Monday, February 22, 2016

God, Science, and the Universe

Hosted by Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada): Religion and Society Series - God, Science and the Universe.
Has a scientific explaination 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?

On March 19th, three big thinkers, well-known in their various fields, will be together for the first time, on the stage at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall discussing God, science and the universe:
  • Lawrence M. Krauss  World-renowned Theoretical Physicist
  • Stephen C. Meyer Cambridge educated author and intelligent design advocate
  • Denis O. Lamoureux Science and Religion professor from the University of Alberta
Questions like these will be posed to the panel:
  • How did the universe originate?
  • Does God play any role in the cosmos?
  • What is the relationship between science and religion?
You are invited to live-stream this event via YouTube at your venue free of charge. Once you register as an event host, Wycliffe College and our partners will be happy to provide you with promotional and follow-up material to help make your event a success.

As evidenced by our sponsors, this is an opportunity that spans the diverse interests and questions of the scientist, the scholar, the layperson, the young and the old, and the Atheist, Agnostic and Christian. Our goal is to be a catalyst in starting conversations around our country on issues of faith and their intersection with broader society. 

Join thousands in Toronto and around the globe to take part in this rare and exciting opportunity. 

52 comments :

  1. Three big thinkers? At least one of those folks does not qualify as a thinker at all, in my estimation. (I've never heard of Lamoureux).

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    1. Well, it must have required quite an effort to write so deceptively misleading a screed as Darwin's Doubt was.

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    2. Lamoureux is a fairly well known Liberal Christian professor who acknowledges that a lot of the earlier parts of the bible are nonsense which were copied from earlier cultures.

      He would almost certainly consider the historical existence of Adam and Eve to be a joke for example and he would acknowledge evolution as it is currently understood.

      I guess they brought him in to represent the compromise between Meyer and Krauss.

      It becomes pretty obvious that when debates bring in two participants from two extremes and then bring in a third participant to defend the middle ground between them, that the debate organisers are promoting this middle ground.

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  2. You might have heard of Lamoureux without realizing it, he co-authored 'Darwinism Defeated?' with the DI's own daddy rabbit, Phillip E. Johnson. I think Krauss is outnumbered already. Lamoureux appears to be the middle ground, but his bio (https://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/) makes it look like he leans much more toward ID than any middle ground.

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    1. Krauss knows his physics, of course, but why not have someone on stage who is an expert in biology and understands how evolution actually works, if there are going to be two people who think it requires magic (Especially since there is at least one such individual convenietnly located at the U of T)?

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    2. I agree lute. Krauss and Meyer are going to be arguing past each other. I really doubt Krauss knows enough evolution, biology and paleontology to refute Meyers specific claims. At best Krauss will make general arguments about the nature of science.
      I also doubt Meyer knows enough cosmology and physics to take on Krauss, and even if he did thats already been thoroughly covered by Krauss vs. Craig and Carroll vs Craig

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    3. Personally, I don't think Krauss should agree to share a stage with Meyer. It gives the creationist an undeserved aura of respectability. But I guess that's Krauss' call to make.

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    4. lutesuite, they are keeping evolutionary biologists out precisely because they don't want these types preaching the magic of natural selection acting on variation.

      See the secret to that magic is smuggling in intelligence but packaging it as the logical progression of small, unconnected steps that just so happen to create awesome things.

      Its a brilliant deception. Sounds so easy to grasp. Yet it is false since only intelligence is known to be able to manage small steps toward some functional end.

      A clever but detectable ruse.

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    5. Lutesuite : Personally, I don't think Krauss should agree to share a stage with Meyer.It gives the creationist an undeserved aura of respectability.

      Are you kidding, or what ? Krauss science is a joke, his behavior is a joke ( look how he behaved debating Craig ) and he deserves no credibility at all. I think he behaves like an ass.

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    6. Its a brilliant deception. Sounds so easy to grasp. Yet it is false since only intelligence is known to be able to manage small steps toward some functional end.

      Wow Steve... You've been shown examples of small steps slowly progressing towards some functional end without the need for intelligent intervention time and time and time again.

      At this point I think you either struggle with reading comprehension or you are wilfully ignorant.

      Like a donkey we've lead you to the trough - it's up to you now whether you drink or not.

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    7. Well Ace, you've obviously drunk the Kool-Aid. But seems now you are ready to go intravenous on us.

      Just what is it about intelligence that gets you so wound up that you want to deny it while relying on it at the same time??!!

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    8. > Just what is it about intelligence that gets you so wound up that you want to deny it while relying on it at the same time??!!

      As has been pointed out to you many times now, all of these things don't require intelligent intervention to reach their solutions:

      - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_antenna

      - http://www.damninteresting.com/on-the-origin-of-circuits/

      - http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/07/target_target_w_1.html

      - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv6UVOQ0F44

      You've protected your precious beliefs so far by refusing to learn and remaining in a state of wilful ignorance but as long as you keep commenting here we will keep calling you ouyt on your child-like behaviour.

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    9. You're doing it again, ace- unwittingly making intelligent design's case.

      1. An algorithm is an intelligent process. 'nuff said.

      2. There is no such thing as survival of the fittest. This is an evolutionary meme at play. There is no struggle for survival. Only an integrated, inter-dependent self-contained bioshere. The fact that it entails excess reproduction where a minority continue the lineage but the majority of offspring participate in being part of the communal food bank doesnt sit well with you can't be helped. The system has worked for 3 billion years. A damn good design.

      3. Life is more than a machine. It learns. Just look at yourself.

      Game, set, match.



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    10. "There is no struggle for survival."

      Then why do you go to work? (I'm assuming you're employed, which may be going a little far....)

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    11. > 1. An algorithm is an intelligent process. 'nuff said.

      Steve... this is the stupidest thing I've read all day. Non-intelligent processes follow steps that can be described by algorithms all the time. For example I could come up with an algorithm to plot a planet's motion around a star - otherwise known as the 2 body problem.

      1. Place two bodies in a three dimensional field and randomly assign them velocities vectors relative to each other

      2. Step through units of time in intervals dt

      2a. For each step calculate a vectors for the acceleration due to gravity acting on each planet

      2b. Use the acceleration vectors to calculate an average velocity vectors for the time interval dt

      2c. Add the current velocity vectors to the average velocity vectors resulting from the acceleration due to gravity

      2d. Use the computed velocity vector and the current positions to calculate the next position for each body

      Repeat

      That doesn't mean an intelligent being had to be pushing those bodies around or had to have come up with that algorithm.

      Do you know what a simulation is? People use simulations to to construct algorithms to model natural processes all the time: like weather or climate or the evolution of the universe.

      > There is no struggle for survival.

      More stupidity...

      http://cdn.pcwallart.com/images/great-white-shark-attack-seal-wallpaper-1.jpg

      https://i.ytimg.com/vi/reHHta6AKD0/hqdefault.jpg

      http://i4.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article2916060.ece/ALTERNATES/s1227b/An-impala-MAIN.jpg

      https://i.ytimg.com/vi/6h6QFCcQKNI/maxresdefault.jpg

      > Life is more than a machine. It learns.

      And yet we can make machines that learn.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv6UVOQ0F44

      Do yourself a favour... Instead of making the same incoherent arguments again and again, try learning from people here who clearly know more than you.

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    12. Ace:
      "People use simulations to to construct algorithms to model natural processes all the time: like weather or climate or the evolution of the universe."

      It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Steve is anti-global warming believer too. And more in general anti-science.
      I do expect his next comment will be like 'they can't predict the weather 3 days in advance, so why should we believe they can calculate the earth is older than 6000 years'.

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    13. judmarc,

      im sorry if your job is a struggle.

      I have been gainfully employed by the same company for the past 16 years and going strong.

      Delete
    14. Steve, I am glad to read that someone who thinks bacteria has opinions can get a job these days and, even better, remain employed. Guess these people who recommend a college education don't know what they're talking about, eh?

