Atheism Advocate Lectures on ‘The Folly of Faith’ - Humboldt State Now

Atheism Advocate Lectures on ‘The Folly of Faith’

Atheist, author and physicist Victor Stenger will discuss his new book, “God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion,” when he delivers the keynote address at Humboldt State University’s Spring 2012 Philosophy Forum on Friday, Apr. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building, room 166.

Stenger, a specialist in particle physics, is emeritus professor of physics at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He contends that careful observation and scrutiny— science—is humanity’s only reliable source of knowledge, while faith and religion spawn intolerance, holy wars and fanaticism.

In his new book, Stenger analyzes related issues: whether or not the universe had a beginning, what quantum mechanics implies about the involvement of human consciousness in affecting reality and whether evidence can be found in nature for a divine plan.

Critics have praised “God and the Folly of Faith” as a “powerhouse against superstition.” Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer calls it Stenger’s best work to date, “clearly placing him in the new atheist pantheon alongside Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.”

Author Guy Harrison, who wrote “50 Popular Beliefs People Think are True,” touts Stenger’s volume as “a brilliant grand tour with stops at all the key points where religion and science collide.”

This year’s Philosophy Forum, titled “Science & Spirituality: Falling Awake to Diversity,” continues Saturday, Apr. 21, at 9 a.m. in the same BSS location, room 166. A catered lunch will be served at noon, followed by more presentations until 3 p.m., when an open forum is scheduled. The forum moderator and co-organizer is Nick Frank.

Saturday’s speakers are Susan Armstrong, HSU Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Episcopal priest, who will discuss science and theology; Scott Sattler, MD and a student of Universal Sufism, whose topic is “Mysticism: The Search for Truth beyond Reason;” HSU Professor of Philosophy Mary Bockover, who will assay “Confucian Ritual as Body Language of Self, Society and Spirit;” and HSU Associate Professor of Philosophy Benjamin Shaeffer, who will ask, “Is Atheism a Matter of Faith?”