Has Physics Made Religion and Philosophy Obsolete? | Benedictine College

Has Physics Made Religion and Philosophy Obsolete?

Columbia University's Dr. David Z. Albert to Speak on Feb. 1 & 2

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

An argument has been put forth that physics has rendered religion and philosophy obsolete. Coming down solidly in opposition to that argument is theoretical physicist and philosophy professor Dr. David Z. Albert of Columbia University. Albert will make two presentations at Benedictine College on February 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the McAllister Board Room on the fourth floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. Hosted by the Philosophy Department as part of the Justin Martyr Institute Lecture Series, both events are free and open to the public.

Albert is currently the Frederick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy and Director of the M.A. Program in The Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the author of Quantum Mechanics and Experience (1992), Time and Chance (2000), and After Physics (2015).

In 2012, Albert was involved in a famous public dispute with cosmologist and popular science writer Lawrence Krauss, author of A Universe from Nothing. In his book, Krauss argued that physics had rendered religion and philosophy obsolete because it can now explain how something can come from nothing. (Interview with Krauss.) In the Afterward, evolutionary biologist and noted atheist Richard Dawkins compared the book to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species as a blow to religion and said “the last remaining trump card of the theologian, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?,’ shrivels up before your eyes as you read these pages.”

Albert wrote a scathing review of Krauss’ book (“On the Origin of Everything”, New York Times book review), saying such books put forward very shallow critiques of religion. He ultimately concludes that “the whole business of approaching the struggle with religion as if it were a card game, or a horse race, or some kind of battle of wits, just feels all wrong.”

Albert’s talk on Feb. 1 will cover the details of his argument against Krauss. The Feb. 2 talk will be on the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics, which is his specialized area of research.

7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1

“The Debate with Krauss: Why Religion and Philosophy Are Not Obsolete”

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2

“The Philosophical Implications of Quantum Theory”

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.

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