"1.Presuming you have a science background, may I ask, what is your branch of science?"

I'm a non-scientist, Rev. I'm not exactly a 'Jack of all Trades', either; rather a '7 or 8 of also rans' grin

Like a good many others, I've spent a great part of my life attempting to skim the surface of human knowledge. Had I felt that I could have skilfully plumbed the depths, then I would have been eager to do so. I know sufficient to recognise the awe inspiring potential of the human intellect as it expresses itself in the few, and I place a very high value on their methodology and assiduous dedication to the advancement of science. At this stage in our history, the survival and progress of our species, and the sustainability of this small planet's biosphere depend very largely upon their continuing efforts.

"2.If you are a scientist, is it your opinion that we delude ourselves in even trying to think about, let alone understand, what the void, the vacuum, the nothingness into which the universe is expanding, the space between atomic particles, the absolute within and beyond things, is?

As I said, I'm not a scientist; but I'll offer an opinion if you like.

"3. Are physicists who propose the string theory physicists? Or are they theologians/philosophers?"

My understanding is that they are best described as mathematical physicists. That is they make profound statements and create far reaching hypotheses about the physical world using the rigorous language of very advanced and abstruse mathematics. This requires neither theology nor philosophy, but that in itself doesn't preclude theologians and philosophers from being string theorists. smile

"4. In your opinion, is the study of metaphysics, including the study of the meaning, purpose and why of things, a waste of time?"

Speaking for myself, "study" in relation to "metaphysics, including the study of the meaning, purpose and why of things", is not an applicable word. I don't consider contemplation and meditation to be a waste of time. However, the insight and understanding involved is not directly communicable, and is inaccessible via objective study.

"5. "Not accountable to others"? Surely you are not saying that it does not matter what one believes?"

When a mind has discovered an answer to the fundamental metaphysical question, "why", that mind does not need to account to others for how that answer was derived. That is quite a different matter from "belief", which so often appears to involve insincerity, delusion and a distortion of objective reality that results in conflict and suffering.

"6. What about the collective mind? Is it of no consequence?"

It may be of enormous consequence.

"7. Are scientists nothing more than clever computer-like mechanics?"

Scientists are people.

"8. Do scientists have any moral obligations?"

No less than others.

"9. Are you familiar with the work of Nikola Tesla?"

Some of it.
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler