Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stephen Barr & Alexander Sich - Science and Faith Conference

This is an excellent talk! Theoretical particle physicist Dr. Stephen Barr reminds me of a theist version of Feynman! I really enjoyed his description of how relativity theory has corroborated St. Augustine's theory of time in his Confessions, which said:
For what is time? Who can easily and briefly explain it? Who even in thought can comprehend it, even to the pronouncing of a word concerning it? But what in speaking do we refer to more familiarly and knowingly than time? And certainly we understand when we speak of it; we understand also when we hear it spoken of by another. What, then, is time? If no one ask of me, I know; if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not. Yet I say with confidence, that I know that if nothing passed away, there would not be past time; and if nothing were coming, there would not be future time; and if nothing were, there would not be present time. Those two times, therefore, past and future, how are they, when even the past now is not; and the future is not as yet? But should the present be always present, and should it not pass into time past, time truly it could not be, but eternity. If, then, time present—if it be time—only comes into existence because it passes into time past, how do we say that even this is, whose cause of being is that it shall not be—namely, so that we cannot truly say that time is, unless because it tends not to be?
—St. Augustine's Confessions XI, ch. 14
I also enjoyed Dr. Barr's God/creation, author/book analogy to illustrate primary versus secondary causality.

Dr. Sich's response at the end of Dr. Barr's talk includes a very good, trenchant polemic against the Copenhagen interpretation.

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