Thursday, December 15, 2005

Morning reading assignment

Beliefnet has posted a great interview with Richard Dawkins, who is da man when it comes to evolutionary biology. Dawkins is a good example of a scientist who finds his work both poetic and inspirational, while remaining completely atheistic in his spirituality. He also lays the smack down real good-like on ID maniacs. One of my favorite quotes:

What are your thoughts about the despair some people feel when they ponder natural selection and random mutation? The idea of evolution and natural selection makes some people feel that everything is meaningless--people’s individual lives and life in general.

If it’s true that it causes people to feel despair, that’s tough. It’s still the truth. The universe doesn’t owe us condolence or consolation; it doesn’t owe us a nice warm feeling inside. If it’s true, it’s true, and you'd better live with it. However, I don’t think it should make one feel depressed. I don’t feel depressed. I feel elated. My book, "Unweaving the Rainbow," is an attempt to elevate science to the level of poetry and to show how one can be — in a funny sort of way — rather spiritual about science. Not in a supernatural sense, but there are uplifting mysteries to be solved. The contemplation of the size and scale of the universe, of the depth of geological time, of the complexity of life — these all, to me, have an inspirational quality. It makes my life worthwhile to study them.

I believe it.