Monday, 22 October 2012
Science vs Religion, Again!
On 15th October 2012, a group of theologians, philosophers and physicists came together for two days in Geneva to talk about the Big Bang.
CERN decided that they would facilitate this meeting in light of the discovery of the Higgs boson.
It's important to remember that a "time before the Big Bang" is impossible territory for physicists. Is this an area where theologians and scientists may find common ground?
Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, says definitely not:
"One gets the impression from a meeting like this that scientists care about God; they don't. You can't disprove the theory of God. The power of science is uncertainty. Everything is uncertain, but science can define that uncertainty. That's why science makes progress and religion doesn't."
On the other hand you have John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is also a self-declared Christian. He basis for faith is the very fact that human beings can do science; this is evidence for God:
"If the atheists are right the mind that does science... is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn't trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science."
Andrew Pinsent is research director at the University of Oxford's Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion who once worked at CERN beleives that engaging with philosophy could help science to better address the very big questions.
"There has been no new conceptual breakthrough in physics in a quarter of a century".
This is partly because science in isolation "is very good for producing stuff" but not so good for producing ideas, he beleives.
Dr Pinsent concluedes his feelings on the meeting:
"Many people of faith view science as a threat... I don't think science is a threat, so it is useful for scientists to show that they don't necessarily view it that way."
As one contributor put it during the meeting: "Religion doesn't add to scientific facts, but it does shape our view of the world."
Do you think science and religion are 'in battle'? Do people like Dr Pinsent and Dr Lennox help the debate and allow people to see common ground? What do people like Dr Krauss contribute? Remember that the Big Bang theory was first devised by a Catholic priest, Georges Lemaitre!
See original article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19997789