Sunday, February 20, 2011

Me vs Peter Atkins on The Limits of Science

Go here for details all the THINK week events in Oxford this week. I am on Thursday night (24th) with Peter Atkins, scientist and atheist, to discuss whether science can answer all our questions. Expect religion to come up!

Peter Atkins and Stephen Law - 'Can science alone answer our questions?'
Feb 24th 2011: 8pm - Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles

Philosopher Dr. Stephen Law and Professor of Chemistry Peter Atkins will be discussing whether science alone can answer our questions. Entrance is free, and all are welcome.

Here's Atkins in action:

6 comments:

Paul P. Mealing said...

Calling ID a 'scientific abomination' is great name-calling but it doesn't address the argument. He's right in the sense that ID is effectively a 'God of the gaps' argument: it explains what we currently don't know, which is not at all scientific, but he makes the point rather obtusely.

What Atkins doesn't say is that there's a hell of a lot that we don't know and that natural selection is not the whole story. We still don't know what causes speciation, which is fundamental to evolution. In other words, we can confidently say that evolution is a fact, but we can't answer all the questions it throws at us.

He can say the universe is 'completely useless' yet it produced him, didn't it? Does this make Atkins completely useless? Science will always tell us that the universe has no purpose because indeterminacy is built in. But humans will always seek a purpose because that's a fundamental part of our nature.

Regards, Paul.

Ollie Capehorn said...

Really enjoyed listening to you speak tonight, I'm convinced that you presented the most coherent case. Many thanks for such an engaging and funny debate.

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Ollie - I enjoyed it. I also like Peter, even if we disagree so it was pretty good natured. Though I felt slightly cornered what with Dawkins immediately in front of me and Atkins to my left both telling me philosophy is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

what was argued by each person?

Paul P. Mealing said...

Hi Stephen,

Can you provide a link to your debate?

Regards, Paul.

Paul P. Mealing said...

Silly question, I guess. I assume it wasn't recorded.

Pity, I would have been most interested.

Regards, Paul.