Devout Sceptics: Conversations on Faith and Doubt with Bel Mooney
Paul Davies

Peter S. Williams

British born physicist Paul Davies [1] (1946-) is Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Adelaide, and has gained an international reputation through his science writing for the general public.  His monograph Quantum Fields in Curved Space (co-authored with former student Nicholas Birrell) remains a seminal text on quantum gravity.  Among his popular works are: God and the New Physics, The Cosmic Blueprint, The Mind of God, The Last Three Minutes, About Time, Are We Alone? and The Fifth Miracle: the search for the origin of life.  In 1995, Davies received the Templeton prize for his contribution to the dialogue between science and religion. [2]

Davies appears to have a love-hate relationship with theism, finding belief in design and underlying cosmic rationality a more plausible interpretation of the scientific data than the atheistic naturalism of scientists like Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins, but nevertheless feeling so uncomfortable with theism that he dismisses miracles (and so historical revelation) out of hand and qualifies his talk of ‘meaning’, ‘purpose’ and ‘God’ near to the point of ontological evaporation.  Yet he holds out hope for the possibility of a mystical revelatory experience that brings knowledge from beyond the reach of science.

Asking the right questions of the wrong subject

Davies relates that he ‘first got into science by pondering what we might call the deep questions of existence.  Like all young people, I used to lie awake at night worrying. . . “What am I doing here?  What will happen when I die?  How did the universe begin?  Will it go on forever?  Does space go on forever?  What is time?”  All these things used to bother me. . . and these things still bother me.  I did see my scientific work as a way of tackling these great questions of existence. . .’ (p. 47-48.)  Science might unearth data that is relevant to forming and answer to these questions, but the hope that science alone will actually answer them is, on the whole, a category error on Davies’ part.  Most of the questions he lists are not scientific questions at all, but philosophical questions.

Science is in principle incapable of answering questions about purpose.  It will inevitably end up answering purpose questions in terms of what’s rather than why’s (Question: ‘What am I doing here?’  Scientific what’s: ‘Metabolising, Respiring, etc.’ Philosophical why’s: ‘Achieving a goal, serving God, etc’).  Can science tell us what happens to us after die?  If a human being is nothing but a complicated physical system then science can certainly tell us what happens to the no-longer-functioning parts of a human body once it is dead.  But science cannot tell us that a human being is nothing but a complicated physical system, because such a conclusion is unavoidably philosophical.  Science can tell us how the universe began physically, but not metaphysically.  Science can tell us whether or not the universe will continue to expand from the ‘Big Bang’ ad infinitum, but only on the assumption that either God hasn’t got other plans for His creation or that God doesn’t exist, and neither assumption is scientific.  In sum, it seems from Davies introductory remarks that his motivation for taking up a career in science is somewhat misplaced.  He asks the right questions, but looks to the wrong subject for answers.  It appears that despite Davies’ dedication to asking philosophical questions and to treating theology as a serious subject, he can’t quite leave behind the assumptions that define the naturalistic or scientistic worldview.

Davies tries to clarify the relationship between science and philosophy:

if you are a biologist and you get stuck, you might go to a chemist. . .  If a chemist gets stuck, you might go to a physicist.  If you’re a physicist and get stuck, there’s nowhere to go except theology, because physics is the most basic science. . .  It deals with the fundamental laws of nature.  And that inevitably prompts us to ask questions like: “Why those laws?  Where have they come from?  Why are they mathematical?  What does it mean?  Could they be different?”  Clearly these are questions on the borderline between science and philosophy, or science and theology. (p. 48.)

