Monday, December 24, 2007

Laws of Nature as resting on faith...

Dennis Overbye does a brief piece in the Dec. 18 NY Times that derives from the small firestorm of commentary ignited by a previous OpEd piece by Paul Davis, an Arizona State Univ. cosmologist, asserting that science, not unlike religion, rests on faith, not in God but in the idea of an orderly universe. (I almost did a post on that OpEd article, but decided not to). The not so minor difference, of course, is that the "laws" of science simply reflect that the order we perceive in nature has been explored and tested for more than 2,000 years by observation and experimentation. The methods of science are well known. What are the methods of faith? Overbye's article proceeds to describe positions held by a number of prominent philosophers, physicists, and cosmologists on the underlying nature of the universe.

I'm with the late Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman, whose famous quote is included in the article - “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.”

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