Stephen Hawking

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ccurrie
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Post by ccurrie » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:30 am

So what Stephen Hawking has proven is that the Big Bang in itself was not caused by a supreme being. And yet he hasn't disproved that the catalyst for what caused the cause of the Big Bang could well be a supreme being, and as such, he has not in the slightest disproved the possible existence of God or the theory of intelligent design.

What a ridiculous claim he is making. I really expected better.

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Post by Der Blauweissengel » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:51 am

He's shown that the universe could have come about on its own based on what we've already observed and tested about the laws of physics. He's shown that external causes are unnecessary. He's basically ruled out the idea that the universe NEEDS something to cause it. He hasn't ruled out there being a cause, but then he hasn't ruled out fairies or a the possibility that Gianni Paladini is possessed by the ghost of a longdead Chelsea fan, and we don't look for absolute disproof of those things.
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Post by ccurrie » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:02 pm

Cook Pass wrote:He's shown that external causes are unnecessary.
Sorry but he hasn't.

Cause and effect is a chain that, through what we are aware of, doesn't end. While he can prove the cause of one effect, he cannot prove the cause of all effects through all time. All he has proven is the Big Bang in itself did not need to be caused through unphysical means. And thus I maintain, the cause of the catalyst of the Big Bang has still not yet been proven or disproved. This is no reasonable argument for non-existence of God.

So in my opinion, this news is totally irrelevant to Theology, which is what Hawking seems to be claiming it to be.

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Lee Gib
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Post by Lee Gib » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:18 pm

God can never be disproven, nor can any god or any supernatural idea. He is closing the gaps on our understanding so there are fewer hiding places.

But if everything needs a cause it does beg one very obvious question....

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dm
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Post by dm » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:10 pm

Lee Gib wrote:Would you not like to know what you believe is the truth? It is absolutely the goal of religion to find proof. Religion, any religion, would do anything to be proven scientifically correct. The word faith is used only because no evidence has ever existed.

You have to ask yourself the question, where does your faith come from? If you're a christian or a jew it will have originated from the bible. The Bible will be the foundation of your faith. So you must believe that :-

- The earth is 6,500 years old and the universe was made in 6 days
- Man was made from clay and woman from his rib
- Snakes could talk
- A man lived in a fish for three days
- There was a huge flood that covered the entire earth killing every living creature, except 2 of every species of animal on earth (including dinosaurs) and 8 humans who were all lucky enough to be aboard a giant wooden cruise liner
- Slavery is good.
- The omnibenevolant god that you believe in having killed over 2 million people, including women and children (the devil only killed 10 btw).
- Other nonsensical shite I can't be arsed to mention.

So if you don't believe even one of those things, you must therefore think that the bible, the cornerstone of your belief, is wrong. If you still believe then it's not faith, it's willful ignorance.

I believe Carl Sagan was talking specifically about the existence of a deity when he made that quote (although I stand to be corrected). I don't see why that would be considered and "inappropriate set of rules" though. That quote would be valid in any aspect of human life so I don't see why religion should be exempt from it. Failure to apply that to the judeo/christian god legitimises the other 10,000 gods that have ever been believed in human history.

Faith is not like an art. I can see, hear and feel art. Art is real.
You’re coming at this with a very ‘modern’ scientific approach. Religion does not seek proof, but you’re partially right that faith is exercised because ‘evidence’ in the empirical sense is not there. Faith is about loyalty, trust and commitment - the Greek and Latin roots of the word carry these meanings strongly. So rather that intellectually signing up to a set of propositions, having faith is about committing to relationship.

Faith is more an art than a science because in the same way we cannot ‘prove’ a beautiful painting or disprove an inspiring piece of music, faith in God is never going to be something for the test tube. Yes, art is real but much of religion can be seen, heard and felt too.

I understand why you ask those questions about the bible, but your understanding of Christianity owes more to the new atheists than historical fact. That list you give reflects the modern day American conservative theology that people like Dawkins have put up as the typical Christian approach to the bible. However, they are wrong. Both Jewish and Christian theologians have from earliest times sought to understand and interpret the bible as a collection of writings that include poetry, history, allegory, legal documents, personal letters and so on. Today, the majority of the church around the world seek to do the same. The hyper literalist theology you have in mind is a late innovation in the history of the church – actually a product of the rationalist, enlightenment mindset of the 19th century – and was largely developed by the founding theologians of American fundamentalism.

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Post by DAVEf » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:25 pm

Hawking represents a faith based on the fact that we believe our scientists (just because they apparently know more than "us") are correct in their current hypotheses (though they have regularly been wrong since "science" began) while religion represents faith based on blind hope and obedience. Both emanate from Humanity's natural insecurity and a need for explanations.

Personally I'd trust Hawking's ideas about as much as I'd trust those promoted by the Pope (or any Jewish or Muslim priest etc). But those that do believe in either (or both) have something that can be both of comfort while, at the same time, probably be adversely affecting their quality of Life.

Overall, being a Bunny could quite possibly be a much happier existence.

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Post by ccurrie » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:39 pm

Every belief has to take the step of blind faith to an extent; be it atheism or theism. We have already concluded that our senses can deceive us, and our senses are all that we can base our beliefs from.

People like Hawking and Dawkins seem to be trying to disprove faith on their own assertions. They are both being quite unscientific in this sense, ironically. And I can only imagine that this is caused by their own arrogance and/or dissatisfaction with their existence.

It is factual that they could never disprove what they are trying to disprove, and I would expect a lot better from them than to make such ridiculous claims.

