Saturday, 4 September 2010

Hawking ditches God

The Times has been devoting masses of pages to publicise Stephen Hawking's new book The Grand Design in which, like Laplace, he points out that physics has no need of the God hypothesis. Cynics are saying Hawking is just trying to boost sales of his book, and that the Times is just trying to boost subscriptions to its now pay-walled website.

The Grand Design is M-theory, a development of String theory, which implies that a universe can spontaneously emerge from nothing, thanks to the negative energy of gravity balancing out the positive energy needed for matter. This is pretty much what Victor Stenger has said, in "The Comprehensible Universe" and "God the failed hypothesis", along with other physicists, but no doubt Hawking carries more clout.

The title The Grand Design strikes me as a bit of a gift to the creationists who will say a Design implies an Intelligent Designer.

The Times has got quotes, for and against, from just about everyone including a whole page from the Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. He claims "Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean." I would have thought both those processes, analysis and synthesis, were part of science, which is the search for understanding. He also has the effrontery to say: "The Bible is relatively uninterested in how the Universe came into being. It devotes a mere 34 verses to the subject." Now he tells us!

2 comments:

  1. 34 out of more than 31000... Coincidence?

    ReplyDelete
  2. In what way is that a "coincidence" anonymous?

    ReplyDelete