Steven Weinberg, honest atheist

I am interested in the philosophy and beliefs of the great scientists. Einstein, Bohr, Pauli, Schrodinger, Heisenberg. It strikes me that in almost every case they are led to a wonder at the harmony and structure underlying existence. What a refreshing contrast to the childish un-scientific preaching of Dawkins (all religion is “child abuse”).

Speaking at the “Beyond Belief” symposium in 2006 Steven Weinberg (Nobel Prize for his electroweak theory) was quoted as saying  “the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief”. He is an avowed atheist, but since he’s a proper scientist he also said:

“I have to admit that, even when physicists will have gone as ar as they can go, when we have a final theory, we will not have a completely satisfying picture of the world, because we will still be left with the question ‘why?’

Bittersweet studies

Scottish Nationalism, playing with fire..

I have lived approximately half of my life in England and half in Scotland where I have married and brought up my family. There is an anti-English prejudice in Scotland which has never previously been reciprocated. I suppose this prejudice is not surprising given the history of enmity between the countries until James VI of Scotland united the crowns and introduce the concept of a Great Britain.

“English”  to Scots is thus the archetype of “Enemy”. Indeed it is to some extent bound up with class – the English being identified, unreasonably, with being “toffs”.   We all have prejudices. A key struggle of civilisation is to overcome and integrate them. I do not believe that on the facts we as voters in Scotland would  break the Kingdom that James V1 United. I believe that the only way that this can be accomplished is to release and play up the ancient prejudice against “The English”, and this is indeed happening.   Alex Salmond is a master at playing to the emotion of the crowd. My sorrow is that this in now stirring up anti-Scottish sentiment in our 60 million neighbours, cousins and previous friends. My hope is that we can quickly get through and past this episode without releasing the spectre of racism from the Pandora’s box that is foolishly being unlocked. It is not too late to put out this fire before it burns us all.

The Passionate Salmon and The River’s Reply

Christopher Marlowe wrote “The Passionate Shepherd” and Sir Walter Raleigh the riposte – “The Nymph’s Reply”. They lived just before the Union of the Crowns under the Scottish King James VI. The “independence” debate is of course a fishy affair with salmon, sturgeon and even “silver darlings” (Scots word for herrings).

The Passionate Salmon
Come live with me and by my love
And we will all our pleasure prove
Forsake these meads, their gentle lure
For mountain air and waters pure
Live there with me and me alone
And we will wish all care begone
That London sews and Brussels sprouts
For Irish, Welsh and English clouts
And we will swim around the rocks
Of wars and economic shocks
To shallow rivers by whose falls
Melodious fish sing madrigals
The River’s Reply
If all the world and love were young
And truth in every politician’s tongue
Thy pretty pleasures might me move
Alone to be with thee my love
But summer’s babble easy flows
Which wayward winter icy shows
Thy siren’s tongue, but heart of gall
A salmon’s spring, but sorrow’s fall
And once your upward urge is spent
Thy fishy soul be seaward bent
For lonely pleasures lonely prove
And ocean treasures all, my love

Becoming

As it is with you
presto accelerandissimissimo
Raveling one steppe at a time, our Kensington debussant. Close-coupled at the ice-break prow
from nights on your bare mountain
over through and on
care-bear-share
touch and push, wellington heels in mud
gurgling moonbright splinter
shining, glowing, giggling in a blanket
embracing, holding, sprinting
drawing toward the outline of your own smile