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Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe

 
 
Reply Sat 4 Sep, 2010 09:44 am
Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
September 2, 2010

LONDON, England (CNN) -- God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book that aims to banish a divine creator from physics.

Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.

His book -- as the title suggests -- is an attempt to answer "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything," he writes, quoting Douglas Adams' cult science fiction romp, "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

His answer is "M-theory," which, he says, posits 11 space-time dimensions, "vibrating strings, ... point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space." He doesn't explain much of that in the excerpt, which is the introduction to the book.

But he says he understands the feeling of the great English scientist Isaac Newton that God did "create" and "conserve" order in the universe.

It was the discovery of other solar systems outside our own, in 1992, that undercut a key idea of Newton's -- that our world was so uniquely designed to be comfortable for human life that some divine creator must have been responsible.

But, Hawking argues, if there are untold numbers of planets in the galaxy, it's less remarkable that there's one with conditions for human life.

And, indeed, he argues, any form of intelligent life that evolves anywhere will automatically find that it lives somewhere suitable for it.

From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours -- and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing.

Therefore, he concludes, there's no need for God to explain it.

But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed the point.

"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander.

"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge.

"Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative," said Alexander, director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.

And Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history of science, said that it's not the existence of the universe that proves the existence of God.

But, he said, "a creator God provides a reasonable and credible explanation of why there is a universe, and ... it is somewhat more likely that there is a God than that there is not. That view is not undermined by what Hawking has said."

Hawking's book will be published on September 7 in the United States and September 9 in the United Kingdom.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/02/hawking.god.universe/index.html?hpt=T...
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Sep, 2010 09:50 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
The Grand Design
Stephen Hawking (Author)

Amazon.com Review
Stephen Hawking on The Grand Design

How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? Over twenty years ago I wrote A Brief History of Time, to try to explain where the universe came from, and where it is going. But that book left some important questions unanswered. Why is there a universe--why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? Did the universe need a designer and creator?

It was Einstein’s dream to discover the grand design of the universe, a single theory that explains everything. However, physicists in Einstein’s day hadn’t made enough progress in understanding the forces of nature for that to be a realistic goal. And by the time I had begun writing A Brief History of Time, there were still several key advances that had not yet been made that would prevent us from fulfilling Einstein’s dream. But in recent years the development of M-theory, the top-down approach to cosmology, and new observations such as those made by satellites like NASA’s COBE and WMAP, have brought us closer than ever to that single theory, and to being able to answer those deepest of questions. And so Leonard Mlodinow and I set out to write a sequel to A Brief History of Time to attempt to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. The result is The Grand Design, the product of our four-year effort.

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality. We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything." As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The three central questions of philosophy and science: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? No one can make a discussion of such matters as compulsively readable as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk), Hawking deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a "Goldilocks Zone" in space: just the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with just the right elements to allow life to evolve. On a larger scale, in order to explain the universe, the authors write, "we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why." While no single theory exists yet, scientists are approaching that goal with what is called "M-theory," a collection of overlapping theories (including string theory) that fill in many (but not all) the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the "Grand Unified Field Theories." This may all finally explain the mystery of the universe's creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, clear, and intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe. 41 color illus. throughout, 7 b&w cartoons.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Sep, 2010 09:52 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I always thought that Mr. Hawking was some kind of theist. A clockwork universe theorist like Einstein (if memory serves me incorrectly).
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Sep, 2010 10:17 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe

We already knew that.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Sep, 2010 10:49 am
@rosborne979,
I wonder what took him so long to put together a formula to figure that out? Surprised
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Sep, 2010 12:06 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Hawkins did produce some revolutionary ideas about the universe in the early 80'ies IIRC, but since then it's going down hill to mere ramblings and childish obvious things.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Sep, 2010 12:00 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

Hawkins did produce some revolutionary ideas about the universe in the early 80'ies IIRC, but since then it's going down hill to mere ramblings and childish obvious things.


I think I'll stick with the professor. I was just about to write "At least nobody has called him "Hawkins", when look what I found! I am sure that he wouldn't write "80'ies" either, well he can't write anything but you get my meaning.


HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Sep, 2010 10:28 pm
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

HexHammer wrote:

Hawkins did produce some revolutionary ideas about the universe in the early 80'ies IIRC, but since then it's going down hill to mere ramblings and childish obvious things.


I think I'll stick with the professor. I was just about to write "At least nobody has called him "Hawkins", when look what I found! I am sure that he wouldn't write "80'ies" either, well he can't write anything but you get my meaning.

[ ] yes
[ ] no
[x] whaaaat?!?!
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Sep, 2010 12:13 am
QED
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Sep, 2010 02:49 am
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

QED
Please show me that you can actually say something intelligent, instead of picking on my dyslexia.
0 Replies
 
 

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