They don’t mess around here at Davis: the morning after my second Storer lecture, the videos of both had been put online. And they did a good job; the lecturer (i.e., me) is on a split screen alongside the slides, so you can watch both at once.
The whole archive of past Storer lectures is here, and you can watch them by clicking on their names either at that site or, to see mine, below. (As usual, I haven’t watched mine because I can’t abide seeing myself on video.)
The first listed below, from April 10, is a straight research talk—probably my last ever in this genre. The second, given the day before, is on science vs. religion. The fulsome introductions to both talks were tendered by my old pal Michael Turelli, who greatly exaggerated!
I thank the Storer family, who endowed these talks, and to Luke Mahler and Michael Turelli, my hosts in Davis.
I do love returning to Davis, as I have many friends here and the weather has been gorgeous every day: sunny with highs about 80° F high (cooler at night). I took a lot of photos that, with luck and time, I’ll post next week when I’m back in Chicago.
April 10, 2014
April 9, 2014
This science/religion lecture ends at 1:05 in, and then there’s a Q&A, which was way too short. I would have preferred an hour of discussion, but there were drinks and dinner waiting. At dinner, though, I got a fair amount of criticism from nonbelieving faculty who, while claiming to share my atheism, argued that religion is still beneficial to some or that science is afflicted with some of religion’s flaws.
One philosopher of science, for instance, argued that when we trust physicists like Steve Weinberg or Brian Greene about new findings in physics, that’s the same kind of “faith” that religionists use when trusting their own priests or religious authorities. My response was that our confidence (not “faith”) in these people is based on their track record of being right, or telling verifiable truths or at least accurate descriptions of the field, whereas, for instance, the Pope has no more expertise than any ordinary Catholic in the supposed nature of the divine.
It was clear to me that many scientists here have a reflexive sympathy for religion that they haven’t thought through very clearly. But I love such challenges, for they it enable me to rethink as well as hone my arguments.