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Stephen Hawking’s co-author: Hawking thought that his Brief History of Time was wrong

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At The Guardian:

In 2002 Thomas Hertog received an email summoning him to the office of his mentor Stephen Hawking. The young researcher rushed to Hawking’s room at Cambridge. “His eyes were radiant with excitement,” Hertog recalls.

Typing on the computer-controlled voice system that allowed the cosmologist to communicate, Hawking announced: “I have changed my mind. My book, A Brief History of Time, is written from the wrong perspective.”

Thus one of the biggest-selling scientific books in publishing history, with worldwide sales credited at more than 10m, was consigned to the waste bin by its own author. Hawking and Hertog then began working on a new way to encapsulate their latest thinking about the universe. – Robin McKie (March 19, 2023)

The outcome is a new book, On the Origin of Time (Penguin Random House, April, 2023).

According to Hertog, the new perspective that he has achieved with Hawking reverses the hierarchy between laws and reality in physics and is “profoundly Darwinian” in spirit. “It leads to a new philosophy of physics that rejects the idea that the universe is a machine governed by unconditional laws with a prior existence, and replaces it with a view of the universe as a kind of self-organising entity in which all sorts of emergent patterns appear, the most general of which we call the laws of physics.” – Robin McKie (March 19, 2023)

But doesn’t self-organization of the universe, as is now suggested, entail some sort of panpsychism?

You may also wish to read: Why is science growing comfortable with panpsychism (“everything is conscious”)?

