Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

First and second attempts to explain the universe: (1) religion, (2) science

January 10, 2008

Religion was the first systematic attempt to explain the universe comprehensively.  It presented the world as a product of mind or minds, of supernatural agents who could order or disorder nature at will.

Science was the second great attempt to explain the world.  This time explanations were cast in terms of impersonal forces and natural, physical processes, rather than the activities of purposive supernatural agents.

When scientific explanations conflicted with religious explanations, religion invariably lost the battle.  Mostly, theologians retreated to concentrate on social and ethical matters such as spiritual enlightenment, content to leave interpreting the physical universe to the scientists.

Cosmic Jackpot by Paul Davies

Underneath every revolution lay a zero — and an infinity

September 12, 2007

“Zero is powerful because it is infinity’s twin.  They are equal and opposite, yin and yang.  They are equally paradoxical and troubling.  The biggest questions in science and religion are about nothingness and eternity; the void and the infinite, zero and infinity.  The clashes over zero were the battles that shook the foundations of philosophy, of science, of mathematics, and of religion.  Underneath every revolution lay a zero — and an infinity.”

Zero, The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife