Intelligent Design

Stephen Hawking Should Visit Elfland

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Some people say that Stephen Hawking is the smartest man in the world, and doubtless he is a brilliant physicist. But when it comes to metaphysics he has said some silly things. Consider his famous universe-from-nothing quote: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

Read that statement again. It is gobsmackingly stupid. First, as we have discussed before, the statement “because there is something the universe can create itself from nothing” is self-referentially incoherent.

But more importantly consider this. The statement appears to confer causal agency on “gravity.’ But what is gravity? It is a “law” of nature. What is a law of nature? It is an observed regularity that has been modeled mathematically. Last time I looked, observed regularities do not cause things to happen. They are descriptions of what happened, not explanations of how it happened. And what is the source of the mathematically modeled observed regularity that we call gravity? We have no idea*

Why does water flow downhill? It does no good to say that “gravity” makes it run downhill. Gravity is not a causal agent. It is an observed regularity. Saying that gravity makes water rundown hill is the same as saying “every time we looked water ran downhill and that is why water runs downhill,” which, of course, is no explanation at all.

Chesterton knew better:

All the terms used in the science books, ‘law,’ ‘necessity,’ ‘order,’ ‘tendency,’ and so on, are really unintellectual, because they assume an inner synthesis, which we do not possess. The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, ‘charm,’ ‘spell,’ ‘enchantment.’ They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree grows fruit because it is a MAGIC tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched.

______________

*Actually, we have a pretty good idea. I mean scientists doing science have no idea.

UPDATE: In a comment Tim unpacked some of this issue nicely:

I am somewhat familiar with the text from which Chesterton was quoted and find it unfortunate that following recent OPs concerning evidence that our critics haven’t taken a closer look at what Chesterton wrote.

Consider the Ethics of Elfland (Chapter 4 of Orthodoxy) and you will discover that upon closer inspection of Chesterton’s thought, one might claim that he himself was a “mountain of evidence”, a claim that I think he would happily and fullheartedly support.

It always seems to go this way: the closer we look two claims like these, Hawking’s and Chesterton’s, they at first glance (and I do mean the most cursory of glances) seem to favor Hawking. You know, gravity is scientific, the universe is scientific, causes, effects. . .
We can have nothing of the word bewitched and cast it off as an Edwardian relic. As the scrutiny becomes more focused, though, we see that it is the “unscientific journalist” who is making sense.

Critics say that Chesterton was too prolific to be called a great writer, but this is wholly unfair, especially when we see all that he has to put forth and set in context in such a short space. I implore the doubtful reader to explore The Maniac, The Suicide of Thought and The Ethics of Elfland (Chapters 2, 3 and 4) to see the greatness of his thought (and his writing as well). Chesterton was referencing the thought of McCabe, a materialist, but as with all great and timeless writing it persists today for Hawking:

He understands everything, and everything does not seem worth understanding. His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world.

One last note on Chesterton, I am currently making some notes on Orthodoxy, and just for fun began challenging myself to find at least one sentence or phrase per paragraph that was worthy of underlining; it is a happy little excursion and, with a bit of humor and latitude, easy to find a most suitable candidate sentence in practically every one. Ok, try THAT for any other writer!

Materialists! Tell us about the workings of the “inner synthesis”, was GKC blowing smoke? or was he simply and plainly correct? And . . . game over.

70 Replies to “Stephen Hawking Should Visit Elfland

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    We must also remember that Stephen Hawking is the guy who believes in the physical possibility of time travel and even had a part in a Star Trek episode. Now we know where Star Trek got its voodoo physics.

    The smartest man in the world? Nah. Just another con artist, IMO.

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    It’s unfair to compare Hawking to a Newton, Planck, or Einstein – scientists who made monstrously important contributions. But I can’t help but wonder if Hawking would have been more productive scientifically if he was as spiritual/philosophical as those guys. Oh well.

  3. 3
    computerist says:

    It seems what Hawkings is saying is that once gravity exists, it gives law + chance.
    And law + chance according to Hawkings (and evos alike as we know), is enough for evolution (of the universe including formation of stars, galaxies and planets etc…) to take place.
    I don’t think he means gravity existed before the universe. To him gravity is perhaps a result of the big bang, or whatever origin scenario he believes in.

