Just for the record, Hawking was an atheist

Read about it on CNN (click on the screenshot):

Although famous scientists like Hawking and Einstein have no more or less insight into the divine than anyone else, people look to their words for support of their religion. After all, if really smart people believe in God, then maybe He exists. And both physicists wrote stuff that, taken out of context, might sort of wink-wink be interpreted as a kind-of deism.

Well, we now realize that Einstein was a nonbeliever, and now Hawking (who wrote ambiguous sentences about God earlier in his career), has made it perfectly clear: he was a diehard atheist.

A quote:

“There is no God. No one directs the universe,” he writes in “Brief Answers to the Big Questions.”
“For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God,” he adds. “I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.”

65 Comments

  1. Simon Hayward
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    “Other bombshells the British scientist left his readers with….” given what he’d already said and the general assumption that he was atheist, CNN seems to be reaching really far with the bombshell designation.

  2. Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Not surprising. To the religious folk, if a hundred geniuses say there is no God, it means nothing, whereas if one genius says there is a God, it is proof to them that God exists.

    • David Heddle
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi,
      I am a scientist and a Christian. While I have heard Christians take comfort in famous believing scientists–(much like atheists do with famous atheist scientists)–I have never once heard a Christian argue what you claim. Never once have I heard a Christian say: “X believes in God. X is a genius. Therefore God exists.”

      Citation needed. Not just one example (if you can even find that) because you claim it is proof for *them* (“Religious ‘folk'”) that God exists.

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Why do you think religious people are so concerned with Einstein’s supposed reigious belief. It is an implicit argument that explains the interest in this belief, as well as in the widespread rumor among the faithful that Darwin recanted on his deathbed. That Darwin rumor is all the citation I need.

        And while we’re at it, what, exactly, is the evidence that convinces you that the Christian god exists, and why you believe his son was divine? Citations needed–and more than just the Bible.

        • David Heddle
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          It is absolutely true that some believers make an enormously misguided (and mistaken) effort to claim death-bed-Darwin and Einstein (and the founding fathers of our country) in the fold. I am not disputing that. I am disputing the claim of commenter darwinwins that they offer this as proof that God exists. That I have not seen. I’ve only seen it used as a talking point.

          “what, exactly, is the evidence that convinces you that the Christian god exists,”

          To first order, nothing. (It is called faith for a reason.) I have always said that my strong belief in God is either confirmation of my Calvinism or proof that I’m nuts. It is not based on rational thought–otherwise I’d write down the proof and be the greatest evangelist of all time. As far as I can tell I simply changed from unbeliever to believer overnight. No epiphany, no experience–just changed.

          What does the most to strengthen my faith (as opposed to providing direct evidence for God) is, perhaps surprisingly perhaps not, the same thing that strengthens the unbelief of many unbelievers: the beauty of the universe as revealed by science.

          • Blue
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            However, … … in re “the beauty of the universe as revealed by science,” Dr Heddle, does you in. Quite in.

            There is no beauty revealed by science … … except except except .that. done by
            evidence. except .that. done by fact.

            So faith for gods’ believers has squat to do with
            strengthening A Thing … … except .that.
            which is no – evidence and no – fact.

            And, thus, NO – science !

            Blue

            • David Heddle
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

              Blue,

              (Please just call me heddle–I’m one of those people that goes by his family name online)

              I don’t follow your argument. I fail to see how it refutes this:

              The more I learn about science (especially the blockbuster stuff), the stronger my faith seems to get.

              If I had to speculate why, I would say my irrational faith in God includes a belief that a) he created a rational universe and b) he imbued us with the ability to explore it and to (with hard work) understand it at (at least what appears to be) a fundamental level. As I answered our host, I don’t have direct evidence for God, but the best prima facie evidence (for me) is what is is often called the “unreasonable success of math and physics.”

              That is simply the way it is. I think the most you can claim is that you don’t think it should work to strengthen my faith. But I don’t see how I am “done in.”

          • Posted October 20, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            David, I for one am appreciative of your honesty in admitting you have no evidence, Faith only, that the Christian God (specifically) exists. And that it’s either confirmation bias (of your Calvinism) or you think yourself irrational and “nuts” was It?
            As a former christian of a different doctrinal stance than Calvinism, I would probably say that both would demonstrate the same. (Sorry, just joking. Couldn’t resist poking at a Christian determinist)
            -mike

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I think that what is being discussed here is a sense of reassurance that it is a hair more likely that God exists, or simply a reassurance that atheism is not glaringly self-evident.

