From the book “THE PURPOSE GUIDED UNIVERSE”
By Bernard Haisch
ALL DARK LETTERING IS MINE - Keith Hunt
Best-sellers have appeared recently that skewer religion: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins; Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris; God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor Stenger; and God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchins.
These are very angry books, and they have sold well. They make many valid points. Consider the following quote from the Bible that Harris cites:
"If a man discovers on his wedding night that his bride is not a virgin, he must stone her to death on her father's doorstep." (Deuteronomy 22:13)
[BUT OF COURSE THESE GUYS DON’T READ ALL THE BIBLE; IF THEY DID THEY WOULD SEE THAT UPON REAL REPENTANCE GOD CAN TAKE MERCY, AS HE DID WITH KING DAVID ON HIS ADULTERY, HAVING THE HUSBAND IN THE FRONT LINES OF BATTLE, SO HE WOULD BE KILLED, AND TAKING HIS WIFE IN MARRIAGE. PUNISHABLE BY DEATH. DAVID WAS PUNISHED BUT FOR HIS REAL DEEP REPENTANCE WAS SPARED THE DEATH PENALTY - Keith Hunt]
Or let this one sink in:
"If your brother... or your son, or your daughter, or your wife, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,'... you shall not yield to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him; but you shall kill him...you shall stone him to death...." (Deuteronomy 13:6)
[ONCE MORE, UPON DEEP REPENTANCE OF THE OFFENDER, MERCY COULD BE SHOWN, AND SPARED FROM DEATH - Keith Hunt]
And one more for good measure:
"As you approach a city to fight against it, first offer it a truce. If it accepts the truce and opens its gates to you, then all its people shall become your servants. But if it refuses and will not make peace with you, you must besiege it. When the Lord your God has given it to you, kill every male in the city; but you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, cattle and booty. These instructions apply only to the distant cities, not to those in the promised land itself. For in the cities within the boundaries of the promised land itself you are to save no one; destroy every living thing. "Deuteronomy (9:3)
[SO PEOPLE WILL BE HORRIFIED AT THIS, BUT MANY OF THOSE SAME PEOPLE WILL BE FINE WITH THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF KILLING THE UNBORN EACH DAY AROUND THE WORLD, IN LEGAL ABORTIONS, FOR WHAT? “OH JUST CANNOT AFFORD A CHILD RIGHT NOW.” “OH THIS DISRUPTS MY COLLEGE LIFE.” “OH, THIS DISRUPTS MY WORKING GOALS.” OR THE GOVERNMENT SAYS YOU CANNOT HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHILD, AS CHINA DID FOR MANY YEARS, NOW I THINK THE PEOPLE CAN HAVE TWO CHILDREN.
MOST PEOPLE QUITE UNDERSTAND THAT IF A CERTAIN WHATEVER, GETS INTO CHICKEN FARMS, THOUSAND UPON THOUSANDS OF CHICKEN ARE PUT TO DEATH.
PEOPLE WHO REALLY DON’T AND NEVER DID BELIEVE THERE IS A GOD, ARE HORRIFIED AT DEUT. 9:3. BUT GOD KNOWS THINGS FAR ABOVE HUMANS, ESPECIALLY BACK IN ANCIENT ISRAEL TIMES, WITH NO SPACE AGE SCIENCE AS TODAY. OBVIOUSLY GOD KNEW THINGS ABOUT HOW EVIL AND HOW TWISTED WERE THE MINDS AND BODIES OF SOME SOCIETIES.
IN THE DAYS OF NOAH THE SOCIETY AROUND HIM HAD BECOME SO VILE, WICKED AND DEGENERATE, GOD TOLD HIM HE WAS GOING TO DESTROY IT ALL….. MAN, WOMAN, CHILD, ANIMALS.
