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The Hawking Perspective

24 July 2012, 15:25

I have expressed my intention to expose from the mind of a “super” atheist. As Hawking is still considered as one of the greatest among the scientists, I attached the “super” description to him. He has a finely tuned sense of humour and this is evident in the way in which he often emphasizes the value attached to a widely held theory not to the intrinsic value of the theory itself, but to the fact that so-and-so discovered it or simply hit onto a thought that is popularized in order to promote what the atheists, the evolution mongers, so desperately needs to give credibility to; an argument that is destined to suffer from over use until it has lost its power to achieve certain goals.

The only Hawking work I have and use; A Brief History of Time, a Bantam publication that became a world best-seller since published in 1989; I will strongly advise the layman or non-specialist to get hold of from a book shop. According to Carl Sagan, this is Hawking’s first book for the non-specialist. That, I hope, was an indirect reference to one or more others written for us.  

“Scientists”, as I deliberately placed the word in inverted commas, whether invested, formerly ordained, or simply because they consider themselves erudite, are nothing more than the respect they demand simply because they do not act in any way ostensibly as so many to intimidate the opposition. They are human beings and share all the traits of all other humans.

If you, like me, have an inquisitive mind, and feed it with knowledge and hone that knowledge with thinking, you simply have no reason to fear the Ph.D.’s. Obviously, you can benefit much from what they know, but their knowledge in not without many weaknesses. Simply follow any debate between two super savants with opposing views and you will understand what I mean.

A classical example, the one that gave rise to this debate, is the self-consuming resentment atheists, including the scientists, have of God. It is this resentment that led to the self-imposed pagan practice of believing that life originated without any external cause, God. Their fury is unleashed at those who do accept God as Creator and the Bible as His only self-disclosure.

The atheists insist that we, the creationists are superstitious, because we believe. These perform as if they defend science and that we, the Christians, believe in God. I have shown from scientific history that it was experimentally proven that life cannot generate itself. To this, they, so typically, ignore this documented and official position of the scientific associations. Then, having waited for the necessary break, will come back and accuse us of that which they have just been exposed for.

Take the late Professor Carl Sagan and his colleague to whose book he wrote the preface: He relates his first sighting of Professor Hawking in 1974 while he was in England attending a meeting of the Royal Society of London, “to explore the question of how to search for extraterrestrial life”. He and the most of his colleagues reject God and the existence of angels, but seeks confirmation (and communication with, if possible) extra-terrestrial life. A USA senator had said perhaps as many years ago, “The taxpayer’s money will be better spent to seek ‘intelligence’ in New York.”

And now that famous final paragraph of this preface; the one from which I concluded that he had never read the book to which he wrote the preface. Both Sagan and Hawking were world top scientists. Both are/were atheists and would love to present to the public what they could to promote atheism. The one had a showy public way of performing on the stage, more of an entertainer than a scientist. He displayed a stage personality which also finds its way into this paragraph; one intended to dissuade the believer to continue in faith.

And as among scientists, we Christians must ever remember that among the most famous of the public representatives of the Christian community, are so many who are granted the publicity of being just that, but are not so. Take for example, the one addressed; “The Most Right Reverent”, bishop Desmond Tutu. The title to his latest book is, “God is not a Christian”. Just so also among scientists there are so many who have achieved fame in bringing this field of enquiry into disrepute. Think of Charles Darwin, his bulldog, Thomas Henry Huxley and his sons and grandsons.

The association of these people with either Christianity or science must never be used as a stumbling block for both these activities.

Now, the final paragraph of Prof. Carl Sagan’s preface to , A Brief History…”:

  ““This is also a book about God…or perhaps about the absence of God. The word God fills these pages. Hawking embarks on a quest to answer Einstein’s famous question about whether God had any choice in creating the universe. Hawking is attempting, as he explicitly states, to understand the mind of God. And this makes all the more unexpected the conclusion of the effort, at least so far: a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end in time, and nothing for a Creator (capital Sagan’s) to do.”

