Is Stephen Hawking losing his touch or what ?
I don’t usually blog on religion, but the reports on Stephen Hawking’s new book caught my eye today, and I thought I’d make a comment in response –
Ok – right from the start I’ll tell you that I’m an atheist – I have no belief in God or god. I am however a believer in the scientific application of critical reasoning as a means of understanding the universe that surrounds us. If I had to put a tag on my religion it would probably be “Critical Scientist” .
I am however agnostic in that, as any good scientist should be, I am open to persuasion about the existence of a God or gods.
As such I’ve often made it my business to examine different religious beliefs critically, in order to understand why others believe them, and to affirm my own beliefs.
So when I hear arguments from someone like Stephen Hawking claiming to rule out the possibility of God as creator, I try and put myself in the position of someone who does believe in order to work through the arguments that are likely to be raised in opposition.
The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos.
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” he writes. “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.”
(From The Guardian –Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God | Science | The Guardian )
Well although it pains me to say it, I think most literate Christians would make mincemeat of this.
The Guardian quote starts with the words “Because there is a law of gravity …”
And why is there is there a law of gravity ?
Because there just is. It’s a primary feature of the universe.
If I were a Christian I’d say – because God decided that it should be so.
And there really is no way that that statement can be verified, or disproved. So it’s back to personal belief.
I find it hard to believe that someone with such notable power of thought as Stephen Hawking, should come out with such a facile argument.
Admittedly though I haven’t read the book, or even dipped behind the Times paywall to read the extract.
So I strongly suspect that he actually says something a little different if you take the trouble to read the whole book, and that this is just a tactic from his publishers to get people to buy it.
I don’t think I will be though.
I’d be interested to know what any Christians thought of this.