Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who does this Hawking guy think he is, anyway ?

Recently, The Guardian published an interview with Stephen Hawking ( Here )  where he expounds on life, death, and the beginning of the universe, among other things.
In response to Mr Hawking's views , The Washington Post published this  from Nicholas Wright:

It’s depressing to see Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant minds in his field, trying to speak as an expert on things he sadly seems to know rather less about than many averagely intelligent Christians. Of course there are people who think of ‘heaven’ as a kind of pie-in-the-sky dream of an afterlife to make the thought of dying less awful. No doubt that’s a problem as old as the human race. But in the Bible ‘heaven’ isn’t ‘the place where people go when they die.’ In the Bible heaven is God’s space while earth (or, if you like, ‘the cosmos’ or ‘creation’) is our space. And the Bible makes it clear that the two overlap and interlock. For the ancient Jews, the place where this happened was the temple; for the Christians, the place where this happened was Jesus himself, and then, astonishingly, the persons of Christians because they, too, were ‘temples’ of God’s own spirit.
Hawking is working with a very low-grade and sub-biblical view of ‘going to heaven.’ Of course, if faced with the fully Christian two-stage view of what happens after death -- first, a time ‘with Christ’ in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise,’and then, when God renews the whole creation, bodily resurrection -- he would no doubt dismiss that as incredible. But I wonder if he has ever even stopped to look properly, with his high-octane intellect, at the evidence for Jesus and the resurrection? I doubt it -- most people in England haven’t. Until he has, his opinion about all this is worth about the same as mine on nuclear physics, i.e. not much.
As for the creation being self-caused: I wonder if he realises that he is simply repeating a version of ancient Epicureanism? i.e. the gods are out of the picture, a long way away, so the world/human life/etc has to get on under its own steam. This is hardly a ‘conclusion’ from his study of the evidence; it’s simply a well known worldview shared by most post-Enlightenment westerners. It is the worldview which enables secular democracy to consider itself an absolute, despite its numerous and rather obvious failings right now. The depressing thing is that Hawking doesn’t seem to realize this and so hasn’t even stopped to think that there might be quite sophisticated critiques of Epicureanism, ancient and modern, which he should work through. Not least the Christian one, which again focusses on Jesus.
Of course, the old set-up of the ‘science and religion’ debate was itself deeply influenced by this same worldview, and needs realigning. In fact, the ancient Christians would have been shocked to see their worldview labelled as a ‘religion.’ It was a philosophy, a politics, a culture, a vocation... the category of ‘religion’ is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Excuse me Rev Wright, I think Mr Hawking is emminently qualified to speak on the origins of the Universe. Perhaps he can't speak to your religion. But, he cancertainly use reason and science to show it's implausable. Just because his findings don't point your way, does not mean he can't speak expertly on a subject.

Evidence for the resurrection? Are you kidding? What evidence have we? Ancient writings done a generation (or more) removed can scarcely be counted as evidence. Or am I wrong?  I wonder if Rev Wright has examined this evidence objectively as well.

As to Wrights claims of Hawking's "Epicurean" stance (ie. God is not really in the picture anyway): I can't argue that. Can anyone show me how God is in the modern picture? We haven't heard much from him since he knocked up that virgin.    What has he done these last 2,000 years?

Then, Rev Wright closes with the old "Christianity isn't a religion and Jesus didn't establish it as such" argument.
I'm sorry, Rev Wright. But in John 16:6  when Jesus says, " “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.", he is doing just that. He is establishing a religion, not a philosophy, not a really cool way to behave, but a religion !

But, I understand. That eletronic voice thingie kinda creeps me out too ;-)


Anonymous said...

I have trouble wrapping my mind around what Hawkings says. He is way too smart LOL! I like the simple explaination. It works for me LOL!

alana said...

The fact this one Reverend considers himself an authority on heaven is one of the problems with religion as a whole. We're supposed to believe that these individuals have some secret knowledge that we're just not capable of understanding. That if we really tried understanding or really prayed for guidance then god would reveal himself to us (or some similar bull). It then becomes our fault, the nonbelievers, that we can't see all the evidence they keep telling us exists. But while they tell us there's plenty of proof they can never just show it to us.

