Should there be a Nobel Prize in comedy? If so, Sir Harry Kroto might win a double. Winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the seventies, Harry Kroto has held a number of distinguished positions and has been a strong spokesperson for the new atheism and humanism. On his website, which he designs himself ( i.e. totally determined by simple natural laws) he gives a summary of his Nobel Prize speech. Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:
“The illogical excuses, involving concepts such as free will(!), convoluted into confusing arguments by clerics and other self-appointed guardians of universal morality, have always seemed to me to be just so much fancy (or actually clumsy) footwork devised to explain why the fascinating and beautifully elegant world I live in operates exactly the way one would expect it to in the absence of a mystical power. Of course the excuses have been honed and polished over millennia to retain a hold over those unwilling or unable to accept that, as a Croatian friend of mine once neatly put it, “When you’ve had it you’ve had it”.
… I have very serious personal problems when confronted by individuals, organisations and regimes which do not accept that these freedoms are fundamental human rights. (…) I believe in a secular, democratic society in which women and men have total equality, and individuals can pursue their lives as they wish, free of constraints – religious or otherwise.”
Kroto shares the new atheist fondness of arguing both for and against free will. In the same three paragraphs he also manages to argue both for and against objective morality and claims that theists are actually atheistic. He also provides arguably the most creative empirical disproof of God in the whole genre, (involving a croissant and a very edgy Harry Kroto):
“Once while my father and I were fasting, I remember my mother having some warm croissants – and did they smell good! I decided to have one too – ostensibly a heinous crime. I waited for a 10 ton “Monty Python” weight to fall on my head! It didn’t. Some would see this lack of retribution as proof of a merciful God (or that I was not really Jewish because my mother wasn’t), but I drew the logical (Occam’s razor) conclusion that there was “nothing” there.”
Bonus points for Occam’s razor.