I've just been to a talk by John Blanchard
He describes himself as a "Christian Apologetic" what ever that means, he's author of a famous book entitled "Does god believe in Atheists". He clearly frequently speaks on the subject of science and God. He admits to not knowing much science and, for those of us who do, this seriously undermines his credibility.
Firstly he is a very skilled orator, and well prepared. He answers questions in great detail and usually not the actual question asked. He reminds me, in this election time, of a politician trying to be honest whilst having his own agenda.
Many of his statistics are slewed or biased. Mostly he claimed that a great number of people converted to Christianity and become better people and that he'd never hear a reverse example. Well I used to be a god bothered. My respect for others, insightfulness, and concern for the rest of the world and the environment have all significantly increased since becoming an atheist. Christianity has been criticized for its attitude "earth was never meant to be a paradise, so don't worry about it be a good god botherer and go to heaven which doesn't have these problems" which actively discourages Christians for addressing serious issues such as saving the planet and aspiring to a better society.
I especially disagree with his definition of Science, for the sake of his talk he attempted to define science; fair enough. His definition was the search for truth in nature. Which on the face of it was fine, as he went on to put his case it was clear this definition was wrong. A better description of modern science would be creating models to describe and predict nature.
Most fundamental to his understanding of science was his lack or realization that science (physics at least) is a model, not absolute truth.At one point he mentioned atoms and molecules. I know that the standard atomic model, you know the the one that goes protons and neutrons in a lump in the middle, electrons as little dots whizzing around the out side is tripe . Atoms look nothing like that, its just a human construct to explain it. Most modern physics falls into the same category. Colour - merely an interpretation by our brains - not "truth". He also claimed science frequently gets it wrong. Again from the point of view of his previous failure to comprehend how science works this makes little sense. He even mentioned the sun going around the earth.he claimed was an obvious example of science getting it wrong. I can add many others, from the point of view of Einsteinian physics Newton too was "wrong". However in its full complexity the Ptolemaic version of the earth centred universe was so good at actually predicting the position of the planets it stayed in service long after the Copernican model was accepted as the "truth" Likewise, just because Einstein's relativity supercedes Newtonian mechanics doesn't mean that for most jobs newtonian mechanics wont do incredibly well 999 jobs out of 1000.
He preceded to quote (at length) the names of many celebrities, scientists and others, who were committed Christians. I never got to ask my last question, which was rhetorical anyway.
Is is more politically expedient to be a Christian or an Atheist?
Most Christians are relatively self righteous, so are virulent atheists like my self. However most atheists don't go around making an issue of it, the main point of not believing in god is you don't care. As a result I suspect you hear more of the Christians, cos they say they are. Also saying your a Christian Scientist can help divert the more critical God botherer's, I suspect. There are more religious extremists out there than Atheist ones.
Mr Blanchard is a good evangelist, not a serious debater of the issues. In this case that was very noticeable by the lack of equally quantified debater in opposition, none the less many students didn't seem convicted. The scientists I recognised in the audience particularly so I would say. Nigel commented his argents against science not having all the answers were just as applicable to the Religion. He commented that the scientists can't say why the big bang happened, this directly equivalent to why does god exist? This pretty much sums up the whole debate, science works by proposal of a hypothesis this, the devising some tests to see if its stands up (Terry Pratchett recommends standing on a hill in wet copper armor shouting "All the Gods are Bastards"). If god exits and is all powerful then the outcome of any test you might create prove whether or not God does exist can't possibly work because either he does exist and therefore the conditions of the test are controlled by him, or he doesn't exist and the test won't get a positive. Lack of information in its self not being negative. On this we agree, mind you I don't go around giving talks about an unanswerable questions. Science can't entirely prove the existence or otherwise of God, the nearest it could come is discovering everything their is to know about the universes and how it works. Christianity is getting less accurate as time goes on. Translations, changes in culture and understanding changing the content/understanding of the Bible. Science on the other hand is getting bigger and more detailed. As time goes by the science will have more of the answers, or at worst more questions. Religion tends to give the answer "god" to all these questions. Making me inclined to add Christianity to the same category as the morons who think Aliens built the pyramids. Give humanity a bit of credit, you may be a small minded moron, but many member of the human race have higher brain functions and higher aspirations. The best achievements of humanity are its achievements alone, not god's. Its worst excesses are it fault, into the devils. I see no other way it can be if we are to grow as a species - not that I have much hope on that front.