(Died: March 1, 2002)
"One of the staunchest supporters of the Normal Realisy philosophy was Alan Montague Smart, who, very sadly, died suddenly, at the age of sixty-four, only weeks prior to the second Swansea Workshop which he was due to attend.
"From the very emergence of the ideas which led to the synthesis that has now been named POAMS, Alan was privy to every stage in its development. As atelecommunications engineer, and friend and colleague of Viv Pope in that profession, Alan came to agree that a paradigm shift from a mechanics-based to an information-based physics is essential. His final conviction, in this regard, was that all our knowledge of nature stems not form the physis of traditional atomism but from a logos of informational data, the ultimate irreducible unit of which is Planck's action-quantum h.
"As a student of theology (he had been a pupil at Swansea Bible College), Alan was critical of the tacit 'God's-eye-view' that underlies contemporary physics - as implicit, for instance, in Einstein's famous rejection of quantum uncertainty in the words, 'God does not play dice'. Alan emphasized to us the distinction theologians make between deism and theism. As he explained, deism is the incipient belief, especially among physicists, in a deity which they envisage as a Cosmical Machine-Designer whose primordial, first and only act was to provide the determinate mechanical 'Laws of Nature', divined by the likes of Galileo and Newton, by which - so the deists believe - the whole future of the universe and all life in it are predetermined. Theism, in contrast, is a belief in an information-transacting deity, to whom supplication, in the form of prayer, may be contemplated without logical contradiction. The standard conception of a fundamental conflict between Science and Religion, therefore, as Alan saw it, is a fallacy. The real conflict, he argued, is not between scientific reason and religious belief but, implicitly, between two forms of religious belief, namely, scientific deism on the one hand and theism on the other, leaving no question of any rationally sustainable position of 'atheism'..." - "Vivian Pope, "Tribute to Alan Smart", in Immediate Distant Action and Correlation in Modern Physics: The Balanced Universe, Edwin Mellon Press (2005).