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    No computerist. You are wrong. He is saying exactly what the plain meaning of the words suggest.

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    “It’s Hawking’s opinion but is it backed up by the science?”

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d2YldpO_33w

  6. 6
    bFast says:

    ppolish, thanks for the link.

    Please note what your link says (3:30) “even if experiments eventually prove M theory, they can’t explain what came before the universe.”

    IE, the experimentally backed science isn’t there. When the experimentally backed science gets there it still doesn’t get to “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    Why do they say Hawkins is the smartest man?? why?? Whats the rules here?
    Is it because of dealiong with physics?
    hawkins is a brave example of a man who overcomes serious problems. His and others healing of that disease should be a priority in science. god bless this and soon.
    yet i don’t understand what he everr accomplished worthy to be in a list of worthys!
    i sae his biography on pBS and wik but what did he patent or discover thats notable.
    I don’t see why he is a science star as opposed to getting in the top forty with a hit.
    in fact i don’t see why they score intellect these ways.
    I wish him to do something cool like einstein/Newton/Edison/Wright bros but its not happened yet.
    Who decides who’s smart?
    Am i on the list or anyone in Canada?
    The bible says there is only Wisdom, understanding and knowledge regarding human smarts.
    Thats how to score it.

  8. 8
    humbled says:

    Although well credentialed it is his illness and the technology companies and their ingenious attempts to create equipment to cater for his disabilities that make the man half interesting. Like Chuck Norris, Hawkins has become a household name but for all the wrong reasons lol.

  9. 9
    Mark Frank says:

    Barry

    He is not claiming that the law of gravity causes anything. I know you are much cleverer than he is but cut the poor man some slack and at least do him the service of carefully reading his pathetic attempts at being an intellectual.

  10. 10
    Box says:

    We all know why Hawking says that the universe can create itself from nothing: he doesn’t want there to be a God. It’s right there in the next two sentences

    “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. 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.”

  11. 11
    Mark Frank says:

    Box

    It may well be true that SH doesn’t want there to be a God (although why anyone should want that I can’t think). However, it is not in the sentences you quote which say nothing about what he wants and might equally be the reluctant conclusion of a would-be theist.

  12. 12
    Box says:

    Mark Frank, formally you are correct, but I cannot come up with another reason as to why “spontaneous self-creation from nothing” would appeal to anyone’s sense of logic. Can you?

  13. 13
    Mark Frank says:

    Box

    What do you mean by a “sense of logic”? I think for SH it is quite enough to think that if the arguments and evidence suggest that X is true then that is good enough reason to believe X. He needs no other motivation – such as wanting X to be true.

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark, nice snark. But that is exactly what the man is saying. I would, however, be interested to read your alternative universe version where he means something other than the plain meaning of his words.

  15. 15
    Barry Arrington says:

    Why do materialists like Hawking think they can get their gravity for free?

  16. 16
    Box says:

    Mark Frank, it is utterly obvious that there is neither evidence nor arguments for any “spontaneous self-creation from nothing”. Do you wish to dispute this?

    So the question arises, what drives anyone with average intelligence to say such gobsmackingly stupid things? I hypothesize an intense want for God not to be there.

    – –
    BTW the irony:

    Hawking: this book is rooted in the concept of scientific determinism which implies … that there are no miracles, or exceptions to the laws of nature.

    Yeah, and surely a universe’s spontaneous self-creation from nothing is no obvious exception to the laws of nature …

  17. 17
    Mark Frank says:

    Barry
     
    He wrote “A because of B”. It does not follow from this that B caused A.  It means – “in the light of B it is possible that A”. Another example might be:
     
    When a gun fires there is a recoil because of Newton’s third law.
     
    That doesn’t mean Newton’s law caused the recoil. It just means that it conforms to Newton’s law. In a similar way SH is saying that spontaneous creation from nothing would conform to laws such as gravity. You may disagree with the reasons he gives for this. However, your attempt to dismiss it as “gobsmackingly stupid” because it confers causal agency on the law of gravity fails.

    I am more interested in your reaction to what he wrote. You know he is  one of the finest minds of our generation and that he is writing about something that he has thought about and worked on for years. When you come across something that appears to you to be obviously wrong don’t you think it might just be worth treating it as a challenging paradox which needs understanding before dismissing it as “gobsmackingly stupid”?