Rather, these are questions that the scientific data naturally raise, but which science is incapable of answering.  Davies says that: ‘scientists are now tackling those age-old questions of existence which for years lay beyond the scope of science. . .’  (p. 48.)  Historically, Science has indeed expanded the intellectual territory over which it presides.  For example, questions about the spatial geography of the heavens (e.g. ‘Do planets move in perfect circles?’) were once more a matter of Greek philosophical assumptions (‘Yes’) than scientific observation and empirical theory testing (‘No, they move in ellipses’); but the transmutation of natural philosophy into science does not imply that all philosophy is really nothing but a place holder for science, or that science is therefore competent to pronounce on all philosophical issues.  As Davies says: ‘it may be hubris to suppose we scientists are going to come up with the answers, but at least we are thinking about those things.’ (p. 48.)  When a scientist thinks about such matters, they don’t do so qua scientist, but as a philosophical layman with better than average access to relevant scientific data.  Such voices as Davies’ are nevertheless useful contributors to the dialogue between the natural and theological sciences, as recognized by the Templeton Prize. [3]

Taking theology seriously

Davies affirms: ‘I do take seriously the dialogue between science and religion, and spend a lot of time talking to scholarly ministers of religion, and philosophers of religion too.’ (p. 49.)  This refreshing respect for the work of philosophers of religion and theologians began when Davies ‘found books in the library that were dealing with theological issues in the same manner that mathematicians deal with geometrical theorems.  I thought at that stage that there is obviously more intellectual depth to this subject than I had previously believed, and that it would be worth studying, rather more carefully, the various arguments for the existence of God: the cosmological argument. . . design argument and so on. . .’ (p. 49.) [4] It is encouraging to see a non-Christian scientist recognizing that there are scholarly ministers and believing philosophers of religion, and that theology is an intellectually respectable subject deserving of a seat at the modern academic table.

Davies acknowledges that, historically speaking, science owes a debt of gratitude to both philosophy and religion: ‘Science came out of. . . on the one hand, Greek philosophy. . . and, on the other hand, the tradition that began in Judaism – the belief that we live in a created world, that the universe isn’t ruled by a committee, it’s not arbitrary or absurd.’ (p. 51.)  Davies points out that: ‘All the early scientists, such as Newton and Galileo, were religious. . .  They saw their scientific studies as uncovering God’s handiwork in nature.’ (p. 51.)  This is a philosophical perspective that continues to inform the work of many present day scientists: ‘According to this way of thinking, the universe has been set up by a deity – a designer-being – brought into existence a finite time ago, and ordered according to a definite scheme; and furthermore, that as history unfolds, humans form part of that scheme.’ (p. 51.)

Davies appears to have a love-hate relationship with the theistic worldview, finding belief in design and underlying cosmic rationality a more plausible interpretation of the scientific data than the atheistic naturalism of scientists like Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins, but nevertheless feeling so uncomfortable with fully-fledged theism that he dismisses miracles (and so historical revelation) out of hand and qualifies away his talk of ‘meaning’, ‘purpose’ and ‘God’ near to the point of ontological evaporation.  Yet he holds out hope for the possibility of a mystical revelatory experience that brings knowledge from beyond the reach of science.

Science and the debt to religion

Theistic belief in a rational creator and designer with a definite scheme provides a secure basis for the scientific enterprise.  Davies observes that: ‘You can’t be a scientist if you don’t believe that there is some sort of order that is at least in part comprehensible to us.  So you have to make two enormous assumptions – which don’t have to be right.  But to be a scientist, you’ve got to believe they’re true.  First, that there is a rational order in nature.  Second, that we can come to understand nature, at least in part.’  (p. 52.)  But when it comes to justifying these assumptions, Davies says: ‘God has been killed off as an explanation, so this astonishing rational order is free floating.  It doesn’t have any ground.’ (p. 52.)  Davies doesn’t explain why he thinks that God has been ‘killed off as an explanation’ since Newton’s time (or whether he means this sociologically or philosophically), but he does ruminate that: ‘The difficulty [here] for a scientist who is an out-and-out atheist is that the essence of scientific method is to seek reasons for why things are as they are in the world.’ (p. 52.)  If we ought to seek reasons for things whenever possible, and if God justifies (indeed, gave birth to) the two assumptions of science in question, shouldn’t we take the very practice and success of science as providing some evidence for the existence of the God who makes science possible?

