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Science and the Future of Religion

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? -Amos 3 3

A CENTURY AND a half, or five full generations, have already gone by since Marx declared that religion is “the opium of the people.” He did so in the Introduction of his Critique of Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie or Philosophy of Law.’ There was much to be criticized in that philosophy and, as he developed that point, Marx waxed more and more philosophical. His concluding note accorded supreme importance to philosophy by turning it into a mirror image of the proletariat: “As philosophy finds its material weapon in the proletariat, so the proletariat finds its spiritual weapon in philosophy. . . . Philosophy cannot be made a reality without the abolition of the proletariat, the proletariat cannot be abolished without philosophy being made a reality.”* By getting involved more and more in philosophy while trying to lay bare the very core of religion as he saw it, Marx certainly did credit to himself. The question of religion is a philosophical question. But so is science, a point endorsed by all leading Marxist ideologues. And since for them materialism is the only good philosophy, science and religion should be found in radical conflict. Shortly before Marx wrote that Introduction he had already laid down the Marxist line on the subject. The occasion was the appearance of a lead-article in the Kolnische Zeitung, the chief rival of the Rhenische Zeitung of which Marx was the editor. The editor of the rival newspaper, who was a Catholic to boot, claimed nothing less than that “the best conclusions of scientific research have so far served only to confirm the

truths of the Christian re1igi0n.I’~ Needless to say, Marx had no patience with that point of view. Echoing the words of Francis Bacon about teleology as a barren virgin, Marx hailed the Baconian separation of theology from science as the very condition to make physics fr~itful.~ In the same breath, Marx praised Copernicus for not letting himself be “influenced by Joshua’s command to the sun to stand still over the valley of A j a l ~ n . ” ~ saw his Marx own ideas on capital, labor, and class struggle as strictly scientific ideas. In the preface to the second edition of Das Kapital, he characterized the laws of society and economy as set forth in that book as being as immutable as the laws of physics.‘j Religion appeared in Das Kapital only as a chief means in the hands of capitalists to maintain their domination over the rest of society. A decade or two later, or around 1890, Engels, who also helped Marx as a scientific advisor, declared on a triumphal note:
God is nowhere treated worse than by the natural scientists who believe in him. . . . In the history of modern natural science, God is treated by his defenders as Frederick William I11 was treated by his generals and officials in the Jena campaign. One division o the army after another lays down its f arms, one fortress after another capitulates before the march of science, until at last the whole infinite realm of nature is conquered by science, and there is no place left in it for the Creator.’

Engels’s reference to the Creator, and not


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merely to God, is important. He and Marxists in general oppose only such a God whose creative act is the condition for the existence of the universe. This is why the eternity of matter is a basic dogma in Marxism. Engels very correctly saw that all questions of philosophy can be traced back to the alternative whether there is a soul or mind or whether there is only matter, and that this alternative depends ultimately on the question, “Did God create the world or has the world been in existence eternally?”8 He also noted that this last question was formulated with appropriate sharpness “only after humanity in Europe had awakened from the long hibernation in the Middle Ages.”g Clearly, he had in mind the rise o science, a rise f usually ascribed to the spirit of the Renaissance which ultimately inspired the claim that there was no spirit or mind or soul properly so called. The rise of science was one thing, its ultimate triumph another. Marxist ideologues have always expected that triumph to come with the political triumph of the proletariat. Whether the proletariat’s triumph has come is not so certain. It is, however, certain that science has seen many triumphs since Engels and, contrary to orthodox Marxist expectations, most of those triumphs, theoretical and experimental, occurred in the capitalist parts of the world. In fact, the progress that science experienced in the West represents possibly the Western world’s foremost tangible advantage. It adds to the irony that in the same capitalist countries religion did not die out. In fact, it has time and ‘again displayed unsuspected new vitality. Those gurus who sing the praises of the French Revolution keep silent about the symbolic dethroning of religion through the symbolic enthroning of reason by which they usually mean science. Obviously, there may be something symbolic about a certain type of reason that was enthroned by placing a dissolute actress on the high altar of Notre Dame in Paris. The same gurus are just as unwilling to dwell on its sequel, the erecting by French

