‘The Grand Design’

I just got my copy of Stephen Hawking’s “The Grand Design”. I’ve only looked at it briefly, so a full report is not possible at this time. However, I think it’s worth quoting a section he has on miracles.

It is Laplace who is usually credited with first clearly postulating scientific determinism: Given the state of the universe at one time, a complete set of laws fully determines both the future and the past. This would exclude the possibility or miracles or an active role for God. The scientific determinism that Laplace formulated is the modern scientists’s answer to question two (‘Are there any exceptions to the laws, i.e., miracles?’). It is, in fact, the basis of all modern science, and a principle that is important throughout this book. A scientific law is not a scientific law if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene. (Page 30)

Emphasis mine.

This is a concise account of why the belief in miracles is so anti-science: science tells us ‘These are laws which are true at all points and all times within the observable Universe’ whereas a believer in miracles inherently says, ‘No, no. These aren’t laws at all. They can be made untrue at any point and any time, and in fact some of them have not been valid in certain places and at certain times.’ Of course, the believer doesn’t actually say that. But his belief in miracles means that.

Stephen Hawking states the obvious

Just like with Einstein, theists love to usurp the words Stephen Hawking to pretend as though he’s a believer. It’s long been obvious that that is not the case. Recent statements now make this more clear.

In “The Grand Design,” co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.

“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,” Hawking writes.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

This ought to be clear.

It’s unfortunate that literary devices are often abused. Recall when Hawking ended “A Brief History of the Universe” by referencing “the mind of God”. We have dozens of other statements from the man, including these most recent ones, which show that he rejects religion and silly superstition. But does this stop all the lying and/or ignorant theists? Of course not. Really, it’s sad that they think by having a prominent scientist on their side of belief that they’ve actually bolstered the case for God, but I’m more offended by the utter willingness to misrepresent a person’s views.

Again, this all should be clear – and it should have been clear almost 20 years ago.