Hawking suggests Grand Design

2010-09-10 14:30

London - Cosmologists, the people who study the entire cosmos, will want to read British physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking's new book.

The Grand Design may sharpen appetites for answers to questions like "Why is there something rather than nothing?" and "Why do we exist?" - questions that have troubled thinking people at least as far back as the ancient Greeks.

Hawking likes the tale of the old lady who accused a lecturing cosmologist of talking nonsense: She knew for a fact that the whole universe lies on a flat plate, borne on the back of an enormous turtle.

"What does the turtle stand on?" the lecturer asked.

"Another turtle," she replied. "It's turtles all the way down."

No agreement

For some readers, the answer from Hawking, known for his work on black holes and author of the best-selling A Brief History of Time, and physicist Leonard Mlodinow, may not be much more satisfying.

The "grand design", said Hawking, is to be found in M-theory, an idea launched in the mid-1990s.

Annoyingly, there's no agreement on what the "M" stands for. The authors suggest "master", "miracle" or "mystery". Others have also been proposed, but none of these names offers the layman much help in answering the basic questions.

"According to M-theory, ours is not the only universe. Instead, M-theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing. Their creation does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or god," the book says. "Rather, these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law."

This idea may trouble anyone who was fair at high school math but didn't major in the subject in college.

"M-theory has solutions that allow for many different internal spaces, perhaps as many as 10 (followed by 500 zeros), which means it allows for 10 (followed by 500 zeros) different universes, each with its own laws," the book says.

Successful conclusion

A layman may wonder if one of those multitudinous laws might furnish a simple explanation of why something exists instead of nothing - and also wonder if there might be no such law in any of the possible universes.

Hawking writes that M-theory is a unified "theory of everything" that Albert Einstein was looking for but never found.

"If the theory is confirmed by observation, it will be the successful conclusion of a search going back more than 3 000 years. We will have found the grand design."

The Grand Design is published by Random House and retails for $28.

  • maceye - 2010-09-10 14:48

    Try reading this magisreasonfaith blog, and you'll soon realise that his assumptions that the universe can come from nothing are basically flawed.

  • Spade - 2010-09-10 14:53

    Does this mean there are 10 (followed by 500 zeros) Gods also? More Gods than people? that's it for me then. I'm also a sun-worshiper now, just like George Carlin was...

  • Illuminati - 2010-09-10 15:06

    Science is the new religion people, and scientists the new prophets. Anything that passes their lips is held sacred to their followers, at least until disproven. Nice theory though, and even better, it sells copies!

  • Gonzo - 2010-09-10 15:08

    its not prefect but i wouldnt say its flawed, the only thing flawed are the dogmatic ppl i have to share this earth with who do everything in there power to keep us god fearing fools

  • scientist - 2010-09-10 15:09

    @maceye: So I found it and read it. And the premise is because meta physicians and philosophers stated that nothing can come from nothing the entire Hawking premise is wrong. Sigh. Another example of how the church managed to perpetrate the Middle Ages.

  • Die Bongz - 2010-09-10 15:13

    Even if it was made, what was it made of? Sugar, spice and everything nice?

  • Peter Richards - 2010-09-10 15:14

    @maceye - do you really consider yourself more intelligent than Stephen Hawking? Seeing as you claim to debunk his theory with a one-liner, it would appear so...

  • ds - 2010-09-10 15:16

    in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God - Jesus is the Word of God

  • sunman - 2010-09-10 15:20

    This multiple universe theory is a metaphysical response to the problems of existence of the cosmos: as how is the existence of other universes proved by either observation or experiment as required by the scientific method to infer a fact? The very word universe was generally taken to mean all there is observable and unobservable so this other universe idea is maybe not so meaningful.