troops of a huge altar in honor of Reason in Saint Peter’s square in Rome.lo They might have had second thoughts about the endurance of their antireligious revolutionary ideology, had they pondered the inscription-stat crux dum volvitur orbisthat graces the obelisk in the center of that square. A hundred years later, when unfettered capitalism was at its height, Renan equally misread the sign of the times as he confidently predicted that science will organize God himself, that is, will put God in his place. Prior to that, Renan expected the quick demise of that establishment, the papacy,” with which Rome has become synonymous. In our day, and in the Moscow which so many love to view as the Third Rome, the Supreme Soviet heard K. S. Karchov, chairman of the Council o Religious Affairs, USSR, make f the admission: “There is an amazing phenomenon before us. In spite of all our efforts the Church not only survived but it is beginning to undergo a renewal. . . . Our history proves that religion is something serious and here to stay.”’Z The height of irony relates, however, to Marx’s patently metaphorical use of the word opiate to characterize the influence of religion on society. In 1843 for an educated Western European opium existed only as an exotic curiosity. Travelers in the Mideast and the Far East brought back many stories about the use of opium and other barbiturates, but very few doses. Only some extravagant writers, such as Coleridge, Thomas de Quincey, and Oscar Wilde, spoke of opium from experience. Today opium, heroin, and other drugs represent a global problem. In whatever ways Marxist countries try to cope with that problem, they make hollow a basic feature of ideal Marxist society. Such a society would display, almost automatically, a new way of thinking, an upright behavior, and a consequent disappearance of various vices, including drunkenness, prostitution, and violent crime, to say nothing of theft. Not even in his wildest dreams would it have occurred to Marx to think of that vice, drug abuse, as a coming

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threat to capitalist societies. Otherwise, he would have turned it into devastating paragraphs as he drew the symptoms of an imminent demise of capitalism. While at their start, either around 1918 or around 1945, Communist governments had no problem on that score, today their hands are full of it. The help they can derive from reading Marx is for them to evaluate. Marx would be very much surprised on finding that in capitalist countries, where the problem is most acute, religion proves itself to be the only effective source of mental regeneration that is needed for breaking with addiction to barbiturates. This healing role of religion is becoming increasingly evident in Marxist countries. In one of them, the government has formally asked leaders of the Catholic Church to provide nuns specializing in hospital work. (Of course, religious orders that were summarily dispersed forty years ago, cannot be resurrected overnight, let alone have their membership grow to the required level). In the Soviet Union, the presence of Mother Teresa’s nuns in hospitals set up for the victims of the Armenian earthquake, greatly increased the morale of the medical staff.I3 Clearly, it should seem highly inappropriate to speak today of religion as the opiate of the people. There is about religion a very different perception which is broadly shared today in the East as well as in the West. Recently that perception received a most memorable formulation in Helsinki, in the very same hall where, in 1975, delegates from 35 different nations gathered to sign the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. That Act guarantees religious freedom, a point which was emphatically recalled by Pope John Paul 11. He also added, as he spoke in that hall, that “the idea that religion is a form of alienation is no longer fashionable because fortunately the leaders of the nations and people themselves have come to realize that believers constitute a powerful factor in favor of the common good.”I4 So much for these clarifications without which it would be difficult to have a clear

ground from which to see the future relation of science and religion. Another clarification may be called for, not so much with reference to social and economic systems as to ideas such as the ones contained in this essay’s very title. “Science and the future of religion” may, in this order, suggest an advanced stacking of the cards. Similar may be the perception, though in the opposite direction, were that order be reversed, so that this essay would be on “religion and the future of science.” Which of the two, science or religion, will decide the future of the other? Nothing would be more tempting than to place one’s bets on science. After all, science evokes the image of a powerful structure, animated by a dynamics of rapid expansion. On the contrary, religion may seem to stand for an immobile edifice, however vast, which is forever in the need of renewal, or face-liftingif you wish. Religion may also appear to be an edifice whose occupants, in modern times at least, have for the most part been on the defensive, unless, of course, forcibly recruited into that most unholy of all wars, called holy war. The most intriguing aspect of the dynamics of science is the vigor whereby science feeds on its discoveries and on their technological applications. This process, still slow in the seventeenth century, has not ceased to pick up speed ever since and has become an almost runaway process for the past two or three generations. The novelties of science are pouring in as a flood. Such a metaphor, which is justified even though only ten percent of the two million scientific articles now published annually contain something new, cannot help stirring one’s fantasy about the future. In fact most speculations about the future are about an increasingly more scientific or technological future. It may indeed be safely said that whatever there seems to be reliable in the science called futurology, it is the prognostication that fantastic gadgets will be available in the foreseeable future. To a startling degree the technological visionaries, all too often plain amateurs in science,