      Unless you went to college but didn't take any science classes?

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    15. There is no struggle for survival.

      it entails excess reproduction where a minority continue the lineage but the majority of offspring participate in being part of the communal food bank

      The fact that Steve can make the first statement and not understand he flatly contradicts himself with the second tells you all you need to know about his "reasoning" process.

      Delete
  3. Hmmm, I was surprised about Lamoureux being a faculty member of the UofAlberta, so I had to dig a little more. Actually he's a faculty member of St. Joseph's College -- a university community established by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton and affiliated with the University of Alberta. It is administered by the Congregation of the Priests of St. Basil, also known as the Basilian Fathers.

    Affiliated, and not even administered by the UofA itself. Interesting (http://www.stjosephs.ualberta.ca/en/About.aspx)

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    1. Hmm, it seems Lamoureax's credentials have been inflated somewhat. But IDiots never do that, nor do they inflate degrees or publications either! And highlighting where Meyer went to school (rather than a current position)? The entire brochure is poorly constructed.

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  4. "Has a scientific explaination of the universe replaced the need for God as cause of its origins?"

    When has there ever been a "need" for god as a cause?

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    1. When has nothing ever been a cause of anything ?

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    2. Well, if we are to find an alternative to the magic of natural selection acting on variation, then God sounds like a rational alternative.

      Unless of course you are advocating for an anthropocentric worldview. But nah, evolutionists detest anthropomorphic notions of causation. I mean their intelligence is a figment of their imagination.

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    3. When has nothing ever been a cause of anything?

      Look up the Casimir effect.

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    4. Steve preached: "Well, if we are to find an alternative to the magic of natural selection acting on variation, then God sounds like a rational alternative."

      Which "God", and when, where, how, and why did and does that "God" do whatever it did and does? And how do you know?

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    5. Steve writes: "Well, if we are to find an alternative to the magic of natural selection acting on variation"

      One of that Arthur C Clarke's three laws is that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

      A corollary to this is that "Any sufficiently advanced science will seem like magic to an imbecile".

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    6. Wow, Ace! Science fiction writer as your source of wisdom??

      So nature's 'sufficiently advanced technology 'trumps God's sufficiently advanced technology because.....ah right, cuz you can see nature but you cant see God.

      Hmmm....you've got something there. So if you cant observe it, it doesnt exist. So the God hypothesis is out. But you just asserted that sufficiently advanced technology would be like magic...meaning unobservable with current technology.

      Hmmm......

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    7. > Wow, Ace! Science fiction writer as your source of wisdom??

      Actually the corollary is my own but the implication is true. You are an imbecile because we have patiently presented you with the facts and the evidence time and again and you have refused to engage with it.

      This picture describes your wilful ignorance perfectly:

      http://i.imgur.com/aq1X86s.jpg

      So if you cant observe it, it doesnt exist.

      False. If you can't observe it then there is no reason to think it exists. This is different to claiming confidently that something doesn't exist. Learn how to think. Here is a good place to start

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    8. keep riding that one-trick pony, Ace.

      You've present nothing but conjecture...what Nick Matzke like to call 'tantalizing hints'.

      Stop hoodwinking yourself that you have it all figured out.

      The day that you start accepting that life is intelligent is the day YOU start to learn something.

      Trashing intelligence is self-defeating. How long will it take you to wrap YOUR brain around THAT fact?

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    9. I've presented you with overwhelming amounts of evidence to illustrate that intelligence is not required to guide small steps to some greater functional end.


      All that is required is replication, mutation and selection. All of these things happen naturally and don't need us to invoke magic as an explanation and this has been demonstrated time and again using machines and algorithms.

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    10. Aceofspades--

      There's plenty of evidence that beings with brains are guiding a lot of natural selection. But the thing is, they're not very good brains, let alone miraculous and supernatural. Predation by lions has selected for fast-running zebras. But the lions never get together and decide, "Hey, it's a good year. Let's go after the fastest, strongest zebras now and leave the slow, weak ones to breed so we'll eat better in the lean times." Hence the well-known truth, "evolution has no foresight."

