“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you” Werner Karl Heisenberg , German theoretical physicist, one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics
As introduced in my last post, I ask if Stephen Hawking was a brilliant scientist or a cosmic orphan. More appropriately, did he feel more like a brilliant scientist or a person with an orphan spirit, not knowing the purpose in which he was made? Making it difficult to reveal the deeper side of Hawking is the public persona that obscures. This post is an attempt to find out the real Hawking behind public perceptions. I guess you could call this post, “Psycho-analyzing Hawking, A Christian Perspective”, and in the process to demystify some atheist memes and share a little about my own journey to home. My posts are summarized as follows: 1) Hawking’s final conclusions about God and the universe in his book “The Grand Design” are purposely incoherent but masked in confidence. 2) The heavy hitters of science disagree with it. 3) He probably knew this but did it anyway. 4) This reveals more about the deeper side of Hawking than his public persona does. 5) A person can truly know himself fully when we know God fully. (This is part 2 of my series: Stephen Hawking: Brilliant Scientist or Cosmic Orphan. Three things I wished to tell him.)
RIP Stephen Hawking.
Dear Stephen Hawking, did you see my last letter to you? In it, I introduced the 3 things I would tell you if you were here. Many of my readers liked it, your curiosity might find it interesting. You spend so much time finding out the secrets of the universe, but there is a good reason why Aristotle said, “”Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”, so I found it fitting to reveal insights about you.
In 2011, you made a comment to the Guardian, “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” He continued, “I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”
Please forgive me for being too forward, but instead of real bravado, I sense a degree of false bravado.
I don’t think you realize the echo chamber that you are in that allows for such bravado. You are deified by media, the Discovery Channel once said you are the greatest mind on the planet. People lap up your every word. You became the defacto voice for the public for Physics. Your popularity is so abundant that your problems are “whether you will be remembered more for being in the Simpsons or for your work.” Caltech physicist Kip Thorne attributed a mystical status to Hawking, saying in the film, “The Theory of Everything”, that Hawking could “move at lightning speed through the universe, seeing things nobody else could see”.
You say you’re not afraid. But I disagree.
Because when the media lights grow dim, and all accolades laid at your pedestal fades; in those quiet moments, you are too intelligent not to realize the logical extension of your atheism that philosophers you deemed as inferior have figured out – that a reality without God leads to “unyielding despair” because everything is inherently meaningless, there is no true justice and we only have ourselves to fend for in this cruel world. Not I, but legendary atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell said that, and I respect him for taking his beliefs to its logical conclusion. Is this the reason why you claim, “philosophy is dead” and that “Philosophers haven’t caught up with modern physics”? Calling an entire discipline that has benefited humankind for centuries dead because they disagree with you reminds me of a King Lear, whose inflated ego subverted his judgment and banished his “best subject” and “balm of the age” Cordelia because she didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear.
As a fellow person also cursed with a debilitating disease and had greatly searched for meaning I’ve wrestled with existential problems all my life so I know it when I see it. Your public persona consists of mainly stoic responses in the face of debilitation and ready answers to the meaning of the universe, but I see existential problems brimming under the surface, simply by measuring the contradictions in your ideas. The greater the contradiction, the greater the underlying fear must be; for fear leads to irrational thinking, and irrational thinking also leads to fear. One of the many negative feedback loops that plague our “special” race. We aren’t as great as we think we are. And since in your case, since you are the “most brilliant” mind since Einstein, your irrationality is not due to lack of intellect, but due to choice.
And, there is none with as much contradiction as in your final word about the universe that is the final pinnacle of your life’s work.
In your last book before you passed away “The Grand Design” which is the last word of all your life’s work, your magnus opus, you reveal to your fans what 50 years of figuring out the mysteries of universe has come to. I’ll pick two of the most significant:
You asserted “multiple universes arise naturally from physical laws.” (p9) and then you continued to write: “Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing…” (p180)
This is the pinnacle of your work, Dr Hawking? I can’t help but think you are afraid of the fallout from your camp by admitting that you don’t know. Or, afraid to lower your pride to the God whom you rejected for years, thinking reconciliation bears a great cost?
In your book, you acknowledge that the universe had a supernatural beginning (great!), that there was a great intelligence that guided how our world came to be (great!), and our universe is so impossibly fine-tuned (great!) to have been randomly assembled by chance alone. These are the exact same reasons why top-notch Christian scientists like Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project and William Daniel Phillips, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, believe in God.
