In this episode of The Imagine Athena Podcast, Candice Holdsworth speaks with Robin Gilbert Jones, contributing editor to Imagine Athena. They discuss the legacy of the late Stephen Hawking who passed away this week. He will be remembered not just for his scientific discoveries, which were immense, but also the courageous struggle he waged against his physical disability.
They also discuss how he represented the noble pursuit of objective truth in a time when people believe truth to be relative, or determined by whoever has the most power. These paranoid notions are regressive and disempowering. The very opposite of Hawking, who, in his career as a public figure, taught science to the public and tried to inspire them with the joy of discovery. He didn’t tell them they were the victims of some vast, dark conspiracy against them, but part of the magnificence and mystery of the Universe.
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After a period in the sun, during the heyday of the Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins (among others) New Atheist uprising, terms like freethinker, sceptic and the more specific atheist seem to have lost their popular allure. This is understandable among their obvious targets, the religious and superstitious, among whom they were unlikely to find a fan-base in the first place but, peculiarly, those to whom such terms (either in actuality or in potentia) could be applied have often sought to distance themselves from being associated with them.
In the early days of this website I spent many happy pages dismantling the superficially simpering but ultimately sinister certainties of the religious, yet over the years I have had to turn my spotlight increasingly to the ideological myths and superstitions of academia and journalism. These fields have become increasingly tainted by a commitment to narrative over truth, to a priori framing, rather than reasoned conclusions subject to revision on the basis of new evidence – i.e. the central scientific criticism of religion. Read More…