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proved to be more correct than sober scientists aware of difficulties. In less than a hundred years Jules Verne’s fantasyvoyage to the moon has become a reality. Almost ridiculous, in comparison, should seem the timidity of prominent scientists concerning future developments in their own field. In 1933 Lord Rutherford took for “talking moonshine” any reference to the industrial use of nuclear energy.15 As late as 1950 Vannevar Bush held the construction of an intercontinental ballistic missile to be impossible.’G To be sure, not even the passing of a hundred years was enough to add a touch of credibility to the prognostication of a French chemist, Marcelin Berthelot, that by the year 2000 ordinary daily nourishment would consist entirely of ~il1s.l~ Tellingly, in 1895 nothing was known about vitamins and yet within half a century the production of a large variety of vitamin pills had become a major industry. It may be a safe bet that high-speed trains operating with superconducting magnets will come sooner than breakfasts, lunches, and dinners consisting of a handful of pills. Taken singly or together, such scientific and technological marvels would have no substantial impact on religion. No essential novelty would be on hand were Sunday collection baskets to be replaced by appeals made on video-telephones and by instant transfer of money via deskcomputers hooked up to one’s bank account. The proliferation of such gadgets, of which many fantastic-looking ones are already on the drawing board, will, however, strengthen the illusion that science can create a heaven on earth. Science has played a crucial role in bringing about previously undreamed forms of affluence. The consequent pursuit of instantaneous satisfaction has been a major factor in widespread loss of interest in religion, a process that will gain in strength with further advances in medical technology and audiovisual entertainment. Of course, the same process will provoke in many cases rank disillusion with purely material goods and rekindle interest in religion properly so-called.

Such a religion must, even in Engels’s view, include belief in the immateriality or immortality of the human person or soul, a belief inseparable from belief in a personal Creator of all. Conversely, belief in God cannot be a belief in an absolutely just God if the incredibly vast range of inequalities (ranging from the death of innocent babies born with AIDS to various forms of genocides) cannot be redeemed in eternal life. Those two beliefs can alone raise any religion above the shallows of mere aestheticism or above the morass of the cultivation of the self and of privileged groups or ethnic entities. Centering on those two beliefs can alone give a meaningful perspective to the impact which future developments of science may have on religion. Since both those beliefs are markedly philosophical, only such developments in science can have on them an impact (constructive or destructive) which are also heavily philosophical. One of those developments relates to the biochemical mapping of the brain as it is engaged in conscious mental processes. Another is that comprehensive form of physics, usually called GUT (Grand Unified Theory) or TOE (Theory O Everything).’* This comf prehensive physical theory would fit any and all physical and chemical processes and, assuming that organic life is but a purely biochemical process, all lifeprocesses as well. Moreover, such a physics would imply that all future findings about the material world would be explained by it. That physicists may be within easy reach of such a theory has been suggested with increasing frequency during the last half a century or so. In addition, some of them claimed that the theory would be the only one which God himself could have thought of in creating the universe. Such a God, who has no freedom to create any other universe, except the one that exists, would, of course, be an unnecessary entity. Religion would indeed lose its rational ground if physicists could indeed show that the universe is what it is and cannot be anything else. In this case the future

