Atheist cosmologist Sean Carroll to debate with Hans Halvorson and William Lane Craig

The first one will be held at California Institute of Technology on January 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM in Baxter Lecture Hall.


Hans Halvorson
Professor of Philosophy and Associate Professor of Mathematics, Princeton University

Hans Halvorson received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Calvin College, going on to receive master’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Pittsburgh. He has taught at Princeton since 2001 and was promoted to full faculty in the philosophy department in 2010.

Halvorson’s research focus is category theory and the philosophy of physics, but he also specializes in philosophical logic, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of science.

Sean Carroll
Senior Research Associate, Physics and Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology

Sean Carroll is a physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University. His research focuses on theoretical physics and cosmology, especially the origin and constituents of the universe. He has contributed to models of interactions between dark matter, dark energy, and ordinary matter; alternative theories of gravity; and violations of fundamental symmetries. Carroll is the author of The Particle at the End of the Universe, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, and Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity. He has been awarded fellowships by the Sloan Foundation, Packard Foundation, and the American Physical Society, as well as the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award and the Villanova University Arts and Sciences Alumni Medallion. Carroll has appeared on TV shows such as The Colbert Report and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and frequently serves as a science consultant for film and television. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.

The topic for that one is: “Metaphysics: An atheist and a Christian discuss physics and cosmology”.

Greer-Heard Forum on God and cosmology

The second one will be held at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on February 21-22, 2014. The topic is “God and cosmology”.

The speakers for that one will be well known to regular readers. The main event will be William Lane Craig vs Sean Carroll.

The respondents are Alex Rosenberg, Robin Collins, Tim Maudlin and James Sinclair. I’ve featured Robin Collins before here for his work on fine-tuning.

I recognize Collins and Sinclair as Christians, and Rosenberg is a thorough-going atheist. You might remember him from his debate with William Lane Craig, which I summarized here. Sean Carroll is the co-author of one of the no-beginning theoretical cosmologies that Lawrence Krauss appealed to in his debate with Craig in Australia, which I summarized here.

Dr. Craig’s podcasts on Sean Carroll

If you want to listen to something about Sean Carroll, William Lane Craig did some podcasts about him a while back.

He also replied to a question about Carroll and cosmology in his Q&A section.

I thought this part was interesting:

Finally, I’m disappointed that Carroll cannot find it in himself to have a collegial discussion of these important questions but feels the need to resort to snide, personal attacks in his closing paragraph. His unfamiliarity with my work is evident in his remark that I do not cite the relevant, original, scientific papers (despite my quoting the Vilenkin-Mithani paper in the very podcast to which he is responding), as well as the popular works of physicists (where they often feel freer to express what they take to be the philosophical and theological implications of their work). His condescension is especially awkward in light of his own missteps in correctly characterizing the BGV Theorem. Carroll will pardon us, I hope, for our scepticism about his counting himself among the ranks of the open-minded.

This should be a great debate!

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