Atoms, Laws and Freedom

Davies recalls how during his school days he began to ponder free will:

I was beginning to ask myself the question, “Is there such a thing as free will?”  I’d learned in my school physics class how we’re all made up of atoms, and that atoms obey the laws of physics.  Atoms will do what atoms have to do, oblivious of what we might think about it.  So the atoms in my brain will just go about their business, irrespective of whether I want to raise my arm or open my mouth.  It was a great mystery to me as to how we apparently have freedom to do what we want to do, freedom to enact bodily movement.  I can remember being greatly troubled by that, and also thinking through the consequences for morality.  Should we blame somebody who commits a crime, because they’re just complying with the laws of physics?  I remember taking this conundrum to the curate at the local church. . .  He didn’t have the answers.  Of course, nobody really does. . .  (p. 48-49.)

Some people conclude that because people are, in the final analysis, nothing but atoms, and because ‘atoms will do what atoms have to do’, we don’t have any choice in the matter of what we do; and that since it therefore makes no more sense to blame somebody who commits a crime than it does to blame an apple for obeying the law of gravity by falling off a tree, the concept of a prescriptive moral law makes no sense.  Other people conclude that because people obviously do have a choice in what they do, and because it does make sense to blame at least some people who commit crimes, then there must be more to people than atoms alone.  In the words of C.E.M. Joad: ‘the conviction that some things. . . are positively evil carries with it the consciousness that the things ought not to be done. . . and the consciousness of ought carries with it in its turn. . . the consciousness of freedom.  Is it not, indeed, meaningless to say that something ought not to happen. . . if, in fact, it could not have happened or could not have been otherwise?’ [5] Since these two views are contradictory, they can’t both be right.  And one of them must be true.  In which case, one side or the other does have the answers.

Davies may not know which side he believes, being agnostic on the matter; but I suspect that he lives as if people are responsible for their actions, and as if some of those actions ought to happen and others ought not to happen (prescriptive assumptions that make no sense if people are nothing but aggregates of atoms blindly following purely descriptive natural laws).

The assumption that people are nothing but atoms self-defeatingly invites us to be profoundly sceptical about the ability of atoms obeying descriptive natural laws to reason reliably about anything according to the prescriptive laws of reason (including the question of whether people are nothing but atoms).  As philosopher Victor Reppert explains: ‘if all thoughts are the result of nonrational causes such that, given those causes, it is impossible that the particular thought should not occur, it is incompatible with the claim that some particular thought is produced by the good reasons there are for believing it.’ [6] Furthermore, as C.S. Lewis pointed out: ‘Acts of thinking are no doubt events; but they a very special sort of events.  They are ‘about’ something other than themselves and can be true or false.’ [7] However, ‘Events in general [that is, physical events] are not about anything and cannot be true or false.’ [8] Hence thinking ‘events’ in our minds cannot be reduced to nothing but physical events in our brains.

According to Davies: ‘the existence of not just conscious minds, but of beings who can also make sense of the world, is a fact of staggering importance.’ (p. 55.)  He poses the question of ‘Why is it that we’re equipped with intellects that can unpick all this wonderful cosmic order and make sense of it?’, saying: ‘It’s truly astonishing.’ (p. 57.)  Indeed, the astonishing existence of intellects able to reason reliably about existence indicates not only that the human mind transcends the physical world, but that the world and the human mind were intentionally made for each other. [9]   As Thomas Dubay puts it: ‘nature lies between the divine mind, which creates, and our human minds, which discover.’ [10] The double-sided belief of the early scientists like Newton and Galileo in the rationality of creation and the designed suitability of our faculties to understand that rationality ‘secured the possibility of scientific knowledge and a foundation for the scientist’s confidence in the reliability of his most fundamental assumptions.’ [11] Today, atheistic scientists continue to make the same assumptions, but without any metaphysical guarantee of their validity.  Oxford philosopher Keith Ward cautions that: ‘Deprived of the traditional Christian support that the cosmos itself is the product of supreme reason, so that human reason really is fitted to understanding things as they are, human reason can easily come to seem an ephemeral and unreliable mechanism. . .’ [12]

Davies and Design

‘If you really do believe that the world is ordered in a rational, intelligible way and that there’s a hidden mathematical basis to it all, then that basis has to be grounded in something.’ (p. 52.)

