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At Scientific American: Can science rule out God?


In a piece adapted from the introduction to his novel, Saint Joan of New York: A Novel About God and String Theory (Springer 2019), a former editor of Scientific American writes,

Suppose we do live in a universe that generated its own laws and called itself into being. Doesn’t that sound like Leibniz’s description of God (“a necessary being which has its reason for existence in itself”)? It’s also similar to Spinoza’s pantheism, his proposition that the universe as a whole is God. Instead of proving that God doesn’t exist, maybe science will broaden our definition of divinity.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To spur humanity’s search for meaning, we should prioritize the funding of advanced telescopes and other scientific instruments that can provide the needed data to researchers studying fundamental physics. And maybe this effort will lead to breakthroughs in theology as well. The pivotal role of observers in quantum theory is very curious. Is it possible that the human race has a cosmic purpose after all? Did the universe blossom into an untold number of realities, each containing billions of galaxies and vast oceans of emptiness between them, just to produce a few scattered communities of observers? Is the ultimate goal of the universe to observe its own splendor?

Mark Alpert, “Can science rule out God?” at Scientific American

If the ultimate goal of the universe is to “observe its own splendour,” is the selfie a form of worship? Is “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble” the new Creed? Many of us naturally hope not. And hardly for the worst reasons.

So naturalism could end up with a sort-of religion where God is an unprincipled Narcissist?

No, we didn’t know Springer published novels either. Maybe now Sabine Hossenfelder will make more sense to you.

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: Physicists’ theories of how the universe began “aren’t any better than traditional tales of creation”


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