Physics, Earth & Space Icon Physics, Earth & Space

Meyer, Keating: Why Was the Object of Creation So Long in Coming? And Other Good Questions

Photo: Brian Keating, by Brucelieberman, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

To welcome Stephen Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, into the world, distinguished U.C. San Diego physicist Brian Keating welcomed Steve onto his podcast. It’s both a very profound and a very entertaining conversation. 

I happened to be listening in the car on my way to and from the funeral of a friend’s father. Obviously, the end of life, like its beginning, is an occasion for pondering ultimate questions. At one point, Professor Keating asks Dr. Meyer about death. An intelligent design perspective sees purpose and meaning in the process, over some 13 billion+ years, from the Big Bang to the origin of human beings, with humans as the ultimate goal — the one creature in the universe, as far as we know, able to reflect on its own death. In the book, Meyer argues from three scientific discoveries to an inference to a personal God. If God is the creator, Keating wants to know, why was He so patient as to wait billions of years, during which not much that was very interesting happened, for the fulfillment of His purpose in initiating the universe to begin with? Meyer admits that some Young Earth Creationist friends ask the same question, and his answer is to point to the “extravagance” of the Deity in the activity of creation. In other words, I think, why 13 billion years? Because why NOT 13 billion years? 

A Range of Models

Another good question from Keating that Meyer addresses: A range of cosmological models are on offer at the moment. Meyer argues that they all demand, in the end, either a God inference or a rejection of scientific rationality itself. OK, fine, but we know that cosmologies come and ago, replacing each other. How do we know there isn’t another model out there, as yet unknown, that will negate the God hypothesis?

Watch it now. This was only my second exposure to Brian Keating, pictured at the top, who’s a friendly critic of intelligent design, a charmer, and somewhat of a puzzle. At the beginning he announces that he’s a Jewish agnostic, but by the end he’s discussing his beliefs about the Messiah. Fascinating.

Dr. Keating’s latest book is Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor.