As Raymond Tallis points out over at The Guardian, philosophy is one tough bird to kill—even the question-begging broadside of Stephen Hawking and his reductionistic hunting party can’t quite bring her down. In fact, says Tallis, the very people who deny the relevance of their field need the help of metaphysicians now more than ever:
There could not be a worse time for philosophers to surrender the baton of metaphysical inquiry to physicists. Fundamental physics is in a metaphysical mess and needs help. The attempt to reconcile its two big theories, general relativity and quantum mechanics, has stalled for nearly 40 years. Endeavours to unite them, such as string theory, are mathematically ingenious but incomprehensible even to many who work with them. This is well known.
Edward Feser offers some illuminating commentary on the three problems confronting physicists pointed to by Tallis: consciousness, time, and the coming-to-be of the universe. Each of these phenomena poses problems to the philosophical materialism and naturalism adopted (often unreflectively) by prominent atheist physicists. Feser locates the insulating fallacy that keeps one such atheist comfortable with his failed philosophical presuppositions:
Every question worth asking can be answered by naturalism; so those questions that naturalism can’t answer must not really be questions worth asking. Nothing to see here, move along please.