Friday, January 24, 2003

Do contemporary discoveries support the view that the universe is pointless and random?

Paul Davies says no

Cosmic pointlessness has also been argued on philosophical grounds on the basis that the very concept of a "point" or "purpose" cannot be applied to a system like the universe because it makes sense only in the context of human activity. Some years ago, I took part in a BBC television debate with Hugh Montefiore, then Bishop of Birmingham, and the atheist Oxford philosopher AJ Ayer. Montefiore declared that without God all human life would be meaningless. Ayer countered that humans alone imbue their lives with meaning. "But then life would have no ultimate meaning," objected the bishop. "I don't know what ultimate meaning means!" cried Ayer. His objection, of course, is that such concepts as meaning, purpose and having a point are human categories that make good sense in the context of human society, but are, at best, metaphors when applied to non-living systems.





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