A post by Maynard

Here’s a book that caught my eye. I regard Herman Wouk as one of the great modern authors. Unlike so many writers of “important” literature, Wouk makes a point of creating stories that an ordinary human being can read and enjoy. Every American should at some point pick up his two novels (which are really a continuation of the same story) of World War II, “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance”. (See my earlier blog notes on these war books and also Wouk’s “Youngblood Hawke”.)

Wouk is approaching is 95th birthday, so I was much surprised to see a new title appear: “The Language God Talks: On Science and Religion”. This is not a novel, but a philosophical inquiry, and it explores some of our most fundamental questions. I have not yet read this book, so I can’t comment in depth. However, I’m most curious what Wouk has to tell us after having lived so long. (As an aside, I’ll note my belief that there are no inherent conflicts between science and religion, and the one does not crowd out the other. What science tells us is true; however some of the most important questions facing humanity are not to be answered by science. I might say that science is the “how” and religion is the “why”; that’s probably a tad too simplistic, but it’s a nice succinct summary.)

Wouk had been contemplating this book for decades, and he finally was able to bring the pieces together. He explains his motivation and background in this article, published by Huffington, “The Language God Talks: The Back Story”.

This section is for comments from tammybruce.com's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Tammy agrees with or endorses any particular comment just because she lets it stand.
4 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Wheeze says:

    At the Times Book Festival, Wouk was being cute by saying he asked a Physicist (Feinman ? from Manhattan Project) and a bunch of Cal Tech dudes. His interest was peaked by Feinman saying “God Speaks Calculus”. Cute premise. He also quoted stories of Einstein and the Torah and the fact he is a decendent of generations of Rabbi’s.

    Cute old guy. I don’t think he has a clue on the world religions. I could have saved him research time by setting him up with an interview with Einstein. What can I say. I occupy the office that Einstein occupied in the 1930′s. An actual interview with Einstein’s spirit would definitely be more conclusive than Wouk’s tale.

  2. DogOnCrack says:

    First and foremost, I’m infinately frustrated by the fact that so many people allow themselves to be duped into thinking that creation and evolution somehow contradict each other. In fact, there’s absolutely no conflict between the two. They explain two completely different things. Creation explains the origin of the universe. Evolution explains the history of life. Any objective thinker would immediately realize that the two are not mutually incompatible but are both entirely plausible at the same time. Atheists who erroneously try to use science as the basis for what is really a completely unscientific argument against the existence of a deity are always the first ones to bring religion into the discussion. Until sceptics can offer a seperate, plausible explanation for existence that falls within the framework of proven science, logic and common sense, creation by an omnipotent entity remains axiomatic. Even the most bigoted atheists refuse to engage in speculation, theorization etc. Intelligent design as scientific theory is based on the premise that the physical universe couldn’t exist without being dependent upon a non-corporeal omnipotent entity as it’s source of origin and continued energy. In other words, nothing magically creates itself! By definition, a non-corporeal omnipotent entity would be bound by neither time nor space as these are products of the created linear existence.

  3. thierry says:

    being far more mulder than scully as far science and the metaphysical , i have still found one of the most influential books i have ever read to have been thomas s. kuhn’s ‘the structure of scientific revolution’, a book by a physicist about the history and philosophy of science. that i apply it to more than science would probably horrify the author but it has helped me realize the futility of what are basically ants screeching amongst themselves about what god is and isn’t and that even scientists often rely on a faith, sometimes held to with scant regard for ‘scientific truth’, in much the same way the deeply religious do- and they will never never admit it but with lots of kicking , screaming wailing and rending.

    lobbing bombs at one another over insurmountable paradigm views is more than half the problem with the world. and so it will always be as is our nature. some days i just trust neither science nor religion. some days it’s a draw. neither of them are entirely answer the ultimate why and how of our existence. and they never will.

    http://amzn.com/0226458083

  4. ladykrystyna says:

    ” (As an aside, I’ll note my belief that there are no inherent conflicts between science and religion, and the one does not crowd out the other. What science tells us is true; however some of the most important questions facing humanity are not to be answered by science. I might say that science is the “how” and religion is the “why”; that’s probably a tad too simplistic, but it’s a nice succinct summary.)”

    I completely agree with your view Tammy. I was taught in Catholic schools and I was taught religion AND evolution. Religion is about your relationship with God and others. Science is about your relationship with the natural world around us.

    I can believe in Intelligent Design. The only problem I have with it that it does not seem to have any way to be TESTED, which is essential for science.

    “lobbing bombs at one another over insurmountable paradigm views is more than half the problem with the world. and so it will always be as is our nature. some days i just trust neither science nor religion. some days it’s a draw. neither of them are entirely answer the ultimate why and how of our existence. and they never will.”

    Thierry, I agree with your assessment. I think if I had to be pressed, I guess I would be Deist. I don’t see why God would care what kind of food you eat on what day of the week, or what food is mixed together, or any of the other things that religion tells us God cares about. I truly believe that just being a good person is enough. And yes, it is a draw. Neither science nor religion can answer everything.

You must be logged in to post a comment.