GOD DOES NOT LOOK UPON DEATH UNDER CERTAIN SITUATIONS IN HUMAN SOCIETIES, AS WE MAY LOOK UPON IT. FOR ONE VERY GOOD REASON…. HE HAS THE POWER TO RESURRECT THOSE HUMAN BEINGS, AS HE WILL, IN THE SECOND RESURRECTION. BUT GOD HATERS AND ATHEISTS WILL NEVER SEE THIS AS THEY WILL NOT READ ALL THE BIBLE AND SEARCH FOR TRUTH. YES THESE ATHEISTS AND GOD HATERS WILL ALSO BE RESURRECTED IN THE SECOND RESURRECTION AND HAVE A CHANCE TO REPENT AND BE SAVED INTO ETERNAL LIFE - THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY VERY BLINDED AND CANNOT SEE WHAT THEY NEED TO SEE.
THEN YOU HAVE ONES, EVEN IN GOVERNMENTS AND LEADERS OF NATIONS, LIKE CANADA, WHO GO TO CHURCH, BUT THINK PUTTING TO DEATH OUT AND OUT SERIAL KILLERS, COP KILLERS, CHILD KILLERS, ALL PREMEDITATE KILLERS, SHOULD NOT BE PUT TO DEATH, BUT FED AND HOUSED FOR 25 YEARS AT TAX PAYERS EXPENSE. THESE POLITICIANS DON’T OR CAN’T READ THE BIBLE EITHER - Keith Hunt]
I am in total sympathy with Harris's view that a God who would make such laws is a reprehensible sociopath and not the kind of entity that I could conceivably worship, much less respect. And such views are not safely confined to the biblical past: Witness the barbaric slaughter of innocents in the Middle East today motivated by the expectation of a paradisical reward for the most horrendous atrocities. This is absolute craziness. I thus found myself, to my own surprise, cheering for Harris's clear and compelling expose of religious lunacy and the suffering it is causing. Harris is absolutely correct in faulting religion for intolerance, violence, and hatred, things that are the exact opposite of spirituality.
[THE AUTHOR WE HAVE SEEN IN HIS BOOKS DOES NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED, SO HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE GOD OF THE BIBLE EITHER. AND HE SHOULD SEE, BUT PROBABLY DOES NOT, THAT ALL THINGS DONE UNDER THE NAME OF GOD OR “RELIGION” IS FALSE AND SPIRITUALLY TWISTED AND DEMONIC. THE TRUE PEOPLE OF GOD, THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD HAS NEVER BEEN A PART OF THIS HORRIFIC PERSECUTION AND BLOODY KILLINGS OF PAST AGES - Keith Hunt]
But the human misuse of religion and the existence of God are two very different things.
[AMEN TO THAT! - Keith Hunt]
Just as our understanding of nature has evolved, so too should our understanding of God. But if so, where is that knowledge to come from? I suggest that it has been part of human culture and history from ancient times.
[THE AUTHOR NOW GOES INTO “SECULAR” - SOME RELIGIOUS - MIND OF MEN, THINKERS, WHICH DO HAVE SOME GOOD THOUGHTS, AS A DECENT MAN/WOMAN WOULD HAVE - Keith Hunt]
As Eckhart Tolle writes in his New Earth:
And yet... in spite of all the insane deeds perpetrated in the name of religion, the Truth to which they point still shines at their core. It still shines, however dimly, through layers upon layers of distortion and misinterpretation.
The Perennial Philosophy
Within all religions there lies a mystical stream, a repository of wisdom based on mankind's contact with something other than physical reality. It goes by the name of the Perennial Philosophy, a phrase coined by Agostino Steuco, an Italian Old Testament scholar and Catholic bishop, in a book he wrote in 1540: De Perenni Philosophia Libri X. He presented the ideas in the context of Christianity. His book was even dedicated to Pope Paul III and attempted to show that many of the ideas propounded by sages and philosophers of antiquity were in harmony with Catholic teachings.
The Perennial Philosophy was later made famous in a non-sectarian context by Gottfried Leibnitz, the 18th-century mathematical genius who discovered the binary number system, the basis of modern computer operation. (He also discovered calculus independently of Newton. Beyond mathematics he wrote so much that there is as yet no compendium of all his writing...such as his tens of thousands of letters. He was a busy man.)
The Perennial Philosophy is based on the experience of people throughout history and from many different cultures with respect to the nature of reality, the self, and the meaning and purpose of existence. It suggests universal principles underlying the world's many different religions.
