Relativity

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    Griffin, David Ray

     (311K)

    Hartshorne, God, and Relativity Physics

    "The idea that the special theory of relativity creates problems for temporalistic theisms, such as that of Whitehead and especially Hartshorne arises from a combination of a fact and an assumption. The fact is that this theory does not provide the basis for a cosmic 'now.' The assumption is that this theory has ontological implications for the truth about time. Combining the fact and the assumption creates the idea that special relativity physics rules out the possibility of a cosmic 'now.' And that idea, if true, would seem to rule out the possible truth of temporalistic theisms in which God and the world interact. But we need not assume that special relativity physics has ontological implications for the nature of time."
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    Jaki, Stanley L.

     (165K)

    The Absolute Beneath the Relative

    "Einstein's work on relativity was not yet completed when it began to be taken for the scientific proof of the view that everything is relative. Such a view, widely entertained on the popular as well as on the academic level, is now a climate of thought. A stunning proof of this is a full-page advertisement in the September 24, 1979, issue of Time magazine. It proclaims, under the picture of Einstein, in bold-face letters the message: EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE. The basic rule in advertising, it is well to recall, is a reliance on commonly accepted beliefs, on generally shared cravings hopes, and fears, or, in short, on the prevailing climate of thought. The claim that something absolute may be lurking beneath relativity theory, may therefore be surprising, though not original at all. That Einstein's Relativity Theory implies elements and considerations that are absolutist in character was voiced by Planck as early as 1924 in an address 'From the Relative to the Absolute,' which quickly acquired world-wide publicity."
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    Kallfelz, William

     (276K)

    Relativity, Quantum Theory, and Theology

    "The purpose of this presentation is to give a concise description of some of the unique and essential aspects of the theories of Relativity and Quantum physics which suggest, in the author’s opinion, compelling engagements with some issues in present-day philosophy and theology. The concepts presented are summarized in a ‘top-down’ fashion. Appendices are included giving the more technical details deriving such concepts ‘from the bottom-up,’ for the interested reader."
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    Pilbrow, John R.

     (224K)

    The Impact of Einstein’s Relativity on Christian Thought

    "The purpose of this presentation is to expose the extent to which a representative collection of Christian writers – theologians, scientists and scientist/theologians [of which there a good many these days] - have incorporated Einstein’s relativity into their thinking...In 1990, Peacocke wrote 'relativity theory, in its special and general forms, and, even more iconoclastically, quantum theory, together caused a complete revolution in human understanding of the physical world, the consequences of which are still to be absorbed into philosophy – and hardly yet into theology'...The presentation will focus on to what extent the situation described by Peacocke has changed, if at all in the meantime, and in what ways. My tentative conclusion is that relativity has impacted on the whole indirectly rather than directly."