BTW: What’s God?

Just finished reading Robert Wright’s afterword to his book The Evolution of God. Took me 3/4 of an hour. For those atheists out there as well as for those believers I think this is the most sensible discussion of the idea of God that I’ve yet come across, and I’ve been searching for one for a long time. After all, I’m over eighty freaking years old!

Here’s Robert Wright talking about his book:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh9FXH9sZbs[/youtube]

Here’s the link to the afterword, By the Way, What Is God? which I just read.

UPDATE: Wright has a four page Op-Ed in the Sunday, Aug. 23, NYT, A Grand Bargain Over Evolution.

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  1. Steven Greenberg’s avatar

    You have more patience than I do. Perhaps I will come back and finish the 45 minutes of required reading.

    This guy has more hands than an octopus. On the one hand you could say this, on the other hand you could say that, but on the other hand the rebuttal would be …

    Now that I have griped a bit, let me say that Wright does have an intriguing way of looking at the discussion. Every time I am about to disagree with something he says, he disagrees with it himself in the next paragraph. I have yet to decide if this is enlightening or not.

    As people who have spent a lot of their careers making mathematical models of the real world, we ought to have a special appreciation of the limits of abstract models.

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks for the comment, Steve. In this God business I like it when a person doesn’t come down on either side with an answer. I’m in tune with James P. Carse in this respect. And yes, we ought to have some appreciation of the limits to abstract models.

  3. Steven Greenberg’s avatar

    Mardy,

    I see by the comment on my blog that you may have misunderstood my comment there about Relativity and wild speculation.

    I was trying to make the point that at the time of Einstein’s coming up with these theories, I imagine that it must have appeared to be pretty “wild speculation”. I know very well that these theories are now widely accepted, even by me (not that I matter).

    My point was actually that without seemingly “wild speculation” we would not have had the scientific advances that we have.

    I am not trying to have an angry theological argument with you. I am trying to put into words the thinking that Robert Wright has triggered in my mind. Isn’t stimulating thinking in someone else a good thing for a philosopher to do? You have accomplished a lot with this post.

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    OK, good Steve. I understand now. Yes, those relativity theories appeared pretty wild at the time. And yes, I accept that Robert Wright’s thinking triggered thinking in your mind different from mine, which is good for a philosopher like me — HA HA — to hear and deal with. So, thanks, Steve! Keep up the good analytical work that you do in all fields, especially in liberal politics (if I may use the word liberal;). We gotta get a good health bill passed! Somehow.

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