Talk in Oregon

Just in case anyone is interested and can make it: I’m going to be speaking in the Summer Institute of the Jefferson Center for Religion and Philosophy in Ashland, Oregon, on August 5. They have an good lineup of speakers, including Matt Young, who should also be of interest to Secular Outpost readers.

The Jefferson Center is a liberal religious group, so it should be interesting. I’ll have as many questions to ask them as I’m sure they’ll want to ask me. One question I’d like to explore is the matter of religion, as opposed to just the supernatural. Although I’ve written an awful lot on supernatural claims, most of religious life is about other things, only indirectly involving the faithfuls’ relationship to supernatural realities. It should be interesting to have some conversations on why liberal religious people still feel a strong need for some sort of attenuated supernatural conviction (“the transcendent” or whatever). In a scientific context, it comes across as being evasive, but then again, they also seem very much concerned to protect religion from “scientism,” “reductionism,” or whatever.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • Hallq

    What will you be speaking on?

  • Taner Edis

    What I’ll be speaking on…

    Well, my title is “An Accidental World,” so I’ll do a good deal of talking about randomness and how it is ubiquitous in modern physics. I’ll tie that in with the question of achieving complexity from the bottom up, contrasting it with the hierarchical, top-down conception involved in supernaturalistic views of the world. In other words, I’ll try and sketch a view of the world in which supernatural/transcendent realities look very out of place.

    Then, since I’ll be talking to an audience that cares more about questions of meaning, morality etc. I’ll add some rank speculation on what all this means.

  • Jennifer

    I read your topic and I have no idea what it means. Oh well, I’m a history geek , not a science one. You look a little like Keanu Reeves in your photo there. That’s a compliment, by the way. My husband and I have both wondered why “liberal religion” exists. It seems like an oxymoron to me. If you don’t accept the supernaturalism inherent in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc., why have anything to do with it at all? Why dress up and go somewhere every Sunday to talk about what you don’t believe in? WHy read a book with talking snakes, dragons, walking on water and so forth if you think it’s made up? Inquiring minds want to know.