Science and Religion discussion tonight in Indiana

If you’re at Indiana University, or simply live in or near Bloomington, Indiana, you might want to go to this event, whose announcement was forwarded to me by reader Diane G. If you go, please post a report below.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 5.35.48 AM Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 5.36.05 AM

 

The answer, of course, is “no” (unless you have a wonky definition of “compatible,” in which case the whole discussion becomes a semantic issue). I’m curious that no preachers were invited, but it is a CFI event.

39 Comments

  1. Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    I don’t know these folks well enough to know who’s on which side of the debate…

    /@

  2. BillyJoe
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Is that Douglas Hofstadter the author of “Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid”?

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      What a brain-changing book!

      I recently gave my copy to my eldest daughter. It’s somewhat the worse for wear, the paperback binding was never very good, and I’d gladly buy a new copy if it gets any use. Don’t think she’s opened it yet, but she’s still a few years younger than I was when it came out. What a treat it would be, to read again for the first time!

      (Just looked again at the announcement: Committee for Skeptical Enquiry should be a strong hint as to the side he’ll take, but apparently a lot of soi-disant ‘skeptics’ fall at the religion hurdle)

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      I assumed so. The book was all the rage when I was at university … but I’ve never had a copy, let alone read it…

      /@

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Yes, it is.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, he is, and yes, the book is a mind-boggling intellectual tour de force.

  3. John Scanlon, FCD
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    I would tentatively assume that Hofstadter would be on the side of the angels (no wait, I mean our side) but only because of his past association with Dan Dennett; I haven’t really seen anything by him on science-vs-religion. He seems to be much more interested in the formal properties of matter than its substance, but still (I guess) a materialist.

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      He’s not in public much these days, but in his earlier work, he was a bit more squishy about the question than Dennett is.

  4. NewEnglandBob
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    sub

  5. ladyatheist
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    I hope they post a video!

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      Seconded.

      • Dave Bender
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        We shot some video, but the sound came out horrible (my fault). I’ll post it if it can in any way be salvaged.

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted March 27, 2014 at 3:02 am | Permalink

          +1

  6. thh1859
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    I notice there are more religious physicists than biologists. Is that because physicists don’t get their hands dirty?

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I don’t know what the number say, but there may well be more prominently atheistic physicists today than biologists. There’s Stephen Freaken’ Hawking, Sean Carroll, Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Weinberg, Brian Cox….

      b&

  7. Arne
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Vegan food afterwards? Woo reaching in…

    • thh1859
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Not necessarily. Atheists, in general, feel themselves more connected with other animals than Christians.

      • Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        Sorry, are we more connected with animals than we are connected with Christians, or are we more connected with animals than Christians are connected with animals?

        /@

        • thh1859
          Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

          Silly me. Thanks for pointing out the ambiguity.

          Should be “…more connected with other animals than Christians are.”

    • eric
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      I like meat and I see nothing wrong with an event deciding to serve Anatolian vegan food. Heck, its a draw for me – I’d try Anatolian food out of curiousity, regardless of whether there are animal products in it. Regardless of what I might cook at home, I can still appreciate some other culture’s meatless dishes.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        The Anatolian part is not the problem.

        • eric
          Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          Neither necessarily is the vegan. I just snacked on a carrot. And I think I should probably eat more vegetables. Does that make me wooey?

          • NewEnglandBob
            Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

            Vegan doesn’t mean eat a carrot, it means no use of animal products – no meat, dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc), no eggs, no poultry. It also means no use of leather or any other animal derived product. It also can lead to a lack of some vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy life.

            Yes, I do consider that a form of woo.

            • eric
              Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

              So, just to be clear here, you think that by hiring a catering service to serve vegan Anatolian food, the Center for Inquiry is promoting woo?

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

                You are off the point. Many places, private or public restaurants offer a choice. Some restaurants have separate menus.

                I have a daughter who is a vegetarian and another who has Celiac disease and must avoid gluten. I understand quite well about having well marked choices.

                This is a lecture on science and religion at a public university. Why does it have to go to an extreme choice of food to cater to a minority and ignore everyone else.

                I would also complain if they served only Mountain Dew to the exclusion of any other hot or cold beverage (now if it was bacon only, I could understand).

              • eric
                Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

                How do you know the catering choice was extreme or intended to ignore the majority? There’s a local Anatolian restaurant, so they use it. It happens to be vegan. What’s the big deal?

                You are imputing a wooey motive where there are a number of perfectly mundane non-wooey motives that could easily explain the choice: the catering service is inexpensive. The food has a local reputation for being good. The university has worked with the restaurant before. The organizers think “Anatolian vegan” will bring in more listeners than “Sandwiches.” I really think you’re going to a lot of trouble to invent a reason to be offended at a catering choice.

  8. John K.
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    The answer, of course, is “no” (unless you have a wonky definition of “compatible,”

    They can always use wonky definitions of “belief”, “god”, or even “science” you know. Don’t underestimate “Sophisticated” Theology™.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Theology polluted the Humanities. Science is compatible and a part of all other disciplines.

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Looks like Answers in Genesis are weighing in on each episode of Cosmos.

    • eric
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Its fairly amusing to see AIG cite Newton as a ‘bible-believing man’. Based on his letters, he rejected the trinity and the worship of Jesus. So while yeah, Newton was some sort of theist or deist who considered the bible to be inspired, he certainly didn’t believe the bible the same way AIG believes the bible. I don’t know what sort of sect we’d put Newton in today (Unitarian?), but it would very likely be a sect that AIG would label as misguided and unbiblical.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        I consider those arguments about him being a believer as irrelevant he was probably a misogynist by today’s standards too. So who cares. He was reflective of his times.

        • eric
          Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          Well I doubt his religious beliefs were reflective of his times, but you’re right about them not mattering in terms of his discoveries. The amusing point I was trying to make is that here is AIG claiming him as one of their own, when his actual religious beliefs would probably make Ken Ham’s head explode.

      • Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Ironically, Newton (with good reason, I think – to a point) rejected the trinity in part because he studied the bible carefully. Some of the other justification for his Arianism is not so clear, but …

  11. Steve Brooks
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    On a somewhat related note, take a look at today’s Muncie StarPress. There is an interesting guest editorial. (3/26)

  12. wonderer
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Damn! I’d love to hear Hofstadter talk on this topic, and I’m only three hours away, but this wasn’t enough notice.

  13. Andrikzen
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Science is Man on the Moon, Religion is Man in the Moon. How compatible is that?

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      +1

  14. Shwell Thanksh
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I remember reading Douglas Hofstadter when younger and enjoying his writing a lot. I don’t recognize mosty of the other names… but I sure loved that Bender guy on Futurama!

    • Dave Bender
      Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      Doug’s still going strong. If you haven’t already, you might want to check out his latest book Surfaces and Essences.

      (Personally I gotta go with Bender from The Breakfast Club, but hey… to each his own.)

      ((I have a mini-obsession with errors, so I can’t help but comment on your very cool slip “mosty”. You were reaching for “most” but perhaps “many”, a similarly appropriate four letter word beginning with ‘m’, was close at hand, and managed to slip in a piece of itself at the end!))


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