As many of you know, philosopher Alvin Plantinga will be on campus next week. This week we will watch a video of Plantinga's Veritas Forum lecture given earlier this year in California, in which he addresses the claim that science implies secularism. Come out to get a taste of this renowned scholar before seeing him in person next week. Open to any and all students. Lecture at 5. Pizza and discussion at 6.
ABSTRACT: I'll consider the claim on the part of several theologians, philosophers and scientists that modern science shows or suggests that God never acts specially in the world , i.e., never acts beyond creation and conservation. (Miracles would be an example of special divine action.) I'll argue that there is no conflict between special divine action and classical science, i.e. Newtonian science. What is needed to get conflict there is the causal closure of the physical universe; but that's not part of classical science.
Scientific theories must do more than merely satisfy the data; they must do so in a way that is (to use a term much favored by mathematicians) "elegant." Kepler, Maxwell, and Einstein are examples of scientists who found that a sense of esthetic "rightness" helped them to direct their scientific intuition toward theories that could then be expressed rationally, mathematically; theories that could then be tested against nature.
Randy Bryant has been a computer science professor for 27 years: 3 years at Caltech and 24 at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to that he went to University of Michigan in applied math for undergraduate and MIT for graduate school. He has been Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon since 2004.
Although Randy has never been connected to Cornell, he has four family members who have: two grandparents, his mother, and his daughter, Claire, who is currently a senior in sociology.
Science is always shaped by what is happening in the broader society that supports it, and the science of the 17th century was no different. Dr. Consolmagno examines how Galileo's work challenged the science of the day, how it was shaped by the personal ambitions of the main players in the field of natural philosophy at that time, and how Galileo's standing rose and fell during the Thirty Years War.
Health care costs have become an increasingly difficult issue for many in light of the global economic downturn, yet the decisions we make speak loudly about our value system. Medical costs are largest at the fringe of a utilitarian society, the very young, old and sick, which applies tremendous pressure to adjust our values to reduce their significance. Balanced with this is the fact that many of the next generation medical strategies have the potential to extend life and its quality through the manipulation and engineering of living matter far more than any pharmacist has.