  18. 18
    Mark Frank says:

    Box

    Mark Frank, it is utterly obvious that there is neither evidence nor arguments for any “spontaneous self-creation from nothing”. Do you wish to dispute this?

    Yes. I dispute it.

    The main point of SH’s quote is that spontaneous self-creation can/does conform to the laws of nature. You may disagree with him but given his reputation I think you should do more than assert he is gobsmackingly stupid and obviously wrong. 

  19. 19
    Box says:

    Mark Frank: The main point of SH’s quote is that spontaneous self-creation can/does conform to the laws of nature.

    Would you be so kind to name a few laws of nature that conform with the spontaneous self-creation of the universe? In case you wish to put forward e.g. the law of conservation of energy, would you care to explain how it conforms with creation ex nihilo?

  20. 20
    Mark Frank says:

    #19 Box

    Not being a world class cosmologist I don’t understand how the laws apply under the extreme conditions of the birth of the universe. I imagine that SH is aware of high school physics laws.

  21. 21
    SteRusJon says:

    Mark,

    When a gun fires there is a recoil because of Newton’s third law.

    That statement, although in similar form to the one in which Hawking declares that “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”, it is vastly different in content. A gun packed with powder has an innate potential to cause a recoil. Real nothing does not have the potential to cause anything whatsoever. It matters not what law you invoke, gravitational or otherwise.

    That is what makes his statement so gobsmackingly stupid for such a supposedly bright mind. Defending such antics is godsmackingly stupid, as well.

    Stephen

  22. 22
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    The main point of SH’s quote is that spontaneous self-creation can/does conform to the laws of nature.

    And he sez that those laws “just are (the way they are)”- all science so far! When Hawking comes up with a method to test his ideas science and people will listen. Until then his ideas are as good as his soccer skills.

  23. 23
    Box says:

    Mark Frank: Not being a world class cosmologist I don’t understand how the laws apply under the extreme conditions of the birth of the universe.

    It doesn’t take a world class cosmologist to understand that when a universe spontaneously self-creates from nothing in Hawking’s backyard it will raise a few eyebrows at the ‘conservation-of-energy-department’.

  24. 24
    ppolish says:

    “Not being a world class cosmologist I don’t understand how the laws apply under the extreme conditions of the birth of the universe.”

    Don’t fret Mark, World class cosmologists are also a lot more confused than you. Confused and perplexed at a level way over your head:)

  25. 25
    Mark Frank says:

    It doesn’t take a world class cosmologist to understand that when a universe spontaneously self-creates from nothing in Hawking’s backyard it will raise a few eyebrows at the ‘conservation-of-energy-department’

    I believe the idea is that there is such a thing as negative energy which balances the positive energy which means the universe has zero energy. This stuff is not easy!

  26. 26
    Box says:

    Mark Frank #25,

    it just hit me, a moment of sheer unexplained inspiration … THE solution to the OOL question and all evolution questions:
    “NEGATIVE_INFORMATION” which balances the positive information that we find in life. Wadduyouthink?

  27. 27
    Mapou says:

    IMO, there is nothing wrong with the physical universe being created from nothing. In fact, an ex-nihilo universe is the only ontology of substance that does not lead to an infinite regress. What is wrong is wanting the universe to create itself before it exists. Nothing can create itself.

    Besides, the law of gravity and other physical laws cannot exist without a physical universe. Hawkins should keep his mouth shut, IMO. His pronouncements are no better than Aristotle’s explanation of why an arrow stays in motion after leaving the bow. Educated silly men speaking from ignorance.

  28. 28
    Mapou says:

    Mark Frank:

    The main point of SH’s quote is that spontaneous self-creation can/does conform to the laws of nature. You may disagree with him but given his reputation I think you should do more than assert he is gobsmackingly stupid and obviously wrong.

    Hawking is gobsmackingly stupid and obviously wrong. Anybody who believes that physical laws predate the universe is stupid. Anybody who believes that Einstein’s theory of relativity allows time travel is gobsmackingly stupid.

    Hawking’s latest pronouncements about the danger posed by future intelligent machines revolting against humanity is yet another example of his stupidity. Why do people even listen to that little con artist? What has he done for humanity besides creating a bunch of Star-Trek, chicken-feather-voodoo physics?

