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September 10, 2010

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Schrodinger believed that science has limits; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.

Jane Hawking has commented on this aspect of her husband's work. "Stephen has the feelings that because everything is reduced to a rational, mathematical formula, that must be the truth," Jane explained. "He is delving into realms that really do matter to thinking people and, in a way, that can have a very disturbing effect on people-and he's not competent."


Part 2 of 2
http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9501/bigbang2.html

Part 1
http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

While I agree that Hawking is talking out of his field of expertise, I don't really think that is relevant. The items in question are his ideas, not his qualifications. I think you have addressed his ideas in previous posts, but this one strays from that. Referring to his qualifications (or lack thereof) in philosophy to me shades too far toward an ad hominem attack.

Stephen Hawking said that it is not necessary to invoke God to explain the physical universe. This is *obviously* about physics. Whether or not anything worth calling a God exists is a separate question. Hawking was addressing the claims of people who say, "Look at the universe! Clearly it requires a creator deity!" Physics shows us that it does not. If you want to posit that every apparently spontaneous event is caused by a deity snapping his fingers, you can, but it doesn't add anything to the explanation, it's just extraneous. We have physical explanations for why and how those things happen spontaneously, and we don't need to use God in those explanations.

Ruben, I think you're misunderstanding Melinda's intent. Melinda isn't trying to discredit his philosophical statements just because he's not a philosopher. On the contrary, she's trying to avoid people taking his statements about philosophy on his authority as a scientist. And unfortunately, that's what happens a lot of the times. People look to people like Hawking as an expert in cosmology, and they can't always tell the difference between a philosophical statement and a scientific statement, so when he makes philosophical statements, they wrongly take it on his authority. It's the opposite of an ad hominem (I'm not sure what that's called...maybe a "false appeal to authority").

http://creation.com/jane-hawking-music-to-move-the-stars

Sometimes it is valuable to understand motivations.

NFQ,

Your statement that

Stephen Hawking said that it is not necessary to invoke God to explain the physical universe.

is a philosophical statement, not a scientifically provable fact. Hawking believes that science can explain everything in the universe, which is no different that any other philosophical belief, deity based or otherwise. There is no scientific proof that science can explain everything. It's just the underlying belief, the philosophy that guides science.

NFQ, Bill Craig interacts with the physics of Hawking's potentially new claims here:

http://www.rfmedia.org/blog/audio/rf_audiocast-2010-09-06-51320.mp3

"If you want to posit that every apparently spontaneous event is caused by a deity snapping his fingers, you can, but it doesn't add anything to the explanation"

For one, this is a straw-man -- no one on the theistic side ever makes this claim. Two, it's hand waving -- you cannot dismiss the cosmological argument that easily.

Atheist philosophers always play this kind of game -- it's not meant to make a positive claim, but to dismiss the counter arguments as facetious or non-serious.

Is the spacetime and matter we know a little bit about All There Is?

In science, this is an open question.

In Christian apologetics, the preferred, presupposed answer is yes.

It is a scientific question.

RonH

"In Christian apologetics, the preferred, presupposed answer is yes."

No, it isn't, it's deductive inference from infallible revelation. Completely justified.

In case you're wondering...

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

A fun commentary at the Discovery Institute's evolutionnews.org:

"Hawking Not Needed to Explain His New Book, Says Universe"

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/09/hawking_not_needed_to_explain037911.html

Brad B,

In presup, yeah. But I don't think presup is enough around here.

If pointing to John 1:1 works for you, there is really no need to critique Hawking's 'philosophy' or, say, defend Kalaam. Quoting John 1:1 doesn't work for me, neither does Kalaam, and while I don't know what Hawking has in mind I leave open the possibility that he might be right in some sense.

I understand the resistance to the idea that a thing can create itself. I don't know if Hawking means to say that. Maybe he'll have to back away from this. Maybe it needs rewording. Maybe he will blow our minds.

Physics has a way of doing that (blowing our minds). Don't laugh at things from your armchair that someone might go out and measure. It usually makes more sense to ask smart people what they mean before you reject what they say.

I have tried to find some more informed discussion on what he says - preferably from him. And failed. Anybody find anything? Anybody look?


RonH

RonH, I found something in one of Paul Davies' book, "The Mind of God," where he says something similar. Davies says that gravity can create the universe, but in his scenario, he's explaining out a universe can emerge and separate from a mother universe. At first, I thought maybe Hawking had been misunderstood or misquoted, and maybe he was really advocating the same thing Davies explained. But according to the quote, Hawking explicitly said the universe can created itself from NOTHING, not from a mother universe. I'm just going to read his book and find out for myself.

Some people do explain vacuum fluxuation models as creation from nothing, but strictly speaking, a vacuum fluxuation isn't "nothing." Maybe that's what Hawking is talking about. Or maybe he's talking about M-theory, which isn't really "nothing" either.

Hawking was on King yesterday.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/11/stephen.hawking.interview/

Or maybe he's talking about M-theory, which isn't really "nothing" either.
Nor used it to be science, and yet Hawking says that via M-theory "science" can explain the universe.

This might be the full interview.
http://www.atheistmedia.com/2010/09/larry-king-live-stephen-hawking-leonard.html

No surprises in the interview for those who already took Hawking at his word.

"If pointing to John 1:1 works for you, there is really no need to critique Hawking's 'philosophy' or, say, defend Kalaam. Quoting John 1:1 doesn't work for me, neither does Kalaam, and while I don't know what Hawking has in mind I leave open the possibility that he might be right in some sense."

This is why it is important to question your ultimate propositions. The lens that you and Hawking look at the world through just doesn't allow for a favorable God centered conclusion so you reject even logic to escape the unthinkable. It should give you at least a short pause to note that the Christian worldview as a system has justification for logic, morals, truth] and all that proceeds from them]. Funny thing, coming from this antiquated collection of writings by some unsophisticated camel jockeys and shepherds of old. The modern scientific community MUST have more to offer. Blind guides leading the blind.

Oh well, I guess it's over now, God doesn't exist. Christian apologetics is done. It was fun while it lasted. Now let's give what the atheists really want, a communist utopia. :(

Famous quantum chemist weighs in on Hawking's no-boundary proposal:

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/henry-f-schafer-assesses-stephen-hawkings-no-boundary-proposal/

I see that someone already posted the William Lane Craig response.

William Lane Craig's most recent (as of this post) audio blog talks about this, and its a good commentary.

www.reasonablefaith.org

A commenter on WLC's blog lef this link to Davies' response to Hawking.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/sep/04/stephen-hawking-big-ba
ng-gap

And from ScientificAmerican, the comic misinformation keeps coming.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=cosmic-clowning-stephen-hawkings-ne-2010-09-13

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