In the post that was all mine, I quoted one of the great scientists of the previous century, who said, basically, that science cannot tell us why science works. That scientist, Richard Feynman, was not, so far as I know, a believer in a personal God of any sort. (I have read a couple of biographies of Feynman, and they don't mention or suggest such belief.) I would paraphrase Ferguson thus: "There are things that science cannot explain, or that are outside the legitimate realm of science." Does this prove that God exists? No. Does it mean that God must be invoked to explain why science works, or why science frequently seems to succeed when it follows a quest for elegance? I don't think so.
I continue with chapter three of Ferguson.
On her page 74, Ferguson says that, if there is a God, that, in itself, means that there are, most likely, limits to what science can discover.
She goes on to say that God might be better served by trying to prove He does not exist, and failing to do so, than by attempting scientific proof that he does. She draws a parallel with the Big Bang theory, which, originally, was not believed by most scientists. However, that previous disbelief, and the fact that the main evidence for the Big Bang was discovered by scientists who were not looking for such evidence, are now powerful arguments for an initial Big Bang.
Then, writes Ferguson:
A Brief History of Time [by Stephen Hawking] and The Blind Watchmaker [by Richard Dawkins] are two of the finest books ever written for the popular science audience, and both authors seem obsessed with God. Whether or not it is true, both give the impression that the fact that the scientific theory they are writing about erases our need for a God is far more reason for celebrating than the fact that the theory makes a new part of this mysterious universe accessible to human beings. This can't be called a religiously neutral point of view. Science, for Hawking and Dawkins, is not essentially Godless. (p. 76).
In her acknowledgments section, Ferguson thanks both Hawking and Dawkins (and others) for reading and commenting on parts of The Fire in the Equations. She doesn't indicate what parts they read, or what they said about her manuscript.
If Ferguson had written later, she might, or might not, have considered The God Delusion by Dawkins. That book, published after hers, is about what you might expect from its title.
I have read both of the books cited by Ferguson. It's been a while. However, my impression is that her assessment is correct. Both of these important writers do seem to celebrate erasing the need for a God. The later book by Dawkins certainly does.
On page 79, the author puts out an interesting idea. Many people, including, I suppose, most scientists who have thought about the question "why do we have the ability to do science?" believe that our thinking ability is present because it has been selected for. That is, our ancestors must have been able to think, and in ways that helped them to survive and produce viable offspring, more than their peers who weren't able to think as well. Not only that, but even the type of thinking that we do must have been selected for, at least in part, for the same reason. Ferguson suggests that, should there be any intelligent life forms on other planets, they might also be able to think, but might have been selected, because of differences in their environment, in a way different from humans. That, she supposes, might make their science, should they have any, rather different than ours.
I understand that some readers might disagree seriously with the idea that the ability to think, or the way we think, may be the way they are in us humans, at least partly, because of natural selection. But most scientists, especially non-Christian ones, believe it, if they have thought about the question.
On page 84, Ferguson says the following:
Ferguson goes on to say that if such an explanation was forthcoming, for any of these matters, we would still not be sure that it was the only possible explanation. She does not claim, as I see it, that the lack of explanation in these areas proves the existence of God.
This, for now at least, concludes my published musings on Chapter 3 of The Fire in the Equations. Thanks for reading. I expect to continue the series.