no God behind the Big Bang? And you call that news?

All over the place a lot of stuff about Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow book, due for september 7th.

No news here, I mean no Gods around the Big Bang’s horizon. Some people will be pissed off. Many will not.

One of the early critics of Hawking/Mlodinow, George Ellis, Templeton Prize recipient and president of the International Society for Science and Religion. From the Times piece as reported By Jerry Coyne:

“My biggest problem with this is that it’s presenting the public with a choice: science or religion. A lot of people will say, ‘OK, I choose religion, then’ and it is science that will lose out,” he said.

I think that science will be a winner if people making the kind of choices Ellis fears leave science for religion. That’s the very same kind of attitude that make people chose faith-healing or alternative medicine, so, I wonder if there would be even any substantial loss really.

Richard Dawkins, Ruth Gledhill and Hannah Devlin chated about the issue and you will find the chat here.

Gledhill’ first comment starts with:

Tim, I just interviewed David Wilkinson, principal of St John’s Durham and astrophysicist, and this is what he said (full interview at my Times blog Articles of Faith)…

Is this David Wilkinson holder of the Humility Theology Prize given by the John Templeton Foundation, St John’s College Fellow in Christian Apologetics? Just wandering, the Templeton Foundation is losing ground here I they must do something to keep their business going.

Gledhill didn’t do well in this chat and I’ll not pay anything to read her blog. In mid-discussion she seems t regret her participation (15:25):

Oh dear. I wondered if doing this debate might be a mistake.

Hannah Devlin ask two final question at Gledhill and Dawkins. Questions and answers are interesting:

Ruth, does the possibility that religious belief has a biological basis make any difference?

Hannah, I have long believed that this might ultimately be ‘proven’ as Richard suggests and that religion might be a phenomenon because it confers some evolutionary advantage. Frazer in his Golden Bough and William James in his Varieties both seem to suggest as much. But that does not stop me believing. I guess I just want to evolve.

So, if it’s proven that cancers are some evolutionary burden Gledhill will just want to evolve. I wish her better.

Richard, why do you think there are a lot of scientists out there who argue that science and religion are compatible? Would you put it down to human weakness?

If you look a the Felllows of the Royal Society, or the American equivalent, the National Academy, the number of theists is tiny. You keep hearing the same small number of names: Collins, Polkinghorne …

Now come on! There are a little bit more than two of them. And you can be sure that The Big Questions will be asked to such a sample of scientists as to make them seem to be a majority. Ask Gary Rosen ;-)

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  1. #1 par Irène le septembre 2, 2010 - 8:17  

    Well, it may be "news" to spell it out in mainstream American media, at least… ^^

  2. #2 par Oldcola le septembre 2, 2010 - 8:51  

    I’ll stick with methylsulfonylmethane :-P

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