Dr. Ard Louis: Natural Science and Scientism: Probing the Difference

Date(s) - April 6, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Categories No Categories

Science is perhaps the most successful endeavour in which human beings have engaged. It is thus tempting for many to think that it should also answer the big existential questions (identity, morality, why we exist, the higher meaning of human life). Such explanatory hopes (rooted in the ideology of scientism) give impetus to modern versions of reductionistic/closed-world secularism. Scientism, the idea that only natural science brings us reliable knowledge, is less popular in the academy than it once was. This is partly because it hollows out and depreciates those important metabiological questions. Nevertheless, implicit versions of scientism remain surprisingly influential. What should be done to correct such perceptions? Realities beyond the realm of scientific study are pertinent to overall human flourishing. Professor Ard Louis will argue that neither science, nor any conceivable future advance in science, can answer such significant life questions. The scientific imagination contains appropriate built-in limits, and yet we want an articulate grasp of all domains of meaning available to us.


Ard Louis is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford, where he leads an interdisciplinary research group studying problems on the border between chemistry, physics and biology at the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics. He also writes and speaks widely on science and faith, for which in 2013 he was elected a member of the International Society for Science and Religion.  He recently made the 4-part documentary Why Are We Here with David Malone and  appeared in  The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, giving him an Erdős–Bacon number of 6. 


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