  29. 29
    Mark Frank says:

    #21 SteRusJon

    That’s a different issue. Barry was accusing SH of proposing that the law of gravity was the cause of the creation of the universe when the law is not the kind of thing the causes anything. I pointed out the SH never did assert that the law of gravity was the cause of anything.

    Separately from that is the question of whether the creation of the universe must have a cause at all. I don’t think it need have a cause. I imagine SH agrees. This has been debated endlessly here and I don’t think it is a good idea to start it again.

  30. 30
    Mapou says:

    Anybody who believes that an effect can exist without a cause is also gobsmackingly stupid. LOL.

  31. 31
    goodusername says:

    Box,

    Mark Frank, formally you are correct, but I cannot come up with another reason as to why “spontaneous self-creation from nothing” would appeal to anyone’s sense of logic. Can you?

    I haven’t yet read the book that this came from, but I think that when he says things like this that he’s referring to chaotic inflation and M-theory. I don’t really like such statements myself as I think it’s mostly an attempt to create headlines and leads to a lot of misunderstandings (and is easily quoted out of context).

  32. 32
    Dr JDD says:

    If anyone believes that SH is unbiased and would be open to the idea of there being a God they are bring fooled.

    It is the driving force behind virtually all atheism (whereas those who are less so opposed are often agnostic).

    Of course many people are theist because they want there to be a God and an afterlife but that does not mean that the converse is not true. The fact that SH and others constantly say why there does not need to be a God and hold strictly to beliefs that require a LOT of faith (spontaneous SELF-creation from nothing) shows they have already made their mind up.

    How can everything that is contingent self-create?

  33. 33
    Piotr says:

    #19, #23 Box,

    Conservation of energy is not derived from some “first principles” but is a mathematical consequence of Noether’s theorem (the invariance of the laws of physics under the symmetry of time translations). If time translations are not globally symmetrical (and they aren’t in an expanding universe), energy is not conserved globally. In non-cosmological scales (or in the static flat-spacetime model of special relativity) the classical law of conservation of energy may be regarded as strictly obeyed, but “cosmological” corrections are necessary if you want to apply it to the entire universe.

  34. 34
    Mapou says:

    Piotr:

    Conservation of energy is not derived from some “first principles” but is a mathematical consequence of Noether’s theorem

    So a natural law owes its existence to some human theorem? Please. The truth is that the energy conservation principle is a direct consequence of an ex-nihilo universe: The total energy of the universe is zero.

    The conservation of nothing/zero is the mother of all conservation principles. It is the reason that the universe is yin-yang symmetric: everything comes in complementary/opposite pairs. In fact, motion/change is always the result of nature correcting one or more violations to that principle. Universal balance is the key and is also the reason that the universe is nonlocal. The idea that the conservation of energy principle does not hold at cosmological scales is silly, IMO.

  35. 35
    Piotr says:

    So a natural law owes its existence to some human theorem?

    Conservation of energy is not “a natural law” but a human-formulated construct, just like Noether’s theorem. Energy is a concept invented by humans in their attempts to describe reality in formal terms.

  36. 36
    Mapou says:

    Wow. So let me get this straight. The law of gravity (which depends on conservation laws) is not a natural law? Humans invented gravity and conservation principles? Did humans pull them out of their asteroid orifices? LOL.

  37. 37
    ppolish says:

    “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” says Hawking in the OP.

    Why does he say “such as”? Seems a bit disingenuous.

  38. 38
    Piotr says:

    The law of gravity (which depends on conservation laws) is not a natural law?

    Newton’s law of universal gravitation is a classical approximation of gravity as understood under general relativity (which, by the way, is not the ultimate physical model either). It’s an excellent approximation, and it works for most human purposes, but it fails to account for Mercury’s orbit, and our GPS-based satnav systems would be useless if we mistook this approximation for reality. I should think a real “natural law” would not have a limited scope.

  39. 39
    Bob O'H says:

    So a natural law owes its existence to some human theorem? Please.

    Presumably the universe obeys some regularities, and you might call these (ontic) laws. But we are only human, so we can’t be sure if any regularity we observe is really the way the universe runs, or if we have just found an approximation, an epistemic law, if you will.

    It’s not clear to me if you think a ‘natural law’ is epistemic or ontic, i.e. if it’s a description of how we think the universe works (epistemic), or how the universe actually works (ontic).

