UC San Diego physicist Brian Keating had another fascinating conversation with our colleague Stephen Meyer about Meyer’s new book, Return of the hypothesis of God. The host was Justin Brierley’s consistently excellent interviewer for the radio and podcast program Unbelievable? Check it out below. Keating is funny, intelligent and sweet. He offers this about Meyer’s “page turner” with his “hermetic logic”:
Stephen’s book presents a plan. You might not agree with this, but you have to come to terms with hermetic logic. I faced him because it’s so engaging. And it’s hard to think that a 579 page book [long] is a page turner. But he is. And [in reading the book] you have to grapple with this fundamental question: which came first? The universe or information? I spent a lot of time thinking about it and the conversation continues.
Really, Return of the hypothesis of God is 576 pages long, but why quibble? ??
I think Keating is right in his assessment, but most scientists wouldn’t have the guts, generosity, or daring to praise a smart design book in this way. (Although check out the list of scientific endorsers of Meyer’s book, including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Brian Josephson.) Keating’s own position on the question of God remains enigmatic. But the last time he and Meyer met on Brian’s podcast, In the impossible, he described himself as an “agnostic”. Now he says he “was an agnostic” in the past tense.
There are many other topics of interest here, including Steve Meyer’s phrase “basic theism” – which is the metaphysical position that the book defends, not a specific religious view – and Keating’s statement on the goal of his work which is to convert seemingly unsolvable “mysteries” into potentially solvable “puzzles”.