Let me simplify what you are actually saying, “You guys have waited 50 years for me, the most brilliant scientist since Einstein to show you scientifically how we popped into existence from nothing. Here it is, we popped into existence out of nothing because I said so, it’s beautiful so why question? ” (1)
Even all the way back in 2012, Rupert Sheldrake noticed that cosmologists couldn’t answer the problem of the Big Bang, and yet have been writing books and answering interviews as though the very first miracle already has a natural explanation. “It’s almost as if science said, “Give me one free miracle, and from there the entire thing will proceed with a seamless, causal explanation.”’ The one free miracle was the sudden appearance of all the matter and energy in the universe, with all the laws that govern it.” ― Rupert Sheldrake, The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry
His TED EX talk on the delusion of these scientists is still banned on the TED EX channel, talk about controlling the narrative of scientific discourse. I have understood that people are silenced when they have a strong logical argument speaking truth to power.
The correct logical conclusion is that there must be an eternal, intelligent, creative being that is above time and space. You can call this being anything you like, like an eternal supercomputer, but it cannot be the physical universe because it is by necessity not bound in the laws of nature; this is what theists call “God”. Not some mythical Zeus figure. There is no logical way to avoid this conundrum. We see an example how the man of science Dr. Lewis Wolpert, tries to conflate names with properties and was called out by William Lane Craig.
Your first statement jumps the shark and makes you look like you cut yourself shaving on Occam ’s razor. It’s awkward, it’s not a good look. I should know, I’ve been very awkward before. Infinite universes cannot exist from physical laws when all laws of physics like thermodynamics point against it. Evoking infinite universes temporarily solves the problem of fine-tuning of the universe, but it infinitely increases the problem of how you can get something from nothing. It’s like solving the problem of a person dying from thirst by offering him a cup of concentrated acid to drink; as Charles Barkley would say, “the operation is a success, but the patient is dead!”
Your second statement is circular reasoning, apple-to-orange comparisons, and faulty logic. It takes a very special kind of talent to have 3 logical fallacies in the same statement. This is akin to statements like, “Because math exists, therefore I can exist before my dad”, or “Because chess exists, flying spaghetti monsters can stew itself.” I’m sure that tastes delicious but I have my own truism as well – three wrongs don’t make a right, Dr. Hawking, but three lefts do.
Three wrongs don’t make a right, Dr. Hawking, but three lefts do.
Simply put, your very own colleague, Roger Penrose, emeritus professor of mathematics at Oxford University who shared the Wolf prize with you in 1988, himself massively criticized your main idea that permeates your book that “it has no basis in observable support whatsoever.” And has shared a concern about the “subjectivist turn in Hawking’s thinking.” (The Grand Design Review, Roger Penrose)
No evidential support and subjective thinking? That is the antithesis of science. Isn’t that religion disguised as science?
In the award-winning film, “The Theory of Everything” the younger you introduces yourself to wife-to-be Jane as a student of cosmology. When she asks what that is, you replied, “It’s a kind of religion for intelligent atheists.”
The irony is as tasty as baked flying spaghetti (monster).
Stephen, philosophy disagrees with you, and you call it dead. What about the world of science then? 1) Did you know that more scientists than not believe in God or a higher power? 2) Do you know that the majority of the fathers of scientific thought are theists? 3) Did you know that more than 65% of Nobel Prize Winners for Science in the last 100 years are Christians? 24% are Jewish. Atheists and Agnostics make up about 7%.
The PAST: Majority of the founding fathers of modern science are either Christian or Theists.
Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Rene Descartes, Carl Linnaeus, and Sir Isaac Newton are just a few that are amongst that list. The laws of physics and subsequent equations they derived likely make up 80% our entire college physics books! Even Einstein himself, though he moved away from the term “a personal God”, was certainly not an atheist. He believed the universe had a beginning, and there was a higher power, or spirit guiding the universe.
