Monday, April 29, 2013

8th June event: Can science solve every mystery? A scientist, a philosopher and a Christian discuss

Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall present

Can science solve every mystery? A scientist, a philosopher and a Christian discuss.

Peter Atkins, David Papineau, Peter S. Williams

Can science answer every question? Should scientists show a little humility and acknowledge there are questions that only religion can answer? Are science and religion “non-overlapping magisteria”, as the scientist Stephen Jay Gould claimed, or is science capable of showing that religion is false, as Richard Dawkins believes? And what, exactly, do philosophers do?

Presented and chaired by Stephen Law (Philosophy, Heythrop and Provost of CFI UK).

Saturday June 8th, 2013

Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square

£7 (£4 students) Free to friends of CFI UK. Tickets on door. or go here

10.30am registration. 11am-2.30pm


Professor Peter Atkins (Univ. of Oxford). Chemist, atheist and author of many books including Galileo’s Finger and Four Laws That Drive the Universe:

“Religion closes off the central questions of existence by attempting to dissuade us from further enquiry by asserting that we cannot ever hope to comprehend. We are, religion asserts, simply too puny.”

“Sitting around thinking about the world … [that] is philosophy. And we know where that leads to in understanding. My argument is - nowhere.”

Peter S. Williams (Damaris Trust). Philosopher and leading British Christian apologist. Author of C.S. Lewis vs the New Atheists and A Faithful Guide to Philosophy:

“The existence of scientific laws is inexplicable unless we move beyond science into the realm of metaphysics, postulating a God who intends those laws for a reason.”

Professor David Papineau (KCL). One of Britain’s leading philosophers and humanists and author of Philosophical Devices:

“Philosophical problems are characterized by a special kind of difficulty, a difficulty which means that they cannot be solved, as scientific problems normally are, simply by the uncovering of further empirical evidence. Rather they require some conceptual unravelling, a careful unpicking of implicit ideas, often culminating in the rejection of assumptions we didn't realize we had.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rough draft for comments

Here is a first half only of a rough draft of a chapter for someone else's book. Feedback please...

Theme is Humanism: reason, science and skepticism

What are science and reason?

Humanists expound the virtues of science and reason. But what are science and reason? And we should we think it wise to rely on them?

By science, I shall mean that approach to finding out about reality based on the scientific method. This is a method that was fully developed only a few hundred years ago. Science, as I’ll use the term here, is a comparatively recent invention, its development owing a great deal to 16th and 17th Century thinkers such as the philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

So what is the scientific method? Here’s a rough sketch. Scientists collect data through observation and experiment. They formulate hypotheses and broader theories about the nature of reality to account for what they observe. Crucially, they then test their theories. Scientists derive from their theories predictions that can be independently checked by observation.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Protest arrest of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh this coming Thursday NOW 2ND MAY

CFI UK will be part of the action taken world-wide on Thursday April 25th NOW RESCHEDULED 2ND MAY DUE TO DAY OF MOURNING ON 25TH FOR BUILDING COLLAPSE DHAKA). Details to follow. Do please take part. Here is a link to a piece on other action you can take: 

UPDATE: Please get to the Bangladeshi High Commission on 28 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5JA (nearest tubes South Ken and Gloucester Road). Flyers available. 10am - 4pm.

Zapfino B for atheist bloggers in Bangladesh