Some reviewers almost make us forget that string theory was supposed to be science, not religion. Get a load of this review of string theorist Brian Greene’s new book, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Penguin 2020):
“My feeling is that the reductionist, materialist, physicalist approach to the world is the right one,” Greene says. “There isn’t anything else; these grand mysteries will evaporate over time.” But despite such empirical bravado, Greene says more too–and whether he likes it or not, it’s not reductionist, and if it’s written in a book like Until the End of Time, it could be written in the Vedas as well.
“Rather than feeling, ‘Damn, there’s no universal morality,’ ‘Damn, there’s no universal consciousness,’” he says, “how wondrous is it that I am able to have this conscious experience and it’s nothing more than stuff? That stuff can produce Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, that stuff can produce the Mona Lisa, that stuff can produce Romeo and Juliet? Holy smokes, that’s wondrous.” The rational physicist with the deeply spiritual brother surely meant the holy as just a figure of speech–but if so, he picked an apt one. Jeffrey Kluger, “String Theorist Brian Greene Wants to Help You Understand the Cold, Cruel Universe” at Time.com
For those who remember it, Time Magazine sure hasn’t changed much, has it? But don’t most people today see through the schlock pseudo-religion that older publications used to promote materialism, on full display in Kluger’s review.
See also: Post-modern physics: String theory gets over the need for evidence