Gratuitous Stephen Hawking Post

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 14:  Scientist Stephen ...
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From the there-never-really-was-any-reason-to-believe-to-begin-with-department.

Everybody’s talking about it: Stephen Hawking has a new book coming out, The Grand Design, in which he departs somewhat from his previous comments about the divine in A Brief History of Time.

In the latter book, Hawking wrote, “If we do discover a complete theory … of why it is that we and the universe exist … it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we would know the mind of God.” Many have stated that Hawking was speaking metaphorically and no more intended the notion of a creator-god than Einstein did when he wrote “God does not play dice” (Einstein also wrote that he absolutely did not believe in the notion of a personal god).

Hawking now writes, in his new book:

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.

Like Einstein, Hawking also has been quoted[1] as stating he did not believe in a personal god:

The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can’t understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science ‘God’, but it wouldn’t be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions.

Christians throughout the blogosphere are going nuts. “How dare a scientist pretend to practice theology?!” they say. Jim West, theologian (with a “Ph.D.” and all) claims Hawking isn’t educated enough to comment on “theology.”

Uh… Hawking isn’t. He’s commenting on reality. Theology is about fantasy and superstition. It isn’t about the real world.

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  1. June 2010 in a British Channel 4 television program []
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