The Grand Misunderstanding

December 11, 2010
Professor Stephen Hawking in Cambridge, UK.
Professor Stephen Hawking in Cambridge, UK.

Motherfucking BAMF

As per the request of my friend, I decided to listen to the aforementioned apologetics podcast. This particular podcast is titled Just Thinking and is from The particular one that I happened to listen to (the first one iTunes downloaded for me) was about the new Stephen Hawking book The Grand Design, and its intent was to downplay the importance of the book and its assertion that the laws of physics (gravity in particular) can account for the creation of the universe. I suggest that you listen to the podcast first before you see the extensive notes that I took to counter the assertions made in the podcast.

1. Hawking’s book does not ask for readers to choose between science and God, it just says that the laws of physics can explain the origin of the universe.

2. Their argument that this book is garnering attention solely from its “controversial” claim seems to be trying to get the audience to discredit the book in their mind (unfairly, in my mind).

3. He says that Hawking ended his last book saying that you would need the mind of God to understand the how or why of the universe, and he says that this is “noble.” Is this value judgement an attempt to sway the audience’s way of feeling?

a. When it’s introduced that the publisher pushed for this ending, he answers as though it’s the publisher who pushed for his RECENT assertion, in order to uphold his own viewpoint.

b. “What gets the book bought but sometimes never read,” as though he’s saying that nobody will actually read the book, trying, again, to downplay the book.

4. “Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” – The speaker says that you can’t say “nothing” because the law of gravity exists at that point of creation, even though it’s pretty clear from the book that Hawking meant “nothing” as in “a lack of matter” and not “a lack of physical laws.”

a. He then says that Hawking said that you must choose between the law of gravity and God, when no such assertion was made- he simply says that the universe could have been created without a God, not that God definitely did not create the universe. This is using a bastardization of the text to assert a false claim based on fear (of atheism) to discredit Hawking.

b. He tries to say that laws themselves cannot cause actions but merely describe actions. However, that is what Hawking is doing- describing the action of the universe being created using the laws of physics, and the law of gravity in particular.

5. Now he is appealing to an authority that even he has to explain? Because one man decided that China hadn’t made any scientific breakthroughs in the theoretical realm because they lacked the idea of a creator, now that is universally true? What is the difference between one man’s assertion of this and Hawking’s assertion of gravity supplying the answer for creation except that the speaker agrees with the former’s viewpoint?

6. “He’s claiming that what he’s got is a ‘final theory’ ” – erroneous- during the book he says that there probably will never be a “final theory” but that M theory is close.

The conclusion? I need to listen to more of these. They make my brain actually think.

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