  • FSM - 2010-09-10 15:40

    @ds - so when was the beginning? Also, was the word with god, or was the word god??? You're confusing me here. I thought Jesus was a person??? is he a word now? Word WAS God...? so what is this Word NOW?? What became of it? Is the word a thing? Or is it some writing? If it is writing then god is just some writing, correct? Anyway, your comment makes as much sense as religion, and does not answer a single question or explain anything. At least Hawking does...

  • does not matter - 2010-09-10 15:43

    There are only two certainties in life and that is death and taxes. The rest does not really matter.

  • @gonzo&peter - 2010-09-10 15:48

    Then it must be on turtles boys....lots and lots of turtles

  • Amanda - 2010-09-10 15:54

    I feel sorry for Mr Hawking, he cannot except this world is the way it is because of what happened in the Beginning- God is a God of His Word--- Mr Hawking and the others are going to find that out. You can't outsmart God - HE IS.

  • doesn't matter - 2010-09-10 16:09

    having degrees behind your name doesn't by default make you right! It means that you have given things a lot of thought and tested theories etc. I know many medical doctors personally and know how human they are. They make mistakes! Doesn't mean we can't trust anything that people say it just means be careful of placing too much weight on someone's argument.

    Just one simple question, has someone ever seen one of these other universes? I didn't think so. Doesn't mean they don't exist. Just means lets not be so sure. I don't to be as clever as Hawkins or Dawkins to work that one out.

    In these discussions we need to understand what people's worldview or basic assumptions are. This will determine how you interpret what is observed by both Christian and non a like. Our grids determine how we interpret. This is a far healthier discussion to have.

  • maceye - 2010-09-10 16:13

    @Peter Richards - no, but I am not as arrogant to suggest that without empirical evidence that the universe was created out of nothing. And before you go off a tangent, no, I don't believe in the 7 day creation theory, and more importantly believe that evolution is compatible with my religion.

  • Hloni - 2010-09-10 16:15

    Ironic how the more we discover the magnitude of God's creation...the more we use it to deny his/her existence. I dont believe in any religion...but the big bang theory is even more magical than the bible stories.

  • ammako - 2010-09-10 16:16

    I think this people they must just came to conclusion with their theoretical assumptions, because they not gonna prove anything, if you can read the Bible at Genesis from chapter 1:1-. when God created the world never hired any contractors, but his word(utterance) create things out of nothing, how can someone exist from that creation and think he can prove the work of the word but by ignoring the Creator's word.they are not gonna prove anything until they are nomore.

  • Another turtle - 2010-09-10 16:17

    So, where did physical law come from?

  • confuzzled - 2010-09-10 16:22

    WTF There is a basic circularity to this argument, and I surprised no one sees it. It is far too convienient to postulate multiple universes which contain all the answers. Also complete crap since it does not answer the underlying question: how do we arrive at space/time from nothing?? No explanation offered can satisfy this question in Physics or Religion. I kinda like it that way - nice to know that there are always going to be some mysteries unsolved.

  • Jo - 2010-09-10 16:38

    Food for thought: If (at a liberal estimation) mankind is deened to possess 10 percent of all the knowledge in the universe, wouldn't only a fool claim to have answers to fundamental questions relating to the origin of life? Although Hawking may be a brilliant mind, it is inately human to try and justify our opinion depending on our relevant world view. This is specifically problematic within the context of development of perception and understanding based only on the process of socialisation, i.e. it certainly is impossible for the human mind to grasp ideas to which it has not been exposed before. As Socrates' philosophy argues, we are wise when we realise that we are not wise. It is blatantly foolish to think otherwise. Furthermore, Hawking's theory only contributes in making the world a more hopeless place. Entropy implies that the world is ending slowly, in this context mankind is a doomed species. Under these circumstances I prefer to put faith and trust in God and in the fact that I don't know - in fact no one except God does. May we make the world a better place.

