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Ear to the Ground

Stephen Hawking Says Creation Was Godless, Inevitable

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Posted on Sep 2, 2010
NASA, ESA, Hubble, R. Sahai (JPL)

In his new book, the famed physicist dismisses the notion, sometimes peddled by scientists, that a deity was involved with the big bang: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. ... It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

BBC:

Citing the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun, he said: “That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions—the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass—far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings.”

He adds: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

“Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.

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

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Read Hawk‘s book to get the greater detail of what he says, of course the article is vague.

The whole conundrum of creation of our universe is certainly troublesome. Those who do accept a mystical creation have no limits, but those of us who operate on a more scientific level can’t. So they have us beat in that area. Just hope they don’t take over the scientific community or science will become a useless thing just as a custodial function monitoring all of “god’s gifts to man” and not really needing to learn anything for fear of futility.

Universal standards of operations could be said and more precise than “laws” but its verbal short hand and people pick up on it but it gets confused because humans create laws. So the religious connote it is laws created by a deity(ties) and the confusion begins.

By Aaron Ortiz, September 2 at 4:57 pm

Hawking is not saying God did not create the universe, he is merely saying it
was not necessary.

Gee, that sums up what Atheists say too. A deity or plural, isn’t needed.

By-the-way the area of non is where your god continues to exist and cannot exist outside of non. To prove your god exists violates the directive to believe without proof. So if you should prove god exists then poof! NO GOD.

By Jason, September 2 at 5:28 pm

To doublestandards/glasshouses, your question assumes that a reason is required for everything.  This is the philosophy of rationalism, and it fails its own test.  Not everything has a reason.

Actually it is the science of causality. Everything has a cause, it just may not be too important to you, or fathomable at this time. Everything has a reason for being so your logic fails. We may not understand it but that is irrelevant for the Universe was here before us and will continue long after us.

The Universe has a boundary but it is continually expanding into the void.

By samosamo, September 2 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Be interesting to read Hawking’s new book, but something from nothing, that is getting ‘out there’. Honestly, I don’t think humans are supposed to know.

What should we not know? An odd view that smacks of know-nothingism. Not a healthy thing to have as your operational directive. Dictators everywhere endorse it as long as they are the ones telling you what you can know.

Yet we have evidence that a natural ordering occurs that is against entropy samosamo, which is why we have stellar nurseries creating new stars from the debris of dead ones. [Nature is after all balance of forces.] Our own star was created from the remains of the first stars. We see the same thing locally in nature with such things as life. Dark matter keeps it together but the prediction is that in 100 billion years or so that same dark matter will tear it all apart in the continuing expansion. The last stars to be operating will be those energy misers the red dwarfs.

When it is properly connected the program will activate it. Be sure next time. I did.

http://www.amazon.com/NOVA-Elegant-Universe-Michael-Duff/dp/B0000ZG0TA/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8qid=1283486915&sr=1-2

By DaveZx3, September 3 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

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

It might not be necessary to invoke God, but it is much easier to understand the concept of an ultimate, superior being or beings than it is to understand any concept suggesting that from absolutely nothing, everything started by itself.

The same could be said for a deity (or more) who is outside of space/time, super intelligent and can create something from nothing any easier? No, the former is logical more likely to be in this problem. Good try though.

berniem Nature abhors a vacuum only in a place where there is an atmosphere. Go outside of it and you will find a vacuum in the space between worlds. No abhorrence there.

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By berniem, September 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Dear DaveZx3: Something did not arise from nothing because there has always been something! Nature abhors a vacuum, remember? Ultra advanced(evolved) sentient beings not withstanding, always and ever have always ever been. No creation; no end. No Alpha or Omega. Reality may come and go but never starts or ends. There is no infinitely small or infinitely large. Absolute zero is unachievable. The speed of light is just that-the speed of light! Pi is an infinitelt non-repeating decimal. All things can be infinitely halved or doubled. We are part of the eternal and infinite ALL!

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By DaveZx3, September 3, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

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

It might not be necessary to invoke God, but it is much easier to understand the concept of an ultimate, superior being or beings than it is to understand any concept suggesting that from absolutely nothing, everything started by itself.

