One world

In preparation for tommorow’s talk on science and religion, I went looking for notes I took at the One-World Conference, a conference on Art, Religion and Science at University College Cork last summer. I wasn’t expecting that much at the time, I really only went along because John Polkinghorne, a well-known particle physicist and theologian who had known my father, was giving a talk on science and religion.

In the event, Polkinghore gave a cracking talk on particle physics, clear and precise. I no longer remember the details (one reason for this blog), but I remember that although I didn’t agree with his conclusions on the implications for religion, it was a very enjoyable talk. We had arranged to meet for coffee afterwards and I thoroughly enjoyed his memories of meeting Lochlainn at conferences…

The philosopher Jim Mackey of Edinburgh University was also at the conference. He too gave a great talk, in his typical blunt style, on the misrepresentation of scripture in art. (I remembered Jim from before, with good reason – once while I was attempting to give a seminar on the philosophy of quantum theory, Jim asked all sorts of difficult questions on the Hesienberg Uncertainty Principle!). There were a couple of other good talks afterwards, but I don’t remember the rest…

At the end of the conference, I gave Jim a lift home – nothing like a 2-hour car journey with a distinguished philosopher! All in all, ‘One-World’ was a very pleasant experience as my first theology conference…hope next week’s SopiaEuropa conference at WIT is of similar standard


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2 responses to “One world

  1. 007.james.blonde

    Question. Not madly related to the topics discussed in your articles I know, but here goes! as you have said the horizon problem is a big fjord that must be crossed in the Big Bang model, if the CMB radiation was red shifted to microwave wavelengths, would the wavelength of the light traveling to us from distant galaxies be red-shifted also?? If so, are we seeing light that left the galaxies as EM radiation, possibly gamma for distant enough galaxies, as light in the visible section???? Does this have any implications for us, because presumably the gamma (or other high frequency waves) would not lose their energy, albeit their frequency would be shifted?

  2. cormac

    Hi James, I think there are two seperate effects:
    (i)the redshift of light from distant galaxies, which is simply due to their motion relative to us (of course it’s really space that’s expanding, but we see it as the stars moving relative to us)
    (ii) The cosmic microwave background: this is a snapshot of the early universe – it is the light released when the universe cooled enough for atoms to form, reducing the scattering of radiation. It represents a single moment in time , but the light has then been stretched by the subsequent expansion of the universe

    …so two different effects with the same cause!