We use “God” all the time to refer the workings of Nature, without meaning anything religious by it. Or at least, we used to; the nefarious encroachment of Intelligent Design and the religious right on our national discourse has given some of us pause. In the past I could have given a talk and said “Either you need a dynamical origin for the primordial cosmological perturbations, or you just have to accept that this is how God made the universe,” without any worry whatsoever that the physicists in the audience would have been confused. They would have known perfectly well that I was just using a colorful metaphor for “that’s just how the universe is,” in a purely cold-hearted and materialistic fashion. Nowadays I find myself avoiding such language, or substituting “Stephen Hawking” for “God” in a desperate attempt to preserve some of the humor.
All of which is to say: religion is impoverishing our language. I want God back, dammit.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
This made me go hmmmm: