God-o-nomics

Joel Achenbach writes about an interesting exchange of letter between Carl Sagan and Martin Gardner. Sagan admired Gardner, but was unhappy that Gardner in one of his books wrote about ‘singular God ruling the universe’. Sagan expressed his unhappiness thus: “How could you of all people advocate a position because it’s emotionally satisfying, rather than demand rigorous standards of evidence, even if they lead to a position that is emotionally distasteful?”

Gardner’s response was equally interesting: “I not only think there are no proofs of God or an afterlife, I think you have all the best arguments. Indeed, I’ve never read anything in any of your books with which I would disagree. Where we differ is over whether the leap of faith can be justified in spite of a total lack of evidence...”

Albert Einstein wanted to understand the thought process of god. Einstein thus summed up his predicament: “We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward god. We see the universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

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© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh