Sunday, January 9, 2011

2010: Scientists on God: Wit vs. insight

Cleaning out last year’s files, I note where a friend directs me to Herman Wouk on Richard Feynman, here. Friend comments,
Feynman was brilliant, no question, but his quote regarding the "size of the stage" seems illogical, and his remark that calculus is the language of God appears to be simultaneously faux-profound and very likely insincere.
There’s a lot of that about these days. Smart people can sound profound when they’re talking rot, and Feynman seems to have had moments like that:
THE physicist Richard Feynman said, "It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvellous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama."
. Also,
This formidable fellow walked out of the building with me, and said as we were parting: "Do you know calculus?" I admitted that I didn't. "You had better learn it," he said. "It's the language God talks."
Well, as for Feynman’s stage, we’d better see how much is backdrop and how much is Central Casting before we decide.

While we are here, genome mapper Francis Collins insists that the genome, not calculus, is The Language of God. Who’s right? They both are. God is the author of language and speaks all of them, as needed.