Having read nearly all of Stephen Hawking's books, attended one of his presentations, watched his BBC documentaries, and viewed several on YouTube, I have noticed his various references to a "creator". He started one lecture with the creation story of a native tribe who called the Sun "Bumba", and revered it as a god. In many ways, the Sun can be viewed as a god. It created the solar system, from which the Earth formed.
His views do not seem impinged by his beliefs. He has never explained something away by writing that "because god said so!" Since physics originally grew from philosophy, it is essential that physics seeks truth. Neither does truth necessarily equal a god. Hawking does an admirable job in making his belief known without using it as a crutch.
The London Telegraph has a story out, today, where Hawking says that he doesn't believe in a personal God, saying instead that the laws of nature created the universe. He said that if you wanted to call those laws of nature God, that was fine by him.
Now, there should be no objection to calling the evolutionist beliefs a religion, since Pantheism is the religion that says nature is God. Hawking just there admitted to being of that religion. So, why should the state pay to educate our children with HIS religious faith, instead of that of other religions? What happened to separation of church and state?
One more note. If Hawking or Hitchens or others are experts on religion without taking a single course of study and having no experience, then, I am an expert of science.
Kenneth Clifton - Author of A Nation Under God, The Christian Superhero Training Guide, and Dancing Around Jericho's Walls (all on amazon)
Huh? Does Hawkings even talk about evolution at all? He talks about physics and gravity. Would you call that physicism and gravitationalism? Should we have the state pay to teach those theories in school?
He seems to adopt a form of panpsychism (i.e., he claims we should learn the 'mind of God' - meaning the universe has a sort of mind of its own). It's funny how the book starts with "philosophy is dead," yet this position is being explored by philosophers of mind. David Chalmers, the famous philosopher who formulated the 'hard problem of consciousness', tends to adopt panphyschist like views.
My reaction to the 'question' "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What is the function of 'rather than' here?
I think Rush Rhees said something like the following: There, there is something, and way over there, there is nothing. The sense of 'nothing' is rooted in contrast. I can not make a thing out of "Everthing is nothing." I can make nothing out of 'Everything is nothing.'
How about 'Why is there something rather than nonidentification?'
I do not know what Hawkings and others (too) think they are getting at with that sort of question, but whatever they have been doing, it is not an answer to anything like that.
One asks: 'Why is there something rather that nothing?' Might not a warranted reply be: Well, wherever you go, there you are'?
The key to being an "expert" on religion is to believe the supposition that a square circle can exist. I assume you are referring to "Theology" when you speak of religion. Theology) Trying to prove that a square circle can exist. Futile. How on earth can you be an expert in "religion" when one can't even prove a god's existence?
"Now, there should be no objection to calling the evolutionist beliefs a religion,"
What, in particular, are you referring to when you make the broad generalization, "evolutionist belief?"
"Hawking just there admitted to being of that religion."
Where did Hawking admit this? I see that the only statement, as alleged by your post, that Hawking made in reference to the laws of nature could be that they may be interpreted as God, not that he defends pantheism.
"So, why should the state pay to educate our children with HIS religious faith, instead of that of other religions?
His religious faith? Physics by definition, isn't a religious faith. They don't teach pantheism in a physics classroom.
"One more note. If Hawking or Hitchens or others are experts on religion without taking a single course of study and having no experience, then, I am an expert of science."
Neither claimed they were experts of theological studies. Hitchens isn't an expert of science either. Hawkings, however, is the closest thing here to satisfying a definition of expert of science. Individuals are allowed to have opinions; not all opinions are equal. When it comes to matters of physics and cosmology, Hawkings' opinion carries a larger amount of weight than the average person, considering the years of study he's put into studying the laws of physics. This doesn't mean everything Hawking says is correct and I believe he definitively makes this clear in the books you probably haven't read, as he accentuates time and time again the inherent uncertainty of knowledge interwoven into the philosophy of scientific thought.
Right on prudence, he looks so smart because he rides a wheel chair to work, wears glasses, dresses himself nicely, and don't forget that mischievious glow in his eyes that threatens the security of your mental stability. Goodness, I would be a madman to question this man. Therefore everything he says is like a fountain, brimming with truth.
"Meanwhile, he has reversed his opinions on major points of cosmology and physics every 8 or 10 years. "
Oh? Like what?
" Does that mean he was wrong before.... oh no !.... that could possibly mean he is wrong now also.... but he looks so smart... must be right !"
Robust analytical conclusion. Where logic meets the garbage can, a Sesame Street story. I always judge someone's words on the sole criteria they must look smart too. If they look, smell, or seem in any character like a bum, forget about it. I also don't trust homosexuals and those who get too close to their pets. Raise up your shotguns in cheer, we will get this Christian nation back on its feet!
Hoover. My post was very clear, if you had an open mind. But, I will reply, anyway.