What I have found in my reading of the book is more the frustration of Hawking in not being able to dispense of God. Hawking starts the opening chapter of his book with the following story:

“A well-known scientist (some say that it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: ‘What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.’ The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ‘What is the tortoise standing on?’ ‘You’re very clever young man, very clever,’ said the old lady. ‘But it’s turtles all the way down!’ (page.1)

From that vantage point Hawking continues his introduction with some thought provoking remarks:

“Most people would find the picture of our universe as an infinite tower of tortoises rather ridiculous, but why do we think we know better? What do we know about the universe, and how do we know it? Where did the universe come from, and where is it going? Did the universe have a beginning, and if so, what happened before then? What is the nature of time? Will it ever come to an end? Recent breakthroughs in physics, made possible in part by fantastic new technologies, suggest, answers to some of these longstanding questions. Someday these answers may seem as obvious to us as the earth orbiting the sun—or perhaps as ridiculous as a tower of tortoises. Only time (whatever that may be) will tell.”

Note the use of some words which may in general reading miss the attention so critical for a better understanding. Here, the word, “suggest”, is an admission by the author of the tentative nature of what science discovered and may even use with good results. This acknowledgment of a good scientist maintains the good integrity of science. This is also a hallmark of Professor Stephen Hawking, in this book at least!

Hawking remains an atheist, but he seems to refuse using words or arguments that may compromise his scientific principles. Therefore, even where he is trying to make out a case for evolution, he generally refrains from applying the atheist’s terminology of stating all claims of evolution as established fact.

Some of the commentators have had the audacity of blaming Christians as bigots who always seek some absolutes. I will accept this charge as valid, for what we know about the realities of existence; have been created by God and this He revealed to us in the Bible. The one reality that transcends all is that of God Himself. Hawking struggles with that and will finally state this inability to accept it in asking a question right at the end of the book. Atheist scientists, realizing the tentative limitations of science, has come to reject the very existence of absolutes.

After bring the starry eyed cosmos gazer down back to the earth by explaining much, and giving most useful guidelines of how the world of scientific research works, he gives us a few of Karl Popper’s principles of “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” (1934; translated in English in 1959), Hawking then launches his argument that is the theme of this book, the universe and its beginnings:

“One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang.” (page 9)

“Hawking’s last statement has bearing in view of the following statement which the timid Christian may find worth considering:

“One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning.”

Now note the next statement!

“One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!” (page 10).

Hawking admits that here God cannot be excluded. The limits He places on God here on God is, in my view, valid. He here also admits to the principle of an “appearance of time”. While those who reject God will reject this principle of the appearance of time, they conveniently forget that their projected age of the universe and the event that, they maintain, as valid and an established fact, is based upon that which they now observe and then, reversing their calculations of the velocity of the expansion of the universe,  extrapolate the past in that way and document their calculations into textbooks what they fail to verify. The universe, we may add, has an appearance of age, but that appearance cannot be anything more!

The appearance of time is that which we, who believe that God created the heavens and the earth do to fill in in our minds what we think things were like before, during, and after the completion of the creation in six days.

Some examples: It is said that the earth was covered with water before the six-day process commenced. This is also believed of what the case was during the time of the great flood. The presence of so much water does not bother us. If God is the Creator, He could have created the additional water required to cover the earth in its totality. I don’t intend wasting my time on theistic evolutionists and will therefore not spend time on reconciling their views with what God did.

There may be many other possibilities for flooding the earth. One suggestion is even that gravitation, one of the things God created, was so characterized that all water could naturally have been distributed by forming a film over the surface of the earth and followed its contours that flowed and reached equilibrium when the surfaces were all covered by a uniformly deep body of water.