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would leave room for religion only as a sort of aesthetic communing with Nature writ large.lg But such is not really the prospect implied for genuine religion by GUT or TOE or any “perfect” physical theory. First, such a theory cannot give an experimental assurance that all future findings about matter would perfectly fit into it. Indeed, the whole history of modern physics is a sequence of most unexpected discoveries, several of which played havoc with the physical theory in vogue. Suffice it to think of the discovery of X-rays, of the quantum of energy, of the atomic nucleus, of subnuclear particles, and of thin layers rich in iridium indicative of periodic extinctions of much of life on earth. The impact of this last finding, made in 1969, on evolutionary theories was as great as was the impact on cosmological theories of the discovery, in 1965, of the 3OK cosmic background radiation. Furthermore, no perfect physical theory can at present be shown to be an exception to Godel’s incompleteness theorems.20 According to them no nontrivial set of arithmetic laws can have its built-in consistency. Can, however, a physical theory be viewed as necessarily true if the proof of the consistency of its mathematical formalism be sought outside it? Clearly, if the best form of exact science poses a threat to the future of religion, that threat should come from the bad philosophy of scientists and from its journalistic exploitation and not from science itself. Actually, that best available form of exact science has provided a tremendous support for a rationally respectable worship of the Creator. Since Einstein formulated his General Relativity, it has become possible for science to treat in a contradiction-free manner the totality of gravitationally interacting things. This, however, is ominous news for philosophers who see no fault with Kant’s dismissal o the f cosmological argument, the very basis of the rationality of religion. As is well known, Kant felt that if one could show the universe to be an uncer-

tain idea, it could no longer serve as a reliable jumping board towards the recognition of the existence of a Creator. Countless intellectuals, to say nothing of pseudointellectuals, have taken Kant’s rejection of the cosmological argument for the final word on the subject. As a result they have either opted for skepticism and materialism, or settled with an essentially emotional or aesthetic form of religion. That even the latter case is not a process free of agonizing phases, has a gripping illustration in Tolstoy’s Confession. There one can see a most sensitive mind trying to satisfy his rational needs in spite of his conviction that, to quote Tolstoy’s very words, “Kant had shown me, and 1 fully understood him, that there can be no such proof.” For it was one thing to say with Kant that “rational knowledge” freed one “from the temptation of idle reflection” and secured the conviction “of the impossibility of proving the existence of God.” It was another to take into account not only mere ideas but real existence, the very point where Kant could be of no help, a point that remained hidden to Tolstoy. He failed to see that Kant’s assault on the cosmological argument depended on his assault on reality as the very object of man’s knowledge. In vain did Tolstoy go “over the conclusions of Kant and Schopenhauer regarding the impossibility of proving the existence of God . . . and try to refute them.”21It did not even help him to find that causality was different from the categories of space and time, because he merely saw the idea of causality and not the real causation which that idea meant to convey if it was a truly cognitive act that puts one in direct touch with reality. The tragedy, intellectual as well as existential and religious, of Kant’s artful separation of reality from ideas is the core of the haplessness felt by Tolstoy: “lsolated from me and from the world, God would melt away before my eyes like a piece of ice; again nothing remained, again the source of life withered away. I was overcome with despair and felt that there was nothing for me to do but kill myself. And,


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worst of all, I felt that I could not bring myself to go through with it.” He went through these agonizing moments “not two or three times but tens and hundreds of times.”22Not even the possibility of a miracle seemed to offer an escape, because miracles too had become, in Kant’s philosophy, mere ideas unworthy of the intellect. But was it worthy of the intellect to espouse God on the basis of a blind clinging to a sense of existence to which only the existence of God could give sense? One wonders whether Tolstoy and countless others would see today the fallacy of Kant’s critique of the cosmological argument by reflecting on the blow delivered by modern scientific cosmology to Kant’s lucubrations in the first and second antinomies. Those antinomies, aimed at showing that the notion of the universe is a “bastard product of the metaphysical cravings of the intellect,” cannot stand up in the court of modern scientific cosmology made possible by Einstein’s General Relativity. That cosmology makes no sense if the universe is a spurious notion. Unfortunately, side by side with the scientific recovery of the reality of the universe there is a vogue of scientifically coated views about the universe that poses a serious threat to the cosmological argument. Clearly, no God is needed if the claim is true that physicists can “create” a universe “literally out of nothing,” and in fact can “create” any number of universes.23 The true support of such a claim is not science but a very bad philosophical interpretation of a marvelous branch of science, quantum mechanics. An essential part of quantum mechanics is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. In itself it means nothing more than the inability of quantum mechanics to measure certain interactions with perfect accuracy. Grafted on this perfectly good physics is the very bad reasoning that an interaction that cannot be measured exactly cannot take place exactly. The reasoning is bad because it allows a heedless jump from’theoperational to the ontological level. Behind that reasoning there lies

