Unanswerable questions

Robert L. Miller (102733.3377@compuserve.com)
05 Apr 96 00:47:06 EST

In the Kline thread I asked, "Aren't some questions unanswerable?" Glenn replied
that this could be an excuse not to work on the problem at all. I have been
reading "Black Holes and Time Warps" by Kip Thorne and on page 208 he is mulling
over why Fritz Zwicky, whose grasp of physics was a little weak, was able to
correctly and intuitively invent neutrons stars, while Robert Oppenheimer, a
physicists physicists, could not. Thorne writes, "...Why was Oppenheimer, with
so much going for him, far less innovative than Zwicky? Primarily, I think,
because he declined - perhaps - even feared to speculate. Isdore I. Rabi, a
close friend and admirer of Oppenheimer, has described this in a much deeper
'It seems to me that in some respects Oppenheimer was over educated in
those fields which lie outside the scientific tradition, such as his interest in
religion, in the Hindu religion in particular, which resulted in a feeling for
the mystery of the Universe that surrounded him almost like a fog. He saw
physics clearly, looking toward what had already been done, but at the border he
tended to feel that there was much more of the mysterious and novel than there
acutally was. He was sufficiently confident of the power of the intellectual
tools he already possessed and did not drive his thought to the very end because
he felt instinctively that new ideas and new methods were necessary to go
further than he and his students had already gone.' "

Is this one of the reason that the scientific community is so hostile to
religion? Do they really think that having a strong faith disqualifiies a person
to work on the cutting edge of science?