Science and Religion Debate live-stream tonight at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time


#1

“What Is Behind It All? God, Science and the Universe.”

Featuring Krauss, Meyer, and Lamoureux

Has a scientific explanation of the universe replaced the need for God as cause of its origins? Could life on our planet exist apart from divine intervention? Is there evidence for a designer? Does it even matter?

Streaming live from Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, explore different explanations of life and our universe. They are bringing together three top minds from three different perspectives for this 2-hour dialogue.

Here’s the link: What’s Behind it all? God, Science and the Universe

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

PROF. DR. LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS, is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. He was born in New York City and moved shortly thereafter to Toronto, Canada, where he grew up. He received undergraduate degrees in both Mathematics and Physics at Carleton University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982), then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows (1982-85).

DR. STEPHEN C. MEYER, Intelligent Design advocate, received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He has authored the New York Times best seller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013) as well as Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009), which was named a Book of the Year by the Times (of London) Literary Supplement in 2009. In his first book on intelligent design, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009) Meyer examined the mystery of the origin of the first life. With Darwin’s Doubt, he has expanded the scope of the case for intelligent design to the whole sweep of life’s history.

DR. DENIS O. LAMOUREUX, received three earned doctorates: a Ph.D. in Oral Biology-Dental Development and Evolution (University of Alberta), a Doctor of Dental Surgery, DDS, (University of Alberta), and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Theology-Science and Religion (University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto). An award winning teacher, Dr. Lamoureux is an Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. His appointment is the first tenure-track position in Canada dedicated to teaching and research on the relationship between scientific discovery and Christian faith. Lamoureux’s academic specialty focuses on the modern origins controversy. Previous to this he was a clinical instructor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Alberta from 1991 to 1996, had a private dental practice, and served as a Canadian Armed Forces Dental Officer (he received United Nations & Canadian Peace Keeping Medals in 1980 and 2003).


(Brad Kramer) #2

Thanks, @beaglelady, for linking. I’m watching right now. Hey, I see some familiar faces in chat! :wave:


#3

Fancy that! LOL!


(George Brooks) #4

At the very very least… the ultimate mystery of consciousness can be answered by a cosmically conscious matrix.


#5

I will find out if the debate will be available for on-demand streaming.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #6

Thanks, @beaglelady. I watched.

It was good to see Denis Lamoureux there – representing evolutionary creationists fairly well. I did feel for Dr. Meyer who seemed to be pressing through the debate in a lot of personal distress.

Denis could have pressed Dr. Krauss a lot more on his sloppy theology, but Krauss delivered some interesting cosmology. It seemed that an unfortunate proportion of the time spent was targeted against Dr. Meyers in the middle. He probably felt (he was!) attacked from both sides. But I’m just glad somebody like Denis was part of the debate at all. I suppose they did a decent job, given the inevitable inferiority of the live medium for such things.


#7

If you missed the live debate, it’s already available for on-demand streaming here

Wycliffe College, where the debate took place, is a graduate theological school affiliated with the University of Toronto and Toronto School of Theology.


#8

Unfortunately, it was painful to watch Meyer struggle through is migraine.

I was there in person.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #9

@BradKramer, I didn’t follow the online chatter alongside. After the obligatory foul language starts to distract me, I move it out of view figuring it will all be the same drivel that comes with limited vocabulary. Did I miss any nuggets from amidst all the chaff?

p.s. heard on a movie: “Blogs?! …[derisive snort] … those are just graffiti with punctuation!”

I like to think places like Biologos do raise blogging to a somewhat more respectable level. But this same sort of snobbish derision is what I must confess to still entertaining towards comments sections underneath youtube videos or alongside livestreamed events showing people doing real work.


(Larry Bunce) #10

Thanks for the tip on this discussion. I found it about five minutes before the end, but watched it yesterday. All three were very good speakers. I thought Stephen Meyer did the best presentation in spite of his migraine. ID and TE are very closely related. I personally find the complexity of the world as revealed by science points to a designer, but I don’t think that that conclusion is a part of science.


#11

I always wonder about the value of such debates; it seems that viewers invariably think that their side “won.”

