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World Religious Leaders Agree, Stephen Hawking Is A Dick

03 Sep

I know it seems like they’d all get along so well, right?  Science and religion are always skipping around the neighborhood, singing out rhymes – what happened to the love?

Stephen Hawking just made news over excerpts from his book The Grand Design, in which he argues that a creative force like God is not necessary in terms of explaining the origin of the universe.  That’s a little different from saying that there is no God, but that’s how the story reads in the news – Hawking’s scowling mug and a headline about jerks who don’t believe in God. 

What he says is that as long as there is gravity, a universe would inevitably create itself from nothing.  My understanding is, he’s going to spend the whole book explaining that one, since I definitely don’t get it.

In science, you get rid of a concept when it isn’t useful and you can’t prove it – that’s nothing personal. 

Stephen Hawking is talking purely about physics and equations.  Of course he doesn’t need God to do that.  He needs other weird things that we can’t see or even comprehend – thanks pal, that’s helping.

See, this is exactly where you should stop giving a shit what Hawking says, if you are religious, because your faith is almost certainly not about science, and Hawking knows it. 

He’s just being a dick because he’s smart, because he can be, and because he knows that the religious community will freak out like a bunch of ducks in a hailstorm when he hits the front page with his Who-Needs-God book. 

He’s selling books and everybody who is outraged about it and arguing with him about it and admonishing him on the news, they’re all his army of unpaid salespeople.  He’s riling everyone up deliberately to boost sales.  Well that, and he apparently thinks God’s a dumb idea.

No need to get too excited.  Stephen Hawking also thinks we need to start building warp drives like on Star Trek, and get the hell off this planet.  It’s not like everything that comes out of his voice thing is what everyone in the world starts thinking.  In fact, I had no idea he had a book coming out until religious leaders began speaking out against it.   

Thanks, Churchies, says Stephen Hawking, on the way to the bank. 

You know I can pretty much guarantee Hawking is ignoring The Purpose Driven Life even though I bet he thinks it’s stupid.  You can go ahead and ignore his physics book, too.

I don’t want to alarm you, but Hawking is not an idiot.  He knows that if you’re mad at him for not putting God in his creation theory, then you weren’t going to read his book anyway.

So the religious community goes nuts, right on cue.  Here’s a CNN story about it hilariously titled “Religious Leaders Hit Back At Hawking.” 

Get ’em boys – you going to let that guy talk about your religious beliefs that way?  On Labor Day Weekend?! 

The story quotes Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks as clarifying:  “Science is about explanation.  Religion is about interpretation…  The Bible is simply not interested in how the universe came into being.”  This part is funny, because I thought there was a whole chapter about Creation called Genesis, but I don’t know – I could tell you more about hobbits.

But even if the Rabbi is correct, then pray tell sir, why on earth do you care what Stephen Hawking says about it?  He didn’t say you had to shut down your religion, he said your Creator wasn’t necessary in his scientific explanation of the creation of the universe.  What do you care about his scientific explanation?  And why should his scientific explanation be compatible with your religion?  Damn it, I thought that was the whole point you just made!

It’s really not surprising that the two of you guys don’t see eye-to-eye on this thing.  What’s weird to me is the defensive and petulant tone.  If Stephen Hawking said, “I found scientific proof there’s a God,” my guess is you’d suddenly place a much higher value on science.  You’d say, “Yaaaay, science!”

The story quotes a few other religious leaders, including the head of the Catholic Church who says that he would “totally” endorse what the Rabbi said – sounding a bit Bill-And-Ted to me – and Ibrahim Mogra, leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, who says something on the order of “Nuh-uh” and then refers to “the almighty conqueror.”

Please read the article – I’m not wanting to re-type the whole thing here, but that really seems like a fair summary of their statements as they pile on Hawking and otherwise shovel coal in a great big marketing engine for his book. 

They seem kind of panicky to me.  What are you guys worried about?  I mean half the time they’re saying that religion doesn’t need science so who cares what Hawking thinks, and then the other half the time, they insist that there is plenty of science to back up God.

