Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow stirred things up recently with the publication of their book “The Grand Design.” Apparently some of the theologically inclined were offended by the book title and the publicity where Hawking was quoted as saying “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” He also upset some philosophers with his statement in the book “Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” (see The Grand Design – neither God nor 42 and An unnecessary being?).
Now it looks like Professor Peter Atkins will soon be the centre of a similar controversy. His new book “On Being: A Scientist’s Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence“ in the next few months (17 March 2011 in the UK and May 1 in the USA).
The publishers say:
“In this short book Peter Atkins considers the universal questions to which religions have claimed answers. With economy, wit, and elegance, unswerving before awkward realities, Atkins presents what science has to say. While acknowledging the comfort some find in belief, he declares his own faith in science’s capacity to reveal the deepest truths.”