Past Events

2019: What Does It Mean to be Human?

Jan 25th, 2019 with Geordie Rose, Julien Musolino and Michael Murray

The event was livestreamed and is now available on our YouTube channel!

Geordie Rose, Julien Musolino and Michael Murray discuss artificial intelligence, cognitive science and the implications they have on the question of "what it means to be human?" 

What does it mean to be human? J. Wentzel van Huysteen, in his Gifford lectures, posed the question of whether or not we are alone in the world?” With advances in artificial intelligence and increasing knowledge in the cognitive sciences, the lines that have traditionally defined human uniqueness are beginning to blur.  

What constitutes our humanitythat intrinsic notion that separates us from other animals and machines, the essence that demonstratewe are more than the sum of our biological existenceis becoming less and less clear.  

In a sense, we may be witnessing the collapse of Cartesian dualism, the idea of the human being having a spirit or soul that is separate from their physical body, or what philosopher Gibert Ryle has referred to as the dogma of “the ghost in the machine.” Is there more, however? Can religious notions of the soul, mind, and body navigate these new advances in science and technology and even provide meaning and value to them, or will religious notions become obsolete? Are there limits to what AI can achieve, and limits to how science can speak to our humanity?  

David Bentley Hart has said that “rational thoughtunderstanding, intention, will, consciousnessis not a species of computation. Is there a line that, no matter the advances in technology or the passing of evolutionary time, no computer or animal will ever cross? Is it our ability to transcend our biology, to somehow rise above the fetters of our bodily existence and instincts that truly makes us human? Will machines one day rise above their programming 

What it means to be human is one of the most important and pressing questions of our day; as we learn more about our world and ourselves, the answer to this question is becoming ever more complex.  

2018: The Meaning of Life: Three Perspectives

Jan 26, 2018 with Dr. William Lane Craig, Dr. Rebecca Goldstein and Dr. Jordan Peterson

On Friday, January 26th at 7:30pm, at Convocation Hall we welcomed philosopher William Lane Craig, psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson, philosopher and author Dr. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein for what was an exciting 2 hours of dialogue, moderated by journalist Karen Stiller.

2017: Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Alister McGrath

Sept 15th, 2017 with Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Alister McGrath

The event was livestreamed and is now available on our YouTube channel!

Paul Dirac, the British theoretical physicist, famously said, “If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.” The question remains, in an age of scientific reason, whether or not claims of God merit our attention and whether or not there is any coherence with reality. Is religious belief a vestige of a past age, destined for extinction, and are the many religious adherents of the world, merely ignorant and misguided?  Or is there within the theistic framework a resonance with reality that presses the notion of God beyond the mere subjective musings of those that claim it to be so?

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 athiest 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 histories greatest questions. 


2016: God, Science and the Universe

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? 

Our first event of the Religion and Society Series - God, Science and the Universe - took place on March 19th, live at Convocation Hall and streamed live at dozens of venues across the globe. At the event, we explored whether or not God was necessary to explain our universe. We brought together the top minds for this 2-hour dialogue at this hugely successful event.

  • Lawrence M. Krauss - Theoretical Physicist, Director of the Origins Project, Arizona State University

  • Stephen C. Meyer - Intelligent Design Advocate & NYT Bestselling Author

  • Denis O. Lamoureaux - Associate Professor of Science & Religion, St. Joseph's College, University of Alberta


The Religion and Society Series is brought to you by: 


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the speakers of the event are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Wycliffe College and/or our partners/sponsors.