‘I sometimes say it is “as if” the universe has been designed.  I don’t think that there is a super-being with a project, who has figured out what the end goal ought to be and has set the universe up in order to work through that agenda.  But it is certainly true when we look at nature – the way that different aspects of nature interweave with each other so felicitously and so consistently and so beautifully – that there is a conspicuous scheme of things. . .  It is “as if” there is a designer. . .’ (p. 54.)  We can certainly consider the issues of design and purpose separately (we can detect design without detecting purpose, as every detective in search of a motive knows); but ultimately the two issues appear to be linked, in that if there is indeed a ‘scheme’ or a design, then we would expect that scheme to have been enacted by its designer for some purpose.  Davies refers to the felicitous anthropic coincides of natural laws required for the existence of life, asking ‘Why are the laws of electromagnetism and gravitation as they are?  Why those laws?’ (p. 57.)  This is a good question, to which theism is a good answer.  If the intricately interwoven anthropic laws of the universe are best understood as a conspicuous ‘scheme’ as Davies suggests, and if ‘the Mind of God’ is the best explanation of that scheme, then a straightforward implication of purpose (and hence personality) cannot be far behind – and that purpose would seem to be the existence of life, perhaps even intelligent life.

Davies cautions of his belief in a conspicuous scheme that: ‘we’re not at the centre of the universe; we’re not the pinnacle of creation or anything of that sort.’ (p. 55.)  However, Davies would be wrong to assume that Christians have ever thought that humans were metaphysically the centre of the universe, or that humans are the pinnacle of creation (that place being reserved for the angels).

Davies and ‘God’

The most striking thing about Davies is that while he has rejected atheism and talks in terms of design and seeing the universe as grounded in rationality, he is very cautious about using the word ‘God’, saying: ‘if I use the word “God”, it is not in the sense of a super-being who has existed for all eternity and, like a cosmic magician, brings the universe into being at some moment in time on a whimsical basis.  When I refer to “God”, it is in the sense of the rational ground in which the whole scientific enterprise is rooted.  I don’t believe the universe is arbitrary or absurd.  I think it has something like meaning or purpose underpinning it.  Of course, one must use the words “meaning” and “purpose” with care, but I think there’s something like a meaning or a purpose in the universe, and that we human beings are, in some small but significant way, part of that meaning or purpose.’ (p. 53.)  Davies is keen to distance himself from theism, or even a fully-fledged deism, while yet rejecting atheism.  However, if God has an objective existence beyond the human mind, then surely He qualifies as a ‘being’ (although his being may have a unique mode of existence); and surely God would be a ‘super’ being compared to all other beings.  While many theists think that God has literally always existed ‘for all eternity’ (this appears to be the majority view among contemporary philosophers of religion), many other theists think that God exists atemporally.  The temporal relationship between God and the universe depends upon the relationship between God and time [13] , but the more fundamental issue is whether the universe is caused or uncaused.  Many philosophers of religion would say that God did not create the universe at some moment in time on a whimsical basis, but created time itself in the act of creating the universe.  Theists agree that God is the rational ground in which the scientific enterprise is rooted.  Indeed, theists would say in whom the scientific enterprise is rooted.  Being rational and being personal are not mutually exclusive realities.  Indeed, they seem to go together.

Theists believe that there is a meaning and purpose underlying the universe, and take these terms in a perfectly straightforward manner.  A purpose is a goal that someone intends to see fulfilled, so how can the universe have a purpose without it having a purposer?  Davies seems to want to use the language of purpose, but without the implication of a person who purposes something.  Davies says: ‘The God I’m referring to is not really a person or a being in the usual sense.  In particular, it is something that is outside of time.  That is a very significant issue, and one on which there can be a very fruitful exchange, in my opinion, between physics and philosophy. . .  when I think of God, it is as an abstract, timeless being. . .’ (p. 53-54.)  Of course, theists admit that God is not really a person or a being ‘in the usual sense’ of those terms.  These terms are applied analogically to God.  They are applied with careful (literal) qualifications.  But theists think that God is really more analogous to a person and a being in the usual senses of those terms than he is analogous to anything ‘impersonal’ (like a rock), or to anything that lacks being (like ‘what rocks think about’, to borrow a definition from Aristotle)!  In fact, theists see the ‘normal’ sense of these terms as being partial reflections of the nature of God.  God has being objectively, independently, necessarily, and without temporally prior cause, whereas other realities have their being in a less full sense of the term, being dependent, perhaps subjective and/or contingent and/or with a temporally prior cause.  Many theists would agree with Davies that God is outside of time.  It’s not clear what Davies means by calling God ‘abstract’.  If God has an objective existence, He is most certainly not ‘abstract’ in the sense of being a humanly constructed abstraction.  Perhaps Davies means to intimate that God’s existence is analogous to how a Platonist conceives of the existence of eternal mathematical principles.  If so, then once again I do not see that he is so very far away from how many theists have thought about God’s existence.