It is argued the whole backbone of modern physics are on the backs of Newton and Einstein. To those who are very acquainted with science will know how brilliant these thinkers were, as compared to the likes of the very vocal scientists of today. It is one order of difficulty to add to an established body of work, it is a totally higher degree of difficulty to derive the laws that govern nature when no one had done it yet. Their ability to see things others, cannot be understated, and yet these uber-perceptive believe either in God or a higher power. This is no surprise to modern historians of science:
“The idea that scientific and religious camps have historically been separate and antagonistic is rejected by all modern historians of science.” Lawrence Principe, Professor of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at John Hopkins University.
To see an awesome video just how many more notable theist scientists to the atheist scientist there were, do yourself a favor and watch this short video by David Wood:
The founding fathers of scientific thought of yesteryears were dominated by Christians and Theists. What about today?
Though there are quite a few atheists in the scientific community, the best and brightest are theists. Many have bought into the atheist memes that the more intelligent you are, the more atheist you become. This perception is so rampant. I remember my British programmer acquaintance, on discovering that I was an ample thinker, who said, “You look like an intelligent person, why aren’t you an atheist?” This is patently untrue.
When I was 18, my imagination was captured by the media promoted idea of Darwinian evolution. As I became proficient in the deeper sciences in college, I found Darwinian evolution was not consistent with the laws of thermodynamics, Darwin’s missing link hasn’t been convincingly found, diagrams of embryos supposedly proving all of us have a common ancestor were hoaxes. (2) Fred Hoyle, the famous atheist cosmologist who first coined the term “the Big Bang” summarizes that modern discoveries had found Darwinian evolution wanting. “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” He followed that with “It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out.”
Little did I know that I was echoing the discovery of Werner Karl Heisenberg, German theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics, whose uncertainty principles every student of higher learning have to contend with. He said,
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you”
This personal experience is not confined to me. The foundation of modern science past and present is dominated by theists, especially those who believe in the biblical God.
The present disagrees with you. Majority of Nobel Prize winners in science are Christian and Jewish.
Firstly, according to 100 Years of Noble Prizes by Baruch Aba Shalev, the cream of the crop, scientists who contribute to mankind the most – the great majority of Noble Prize Winners, especially in the sciences, are overwhelmingly Christian or Jewish.
A review of the Nobel awards between 1901 and 2000 reveals that most (65.4%) have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference. Overall, Christians have won a total of 78.3% of all Nobel Prizes in Science, 72.5% in Chemistry, 65.3% in Physics, 62% in Medicine, 54% in Economics and 49.5% of all Literature awards, while atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers comprise 10.5% of total Nobel Prize Winners.
Majority of Nobel Prize winners for science disagree with your final conclusions while using the exact same observations as you.
Secondly, Nobel Prize winners aside, 51% of scientists today believe either in God, or a higher power (like Einstein, who certainly was not atheist).
Stephen, you are very aware the best and brightest scientists past and present do not agree with you. As a stock investor myself, no matter how convinced I am in a speculative investment, if I know the most brilliant legendary investors like Warren Buffet or Ray Dalio have bet against me, I will be wise to have some self-doubt. As Buffet said, when the tide subsides it will reveal those who are swimming naked. This has to weigh on you, like a splinter in your mind, regardless of how many perfectly phrased quotes the media proliferates and TV cameos you appear on.
Even the legendary atheist authority, philosopher Anthony Flew, stated that the argument from design led him out of atheism (3):
“I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason, and it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being!” Anthony Flew
A history of intellectual dishonesty
But you aren’t the only one to try to slide out of this impossibly tight spot. Lawrence Krauss claimed “nothing” is a quantum vacuum and got totally skewered for it by agnostic David Albert, a professor of philosophy at Columbia and the author of “Quantum Mechanics and Experience.” In a review of Krauss’ book, Albert summarizes Krauss’ attempts to avoid answering his detractors:
“But all there is to say about this, as far as I can see, is that Krauss is dead wrong and his religious and philosophical critics are absolutely right.” (4)
Even your media counterpart, Einstein, of whom the media is often placing side by side with you, lied when confronted with the revelation that the universe had a beginning. It was only as short as 50 years ago that the atheistic community believed in an eternal universe by blind faith, even though thermodynamics alone would be enough to give this idea pause. But Einstein fudged his models to show a result that the universe was eternal. It was only when more and more scientific observation mounted up that he publically recanted, calling his dishonest work “his greatest blunder”. (5)
Like Einstein before you, you’ve done the same thing.
