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July 25, 2012

I have recently been rereading Freeman Dyson’s Disturbing The Universe, first published in 1980 but still amazingly current. Dyson is now 88, a renowned theoretical physicist and mathematician, for many years as Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., retiring in 1994. He is famous for his work in quantum mechanics, nuclear weapons design and policy, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He was the winner in 2000 of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. This is not a book about physics, but about life and religion and about us, for Dyson is a devout Christian. Amazon has inexpensive copies available of a 2001 reissue. His Infinite in All Directions (1988) is also outstanding.   Here are some quotes from Freeman Dyson. They are enough to get us thinking for today.

“Both as a scientist and as a religious person, I am accustomed to living with uncertainty. Science is exciting because it is full of unsolved mysteries, and religion is exciting for the same reason. The greatest unsolved mysteries are the mysteries of our existence as conscious beings in a small corner of a vast universe.”

“God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.”

“Sharing the food is to me more important than arguing about beliefs. Jesus, according to the gospels, thought so too.”

“I do not claim any ability to read God’s mind. I am sure of only one thing. When we look at the glory of stars and galaxies in the sky and the glory of forests and flowers in the living world around us, it is evident that God loves diversity. Perhaps the universe is constructed according to a principle of maximum diversity.”

“The principle of maximum diversity says that the laws of nature, and the initial conditions at the beginning of time, are such as to make the universe as interesting as possible. As a result, life is possible but not too easy. Maximum diversity often leads to maximum stress. In the end we survive, but only by the skin of our teeth. This is the confession of faith of a scientific heretic. Perhaps I may claim as evidence for progress in religion the fact that we no longer burn heretics.”

Loren Bullock
rev. 11/19/2011

From → Beliefs, Meditations

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