        However, smart people believing in God is not evidence that your conception of God exists.

        • AC Harper
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 3:25 am | Permalink

          Confirmation bolstering the Confirmation Bias…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        One frequently hears that because Newton (or some other scientist) was religious, it follows that religion and science must be compatible.

        This despite how science has disproved many religious claims (for example, by showing that all human DNA cannot be traced back to a single breeding couple).

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:31 am | Permalink

          Yes, “monogenism” in the theological sense is a major problem for Christianity and science.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        You David Heddle, the Calvinist [you don’t like the term so let’s use Augustinian], nuclear physicist have been semi-trolling sites for a decade or so by expecting absolutely iron clad statements from others while yourself asserting all sorts of wacky stuff that you can’t back up! This is a trick of the ‘faith head’ to tip the playing field to run the ball in their favoured direction.

        Recently a scientific evolutionary paper was re-spun by the creationist wing as proof of purposeful, directed design in the natural world & not a peep out of the moderate Christians. Not a word – because truth is trumped by the need to prop up a failing belief system that can’t fill the pews in their rotting churches.

        Everywhere one looks across the spectrum of religious sites [all religions] one sees the deliberate misquotation of scientists & the uncritical re-sharing of such nonsense. This is not the behaviour of an honest agency in action, but as per my previous paragraph it’s – because truth is trumped by the need to prop up a failing belief system that can’t fill the pews in their rotting churches.

        Below is a demonstration of how it is done [note incidentally the cloth eared, insensitive cosmologist & Christian Rodney Holder ON THE DAY Hawking died eagerly puts out there the hope that Hawking had a deathbed conversion], by omitting a few words from ant quote one can sully the intellectual work of anyone. And there’s buckets of this stuff generated every day. My made up example from a real quote: Wed. 14th Mar 2018. Premier Christian Radio/Premier Communications News Release upon the death of Stephen Hawking SOURCE

        Responding to the news of Hawking’s death, cosmology expert and Christian Dr Rodney Holder expressed hope his views on God changed at the end of his life. “We are seeing the passing of a great man. I hope that perhaps in his dying moments he maybe saw the light that this great universe that he was exploring was actually a creation of a most wonderful God”

        I can furnish many real examples of such ‘quote mining’ of scientists & noted atheists by the religious. This is the tactics of people who know they are losing market share to more modern, fashionable untruthy belief systems.

        • David Heddle
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Michael Fisher,

          I’m missing the boat here. Are you addressing the only claim I made on this post, which was: “I have not experienced a Christian using a claim that a genius believed in God as proof that God existed?” Or are you addressing something else–something I haven’t brought up?

          And are you really using a hypothetical quote-mine of your own creation as evidence for widespread actual quote-mining? I would say that that is a very bad way to make what may be a valid point.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            David, I didn’t think you’d need a real quote mine since you’ve been playing this game on sites for so long – thus I thought it more entertaining for you & me – if I construct one fresh. BUT since you insist on being presented with something you are already familiar with here’s a good place to start: QUOTE MINE PROJECT – there’s loads of links inside to more recent material, but it’s impossible to keep up with the lies of your ‘team’

            And yes I’m addressing your only claim directly, because it is your habit to demand, as I wrote before, absolutely iron clad statements from others while yourself asserting all sorts of wacky stuff that you can’t back up. That faith thing is very handy cover isn’t it?

            • David Heddle
              Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

              Michael Fisher,

              You would have a point if I stated that “THERE IS NO DOUBT GOD EXISTS!” Or if I stated “YOU MUST BELIEVE IN GOD!” That is what what an iron-clad statement (to use your term) is. And you would be within your rights to demand evidence. But I have not made any such statement.

              Commenter darwinwins, on the other hand, did make such a statement:

              “if one genius says there is a God, it is proof to [Religious folk] that God exists.”

              That is a definitive statement. And given that it is utterly contrary to my experience, it is not unreasonable to ask for some evidence.

          • tomh
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            Typical Heddle wordplay. Seen it for years.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            I have been told, on many occasion, by religious friends, that Newton and (incorrectly) Einstein was religious and therefore God exists because “they should know.” I shouldn’t generalize, but I suspect this view isn’t peculiar to the people who said this to me.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

            However, my comment was a bit of a snark, so you were right to ask for evidence.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        But you are not a scientist and a religionist at the same time.