The definitive modern overview is the book The Perennial Philosophy published in 1945 by Aldous Huxley. Physicist Erwin Schroedinger, one of the founders of quantum mechanics responsible for the famous wave equation at the heart of the new physics had this to say about Huxley's book.
Ten years ago, Aldous Huxley published a precious volume which he called The Perennial Philosophy and which is an anthology from the mystics of the most various periods and the most various peoples. Open it where you will and you find many beautiful utterances of a similar kind. You are struck by the miraculous agreement between humans of different race, different religion, knowing nothing about each other's existence, separated by centuries and millennia, and by the greatest distances that there are on the globe. (What is Life, 1967)
Three essential tenets of the Perennial Philosophy are:
1. The physical universe of matter is not the sole realty. Other non-physical realities exist which may contain other life-forms. Thus the material world is a shadow of a greater reality not directly perceivable by the physical senses. It is interesting that this concept is potentially compatible with string and M-theories that are at the forefront of modern physics, since those theories necessarily involve other dimensions that may have radically different sets of laws.
[OH THERE IS INDEED ANOTHER NON-PHYSICAL WORLD OUT THERE… THE WORLD OF SPIRIT …. OF GOD, CHRIST, ANGELS, SATAN, AND DEMONS - Keith Hunt]
2. Our human nature has both a material side subject to physical laws, birth, and death, as well as a non-material immortal spirit or soul, which is actually the more essential side because it is made of the same stuff as the ultimate source, which is generally regarded as God.
[HERE THE AUTHOR GETS INTO THE IMMORTAL SOUL IDEA, WHICH IT IS OBVIOUS HE BELIEVES IN WHEN EXPLAINING AND EXPANDING ON HIS “GOD THEORY” IDEA. BUT IT IS TRUE HUMANKIND DOES HAVE WHAT THE BIBLE CALLS “THE SPIRIT IN MAN” THAT DOES GO BACK TO GOD ON DEATH - ECC. 12: 9. I HAVE EXPOUNDED THIS TEACHING OF THE BIBLE IN A FULL IN-DEPTH STUDY, UNDER “LIFE, DEATH AND RESURRECTION” STUDY #7 - Keith Hunt]
3. All humans possess a capacity to intuitively perceive the true multifaceted nature of ourselves and the greater reality. Attuning to this perception is an essential goal of human life, but unfortunately is generally dormant in most human beings (that being the reason that the world is in such a sad state).
[THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID, IN THE FIRST CHAPTER OF ROMANS, WHEN THEY KNEW GOD THEY GLORIFIED HIM NOT AS GOD, BUT WORSHIPPED THE CREATION AND NOT THE CREATOR, SO GOD GAVE THEM UP TO THEIR VILE IMAGINATIONS. SOME OF COURSE BROUGHT UP UNDER CERTAIN SITUATIONS, NOT BEING TAUGHT ABOUT GOD AND HIS WORD, DID LIVE A GOOD LIFE OFTEN WITHIN THE LAWS OF GOD, THEIR OWN MIND KNOWING SOME WAYS TO LIVE THAT WOULD PRODUCE A GOOD, HAPPY, PEACEFUL LIFE. PAUL ALSO TALKED ABOUT THAT IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS…. THE GOOD CONSCIENCE OF SOME - Keith Hunt]
The essentials of Perennial Philosophy were written down more than 25 centuries ago in India and are to be found in the mystical streams of all religions, including Christianity.
[YES THE GOOD CONSCIENCE OF VARIOUS PEOPLES, WHICH JUST NATURALLY WOULD INCLUDE SOME OF THE ALWS OF GOD. MOST TRIBES OF PEOPLE KNOW IF YOU GO OUT AND KILL OTHER PEOPLE FROM ANOTHER TRIBE OR NATION, YOU AIN’T GOING TO HAVE PEACE, BUT WAR - Keith Hunt]
But if we have such ability, why is it dormant? It appears that to activate the power to directly and immediately apprehend this greater reality certain conditions are required:
making oneself loving, pure of heart, and poor in spirit. The latter rather quaint phrase "poor in spirit" can be defined as being devoid of pride, envy, and lust while appreciating, respecting, and making good use of the things we are "blessed" with, especially if they can be used to benefit others. It means not having undue attachment to things, not basing our identity on our possessions.