I have said before, that if you were to think of how much technological progress mankind has made in the past 100 years alone, one only has to carry that exponential rate of progress out another few thousand years, and by that time, virtually nothing God is reputed to have done will be beyond mankind, in my opinion. 

Creation is only the laws of science practiced by a being or beings that understand them to the ultimate degree. 

Pure energy being the sole base constituent of the universe, with gravity being one manifestation of that energy, all matter is obviously derived from that energy, and time being merely the measurement of the relative movement of matter, time is, as Einstein concluded in 1952, merely an illusion.

The best example you could have to understand man’s evolution towards becoming a universe creator is a digital DVD observed on the common television.

You watch the DVD on the television, but it is merely energy you are watching, an illusion of matter created by the persistence of tiny energy blips on the TV screen, which by themselves are microscopic and insignificant (sub-atomic particles), but when combined in the whole space of the screen, become a discernible image, which can be viewed in a chronological order of the story recorded on the DVD.

But the fact that whole story exists on that DVD all at once, does not change the fact that you are biologically capable of only experiencing it one frame at a time.  In other words, the beginning, the present and the end of the story all exist simultaneously on the DVD, but you cannot perceive it all at once.  As I said, Einstein concluded that time is only an illusion, and the past, present and future exist simultaneously as a 4th dimension. 

Now, today, smart men have programmed very realistic interactive programs, my favorite being the WI Sports Resort that I play with my grandchildren.  The program has the ability to react to the choices that you make and portray a very wide array of consequences of each choice. 

How much more advanced will this virtual reality be in a few thousand years?  You will smell, taste, touch, hear and see an infinite number of consequences to every choice or decision you could possibly make. 

The brain being the corporeal filter for the non-corporeal mind, our physical being has a sort of programmed ROM which only lets the mind experience life one frame at a time.

Some who swear that by processes such as remote viewing, astral projection, lucid dreaming, or other OBE experiences, the mind is capable of freeing itself from the body, as a non-physical element. 

Perhaps the mind is the “spirit” which is reputed to live on after death, freeing itself of the body to perhaps even join up to another body. 

I am not making any definitive statements, but the concept of a God, and creation do not seem too far-fetched to me anymore.  And perhaps the universe is to God, as a DVD is to us, a little created illusion from which beings can derive experiences.  But when they are freed from that limited experience, they find they are participants in something far, far greater, and timeless, not limmited by the brain “filter”. 

But suffice it to say, man remains ignorant of anything real, including the source of gravity, at this particular time. 

 


For there can be no law of gravity without some method of creating the energy called gravity, and the matter on which it performs work.

it, it and time being merely the measurement of the relative movement of matter, it is, as Einstein concluded in 1952, merely an illusion.

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By berniem, September 3, 2010 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

The universe of which we are a part is nothing more than an event in the the greater saga of eternity and infinity. There has never been “nothing” because there has always been “everything”. There has ever been and always will be universes throughout infinty which will flow from ever existing energy spontaneously transforming to matter and back again without the need for any mythical, metaphysical, or preternatural entity intervening in any manner(as if such an absurdity were even conceivable). I believe it is a combination of humankind’s fear of the inevitable unknown commensurate with mortality and egotistical presumptuousness of somehow being different, chosen, or special that forces us to hang onto the belief that there has to be more to life than reality.

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By oily olly, September 3, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

God and god are 2 different things. God is a construct of simple desert people
who needed rules to govern what they put in their mouths, since, apparently, they
would eat anything, and were turned into pillars of salt when unwilling to follow
directions. The opportunity of countless powerhungry individuals eager to
subjugate and torment their fellows with torture, murder, terror and genocide, in
the name of that which does not exist.

god is, perhaps, the divine spark, for want of the imprecise nature of the language
- without a name, you who must have a name notwithstanding, that which is
incomprensible, why waste time trying to do so? next.

as hawking says, the universe putts along, like a spider and fly, without the
necessity of god’s hand. now, when my horse comes in, god is on my side!

Report this

By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, September 3, 2010 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

“I only see agnosticism as defensible”—Aaron Ortiz

I prefer antagonism to agnosticism.

