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Physics Colloquium - Friday, April 10th, 2009, 4:00 P.M.


E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200


Paul M. Wallace
Candler School of Theology
Emory University

Positive Science, Negative Theology

The dialogue between science and faith has been long and sometimes acrimo- nious. Many ideas have been suggested for the proper relationship between these two fields of human inquiry. Some believe science and religion are fundamentally at odds (e.g., Richard Dawkins, religious fundamentalists), while some insist they address independent questions and are incapable of conflict (e.g., Stephen Jay Gould). Many, if not most, philosophers, scientists, and religious scholars fall between these two extremes, believing that science and religion have good things to share with one another. This talk comes from such a position and suggests that the so-called Via Negativa, or Negative Way, is very well suited to think- ing theologically about science and the natural world. Negative, or apophatic, theology is manifested in some form in every ma jor world religion and provides a clear complement to the positive nature of scientific inquiry.