All Past Events

The Purpose of Dinosaurs


Time 10:00 - 14:00


Dr Bethany Sollereder (Oxford)


The University of Hong Kong

Organiser :

 - FaSCoRe




"The world wouldn’t change hugely if we lost the panda" - Sir David Attenborough

This is part of a series of discussions which consider, from a variety of different directions, the claim of Sir Sir David Attebourough that the world would not be greatly different if pandas became extinct.


When confronted with a dinosaur fossil, a Christian who believes that God loves His creation is faced with an apparent problem: why would a God who loves His creation allow so many species to be wiped out? Are we faced ultimately with nature’s blind, pitiless indifference or did the dinosaurs' living, suffering and dying serve any purpose? And if it did, what was it?

Some argue that such long-dead creatures find their purpose as stepping stones to the development of humankind. Others see such creatures as valuable in their own right, as ends in themselves. In this talk Dr Bethany Sollereder will look at how to understand God’s purposes in light of extinction events.

The subsequent discussion will consider what implications this has for interacting with nature today. Do our attempts to make sense of life, death, suffering, extinction and purpose in a pre-human world impact how we understand these same issues in the Anthropocene?

About the speaker:

Dr Bethany Sollereder is an associate of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at Oxford University where she lectures on science and religion. She attended Regent College, Vancouver for her Master’s work and Exeter University for her PhD. Her research concentrates on the implications of evolution for Christian belief, especially in regard to the suffering of animals. She is also a theology fellow for BioLogos.

Getting involved:

These discussions are aimed at people active in research fields relating to conservation. If you would like to be involved please contact Mike Brownnutt.