Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Masters

One of the few things likely to make me feel proud of having been to Trinity is their Masters. Amartya Sen, who is just obviously great, was Master for most of the time while I was there. Now it's Martin Rees, who has just won some prize awarded to scientists by Christians and therefore controversial blah blah blah. Here is his comment on the "Hawking says there's no God" story that ran a while ago:
I know Stephen Hawking well enough to know that he has read little philosophy and less theology, so I don't think his views should be taken with any special weight.
I just love the idea of "little philosophy and less theology" as the modern equivalent of Shakespeare's small Latin and less Greek. And I love it when people talk like it's obvious that there's meaning in the humanities. Go Martin Rees!


  1. Hawking did not say "there's no God", he said that we understand enough about the universe not to need to assume the existence of a supernatural being in order to explain it.

    One does not need to have a PhD in haute couture to be able to see that the Emperor is wearing no clothes, and someone with "little philosophy and less theology" is perfectly well-qualified to point out that the emperor is naked.

  2. The newspaper story was "Hawking says there's no God" and I was talking about the story.

  3. Wouldn't you expect any self-respecting Master to respond to what Hawking actually said, rather than to the story as it was crassly misrepresented?

  4. I think he was responding to the estimation of Hawking as an authorative commentator on such things, particularly the estimation of the press.