Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Cosmology: Hawking replaces God with hocus pocus

arroba Email

In “Review of Discovery Channel’s “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” ( Reason and Revelation, Volume 31, #10), Jeff Miller notes the shell game around the notion that the universe could come into existence from nothing:

Quantum Mechanics and Universe Generation

Though Hawking does not enter into a discussion of the topic, a review of the scientific literature on the idea of quantum vacuum fluctuations accounting for the creation of the Universe reveals that such a theory does not actually start with nothing and end with something—which is what Hawking needs in order to eliminate the necessity of a higher being. In keeping with the First Law of Thermodynamics, quantum theories start with something and end with something. So, quantum mechanics does not provide an answer as to where the original “something” came from. Prominent humanist mathematician and science writer, Martin Gardner, wrote: “It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing” (2000, p. 303, emp. added). Philip Yam of Scientific American wrote: “Energy in the vacuum, though, is very much real. According to modern physics, a vacuum isn’t a pocket of nothingness. It churns with unseen activity” (1997, p. 82, emp. added).

In this context, a proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from. – Alan Guth

Edward Tryon, professor of physics at Hunter College in Manhattan, proposed the idea that the Universe could be the result of a large-scale vacuum energy fluctuation (1973). Alan Guth, professor of physics at M.I.T., wrote in response: “In this context, a proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from” (1997, p. 273). Theoretical physicist Alexander Vilenkin, a professor of physics and director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University, while explaining the problems inherent in Tryon’s work, said:

A more fundamental problem is that Tryon’s scenario does not really explain the origin of the universe. A quantum fluctuation of the vacuum assumes that there was a vacuum of some pre-existing space. And we now know that “vacuum” is very different from “nothing.” Vacuum, or empty space, has energy and tension, it can bend and warp, so it is unquestionably something (2006, p. 185, ital. in orig.).

Vilenkin went on to propose that quantum tunneling could be the answer to the creation of the Universe out of nothing. However, quantum tunneling starts with something and ends with something as well. Particles that can jump or tunnel through barriers still must initially exist to do so. So, the problem remains. There must be an ultimate Cause of the Universe. According to Hawking, in order to create a Universe, “you need” energy and space (“Curiosity…”). Though he boldly claims his theory provides these entities, his claims fall quite short of the truth. His needs simply remain unmet—without a Creator.

Actually, in our view, Hawking’s problem isn’t that he tried to do without God but that he tried to do without God and philosophy at the same time.

He thinks he can somehow keep the science, but at that point, science turns into hocus pocus.

See also: Hawking out of his depth in Discovery Channel show

F/N: As in, we need to understand the issue of a necessary causal factor, cf the burning match exercise, here. (It helps to have a proper definition of a REAL nothing: non-existence, or non-being: as Ari [was it?] said, what rocks -- inanimate objects -- dream of . . . i.e. they cannot dream so a rock's dreams are non-existent.) GEM of TKI kairosfocus
"I’ve always liked Alan Guth. It appears he gets it." --Funny thing is, as I mentioned in the previous thread on the subject, I'm pretty sure Hawking and Guth are in agreement, but the program did a very poor job (perhaps Hawking's fault) of explaining the theory being alluded to. goodusername
I've always liked Alan Guth. It appears he gets it. CannuckianYankee
Seems Tipler has converted from atheism to Theism:
The Sci Phi Show Outcast #45 - Interview with Frank Tipler
of note: Tipler is author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987), one of the 3 ID books which began the modern ID movement. Tipler was a provisional atheist in 1992 when he wrote the book The Physics of Immortality. He describes his subsequent conversion to Christianity in the Sci Phi show interview. That was a complete surprise to me! My name was mentioned in the show because I had consistently described Tipler as a provisional atheist. That used to be the case for Tipler, but his research in physics has now persuaded him that God exists. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/world-renowned-cosmologist-frank-tipler-on-sci-phi-show/ bornagain77
I like the way Frank Tipler put it at the start of this piece: "In 1966, Stephen Hawking published his first — completely valid — proof for the existence of God. Over the next seven years, he followed this with even more powerful valid theorems proving God’s existence." http://pjmedia.com/blog/proving-the-existence-of-god/ udat

Leave a Reply