Renowned Physicist Freeman Dyson to Discuss Global Warming Debate at Furman


GREENVILLE, S.C. — Physicist and futurist Freeman Dyson will examine another side of the global warming debate in a lecture at Furman University Tuesday, March 31, as part of the school’s Year of the Sciences observance.

Dyson will speak on “The Environment: Is It Science, Or Is It Religion?” at 7 p.m. in Shaw Hall of the Younts Conference Center. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Charles H. Townes Lecture Series in Faith and Reason.

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society of London, Dyson started his career as a civilian scientist with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command during World War II in his native England.

Now age 85, he has worked in areas from quantum electrodynamics to space travel and spent much of his life teaching at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Dyson is the author of numerous books, including A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe, published in 2007.

He received the Templeton Prize in 2000 for his contributions to the understanding of religion, and he advocates that science and religion are two windows on the same universe, each worthy of exploration.

Dyson believes that global warming exists, but he finds that models simulating climate change contain numerous errors. He argues that environmentalism has become a secular religion with its own set of ethics, and he has spoken out against the shunning of scientists whose views are outside the mainstream on global warming.

Those who believe that nuclear weapons, for example, are a greater threat to the planet than global warming deserve to be heard, Dyson has written. He also argues that money attempting to combat climate change might be better spent in a war on global poverty and infectious diseases.

Furman’s Charles H. Townes Lecture Series in Faith and Reason is named for the Greenville native and Furman graduate and trustee who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964 for his work on the maser and laser. Townes won the Templeton Prize in 2005, and like Dyson, he long has sought common ground between science and religion.

The Year of the Sciences is being observed during the 2008-09 academic year at Furman. International scholars, Furman alumni and undergraduates conducting research are speaking during numerous events on campus.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations Office at 864-294-3107.

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