|The splendid 'Grove Auditorium'|
(complete with a piano that was not visible yesterday).
|Professor Peter Atkins - a 'defunct chemist'|
but not a defunct speaker (photo from here)
- Think about it - or 'sit around inventing crazy ideas'
- Rely on authoritative books - written by peasants, or
There are questions which can distinguish the wheat from the chaff. "What is the purpose of . . . " type questions are definitely in the chaff category, as is 'What is the nature of the afterlife?' Apparently the answer to that is easy. It will be exactly like it was before you were born, in spite of the rantings of the aforementioned peasants.
There are other questions that have not been answered yet and may never be answered, but they are still in the wheat category. Where does it all come from? What is the nature of consciousness, aesthetics and morality? On topics like this, science illuminates, philosophy does something else, and religion obfuscates.
There was plenty of applause. After the other panel members had spoken, Atkins professed a 'deep distress at the dismal views of the rest of this panel'. I'm tempted to ask who could disagree - but there were some in the audience who would say that they would.
Having made admiring comments about Atkins, I wouldn't say that he was the most approachable person in the room. Then again, I am just a peasant and my feelings are not very badly hurt.
Aren't people interesting?