the god delusion et al , Good, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1415)

Jan 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Dawkins,

Belatedly, I have read “the god delusion” and some other of your works with the greatest admiration and gratitude. It makes such a change to read objective reasoning in an area which for centuries has relied on myth, hypothesis and plain falsehood. Why should the religion which anybody professes to embrace be respected, any more than the fantasies of a lunatic who imagines himself to be Napoleon? I do not expect anyone to respect, never mind necessarily agree with my atheism, and am not in the least put out by the scorn with which some regard it. If others choose to believe in a god, a flat earth or any other dotty notion I do not see why I, or anyone else, should profess respect for such a concept.

It is very curious how many seemingly intelligent people claim belief in something with not a shred of hard evidence to support it, but pontificate on the subject as though it were fact. Moreover the “authorised version” of that branch of mythology is accepted without any question as to who authorised it or on what authority. My guess is that a lot of medieval monks wrote what they thought it ought to say, with little concern as to whether it made any sense or not. Such occasional lunacies as “…. a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (or whatever) as for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” Apart from the apparent assumption that the possession of wealth is in some way sinful, the patent idiocy of the passage is such that it should never have seen the light of day. My understanding of it is that it was “translated” from the Greek, where apparently “kamelos” means camel and “kamilos” means rope, and the translator misssed a trick, and produced a translation rather more possible but no less stupid.

On a different tack entirely I have quite an interest, albeit a largely uncomprehending one, in the published accounts of an increasing number of theories concerning the universe as a whole, and my understanding is that there is some sort of anomaly in that the known total of matter in the universe is insufficient to hold it together due to insufficient gravitational pull, or at least that seems to me to be the gist. At all events it has seemingly been necessary to invent “dark matter”, invisible and undetectable, to account for the shortfall, rather on the lines of the “ether” a few decades ago.

I am sure that my fuzzy theory must have occurred to better minds than mine, but I recall from physics at school that all gases decrease by 1/273rd of the original volume for every degree centigrade of cooling, finally becoming nothing, unless the gas liquefies first, a potential contradiction of the law of conservation of matter. As outer space seems to exist at absolute zero could it be possible that there are gases, unknown to us, which do not liquefy when cooled, and ultimately vanish at minus 273’C? If such is the case might they retain mass even if techniucally non-existent, and provide some sort of explanation of the shortage of matter in the universe? If the universe is stranger than we CAN imagine might that be one of a number of imponderables?

I apologise if that is all old hat, or as ridiculous as camels and ropes, but I have long wanted to put it to a physicist just in case it might have some merit.

Sincerely yours,
John Sarjeant.

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