1. rp says

    In three-and-a-half months, I’ll be twice her age, Lessee, [horror]I are older than PZ![/horror] Obviously, time to go find an ice floe (if global warming has left any) and leave my resource usage to the young and still useful. Happy birthday, young Shelley!

  2. The Physicist says


    OT, but I was curious if you have seen this?

    Richard Dawkins believes that children should grow up reading the Bible and has a “soft spot” for the Church of England. He also believes some of the historic atrocities of human behaviour were not inspired by religion, but were a result of our “ruthless Darwinian past”. And he believes in the possibility of a transcendent “intelligence” existing beyond the range of present human experience. It is just that he refuses to call it God.

  3. Sven DiMilo says

    So here’s what Dawkins actually sez. His quotes are in quotes:

    “Well, I’m convinced that future physicists will discover something at least as wonderful as any god you could ever imagine.” Why not call it God? “I don’t think it’s helpful to call it God.” OK, but what would “it” be like?

    “I think it’ll be something wonderful and amazing and something difficult to understand. I think that all theological conceptions will be seen as parochial and petty by comparison.” He can even see how “design” by some gigantic intelligence might come into it. “But that gigantic intelligence itself would need an explanation. It’s not enough to call it God, it would need some sort of explanation such as evolution. Maybe it evolved in another universe and created some computer simulation that we are all a part of. These are all science-fiction suggestions but I am trying to overcome the limitations of the 21st-century mind. It’s going to be grander and bigger and more beautiful and more wonderful and it’s going to put theology to shame.”

    Again, I lob in the words “transcendent” and “numinous”, which I believe sum up what he is trying to describe. God, in other words. “I suspect they don’t mean anything at all,” he says. But being a good scientist, he leaps from the sofa for a dictionary. He reads: “Numinous: divine, spiritual, revealing or indicating the presence of a divinity, awe-inspiring.” A moment’s pause. Then: “I’ll go along with awe-inspiring. Also, aesthetically appealing, uplifting. I’ll go along with aesthetically appealing and uplifting. Those aspects of it, yes. Let’s look for transcendent.”

    He finds a definition to do with lying beyond the ordinary range of perception. “That’s probably all OK and I could go along with that. Going beyond the range and grasp of the presently experienced. Maybe transcendent would be a good word to adopt.”