[AND I’M SURE THE AUTHOR IS NOT REACHING BACK INTO HIS CATHOLIC SEMINARY TIME, CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY - WITHOUT SAYING IT - Keith Hunt]
Why should such conditions be necessary? As Huxley writes: "Why should this be so? We do not know. It is just one of those facts which we have to accept, whether we like them or not and however implausible and unlikely they may seem." Western civilization today being more obsessed than ever with the creation and acquisition of wealth and the things money can buy, it is little wonder that the ability to see beyond our physical realm is widely dormant and officially even unrecognized by mainstream society.
The requirements of being loving, pure of heart, and poor in spirit in order to directly tap into spiritual information rather immediately also explains why all too many religious leaders are not even cognizant of spiritual facts, even though that should be their "line of business." If you preach hate against those not on your side, you will not satisfy the prerequisite of being loving. That is a sure obstacle to direct perception of a spiritual reality.
[AND THE NEW TESTAMENT SHOWS OVER AND OVER AGAIN WE ARE TO BE HATERS OF NO PEOPLE - HATE SIN, BUT LOVE PEOPLE - Keith Hunt]
A pure heart is one that is free from contamination. Dislike, intolerance, or hatred of others leads to a heart that is not pure in that sense, and so yet another blinder is in place for those who would hate. And arguably a third strike comes about on the "poor in spirit" pitch, for the reason that the well-being of others, which is part of being poor in spirit, is not enhanced by hatred.
Intellectual pride would also be incompatible with the "poor in spirit" requirement. Indeed, even without falling into an excess of pride, I suspect that an overemphasis on the intellect alone would probably be a major obstacle…. and might well explain why the author of this book does not, alas, have direct perception.
[THE AUTHOR IS HERE PRETTY WELL TALKING ABOUT CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY IN ITS PURE STATE - Keith Hunt]
It is also the case that the mindset and openness to other realities that leads to the ability to perceive a non-physical reality is generally at odds with the scientific mentality. Although it is not impossible for a scientist to experience such things, the cards are stacked against it. This can lead to the glib conclusion on the part of scientists that the Perennial Philosophy is purely subjective imagination, and to some degree this is probably the majority opinion of modern scientists.
Eddington and Einstein
Perhaps the most noteworthy exception in modern times is Sir Arthur Eddington. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the early 20th century. In 1919, he led the eclipse expedition to Principe, an island off the coast of Africa, that made a crucial test of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. This observation proved to be among the most important in the history of science. It provided the clinching evidence for one of the truly revolutionary ideas of all time: that space is curved, or more precisely, spacetime.
For over two centuries Newton's theory of gravity as a force operating in a flat space was a tremendous success. The orbits of the planets in the Solar System followed Newton's theory with amazing precision (apart from a minor discrepancy in the case of the planet Mercury).
A flat space is the one we ordinarily experience and think in terms of. It is defined by the property that parallel lines stay parallel no matter how far they stretch off into the distance. They always keep the same separation from each other. They never come together, they never diverge. This is the common-sense view we have of ordinary space and goes by the name of Euclidean geometry after the Greek philosopher and father of geometry, Euclid, who formulated geometry more than 2,000 years ago. Until the mid-19th century no one thought that any other geometry was even possible. But it was. Mathematicians such as the German Bernhard Riemann demonstrated the theoretical possibility of spaces whose dimensions are curved. In some of these geometries lines that are parallel intersect each other elsewhere.
In 1915 Einstein published a theory of gravity now known as the General Theory of Relativity. It is called that because it extends, and hence is more general than his earlier work on the laws of moving objects known as Special Relativity. In Einstein's theory, gravity is not a force at all. It is a manifestation of the curvature of space (to be precise, spacetime together).
