The Vague Mysticism of Physicists

On the Big Think web page, renowned physicist Michio Kaku recently published an article claiming that Physicists Are the Only Scientists Who Can Say the Word “God” and Not Blush.  Well, perhaps they should. Just a little. And not because they use they word, but rather how they use it.

Theoretical physicists do often fall into the trap of using vague god language when waxing on about the possibilities the knowledge their discipline can bring the world. And I’m not disputing the importance of physics. The knowledge physics gives us about the nature of the universe is quite stupendous. It’s just got nothing to do with “god”.

“The Universe would be a symphony of these vibrating strings and the mind of God that Einstein wrote about at length would be cosmic music resonating through this nirvana… through this 11 dimensional hyperspace—that would be the mind of God.”

The “mind of God” (capitol “G”, god, too). Cute. And quite poetic. It’s just not science. It’s not science because, strictly speaking, its not correct. We are figuring out our universe; refining our model of how space and time works , not picking the “mind of god”, Yahweh laying on the great psychiatrist’s couch in the sky. He may as well have said picking the “mind of Superman”. But, it’s also not religion. Tell a Christian that you are working on picking the mind of God. It’s blasphemous. So, who is Kaku isn’t talking to scientists, and he’s not talking to the religious. Who’s he talking to?

“Thomas Huxley, the great biologist of the last century said that the question of all questions for science and religion is to determine our true place and our true role in the Universe. For both science and religion it is the same question.”

Is it? It more often than not doesn’t seem so. If that was the case, all deeply religious individuals would be overcome with joy at each new piece of the puzzle we figure out. Mostly, they’re not. Religious theologians often clams to be looking for answers, all the while clinging to the ones they already have. Any truly new insight in religions thought is squelched, leading to rebellion and endless splinter groups. And, what religion fervently believes in testing their hypotheses in order to verify which are right and which are wrong?

Dr Kaku’s physics is good, but his theology is poor. He is merely using (misusing) “god” as an analogy to make his vocation sound mystical and cool

Explore posts in the same categories: Vague Mysticism & Other BS

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