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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

CFI Event June 8th UK: Can Science Solve Every Mystery?

Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall present

Can science solve every mystery? A scientist, a philosopher and a Christian discuss
Peter Atkins, David Papineau, Peter S. Williams
Can science answer every question? Should scientists show a little humility and acknowledge there are questions that only religion can answer? Are science and religion “non-overlapping magisteria”, as the scientist Stephen Jay Gould claimed, or is science capable of showing that religion is false, as Richard Dawkins believes? And what, exactly, do philosophers do?
Presented and chaired by Stephen Law (Philosophy, Heythrop and Provost of CFI UK).
Saturday June 8th, 2013
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
(indicative prices not confirmed) £7 (£4 students) Free to friends of CFI UK. Tickets on door.
10.30am registration. 11am-2.30pm
Professor Peter Atkins (Univ. of Oxford). Chemist, atheist and author of many books including Galileo’s Finger and Four Laws That Drive the Universe:
“Religion closes off the central questions of existence by attempting to dissuade us from further enquiry by asserting that we cannot ever hope to comprehend. We are, religion asserts, simply too puny.”
“Sitting around thinking about the world … [that] is philosophy. And we know where that leads to in understanding. My argument is – nowhere.”
Peter S. Williams (Damaris Trust). Philosopher and leading British Christian apologist. Author of C.S. Lewis vs the New Atheists and A Faithful Guide to Philosophy:
“The existence of scientific laws is inexplicable unless we move beyond science into the realm of metaphysics, postulating a God who intends those laws for a reason.”
Professor David Papineau (KCL). One of Britain’s leading philosophers and humanists and author of Philosophical Devices:
“Philosophical problems are characterized by a special kind of difficulty, a difficulty which means that they cannot be solved, as scientific problems normally are, simply by the uncovering of further empirical evidence. Rather they require some conceptual unravelling, a careful unpicking of implicit ideas, often culminating in the rejection of assumptions we didn’t realize we had.”


  1. It seems quite likely that there are some questions science cannot answer, and obviously there are many that science has not answered yet.

    The jump to the conclusion that “therefore, religion DOES have the answers” is quite a large one… and completely unsupported.

  2. At the Beeb:
    Will we ever… know what happened before the Big Bang?

    This is the sort of question which one might think science might never answer. Perhaps they would be wrong.

    But – what Copyleft said. Claiming that this gives any weight to religious answers would be a false dichotomy.

  3. I would second Copyleft. If religion is ever right on anything, it is right on accident.

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