Although the concepts underlying Newtonian gravity and Einsteinian gravity were as different as day and night, one being a force, the other a curvature of space itself, the differences between known observations was miniscule. As it turned out, the curvature of space could be directly measured...but only during an eclipse of the Sun. At such a time the curvature of space produced by the Sun should be measurable by looking at the positions of stars on either side of the Sun. They could only be seen in that position, though, when the brilliant light of the Sun was blocked out by the Moon during an eclipse. This is shown in Figure 5. The light from two stars in the sky is bent—because space itself is curved—when the Sun happens to lie inbetween the two light beams.
The idea was to take a precise photograph—on rigid glass plates—of the stars in a region of the sky where the Sun would be during an eclipse and to very carefully measure the stars in that field on a plate taken without the Sun present versus one taken when the Sun was present and the stars visible thanks to the eclipse. If Einstein's theory was correct, the stars nearest the Sun—nearest meaning adjacent in the sky, the actual distances from both the Earth and Sun would be enormous, but not relevant—would be slightly shifted from their normal pattern.
In 1915, when Einstein first published his theory, World War I was raging. It would go on for three more years. When it ended in 1918, British Astronomer Royal Sir Frank Dyson began preparing for the next available eclipse, on May 29, 1919, to test Einstein's theory. He recruited Arthur Eddington, Plumian Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge, to lead a scientific expedition into the path of the total eclipse. Dyson was close to Eddington because Eddington, as a Quaker and pacifist, had nearly been forced into conscientious objector labor during the War, but Dyson had arranged for a deferment, allowing the brilliant Eddington to continue his research. Apparently in return for this, Eddington had to agree to lead a trek to the island of Principe, off the coast of West Africa, near the center of the eclipse track where the duration would be the longest. A second team, led by Dr. A.C.D. Crommelin of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich would be dispatched to Sobral, not far from the port of Fortaleza in Brazil where the eclipse would show itself about an hour earlier but with somewhat shorter duration.
The maximum duration of a solar eclipse is seven and a half minutes. The eclipse on Principe would last five minutes and two seconds. Fortuitously the Sun would be seen against a field containing the rich Hyades cluster of stars. This would provide ample targets whose positions could be measured from plates taken during the eclipse and compared to plates taken months earlier or later when the same star field was visible at night.
Unfortunately as the date of the eclipse approached, things did not look promising. For most days leading up to the eclipse...it rained! As the eclipse began on May 29 clouds partially covered the Sun. Eddington and his assistant, a Mr. E.T. Cunningham, furiously exposed the large glass photographic plates. They managed to obtain 16 altogether, ranging in exposure from two to 20 seconds. But it was really only the final plate that showed fairly good images of five stars.
Most of the Sobral plates developed in Brazil did not look promising either. But some of the plates taken with a four-inch lens were only developed back in England. One of the plates showed good images of seven stars.
Einstein's theory predicted that starlight grazing the surface of the Sun would be deflected by 1.75 seconds of arc (less than the width of a human hair held at arm's length). The analysis Eddington and his colleagues carried out in England showed a deflection of 1.61 seconds of arc from the Principe plate and 1.98 seconds of arc from the Sobral plate, nicely bracketing the Einstein prediction.
The final results were presented by Sir Frank Dyson at a meeting of the prestigious Royal Society of London. From there the news quickly telegraphed around the world. The New York Times, in the style of the day, had headlines and subheadlines on the front page of November 10,1919.
With respect to the headline about this being a "book for 12 wise men," a kind of urban legend, which I myself heard as a graduate student, was that Eddington was asked by a reporter whether it was true that only three men understood relativity. Eddington is said to have replied: "I can't think of who the third one would be."
Einstein achieved instant fame around the world when the eclipse measurement story came out in the New York Times and elsewhere. Being the leader of the observing team, Eddington would have achieved considerable fame from this alone.
But it is for good reason that Subraman-yan Chandrasekhar, a Nobel-prize-winning astrophysicist himself of legendary stature, published a book in 1982 on the hundredth anniversary of Eddington's birth entitled: Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of his Time. For indeed, after proving Einstein's General Relativity to be correct, Eddington took on the daunting task in 1923 of writing the first textbook thoroughly explaining and developing Einstein's theory in 260 pages of dense tensor calculus (which I had the mixed pleasure of using myself decades later as a graduate student). And if that was not enough, only three years after that, he published the landmark The Internal Constitution of the Stars which effectively created the field of study of the structure and evolution of stars.