You might say that the originator that caused our universe doesn’t have to be “god”. But the point is that as a circle must be round by definition. By necessity, what caused the universe to exist must have particular characteristics by definition. That entity must be above time and space, intelligent and powerful. This fits the biblical God more than the random forces or the universe itself which is physical.
To argue against this is to subvert the rules of the game. It’s like trying to checkmate your opponent with only a bishop and king, you don’t have to be Kasperov to know that this is patently impossible no matter how brilliant you are. Lawrence Krauss tried to get around this by convincing others his bishop was a queen (he insisted “nothing” is a quantum vacuum, which is something), Einstein tried to get around this by using sleight of hand to swop out his bishop for a queen (faked his calculations), and you tried to get around this by knocking over the board and declaring yourself a winner (making a statement that doesn’t follow from the rules of logic).
Think about it Stephen, your most brilliant scientific minds believe the modern cosmological evidence points to the necessity of God. Even the greatest atheist ally in the 20th century had to admit the weight of evidence mounting to point to the inevitable.
So then, what is the fear?
When a person has no lack of IQ, or resources, then irrational thought is usually borne out of fear, and we make illogical statements by choice to hide a deeper concern.
What is the deeper fear?
Is it perhaps that your camp be quick to turn on you, even if you went where truth took you? Anthony Flew, the most famous atheist at the end of the twentieth century, who was the Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens before Dawkins and Hitchens, found out the hard way when he admitted his research led him to God. Many of his atheist fans, belittled his half century of work, disparaged him and called him “senile”.
Or is the concern the implication that you’ve spent your entire life denying God, it has formed the identity you are most proud of. And, if you lose this identity, you lose everything you’ve built all these years?
Or is the concern that if God really does exist, you don’t know how to make up for the years of denying him?
Going behind the Curtain.
You are portrayed as brilliant as Einstein, curious about the universe and have the moral courage to confront ALS while exercising Carpe Diam. I can respect that. But behind the curtain, notable colleagues not only questioned the quality of your work, but also found it hard to open honest discussion with you because it seemed that you were believing your own hype.
Nobel Prize-winner Professor Peter Higgs, the scientist who has his name to the Higgs Boson, the “God particle” at the center of the Large Hadron Collider, has questioned the quality of your work. He sampled a piece of your work and found it “not good enough”. Higgs also said:
“He puts together theories in particle physics with gravity … in a way which no theoretical particle physicist would believe…” and “From a particle physics, quantum theory point of view, you have to put a lot more than just gravity into the theory to have a consistent theory and I don’t think Stephen has done that. I am very doubtful about his calculations.” (6)
As mentioned before your very own colleague, Roger Penrose, emeritus professor of mathematics at Oxford University who shared the Wolf prize with you in 1988, himself massively criticized your main idea that permeates your book that “it has no basis in observable support whatsoever.” (7)
This article says that “Paul Dirac made a far bigger contribution to physics than Hawking yet the public has never heard of him,” said one scientist. But it is a criticism that dare not speak its name. “To criticise Hawking is a bit like criticising Princess Diana – you just don’t do it in public,” said another cosmologist.”
Peter Coles of the University of Nottingham puts it in simpler terms, “There’s a tremendous gulf between the public perception of the importance of Hawking and the scientific evaluation of his contribution.”
There also seems to be many physicists that are aggrieved by your apparent arrogance and the difficulty to engage you in discussion.
In 2002, Higgs joined several fellow physicists at a dinner in Edinburgh. According to a report published in the Scotsman the following morning, the gathered physicists were frustrated by, and perhaps a little jealous of Stephen Hawking.
“It is very difficult to engage him [Hawking] in discussion, and so he has got away with pronouncements in a way that other people would not,” Higgs is quoted as saying. “His celebrity status gives him instant credibility that others do not have.”
Steve Conner of the Independent adds:
“Professor Higgs was speaking for many when he suggested Professor Hawking had hogged the limelight. Although particle physicists may have cause to feel aggrieved by Hawking’s apparent arrogance, the feeling is in fact shared in private by many cosmologists, who get exasperated by the media’s constant reference to him as the greatest scientist since Einstein or Newton.”
While the tensions between colleagues and insiders seem speculative, I am inclined to believe it based on the treatment of your final conclusions of The Grand Design, which is a non-answer trumpeted as the final word that everyone should lap up.
