John Allen Paulos is Professor of Mathematics at Temple University. He has been celebrated as a writer and speaker about the importance of mathematical literacy, although he is also drawn to other related subjects, such as the mathematical basis of humor. He is the author of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences, as well as A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper and A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market. His latest book is Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up.
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, John Allen Paulos explores some classical proof of God’s existence, and why he discounts them. He criticizes some mathematical proofs for theism, including those based on statistics, and explains how free market economics might challenge Intelligent Design theory. He also details why it is important for the non-mathematician to know math, and how mathematics might be beautiful.