Debate mixes Big Bang and faith
Monday, 15 October 2012 16:41
Debate mixes Big Bang and faithThe discovery of a "Higgs-like particle" inspired this religious and scientific meeting

Some of Europe's most prominent scientists have opened a debate with philosophers and theologians over the origins of everything.

The event, in Geneva, Switzerland, is described as a search for "common ground" between religion and science over how the Universe began.

It will focus on the Big Bang theory.

The conference was called by Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in the wake of its Higgs boson discovery.

Cern is the home of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator, situated beneath the French-Swiss border region near Geneva.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili explains what the Higgs boson is and why its discovery is so important

The first speaker at the conference was Andrew Pinsent, research director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University.

He said that science risked "trying to turn society into a machine" if it did not engage with religion and philosophy.

"Science in isolation is great for producing stuff, but not so good for producing ideas," he told the BBC.

"Einstein began by asking the kinds of questions that a child would ask, like what would it be like to ride on a beam of light."

That, Dr Pinsent said, was what science should return to.

Prof Rolf Heuer, director of Cern, explained that the Higgs results provided a "deeper insight and understanding of the moments after the Big Bang".

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

We might find new ways of talking to each other about the beginning of the world”

End QuoteCanon Dr Gary WiltonMeeting organiser

He added that he hoped, by the end of the conference, that delegates from very different backgrounds would be able to "start to discuss the origin of our Universe".

Co-organiser Canon Dr Gary Wilton, the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative in Brussels, said that the Higgs particle "raised lots of questions [about the origins of the Universe] that scientists alone can't answer".

"They need to explore them with theologians and philosophers," he added.

Heated debate

The organisers are expecting some disagreements during the three-day event.

For example, one of the speakers, Prof John Lennox from Oxford University, has been an outspoken critic of atheist scientists in the past.

Most recently, he took issue with Prof Stephen Hawking's assertion that God did not create the Universe.

In an article in the Daily Mail, he said that he was certain that Prof Hawking was wrong.

Prof Lennox wrote: "When Hawking argues, in support of his theory of spontaneous creation, that it was only necessary for 'the blue touch paper' to be lit to 'set the universe going', the question must be: where did this blue touch paper come from? And who lit it, if not God?"

Dr Wilton, though, said he was hopeful that "scientists, theologians and philosophers alike might gain fresh insights from each other's disciplines".

"This is such an exciting conference," he told the BBC.

"It is the first time Cern has invited theologians and philosophers to debate with them.

"But by the end... we might find new ways of understanding our own positions.

"We might even find new ways of talking to each other about the beginning of the world."

The conference is being organised by Wilton Park, an agency of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

2016Putin thinks there is no alternative to political settlement in Syria

Russia stands for diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. "Everyone, including Russia, is interested in preservation of the territorial and political integrity of all countries in the reg [ ... ]


2012SocGen rogue trader loses appeal

24 October 2012 Last updated at 13:34 GMT Kerviel has always maintained the bank knew of his trading positionsFormer Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel has lost his appeal in Paris against a three-year prison sentence, with  [ ... ]


2013Julia Király quits with a j'accuse

JULIA KIRÁLY, a deputy-governor of the National Bank of Hungary, stepped down on April 8th. Her resignation was not unexpected but her very public attack on György Matolcsy, the new governor of Hungary’s central bank, has caused ripples at home a [ ... ]


source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19870036#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

 

Classified Ads

Classified Ads