  40. 40
    ppolish says:

    Hawking is saying In the beginning a Law such as gravity created the heavens and the earth.

    Shouldn’t THAT Law, such as it is, have a special designation? A Law that is responsible for the emergence of all other laws? Maybe we can call it the Hawking Law?

    “Sorry for the inconvenience” Law?
    “God Law”. Oh wait, already made THAT mistake with the God Particle.

  41. 41
    Box says:

    Barry Arrington: Why do materialists like Hawking think they can get their gravity for free?

    Indeed, and how about space and time? Surely those virtual particles that momentarily appear within a vacuum, are appearing in space and time.

  42. 42
    Mapou says:

    Whether or not we only have approximations of natural laws has no bearing on the existence of natural laws.

    The point of Barry’s article is that Hawking is positing the existence of a physical law before the existence of the physical universe and claiming that, on this basis, the universe can spring itself into existence by effing magic. It is, as Barry so eloquently put it, gobsmackingly stupid. LOL.

    PS. And this guy is one of the smartest men on planet earth? We’re doomed. Lord help us.

  43. 43
    Box says:

    One more thing: why would natural laws that are only known to be valid within our universe apply at our universe’s creation? In order for laws to create the universe, they must have an existence apart from the universe. On what basis does Hawking assume that these laws are the same as the ones we know now?
    Ironic that such a baseless assumption comes from ppl who speculate about some multiverse with an endless variety of laws; where each individual universe has its own set.

  44. 44
    Tim says:

    I am somewhat familiar with the text from which Chesterton was quoted and find it unfortunate that following recent OPs concerning evidence that our critics haven’t taken a closer look at what Chesterton wrote.

    Consider the Ethics of Elfland (Chapter 4 of Orthodoxy) and you will discover that upon closer inspection of Chesterton’s thought, one might claim that he himself was a “mountain of evidence”, a claim that I think he would happily and fullheartedly support.

    It always seems to go this way: the closer we look two claims like these, Hawking’s and Chesterton’s, they at first glance (and I do mean the most cursory of glances) seem to favor Hawking. You know, gravity is scientific, the universe is scientific, causes, effects. . .
    We can have nothing of the word bewitched and cast it off as an Edwardian relic. As the scrutiny becomes more focused, though, we see that it is the “unscientific journalist” who is making sense.

    Critics say that Chesterton was too prolific to be called a great writer, but this is wholly unfair, especially when we see all that he has to put forth and set in context in such a short space. I implore the doubtful reader to explore The Maniac, The Suicide of Thought and The Ethics of Elfland (Chapters 2, 3 and 4) to see the greatness of his thought (and his writing as well). Chesterton was referencing the thought of McCabe, a materialist, but as with all great and timeless writing it persists today for Hawking:

    He understands everything, and everything does not seem worth understanding. His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world.

    One last note on Chesterton, I am currently making some notes on Orthodoxy, and just for fun began challenging myself to find at least one sentence or phrase per paragraph that was worthy of underlining; it is a happy little excursion and, with a bit of humor and latitude, easy to find a most suitable candidate sentence in practically every one. Ok, try THAT for any other writer!

    Materialists! Tell us about the workings of the “inner synthesis”, was GKC blowing smoke? or was he simply and plainly correct? And . . . game over.

  45. 45
    Mark Frank says:

    #40 ppolish

    Hawking is saying In the beginning a Law such as gravity created the heavens and the earth.

    #42 mapou

    The point of Barry’s article is that Hawking is positing the existence of a physical law before the existence of the physical universe

    #43 box

    they must have an existence apart from the universe.

    As I tried to explain in #17 , I don’t think Hawkings is saying that the law of gravity is something separate from the universe which caused it to come into existence.  He is saying that the spontaneous creation of the universe is consistent with natural laws – just as the gun recoil is consistent with Newton’s third law of motion.

  46. 46
    Box says:

    Mark Frank #45,

    allow me rephrase what I said in #43:
    In order for laws to be involved in the creation of the universe, they must have an existence apart from the universe.
    Similarly there must be a space and time apart from the universe in which the creation of the universe took place.

  47. 47
    Mark Frank says:

    #46 Box

    In order for laws to be involved in the creation of the universe, they must have an existence apart from the universe.