Eddington was well rewarded for this hard work and genius. In the 1930s and 1940s his name was a household word in the English-speaking world thanks to the numerous popular articles he wrote bringing astronomy to the general public, and his awards included five medals; a crater on the moon and an asteroid named for him; presidency of the Royal Astronomical Society and later of the International Astronomical Union; and of course that ultimate British mark of distinction: a knighthood.
Eddington and His Inner Light
Eddington spent his life trying to bring together science and spirituality.
As discussed by astronomer Alan Batten a few years ago in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society: "He (Eddington) was trying to reconcile, or even unite, the two most important things in his life: the excitement of scientific research and the profundity of his own mystical experience. In each realm alike, he saw himself as a seeker led by an 'Inner Light.'"
Batten claims that it is hard to tell from Eddington's writings which was more important to him: his scientific research or his spiritual experiences. It is evident from his writings that he had some sorts of personal mystical experiences. Eddington saw himself primarily as a seeker. About this seeking he wrote:
We seek the truth: but if some voice told us that a few years more would see the end of our journey, that the clouds of uncertainty would be dispersed, and that we should perceive the whole truth about the physical Universe, the tidings would by no means be joyful In science as in religion the truth shines ahead as a beacon showing us the path; we do not ask to attain it; it is better far that we be permitted to seek. (Science and the Unseen World, 1929)
He came to the conclusion that "ultimate reality" was spiritual in nature and that the laws of nature were the creation of spirit or mind. His view was that particles and quanta were only manifestations in the scientific world of some deeper, mainly inscrutable reality.
He expressed belief in a personal God and placed a high value on "mystical religion." But in fact what he termed "religion" was essentially a non-sectarian spirituality. Eddington's Quaker religion after all has no creed, no dogma, not even any paid clergy or formal service. There is thus hardly any difference between the "religion of Quakerism" and simply being spiritual but areligious.
Eddington was criticised by the professional philosophers of the time on the grounds that his metaphysical writings were inconsistent, obscure, or even logically flawed. Examined from a rigorous academic point of view, such criticisms could be more or less valid. Remember, though, that unlike Eddington's science, which was of paramount rigor and precision, his metaphysical writings were of a popular nature, not intended for scholarly examination and dissection.
But this kind of criticism from professional philosophers actually illustrates the point Aldous Huxley makes in his introduction to The Perennial Philosophy.
Addressing the requisite conditions for direct experience of "higher realities"—making oneself loving, pure of heart, and poor in spirit—he notes that: "In regard to few professional philosophers and men of letters is there any evidence that they did very much in the way of fulfilling the necessary conditions of direct spiritual knowledge."
Eddington appears to have been the sort of individual who to some extent did fulfill those conditions and thus actually tapped a direct mystical source: his "inner light," which was the basis of what he tried to convey. He drew insights from his experiences, and that these lacked the requirements of philosophical rigor says more about the sterility of that rigor than about any failing on Eddington's part. The criticism by one major philosopher that Eddington's philosophy was a generation out of date with the trend in philosophical thinking is telling. The Perennial Philosophy had better not change from one generation to another. The criticism of Eddington by the philosophers reinforces Huxley's point.
Eddington was still at the height of his career when he published Science and the Unseen World in 1929. In it he wrote:
Are we, in pursuing the mystical outlook, facing the hard facts of experience? Surely we are. I think that those who would wish to take cognisance of nothing but the measurements of the scientific world made by our sense-organs are shirking one of the most immediate facts of experience, namely that consciousness is not wholly, nor even primarily a device for receiving sense-impressions.
It was a bold thing to do, to publicly express the view that there is another realm, or perhaps more likely other realms, of reality beyond the physical universe.
The Universe begins to look more like a Great Thought than like a great machine
Britain's two best known astronomers in the 1930s and 1940s were Eddington and Sir James Jeans. Together they gave Britain a prominent position in cosmology—the study of the nature of the Universe—which still persists today. Jeans' contributions to astrophysics were in the areas of quantum theory, electromagnetic radiation, and the evolution of stars.