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By Arthur, September 3, 2010 at 12:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

who created the law of gravity?

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By ofersince72, September 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment

Senator Patrick Leahy is trying to start a

truth commission.  Please go to his website and

sign the petition or go to

bushtruthcommission.com and do so…he needs our support

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By gerard, September 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

Samo samo:  Thanks very much.  You sobered me up considerably!  I needed that succinct presentation of more or ess where we’re at.  The sublime and the ridiculous wink at each other.

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By Shift, September 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

Just one more scientist that cannot see the forest for the trees.  Typically Western!

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By samosamo, September 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

****************


gerard,

You peaked my curiosity so I got my copy of Brian Greene’s
dvd ‘The Elegant Universe’ out and I have googled it. This does
so much better than I can to answer your questions so I
recommend you watch this. Google ‘The Elegant Universe’ and
you should be able to watch at least parts if not all of it or you
can purchase the dvd from pbs or amazon.

While I am watching my dvd, I feel you would at least
appreciate watching it either through google or buying your
own version from amazon or at least check it out and the
reviews on amazon on this dvd.

http://www.amazon.com/NOVA-Elegant-Universe-Michael-
Duff/dp/B0000ZG0TA/ref=sr_1_2?
s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1283486915&sr=1-2

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By gerard, September 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Consider the Sultan of Squid
Who thought he knew more than he did.
  It caused him great trouble
  To question the Hubble
And spin on the Axis of Id.
    He did.
“I would if I could,”
He said, “when I’m dead.”

“Where gravity’s nil
I expect I’d feel ill
  With a terrible pain in my head,” 
    He said.

    Ge did.

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By Maani, September 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

There is no such thing as gravity; the earth sucks.

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By samosamo, September 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

****************


gerard,

As my last sentence said, it is hard to speak of the universe in
specfic terms and I admit I am not capable but if you are looking
for a something that dictates this I can’t help. I wonder at the
whole thing and can only try to see what others are saying,
theoretically. Like finding the center of the universe which I say
possibly exists. Throw youself into a black hole and climb back
out. Try to land on a neutron star to experience 716 revolutions
a second. And what are the limits to what will be found or
discovered in the cosmos. If you are searching for god, good
luck. Better to try to learn everything, but you tell me what good
that would do.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 2, 2010 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

For where the law of gravity ‘comes from’, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

Hawking’s remarks seem sort of dumb.  ‘We don’t know what X is or how to explain it’ is not an argument for God, and figuring out what X is and how to explain it is not an argument against God.  And vice versa.

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By gerard, September 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Samo samo:  You say, again, in different words: “I do believe we are not meant to learn everything.”
It is this idea I am very curious about myself.  May I ask you again for your thoughts:
  If we “are not meant”, who or what force or lack of ability denies, or seems to deny us the ability to learn everything, or certain things?  Who or what proscribes the limits of our knowledge, and why do you suppose that is or might be our situation?
  This is all pure speculation, I know, but for me it has something to do with how we think, what tools we use to think with, and what the nature of those tools is, possibly.  Or is this proscription that we “shouldn’t learn too much” (which has haunted mankind for centuries) a proscription created by some other human factor—a superstition, a fear, a dread that both propels us toward wanting to know more and at the same time repulses us for fear we might find out too much?

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By Eric Brooks, September 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t get it..

All I see from Hawking is a vague statement that due to the nature of gravitational law, the universe could form spontaneously; however, the brief quote cited does not describe how this took place.

Without either evidence, or at least a logical argument to describe the physical mechanism by which this took place, how can Hawking make such a claim?

Do the Times articles explain this mechanism?

I tried to read the series but couldn’t because the Times requires a subscription…

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By RedRidingHood, September 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In an infinite and boundless universe, every point is center.

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By samosamo, September 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

****************


This universe is made of energy. The kind you see, feel, smell,
hear and taste, it is called the ‘conservation of energy’ and in a
closed and isolated system, of this universe, energy cannot be
created or destroyed, the state of the energy can only be
transformed from one state to the other which is what
e=m(c[squared]) designates.

