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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Why do people still take Steve Weinberg’s opinions seriously?

Here’s 1979 Nobelist Steve Weinberg on intelligent design of the universe:
I have been asked to comment on whether the universe shows signs of having been designed. I don't see how it's possible to talk about this without having at least some vague idea of what a designer would be like. Any possible universe could be explained as the work of some sort of designer. Even a universe that is completely chaotic, without any laws or regularities at all, could be supposed to have been designed by an idiot.

Not likely. A universe designed by an idiot would be ful of intelligently designed stupid systems. Just like a government.

At Take Five with Pastor Steve, the pastor (Steve Cornell) asks
Is there scientific evidence for a universe by intelligent design? Some people have a difficult time answering the question. In The New York Review of Books, Steven Weinberg (Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin and Winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics) contributed a piece titled: “A Designer Universe?” (October 1999). Weinberg had been invited to “comment on whether the universe showed signs of having been designed.” Instead of addressing the assigned subject, he immediately (and according to him, necessarily) shifted to a discussion about the nature of deity. He questions whether this designer would be “an idiot,” “a deity from traditional monotheistic religion,” or “a cosmic spirit of order and harmony.”

One possibility he flatly rejects is the existence of a benevolent creator. Weinberg drifts far from his assigned subject when he complains about the impossibility of a benevolent deity because of all the evil in the world.

In the end, Weinberg offers little serious consideration of the subject he was invited to address. He appeared unable to deal directly with the issue. His thinly veiled bias against theism and religion is finally unveiled at the conclusion of the article. In an incredible moment of arrogance, Weinberg suggested that, “One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.”

I wish I knew why people still take Steve Weinberg’s opinions seriously. After Antony “There IS a God” Flew, his camp will have to do better.

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