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What does Stephen Hawking mean here?

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In a general disquisition on death as the final end, he responds to Ian Sample for Britain’s Guardian (15 May 2011),

What is the value in knowing “Why are we here?”The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.

Who assigns them higher value?

Is there a way of determining which societies are most likely to survive, absent details?

History has frequently produced societies “most likely to survive” that experience little freedom and low quality of life. Why should “we” (?) assign them higher value?


Note: The interview is very short, and dwarfed by Sample’s informative introduction. The piece as a whole suggests that Hawking is struggling in some way. More later.

It doesn't sound as though any of us know what Hawking is talking about, which I think is significant. O'Leary
ellazimm-- Dr Hawking has three children the last of whom was born in 1979. Oh but you are missing the point. This is not 1979. tribune7
Barb: I pursue meaningful goals and set priorities in my life including working to raise a decent, hardworking, honest, compassionate and empathetic son. I also work with kids with learning problems. I'd like to leave the world a better place than when I joined it. And I figure I've only got one chance to do that. I consider myself lucky to be alive and I'm not going to waste the opportunity I have. ellazimm
tribune7: Dr Hawking has three children the last of whom was born in 1979. Any other crass comments you want me to fact check? ellazimm
Knowing why we are here allows us to pursue meaningful goals and set priorities in our lives. It seems that Hawking doesn't think much of this question because it's philosophical in nature and he is a materialist. Barb
How much value would a Darwinian society place on a guy in a wheelchair unable to reproduce who writes about intangible ideas? tribune7
What is the value in knowing “Why are we here?” Absolutely nothing if there is no reason! Absolutely everything if there is a reason! Knowing why were created is important in order to know how to live a fulfilling life. Things work and function best when they are used correctly, when they are used for the purpose they were made. tjguy
The universe is governed by science.
Huh? He's delusional.
But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. Actually, no. 1. It's not science that tells us that. 2. We can solve the equations, but not without paradox. IOW, paradox is fundamental to the scientific endeavor. BUT, science is supposed to dispel all paradox. So much for science. I don't feel sorry for Hawking at all. If anyone has been gifted he has been gifted. What did he do with his gift?
I feel sorry for the man. But this comment of his; 'There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.' Makes me think that he has gone from being a good theoretical physicist to being a bad rhetorical physicist;,, Though I'm certainly no great physicist, from what I have been able to gather from physics, thru the years, has certainly not hindered my belief in a afterlife at all. In fact, from what I can gather from physics, it has greatly strengthened my belief in a afterlife; https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/the-spirituality-of-physics/#comment-380944 =========== OT; Amos Lee - Jesus (Podcast - Moving story behind the how the song was written.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HHwyIWVEVs Amos Lee - Jesus - music video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sb8NL642FA bornagain77

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