Physics and Philosophy

When we enter into conversation about science and religion, it is important for us to be able to recognize when we move from discussion about the results of science to the philosophical/theological interpretation and reflection on the implication of those results. We all make that move, from results to implication and interpretation. In a sense, we can’t help it. Part of being a thinking human is asking, “what does this mean?”. Most of us would agree we need to make that move. But, sometimes it can be difficult to spot when we make the transition, it can take some practice.

This week, NPR published this interesting blog post on physics and philosophy as well as this related post . If you follow the links within that blog post to the New York Times book review, the response to the review in The Atlantic, and the “apology” in Scientific Americanyou will find an interesting example of scientific and philosophical interpretation. Lawrence Krauss gives us an example of a scientist who believes that physics will explain all. He is quite dismissive of all theologians and most philosophers. That’s fine, he certainly can have his opinion about theology and philosophy. What is fascinating is how, in The Atlantic interview and the Scientific American  essay, Krauss slides back and forth between science and philosophy while denying the validity and importance of philosophy ( unless the philosopher agrees with Krauss and then that sort of philosophy is fine.)

I’ve given you quite a bit to read this week, so I’ll limit my remarks and ask, what do you think about all this?

Cross posted at Presbyterian Bloggers.

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5 Responses to “Physics and Philosophy”

  1. teddyj Says:

    I will definitely be delving into this

  2. mobius faith Says:

    I think science and religion/spirituality are two sides of the same coin. They can coexist together. It seems that especially with the ideas floating around on quantum physics the edge of that coin is becoming rounder and rounder – joining the two sides closer than ever. Krauss is no different from those in religion who refuse to consider other ideas. But that’s simply an individual editorial choice and I don’t think his ideas should be devalued because of that. That’s my opinion.

    A Thoughtful post as always and I always look forward to reading what you have to say. 🙂

    • Nancy Says:

      I like your image of the edges of the coin becoming rounder. I think we can (and should) respect his work as a physicist while recognizing his -as you put it- editorial choice. Where we need to be thoughtful is in distinguishing between the two. I don’t want us to toss out or ignore really interesting science. Thanks for reading and your kind comments.

  3. aFrankAngle Says:

    The ability to coexist does not change the fact that science has its boundaries – thus regardless of the direction, I cringe when science attempts to answer theological questions.

    • Nancy Says:

      Science has its boundaries but that boundary is getting thin and a bit fuzzy in spots such as cosmology. Thanks for reading and commenting. As always I appreciate it.

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