Fire in the Equations

John Miller (
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 08:04:06 -0900 (AKST)

I just read this book (Kitty Ferguson) and tend to agree with the review by
Richard Bube in PSCF. She covered a lot of ground and I sensed some good
philosophy but few answers.

One passage seems most significant to me:

* * *

...Dawkins states that one of his primary purposes in writing his
bestseller about evolution, "The Blind Watchmaker," was to show 'evolution
as the true explanation for the phenomena that Paley thought proved the
existence of a divine watchmaker.' Many have asked why, for either Hawking
or Dawkins, it was necessary to bring the other suggestion--God--into the
discussion at all? Why not just stick to the science?

"A Brief History of Time" and "The Blind Watchmaker" are two of the finest
books ever written for the popular science audience, and both authors seem
obsessed with God. Whether or not it is true, both give the impression
that the fact that the scientific theory they are writing about erases our
need for a God is far more reason for celebration than the fact that the
theory makes a new part of this mysterious universe accessible to human

* * *

I never thought of "Time" and "Watchmaker" in that context before, and find
the final statement quoted above to be intriguing. Has anyone else picked
up on the ironic suggestion that both Hawking and Dawkins, who have a
worldview with no room for God, may find more satisfaction in removing any
need for him than they do for their advancement of an understanding of the

And to what extent do some in the TE camp subconsciously heave a sigh of
relief from evidence that can suggest that perhaps God may not be such an
active intervener after all?


PS: I've no axe to grind here. I'm a seeker of truth, not an advocate.