When I see your contributions to the world of classical general relativity and Quantum Field Theory in curved space-time, I imagine a brilliant scientist, but when I see the comments of insiders who have seen you behind the media curtain, it conjures up images of a petulant child wanting to be heard more than everyone else around him, and cannot take honest criticism.
Are you familiar with children’s storybooks?
My emperor, today I will be that child and call you out because I see you naked.
People that deny where the majority of evidence is leading, when IQ or resources are not the limiting factors, are usually afraid to go to certain places within themselves in the past. You could not beat the existence of God with science, so you have to evoke religion (or philosophy) and use your legendary status to shroud you exercising the very discipline you detest. In essence, you are using a Trojan horse to get your religious/philosophical views past rational skepticism to capture the imagination of the uninitiated by disguising your conclusions as science.
Your predecessor, Einstein might have had you in mind when he admitted that “the man of science is a poor philosopher”. See an example here, where William Lane Craig educates the man of science on philosophy, Peter Atkins.
Here’s the rub. You have followed in a line of media darling scientists that fudged or overstretched their conclusions unreasonably further than what the science allows them to. Darwin did it before you, trumpeting Darwinian Evolution despite “the missing link”. Einstein lied about his cosmological calculations in order to convince himself and others that the universe was eternal, and not have a beginning. Einstein allowed his presuppositional bias to cause him to pull a Bernie Madoff. This is an adequate comparison, both built complex models and asked people to trust them with their conclusions based on the popularity of their names. Einstein was considered the greatest mind since Sir Isaac Newton. Bernie Madoff was the ex-chairman of the Nasdaq. Their “work” impacted many lives. Bernie cost many people their physical livelihoods, bankrupting them financially. Einstein’s work might have changed people’s direction and outlook in life, bankrupting them spiritually.
Remember the quote by one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, Heisenberg, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you”? Unlike Flew, or majority of the Nobel Prize winners, you avoided the bottom by continually filling the glass with jargon or circular reasoning. But I suspect you knew what was at the bottom, and the continual avoidance of it told me that deep inside your sub-conscience, there was fear.
As I ponder why you cannot simply admit you don’t know the answer to the universe, but instead insisted on leaving a non-answer grandstanding as science, I can see the essence of a Cosmic Orphan. Many orphans continually try to prove he is better than the father who left him, and I see seeds of that here as you relate to the “non-existent” heavenly father. God can speak realities into existence with his words. You are trying to do the same thing, using words that seem to override the rules of logic and science in the hope that the uninitiated will follow you.
Stephen, let me share with you a secret.
A wounded heart will fester over time like a physical wound. If left unchecked, it leads to a spiritual death. But that death is not obvious, you will not realize how you have changed until way after the change occurs deep inside. When I flirted with atheism in my 20s, I could not pinpoint the exact time I “became” atheist, but I noticed a change in my behavior and thought life. I was more prideful, self-centered, and my goals in life were more to create my empire, rather than add value to others. That’s when I realized that God was no longer the Lord over my heart, not the time when I first considered intellectual arguments against God.
I’m sorry for the wounds inflicted to you in your formative years.
In my late teens, when I was celebrated in church, I was looking for reasons to justify my faith, after all, experience gave me positive affirmation. I focused on how my heart changed for the better, and how the people around me were positive and charitable. But when politics, selfish ambition and religiousity entered the church, my experience soured. My heart couldn’t stop wondering if Christianity was a farce, and thus my mind started to arrange data to build a case against it. I wanted to have a battle with God, but actually, I was rebelling against those who were poor representatives of God. What the mind conceptualized was initiated by a heart that was wounded. It was after what I perceived as personal injustices that I tended to wanted to use my “ivy-league” knowledge to run over those with “sophomoric” understandings of science, history and the Bible.
But as time passed, everywhere I looked pointed to God.
Science confirmed philosophy and pointed to an intelligent universe with a supernatural beginning, which is the mother of all miracles. History showed me that the best and brightest believed in God. Personal experience in injustice told me that our innate sense of justice that objected was not explainable by evolution. A deeper look at the Book of Genesis showed me the 6 days of creation fits so well with 14 billion years of the universe when taking into account the theory of relativity and cosmological models.(8) Daniel 9 showed me that Christ’s death coming circa 30 AD was predicted in the Bible more than 500 years before it happened. (9)
The last two points can be investigated empirically, it does not have to be taken by faith, like the multiverse for instance.