        Mostly, since you were for a longtime – perhaps still are – a “finetuning” creationist, you are odd company on this site. Since I last saw one of your comments, science has:

        – Shown that there were never a religionist single human breeder pair bottleneck (2011; Jerry wrote about it on this site)
        – Shown with phylogenies that life evolved from alkaline hydrothermal vents (2016; Weiss et al, Martin et al)
        – Shown that ‘souls’/’ghosts’/’afterlife’/’rebirth’ are rejected (2017; LHC)
        – Shown that the universe objects and events are 100 % natural, conversely 0 % ‘gods/gods actions’ (2018; Planck)

        What has creationism/finetuning done meanwhile? Still relying on “gaps for gods” and coming up with no new “defense for the indefensible”, I assume rationally died – it is no longer a credible option.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          I like your summary

          • Torbjörn Larsson
            Posted October 19, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

            Thank you!

        • David Heddle
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Torbjörn Larsson

          I’m not sure how you intended the comment, but not being not a scientist and a religionist at the same time is a feature, not a bug. It is the only way I know how to do science.

          As for cosmological fine-tuning, I never use that as some sort of proof of God (note I didn’t offer it up to our host.) As a scientist I (like the vast majority of secular physicists and cosmologists) view the fine-tuning as a very interesting puzzle (more accurately a family of puzzles) that demands a scientific solution, be it the multiverse or a definitive demonstration that the fine-tuning is an illusion, or something else yet to be proposed. (I hope you know what scientists know, Stenger’s popularization book did not accomplish that reasonable goal.)

          As for evolution, I am a theistic evolutionist (of the BioLogos variety) which has no effect whatsoever on the science.

          • Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Okay, Heddle, that’s enough. You have started trolling this thread, making all the arguments about your views, and that’s what you used to do and what got you banned. I reinstated you on your promise of good behavior. But here you go again, as you can’t seem to restrain yourself. If you keep this up you’re going to get banned again. You just keep on and on promulgating religious views that you admit are irrational. You might just as well promulgate beliefs in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, which are no more rational. Please knock off the trolling.

          • Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:06 am | Permalink

            I’m not sure how you intended the comment, but not being not a scientist and a religionist at the same time is a feature, not a bug.

            Just because you claim it’s a feature does not make it one. It’s a bug. It’s a bug that comes from the failure to consider how a claim relates to what one expects to see in reality. If a belief, a faith-based one per se, does not affect what you expect to observe, it’s something to eliminate with Occam’s razor.

          • Torbjörn Larsson
            Posted October 19, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

            Admittedly it is unfair that I can reply and you are asked not to, but that is life.

            First, you admit that the only way to know about nature – be a scientist – is to abstain from superstitious pondering.

            Second, you have offered up finetuning in discussions with me and with others, as a simple search can show. But you admit that you are a religious creationist of the so famously misnamed “theistic evolutionist” magic nudging kind, that ridiculously pretend to be partly mechanistic and partly magic. “Do not ask who is behind that curtain.” While evolution is entirely lawful and mechanistic, and is so known and tested by scientists.

            Finally I note that you do not attempt to comment on my observation that creationism and/or finetuning is no longer a credible option. That then has to be taken as your tacit informative response.

            Tangentially the 2018 Planck data release find that inflation is “slow roll”. That process is naturally – highest likelihood – eternal and results in anthropic multiverses. So even if you want to continue arguing non-anthropic finetuning despite the failure of religious reward and its agent ‘gods’, that too is unlikely at the moment. Your argumentation ran out of arguments several months – if not years – ago.

            • Torbjörn Larsson
              Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

              I forgot:

              It is hard to predict how this will play out socially, except that the world is losing religion. (E.g. Europa is now dominantly irreligious.) But in the light of the new discoveries, religion becomes equivalent to other rejected superstition such as astrology and homeopathy. Personally I intend to archive the “opinion” labeling of theism/atheism since it seems irrelevant; I guess I would have to answer “observation based” if asked for my position.

      • Posted October 20, 2018 at 4:40 am | Permalink

        David, I’m curious. What kind of scientist are you? What field do you work in and what is your education?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 20, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          David Heddle’s Bio: LINK
          He has a PhD in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University.
          He teaches at Christopher Newport University Department of Physics, Computer Science & Engineering.
          His area appears to be mainly data visualisation – there isn’t a detailed CV with papers, research etc.
          His main pro-god argument is [or was] fine tuning
          His students like him & find him funny [rate my professor]
          Bloggers find him intensely annoying

          • Posted October 20, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            Sounds very intelligent.

          • Posted October 20, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            I’m not sure intelligent design arguments can get you to Christianity specifically.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    … scientists like Hawking and Einstein have no more or less insight into the divine than anyone else …

    I think they have more insight regarding the specific powers, and the specific historical acts, that are sometimes claimed on behalf of certain gods.