As for Hawking, he’s proposing eleven dimensions of space-time, vibrating strings, and a whole lot of stuff that makes about as much sense to me as God.  So if he’s really trying to make religious folks look like a bunch of rubes, he’s got a lot of nerve.  I feel like he’s selling lightning rods out of a really nice truck.

But I think hidden in here, perhaps the root of the outrage, is the debate about evolution and Intelligent Design. So I think that the religious leaders should be careful – if they keep saying that science is about explanation and that the Bible is not interested in the creation of the universe, then they’re starting to sound like they don’t think Intelligent Design ought to be taught in Science class, either.

And Hawking should probably take a moment to reflect on the fact that four hundred years ago, this is exactly the kind of thing gets you tied to something and set on fire.  Go easy with these folks, Stephen – they’re jittery and trigger-happy and super duper serious about God.

On the plus side, Catholics, Muslims and Jews all joining forces to sell heathen physics books for Stephen Hawking – it’s inspiring.  Give peace a chance.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on September 3, 2010 in Future Tom Grab Bag

 

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12 responses to “World Religious Leaders Agree, Stephen Hawking Is A Dick

  1. Gregory Wilcox

    September 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I think the momentum these days is moving toward the idea that God is Gravity. Quantum physics is interpreting the universe in a way that allows for an incredible interconnectivity that also means that WE are a part of that Gravity/God. Crap. I guess that means WE are the Devil, too! Damn you, Science! And damn you, Stephen Hawking!

     
    • thomaschalfant

      September 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      If God is gravity then why did he throw that apple at Isaac Newton? That was rude.

      We’re the Devil? I could definitely buy that..

       
  2. sparrow1969

    September 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Ah yes, and if God is Gravity, he/she/it/they must be part of everything else too. I can see what kind of a tizzy that slippery slope would cause in the mainstream fundamentalist mind.

    Good post!
    Sparrow

     
    • thomaschalfant

      September 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for commenting Sparrow – good to see you again. Tizzy is an excellent word for it, too!

       
  3. Ron Krumpos

    September 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

    n “The Grand Design” Stephen Hawking postulates that the M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics…the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate and later abandoned. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

    In my e-book on comparative mysticism is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (fx raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

     
    • thomaschalfant

      September 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      I think anyone could see that you’ve thought about this considerably more than I have. I tried to read the version of A Brief History of Time with pictures, got about twenty-five pages.

      However I’m reminded of Ken Wilber when I read your comment, sounds a bit like his book A Brief History of Everything, which I was able to follow even without pictures.

      If the world religious leaders and Stephen Hawking were each leaving town in a different bus, I’d definitely hop on Stephen Hawking’s.

       
  4. Jessica

    September 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I am totally down with pulling up Lord of The Rings facts, down to the name and relationships of these characters, but not quite being able to recount exactly the Holy Bible.

    Also, very nice work pulling examples of belief, desire to belong and scientific theories into one very interesting read.

     
  5. Ron Krumpos

    September 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    thomaschalfant, although I’m not a fan of Ken Wilbur (he gets carried away with his system of quadrants and colors) I am indebted to him for one of his books: “Quantum Questions / Mystical Writings of…Greatest Physicists,” edited by Ken Wilber (Shambhala 1984, 2001).

    Heisenberg, Schroedinger, de Broglie, Jeans, Planck, Pauli, and Eddington supported mysticism. I could have jumped on many buses, but found one. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Nobel physicist at the University of Chicago, introduced me to mysticism in 1959 when we met at the Yerkes Observatory.

     
    • thomaschalfant

      September 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      Well, in a million years I wouldn’t debate you since we appear to agree on what little I understand. I think Wilber’s Brief History of Everything was written specifically with a layman like myself in mind. I liked a lot of what he said, but I do understand he doesn’t own it, that he drew on a lot of others (like anyone, really).

      Also I know a bit about Heisenberg and Schroedinger, and also a bit about how mystical physics gets at the subatomic level. I really appreciate your commenting!

       
  6. Mdoemland@gmvs.org

    March 8, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Steven Hawkings has no dick

     
  7. Ron Krumpos

    March 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Stephen Hawking has three natural children. Apparently his dick was working quite well.

     

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