Stephen Hawking just doesn't get it

Somewhere along the way, the man who last held the Lucasian chair in mathematics at Cambridge once held by Sir Isaac Newton has forgotten how to construct a scientific hypothesis.  To the delight of his interviewer, Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Stephen Hawking asserted the superiority of science over religion:

When Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said, "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Ironically enough, Hawking would have us accept this assertion based upon his noetic authority.  It seems, rather, that religion is based upon faith, supported by observation and reason.  The miracles performed by Jesus and the Buddha or the power of the good will embodied by Ghandi or Martin Luther King were certainly observed and can be factored into one's consideration of faith.  The scientific community's infatuation with global warming, on the other hand, seems to have been based upon something other than observation and reason:  precisely the intellectual authority claimed by the fraudsters and self-interested warmists looking to enrich themselves by imposing their preposterous schemes on the engine of capitalism.

While Hawking has certainly earned the right to strut his cerebral hubris, his pronouncements regarding religion and God are riddled with assumptions that completely undermine the validity of his off-the-cuff hypotheses.  Take a look at this paragraph filled with dead-ended assertions of the primacy of the scientific method:

"What could define God [is thinking of God] as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God," Hawking told Sawyer. "They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."  (ibid ABC)


For starters, why is it more likely that God is the embodiment of nature, when it seems every bit as logical that the laws of nature are the embodiment of God?  While my own belief seems quite close to Hawking's potential Godhead along the lines of Deepak Chopra's concept of "the infinite organizing power of the universe," what is to prevent a human from enjoying a personal relationship with that God?   One can understand that a personal relationship with God might be impossible for Hawking.  Mores the pity.

Perhaps most striking is Hawking's denigration of the"(insignificance of ) an accidental human life" in our vast universe.  I believe Mr. Hawking's expertise lies in the area of physics, from whence he is wandering off the reservation and into metaphysics.  The question of the significance of human life is an ethical question, certainly not the branch of philosophy from which we want to entertain Stephen Hawking's skeptical direction.

Perhaps if one is a detached intellectual pondering the vastness and emptiness of space,  one can lose track of the significance of human life.   Those of us who share a faith in a higher power, whatever one might conceive it to be, are infused by our faith with the miracle of each day and recognize and honor the significance of humans like George Washington, Mother Teresa, St. Augustine and countless others who labored to improve the lot of humanity and continue to enrich it despite the nay-saying of the nattering nabobs of nihilism who just don't get it.

Ralph Alter blogs at Right on Target 
Somewhere along the way, the man who last held the Lucasian chair in mathematics at Cambridge once held by Sir Isaac Newton has forgotten how to construct a scientific hypothesis.  To the delight of his interviewer, Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Stephen Hawking asserted the superiority of science over religion:

When Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said, "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Ironically enough, Hawking would have us accept this assertion based upon his noetic authority.  It seems, rather, that religion is based upon faith, supported by observation and reason.  The miracles performed by Jesus and the Buddha or the power of the good will embodied by Ghandi or Martin Luther King were certainly observed and can be factored into one's consideration of faith.  The scientific community's infatuation with global warming, on the other hand, seems to have been based upon something other than observation and reason:  precisely the intellectual authority claimed by the fraudsters and self-interested warmists looking to enrich themselves by imposing their preposterous schemes on the engine of capitalism.

While Hawking has certainly earned the right to strut his cerebral hubris, his pronouncements regarding religion and God are riddled with assumptions that completely undermine the validity of his off-the-cuff hypotheses.  Take a look at this paragraph filled with dead-ended assertions of the primacy of the scientific method:

"What could define God [is thinking of God] as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God," Hawking told Sawyer. "They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."  (ibid ABC)


For starters, why is it more likely that God is the embodiment of nature, when it seems every bit as logical that the laws of nature are the embodiment of God?  While my own belief seems quite close to Hawking's potential Godhead along the lines of Deepak Chopra's concept of "the infinite organizing power of the universe," what is to prevent a human from enjoying a personal relationship with that God?   One can understand that a personal relationship with God might be impossible for Hawking.  Mores the pity.

Perhaps most striking is Hawking's denigration of the"(insignificance of ) an accidental human life" in our vast universe.  I believe Mr. Hawking's expertise lies in the area of physics, from whence he is wandering off the reservation and into metaphysics.  The question of the significance of human life is an ethical question, certainly not the branch of philosophy from which we want to entertain Stephen Hawking's skeptical direction.

Perhaps if one is a detached intellectual pondering the vastness and emptiness of space,  one can lose track of the significance of human life.   Those of us who share a faith in a higher power, whatever one might conceive it to be, are infused by our faith with the miracle of each day and recognize and honor the significance of humans like George Washington, Mother Teresa, St. Augustine and countless others who labored to improve the lot of humanity and continue to enrich it despite the nay-saying of the nattering nabobs of nihilism who just don't get it.

Ralph Alter blogs at Right on Target 

RECENT VIDEOS