Here are some of my observations:

  1. Krauss - he started off badly; he was mean-spirited and strongly implied that he didn’t even want to be there and was only doing this as a favor for a friend. He wasted several minutes merely insulting Meyer. I took issue with a number of his points:
    a) He consistently misrepresented his primary opponent, claiming that Meyer “hated science” and was “against science,” because Meyer opposes pure naturalism or materialism.

b) He wrote off the fine-tuning argument claiming that not only is this “not the best possible universe,” but that many or most “tuning options” are viable; variants in “universe tuning” would merely give rise to completely different forms of life. This is an ignorant position given that tweaking some of the “fine-tuning parameters” would result in a completely static universe.

c) He defaulted to off-topic misrepresentations of Christianity that were little more than parroting bad Richard Dawkins.

d) He argued, as per his book, that “something can come from nothing,” indeed, “something will come from nothing.” He misses the point that the “nothing which is a quantum reality of virtual positive/negative ‘particles’” is not “nothing” Why is that the way it is such that something could come from it? This issue seems so blatantly obvious that he perspective almost seems a willful ignorance. His potential response of “that’s just the way the universe is” is understandable but doesn’t justify his description of “nothing.”

e) He primarily used Papyrus font in his powerpoint.

f) On the plus side, he shared some intriguing information about the “flat universe” with a net energy balance of 0 (something I wasn’t aware of). I also enjoyed his information about negative gravity produced by “nothing.” That piqued my curiosity.

Krauss was an effective communicator but his bombastic rhetoric seemed merely to play to what appeared to be a slight majority of atheists in the crowd. That said, he did tone down, perhaps because he realized that he was not a Daniel in a den of lions, or perhaps in mercy of Meyer who struggled mightily.

  1. Meyer - he started off badly as well, struggling to get his powerpoint working; certainly not his fault. It went downhill from there, due to his drastic migraine which befuddled him mentally and even prevented him from reading his own notes. There were drawn-out awkward silences as he struggled to find words and I found myself finishing his sentences a good 6-8 seconds before he did. Really, it was awful and I think everybody in the room felt for him, especially after the diatribe laid on him by Krauss.

a) When it came to content, I think Meyer had one really good point that was not clearly communicated–information content. Where does the information come from? He pointed out a critique of one of his own articles that merely pushed back the issue of information content.

b) He also gave a severely flawed illustration, one rightly dismantled by Krauss–the million-digit bike lock. Yes, proteins are complex in many ways. But the two problems with his illustration is that biological mechanisms are not “looking for” one protein at a time. Further, as Krauss pointed out, finding a part of the combination can accelerate the process of finding the entire combination.

c) I think my issue with his position is that positing a problem that “calls for” a creator/designer, ID stops short of answering questions. If biological information content is the result of a Designing Mind (which is likely neither provable nor falsifiable, scientifically), we can say “goddidit” or we can start asking…how did that information get there? Is is “hand of God”? Or are there mechanisms? ID doesn’t seem to want to look for mechanisms.

d) While Meyer fumbled (understandably) with his powerpoint, his powerpoint presentation was really good. Arguably too good in a socio-political climate in which the Discovery Institute is criticized as right-wing funded institution with a political agenda.

Meyer was very gracious in the face of over-the-top insults and an at-times almost jeering crowd. At some points it seemed he was “trying too hard to be nice,” but man, what a difficult position to be in, what with the migraine and the hostility he faced from Krauss right from the beginning.

  1. Lamoureux - did he “win”? I’d like to think so, but it also seemed he wasn’t even in the fight. At one point near the end he had to interrupt to get back into it. Even the seats were arranged with a notable space between him and the other two.

a) His presentation was good. But it did across as more of a lecture without the passion of Meyer and Krauss.

b) I wondered what the significance was of the dental degree but it made sense when he demonstrated absolutely fascinating information about the evolutionary development of teeth from scales.

c) He did a good job connecting the “leap of faith” with the appraisal of scientific evidence. I do suspect that this may have been lost later on when he distinguished between “scientific knowledge” and “belief” when discussing his own particular beliefs. It almost came across that what he “believes” could have been the result of darts thrown at a series of “belief options.” That said, he did cover the why, but I think it may have been lost if people weren’t tracking and connecting.

d) I did find an over-reliance on Darwin’s quotes, as if his thoughts from over 100 years ago are the canon of how evolution is absolutely defined today as well as how we can and should think about it.

e) I was also fascinated to hear his background story and his final thoughts that connected strongly both with my own journey and my current position in church leadership (in the denomination in which Lamoureux grew up). In fact, really the only reason I was there was because my 17-year-old son, pursuing a career in medicine, expressed interest.

Thanks, Dr. Dr. Dr. Lamoureux. It was also gratifying, after the fact, to see that Dr. Lamoureux is a contributor on Biologos! Cool!


(Brad Kramer) #12

Fatal error, IMHO. Lost all credibility.


(system) #13

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