God, Darwin And Dna: The Evolution Of Faith

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6th February 2009, 06:12am - Views: 1020

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Media contact:

Niall Byrne - 0417 131 977


The evolution of faith?

Celebrating Darwin at Saint Paul’s

Media briefing and photo call:  

9.30 am Friday 6 February on the steps of

St Pauls, cnr Flinders Street and

Swanston Street

A church service is probably the last thing you would expect to kick off a year-long celebration of

evolution—but that’s exactly what’s happening at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne at 2

pm on Sunday 8 February.

Entitled Science and Faith: the Intersection the service will be the first official event of

Evolution – the Festival, a public celebration of 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin and

150 years since the publication of the book in which he set out his theory of evolution by natural

selection, On the Origin of Species. 2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy,

celebrating 400 years since Galileo first pointed a telescope at the sky.

Given that many Christian groups still dispute the idea of evolution by natural selection, and

that the Roman Catholic church placed Galileo under house arrest for his view that the Earth

revolved around the Sun, the service sets out to explore whether faith and science can be

harmonised as different paths to truth.

“I have never believed science and faith to be at odds,” says Prof. Phil Batterham, a committed

Baptist, who is associate Dean of Science at Melbourne University and a speaker at the service.

“There is much common ground between the pursuits of faith and science. Both search for

truth.” Batterham is chair of the organising committee for Evolution – The Experience, a major

conference on the impact of Darwin to be held in the Melbourne Convention Centre from 9

February to 13 February.

He will be providing his views at the service, along with the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne,

the Most Revd Dr Philip Freier, whose first degree was in biological science, and emeritus

Professor of Physics at Monash University, Prof. John Pilbrow, who is current president of the

Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology (ISCAST).

All are welcome at the service, says its organiser, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Right Revd Dr Mark

Burton. There will be something for everyone. 

As well as the discussion of science and faith, the service will include the unveiling of a new work

by performance poet, Cameron Semmens, and incorporate singing by popular entertainer

Richard Thomas. In addition, there will be a small display which will include two Aboriginal

paintings of the origin of life and a first edition of Darwin’s book.

For interviews contact: 

Phil Batterham for the Festival, (03) 8344 2363, 0418 598 562

Roland Ashby for Archbishop Freier, 03 9653 4215

Niall Byrne, (03) 9398 1416, 0417 131 977 or niall@scienceinpublic.com.au

For further information on the Science and Faith: the Intersection Service, visit 


Other events marking Darwin’s birthday include an ‘eat your way through the evolutionary tree’

party at the Melbourne Museum. 

For more public information about events that celebrate evolution and Darwin:

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