posted on Jan. 16: Group meets regularly to discuss science and religion


Since 1998, a small group of McMaster faculty members from across numerous disciplines have been meeting on a regular basis to discuss topics and issues relating to science and religion.

John Robertson, professor of religious studies, notes that the group developed as an offshoot of his undergraduate course on science and religion. “I would invite my colleagues (from both sides of campus) who were specialists in their fields to speak to the class and we discovered that we enjoyed talking together about the issues.” The group developed as “a spontaneous gathering of people,” he explains.

Approximately 15 faculty members have joined, representing physics, biology, medicine, chemistry, engineering, philosophy and religious studies. Ecumenical chaplain Carol Wood is also a member.

The two-hour sessions have covered a wide range of topics including creation and the origins of life, and a comparison of the scientific and theological methods in the pursuit of truth. Currently, the group is discussing a book by J. Polkinghorne and M. Welker titled The End of the World and the Ends of God (Trinity Press, 2000).

The discussion group is open to any faculty member from any discipline who is interested in the issues and who wishes to engage in discussion “with curiosity and humility,” Robertson adds.

The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in WH-108, and will focus on Part 2 of the Polkinghorne/Welker book. Any faculty member interested in joining should contact Robertson at ext. 23392 or David Chettle at ext. 27340.