So god or no god where did the original energy come from? Why
with the ‘big bang’ where energy dispersed in equal directions,
can the center or approximate center not be determined? All
observations from earth indicates a radius of about 13.5 billion
light years which puts our galaxy in the center of the universe,
and I doubt that. Such is speculation and as much as science
tries to be approximately correct or argumentative, it is really
seems to me to lean towards speculation the further out we go
or reach.

As smart at humans are, I do believe we are not meant to learn
everything and I have doubts about humans getting out of this
solar system, much less travel to far off galaxies.

What is behind the planck time that is as far back as scientists
and theorists can see, and is that as far back in time scientists
can ‘speculate’? Entropy is what is assumed as the fate of this
universe, but is it really?

Entropy - a thermodynamic quantity representing the
unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into
mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or
randomness in the system. (Symbol: S)
• figurative lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into
disorder : a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_units

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy

It is very hard to speak of the universe in specific terms.

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By Jimbo, September 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tell me then, Mr. Hawking, how was spontaneous creation started? If the universe “can and will create itself from nothing based on the law of gravity”, then where did the law of gravity come from? I believe God was the spark that created these “laws”, hence the Big Bang, and from that spark God has grown as the universe has grown, and continues to grow from the vast universe to right within each and every one of us.

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By Aaron Ortiz, September 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Jason, for correcting me.

Mr. Hawking, according to Wikipedia, believes in a universe with no boundary. I
am not exactly sure what the implications of this are. I trust Mr. Hawking’s books
illustrate this much more clearly than the Wikipedia article. What is clear is that the
eternal loop of big bang/big crunch is NOT his view.

About evidence: starting from a lack of evidence, how can we conclude anything?
Who are we to say there “should” be evidence.  That is why I say that no scientific
proof for or against faith in an immaterial God is possible. Also, there very well
may be evidence we do not or are unable to recognize.

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By gerard, September 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

samosamo:  You raise an interesting question for speculation, not argument.

In your statement, what does “supposed/not supposed” to know, mean?  Who/what does the “supposing” and why?  What if we are “not supposed” to “suppose” something, etc. etc. 

Or, are religion and science more like a moebius strip than two opposites?

Report this

By Jason, September 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

To doublestandards/glasshouses, your question assumes that a reason is required for everything.  This is the philosophy of rationalism, and it fails its own test.  Not everything has a reason.

To samosamo, the concept of something coming out of nothing might seem strange, but I submit that its strangeness is a result of the fact that we live and evolved in a system in which cause and effect are prevalent.  Our beliefs about causation are a result of our interaction with our causal system.  We have never seen the causal system outside of the universe.  To claim that it is like the causal system in our corner of the universe without anything to back up your claim is problematic.  In short, there is no reason to believe that causes are necessary for effects outside of the universe.  I think that Hawking’s position on this topic is refined and requires a sophisticated understanding of physics. 

To Aaron Ortiz, the absence of evidence actually is evidence of non-existence if the evidence is absent where it should be existent.  Also, you appear to be summarizing Hawking’s position when you say “that the universe has always existed,
and that gravity is enough, by itself, to cause an eternal big bang/big crunch loop,” but this is not Hawking’s position.

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By Aaron Ortiz, September 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Hawking is not saying God did not create the universe, he is merely saying it
was not necessary.

Even if we do not contest the argument that the universe has always existed,
and that gravity is enough, by itself, to cause an eternal big bang/big crunch
loop, we cannot truthfully say is that if God is not necessary, he does not, or
worse, cannot exist. That is too large a leap of logic.

I believe in God because I choose to, in the absence of the possibility of
scientific proof of his existence. This absence of proof does not support neither
belief in the non-existence nor the existence of God.

I only see agnosticism as defensible. But I choose to believe, and risk being
wrong, because of my own experience, which is biased. That does not necessarily mean I am wrong.

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By samosamo, September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

****************


Be interesting to read Hawking’s new book, but something from
nothing, that is getting ‘out there’. Honestly, I don’t think
humans are supposed to know.

Report this

By doublestandards/glasshouses, September 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is there a law of gravity rather than not?  Where do “laws” come from?

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