I start a slurry of holiday weekend posts by quoting an article published yesterday in the science section of the New York Times, “A Free-for-All on Science and Religion” by George Johnson. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and is the go-to guy when it comes to science quotes.
It was left to Pierre Simon Laplace, a century later, to take the next step. Hautily telling Napoleon that he had no need for the God hypothesis, Laplace extended Newton’s mathematics and opened the way to a purely physical theory.
“What concerns me now is that even if you’re as brilliant as Newton, you reach a point where you start basking in the majesty of God and then your discovery stops — it just stops,” Dr. Tyson said. “You’re no good anymore for advancing that frontier, waiting for somebody else to come behind you who doesn’t have God on the brain and who says: ‘That’s a really cool problem. I want to solve it.’ ”