Our dialogue brings together two leading thinkers who have thoughtfully wrestled with this question, each not only having embarked on a personal pilgrimage, but each bringing a lifetime of erudition, experience, and insights to bear on this theme. Alister McGrath, the atheist who would become a theist, and Michael Shermer, the theist who would become an atheist. Join us at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto or live on YouTube for what will surely be one of the most engaging two hours of thoughtful dialogue on one of history's greatest questions. The event will be moderated by Karen Stiller, senior editor of Faith Today.
DR. MICHAEL SHERMER is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. Dr. Shermer received his BA in psychology from Pepperdine University, MA in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his PhD in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University.
As a public intellectual Michael regularly contributes Opinion Editorials, book reviews, and essays to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications, along with over 200 consecutive monthly columns in Scientific American, where he has been a regular contributor since 2001. He has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, as well as interviews in countless science and history documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel.
Dr. Shermer’s next book is «Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for Immortality, the Afterlife, and Utopia.» His latest book is «The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom.» His previous book is «The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.» He also authored «Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design.” Dr. Shermer’s most famous book is „Why People Believe Weird Things, on pseudoscience, superstitions, and other confusions of our time.“
According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, “Michael Shermer is a beacon of reason in an ocean of irrationality.” And in the words of the late Stephen Jay Gould (from his Foreword to Why People Believe Weird Things): “Michael Shermer, as head of one of America’s leading skeptic organizations, and as a powerful activist and essayist in the service of this operational form of reason, is an important figure in American public life.”
DR. ALISTER MCGRATH is a scientist, theologian, minister, and intellectual historian. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford.
Aside from being a faculty member at Oxford, McGrath has also taught at Cambridge University and King’s College, University of London. Studying chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, he eventually received three doctorates there: a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity in Theology, and a Doctor of Letters in Intellectual History.
McGrath is noted for his work in relationship between science and religion and his opposition to New Atheism, having had formal dialogues with both Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Among his best-known books are „The Twilight of Atheism,“ „The Dawkins Delusion,“ „Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life,“ and „A Scientific Theology.“ He is also the author of a number of well known textbooks on theology.
McGrath's main research interest at present is the area of thought traditionally known as “natural theology,” which is experiencing significant renewal and revitalization at the moment. He addressed this theme in detail at his Richardson Lectures at the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne (2008), his Gifford Lectures at the University of Abedeen (2009), and his Hulsean Lectures at the University of Cambridge. The Richardson Lectures have been published as „The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology“ (Blackwell). His Gifford Lectures were published as „A Fine Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology.“ His Hulsean Lectures has been published by Wiley-Blackwell, entitled “Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology.”
This event is co-sponsored by Wycliffe College at the UofT, The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation (CSCA), Faith Today magazine, the Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI Canada), RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries), P2C (Power to Change) and the UofT Secular Alliance.