It may be a little late to pay tribute to Richard Feynman on the anniversary of his passing in February 1988… or little early depending on how you look at it, but a man of such wit, charm and brilliance, is a man for all time.
Feynman, a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize, made immense contributions to the field of quantum mechanics through his passion for science, but also had an equal passion for living life. I hope these two video clips gives you some idea of the type of man he was.
Sub-titled “Why Is the Universe Just Right For Life.” Acclaimed physicist Paul Davies reminds me of the many people who have this aptitude for mental gymnastics, in that they see no problem with trying to fit creationism into their scientific theories. Richard Dawkins, in his book the God Delusion, described Davies as someone who “…seems to hover somewhere between Einsteinian pantheism and an obscure form of deism…”
Religiously inclined scientists (and others) have for some time proposed that because the Earth resides in a seemingly perfect zone (the so-called goldilocks zone), it must have been created by some supernatural entity, most times called god. Someone once told me that this was akin to the puddle of water looking around it and proclaiming that the irregular-shaped hole that had formed around it (the water), was just right for it (the water) to fit in.
Although Paul presents fascinating facts about science in general and particle physics in particular, the conclusion he reaches, that the universe is just right for life, is really annoying to say the least. Considering that we have yet to come across (human) life anywhere else in the known Universe (that is not to say that there is no possibility of life where we have not looked yet), apart from Earth, I would say that the Universe is positively antagonistic towards life.
It seems to me that there is a genuine scheme of things – the universe is ‘about’ something. But I am equally uneasy about dumping the whole set of problems in the lap of an arbitrary god, or abandoning all further thought and declaring existence ultimately to be a mystery.