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The Big Bang and the interfaces of knowledge: towards a common understanding of Truth? (WP1316)


This conference proposed to continue a dialogue between science and religion by focusing on the nature and understanding of truth. This was a key theme identified during The Big Bang and the Interfaces of Knowledge: towards a common language?

In 2012 CERN and Wilton Park hosted the pioneering international conference ‘The Big Bang and the Interfaces of Knowledge: towards a common language?’ It gained global attention. This conference proposes to continue the dialogue following one of the key themes that emerged during the first meeting – the nature and the understanding of truth.

The 2012 conference report reads that “…Although it is possible to access a measure of common language this conference has shown that words like truth, proof and faith have divergent meanings in different disciplines. Nonetheless all participants seem to have a common passion for rationality and awe along with a sense that as a human family we need to address our common problems.”

The report also concluded that: “The interfaces of language are complex and subtle and theologians, philosophers and scientists all need to work hard to firstly understand what other disciplines are saying in their own terms”.

Therefore the purpose of this second conference was to widen the spectrum of scientists, theologians and philosophers involved and to deepen the dialogue towards a common understanding of truth.

Key action points from this meeting:

  • As part of its public diplomacy and academic endeavour CERN sought high level critical engagement with disciplines outside the parameters of normal scientific dialogue;
  • To pursue the dialogue on common language and make critical linkages between scientific discovery and a range of philosophical frameworks and religious narratives;
  • To wrestle with questions concerning the nature of “truth”, in order to begin to build common understanding;
  • To continue to encourage learning and exchange across the disciplines, embracing diversity of approach in an open, honest and respectful manner;
  • To keep the dialogue open in order to continue discussions and focus more on specific aspects of the relationship between science and religion;
  • To widen the group involved in this dialogue and broaden the perspectives offered

Further information

Conference: The Big Bang and the interfaces of knowledge

Does the ‘God Particle’ disprove God? (Cornel du Toit, University of South Africa)

Summary report

Discussion paper

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