Figuring out the meaning of life

Burt Flannery.
Burt Flannery.

A FORMER Hartlepool man who made a living from using his mathematics skills has swapped numbers for words after writing his first book.

Burt Flannery, who grew up in Dorchester Drive, Hart Station, and left the former West Hartlepool Technical High School for Boys in 1962, has written a book called What’s God Got To Do With It?

But Burt’s number skills still come into play, as the 69-year-old cleverly uses mathematics and probability, a variety of research methods and his knowledge of philosophy, psychology and theology, to conclude that the odds of God existing are 50-1 against.

Retired management consultant Burt, who lives in Kinver, near Kidderminster, in Worcestershire, but still gets back to the town to see his 95-year-old mother Anne, said: “I’m 98 per cent certain he doesn’t exist.

“If you evaluate all the arguments, you can apply a score to each one and add a factor here and there, you can actually establish a probability.”

The dad-of-one, who studied mathematics at Manchester University and left town in 1965 for a job at a steel company in the Midlands, added: “It’s a book about trying to capture why we are here, how did we get here, where are we going, why is the world like it is and what part does religion play in it?

“I’m not religious, but it’s one of life’s big questions really.”

Burt said he has come up with lots of answers to these questions in the book, which spans a period from the origin of the universe to the present day, after carrying out a year of research.

He expected to spend his retirement spending time playing tennis, but his plans were scuppered when he suffered a knee injury, and decided to write the book on “something which I have thought and thought deeply about for probably 30 years”.

The book, priced £9.95, is available from Amazon and proceeds will go to animal welfare and children’s charities.