Science and Religion discussion tonight in Indiana

March 26, 2014 • 3:40 am

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.

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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 thoughts on “Science and Religion discussion tonight in Indiana

    1. 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)

  1. 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.

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

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

    1. 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….


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

        1. Silly me. Thanks for pointing out the ambiguity.

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

    2. 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.

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

            1. 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?

              1. 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).

              2. 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.

  3. 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™.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      2. 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 …

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

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

  6. 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!

    1. 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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