Davies acknowledges that: ‘The weakness of restricting [oneself] to a God who’s just some sort of abstract, mathematical, rational ground for the world is that it doesn’t provide us with any sort of moral guidance. . .  You don’t go to a physicist to ask about right and wrong.’ (p. 56.)  You don’t go to a physicist to ask about right and wrong because physicists study an impersonal reality, and an impersonal reality is incapable of grounding, obligating or prescribing a prescriptive moral norm.  Only a theistic worldview, which posits the existence of an all-good personal being who can ground, obligate and prescribe conformity to a moral law allows for the reality of moral norms. [14]

Davies professes to being ‘deeply inspired by the wonder, the beauty, the ingenuity of nature, and the underlying, law-like mathematical order.’ (p. 54.)  Of course, nature cannot literally be ingenious, since ‘nature’ is not a person.  If evidence of ingenuity is apparent in nature, then it must come from beyond nature.  Once again, the evidence points towards the objective existence of a personal being far less ambiguous than Davies’ semi-deistic ground of cosmic rationality.


Davies discusses ‘the notion of miracles – which I’ve always found an abhorrent idea.’  Why so?  Because he finds the idea of a miracle ‘spoiling’ the ‘deep law-like structure in the world, a hidden order in nature of a mathematical form that science can reveal’ something ‘really distasteful’. (p. 50-51.)  Davies’ objection to miracles is not based on the assumption that God is nonexistent, or unable to work miracles, but that God would not work miracles because to do so would upset the aesthetic of creation.  But as Peter Kreeft responds to the accusation that belief in miracles demeans nature and the integrity and identity of nature: ‘A miracle is like Father God impregnating Mother Nature.  It fulfils, not demeans, her.’ [15] Whether or not a miracle is a violation of the natural order, as opposed to being a fitting and much needed holiday from it, depends upon whether or not there is an even deeper hidden order in the world besides the hidden order of mathematical form that science can reveal.  As William Lane Craig points out that: ‘Only an atheist can deny the historical possibility of miracles, for even an agnostic must grant that if it is possible that a transcendent, personal God exists, then it is equally possible that He has acted in the universe.’ [16] The only question is whether God could ever have a good enough reason for so acting.  It seems more scientific to critically test miracle claims for authenticity on the premise that miracles are possible than it is to dismiss miracle claims a priori on the premise that God could never have a reason for performing a miracle that was sufficient to justify omnipotence suspending the normal pattern of things. [17]

Approaching the limits

‘It could be that there are some things that are simply going to be forever beyond scientific enquiry’, Davies ponders, ‘not because we’re lacking the money or the expertise or something of that sort, but because there are inherent limits to how far rational enquiry can take us.’ (p. 55.)  It is unfortunate that Davies slips into equating rational inquiry with scientific inquiry, especially given his earlier praise of scholarly theology and philosophy of religion.  Davies goes on to remind us that: ‘We know from the foundations of logic and mathematics that there are ultimate limits on things, on what can be proved and what can be known . . .  I think . . . that there will inevitably be some element of mystery in following the scientific path.  But then the question is, can we ever bridge that final gap?  If science leaves us with mystery, is there a way that we can come to know about the world . . . not through scientific enquiry but through some other method?  I’m open-minded as to whether that is the case.  I’m talking here about revelatory or mystical experiences, where somehow the answer is grasped – not through rational enquiry, not through experimentation, but by “knowing” in some internal sense.  I’ve never had a mystical or revelatory experience.  Maybe I will one day . . .’ (p. 55.)  While it is unfortunate that Davies’ prejudice against miracles rules out any miraculous revelation claim from the scope of his inquiry, and while I don’t see what rationale enables Davies to be so positive about mystical revelation (is mystical revelation not miraculous?), but to the hope that one day he will experience such a revelation of the God who makes science possible, I can only say Amen.

