Sunday, January 24, 2010

The 2009 Gifford lectures; A fine tuned universe; science, theology, and the quest for meaning - Alister Mcgrath
- these lectures are available free online at University of Aberdeen

Quotes and comments from lecture 1. [Yearning to make sense of things]

p. 14. 'Yet though the “anthropic principle” is perhaps better seen as a statement and contextualization of the issue, rather than anything even approaching its solution, it is widely agreed that the observation of “fine-tuning” in the universe requires explanation – an explanation which is potentially of considerable theological significance.'

- I like the term fine tuning for its resonance with ancient ideas that compared the structure of the universe to music, and to musical instruments; e.g. the music of the spheres and so on.

p. 15. 'The fundamental point here is that there are many things about the natural world that appear strange to us – such as its apparent fine-tuning. The American philosopher Charles Peirce (1839-1914) argued that what he termed “surprising facts” were a fundamental stimulus to the advancement of human thought. Yet Peirce perhaps fails to make the point that certain facts are surprising only because they are seen in a certain way.

- i.e. whether or not x strikes you as strange depends to a great extent upon your worldview. (It's also dependent upon human nature, as we can imagine other intelligent agents having different views.)

- In trying my best to keep up with the science news, I continually come across scientists admitting they are surprised by what they've discovered, that what they've found was not what they expected, that things are much more complex than they can account for, etc. (I suspect there's a library of stories waiting to be written in this area; that these 'surprises' are stories waiting to be told.)


Post a Comment

<< Home