Christians in general believe that Adam was created as an adult. We also believe that God created full-fledged forests and the sea and fresh water lakes and rivers in which on the third day all the created plants were present in abundance. These would represent the whole spectrum of age from very old to young sprouts. On the fifth and the sixth days the forests and water teemed with fish and other forms of swimming and flying life and that that all seemed to be as if it were already there for thousands of years.

Science gives a better chance of things being like that than that microscopic units of life came into existence in a world hostile to life and then, in spite of all the hostile factors these little units developed progressively into greater and more complex, mutual supporting forms of plants and animals to eventually provide a life sustainable symbiotic life-covered earth.     

I think that this suffices for what I intended to cover and will now also allow Hawking to conclude his contribution before allowing Professor Norman Geisler to answer that:

Professor Hawking:

“At the big bang and other singularities, all the laws would have broken down, so God would still have complete freedom to choose what happened and how the universe began.” (p. 183/4)

Many other questions are posed. Hawking then also uses the occasion to call Einstein in to add his bit:

“Einstein once asked the question: ’How much choice did God have in constructing the universe?’”

To that, at the bottom of the page, Hawking asks:

And who created Him (God)?

The main problem Hawking spells out in the very beginning of his book is that of the apparent failure to unify the two greatest theories in the world of Physics; how can the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics be reconciled. Hawking also even dares to call upon God again as if challenging Him. I will quote the last paragraph of the book as one I found quite disturbing!

“However, if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God.”

In so many respects I admire Hawking as one who, as an outspoken atheist, admits to a failure to discard of God. But then, his conclusion brings us right back to the challenge of the serpent for which so much blood and human misery followed.

Norman Geisler: (I could have other famous men to defend their reasons for believing in God; René Descartes, (1596-1650): Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662); His famous Wager. A famous apologetic advanced by Blaise Pascal in his Pensées. I could allow Søren Kierkegaard, (1813 – 1955) to present his case. But though I have some admiration for him, it is more his anguished doubts with which I do identify myself.

These all, Pascal and his wager included, reveal doubt in the defence of their faith. But Norman Geisler presents something monumental:

In his book, Can man live without God? The apologist, Ravi Zacharias, credits philosopher Norman Geisler as the leading and most able exponent of the cosmological argument for the existence of God. He then proceeds to quote a ten step argument for the defence of theism, adding, “Each one well anticipating the critic’s questions. The following is his outline:

1.       Some things undeniably exist.

2.       My non-existence is possible.

3.       Whatever has the possibility not to exist is currently caused to exist by another.

4.       There cannot be an infinite regress of current causes.

5.       Therefore, an uncaused cause of my current existence exists.

6.       This uncaused cause must be infinite, unchanging, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-perfect.

7.       This infinitely perfect being is appropriately called ‘God’.

8.       Therefore, God exists.

9.       This God who exists is identical to the God described in the Christian Scriptures.

10.   Therefore, the God described in the Bible, exists.

This may challenge! The more basically minded like me struggle to understand the necessity of some of Geisler’s points, but according to Zacharias, Geisler formulated this after many years as professor in many a written or public debate. Each point is necessary for the more mature atheist philosopher and I accept it as such. I have attempted to simplify this.

The fact is that the common philosophic cause and action principle that is so pervasive in its application; let the atheist take note; this, and nothing else, even though for most, never put to words before, is the basis of the Christian’s faith. It is also the challenge with which I confront you, the atheist, to defend the sanity of the theory or doctrine of evolution! 

Briefly, the fact that we exist indicate a Creator. This Creator can be nothing less than the attributes given in point 6 above. If I will be as stupid as Hawking was to ask that question to seek a cause prior to the one that brought forth the present creation, including us, then I will start my tower of gods just like the lady who constructed a tower of tortoises. No, we will all come to a point where the “infinite regress of current causes” of point four above will confront us with the fact that a single prime cause must have done what we observe. Without such a cause there could never have been anything that existed. Our minds and sense of logic cannot extend beyond this!

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