  • biochemist - 2010-09-10 16:40

    So did God come into existence? Why explain the improbability of the universe by creating an even more improbably creator? The only reason you and other believers have to create your god is because, unlike the universe, you cannot see this god. By doing this you trick your brain to think further than the illusion you created. It is clever of your brain but it is also flawed. Our whole perception of religion and the universe manifests within our brain. It is very easy to artificially create these 'religious feelings' by magnetic brain stimulation. It is equally easy to make 'non-religious' beings from 'highly religious' humans simply by removing pieces of their brain. This frequently happens after surgery to remove brain tumors or alleviate epilepsy.Stop living in this lie. Start living life to the fullest. It is quite rejuvenating to do good around you out of your own free will and not because it is expected of you. The world becomes a really beautiful place. Once you made peace with the fact that you are a deterministic machine where free will is a complete illusion you will also have peace with those around you. You will not judge anyone - whether they are homosexual or atheists.I really don't mind what you believe but please don't create this illusionary world for other people. That is simply immoral.Do you know why countries such as the scandinavian countries have such low crime rates and are tolerant towards one another? It is because they have learnt that religion is a lie as can be seen by the percentage of atheists in those regions. On the other hand, how much more blood will the false notion of religion have on its hands in countries like Israel and Palestine?I want to leave you with a thought:Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?Then he is not omnipotent.Is he able, but not willing?Then he is malevolent.Is he both able and willing?Then whence cometh evil?Is he neither able nor willing?Then why call him God?

  • trueblueandreal - 2010-09-10 16:55

    The universe is defined as "everything there is"...why then "multiple universes"...? surely they just part of the "everything that is"?

  • trueblueandreal - 2010-09-10 17:11

    i like what illuminati said. Its amazing how the supreme pride of man is now being expressed through "science". Hawkins wants us to believe that science has finally answered all our questions, including why we are here. These questions are metaphysical questions and completely outside the realm of science, which is based on a naturalistic methodology, ie science assumes naturalism. It has not proven naturalism, it assumes it.

  • Observer - 2010-09-10 17:15

    Nothing complex entity like a single cell organism or bacteria has ever been proven empirically to have assembled itself all by itself for itself. We can send an explorer craft to Mars but we are nowhere even near understanding what the entire DNA sequence of a simple bacteria means and how it works, let alone build one. No complex code can create itself without a designer. When a simple organism adapts to it's environment it is because there are algorithms coded in the DNA that makes it possible to adapt just like genetic algorithms in Computer science is able to learn from experience. Either way, there is still an intelligent being involved.

  • Joe - 2010-09-10 17:40

    As a layman I can't hope to compete with Hawking on his ideas, and as a human I can't compete with God in his (assuming there is a God). Either way, I would have to be very arrogant to pretend I can better either in what they do, or even comprehend it and venturing to make any predictions to others about I think they are supposed to think about these things would just be pretentious. The difference between science and religion, though, is that the former invites debate, the latter only compliance. Logically, which has a better chance of getting to the truth?

    Has anyone for one moment thought that science and religion are both imperfect tools to experience the true nature of the world, its origin or its scale? People confuse religion with the idea of God, and religious leaders would like to keep it that way. Ironically the one thing God does not expect from his followers is to judge others, but they are always so quick to do it.

  • Walker @ds - 2010-09-10 19:14

    How do you know? And please dont bother trying to ask how scientists know what they claim to know cause they dont. They simply stick with theories (and theories built on those theories) that explain what is observed and agree excellently with experiment. That's the problem with you religious types - all you have in the end is a strong feeling that it must me true (you just know). I have news for you though : there are many people out there that feel far more strongly about their set of beliefs (that do not agree with yours) and are willing to set themselves on fire for it, blow themselves up for it, starve themselves to death for it and fly in to buildings killing thousands for it...Mathematicians are the only people that can claim to know anything and even they (good ones) will concede that the basis of their understanding depends on 'human logic' that may differ from person to person and may very well be lacking in the end. We're not egotistical in that we require the universe to bow down to our rationale i.e. there may be no laws and the universe's mechanics if it has any may forever be beyond human understanding and/or comprehension. People like mr Hawking are simply extrapolating successful and/or promising theories. It should be left at that

  • Fred - 2010-09-11 08:25

    And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.

  • dude - 2010-09-11 10:41

    @Illuminati - Yes the scientists are lying to us. They are conspiring against us!

  • Who Knows - Not Us! - 2010-09-12 14:13

    Science presents a theory of what happened and is open to questioning, fine tuning, change or scrapped if disproved. Its flexible and rational. Scientists are thinkers, most of us armchair critics and know it all's who know little or less than the people who spend countless hours focusing on a theory, or idea, we are fed the same regurgitated irrational, materialistic, authoritative and religious god deluded human theories day after day. It's someone other mortals perspective or idea, nothing to be scared of.

  • Desmond - 2010-09-12 14:28

    We will never figure it out in our lifetime, so theories will come and go, one day the truth will be revealed or won't it? that is the point of life... its a never ending sequence of events... keep thinking... ;)

  • JImmy - 2010-09-12 14:37

    Paul put it very well in 1Tim 6:20
    Avoid profane and vain babblings, and opposition from science, falsely so called.
    These men are not stupid they just have another agenda for numerous reasons they don't want to admit to the reality of a God too whom they must be accountable.

  • Robin - 2010-09-12 15:10

    Scientists say something must be so because of what can be seen, tested and worked out to be true, until rpoven otherwise.

    Creationsist say they are correct because a book writtne by some people who knew nothing of theuniverse said it must be true.

    I think I'd rather believe what can be tested rather than a book of words with nothing to validate a single word. Anyone found the Ark yet? Oh yes, Noah must have taken more than 2 of each, because what did the lions eat?

    If one wants to get really objective, Genesis explains the Big Bang and all quite clearly, but just in simple mind terms as thousands of year ago science did not exist to explain it any other way.

  • LUMP OF COAL - 2010-09-12 17:29

    @Peter Richards ...... Hawkins clever ??? He may be a reasonable mathematician but like my old man pointed out to me many times in his life .....GUMP (thats what Dad called common sense) is muchmore essential than a degree in determining intelligence. Alas those smart Gyppos who built the pyramids never even got the earth shape right. Face facts we are human and the "Big picture" is too complex for our limited minds. Before you knock Christianity , ask yourself if you are anti Christ or just anti Christians ??

  • @ds - 2010-09-12 19:20

    with all due respect for your faith, have you ever stopped for a moment and considered that there is more to the world than Jesus? To each their own, but this is a thread about cosmology and the origin of the universe, not about who is our lord and saviour.

  • Chris - 2010-09-13 06:30

    @ds - give us a coherent argument please; quoting the same thing over and over is not getting your point across. If the people you are trying to communicate with are not getting the message then it is up to YOU to try a different angle.

  • Paul - 2010-09-13 09:09

    These are some of the most used words of the Scienits .... IF,MAY,MAYBE,COULD,MOST LIKELY,PROBABLE,MIGHT,SEEMS TO BE,POSSIBLE,THEORY,PROPOSED,IDEA,ASSUME,PREMISE ... and you non-believers call us belivers gullible and knowlege are not the same thing ... so carried on believing in your scienitific FACTS till they are disproven and then you can move on to the next best theory ... and we will still believe in God and for ever !!!

  • Tarras Bulba - 2010-09-13 13:29

    To each his own . . . and what pleases him. Forcing theistic and atheistic views is a matter of the opposite sides of the same coin.

    The people that are in charge, are usually the ones that can explain things. Like all positions of power, it's susceptible to corruption. I bet in a few hundred years, people will be exclaiming: "SCIENCE is the reason we killed off all those poor retarded children to strengthen the genetic pool. Has our logic turned us into cold animalistic beings? A kind of Mr Hyde to Dr Caveman?" . . . . and once again, they'd be wrong.