      When creationists like Steve keep hitting the meme, "look at how designed this looks, it can't just be random," they almost always use an example either of sexual selection (including animals pollinating flowers) or arms races. And of course, all those examples involve known creatures with some sort of known neural network making selections. To go from, "Flowers pollinated by hummingbirds (who can see red) are likely to be red. Flowers pollinated by honey bees (who can't see red) are more likely to be blue or yellow," to "there must be some supernatural designer at work," is a huge and unnecessary step. Of course, they are ignoring the possibility that evolution of flowers isn't just "random chance." It is being guided by creatures with brains-- but the creatures are bees and hummingbirds.

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    11. and there you go again, ACE unwittingly making the point that at the same time goes right over your head.

      You use intelligence to deny that any intelligence is taking place in genomic activity.

      Its one flew over the cuckoos nest all over again, for the umpteenth time.

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    12. and there goes hoary again making ID's point.

      creatures like bees and hummingbirds ARE awesome and have intelligent capabilities. Whoever said otherwise?

      But its no thanks to non-teleological step wise change.

      Delete
  5. I have to wonder why Wycliffe college has to go all the way to Arizona to find someone to contest Meyer. Prof. Moran is a lot closer to home and is more competent to discuss biological evolution then is Krauss (no denigration to Krauss here, if the subject were cosmology, the reverse would be the case).

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    1. I don't know if your comment is serious or not but, in case it is, you should know that this is a money-raising event. They can charge $18 if Krauss is there but they couldn't charge anything to see me.

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    2. Re L. A. Moran

      I was unaware of that. However, in looking at the schedule for the symposium, it appears that I misinterpreted what was to be discussed, possibly because of some of the other commentors. It appears that cosmology is the main interest which brings up the question as to why Stephen Meyer, who has no expertise in that area was invited.

      My main concern is that Prof. Krauss has a reputation of being an indifferent debater, and my exposure to him on several Youtube videos did not inspire confidence. For the pro science side, we would be much better off with Sean Carroll (the astrophysicist) who cleaned William Lane Craig's clock in a debate some time ago. If the idea is to attract the largest possible audience, then, no disrespect to Krauss, but Neil Tyson is certainly better known then Krauss and is a more fluent public speaker.

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    3. Yeah... Tyson is a top quality entertainer and he'd do a reasonably good job of handling Meyer

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    4. I think they picked Krauss because they can count on him to say something offensive or belittling to his opponent which in turn would make his position seem unreasonable.

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    5. This series is being sponsored by Wycliffe College, a college that trains Anglican clergy from a conservative perspective.

      Imagine that you were a student training to become a clergyman at Wycliffe and you were in charge of this series on science and religion. Who would you want to invite to represent the "enemy," Krauss, Sean Carroll, or Neil deGrasse Tyson?

      Besides, even if you wanted Tyson, you couldn't afford him.

      And don't forget that Krauss grew up in Toronto.

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    6. ....and did his undergrad at Carleton (I know this because, in preparation for the upcoming 50th anniversary, the campus is festooned with huge banners of Alumni Who Made Good).

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    7. I must admit I did not realize that Wycliffe only taught religious courses. I knew it was Anglican, but I thought it was "Anglican" in the sense that Trinity College (which my daughters attend) is "Anglican." That helps explain things to me.

      Krauss may at times be a bit, shall we say, abrasive. But he can also be a very clear and compelling speaker. I think this lecture, e.g., is excellent:

      The Greatest Story Ever Told

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    8. (I know this because, in preparation for the upcoming 50th anniversary, the campus is festooned with huge banners of Alumni Who Made Good).

      Is my picture on one of the banners?

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    9. Sorry Larry, but no, and neither is mine. I think we should write a Strongly Worded Letter to the CU Senate demanding that they correct this egregious oversight.

      For the captions, yours could read "Curmdgeon", and mine "Dilettante".

