External Event: "Written in the Stars" with Prof. Jim Al-Khalili

PLEASE NOTE

1/ This is a NON-LAAG event (i.e event is not organised by this group, but by a third party PLEASE CHECK ALL DETAILS WITH THE THIRD PARTY BEFORE GOING AS THEY DO NOT ALWAYS LET US KNOW OF CHANGES.

2/ (LAAG is about promotion and celebration of 'Reason' as a whole (with atheism as the main, but not only topic). We list those external events that may be of interest to LAAGers, & to support the whole 'reason' community of organisations and groups but we cannot guarantee their content, though generally the organisations we list are known and trusted)

3/ LAAG does not necessarily endorse any opinions expressed.

4/ LAAG organisers may not be present, so if you want to meet others who have RSVP'd you will need to arrange to do so by yourselves - in the comments boxes, or by emailing each other.

ABOUT THIS EVENT

A free public lecture from physicist and BHA president Jim Al-Khalili hosted by the South West London Humanist Group at Kingston University. Serah flagged this up and I thought a few of us might want to go to this, albeit I know that Kingston is off the beaten track for some.

What does modern physics say about determinism and chance? Is our future preordained? Debate continues between neuroscientists and philosophers on the existence, or not, of free will; and many people around the world still believe their fate is somehow linked to the movements of the stars and the planets. In this lecture, distinguished physicist, author, broadcaster and "new, new atheist", Professor Jim Al-Khalili, takes us on a whistle-stop tour of Einsteinian relativity, quantum indeterminacy and asks, according to our current understanding of the nature of time, is the future knowable?

BOOK FREE HERE:

http://southwestlondonhumanists.eventbrite.co.uk

HOW TO FIND US:

The Penrhyn Road campus is within walking distance of central Kingston which is well served by rail and bus connections. Click link below for details. 

http://www.kingston.ac.uk/aboutkingstonuniversity/location/howtofindus/penrhynroad/

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  • Roger

    Two points: I was saying, why bother discussing Free Will with the religious, when even if you can make a good case against it I doubt it would change their faith: being unreasonably based in the first place it would need more than that to change it. so it might make sense to you but they could just dismiss the point. They're not being logical about holding their belief, why should your logic about just part of it make any difference?

    October 31, 2013

    • Roger

      My understanding of determinism (or predestination) is that to make totally accurate predictions about what is going to happen next you need to have a complete knowledge of the present. Quantum mechanics, to the extent that I understand it, says that (on the nano level) you can only know so much with certainty so to find out what happens next you can't predict with any certainty, you have to wait & see. This doesn't either prove or disprove the possibility of free will, but is, I guess, a kind of agnostic position (yes, I know that's a dirty word for some ;-).

      October 31, 2013

  • Serah

    Yeah Jason I was siting right at the back as I only got in a couple of minutes before the talk started, I saw you and Adrian sitting right in front I tried to do a little wave but neither of you looked my way and after the talk I got down could not see you no more so i just went home, never mind. On the matter of free wil atheists don't agree, there are many opinions and lot of misunderstanding. Jim's position I think is similar to Sam Harris 's position he seems to think free will is an illusion I can't wait for your talk I look forward to hearing your angle on this and other's comments and questions on it .
    If free is proved to an illusion I think that can do some damage to religion because the entire philosophy is based on free especially Christianity and islam, for example adam and eve eating the forbidden fruit out of free will and us choosing to go to hell for not believing

    October 30, 2013

    • Adrian

      Stephen: I think the point Al Khalili made is that according to Einstein's theory the future is predetermined and that's one reason free will is essentially an illusion. We only think we have free will then because we don't know what's coming next so we appear to make decisions but each decision was in fact inevitable. The net effect to humans is zero simply because we don't know the future.

      1 · October 31, 2013

    • Jason

      And quantum indeterminacy doesn't help because it just swaps einstein's one possible future for the existence of an infinity of possible futures without giving us any means of choosing between them. Nevertheless looking at things down at this level and saying this is real but higher order things like consciousness and Freewill are illusions I think is a mistake. We can describe these things in terms of their low level component parts but we will never explain them. There is simply not enough information storage and processing capacity in the universe. So to dismiss these things as not real would leave us powerless to explain the most basic facts about our world.

      1 · October 31, 2013

  • Serah

    shame Cloe missed out, I had three tickets but one of my friends cancelled so i had to return one ticket at the last minute if knew Cloe was ticketless I would have given it to her instead

    October 30, 2013

  • Serah

    It was a good lecture some of he physics bits was a bit hard for me to understand, the conclusion appears a little contradictory but made some sense to me, good question by Jason

    2 · October 28, 2013

    • Adrian

      Jasantics: (noun) forcing people to state exactly what they mean by the terms "illusion" and "really" in the context of determinative freewill.

      October 29, 2013

    • Georgi L.

      Oh if only we could have Jasantics then, brilliant! So from LAAG we now have Rox's law, and Jasantics. Maybe we will need a LAAG dictionary soon, or have LAAG additions to the English language in the next edition of the Collins dictionary ;-)

      October 29, 2013

  • Adrian

    Jim did a great presentation, as you'd expect. He's an engaging speaker and certainly knows his stuff. Glad I made the effort to go.

    October 29, 2013

  • Cloe

    Didn't realise you had to book, now it's sold out :(
    Oops!

    October 28, 2013

    • Adrian

      I started panicking lol

      October 28, 2013

    • Cloe

      Enjoy the stars!

      October 28, 2013

  • Adrian

    Just checking the details for this talk and I had registered a few weeks ago. I'm not sure that you'll get in if you haven't reserved through eventbrite using the link above in the event listing. It's sold out now of course, although it is free. So if you didn't reserve a spot then you might want to consider how inconvenient it would be if you can't get entry! It not being a LAAG event I have no influence...

    October 28, 2013

  • Priscilla R.

    Sounds amazing! Can't make it, curious to hear feedback!

    October 28, 2013

6 went

  • Jason
    ORGANISER. Tetris-tastic wordsmith
    Event Host
  • Adrian
    FOUNDER, Cat herding KingHell of Puns, Organizer
  • Stephen Y.
    Bright Sparky
  • Serah
    Premium LAAGer
  • A former member

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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