Sunday, November 4, 2012

Notable Skeptic #6 Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall
Professor Lisa Randall studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University. Randal’s books include, Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World. They both appeared on New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of the Year. During summer of 2012 Lisa released the Kindle Single Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space. Read more of Lisa’s bio here.

“If such external influences are intrinsic to religion, then logic and scientific thought dictate that the must be a mechanism by which this influence is transmitted. A religious or spiritual belief that involves an invisible undetectable force that nonetheless influences human actions and behavior or that of the world itself produces a situation in which a believer has no choice but to have faith and abandon logic--or simply not care” --from Randall's book Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

July 2006 interview in Discover Magazine
DM: So does your science leave space for untestable faith? Do you believe in God?

Lisa: There’s room there, and it could go either way. Faith just doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m doing as a scientist. It’s nice if you can believe in God, because then you see more of a purpose in things. Even if you don’t, though, it doesn’t mean that there’s no purpose. It doesn’t mean that there’s no goodness. I think that there’s a virtue in being good in of itself. I think that one can work with the world we have. So I probably don’t believe in God. I think it’s a problem that people are considered immoral if they’re not religious. That’s just not true. This might earn me some enemies, but in some ways they may be even more moral. If you do something for a religious reason, you do it because you’ll be rewarded in an afterlife or in this world. That’s not quite as good as something you do for purely generous reasons.”

The Notable Skeptics series will range from celebrities, scientists, authors, etc. Some will be known on a smaller scale for the work they do for charities and their communities. All quotes or implications of skepticism will be referenced with a link. I will not claim anyone as a notable skeptic unless I have 100% verified facts. Some will be easier than others. I use the word "skeptic" to imply one or more of these terms; atheist, agnostic, humanist, secularist or non-religious.

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