Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Sir John Polkinghorne at Southampton University - 9th May 2006

Video and MP3 (also downloaded to WASP PC) available here:

WASP made brief notes from John Polkinghorne's Lecture (organised by Christians in Science) divided into 3 parts:

1) Science
2) Science / Religion interface
3) Religious belief

John Polkinghorne's knowledge and communication of science is excellent. His religious beliefs are less impressive to WASP.

1) Science
  • fine tuning for carbon life helium x3 no good to explain carbon formation need helium 4 to berylium 8 to carbon 12??
  • no mention of life based on other elements eg Silicon
  • Fred Hoyle and carbon formation
  • String Theory
  • Universe will end in a big crunch - or more likely due to Dark Energy - a big wimper in which the Universe expands forever and all life will cease to exist
2) Science / Religion interface
  • who lit the blue touch paper of the big bang is not the question - the key question is why there is nothing (Leibnitz)
  • fine tuning is evidence of either God is real AND/OR their are many and varied universes (John Leslie)
  • Multiverse theory is of EQUAL probability to a Creator designing one universe - said JP - very surprisingly
  • What physics would change JP mind to believe that a Creator was unlikely to have designed the universe?
  • God does not do tricks - he does not interfere with Laws of Nature from day to day
  • refers to Leslie J (Universes, 1989)
  • Cosmos v Chaos; Creator v No Creator
  • Paul Davies does not know what he believes in!
  • self consciousness of man
  • man can foresee the future - apes cannot
  • the media is partly to blame with the widespread opinion of Science versus Religion. A simple yes v no story - is always good for the media
  • the great divide of science started with Darwin when scientist was set against religion - this is not so - both sides were divided
  • Anthropic Principle
  • 'a ball of energy has turned into a home for saints and scientists'
  • Belief in God in an Age of Science - 1998, is JPs best selling book
  • physics by 2100 will be fundamentally be about Matter AND information (is this some reference to The Soul or Entropy or The Mind of God??)

3) Religious belief

  • only miracle he believes in was the resurrection of Christ
  • is John Polkinghorne's God a Pantheist God?
  • God is in it for the long term??
  • problem of evil in the natural world - Creator is a very hands off Parent
  • if life exists on other planets who is to say that an equivalent Jesus has not already spoken to these people
  • science is horizontal - life after death for all of creation gives a vertical dimension
  • science and theology are partners in a quest for understanding and truth
  • the world is not full of items with the stamp 'made by God' - he is more subtle than that
  • Steven Weinberg - the staunch atheist
  • an understanding of an evolutionary universe as being compatible with a theological doctrine of creatio continua
  • epistimology and ontology??
  • Paul Dirac - laws of nature should be expressed in beautiful mathematical equations
  • Stephen Hawking - a great scientist - knows a lot less about theology
  • by bringing the world into existence God has self limited divine power by allowing the other to be truly to be itself. The gift of Love must be the gift of Freedom, the gift of a degree of letting-be - to make itself. It is the nature of:-
    • cells mutate, can produce new life or turn cancerous
    • tsunami caused by underground earthquake - which is necessary so that minerals on surface of earth are replaced with minerals from the inner core of the earth - so what appears a natural evil (tsunami) is part of a greater process
  • science is only a minor part of why JP is a Christian
  • scientists dont talk of wonder in their scientific papers - but they do so in conversation
  • much more to 'Mind of God' than science will ever discover
  • Christ resurrection - event from which New Creation grows
  • What is the evidence that God created the universe and continues to run it? The doctrine of creation is not concerned with how things began but why things exist. It is the answer to the great question posed by Liebniz, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ To believe in creation (or the Cosmos cf. Chaos) means that there is a divine Mind and a divine Purpose behind what is happening in the world. To believe in creation is to believe that the universe is not just a random collection of atoms, but it is an orderly world whose patterns reflect the will of a Creator. It is to believe that history is not just a meaningless succession of one thing after another, but it is going somewhere because there is God’s purpose behind what is happening.

No comments: