Recently Stephen Hawking finished a video series with the Discovery Channel which, in his paralyzed state, took him 3 years to finish. According to the news releases, he insisted on rewriting large sections of the script. One wonders how long it took a man who communicates to his computer through eye-blinks to write a new script. But however long it took, we are now blessed with yet another “science for the common man” video.
My college-aged children all have a “Great American Video” waiting for them to make. When I was in school, everyone wanted to be the “Great American Garage Band”. And as far as I can tell, the previous generation all had a “Great American Novel” that was going to make them the next J. D. Salinger. So perhaps Stephen Hawking is merely reflecting the current age, after writing the surprise best-seller “”, he now wants to finish with a video. Will it be a best seller? I’m not sure, but it certainly is even more speculative than his book, if not downright sci-fi. Which is not to denigrate the truly innovative “brain-storming” that makes a good sci-fi book work, such as Arthur C. Clarke‘s invention of “geostationary” satellites, or Star Trek’s invention of the telescoping sliding door. But what makes for good sci-fi rarely makes for good science, namely, selling copies of your video. Avatar not only broke the record for theater sales, but apparently has broken the record for DVD sales as well, but clearly not because of the “science” in the movie. Because the science of unobtainium, is, well, unobtainable.
In the same way, Hawking brings up several “unobtainium” solutions in his video, which are rooted deeply in his materialist metaphysics, his atheist religion.