Evolutionist belief - Even Hawking recognizes a Grand Design, as Darwin did (and would eventually become a believer). The evolutionist says that the creature adapts to nature, but they ignore the question of how even evolution (in their theory) would know to create variation to adapt. Who is the mind behind the adaptation? The reason they don't want to deal with this is that they believe, as Hawing makes explicit, that the creature adapts ITSELF...nature being the GOD that makes it happen. That is exactly what Pantheism states...thus a religion.
Physics not being faith - you are correct that true physics is not faith. That is exactly my point. Since science is not faith, what gives scientists authority to speak on faith matters? My objection is when scientists LEAVE faith to deal with questions from a philosophical perspective, which this book does in spite of the opening quote.
You are correct that everyone is entitled to state their opinion, but my point is that if a scientist's words (that hasn't studied religion in school or had experience with it) is considered an authority, then ANYONE (myself included) is an authority on science, whether they have education or experience to back it up.
Kenneth Clifton - Author of A Nation Under God, The Christian Superhero Training Guide, and Dancing Around Jericho's Walls (all on amazon)
"Hoover. My post was very clear, if you had an open mind. But, I will reply, anyway."
It must be my fault that I failed to have an open mind and interpreted enormous generalizations incorrectly, such as "evolutionary beliefs" are a religion without you having made reference to what an evolutionary belief actually is or what it entails. Yup, I'm at fault.
"Evolutionist belief - Even Hawking recognizes a Grand Design"
Hawking recognizes a grand design? This isn't very clear from your post. This is the quote, without a reference, that you provided:
"saying instead that the laws of nature created the universe. He said that if you wanted to call those laws of nature God, that was fine by him. "
Are you suggesting Hawking believes that the laws of nature that created the Universe were part of a "grand design?" This isn't apparent here. Hawking appears to be wanting to bridge a gap between those who take the position that believe religion and science are mutually exclusive, suggesting that the structure of the Universe is up to interpretation and not definitively scientific. However, that's a huge step to implying that Hawkins is explicitly defending pantheism.
"as Darwin did (and would eventually become a believer)."
Darwin never became a believer. Even Answers in Genesis confirms that arguing Darwin became a believer on his death bed is a dead end; there's strong evidence that it never happened.
"The evolutionist says that the creature adapts to nature, but they ignore the question of how even evolution (in their theory) would know to create variation to adapt."
That question doesn't even make sense. How does evolution "know" to create variation to adapt? Evolution doesn't know that, evolution is a scientific paradigm that explains a set of well accounted for observations in natural selection and an explanation of the genetic diversity that we see in organisms. To me, what you essentially appear to be disputing, is the mechanism to which evolution is documented to occur by; natural selection. Natural selection doesn't "know" to create variation any more than our sun "knows" to combine key nuclear combinations to produce fusion reactions. Natural selection depends on both genetic and phenotypic characters, as well as the biotic environment organisms reside in. It is both a solution to an environmental challenge, such as filling an available ecological niche which comes at the price of competing with other organisms to be successful, as well as one that tends to propagate the frequency of genes of organisms that are successful in their biotic environment. Natural selection does not have foresight, it cannot predict an external event that leads to mass extinction, or a quickly occurring climate change. Natural selection is sensitive to the challenges organisms face within their daily life.
"Who is the mind behind the adaptation?"
The biotic environment. Why does anyone need to be behind the curtains, pulling strings? Furthermore, where is the physical evidence that makes such a statement preferentially logically defensible over concrete observations and scientific studies regarding the well established phenomenon of natural selection?
"The reason they don't want to deal with this is that they believe, as Hawing makes explicit, that the creature adapts ITSELF...nature being the GOD that makes it happen. "
The organism doesn't adapt itself, the biotic environment adapts future generations of organisms. Why exactly does "God" need to be included in this picture? Presumably under these sets of observations and assumptions, the laws of physics and biological principles allow these processes to occur. This appears, to me, a confusion of terms. What is, by definition, the properties that constitute a "God" and how much overlap with our understanding of nature is there? No one here is defending that nature acts as if it were an agent of the supernatural or that nature itself can only be understood through the context of what, familiar to some human beings, would be agency of God. It sounds to me as if you are projecting a personal perspective that is considerably limited by your faith in God. If, by your perspective, God is not responsible, the agency of the laws and principles discovered by Science are robbing that role governed by your belief and you therefore feel it is the only logically defensible position that, if God has no involvement in nature, nature by default assumes that role. It just sounds weird to me, comparing something that is understood as supernatural and extending its definition to what we consider natural phenomena, or that it carries the assumption the idea of God and nature are forever inextricable, i.e. if God is not responsible for nature, nature itself must be God. No one here has defended this.
"Since science is not faith, what gives scientists authority to speak on faith matters?"