    If their “involvement” is just that the process conforms to them then I don’t see why they must have an existence apart from the universe.

    Similarly there must be a space and time apart from the universe in which the creation of the universe took place.

    I don’t see this at all. I think you are still working to model where the creation of the universe is caused by something else. If you can get your mind round the idea that it is not caused and there is no time in which it is an event then the problem goes away.

  48. 48
    Box says:

    Mark Frank,

    Mark Frank:If their “involvement” is just that the process conforms to them then I don’t see why they must have an existence apart from the universe.

    I’m not sure I get your point. If you are saying that the laws have no explanatory power at all wrt to the creation of the universe, then you are clearly deviating from SH’s ideas (see quote in OP).

    Mark Frank: I think you are still working to model where the creation of the universe is caused by something else.

    True, because every effect needs a cause. However even a universe that creates itself needs space and time in order to be able to self-create in. On a more general note: every event needs a context.

  49. 49
    ppolish says:

    “He is saying that the spontaneous creation of the universe is consistent with natural laws – just as the gun recoil is consistent with Newton’s third law of motion.”

    Yes, Mark, understood. But the debate here is Hawking’s belief that nothing “pulled the trigger”.

  50. 50
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mapou, negative information. Brilliant. As a corollary negative information and positive information tend to balance and that is why when you read a materialist try to defend the proposition that nothing can cause everything, you feel a little more stupid than before. 🙂

  51. 51
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mapou, the more I think about it your theory of negative information is extremely robust in its explanatory power. As another corollary let me posit “information black holes.” We experience them from time to time on these pages when some troll jumps into a thread (AS I’m kinda thinking about you) and seems to suck the information right out of it like that salt sucking monster in one of the original Star Trek episodes.

  52. 52
    Mapou says:

    Mark Frank,

    Believing in spontaneous creation is about as scientific as believing that “13” brings bad luck.

  53. 53
    Mapou says:

    Barry @51,

    Assuming this is not a joke, I’ll stop commenting on UD if it bothers you. I don’t really need it. I’ll just move on.

  54. 54
    Tim says:

    If I may, Mapou, I believe that Barry is riffing in a way that actually supports your ideas. The “AS” is not the word “as” as in “while”, but a reference to Aurelio Smith or some such poser/troll with similar initials. Just my take . . . Barry may clarify.

  55. 55
    Cross says:

    Mark Frank @ 47

    “If you can get your mind round the idea that it is not caused and there is no time in which it is an event then the problem goes away.”

    Sounds like a great description of a ” first cause” or God.

    Cheers

  56. 56
    Mapou says:

    Tim @54,

    OK, I was confused, probably on account of being stoned. Weed does that to you :-D. But Barry’s humor is sometimes kind of obscure.

  57. 57
    Mark Frank says:

    ppolish

    But the debate here is Hawking’s belief that nothing “pulled the trigger”.

    That is not the point of the OP. The idea that nothing pulled the trigger goes back much further than Hawkings and has been debated to the point of no return many, many times on UD.

  58. 58
    Box says:

    Barry #50 & #51, Mapou# 53

    That was me – not Mapou – suggesting “negative-information” (#26) and yes it was supposed to be a joke.

  59. 59
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sorry to Box, Mapou and all. I was trying (and apparently failing) to be funny. Yes, Tim’s take on what I was trying to do is correct. I attribute it to posting on a phone while laying over between flights.

    Mapou, yes, my humor can be obscure. Pity my poor wife.

  60. 60
    butifnot says:

    Hawkings is a mathematician, not a physicist. Cosmology took leave of reality long ago. It was sucked into a black hole of mathematics with no correlation to reality. It is unrecoverable at this point and only adds to the fantasy – witness dark matter, dark energy, magnetic field ‘lines’ reconnecting, infinities, endless fudge factors and on and on.

  61. 61
    Zachriel says:

    butifnot: Hawkings is a mathematician, not a physicist.

    That is incorrect. Hawking trained as a theoretical physicist under Dennis Sciama, and has published extensively in the field.

  62. 62
    Mapou says:

    Zachriel:

    That is incorrect. Hawking trained as a theoretical physicist under Dennis Sciama, and has published extensively in the field.

