Atheism Culture Religion Science

Why lots of smart people don’t agree with Stephen Hawking that

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… death ends all – my current MercatorNet article (26 May 2011):

… most people have not assumed that we survive death because they are “afraid of the dark,” as Hawking supposes. On the contrary, the oldest beliefs usually include ancestor worship, which includes propitiating the continuing spirits of unpleasant ancestors for fear they will otherwise harm us. Or, as Beauregard and I put it [in The The Spiritual Brain] , in such a society the problem isn’t that everyone dies, but that no one does. (p. 48) 

Sthumbnailo is it wish fulfilment? Hardly, because most people who expect to survive death also fear divine punishment or cosmic consequences for unrepented sin. Fear then? No, not, for instance, among the ancient Greek philosophers who repudiated “the gods” but assumed immortality as a fact. Similarly, the Buddhists’ law of karma (what goes around comes around) appoints the gods as divine helpers to the faithful, not creators or governors of karma. Even new atheists believe, in a sense. As d’Souza has observed,“new atheism” (modern atheistic materialism) makes immortality untenable by definition — except in its most vulgar forms (transhumanism, for example, where we are transformed through genetic engineering miracles or get uploaded into computer Sims).

Given the ubiquity of belief, let’s look at some of the better traditional arguments for immortality:

More here.

While we’re here, during the interview Hawking gave some evidence of confusion, unless someone can figure out what he means. So maybe it’s best not to read too much into what he says?

5 Replies to “Why lots of smart people don’t agree with Stephen Hawking that

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    It amazes me that Stephen Hawking could possibly make any sense of physics without belief in God. Physics by its very nature must presuppose that a transcendent unchanging order is placed on ‘material’ reality. A transcendent unchanging order that could, and can, be discovered by our minds. This ‘transcendent’ presupposition, of a rational order that could be discovered by us, is the very reason why modern science was born and flourished in Judeo-Christian cultures in the first place.

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video remix

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website

    Moreover, the discoveries that have been uncovered by the scientific discipline of physics, at least discoveries that have been verified by empirical confirmation as opposed to the unverified postulations of string theory and multiverses, are profound discoveries that point directly to a higher dimension of God. i.e.

    4-Dimensional Space-Time Of General Relativity – video

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.

    3D to 4D shift – Carl Sagan – video with notes
    Excerpt from Notes: The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. Some physical theories are also by nature high-dimensional, such as the 4-dimensional general relativity.

    ,,, I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    etc.. etc..

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    footnote; not only does physics reveal a ‘higher dimensionality’ to the foundational of this universe, there is also a ‘higher dimensionality’ revealed within each of us, personally, by modern physics;

    The Spirituality of Physics –

  3. 3
    Eugene S says:

    It is sometimes astounding to see world class scientists so uneducated in elementary religion. Ancient people would have had NO INTENTION whatsoever of deifying nature if they had not had the innate voice of God within them. For example, it would never occur to an Australian aborigine to compare something white with snow JUST BECAUSE he had NO IDEA about what snow was. Consequently, experience of the divine comes first!

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    He fashions their hearts individually

    Is this talking about the heart as a physical organ, or the heart as something non-physical?

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    Why lots of smart people don’t agree with Stephen Hawking that

    I bet lots of stupid people don’t agree with him either.

    I wonder what that tells us.

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