Jonathan Clarke is an astrogeologist, president of Mars Society Australia, an associate of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at UNSW, a session instructor in astrobiology at Swinburne University, and a director of ISCAST. He has been a geologist for over 30 years, working on five continents, three oceans, and two planets. Jonathan has been exploring the intersection of science and faith for over forty years, with particular interest in questions of deep time, environmental stewardship, natural disasters and theodicy, and, more recently, space exploration and astrobiology.
Description: Public discussions about the future of space exploration have revealed a consistent pattern in opposition from segments of the wider community. These often combine a view that space exploration and settlement will only spread greed and destruction through the universe with a sense that current humanity has no place in the cosmos beyond Earth. The first position appears to combine a strong sense of total depravity without a sense of grace. The second position is often associated with a lack of vision or potential and an exaggerated perception of risk. But it is sometimes linked with a trans-humanist vision of space as the domain of “humanity 2.0” I will explore my experience of some of these encounters and a range of responses to them from Christian and non-Christian perspectives.