    Don’t read anything written by Hawking. This is a man who teaches that the laws of nature do not forbid time travel. Star-Trek got their physics from Hawking and his black hole and wormhole buddies, a bunch of time travel propeller heads who proudly wear their “Mr. Spock” t-shirts in public. 😀

  63. 63
    groovamos says:

    Mark Frank: … SH doesn’t want there to be a God (although why anyone should want that I can’t think).

    This is the usual materialist confusion. All you have to do is look at the history of materialist approaches to the deepest human suffering such as experienced by the unfortunate pilot flying the most complex machinery nose first into the French Alps. And licensed by a nation surely in the top 3 scientifically advanced. Explain this man’s behavior and then explain the failure of science to identify his delusional state in advance. Then look at the abject failure of Western materialist science at expunging any mental illness against the success of non-materialist approaches as in employment of non-ordinary states of consciousness. These approaches are now being used (by very forward thinking psychotherapists) with PTSD. Just google ‘psilocybin’ and ‘PTSD’. If you think people come through this approach to mental healing with a resentment of theists and theism think again and give up your dream of your own personal annihilation.

  64. 64
    groovamos says:

    Mapou: Don’t read anything written by Hawking. This is a man who teaches that the laws of nature do not forbid time travel. Star-Trek got their physics from Hawking and his black hole and wormhole buddies, a bunch of time travel propeller heads….

    I got about half way through “A Brief History…” and got pretty disgusted with the guy telling us there are things out there called “the laws of science” in control of everything since the beginning of time. I mean really, before science existed, before humans, there were “laws of science”? Naturally I put the book down and resented him for misleading the public and this book is what made him as famous as he is. The public was duped and surely the advance of philosophical materialism was much helped by all this. I did enjoy the movie however.

  65. 65
    Mark Frank says:

    #63 groovamos

    By cutting off the quote I think you have reversed my meaning. I was trying to explain that I could not see why anyone would not want there to be God – live forever, someone to tell you what is right and wrong, father figure to confess to etc. I would be delighted if the Christian God came down and announced his presence to me today. However, in the absence of evidence I have to accept the bad news.

  66. 66
    Tim says:

    MF@65
    With all due respect, your post indicates that evidence is absent and therefore you are compelled (“have to”) accept the bad news. I find comments like these to be disingenuous. Most people, writing more candidly, admit that there is evidence that they find unconvincing and that they then decide to reject it (and thus live lives, more or less, of their choosing).

    Your stance and writing cuts off any chance of addressing the statement that preceded it; i.e. that you would be delighted . . .

    Supposing just for a moment that such an annunciation of the Christian God could be accomplished in a way that did not annihilate any chance of personal love and relationship, how might God accomplish this? Well, it would have to be as a person, humble, ready to bring us back no matter what the personal consequence, and etc . . . Hmm that sounds like . . .

    This leads us to “delighted”. It is not enough and could not describe what we are talking about.

  67. 67
    Mung says:

    Mark Frank:

    I was trying to explain that I could not see why anyone would not want there to be God

    So you admit atheists are deviants?

    .., live forever, someone to tell you what is right and wrong, father figure to confess to etc.

    That’s what God means to you?

    I would be delighted if the Christian God came down and announced his presence to me today.

    I don’t believe you. I think you are a liar.

    If “the Christian God” came down and announced his presence to you today how would you know?

  68. 68
    Mark Frank says:

    #66 Tim #67 Mung

    I am quite surprised by your aggressive responsive to my statement that I would be delighted if the Christian God came down and announced his presence to me today. For some reason you assume I am “disingenuous” and a “liar”. Why do you doubt my sincerity? I imagine you believe in the Christian God and are delighted he exists. I know people close to me who get immense fulfilment from their belief in him. Why would I not be equally delighted if something happened that convinced me he existed?

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    Mark Frank:

    I am quite surprised by your aggressive responsive to my statement that I would be delighted if the Christian God came down and announced his presence to me today

    I am not at all surprised by your passive-aggressive response.

    : Why do you doubt my sincerity?

    What sincerity?

    : I imagine you believe in the Christian God and are delighted he exists.

    Imagine all you like.

    : I know people close to me who get immense fulfilment from their belief in him. Why would I not be equally delighted if something happened that convinced me he existed?

    Who cares?

  70. 70
    Mark Frank says:

    Mung

    Are you interested in discussing this or do you just want to stick to exchanging insults?

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