Sunday, March 25, 2012

David Albert on Krauss' Latest Book

He's not a fan.

You have to deal with a possible pay wall to get at it, but here's a taste of what Albert serves up, re: Krauss. With emphasis added.

He complains that “some philosophers and many theologians define and redefine ‘nothing’ as not being any of the versions of nothing that scientists currently describe,” and that “now, I am told by religious critics that I cannot refer to empty space as ‘nothing,’ but rather as a ‘quantum vacuum,’ to distinguish it from the philosopher’s or theologian’s idealized ‘nothing,’ ” and he does a good deal of railing about “the intellectual bankruptcy of much of theology and some of modern philosophy.” But all there is to say about this, as far as I can see, is that Krauss is dead wrong and his religious and philosophical critics are absolutely right. Who cares what we would or would not have made a peep about a hundred years ago? We were wrong a hundred years ago. We know more now.

Topped off with Albert mentioning that Krauss' entire approach to the conversation - and really, the Cultists of Gnu's move in its entirety - is petty and wrong-headed. In the New York Times.

It's been a pleasant weekend.


Anonymous said...

I just tweeted that piece, a good read. Next time around I'd like to have #Dawkins asked the full title of #Krauss's epochal tome. Chuckle. As Albert suggests, the problem with #Krauss and his ilk is that they are like xenophobic immigration legislators who deny the existence of national borders. Without phusis there can be no physical law. Without nature there can be no natural science. And all this even apart Gödelian strictures.

Crude said...

Here's one thing I love about Dawkins' contribution.

Hawking puts his book out, and Dawkins reportedly talks about how previously Darwin had run God out of biology, and now Hawking has run God out of cosmology.

So Krauss puts his book out, and Dawkins rights the foreword talking about how Krauss has dealt a devastating blow to God in cosmology.

Aside from the problems everyone seems to be noticing - Krauss, unless something changed, is no fan of string theory / M-theory. M-theory was exactly what Hawking was selling.

It really reeks of 'Dawkins has no idea what these theories say and really doesn't care, but if their advocates are anti-religion that's good enough for him'.

I think that guy has lost his touch. I mean I'm getting the impression even the media is sick of these guys.

Crude said...

Nice concise tweet, by the way.

I think the joy here is that Krauss pens this book, and all he manages to do is confirm that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Best of all, it's not a technical and complicated thing to explain why he's wrong. You can reduce it to a bumper sticker: "Yeah, that ain't nothing, so you're wrong." Boom, the whole point of the book explodes the moment that's said.