Another great 42-minute lecture by Dr. Neil Shenvi.
As it says on the main page, my name is Neil Shenvi; I am currently a research scientist with Prof. Weitao Yang at Duke University in the Department of Chemistry. I was born in Santa Cruz, California, but grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. I attended Princeton University as an undergraduate where I worked on high-dimensional function approximation with Professor Herschel Rabitz. I became a Christian in Berkeley, CA where I did my PhD in Theoretical Chemistry at UC – Berkeley with Professor Birgitta Whaley. The subject of my PhD dissertation was quantum computation, including topics in quantum random walks, cavity quantum electrodynamics, spin physics, and the N-representability problem. From 2005-2010, I worked as a postdoctoral associate with Prof. John Tully at Yale where I did research into nonadiabatic dynamics, electron transfer, and surface science.
Outline slide: (Download the Powerpoint slides here)
- Science is often considered to be in opposition to religion, because it answers all the questions that religion asks
- Thesis: 1) Science and religion are compatible, 2) Science provides us with good reasons to believe that God exists
- Definition: what is science?
- Definition: what is the scientific method?
- Definition: what is religion?
- Where is the conflict between science and religion, according to atheists?
- Conflict 1: Definitional – faith is belief without evidence
- But the Bible doesn’t define faith as “belief without evidence”
- Conflict 2: Metaphysical – science presuppose naturalism (nature is all that exists)
- First, naturalism is a philosophical assumption, not something that is scientifically tested or proved
- Second, methodological naturalism in science doesn’t require us to believe in metaphysical naturalism
- Conflict 3: Epistemological – science is the only way to know truth (scientism)
- But scientism cannot itself be discovered by science – the statement is self-refuting
- Conflict 4: Evolutionary – evolution explains the origin of life, so no need for God
- Theists accept that organisms change over time, and that there is limited common descent
- But the conflict is really over the mechanism that supposedly drives evolutionary change
- There are philosophical and evidential reasons to doubt the effectiveness of mutation and selection
- Evidence for God 1: the applicability of mathematics to the natural world, and our ability to study the natural world
- Evidence for God 2: the origin of the universe
- Evidence for God 3: the fine-tuning of the initial constants and quantities
- Evidence for God 4: the implications of quantum mechanics
- Evidence for God 5: the grounding of the philosophical foundations of the scientific enterprise
- Hiddenness of God: why isn’t the evidence of God from science more abundant and more clear?
- Science is not the only means for getting at truth
- Science is not the best way to reach all the different kinds of people
- There is an even deeper problem that causes people to not accept Christianity than lack of evidence
- The deeper problem is the emotional problem: we want to reject God’s claim on our lives
He concludes with an explanation of the gospel, which is kinda cool, coming from an academic scientist.
I am a big admirer of Dr. Neil Shenvi. I wish we could clone him and have dozens, or even hundreds, like him (with different scientific specializations, of course!). I hope you guys are doing everything you can to lead and support our young people, and encouraging them to set their sights high and aim for the stars.
- Neil Shenvi lectures on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus
- Neil Shenvi gives an overview of quantum mechanics
- Neil Shenvi lectures on the meaning and purpose of life, the universe and everything
- Neil Shenvi offers responses to popular pro-choice arguments
- Neil Shenvi: do objective moral values really exist? Is moral relativism true?