Skeptical Pluggery

By Sean Carroll | March 8, 2007 2:52 am

Readers who hang out in the Southwestern quadrant of the U.S. should be aware of the lecture series at Caltech sponsored by the Skeptic’s Society. Past speakers include such luminaries as Richard Dawkins and Lisa Randall; future highlights include a debate between Frank Tipler and Lawrence Krauss on “Can Physics Prove God and Christianity?” That should be, how shall we say, somewhat surreal.

This Sunday at 2:00 there is a lecture on The Physics of Pouty Teenagers Fighting Vampires, or something like that. Apparently there is even a book along those lines. I’m too high-minded to think about such things myself, but I’ll probably go to this lecture, because the speaker looks like a total babe.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science and Society, Words
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  • Amitabha

    A post on Internatinal Women’s day, on the decision to go to a talk, based on the speaker’s looks?!! Shame on you!

    (Isn’t it a dilemma when the speaker your fiancee … you can’t even pretend that you don’t care about her looks.)

  • http://www.sunnykalara.com/blog Sunny

    She is a “total babe” for sure! I heard she got hooked up with some strange guy who likes to calculate Fourier transform of ocean waves!
    PS: stay away from her laser beam cocktail and consider carrying some slaying weapons when you are in the same room.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/mark/ Mark

    Like you have a shot! She’d never go for a guy like you. Stay home nerd.

  • http://www.allysonbeatrice.com/blog Allyson

    I am so there!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean Sean

    Amitabha, if you read closely you will discern the searing critique of sexism couched in ironic language. And it’s funny! And she is a babe. Many levels of truth are explored in this deceptively concise post.

    Happy International Women’s Day!

  • Kevin Runnels

    Sean, you got lucky. What seems interesting to me is that Jennifer’s seminar seems to be about the “physics of” fictional things, like Buffy or what forces would really be at play if Lois Lane fell off a skyscaper and Superman flew up from the ground at 100mph to catch her, etc. Fun and interesting stuff and someone might learn something if they aren’t careful.

    But then, at the bottom of the “Caltech Lecture Series” is Dr. Frank Tipler, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane speaking about “The Physics of Christianity”? Dr. Tipler argues that the God depicted by Jews and Christians, the Uncaused First Cause, is completely consistent with the Cosmological Singularity, an entity whose existence is required by physical law. He makes the case for the scientific possibility of miracles, including the Virgin Birth (Jesus was a rare XX male), the Resurrection (a baryon-annihilation process converting flesh into neutrinos), and the Incarnation (reversing the dematerialization process). Tipler outlines practical experiments that can help prove the validity of the “miracles” at the heart of Christianity. !?! OK, I’m not a scientist, I just admire them, but “…help prove the validity”? I don’t think so. Why do actual scientists, who have a grasp of the scientific method, say things like that? Someone may learn something about science from some of the examples given, but cloaking it as “helping to prove the validity” is the kind of thing that makes non-scientists confused about what science is and what it can or can’t do.

  • http://www.jyotirmoy.net Jyotirmoy

    Before reading Kevin’s comment on Dr. Tipler’s views, I always took the claim of the H in Jesus H. Christ standing for ‘haploid‘ as an old geneticist’s tale.

  • http://www.huperborea.blogspot.com/ Robert O’Brien

    Cool. I may have to head up to Pasadena for the Tipler-Krauss debate.

  • Kevin Runnels

    Chinmaya, my comment #6 wasn’t mean to be anti-religous. I was just trying to point out that the technological explanations that were cited in the write-up of the Tipler/Krauss spectacle don’t “help prove the validity” of anything. That seminar seems very similar to Jennifer’s, except she doesn’t suggest that the science/technology she explains in the “Buffyverse” “proves the validity” that Vampires and Vampire Slayers must exist.

    I think you can be religious and still be someone’s friend around here :)

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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