Thursday, September 05, 2013

Musicians, poets, scientists and atheists

I wrote about Evernote in my last post.  And I'm going to mention it here again: it's a great place to go looking for something to connect up with an idea or phrase that you're using in a post, a phrase such as the following: affordable Behringer mixers at Musician's Friend.

To many readers that will read a bit like a statement in a foreign language, or a dense poem. By the way, talking of poems, I'm reading an anthology called Poems of Devotion at the moment.  It's edited by the poet, Luke Hankins, who's served as Associate Editor of Asheville Poetry Review since 2006.  It's a collection of wonderful poems by modern poets, some more accessible than others, but all worth reading.  The focus in the book is on devotion to God, but there are some poems that have snuck under the radar a little too. 

But that's a side path. Back to the original phrase.  I did a search on a couple of the words in it: Behringer produced no results, mixers only a couple of not very interesting ones. Musicians - without the apostrophe - produced plenty, and the first was one from a book I read recently called God's Undertaker, by the scientist, John Lennox.  It's a book in which he tries to bring some sanity to the science/atheist vs Christian/creationist debate.  The following quote has only a small amount to do with musicians, but it's worth reading all the same.

"...the fact that there are scientists who appear to be at war with God is not quite the same thing as science itself being at war with God. For example, some musicians are militant atheists. But does that mean music itself is at war with God? Hardly. The point here may be expressed as follows: Statements by scientists are not necessarily statements of science. Nor, we might add, are such statements necessarily true; although the prestige of science is such that they are often taken to be so. For example, the assertions by [Peter] Atkins and Dawkins, with which we began, fall into that category. They are not statements of science but rather expressions of personal belief, indeed, of faith – fundamentally no different from (though noticeably less tolerant than) much expression of the kind of faith Dawkins expressly wishes to eradicate. Of course, the fact that Dawkins’ and Atkins’ cited pronouncements are statements of faith does not of itself mean that those statements are false; but it does mean that they must not be treated as if they were authoritative science. What needs to be investigated is the category into which they fit, and, most important of all, whether or not they are true."

This kind of straightforward thinking does wonder for the brain, especially if it's been assailed by Dawkins-type thinking. 


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