a pragmatic philosophy, interested only in success but not in objective reality and truth. Bohr took that philosophy for guide as he constructed the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The pragmatic philosophy is a product of a de-Christianized western world. Interestingly, Marxism, insofar as it wanted to deliver absolute objective truths, had to cultivate a realist approach in philosophy in spite of its Hegelian idealist moorings. The opposition of Marxist philosophers of science to the Copenhagen pseudo-philosophy of quantum mechanics may have been partly misplaced by the traditional Marxist attachment to a mechanistic view o nature in which reality is practically f identified with exact measurability. Marxist philosophers of science still have to unfold their truly realist aspirations. Their genuineness received no better endorsement than Gilson’s dictum that Marxism is a serious philosophy because it wants to be a realist philosophy owing to its “crude, yet fundamentally sound craving . . . for positive and dogmatic The importance of an objective philosophy for religion should seem very obvious. Only the cultivation of such a philosophy will provide the necessary safeguard for religion against pseudophilosophies couched in copious references to science. Only by being steeped in that philosophy will one have on hand the indispensable guidelines whereby one can ascertain the major positive contributions of science to intellectually respectable religious convictions. One of those contributions is the reestablishment by science of the notion of the universe in its intellectual respectability. Another is the set of quantitatively specific features established by science about the universe. Already Einstein’s cosmological model, in which the universe was not subject to overall changes, allowed the calculation of such specifics about the universe as its total mass and the maximum radius of permissible paths of motion for any material body within it. The discovery of the expansion of the uni-

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verse showed the universe to be subject to a specific transitoriness. With the discovery of the 3 O K cosmic background radiation it became possible to investigate the early phases of the universe in most specific terms. They all contradict the presupposition underlying the famous nebular hypothesis in which the most specific actual universe was claimed to have originated in a homogeneous primordial matter. Such a matter, precisely because of its allegedly perfect homogeneity, did not seem to call for a Creator as the ground of its existence. While those specific features strongly indicate the temporality of the universe, they do not prove it. But it is just as impossible to prove on the basis of science the eternity of the universe, the classic dogma of materiali~m.~~ A well-known Soviet cosmologist, Professor Ambartsumian, paid his obeisance to that dogma as he claimed, at the 17th World Congress of Philosophy in Dusseldorf in 1978, that science had demonstrated the eternity of matter. He came to Dusseldorf in the company of some who did not look, even by the farthest stretch of imagination, like theoretical physicists. The man of religion should be satisfied with a contribution of science which is far more important than the question of the eternity or non-eternity of matter on which science, or even philosophy, cannot say anything conclusive. That contribution consists in the fact that like any specific entity the universe too reveals by its overall specificities its contingency, that is, the fact that it could have been created otherwise. To see this, one needs mental eyes open to that marvel which is the human mind. Were it but mere grey stuff, it could not recognize even mere greyness or stuff-ness. But precisely because it can see the universal in the particular, the mind can take into its grasp the totality of matter which is the universe. Only by cultivating the true powers of the mind will the religious intellect steer a safe course amidst snares that quantitative reductionism will keep producing in ever larger numbers. Two of these snares will

come from biophysics, which, together with biochemistry, is steadily widening the account of life-phenomena in strict quantitative terms. One of those snares will relate to further advances toward a physico-chemical explanation of the origin of life. The other, and far more important one, will be posed by further progress in brain research. This is not to suggest that brainresearch is anywhere near to providing an adequate account o the chemical and f physical processes corresponding to any given mental function. No self-respecting scientist claims today, in spite of a now forty-year old intensive research, that there is on hand a physico-chemical description of that simplest of all mental actions which is memory storage. But let it be assumed for the sake of argument that in three or four hundred years (a very optimistic view considering some past prognostications)26basic mental acts, such as the formulation of abstract concepts and self-awareness, will have their physicochemical aspects fully set forth. Success in this respect will represent the summit that can be reached by exact science. Standing on that summit will offer two alternatives analogous to the ones available to mountaineers. One is a sense of vertigo resulting in the loss of balance, produced by looking straight down. Something similar is going to happen to those who, standing on the summit of brain research, keep their eyes fixed on the steep route which, by looking very straight in retrospect, may seem all the more inclined toward the vertical. The vertigo, if not plain confusion, produced by such a view, was conveyed with graphic conciseness by the British biologist, J. B. S. Haldane, a well-known advocate of Marxist materialism: “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motion of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”27Champions of artificial intelligence still have to


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come to terms with these penetrating remarks2* Only to the one who keeps his mental eyes directed upward while standing on that summit will the mind keep revealing its substantial superiority over matter. That upward look is in substance the very act whereby a rational recognition of the Creator has already been secured. Those doubtful or disdainful of that act still have to face up to two facts which will appear in a particularly sharp light through a full description of pivotal mental acts in terms of physics and chemistry. One is the enormous difference which will thereby come into focus between the experience and content of having a thought and the physico-chemical account of that experience. It will be the difference between a mathematical function that can generate the full sequence of numbers standing for each sound frequency-with all the overtones and amplitudes of a Beethoven symphony-and the actual aesthetic experience given by its being performed. Such a difference deserves a deeper appraisal than the flat declaration that one is merely in the presence of a non-conscious and a conscious presentation of the same reality. Begging the question has never been the road to intellectual enrichment. The other fact is the ineradicable awareness of freedom that accompanies our conscious mental acts. Any advance along a scientific description of this experience of freedom will provide through its differences from the experience of that freedom further illustrations of PoincarC’s classic remark: “C’estlibrernent qu’on est dkterrniniste. After what has been said about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, there should be no need to waste a moment on the endlessly repeated fallacy that, unlike classical physics, modern physics is not deterministic. The difference is merely this: Classical physics implied a theoretical possibility of perfectly exact or accurate measurements, whereas this possibility is not available for modern physics. This difference is very different from the difference between an ontologically exact and an ontologically inexact

physical i n t e r a ~ t i o n . ~ ~ That this difference between measurement and ontology has been largely overlooked by scientists shows that philosophical sanity does not have its source in science. The source is rather that intellectual trust which gives rational respectability to the minds surge toward the Creator, the ultimate explanation of all. Such an intellectual trust has always been closely allied with orthodox Christian theology. The latter best performed its mission when it sparked not only light but also a love which never seeks its own. Of that love the science of the future will be in need to a dramatic degree. The scientific tools of the future will pose ever greater temptations for self-seeking to individuals, to groups, and to nations. International laws, of which the science of the future will generate many, will only function if there be love among nations. The opportunities and challenges of religion have never been greater than they will be in the coming future, a future more scientific than can be imagined and in need of spiritual values in a measure beyond imagination. -Stanley L. Jaki


‘See Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. On Religion, with an introduction by R. Niebuhr (New York, 1964), p. 42. Vbid., pp. 57-58. Vbid., p. 24. 4Together f with most o his contemporaries, Marx failed to see that it was precisely the antimetaphysical stance underlying that separation that made the Baconian method utterly fruitless for the purposes of science. For details and discussion see ch. 4, “Empirical Scouting,” in my Gifford Lectures, The Road o f Science and the Ways i God (1978; 3rd printing, o Chicago, 1987). sMarx and Engels. On Religion, p. 38. 6Capital:A Critical Analysis o f Capitalist Production, author’s preface to the first edition, translated from the third German edition by S. Moore and E. Aveling (New York, 1889), pp. xvi-xvii. See also pp. xxx-xxxi (author’s preface to the second edition). The disastrous impact which Marx’s claim about the definitive form of science as generated in a definitive form of society had on the cultivation of physics in the Soviet Union is discussed in ch. 13, “The Fate of Physics in Scientism,” in my The Relevance o f Physics (1967; 2nd printing, Chicago, 1978). 7DialecticsofNature, in Marx and Engels. On Religion, p. 192. 8Engels, “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German

