Thursday, February 21, 2008

The limits of science - audio lecture by Keith Ward (Gresham college)

Quotes and comments;

1. Ward starts off by stating he can prove the objectivity of scientific knowledge (i.e. refute relativity) and gives gravity as the example; 'if you get gravity wrong... you're in trouble...'' (Well; I'm not sure this proves 'science' is objective, or merely that gravity is objective. i.e. I don't think you can't use this one example to state that all or most of what science says is objectively true.... I would say some is and some is not. The gravity example might be too simple to be very helpful.)

2. Ward tells us that Peter Atkins claims science can answer all 'sensible' questions...'
- and what exactly is a 'sensible' question? I guess any question Atkins thinks he can answer.. And no doubt Atkins will get to decide what questions are sensible :=) This is more of the winning the debate by defining the terms game.

3. Christians were called 'atheists' by the Romans.... why? because they rejected the gods... and the idea nature was full of spirits...

4. Ward tells us that science must be publicly observable...
- he uses example of dreams to prove not all that exists is publicly observable.... (ie. no one can know what we're dreaming.) He offers this as evidence science can't answer all questions; and evidence that science has limits. (He uses a definition of science that seems to be methodological naturalism.)

5. 'Science cannot deal with the unique...'
- personal experience is unique... (and each experience a person has is a unique experience...)

Summary; an interesting lecture with a lively Q+A.

1. Ward is a liberal theologian from England; and has written quite a bit on science.
2. There are hundreds of lectures available online from Gresham college; including about 20 by Ward.


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