    Consider our Official Website Physicist Sean Carroll’s assertion (and the pushback he got from the religiosi regarding the assertion) that the laws of everyday physics are completely known, and the implication that knowledge has for supernatural intervention in human affairs.

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Exactly – scientists are the perfect people to study the divine operations, were there any.

      In fact, that’s the correct part of the “but the founders of science were Christian!!” thing – the religious motivation (albeit a heterodox or non-christian one) is there. But, like with Luther, their attempt at piety actually backfired!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      And don’t forget the Large Hardon Collider!

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Do they drink Pina Coladas there?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          The Large Piña Collider perhaps? Tom Scott experimented with one a few years back & discovered the first [of presumably 12] non-Standard Model fermention.

      • Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        I knew it!!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        “Large Hardon Collider!”

        Knew there was something phallic about that thing. The patriarchy works in insidious ways!

      • freiner
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Certainly sounds like a firmer operation than that SLAC thing in California.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          LOL

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Specifically, biologists and physicists can have more insight.

      Religion is concerned with two things primarily: Soul and God.

      Soul. Biology, including neuroscience, puts the possibility of existence of a soul in a rather small corner with no evidence to speak of yet. Not to mention evolution has ripped apart the origin and importance of humans in the universe.

      God. Physicists, particularly cosmologists, have put the possibility or even necessity for a first cause in serious doubt. With no evidence for a supernatural being, physicists can at least advertise that theistic claims of miracles or origin stories are incompatible with the real world.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        FWIW, Brian Cox, Neal deGrasse Tyson and Sean Carroll were three physicists that last years publicly stated or tacitly agreed in various media that LHC has rejected ‘souls’ and ‘ghosts’ since standard matter has too weak residual actions – theory 2012 and crosschecking most interaction channels. No copying or tweaking is going on.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          “and crosschecking most interaction channels” – and crosschecking most interaction channels mostly finished 2017.

        • Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

          And Krauss made a good argument about souls are like the impossibility of being (StarTrek) transported. There is a brilliant argument from the point of view about information being store and copied. Also, not to mention souls violate no cloning in QM.

          • Torbjörn Larsson
            Posted October 19, 2018 at 5:13 am | Permalink

            Ah, I did not know about Krauss’ argument. It is along similar lines, but the LHC means it can be quantified.

            I have thought about the use of “no [exact] cloning”. It casts a shadow on the religious proposal. but it is iffier to make it apply since it depends on the needed faithfulness of the copy.

  4. W.T. Effingham
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Hawking seems to be motivated by the thoughts of apologists claiming Einstein’s and Darwin’s “affirmations”. He didn’t mince words. “There is no God.” Pure and simple.I am looking forward to his book. He sure does a great job of popularizing Physics.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that could be very well true, “There is no God” is pretty ‘slam dunk’ as Americans say.
      Not that Darwin or Einstein were really ambiguous about it. Cf. eg. Einstein’s “it was a lie…” statement. But I would not be surprised if the kneading and distorting the views of Darwin and Einstein were instrumental in him being so crystal clear.
      Note, in Darwin’s and even Einstein’s time, blunt atheism was not generally looked upon favourably.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if he intended this to be a posthumous statement?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      God knows

      • Blue
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        ! hehheh ! good ‘ne, Mr Fisher !

        Blue

      • yazikus
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        +1

  6. Blue
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    O my ! This is smashing news !

    Wondering, too: Ms Koraszewska, … …
    what is happening with out – atheists in Poland
    now that this is smashing records there ? !

    http://www.google.com/search?q=poland+film+clergy&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS761US761&oq=poland+film+clergy&aqs=chrome..69i57.9047j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    ? !
    Blue

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Very good! Thank you, I will go see this Polish film [Clergy] this weekend. Polish authorities are going mental it seems.

    • Diane G
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Most interesting!

  7. Roo
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be a contrarian here and say I think that questions about “God” in such contexts are largely meaningless, as it is a word without a clear communal referent. What does any participant in such a conversation mean by “God”? An intelligent force within the universe? There are respectable philosophies that make arguments for the infusion of consciousness in all things. A master plan/ner? That is pretty much a description of hard determinism, if you feel like adding an -er suffix to the end of ‘plan’, I don’t see a problem. You could say the universe ‘wants’ things to happen to the same degree that we ‘want’ things to happen (if you don’t believe in free will and see even ‘wanting’ as simply an unfolding of cause and effect.) A sublime sense of love and oneness wherein we get a glimpse of what lies behind our own egos? Neuroscience does in fact tell us the ‘self’ isn’t a real, concrete thing. Besides, even among very fundamentalist religions, I think most would be considered blasphemous if they announced “Well, I chatted with God today, and He told me what he wants you all to do.”

