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Gonzaga University Conference on Atheism and Science

[Editor's Note: This is cross-posted at Discovery Blog.]

Senior Fellows David Berlinski and Bruce Gordon spoke last week at the ninth annual "Physics and the God of Abraham" conference, held at Gonzaga University in Spokane. The event was organized by Fr. Robert Spitzer, President of Gonzaga, physicist and adjunct fellow of Discovery Institute. This year's theme, "Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions," was taken from the subtitle of Berlinski's latest book, The Devil's Delusion (Crown Forum, 2008).


The conference was organized by the Faith and Reason Institute at Gonzaga, an organization dedicated to an integrationist understanding of faith and reason through a philosophical investigation into both the nature and results of scientific research, and through critical discussion and reflection on topics in philosophical theology. To this end, "Physics and the God of Abraham" focuses on the relationship between Judeo-Christian faith and the physical sciences, often dealing with the Judeo-Christian roots of modern science, the role that believers in the God of Abraham have played in scientific discovery, and the interpretation of modern physical theory in relation to philosophical-theological concerns.

In his lecture, "Naturalism's Last Stand: Taking the Measure of the Multiverse," Dr. Gordon explored the implausibilities and limitations of the speculative constructs offered by quantum cosmology, chaotic eternal inflation and the string-theoretic landscape to explain cosmological origins and fine-tuning. He argued that transcendent intelligent causation provides the only causally sufficient and metaphysically tenable explanation for what is known of the universe. Fr. Spitzer's talk, "New Proofs for the Existence of God," focused on evidence of creation and supernatural design in contemporary big bang cosmology, arguing for the inevitability of an initial singularity that requires a transcendent cause best described in the language of Thomistic apophatic theology. The final talk -- entitled "Who's Counting?" -- was given by David Berlinski. Dr. Berlinski ventured beyond physical cosmology to the eternal verities of mathematics, examining the historical development of arithmetical conceptions from Euclid to Dedekind, and noting the independence of mathematical truth from physical reality; he thus ended his reflections with the provocative question, if 3+4=7 regardless of whether the universe exists, then who's counting?

Further information about the conference may be found at: