Friday, December 19, 2008

Hecht on doubt

Here is a Point of Inquiry interview with Jennifer Michael Hecht. As usual she is fantastic here. She was also a speaker for our Hampshire College Science & Religion lecture series and you can see the lecture video here. Her bit about the story of Job is fantastic.

One minor quibble from the PoI interview. She claims that poetry is the best way to get to the Truth (or truth?) - certainly better than science (even though she is definitely not anti-science). Well ... it would depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking for physical explanations for how things have formed (such as stars and galaxies), I would definitely trust science to provide me a more accurate picture. This is not to diss poetry. I think its great. In fact, this reminds me of a key scene in the movie Contact. When Ellie (the Jodie Foster character) gets to the center of the galaxy and looks outside her machine window - she says "So beautiful. They should have sent a poet". So I agree, poetry can provide valuable insight into human nature and in expressing emotions, but to understand the center of the galaxy - I would still use a telescope (yes yes - too much optical extinction in that direction - so will have to use radio or infrared telescopes :) ).

While we are on the subject, here is a BBC documentary, A brief history of disbelief, from couple of years ago. (hat tip Open Culture)

See parts 2 and 3 here and here.


Anonymous said...

Doubt is fine up to a point, but doubt of the Divine Conscious Light is the dark mood or shadow that informs Western "culture" altogether.

It is a description of ourselves only, and our active dissociation from the Divine Conscious Light.

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