Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God

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Michael Meadon (September 09, 2010, 10:59:57 AM):
Jacques Rousseau (an excellent skeptic who, oddly enough, taught me "Thinking About Bussiness - a core course - at UCT) has a thoughtful piece in the Daily Maverick on Hawking and God:
Teleological (September 09, 2010, 11:36:57 AM):
There are several problems with Hawkins' assertions.
1) Hawkins says:
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."

Hawkins definitions of "nothing" is wanting. Maybe he says a little more about that in his book (good marketing I guess). If his definition is anything like the classical metaphysical conception whereby nothing is literally nothing and nothing CAN COME from nothing, then he seems to ascribe some God-like property to the law of gravity. According to the classical conception, only God creates from nothing or ex nihilo.
2) Hawkins wants us to believe that the law of gravity is god-like in the sense that it is (like paul Davies opines) "eternal, immutable transcendent entities that just happen to exist and must simply be accepted as given".
3) From these quotes...
The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos.

"The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph." is quite clear that he has a mechanistic view (mechanistic metaphysics) of the universe and is unlikely to know much about the classical Aristotelian conception of God. With this mechanistic view in mind, Hawkins seems to desperately want to attack God-of-the gaps arguments (big bang ID, deism etc,) and probably rightly so. From an Aristotelian and classical theistic perspective this is of course a non-sequitur really and quite irrelevant.

And there are also several problems with the assertion that God is some kind of hypothesis (as in Jacques' piece). To say God is some kind hypothesis is like saying the interior angles of a triangle on an Euclidean plane adding up to 180 degrees is some kind of hypothesis. Sure, there are some (as per the IDers) who would like to argue that God is a hypothesis, heck even a theory, and perhaps Jacques as well as Hawkins targeted those people. Hawkins could have written the book without referring to God or other metaphysical topics (such as something from nothing or the ontological status of laws), but I guess it is good for book sales and it got people talking and thinking.
Michael Meadon (September 09, 2010, 14:04:13 PM):
Teleological, you are terribly confused. On the "something coming from nothing" question, you should really read up on quantum mechanics. And... who cares if he doesn't restrict himself to the "classical metaphysical conception"? That conception is based on nothing more solid that human intuition, and, since the universe is not only stranger than we conceive, but stranger that we can possible conceive, there is just no reason to think our intuitions are a guide to truth. Dawkins has a most excellent TED Talk on this:
Mefiante (September 09, 2010, 14:44:16 PM):
And the whole forum, mesmerised and intrigued, waits with bated breath for this thread’s next exciting instalment…

Betting is now open. :-X

mdg (September 09, 2010, 15:10:30 PM):
Quote from: Mefiante
And the whole forum, mesmerised and intrigued, waits with bated breath for this thread’s next exciting instalment…

Betting is now open

LOL! Wait I want to get some popcorn...

Oh dear, I laughed at your joke Mefiante, does that make me your lap dog/minion too? >:D

@Michael Meadon - I would like to think that I am your friend (albeit an internet one) and feel it's necessary to tell you that the woo is strong with the one they call Teleological. I wish you luck.
When all else fails, just pat him on the head and toss him a cookie. ;)



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