Recommended Resources

Michael Behe, ‘God – sort of: Review of The Fifth Miracle’ @

Paul Copan, ‘Can Michael Martin be a Moral Realist?: Sic et Non’ @

William Lane Craig, ‘God, Time and Eternity’ @

William Lane Craig, ‘The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality’ @

William Lane Craig, ‘The Problem of Miracles: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective’ @

Phillip E. Johnson, ‘Fear of God: Review of The Fifth Miracle’ @

C.S. Lewis, ‘Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe’ @

Alvin Plantinga, ‘An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism’ @

Victor Reppert, ‘The Argument from Reason’ @

Peter S. Williams, ‘Cosmological Argument’ @

Peter S. Williams, ‘Intelligent Design, Aesthetics and Design Arguments’ @

Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski and Stephen C. Meyer, Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, (Ignatius, 2000)

C.S. Lewis, Miracles, (Fount)

[1] Paul Davies @

[2] Paul Davies, Templeton Prize Address, ‘Physics and the Mind of God’ @

[3] cf.;

[4] On the cosmological argument, cf:  William Lane Craig, ‘The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe’ @; Douglas Groothuis, ‘Leo and the Mechanic: A Cosmological Narrative’ @ ; Robert C. Koons, ‘Defeasible Reasoning, Special Pleading and the Cosmological Argument’ @; Peter S. Williams, ‘Cosmological Argument’ @; Bruce R. Reichenbach, The Cosmological Argument: A Reassessment, (Charles C. Thomas, 1972); Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999).

On the design argument, cf: Access Research Network @; Peter S. Williams, ‘Intelligent Design, Aesthetics and Design Arguments’ @;  Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski and Stephen C. Meyer, Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, (Ignatius, 2000); William A. Dembski, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased without Intelligence, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).

[5] C.E.M. Joad, The Recovery of Belief, p. 77.

[6] ‘Dr. Reppert on the Argument from Reason’ @, p. 7.

[7] C.S. Lewis, Miracles, (Fount), p. 16.

[8] ibid, p. 16.

[9] cf. Alvin Plantinga, ‘An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism’ @; Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, (Oxford, 1993), Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, (Oxford, 2000).

[10] Thomas Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty, (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1999), p. 320.

[11] W. Christopher Stewart, p. 327.

[12] Keith Ward, The Turn of the Tide, (London: BBC, 1986), p. 23.  cf. Alvin Plantinga, ‘An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism’ @ ; Victor Reppert, ‘The Argument from Reason’ @

[13] cf. William Lane Craig, ‘God, Time and Eternity’ @; William Lane Crag, Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship To Time, (Crossway Books, 2001); Gregory E. Ganssle (ed.), God and Time: Four Views, (Paternoster Press, 2001); Thomas V. Morris, Our Idea of God: An Introduction to Philosophical Theology, (University of Notre Dame Press, 1991).

[14] Paul Copan, ‘Can Michael Martin be a Moral Realist?: Sic et Non’ @; William Lane Craig, ‘The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality’ @; Robert C. Koons, ‘Moral Realism and God’ @; Gregory Koukl, ‘Evil as Evidence for God’ @; Peter Kreeft, ‘The Argument from Conscience’ @; C.S. Lewis, ‘Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe’ @; Francis J. Beckwith and Koukl, Gregory, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air, (Baker, 2001); Peter S. Williams, The Case for God, (Monarch, 1999).

[15] Peter Kreeft, ‘Miracles’  @

[16] William Lane Craig, ‘The Problem of Miracles: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective’ @

[17] William Lane Craig, ‘The Problem of Miracles: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective’ @ ; Peter Kreeft, ‘Miracles’  @ ; ‘Since Miracles Contradict Science They Cannot Be True’ @