Let’s be honest, like me, you were inflicted with a curse. As we both studied natural selection, natural selection was hunting us. As we put the theory of natural selection in our microscope, natural selection put us in its crosshairs. Your ALS incrementally caused you to be confined to a wheelchair over time and talk through a box. My severe eczema incrementally caused me to eventually be confined to my bedroom with 2nd-degree burns over more than a decade. There was nothing you, I or doctors could do about it. With every physical setback and disappointment, atheism becomes easier and easier to accept. How could a perfect and loving God explain all the evil around you, and the personal injustice you faced? It is far easier to imagine that God doesn’t exist, then to have one that is so unfairly biased. If God doesn’t favor us, it is far easier to destroy him rather justifying his existence. There is nothing like personal injustices to put us on the path of confirmation bias against God, causing our scientific minds to arrange the data to flesh out what the deepest wounds of our heart wished hard to be true – all the while we fool ourselves are thinking we have unbiased thought. The Bible already warns this,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9).
But something happened in the midst of your debilitation, unlike regular folks who are simply forgotten by the world, the world worshipped you and made you a beacon. Once you became a beacon, you dug in your feet and planted your flag deeper. Instead of allowing the healer to tend to your wound in your heart keeping it supple, you let it harden. Perhaps that prevented you, as Christians say, dying to yourself (which is selfish ego), and searching out God?
I found that people with the biggest god-complexes are the very people who felt the most rejected by God. Did the combination of poor genetics, bad clergy experiences, and a heightened IQ make you try to claim a crown that was only God’s to give? Like the prodigal son’s elder brother, did you secretly resent those who seemed undeserving, but was given grace?
But regardless of how we feel, or what is done to us, what I have learned is to judge a belief system based on the merits and authenticity of the actual source, not by a follower’s actions. Just because a there are a bunch of drunkards embarrassing themselves as they follow the road sign doesn’t mean the road sign isn’t pointing the right way. Just because Einstein lied about his cosmological equation doesn’t mean the derivation of his theory of relativity is false. A broken electrical device is not proof that electricity doesn’t exist, in fact, it is to be expected. The reason why there are so many electrical devices, broken or no, around is that there is such a thing such as electricity. Just because Bernie Madoff was a fake doesn’t mean capitalism and the financial markets don’t work. Fakes exist because people know deep inside that the genuine article exists. People inherently know God is love because they see love in other people, even if the people are flawed and their love is more selfish. People know God is unchanging because we experience the laws of nature and those are unchanging. The Bible says,
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Rom 1:8-9)
Do read the Book of Genesis with proper interpretation from Hebrew scholars, and weigh the evidence yourself upon cosmology, and not listen to the clergyman with limited scientific or even Hebrew knowledge. And also look to Jesus, not those that claim to be his representatives. Those people will disappoint you, Jesus will not.
It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Here is an entity that has the power to create reality, and loves his creation enough to die for them, even when they turned from him. This is a person I would continue to investigate because He is worth investigating.
I suspect if you knew the sacrificial heart of Jesus and not the poor examples of conduct from flawed clergymen, perhaps you would find that God is not something anathema to explore?
Can I suggest reading the Gospels again with fresh eyes, then read books like The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey? Perhaps a new light will dawn.
Finally, in regards to the mystery of where we came from, can I ask you to consider MIT physicist and Rabbi Gerald Schroeder’s model for the beginning of the universe? Professor Anthony Flew credits Schroeder’s work as significant in him renouncing his atheism at the end of his career. (10) Flew claimed that Schroeder’s work in cosmology and understanding of the Book of Genesis showed how the 6 days of creation is coherent with the billions of years of the creation of the universe when taking into account relativity and cosmic time. (11)
If Flew was the authoritative scholar in atheist thought for decades and finally changed his stance, curiosity would demand an investigation why.
He also found Dr. Schroeder’s presentations on Genesis to be the best evidence of divine revelation, although he declined to answer the question if he were a Christian. I recommend his book, The Science of God. If you read it, I’m quite sure you won’t think about science and the book of Genesis in the same way again.
Richard Feynman, famously said that “the first principle is not to fool yourself, and that you are the easiest to fool.” I caution against looking at the universe with a telescope so much that we don’t take an ample look into a mirror.