Jeans was five years older than Eddington and retired from active research in 1929 at the young age of 54. From that point on he became a popularizer of astronomy both in terms of scientific discovery and philosophical implications. Jeans and Eddington thereby acquired substantial influence as popular interpreters of the nature of the Universe, and even though they did not collaborate, their parallel writings with similar perspectives wound up reinforcing each other.
They held similar views with respect to the existence of a non-physical reality, Eddington using the term "spiritual" and Jeans using the term "mental" but both meaning approximately the same thing.
Their writings came across as showing that new 20th-century discoveries in physics and astrophysics were much more supportive of a belief in God than the 19th-century views dominated by Darwin's evolution and Newton's physics.
Taken together classical Newtonian physics and evolution implied that human beings are nothing more than machines originating by chance and devoid even of free will. This thankfully changes entirely in light of 20th-century quantum physics, but the best scientific knowledge of the 19th century painted a bleak picture indeed of human nature.
A strict interpretation of Newton's physics implies that free will is an illusion, because in the mechanistic view of matter, every single thing that happens now is based on what happened previously, down to the most minute level. From that perspective even our own actions, every breath we take or word we utter, is preordained from the configuration of everything that went before.
In that sense a Mozart symphony could be traced back to the dust of the ancient earth: every note could have been predicted a billion years ago by a super intelligence capable of taking into account where every atom in the universe was located and with what velocity it was moving at any given instant.
Even T.H. Huxley, the hard-nosed naturalist known as Darwin's bulldog for his aggressive defense of Darwin's theory of evolution in the 1860s—and, ironically, grandfather of Aldous Huxley— alluded to the "19th century nightmare" of complete determinism. As astronomer Alan Batten writes in his article on Eddington, "If the motions of our bodies are determined by all that has gone before, the questions of whether we are determined by our genes, our upbringing and environment, or even the grace of God, are all academic."
With the coming of quantum mechanics and its inherent uncertainty, free will was no longer in blatant contradiction of physics. Both Eddington and Jeans had strong opinions about the existence of free will, and their views gave the impression that science and spirituality were compatible after all.
Unlike Eddington, Jeans seems not to have been a mystic in the experiential sense. He was greatly influenced by quantum ideas. In his book, The Mysterious Universe, Jeans wrote:
Again we may think of the laws to which phenomena conform…. the laws of nature, as the laws of thought of a universal mind… the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.
Although their scientific careers are now many decades in the past, Eddington and Jeans were certainly scientists in the modern sense. I imagine both would be perfectly capable of getting up to speed today and contributing to the forefront of science because the basic concepts have not changed that much. General Relativity still governs the Universe and quantum physics has been greatly elaborated and developed but is still fundamentally the same theory developed in the Eddington-Jeans era. Their metaphysical views cannot be dismissed on the grounds that they did not sufficiently understand or appreciate the scientific worldview.
And as to the criticisms by the philosophers that neither man was philosophically au courant, I would, in the case of Eddington, take his direct mystical experience as a better indicator of true knowledge than the scholarly logic of the professionals.
The discovery that our universe appears to be finely tuned would almost certainly have been welcome news— but probably not a great surprise—to Sir Arthur Eddington and Sir James Jeans.
SO WE SEE THAT SOME GREAT AND FAMOUS SCIENTISTS DO AND DID BELIEVE IN AN INTELLIGENT MIND, BEHIND THE UNIVERSE, CALL THAT MIND “GOD” OR WHATEVER, BUT A POWER BEYOND THE PHYSICAL, MADE, BROUGHT INTO BEING, AND UPHOLDS, THIS UNIVERSE.
THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK WOULD NOT AGREE WITH ME, BUT THIS GOD BEING HAVING THE POWER TO MAKE THIS UNIVERSE, ALSO HAS THE POWER TO TALK TO US, TO GIVE US HIS WORD, BY INSPIRING MEN TO WRITE IT DOWN, AND PRESERVE IT, IN THE BOOK CHRISTIANS CALL “THE HOLY BIBLE.”