Questionable Motives

September 4, 2010

Do we need some help understanding why Hawking thinks no god is necessary?

Here is an extract from The Times (no link because you have to pay) about Hawkings new book:

Modern physics leaves no place for God in the creation of the Universe, Stephen Hawking has concluded.

Just as Darwinism removed the need for a creator in the sphere of biology, Britain’s most eminent scientist argues that a new series of theories have rendered redundant the role of a creator for the Universe.

In his forthcoming book, an extract from which is published exclusively in Eureka, published today with The Times, Professor Hawking sets out to answer the question: “Did the Universe need a creator?” The answer he gives is a resounding “no”.

Far from being a once-in-a-million event that could only be accounted for by extraordinary serendipity or a divine hand, the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, Hawking says.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist,” he writes.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going,” he finds.

There has been the predictable kerfuffle from the religious apologists about why Hawking must be wrong including this atrocious one from The Mail Online by Prof. John Lennox. Does he simply miss Hawking’s main point and concludes that the error must lie there? Or has Hawking made a blunder so obvious that even the creationist blowhards at the Discovery Institute pick up on it? Yes, it’s easy to believe that they are much more clever and insightful than Hawking. Even so, I wonder which it may be? Can anyone help?

Perhaps Prof. Sean Carroll can. Here’s quick summary of what Hawking means:

And The Wall Street Journal article written by Hawking and his co-author Mlodinow seems a pretty straightforward explanation to me (but I’m hardly of the same intellectual caliber of the Big Brained writers and Deep Thinkers and now humourists at the Disco-tute):

The idea that the universe was designed to accommodate mankind appears in theologies and mythologies dating from thousands of years ago. In Western culture the Old Testament contains the idea of providential design, but the traditional Christian viewpoint was also greatly influenced by Aristotle, who believed “in an intelligent natural world that functions according to some deliberate design.”

That is not the answer of modern science. As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.

In other words, no creator god is necessary.

June 7, 2010

What does Hawking think about the compatibility of science and religion?

Filed under: Atheism,creationism,Religion,Science,Stephen Hawking — tildeb @ 11:18 pm

From CTV, Canada’s largest privately owned television network, comes this interview with Stephen Hawking who is the first holder of the Distinguished Research Chair of the Waterloo based Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and is spending six weeks pursuing research on quantum theory and gravity regarding the origin of the universe:

Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says science and religion are fundamentally incompatible — and the former will always come out on top.

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, (and) science, which is based on observation and reason,” Hawking told ABC News’s Diane Sawyer in an interview Monday.

“Science will win because it works.”

The British scientist, who has built his career studying the universe and its origins, flat-out rejected creationism and the possibility of a creator.

Let’s see how fundies, creationists, and religious apologists quote mine this one to make up seem to be down, black as a different shade of white,  and Hawking a strident militant atheist in public but really a closet believer supportive that religion and science are really quite compatible.

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