Right at the beginning of this long post, I wrote that Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself in the beginning of wisdom.” But the Bible says, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” There is truth in both of them. Joining the two, you can only know your true self deeply when we know and have reverence for the God that created us and all of his handiwork in nature.
Remember the quotes I was critiquing from right at the beginning? And speculated what you might have been afraid of?
You asserted “multiple universes arise naturally from physical laws.” (p9) and then you continued to write: “Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing…” (p180)
“This is the pinnacle of your work, Dr Hawking? I can’t help but think you are afraid of the fallout from your camp by admitting that you don’t know. Or, afraid to lower your pride to the God whom you rejected for years, thinking reconciliation bears a great cost?” Here’s what I want to say about your fears:
I want to say that the first fear is likely true and legitimate, but the second indeed bears a great cost, but it is not to be borne by you, but it’s borne on Jesus. You don’t have to flagulate yourself for years to redeem yourself. He is waiting for us with open arms at all times. That’s why He is awesome and had won my heart when other people, including myself, disappointed me. It’s not as difficult as you think for God is not a vindictive God as reportedly many of your physics colleagues may be. (13)
At least, that is in my experience and observation.
In my next letter, I will talk more about the effects of Christianity itself on a personal level, as well as its effects on the world. As the late Billy Graham said, we can’t see the wind, we see the effects of the wind but cannot see the wind.
Wishing you the best,
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- But these non-answers is nothing new. Many atheistic scientists before you have given the same answer but in a different way. Lawrence Krauss, for example, plays a semantics game, saying that “nothing” means different in physics. That a quantum vacuum is “nothing” and matter and energy can spring forth. This main idea in Krauss’ book “Something from nothing” has been ripped to shreds even by agnostic philosopher professor David Albert who summarizes, “But all there is to say about this, as far as I can see, is that Krauss is dead wrong and his religious and philosophical critics are absolutely right.” Richard Dawkins refused to consider God to account for the intelligence on earth but was willing to consider aliens with no evidence.
- American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science, Stephen Jay Gould, who spent most of his time teaching at Oxford summarized Darwin’s position and subsequent results after 150 years of massive fossil research. “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record: “The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory.” Stephen Jay Gould on Transitional Forms EVOLUTION’S ERRATIC PACE” NATURAL HISTORY(VOL. 86, MAY 1977)
Haeckel was charged with fraud by five professors and convicted by a university court. His deceit was exposed in “Haeckel’s Frauds and Forgeries,” a 1915 book by J. Assmuth and Ernest R. Hull, who quoted 19 leading authorities of the day. See https://evolutionisntscience.wordpress.com/evolution-frauds/
- Roger Penrose, emeritus professor of mathematics at Oxford University captures the essential weakness of Hawking’s theory in a recent book review. “Unlike quantum mechanics, M-theory enjoys no observational support whatever.” That is the suicidal flaw of Hawking’s grand idea: It has no basis in observable reality.
- Which is another reason why the Book of Genesis was amazing to me, it is intuitive to think the universe is eternal because all observable natural cycles seem to always persist, many man-made religions say so … the seasons always come, the tide always comes and goes; it is, however, not intuitive to think everything had a hard beginning in which before there was no concept of time, space or matter. How could a sheepherder 3000 years ago imagine such as thing?
- Flew had authored an article in the mid-1950’s, “Theology and Falsification” and presented this thesis at the Socratic Club of Oxford University, presided over by none less than C. S. Lewis. Many felt it was a brilliant and invincible proof for a godless world. Over the decades that have followed it became the consistently cited landmark confirmation for atheists.
- In 2004 Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have made it abundantly clear that the creation of the universe and of life and consciousness from non-living inert matter must be the work of an infinite Intelligence and not the result of random acts of an unguided nature. This revelation, in which Flew also apologized for having misled so many souls over the decades since his “Theology and Falsification,” was extraordinary news. https://youtu.be/eQVm8RokoBA
- “To be honest, I was surprised to see Higgs’ comments. It’s not his style at all. Physics is full of vindictive, nasty people but Higgs is not one of them,” one scientist said.” https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/higgs-v-hawking-a-battle-of-the-heavyweights-that-has-shaken-the-world-of-theoretical-physics-175705.html
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