    To some extent I understand the desire to reconcile some concept of God with science. The thing about science is that it is largely based on materialism (you can’t study what you can’t observe, after all,) and I do feel a deep uneasiness about the results of pure materialism as a worldview. I recently attended a volunteer training for a site that treats abused youth. They told us not to bring fancy items such as name brand purses onsite. I thought “Oh, well, that makes sense, they might get stolen”. Then they said it was because it could be a trigger for children rescued from sex trafficking, causing them to run away and go BACK to traffickers because they are given designer clothes, bags, and jewelry in that world. Imagine, being a child and wanting to run back to a world where you are beaten, disregarded, abused, and seen as a dispensable object – when a safe, secure, nurturing environment is available – all for the sake of the name printed on a purse. A world where things mean everything and subjective states fall by the wayside. So yes, I will admit that I long to believe in something beyond the material world, and I am sympathetic to others who do the same in an open-minded way. Specific dogma is one thing, philosophical notions of “God” are quite another, to my mind.

    Ironically, I sometimes feel that genuinely religious people and scientists actually share something in this regard – scientists tend to value knowledge, wisdom, and truth, none of which are tangible ‘things’, and often live rather monk-like existences when it comes to material accumulation. I tend to find them more similar than not in terms of this particular character trait (low value on material things and high value on more ethereal, immaterial things.)

    • AC Harper
      Posted October 18, 2018 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      ” The thing about science is that it is largely based on materialism (you can’t study what you can’t observe, after all,) and I do feel a deep uneasiness about the results of pure materialism as a worldview.”

      And yet if gods or somesuch intervene in the world they must have natural or material aspects. Natural or material interactions may be investigated scientifically, and – so far – none have been found.

      • Roo
        Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        The same thing could be said of most things noetic. You might find correlates, but you won’t ‘find’ the thing itself, as an observer.

    • Posted October 18, 2018 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      What does any participant in such a conversation mean by “God”?

      The definition I go with is “intelligent entity that created the Universe”.

      • Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        If that’s adopted, one can show with moral certainty that creature is either nonexistent (in the case of the “all” notion of universe) or irrelevant (in the case of the hubble volume notion).

        (If one does worse and specifies omnibenevolent, one can also use Scriven’s argument.)

        • Posted October 19, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

          What is “moral certainty”?

          • Posted October 22, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            Certainty relative to the current state of knowledge. I.e., we know the “all” has no beginning, does not need anything to sustain it (as Catholics often claim), etc.

      • Roo
        Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Well, I think you could make a compelling case (not a definitive one, but a logical and compelling one,) that the universe itself is in some ways ‘intelligent’ and self-generated, so in some ways this is not too far off the mark.

        To my mind, ideas about God that look like mythology almost always involve God as a separate, autonomous humanoid agent who rules humans with human-esque thinking and desires / vices but is markedly separate from them. That I don’t think there is any justification, philosophical or otherwise, for. Most other manner of gods can exist philosophically, I think. You could say, for example, that if one perceives of God as the ultimate truth, causal connectedness and therefore harmony that underlies all things; then sure, humans can be ‘separate’ from God to the degree that they are out of harmony with the truth / the ecosystem / themselves, etc. In that case, yes, it is true to say that in some sense things like truth do ‘rule’ us whether we like it or not, and we have the ability to be more or less in line with them even though we can never be apart from them at the deepest level (it would be nonsense to say “You’re imaginary, you’re not true,” to a person, for example, even as we understand that they can be an embodiment of deterministic truth and simultaneously deeply in error in their thinking. It’s true that they exist and true that they are in error even as the error itself exists.)

        Granted, I understand why people would be wary of this term, as it has been used in many different ways, and it’s natural for people to assume people are smuggling something in when they talk about an “Oh but it’s just philosophy!” God. That said, I think this confusion works both ways. I think some people believe in a God that is not at all out of line with science, and yet are unfairly ‘otherized’ as it strikes people as a suspicious term. I consider cases of genuine, good faith semantic differences like that upsetting, although again, I acknowledge that not everyone acts in good faith and it is understandable and even necessary that people have their guard up sometimes.

  8. Posted October 18, 2018 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    And why is this news a “bombshell?”


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