In other words: boo on them. Hawking ftw.

Anonymous said...

Great minds DO think alike! I can't believe we both posted this article. I guess it was just that infuriating. Was it hard for you to muddle through it, too? Total logic FAIL.

Hope said...

I seriously love Alana's comment.

mac said...

Christiejolu, yeah, things Hawking says goes over a lot of folks heads, mine included. I can, however, see that he's brilliant and probably right here. Simple explanation? It's all Bullshit.

alana, I agree. I hate the "you're just not smart enough to get it" thing religious folks use. If a god was truly that great, a 4 year old should be able to understand it all.

Kasha, Yes, the article was hard to get through, simply because it didn't make sense.
I also like that you mentioned Kirk Cameron in your post. He called Hawkings ignorant, as ignorant as John Lennon ! Give me that level of ignorance any day. Who knew that stupd kid from Growing Pains would become the smartest man on the planet ? ;-)

Hope, I like it too :-)

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Speaking of Kirk Cameron (something I usually avoid) Mac I need your input on my playlist for Saturday!

carma said...

Is this the "official" Reverend Wright - awwww nah, I just realized wasn't his name Jeremiah. Anyway, everyone is jumping Hawking's crap but what if he is right??

Anonymous said...

"But while they tell us there's plenty of proof they can never just show it to us."

Well, toots, if you were as concerned with knowing the truth as you are with demonstrating your oral technique and prowess with that lollipop, you'd plainly see what any "4 year-old" sees quite readily... before they're infected with worldly, secular 'reasoning', that is.

I know it hurts, Mac, but, for a few minutes, switch on your brain and realize that this world wouldn't have come as far as it has without divine power sustaining it in spite of itself. Life is simply too complex to have just 'happened'. If you tuned up that Hog so it didn't rattle that coconut of yours around so much, you might be able to focus on the plain truth that mankind is and will always be a fuck-up... and that without God, extermination is inevitable.

Hawking is taking the long road around to reaching the obvious conclusion. If he doesn't reach it, well... maybe he's not so damned smart, eh? I happen to know he is smart... it's more of a choice with him.

What's your excuse?

mac said...

I guess, Gideon, my excuse is, I can see the Bullshit from a mile away.

There's no more evidence for the existence of your god than there is for the 4,000 other gods that came before him. Nor will there be any for the gods that come after yours becomes passe.

Anonymous said...

"Nor will there be any for the gods that come after yours becomes passe."

Never happen, my friend... God being passe, that is. He's still bigger than the Beatles and/or Elvis, has been for millennia. The Bible is still the world's best seller!

Even if it came to pass that the soon-coming judgment DIDN'T transpire, (nothing to do with Camping's ravings, he's an idiot) God's name would still be on the lips of believer and infidel alike, long after your bones disintegrated and your bike rusted away to nothing.

Them's the facts, son!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mac said...

Odd that Camping is an idiot when he thinks very much the same things as most christians.

There may be a difference of opinion as to when, but, admit it, you ALL believe in rapture!

Who else made a failed profecy as to Jesus' return? Yes, that's right, Jesus himself did !

"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." ~ Jesus, as portrayed in Luke 21:32

He was wrong, just like Camping, and hundreds between.
I can't list them all, my fingers would be worn to bone. Check for yourself.

Big Mark 243 said...

Wow... great post... I wonder where I was at when this was first posted?

Enjoyed your tete-a-tete with Gideon.

alana said...

Gideon's comment really bothers me. Not because he's a small minded asshole, but because it's like he tried to dismiss me by throwing my sexuality/gender in my face or something. I hate to disappoint you Gideon, but I'm not your "toots."

Also FYI: That's a clay lollipop pendant necklace I made and I'm biting it. Any sexual act you conflate that with is your own doing.

rita said...

I know I'm late to this conversation but...."sub-Biblical view"? What the heck kinda phrase is that?
I'll answer that! It's the Christians attempt to baffle us with bullshit. What really cracks me up is the writers attempt to compare himself with Hawking, "his opinion about all this is worth about the same as mine on nuclear physics, i.e. not much."
HUH? His 'expert' belief in fairy tales, really compares to Hawking's research?
Christian arrogance. Amazing!