“Physics explains everything”

“Physics explains everything” September 29, 2020


And maybe a robot, to fix the Middle East
In this Wikimedia Commons public domain image, a scientist is shown researching basic moral principles and examining the meaning of life (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Here are four quotations about science, representing quite distinct points of view, that caught my attention and that seemed to me worthy of sharing:


“The public has a distorted view of science because children are taught in school that science is a collection of firmly established truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries.” ― Freeman John Dyson, FRS (1923-2020, Anglo-American theoretical physicist and mathematician, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University)


“Physics explains everything, which we know because anything physics cannot explain does not exist, which we know because whatever exists must be explicable by physics, which we know because physics explains everything. There is something here of the mystical.” ― David Bentley Hart (1965-, American philosopher and theologian, Institute for Advanced Study, University of Notre Dame), The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss


“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” ― Richard C. Lewontin (1929-, American evolutionary biologist, mathematician, and geneticist, Harvard University), “Billions and Billions of Demons” (9 January 1997)


By recognizing our universe as one of law, order, and intelligence, science has driven fear from the hearts of men. Intelligence acts in intelligent ways. The intelligence at the head of all things may be trusted to act intelligently. There arises therefrom a trust in the things about us. The age-old horror, called fear, which has so long distracted humanity, vanishes. Superstition is laid low. Men come to understand better the love of God, and his offerings of goodness. Certainly, in so doing, science has contributed to religious faith. ― John A. Widtsoe (1872-1952, Norwegian-American biochemist and agronomist, educated at Harvard University and the Universität Göttingen in Germany, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Evidences and Reconciliations, Bookcraft, 171



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