to generate conversations on the ultimate questions of life. The purpose of the Series is to play a catalytic role in helping community groups and churches across Canada to engage people in topics that deeply matter to individuals and society.
See more information here: https://www.wycliffecollege.ca/religionandsociety