People will often assume that theologians are scientifically illiterate. Undoubtedly some are, just as some scientists are philosophically illiterate. One cannot be a master of all disciplines, writes Neil Ormerod in ABC Online.
However, I have attempted to keep up with scientific breakthroughs as best I can, reading popular accounts to see what the physicists in particular are up to. On my bookshelf I have popular works by Martin Rees, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Paul Davies, David Bohm, John Barrow and Frank Tipler.
More recently I've added two works by Lawrence Krauss. His popularised account of Richard Feynman, Quantum Man, was a cracker of a read. It took me back to the time I was studying quantum mechanics as an undergraduate and Feynman's techniques were being hinted at by our lecturer. Through this book I began to appreciate how much these techniques had shaped the development of modern physics.
And so I was interested then to see Krauss's name on the list of speakers for this week's Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne. This prompted me to buy his book A Universe from Nothing: Why there is something rather than nothing. The subtitle tells the story, or at least the motivation for the book. Physics can now tell us why there is something rather than nothing, thus eliminating the need for a supernatural creator, God.
While an engaging account of developing ideas in modern physics, it is peppered with disparaging remarks about theologians and philosophers who cannot keep up with the progress of modern physics.
Most of the scientific ideas contained in this book were not new to me, given other works I have read. Two things did interest me: the question of "nothing" and the increasing role given to the theory of a multiverse as an explanatory principle in cosmology.
As Krauss notes, much hangs on what we mean by nothing. His excoriating barbs at philosophers and theologians refer to their imprecision in regard to the meaning of "nothing." He, on the other hand, has a perfectly clear understanding of what he means by nothing. As he repeats often enough to be a mantra, nothing means "empty space."
FULL STORY Behold the mighty multiverse: the deficient faith of Lawrence Krauss (ABC Online)