  • Roy Wyatt - 2010-09-13 16:27

    I cannot even begin to understand how this all fits together, but let me see if i have this correct. String theory apparently Explains and proves that there are 11 dimensions, then there is the superstring theory that binds multiple Strings together, and then now we have the ultimate the M Theory and this combines everything together, dimensions relate back to universes and the big bang is because 2 parallel univesrses collided..................Well with all due respect of course let me mathematically of course throw a curveball. Please explain to me and everyone else why there are historical documents dating back to thousands of years ago and we have proof of this and we take it as law which is fair, we know about the Colosseum in Greece, we know about the existence of dinosaurs, then we have historical documents all teaching us about Jesus and God and there are more of these historical documents that have been found than any other historical document on Earth , Yes people in history, look it up, believe it or not, its fact and yet we still we question its authenticity, as Scientists and mathematicians and people that are gifted with such knowledge and understanding about how simple things like numbers and equations and formulas work based on Physical laws of the universe, why do we push so hard to prove the non-existence of a supreme being, namely God

  • @lump of coal - 2010-09-13 19:43

    The circular logic and incorrect assumption is so typical of a 'faith-head'. Firstly you assume that there is actually a christ, outside of the collective imagination of christians, for us to be against and secondly that it is only christians that bother the average atheist. Firstly, we do not believe in ANY God, we are not anti-christ, or anti-mohammed, or anti-buddha, we simply do not believe in their existence or power or significance in prolonging our lives beyond death. Secondly we are not anti-christian, we are anti-religion, or at least anti-all the crap it has caused in the name of 'God'....all of them. And also, it was in Egypt that the earth was first mathematically proven to be spherical, and its circumference measured - admittedly not by an Egyptian, but by a Greek - Eratosthenes. And whaddayaknow, he did it around 240 BC? How could he have managed that without the guiding countenance and annointment of Jeezuzz? Musta been that dastardly old' lucifer, old Eratosthenes must have gone to the cross roads (before blues guitar was popular) and signed the proverbial 'deal with the devil, to give him those mad skills in mathematics. I can just hear the Robert Johnson song about how the hellhounds were on Eratoshenes' trail......whoooooh brutha!!!!

  • @ Robin - 2010-09-13 19:52

    You make some good points, but Genesis only makes a few general stabs in the dark at anything close to an explanation of the origin of the universe. In fact, most creationists try and treat it like it is a 'Universe Creation for Dummies' manual just waiting to be deciphered, and they start deriving all kinds of parallels to modern science and cosmology from it, which simply aren't the case at all. All it proves is that early man was curious, and some possibly well-intentioned individual, thought he could offer an explanation after he had pondered it for a while. The rest of Genesis and all of the bullshit it tries to sell us, more than negates any credibility it could have in being considered as the biblical answer to 'A Brief History of Time'

  • Nico - 2010-09-21 10:23

    Hawkings apparently states that because you need matter for gravity and because we have gravity, matter created itself. Lets explain this another way: You need paper to draw a line on. I take a piece of paper and draw a line on it. Another person comes by and see the line on the paper. Knowing you cant have a line without a piece of paper he concludes that because there is a line on the paper. The paper must have created does that make sence?

  • Leonard - 2010-10-08 09:32

    did god ever said that the were other planets beside our own, i am not trying to change anyones believe about life or anything for that matters,take a moment and think about what you are saying and eventually you will come to your inner conlusion about the power o life and the way science and religion explains it to a living mind.

  • Prophet - 2010-10-20 22:41

    The little sticky problem with all of this is that if Mr Hawking is wrong and there is an almighty God then he and those of like mind are in for a lot of misery when their time is up. If Mr Hawking is right and there is no almighty God, then there is no problem because you will be dead aka not good for anything but worm food and would not realy care that you were wrong. Question is: which blunder would you rather experience?

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