Thursday, September 02, 2010

Stephen Hawking and God: Who made the touch-paper? 

Stephen Hawking is quoted in today's Daily Telegraph saying

“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.”
He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”

Oh, dear - once again I have to quake and tremble as my faith receives an unanswerable blow... or not.  Just a couple of things, though, Stephen, before I retreat into the pointlessness that atheism brings: 

  • Why is there a law of gravity?

  • Who made the touch paper that we don't need God to light?


Phil Clark said...

I would imagine he goes into that in more detail in his book. Newspaper filler items based on press releases are notoriously vague when it comes to explaining the mechanics of the universe.

Wayne said...

I certainly don't have anywhere near the understanding of physics that Stephen has (reading John Lennox's book made my brain hurt), but I always thought that the law of gravity and other laws of physics were created *with* the universe - so how could they be a trigger for its creation?

It was Terry Pratchett (himself an atheist I think) who wrote in one of his books; "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded...". It reminds me how daft the idea of a self-creating universe is!

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

It is quite sad though that Stephen seems to have moved away from God rather than closer to him as his life has progressed.

Gary Benfold said...

Phil - I'm sure that what you say is true, just as theistic arguments cannot really be captured in soundbites. Nonetheless, however more detailed SH may be in the book, he's still left with the fundamental mechanistic impossible belief (which Wayne and Pratchett capture well) that nothing+time = everything.