Thursday, January 24, 2008

Beyond Belief - Enlightenment 2.0 - Peter Atkins

reposted from:

Beyond Belief 2 was held in Autumn 2007. Speakers (full list) included 20+ scientists and philosophers.

Peter Atkins, Professor of Chemistry (30 minute video of talk)

I'm a fan of Peter Atkins! He is a wonderful ambassador for the supremacy of science as the best means of understanding the Universe. In his 20 minute talk he debunks both Theology AND Philosophy! Having said that I have hunted in vein to find a lengthy article or book on his views. Without further explanation of the reasoning behind his views, I find him to be just too dogmatic.

Prof. Peter Atkins said:-
I'm a reductionist - you can study the universe, take it apart, discover its simple components and then put it back together again.

Our universe may have emerged from a mother universe which emerged from a grandmother universe ad infinitum. But is it impossible to explain where the first universe came from? Not necessarily! It is conceivable that there was never a beginning to the Universe - but we should not admit that yet otherwise we lose the fight for understanding and comprehension. What are the properties of 'Absolutely Nothing'? How can you go from 'Absolutely Nothing' to 'dead flat spacetime'?

The Pre Enlightenment admiration was for Theology and Philosophy.

Enlightenment 1.0: was the Destruction of Theology. Philosophy & Science are the twins pillars of knowledge.

Enlightenment 2.0: Philosophy destruction. Science is the pillar of knowledge.

Philosophy is such a ball & chain on progress and interferes with our true understanding. Philosophy has nothing to say about the fabric of reality and has nothing to say about ethical behaviour.

Enlightenment 3: Science is the pillar & 'Another' pillar, currently unknown, may arise.

Theology - the red traffic light - obfuscates; Philosophy - the orange traffic light - interferes with understanding and confuses; Science - the green traffic light - illuminates.

The flag for Enlightenment 2 and Science is the fractal diagram - art without end - get same pattern - do that forever - science is of boundless richness - there will never be an end to science - infinite complexity emerges from astonishing simplicity. Science is the only method of discovering the real truth about the universe.

There is no real question that begins with the word 'Why'. Every 'Why' question should be deconstructed into 'How' questions. You only make progress with 'How' questions - you never make progress with 'why' questions.

eg. Why is their something rather than no


Is science superior to philosophy?

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