When scientists do so, it should not be interpreted to hold a scientific perspective. If a scientist says, "God is not real" that is not a scientific statement and should never be considered to be one. A scientist is a human being, human beings have authority to have opinions about faith matters, therefore a scientist most certainly has the authority to have an opinion about faith. Observable physical principles that can be quantified and understood by procedure and scientific methods are not faith matters. How is the topic of adaptation a faith matter?
"You are correct that everyone is entitled to state their opinion, but my point is that if a scientist's words (that hasn't studied religion in school or had experience with it) is considered an authority, "
Who is considering Hawking's words or any other scientist to be an authority of theological studies or principles? Again, going back to the statement you offered as your defense about Hawking mentioning that the laws of physics may be interpreted as "God", how is such a statement considered by anyone as Hawking being an authority of religion?
"But when Hawkings states (if he did) that science shows that God is not necessary, that is pseudoscience, metaphysics improperly incorporated into science."
This would be valid. I believe the statements themselves have unintentionally been left ambiguous. Clifton does not reference the entire quote, which makes semantics the most disputable point. To the best of my knowledge, I don't believe Hawkings has ever stated that science shows God is unnecessary, which of course would not be a sound scientific statement.
"But if he states, SCIENCE shows that God is not necessary to explain Creation, that is "atheistic religion" in science."
Clifton, evolution doesn't teach how life began. It only teaches how life became what it is now. Evolution is a process, not a thing. There isn't anything for evolution to "know" because it's not a living thing in the first place. There certainly could be a mind behind the process. There certainly could be an intelligence driving the process. The Catholic Church has taken this position for years now. So what's wrong with you?
Dear Dana, I would avoid mentioning the Catholic Church as an authority or a reference point in any scientific debate worthy of the name! Open your history book and you will see that their positions haven't been the most enlightened ones ever and over centuries! Sorry!
I couldn't agree more with you, Sir! You have got in my opinion exactly the right approach to this particular debate. Let's not mix everything. Mr Hawking is intelligent enough and humble enough as all great and true scientists are or should be to keep strictly to his subject, ie quantum physics, and not dangerously digress elsewhere. Allowing those truely qualified to deal as best as they can with the metaphysical aspect of it if need be and when needed. Qui trop embrasse n'embrasse rien du tout, as we say in French!
no. learning about astrophysics and what makes atoms tick is the province of colleges and grad schools. grade school kids are not yet equipped to go into physics so deeply. therefore (and i am a teacher) as far as i know, there are no state curricula frameworks that call for learning the stuff of hawking's books.
"grade school kids are not yet equipped to go into physics so deeply" ========== Not all children are the same some would be inspired by the physics at a young age and others will never be equipped to care. One size education and standardized classes and tests do not fit all. The biggest problem with government controlled education.
I always find it amusing that fanatic christians spend so much energy trying to rip apart evolution when there is no conflict between it and christianity -- can't you simply argue that there is a mover behind evolution. Why the need to demand that God be a magic user waving his (always a man, thats another issue) hand to bring it all about. The reliance on the bible as absolute truth rings hollow when you study it and realize all the contradictions and conflicting stories and information. Absolutism is a path to failure.
At last someone who talks sense and says what has to be said about this so called debate! Sure you are right Michael! Let's not mix everything to begin with, Hawking has nothing to do with the bible or what some people want to "read" in it. It is in no way shape or form the topic of his works and never was. Did they even read this book? I wonder. YES absolutism, is a path to failure, even the surest one. History has proven it. Let them talk, obviously we can't prevent it : it keeps them busy!
Nothing of Hawkins book can be "proved". Both the God view and Hawkins view is faith. He believes something can come from nothing, laws can come from nothing, and universes from nothing. Is it more reasonable to believe that everything came from an intelligence, or that everything appeared from nothing. When he says all that is needed is gravity to light the bluetouch paper. I can imagine someone dropping a match onto blue touch paper, and claiming gravity caused the paper to light. Well, yes gravity was a physical law that explained why the match fell down onto the paper, but did gravity light the paper, or the decision of the person to drop the match? Of course, you still need ask where the paper came from and the law of gravity. The point is that, hawkins can never experimental proof of other universes, or much of what he imagines. It is just science fiction.
"Nothing of Hawkins book can be "proved". Both the God view and Hawkins view is faith. He believes something can come from nothing, laws can come from nothing, and universes from nothing. Is it more reasonable to believe that everything came from an intelligence, or that everything appeared from nothing. "
No scientific theory can be "proved" by definition. Also, by definition, it is NOT faith. If it is "more reasonable to believe that everything came from an intelligence", then it should also be "more reasonable" that "intelligence" did not come from "nothing". Who created the "intelligence" then? It's the same "absolutism" argument as someone stated in the above post coupled with lack of basic knowledge about scientific theory.