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  6. Aceofspades said:All that is required is replication, mutation and selection. All of these things happen naturally and don't need us to invoke magic as an explanation and this has been demonstrated time and again using machines and algorithms.

    So far, nobody has been able to present any credible effort at disproving the theory of evolution as it presently stands - and always have ever since Darwin - day by day, stronger in every way.

    Dembski and Behe maybe are - or were - some of the most dedicated agents in the war on science that creationism, at its roots, actually are. They have failed and there are good reasons to expect that future generations will see the light. The unofficial, and from a rational POW, absurd alliance between the Old Earth viewpoint of Intelligent Design vs. the Young Earth Creationism argument against their common enemy - science, leave no doubt about that.

    It really is laughable seeing how YEC's stand up for Intelligent Design.

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    1. Rolf Aalberg
      many things wrong with your post.

      1. So far, nobody has been able to present any credible effort at disproving the theory of evolution

      The ToE has been falsified in many points.

      Failed evolutionary predictions

      http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1666-failed-evolutionary-predictions

      and the central tenet, namely common ancestry, and the asserton that mutations and natural selection gave rise to biodiversity and bodyplans has been refuted as well:

      Where Do Complex Organisms Come From?

      http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t2316-where-do-complex-organisms-come-from

      let's look at some of the expectations of the natural selection-based modern synthesis: (i) the largest differences within given categories of multicellular organisms, the animals or plants, for example, should have appeared gradually, only after exceptionally long periods of evolution; (ii) the extensive genetic changes required to generate such large differences over such vast times would have virtually erased any similarity between the sets of genes coordinating development in the different types of organism; and (iii) evolution of body types and organs should continue indefinitely. Since genetic mutation never ceases, novel organismal forms should constantly be appearing.


      All these predictions of the standard model have proved to be incorrect. The actual state of affairs however, are expected outcomes of the "physico-genetic" picture outlined above. Briefly, we now know that complex multicellular organisms appeared rapidly

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    2. Rolf Aalberg: Dembski and Behe maybe are - or were - some of the most dedicated agents in the war on science that creationism.

      That is a common misuderstanding. There is no war between creationism/intelligent design, and science.

      Naturalism does not equal science.

      Aalberg: There is imho a war between world views. Between naturalism, and creationism/intelligent design. Thats different.

      And, no, neither Dembsky, nor Behe failed. Thats wishful thinking. IC and CSI as the two main tenets of ID stand strong as ever, and despite the attacks over decades, no proponent of naturalism has been able to refute successfully both predictions.

      The unofficial, and from a rational POW, absurd alliance between the Old Earth viewpoint of Intelligent Design vs. the Young Earth Creationism argument against their common enemy - science, leave no doubt about that.

      I am a advocate of ID, and still held that YEC has more points in favour than OEC. Proponents of ID are not exclusively from the OEC camp.

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    3. You seem to have overlooked the word "credible" in Rolf's post, Elshamah777. Websites written by your semi-literate, ignorant creationist friends are not credible.

      (But I'm sure lantog is very proud to be cited in the first link)

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  7. As the organizer for this event we value the feedback you have given. Just for clarification, this isn't a fund-raising event even though there are ticket sales. One would think that finding speakers and designing an event is an agonizing process, much of it comes down to availability of speakers. Also, we plan to do this twice a year and have noted some of the names suggested. Over the next few years we hope to have many of these figures through. If you want to watch the live stream, the link is active here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMuy58DaqOk

    Feel free to send me any other questions/suggestions to shewko@wycliffe.utoronto.ca

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    1. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it was a "for-profit" kind of fund raising event. I just meant that it is expensive to invite some of these speakers (but not me!) and you have to raise some money to cover the expenses. Also, there's an advantage to inviting "big name" speakers for the publicity it generates.

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  8. Thanks Dr. Moran. I have a couple of tickets set aside for you and will put them at the will call booth. There will also be a reception after at Wycliffe and the speakers will be there and you are more than welcone to attend.

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