Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Cosmology Think Tank: What's the Point of Science Itself?

I thought some of my readers might be interested in this item about a new cosmology think tank headed by Paul Davies. After quoting the physicist Steven Weinberg ("The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless."), the article goes on:
But then, retorts Paul Davies, the scientist and author of more than 20 books on cosmology, what's the point of science itself?

Davies, who has spent his career asking variations on this question, will now be in a position to look for answers as the head of a new cosmology think tank, provisionally named Beyond, at Arizona State University. The outfit, part of an ambitious effort by ASU president Michael Crow to stake out new intellectual territory for his young institution, will ask no easy questions, only deep ones like "Why are the laws of nature mathematical?"—something that's been gnawing at scientists for about 2,500 years. Davies says he wants to look into "the origin of the universe, life, consciousness and the emergence of humanity." . . .

Regarding a priori presuppositions:
. . . "Scientists proceed on the assumption that there is a coherent scheme to the universe to be uncovered," he said last month at a conference on belief and reason at the Salk Institute that brought together many prominent atheists, including Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. "That's also an act of faith." Davies then gave his own version of Weinberg's formula. "The more the universe seems pointless," he said, staring down his audience of hardened skeptics, "the more it is incomprehensible."



For other posts dealing with metaphysical presuppositions, see here and here.

Thanks to a comment, the link to a press release on the Davies think tank is here.


At December 21, 2006 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can read more about Paul Davies and the new cosmic think tank at:

At December 21, 2006 12:16 PM, Anonymous John said...

Maybe they've finally gotten around to using Dennett's evo-psych standards for religion and applying them to science, thus finding their philosophy to be internally incoherent.

One cannot honestly say that Darwinian evolution produced religious thought but did not produce scientific thought. That would make scientific thought separate from all other human thought, thus making it a basis for a new form of philosophical dualism - a strict no-no for materialists.


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