It seems to me, Hawking just replaced one irrationality with another, and still makes the egregious error of sticking with just another version of reductionist materialism. Some perspectives on "evolutionary emergence" and "emergentism" from Wiki:
This family of hypotheses has been widely criticized for providing no mechanism to how entirely new properties emerge, and for its historical roots in teleology. Historically, emergent evolution has been described as an alternative to materialism and vitalism. Emergentism is the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is a new outcome of some other properties of the system and their interaction, while it is itself different from them. Within the philosophy of science, emergentism is analyzed both as it contrasts with and parallels reductionism. Some varieties of emergentism are not specifically concerned with the mind–body problem but constitute a theory of the nature of the universe comparable to pantheism. They suggest a hierarchical or layered view of the whole of nature, with the layers arranged in terms of increasing complexity with each requiring its own special science.
I think evolutionary emergentism amounts to proposing something (the existing huge amounts of functional complex specified information constituting the Universe's incredible degree of intelligent organization including life forms) coming from nothing in terms of intelligent organization. This is akin to proposing magic as being the creative power behind the Universe, and is basically irrational. It is just a seemingly more sophisticated way of denying any form of teleology and maintaining reductionist materialism, in the face of the facts of the Universe's existing very high and complex degree of organization, which in human experience is inherently and always the result of intelligence. doubter
Tammie - now to be fair, Hawkings accomplished somewhat more than you give him credit for - after all, he also inspired an episode of "Law And Order: Criminal Intent" ; ) BPS from AZ
. The reason he didnt get the Nobel, is that the Nobel Prize requires empirical confrimation, no matter how impresssive the theory, and to this day his theories have no data to confirm them.
That's true. It's also worth pointing out that the kinds of observations needed to confirm Hawking radiation are estimated to be extremely rare. Unfortunately Hawking passed away five years ago and the Nobel Prize cannot be awarded posthumously. PyrrhoManiac1
TLH at 11, Dr. Hawking was a motivated man who did his best. A Black Hole cannot be observed directly, it can only be assumed to have certain properties, aside from its massive gravitational pull. relatd
What, if anything did Dr Hawking accomplish in the 40 years before his death? That is, other than publishing books that sold well due to his celebrity, but were misleading as they were obtruse, advancing unsupporterd speculation, and making foolish and churlish pronouncements? It is interesting to note that he never got the Nobel Prize. He should have been a shoo-in. given 1) his celebrity from his handicaps, and 2) the great interst in his main achievement which was the theory of black hole entropy, temperature, radiation, and information. The reason he didnt get the Nobel, is that the Nobel Prize requires empirical confrimation, no matter how impresssive the theory, and to this day his theories have no data to confirm them. Anyhow, rather than waste your time on Dr Hawking, let me recommend a Physics book "Theory of Heat It was written by the great Creationist Scientist J.C.Maxwell, who had great love and respect for his fellow man, and it is aimed at people like myself with modest educations .It requires only basic algebra, yet it offers wonderfully lucid explations of many powerful concepts. Especially interesting is last chapter, where he was the first scientist to seriously recognize the possiblity of perpetual motion. https://www.amazon.com/Theory-Heat-James-Clerk-Maxwell/dp/0486417352 TAMMIE LEE HAYNES
Seversky @5,
For me, the problem with the concept of a self-organizing Universe is that, as with evolution, it does not explain the origins of the principles or laws by which it is organized.
Well said! The laws of physics apparently either . . . a. Just magically appeared. b. Are all radically different in an infinite number of multiverses nearly all of which collapsed. c. An intelligent agent was responsible for the space-time, mass-energy, finely tuned laws, etc. in which we exist. Our universe might possibly be a simulation. d. "Evolved" from simple, stupid laws, but by natural selection, evolved into coherent but complex laws through "survival of the fittest physics," which continues to evolve into far more complex versions over time. Eventually, the universe evolves into God, gods, or the Easter bunny, and perhaps starts reproducing by biological fission into new universes, along with a DNA of its laws of physics. -Q Querius
CD, Sorry, but my ChatGPT Righteous Indignation program failed. relatd
This from the Amazon description of Hertog’s new book (ranked No. 1 in Astrophysics):
As Hawking’s final days drew near, the two collaborators published their theory, which proposed a radical new Darwinian perspective on the origins of our universe.
That ought to be fertile soil for a month or two of righteousness indignation from the ID crowd………. chuckdarwin
Andrew at 4, I buy as many books as I can. This requires research on my part. I can't just guess. A review I wrote was just posted on Amazon. relatd
For me, the problem with the concept of a self-organizing Universe is that, as with evolution, it does not explain the origins of the principles or laws by which it is organized.
That’s a great ID argument. jerry
For me, the problem with the concept of a self-organizing Universe is that, as with evolution, it does not explain the origins of the principles or laws by which it is organized. Seversky
Relatd @3, Thanks for the insight. Publishers want to appeal to the masses to move the inventory. Not being the masses, I have difficulty mustering the enthusiasm to read a book recommended by someone other than myself. lol Seriously, it better be damn good. ;) Andrew asauber
Andrew at 1, I work in book publishing. A cool cover does get potential buyers to look - at least. A bad cover is instantly skipped over. People who do no research on their own can end up trusting the wrong person. A sad development which is relatively recent. Take so-called book reviews on Amazon. A real review follows a certain format and the writer is familiar with what the book's about and a particular book's contents. That way, he can properly criticize it or praise it. That degenerated quite quickly on Amazon. "Reviews" turned into shouting matches in some cases. Turning the review section into just another message board. If the subject involved Creation, well, criticisms of great length were published. They included attacks on the author as some sort of "religious nut" who, in turn, was somehow attacking science. I wrote a review covering the technical aspects of a particular aircraft type and was promptly accused of things the other person could not show was true. In the end, Amazon deleted all of those "responses" and now you can only post reviews. That did not, however, stop another person from posting a review of the same book which attacked another person's review. This has led to some books getting ratings but no actual review. This is Censorship. relatd
I'm a bit skeptical about the exact provenance of this book -- it's hard to tell how much of it is really Hawking, and how much is his co-author. Regardless, the basic idea of a self-organizing universe does not require or entail panpsychism. It is closer to Schelling than to Leibniz. PyrrhoManiac1
I really do like cool sciency book covers. Just as much as the next guy. But you all know the old saying to not judge a book by its cover. If you let popsci books shape your world, you have made a mistake. Andrew asauber

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