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Physicist Wins Spirituality Prize


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#1 Sasun

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 10:33 AM

Physicist Wins Spirituality Prize

http://story.news.ya...iritualityprize

By Larry B. Stammer Times Staff Writer

Charles Townes, the UC Berkeley professor who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics for his work in quantum electronics and then startled the scientific world by suggesting that religion and science were converging, was awarded the $1.5-million Templeton Prize on Wednesday for progress in spiritual knowledge.

The prize, the proceeds of which Townes said he planned to largely donate to academic and religious institutions, recognized his groundbreaking and controversial leadership in the mid-1960s in bridging science and religion.

The co-inventor of the laser, Townes, 89, said no greater question faced humankind than discovering the purpose and meaning of life and why there was something rather than nothing in the cosmos.

"If you look at what religion is all about, it's trying to understand the purpose and meaning of our universe," he said in a telephone interview from New York this week. "Science tries to understand function and structures. If there is any meaning, structure will have a lot to do with any meaning. In the long run they must come together."


Townes said that it was "extremely unlikely" that the laws of physics that led to life on Earth were accidental.


Some scientists, he conceded, had suggested that if there were an almost infinite number of universes, each with different laws, one of them was bound by chance to hit upon the right combination to support life.


"I think one has to consider that seriously," Townes told The Times. But he said such an assumption could not currently be tested. Even if there were a multitude of universes, he said, we do not know why the laws of physics would vary from one universe to another.


Townes said science was increasingly discovering how special our universe was, raising questions as to whether it was planned. To raise such a question is the work of scientists and theologians alike, said Townes, who grew up in a Baptist household that embraced "an open-minded approach" to biblical interpretation. He is a member of the First Congregational Church in Berkeley and prays twice daily.

In 1964, while a professor at Columbia University, Townes delivered a talk at Riverside Church in New York that became the basis for an article, "The Convergence of Science and Religion," which put him at odds with some scientists.


In the article, Townes said science and religion should find common ground, noting "their differences are largely superficial, and the two become almost indistinguishable if we look at the real nature of each." When MIT published the article, a prominent alumnus threatened to break ties with the institution.

In a 1996 interview with The Times, Townes said that new findings in astronomy had opened people's minds to religion. Before the 1960s, the Big Bang was just an idea that was hotly debated. Today, there is so much evidence supporting the theory that most cosmologists take it for granted.


"The fact that the universe had a beginning is a very striking thing," Townes said. "How do you explain that unique event" without God?


Townes this week spoke of his interest in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The sheer number of stars and planets, he said, would likely increase the probability of intelligent life elsewhere. But for life to get started on even one planet is "highly improbable. It might not have started more than two or three times," he said. "It would be fascinating to find somebody out there."


Born in Greenville, S.C., in 1915, Townes received a bachelor's degree in physics, summa cum laude, from Furman University in Greenville when he was 19. Two years later he received a master's in physics from Duke University, and in 1939 a doctorate in physics from Caltech with a thesis on isotope separation and nuclear spins.


During World War II he helped develop radar systems that functioned in the humid conditions of the South Pacific.


His research led to the development of the maser in 1954, which amplifies electromagnetic waves, and later co-invented the laser. His work, for which he shared the 1964 Nobel in physics, led to a wide variety of inventions and discoveries in medicine, telecommunications, electronics, computers and other areas.


He was named provost and professor of physics at MIT in 1961, director of the Enrico Fermi International School of Physics in 1963, and, in 1967, professor of physics at UC Berkeley, a post he held until 1986.


The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities was established in 1972 by Sir John Templeton, a global investor and philanthropist. Past winners include Mother Teresa; evangelist Billy Graham; Holmes Rolston III, a philosopher, clergyman and scientist whose explorations of biology and faith have helped foster religious interest in the environment; and John C. Polkinghorne, a British mathematical physicist and Anglican priest.

The Duke of Edinburgh is to present the prize to Townes in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace in April.

Edited by Sasun, 10 March 2005 - 10:38 AM.


#2 Sasun

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 10:36 AM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Mar 10 2005, 11:33 AM)
When MIT published the article, a prominent alumnus threatened to break ties with the institution. [/b]

This is a typcial symptom of materialistic indoctrination - an intellectual ailment many suffer at this age. Perhaps our "scientific" forumers would like to take a lesson.

#3 Azat

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 10:46 AM

whatever

#4 Stormig

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 12:26 PM

I am so impressed someone with a loaded CV can get an award from the Duke of Edinburgh for saying religion and science converge, uttering "extremely unlikely," raising questions, and introducing a coefficient of speciality, whatever in tarnation that is.

#5 Sip

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 12:49 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Mar 10 2005, 10:33 AM)
In the article, Townes said science and religion should find common ground, noting "their differences are largely superficial, and the two become almost indistinguishable if we look at the real nature of each." When MIT published the article, a prominent alumnus threatened to break ties with the institution.


Even if that was taken out of context, Townes should be above saying stupid things like that! Heck even I can tell him the difference when you look at the real nature of each ... and I usually can't tell much to begin with biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Sasun @ Mar 10 2005, 10:33 AM)
Townes said science was increasingly discovering how special our universe was, raising questions as to whether it was planned. To raise such a question is the work of scientists and theologians alike, said Townes, who grew up in a Baptist household that embraced "an open-minded approach" to biblical interpretation. He is a member of the First Congregational Church in Berkeley and prays twice daily.


Prays twice daily? To what? and why? Sounds to me he is praying to the Christian God which is rather arbitrary given how many Gods people have come up with so far. Why that particular one? Could it be maybe that he is BIASED? huh.gif


but this was good!

QUOTE (Sasun @ Mar 10 2005, 10:33 AM)
Some scientists, he conceded, had suggested that if there were an almost infinite number of universes, each with different laws, one of them was bound by chance to hit upon the right combination to support life.


I guess he has been talking to Domino lol.gif

Edited by Sip, 10 March 2005 - 12:53 PM.


#6 DominO

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 12:50 PM

QUOTE (Stormig @ Mar 10 2005, 01:26 PM)
I am so impressed someone with a loaded CV can get an award from the Duke of Edinburgh for saying religion and science converge, uttering "extremely unlikely," raising questions, and introducing a coefficient of speciality, whatever in tarnation that is.


I am as surprised as you Stormy, more so when he claims the multiple universe can not be tested, but suggest another thing that can be tested even less.

Another matter, this physicist seems to consider "religion" as Einstein considered it rather than how we generaly define religion.

#7 Sasun

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 12:50 PM

What is encouraging is that not all of academia is indoctrinated and is willing to think outside of the box.

#8 DominO

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 12:58 PM

Academia does not equal science.

People should not take what I say as I reject everything not supported by science, I do support such organizations: http://www.scientificexploration.org/ And will maybe someday even publish there. biggrin.gif

People sound to not understand that Multiple Universe can be more weird and as well A LOT more magical than a god.

I propose multiple gods, I propose everyone can be gods of their own universes, that we will one day creat our own universes with Quantum computers and will be gods.

One day, we will have such a personal computer in which we will design multiverses, and watch their progression. On day, we will transport our consciousness in a medium with the same connections as the brain in another universe. One day, we will reach billions of light years stars without the constraint of time.

One God is very limitative, and is as or even more reductionist as materialism.

#9 Arvestaked

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 01:57 PM

Blah blah blah.

I strongly disagree with Townes.

I have no lesson to learn from an MIT alumnus.

Irreligion is not indoctrination.

This entire thread is ridiculous.

#10 Sip

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:10 PM

I don't think the thread is rediculous ... spiritual people gave him a spiritual award for being spiritual. Now if they gave him a scienfic award for being spiritual or a spiritual award for being scientific, then I would call shenanigans. But as it is, there is still order in the universe.

But at least he was smart enough to get a scientific Nobel prize, then start babbling about spirituality biggrin.gif

Edited by Sip, 10 March 2005 - 03:12 PM.


#11 Arvestaked

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:17 PM

The thread is not ridiculous because of the award; it is ridiculous because of its essence as a thread.

#12 armjan

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:44 PM

QUOTE (Sip @ Mar 10 2005, 03:10 PM)
I don't think the thread is rediculous ... spiritual people gave him a spiritual award for being spiritual. Now if they gave him a scienfic award for being spiritual or a spiritual award for being scientific, then I would call shenanigans.  But as it is, there is still order in the universe.

But at least he was smart enough to get a scientific Nobel prize, then start babbling about spirituality biggrin.gif

it is getting increasingly hard to distinguish between the 2 birds.

#13 Sasun

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:49 PM

QUOTE (Sip @ Mar 10 2005, 01:49 PM)
Even if that was taken out of context, Townes should be above saying stupid things like that!  Heck even I can tell him the difference when you look at the real nature of each ... and I usually can't tell much to begin with biggrin.gif

Of course, you know so much about religion that you could say that smile.gif The keyword is "the essence", what you know is not even the surface, yet you call something that you don't really understand stupid wink.gif

#14 Sasun

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:50 PM

QUOTE (Arvestaked @ Mar 10 2005, 04:17 PM)
The thread is not ridiculous because of the award; it is ridiculous because of its essence as a thread.

Everyone is entitled to have an opinion about everything, and often it could be worthless.

#15 armjan

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:52 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Mar 10 2005, 03:49 PM)
Of course, you know so much about religion that you could say that smile.gif The keyword is "the essence", what you know is not even the surface, yet you call something that you don't really understand stupid wink.gif

sasun jan,
don't bother, it's no use. he puts the hat that looks one way, so will regard the other as stupid.
yet after reading the comment, it's quite clear where the inconsistency is.

#16 Arvestaked

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Mar 10 2005, 01:49 PM)
Of course, you know so much about religion that you could say that smile.gif The keyword is "the essence", what you know is not even the surface, yet you call something that you don't really understand stupid wink.gif



There is nothing to understand. It is stupid.

#17 Sasun

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE (Arvestaked @ Mar 10 2005, 04:59 PM)
There is nothing to understand. It is stupid.

Oh, OK, if you say so.

#18 Arvestaked

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 04:49 PM

I am glad you finally understand.

#19 Sip

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 05:53 PM

QUOTE (armjan @ Mar 10 2005, 03:44 PM)
it is getting increasingly hard to distinguish between the 2 birds.


Just wait till I start using words like evidences, limitative, and reductionist. But with the other bird being who he is, I take that as a compliment.

#20 DominO

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:20 PM

QUOTE (Sip @ Mar 10 2005, 06:53 PM)
Just wait till I start using words like evidences, limitative, and reductionist. But with the other bird being who he is, I take that as a compliment.


WE even think alike.

biggrin.gif




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