Hubert Reeves’ God

 

Science cannot know whether there is a God or not, so says the Canadian astrophysicist and cosmologist Hubert Reeves. Science is not moral, it doesn’t tell us what is good and what is bad, science tells us only how things are. However, he doesn’t believe that a Mozart or a Beethoven could be created purely by chance. Neither does he believe in an organising principle. His inner conviction is that something exists, but he doesn’t know what. This is how Reeves continues when asked if God exists or not.

This all seems very curious. What does he mean when he says his inner conviction is that something exists, but he doesn’t know what? Because the very words “intimate conviction” and “something” are in reality his belief in a God, not any kind of god, but in a God who is able to create a Mozart or a Beethoven! Reeves is neither an atheist nor an agnostic, Reeves is a believer, he believes in a Creator. And take note! He doesn’t believe in any kind of creator, but in a sophisticated Creator. His God is not the God of the normal practising believer, the God of the flock of followers, of the population: his God is the God of the aristocracy, those who have received an education, who are refined, the God of the elite, an artistic God!

When he says that something exists, but he doesn’t know what, when he says his inner conviction, he is saying that he is a believer, a believer who is more believing than the priests, those anyway who still do believe. His faith is a mixture of gnosis, theism, deism, agnosticism, a real faith, but a complex faith, also dangerous and irremediable. Dangerous because it leaves those who read his books or the audiences at his conferences confused and perplexed. Irremediable because he doesn’t resolve anything regarding the existence or not of a God. Rather, he reinforces the mental confusion and the problems of “I believe” or “I don’t believe”, but not for himself, as his faith is unshakeable.

And then, when he maintains that pure chance could not have created a Mozart or a Beethoven on its own, has he never asked himself how pure chance, on the other hand, could create the wondrous peacock’s fan, the sublime nightingale’s song, the magical ants’ nest, the stupendous colours of the rainbow, the beauty of the lily, the perfume of the rose? These too, and many other sublime beauties of the natural world can’t have arisen from blind chance, they should not be considered less beautiful or harmonic than a Mozart or Beethoven, should they?

What I don’t understand about Reeves is why he tries to hide his faith. Who is hindering him in his faith? Why doesn’t he say out loud and clear that he is a believer, that in contrast to other believers, he believes in a Super-God? Why doesn’t he have the courage to say out loud: “I am a believer!” Perhaps he doesn’t do it because he wants everybody to think well of him, both believers and non-believers? Perhaps he worries he would sell fewer books or have smaller audiences at his conferences if he said he was one or the other? In short, why so much hypocrisy and falseness in a scientist of his calibre?

I would like to ask him: “Tell us, Mr. Reeves, have you ever seen anything under your microscope which had anything to do with God? Have you ever seen anything through your telescope which had anything to do with God? If you have, demonstrate it to us, let us see it, don’t keep it to yourself. Science belongs to us all, that’s what scientists say, don’t they? But, if you haven’t seen anything, if you can’t demonstrate anything to us, if it is only your “inner conviction”, then I have to tell you that your “inner conviction” is no better than that of the other 7 billion people who live on the Earth.”

I read your books, Mr. Reeves, maybe not all of them, but I read them; I listen to your conferences on YouTube, Mr. Reeves, maybe not all of them, but I listen to them, and I can say that you are an excellent scientist, but a terrible believer. With your implied faith, you mix science with superstition, and that’s not right. In any case, it might help you to remember that science doesn’t have a sixth sense, but philosophy does. Philosophy tells us “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”: Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher.

 

Translated from the Italian by Joy Elizabeth Avery. Tel: 015.703954; Email: joyelizabethavery@tiscali.it

 

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