Physicist and atheist Lawrence Krauss: Arguments of religious apologists are 'incredibly weak'

Published 16 June 2014  |  
(Photo: JVanGiel)
Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss made up one half of last year's atheist documentary, The Unbelievers, the other being Richard Dawkins.

Together they toured the world taking their message of science and reason over antiquated and – in their view - unlikely religious ideas about the universe.

The documentary may have scored a lowly 44 per cent – and green splat - on Rotten Tomatoes but that has not stopped Krauss agreeing to make a cameo appearance in the next film being made by Unbelievers director Gus Holwerda on time travel.

Krauss dips into his views on science and belief in an interview with Wired's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy.

In it, he credits reading science fiction as a "wonderful thing" because of the way it encourages the imagination.

His comments about philosophers and religious apologists, meanwhile, are not so glowing.

He says their arguments are "incredibly weak", those of the philosophers especially.

"There are some philosophers who think that philosophy is a substitute for science," he said.

Lawrence is also dismissive of the need to relate theological ideas to science.

"To be a—I don't know if this phrase is an oxymoron—but to be a sensible theologian, or at least one who has a pretense of being scholarly, you at least have to have some vague idea of what's going on in science, how old the universe is, etc., etc," he says.

"But to do science you don't have to know anything about theology. Scientists don't read theology, they don't read philosophy, it doesn't make any difference to what they're doing—for better or worse, it may not be a value judgment, but it's true."

He's not much more complimentary about those working in the field of consciousness. He dismisses in particular the self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and claims that your thoughts have the power to make things happen.

In his mind, it is a "silly, nonsensical book" and "the worst misrepresentation of science mechanics".

"Anyone who makes a claim about consciousness is probably lying, because we don't understand the nature of consciousness. And there are lots of people who try to make their living by being hucksters about this," he said.

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