05 September 2010

God's Irrelevant ~ Hawking on The Grand Design

Excellent excerpt from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow's new book The Grand Design in the WSJournal this weekend on Why God Did Not Create The Universe, despite mountains of myths and seemingly fragile cosmological and terrestrial systems mysteriously "fine-tuned" just for us...
"Many people would like us to use these coincidences as evidence of the work of God. 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. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
Further reason for recognizing that God is but a fraud and organized religions are too often sick cults, societal pathologies akin to cultural cancers, some thankfully benign but others shockingly malignant. Of course, you'll no doubt have ample chance to read the tsunami of outraged backlash against Hawking specifically and science and reason generally. See, for instance, the Telegraph's piece by Graham Farmello asking Has Stephen Hawking ended the God debate? for a classical mealy-mouthed, hodge-podge of a pseudo-rebuttal. But at least this is still civilized discourse and not some mad mullah's terrorist fatwa.


Unknown said...

"sick cults, societal pathologies akin to cultural cancers"

-ah, refreshing civilized discourse

Joost Bonsen said...

Yes, as opposed to issuing fatwas, or committing beheadings, mosque bombings, inquisitions, expulsions, excommunications, jihads, crusades, and the myriad other faith-based religiously born and mystically inspired acts that have plagued humanity for ages.

Calling a spade a spade in prose is part of civilized discourse.


metis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uchitrakar said...

Philosophy is dead. Is Logic dead also?

How did the scientists come to know that an entire universe could come out of nothing? Or, how did they come to know that anything at all could come out of nothing? Were they present at that moment when the universe was being born? As that was not the case at all, therefore they did not get that idea being present at the creation event. Rather they got this idea being present here on this very earth. They have created a vacuum artificially, and then they have observed that virtual particles (electron-positron pairs) are still appearing spontaneously out of that vacuum and then disappearing again. From that observation they have first speculated, and then ultimately theorized, that an entire universe could also come out of nothing. But here their entire logic is flawed. These scientists are all born and brought up within the Christian tradition. Maybe they have downright rejected the Christian world-view, but they cannot say that they are all ignorant of that world-view. According to that world-view God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. So as per Christian belief-system, and not only as per Christian belief-system, but as per other belief-systems also, God is everywhere. So when these scientists are saying that the void is a real void, God is already dead and non-existent for them. But these scientists know very well that non-existence of God will not be finally established until and unless it is shown that the origin of the universe can also be explained without invoking God. Creation event is the ultimate event where God will have to be made redundant, and if that can be done successfully then that will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God does not exist. So how have they accomplished that job, the job of making God redundant in case of creation event? These were the steps:
1) God is non-existent, and so, the void is a real void. Without the pre-supposition that God does not exist, it cannot be concluded that the void is a real void.
2) As virtual particles can come out of the void, so also the entire universe. Our universe has actually originated from the void due to a quantum fluctuation in it.
3) This shows that God was not necessary to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going, as because there was no creation event.
4) This further shows that God does not exist.
So here what is to be proved has been proved based on the assumption that it has already been proved. Philosophy is already dead for these scientists. Is it that logic is also dead for them?