Cosmic question

God in a world explained by science

Science has figured out many things that we once thought could be explained only by positing a supernatural intervention. We might still pray for rain, but we can trace the cause of thunder without invoking bowling gods. Sudden outbreaks of disease or a return to health were once so poorly understood that it seemed God must have been directly responsible for them. The question then arises: Is there still a place for God in a world explained by science—and if so, what is it?

The 19th-century British mathematician and philosopher Augustus De Morgan told a famous story (probably embellished a bit) in which Napoleon asks one of the leading scientists of the day, Pierre-Simon Laplace, why he has not mentioned the Creator in his new book, Systeme du Monde. Laplace answers, “I had no need of that hypothesis.”


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