X-Message-Number: 11640
From: "Stephen Bogner, P.Eng." <>
Subject: Excerpt from "Is Science Killing the Soul" Debate (Dawkins vs.
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 08:21:33 -0600


Here is a brief excerpt from a fascinating debate entitled "Is Science
Killing the Soul" between Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, which may be of
interest to many cryonet readers:

I would say is that although science may not be able to console you in the
particular case of a bereavement from a car accident, it's not at all clear
that science can't console you in other respects. So, for example, when we
contemplate our own mortality, when we recognize that we're not here forever
and that we're going to go into nothingness when we die, I find great
consolation in the feeling that as long as I'm here I'm going to occupy my
mind as fully as possible in understanding why I was ever born in the first
place. And that seems to me to be consoling in another sense, perhaps a
rather grander sense. It is of course somewhat depressing sometimes to feel
that one can't go on understanding the universe; it would be nice to be able
to be here in 500 years to see what people have discovered by then. But we
do have the privilege of living in the 20th and very soon in the 21st
century, when not only is more known than in any past century, but hugely
more than in any past century. We are amazingly privileged to be living now,
to be living in a time when the origin of the cosmos is getting close to
being understood, the size of the universe is understood, the nature of life
in a very large number of particulars is understood. This is a great
privilege; to me it's an enormous consolation, and it's still a consolation
even though it's for each one of us individually finite and going to come to
an end. So I'm enormously grateful to be alive, and let me take up what
Steve was talking about, the question of how you can bear to get up in the
mornings. To me it makes it all the more worthwhile to get up in the
mornings -- we haven't got that much time, let's get up in the morning and
really use our brief time to understand why we're here and what it's all
about. That to me is real consolation.
To which I can only add "Amen".

The debate can be found in its entirety at:

Regards, (and long life)

Stephen Bogner, P.Eng.

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