Saturday, July 19, 2008

Berlinski: Creation of everything out of nothing - a clinical level of self-delusion?

In The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, agnostic mathematician David Berlinski offers, with regard to the idea that everything came into being from nothing (creation ex nihilo), without any God:
Oxford's Peter Atkins has attempted to address this issue. "If we are to be honest," he argues, "then we have to accept that science will be able to claim complete success only if it achieves what many might think impossible: accounting for the emergence of everything from absolutely nothing." Atkins does not seem to recognize that when the human mind encounters the thesis that something has emerged from nothing, it is not encountering a question to which any coherent answer exists. His confidence that a scientific answer must nonetheless be forthcoming needs to be assessed in other terms, possibly those involving clinical self-delusion." (p. 95-96)
I'm not worried about self-delusion as much as the mumbo-jumbo that may ensue.