Can Science Answer Every Question?
Wednesday 29 March 2017
Oxford Martin School: Lecture TheatreVenue
Scientist Professor Peter Atkins and philosopher Stephen Law debate whether science can answer every question.
Is ‘scientism’ true? Is there not a place for philosophy, or theology, or some other ‘armchair’ discipline? Are science and religion ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ – with science focused on the age of rocks and religion the rock of ages, each unqualified to pronounce on the territory of the other?
Atkins is professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Oxford, and has been called the Fifth Horseman of Atheism. He argues vigorously that science, and science alone, is capable of answering every legitimate question, and that disciplines such as philosophy and theology are a waste of time. Atkins has said that religious belief is ‘outmoded and ridiculous’ and ‘I regard the teaching of religion as the purveying of lies’.
Law is reader in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and the author of many popular introductions to philosophy including The Philosophy Gym and The Complete Philosophy Files (for children). He is also the author of A Very Short Introduction to Humanism. Law has debated a number of Christian thinkers including Professors William Lane Craig and John Lennox. He defends the role of armchair inquiry.
In association with the British Humanist Association.