Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal, writes in the introduction to his book,
“Gravity, almost undetectable between laboratory-scale bodies, is the dominant force in astronomy and cosmology. The basic structures in our cosmic environment – stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies – all involve a balance between gravitational attraction and the disruptive effect of pressure or kinetic energy.”
Wal Thornhill noted:
Three things stand out immediately. First, gravity is the weakest force in the universe. Second, gravity is not understood. And third, although magnetic fields are detected on the Sun and everywhere in space, there is no mention of the necessary generative electric currents in plasma, which constitutes 99.999 per cent of the visible universe! This is a doctrinaire failure to notice the obvious.
Martin Rees is also an atheist according to his Wikipedia entry.
In ancient times humanity worshipped the planets as gods in the heavens, gods that wreaked havoc on Earth in the various myths and interpretations if accepted at face value.
To this very day religious peoples still look to the heavens for God, Allah, etc., but those gods are no longer physical but now metaphysical.
The job of the ancient priests was to predict the movement of the Gods, or planets, in order to give sufficient warning to the people as the next godly or divine catastrophe was visited onto the earth and its inhabitants.
The uncertainty of the position of the planets and the position of the Earth to its fellow solar members was memorialised in the various calendars civilisations adopted. Accurate astronomical prediction became paramount for religious ceremonies, and it is remarkable that the Christian celebration of Easter is so linked.
The Renaissance period included the observations by Copernicus, Galileo and Bruno, to mention only some, that something changed in the heavens and that the Earth was orbiting the Sun, and not, as previously believed, the Sun orbiting the Earth.
It seems very likely that Newton’s Law of Gravity, framed during this period, replaced God as the predictor of heavenly motion.
Gravity seems to be the secular analog of God, and like God, manifest at the cosmological scale in the heavens but hardly measureable, if at all, at the laboratory scale. It acts instantaneously, and is all encompassing, just like God, or Allah, of Krishna.
No wonder after 300 or more years we still don’t understand Gravity.
Gravity could be described as the Atheist’s Divine inspiration.