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Philosophy,” in Marx and Engels. On Religion, p. 227. glbid. In his Dialectics of Nature too (ibid., p. 155) Engels claimed that the Middle Ages contributed “nothing at all” to the development of science. Consequently, Marxist historians of science receivcd with distinct hostility Duhem’s epoch-making findings about the medieval origins of classical physics. On those findings and their reception, see ch. 10 in my Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work o f Pierre Duhem (1984; 2d enlarged edition, 1987). I0A contemporary painting by Felice Ciani of that celebration is reproduced in color in The Papacy: An Illustrated History from St. Peter to Paul VI, edited by Christopher Hollis (New York, 1964), p. 219. ”He held that the demise in question would begin followf ing the death o Pius IX, with the breaking of the Sacred College into two factions and in the subsequent election of two popes. For details and documentation, see L. Vie, Renan (Paris, 1949), pp. 495-517. 12Quotedfrom the English translation of excerpts from Karchov’s speech in Crisis, May 1989, pp. 44 and 56. I3See the report, “Russia confesses that nuns can help,” in the Sunday Observer (London), July 2, 1989, p. 27, col. 1. I4Reported in The New York Times, June 6 , 1989, p. A9. I5Rutherford did so at the September 1933 meeting of the British Association. See Nature 132 (1933), pp. 432-33. 16He also assured, a mere four months before Hiroshima, President Truman that the atomic bomb could never go off. See H. S. Truman, 1945: The Year of Decisions (1955; New York, 1965). p. 21. ‘’The prediction was part of Berthelot’s utopistic encomium of science, “En I’an 2000,” published in 1894. 18Boththeories aim at a unification o General f Relativity and quantum theory. IThe very bizarre form which that cosmic estheticism may assume was illustrated in the hiring by some residents in North Stoke, England of three witches so that the Avon County Council would abandon its plans to open its green lanes to motor traffic. One of the three witches

traced her “power” to her communing with the forces of the universe through the act which she called “the Cosmic Hug.” See The Independent (London), July 6, 1989, p. 5. The sophisticated form received a very recent illiistration in the advocacy of a “global consciousness,” based on belief in the earth as a living entity, by Karan Singh, the new ambassador of India to the United States. See The New York Times, July 6, 1989, p. 6. As one who was told by Mr. Singh in Gubbio in September 1987 that creation out of nothing is the most fundamental philosophical error, I find his cultivation of “global consciousness” quite logical. T h e latest form of my discussions, which I began in 1966, of the cosmological bearing of Godel’s theorems is ch. 4 of my God and the Cosmologists (Edinburgh, 1989). This book contains a discussion and documentation of the various cosmological topics touched upon in the remainder of this essay. zlL. Tolstoy, Confession,translated with an introduction by D. Patterson (New York, 1983),p. p. 72. 2216id., 73. 23Particularlyemphatic with such claims is Prof. A. H. Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 24E.Gilson, The Unity o f Philosophical Experience (New York, 1937). p. 294. 25As memorably pointed out by E. LittrC, La science au point de uuephilosophique (Paris, 1873). p. 322. “jFor details, see my Brain, Mind and Computers (3rd enlarged edition; Washington, D.C., 1989). 27J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Essays (London, 1927), p. 209. 28Andif they postpone the challenge, they merely attest their fright in the face of that most fundamental mental experience which is the now, a reality utterly refractory to being expressed in quantitative or “scientific” terms. For details, see my Brain, Mind and Computers. 19H.PoincarC, “Sur la valeur objective des theories physiques,” in Reuue de m6taphysique et de morale 10 (1902), p. 288. 5 e e my Chance or Reality and Other Essays (Lanham, Md., 1986).


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