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Lee Gib
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Post by Lee Gib » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:57 pm

ccurrie wrote:Every belief has to take the step of blind faith to an extent; be it atheism or theism.
That statememt is just so wrong. Atheism is not a belief, it is the lack of a belief. It is not a position or an assertion it is the lack of these things. To an atheist Hawking, Dawkins, Darwin are all irrelevant. An atheist only rejects the claims of theists.

It's the same as saying someone needs blind faith to reject astrology or alchemy.

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Post by WA Hoop » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:07 pm

Oh dear he we go again, apparently science / scientists are quite possibly slightly arrogant as they can't categorically answer absolutely every conceivable question no matter how stupid (in the case of religion) the question may be. Furthermore science / scientists can't comprehend 'faith', unintelligent design or plain idiocy.

(Of course, the scientific method what with its adherence to the principle of a working hypothesis and peer review just gets in the way!)

Nevertheless those that pursue such a line are quite happy to accept / ignore that science underpins so much of their daily lives, be it the fact that their 'squeezy jet' flight to Ibiza doesn't fall from the sky and t'internet allows them to peddle such b*llocks! :roll:

FFS!
Question everything.

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Post by dm » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:36 pm

WA Hoop wrote:Oh dear he we go again, apparently science / scientists are quite possibly slightly arrogant as they can't categorically answer absolutely every conceivable question no matter how stupid (in the case of religion) the question may be. Furthermore science / scientists can't comprehend 'faith', unintelligent design or plain idiocy.

(Of course, the scientific method what with its adherence to the principle of a working hypothesis and peer review just gets in the way!)

Nevertheless those that pursue such a line are quite happy to accept / ignore that science underpins so much of their daily lives, be it the fact that their 'squeezy jet' flight to Ibiza doesn't fall from the sky and t'internet allows them to peddle such b*llocks! :roll:

FFS!
Religion didn't actually ask the question Hawkins and others have tried to answer, so if there's any stupidity it would appear to be theirs. I'm being a bit disingenuous as I don't think it's stupid to look into the origins of the universe, but I do agree with ccurrie that absolute claims to what is unprovable certainly is.

I'm not entirely sure what you meant in your last para, but as beneficial scientists have been to the world, they are not beyond criticism. That plane to Ibiza, while providing a nice holiday, is also contributing to global warming. Science is a long way from being infallible.

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Post by WestCountryRanger » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:32 pm

I see the argument in two terms - perhaps I am wrong on both of them; firstly, the spark that lit the fuse to create the big bang and secondly, the bridging particle that physicists seem ever closer to finding by breaking down known particles into ever smaller ones to find what actually creates from them.

I think, to start, there is enough evidence for the strictly scientific view that the universe was created as a result of the big bang and the various particles colliding and forming 'light.' Of course, some may choose to see this prehistoric force that led to such a thing as the 'big bang' as being the creator - I, for one, don't. In that sense it can be explained, though some parts of the jigsaw are missing, as particle physicists everywhere attempt to break down particles to those ever smaller units, some of which are possibly unobservable, to find the key to all else. Who knows, perhaps the creatonists will alter their definition of God to become that divine force behind that bridging particle, whatever it is?

Insofar as the fuse is concerned, if that's the right word, one of the things Hawking mentions in A Brief History of Time is the irrelevance of prehistory. How could anything tangible be recorded before the big bang? How could it be recorded in terms of time or motion when all matter, so far as we know, was one - what he calls a singularity. In that sense see it as God, or not, it makes little difference in many ways though even the most fervent of christians, muslims, jews may have to question the efficacy of believing in God as anything but a primordial force.

As with so much of the universe which simply may not work according to the rules currently flourishing, there are things we simply do not understand as of yet and whilst this may lead to notions of a higher being at work, a cursory look at creatonism (still, I believe, the mainstay of religious doctrine and the universe at large) would appear to deny even the basics of the Earth's geometry. The timing is not correct, so much so that the dinosaurs didn't exist and we haven't actually been here for the estimated 5000 million years that scientists predict (roughly half the time from the big bang). Now, a few million years here or there but I think you get the picture - the time scale of the creatonists is ludicrous, if not a complete figment of the imagination. Blind faith in other words.

I think too, that if God created man in his own image then this tells us something of the nature of our religion and that perhaps it is an arrogance of grand scale to suppose that 'our' God is creator too, to the rest of the natural universe or universes unless it, not He, is God, or a God, so at odds with our current notions as to call in to question what God actually is.

I do believe that much of the creation story is allegorical though and perhaps more of a way of trying to understand something seemingly unfathomable. I don't think it is any great coincidence that the first man to realise that the solar system (what he believed was the universe) was just that and had at its centre the Sun, opposed the Earth, was the monk named Nicolas Copernicus. Even he was convinced of the perfectness of the universe, attributing that orbit around the sun as being circular (perfect) as opposed elliptical (not perfect).

Much of the creation story is a method of control, or a way of steering human activity, toward good, or bad, depending on your viewpoint. I know where I stand, for whilst the church has been historically obsessed with perfection and all things divine, I believe that science will shortly throw things at us which might prove to be the antithesis of everything that creation theory, in all its forms, believes. Perhaps the new Adam and Eve, dispelled from the garden of Eden for their original sin, will be found somewhere remote, leading us all to think again on who, or what, the creator is by way of a natural transgressor somewhere out there.
oo' R

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Post by Casino » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:54 pm

ccurrie wrote:So what Stephen Hawking has proven is that the Big Bang in itself was not caused by a supreme being. And yet he hasn't disproved that the catalyst for what caused the cause of the Big Bang could well be a supreme being, and as such, he has not in the slightest disproved the possible existence of God or the theory of intelligent design.

What a ridiculous claim he is making. I really expected better.

aniclap

Does he really need the cash?


People think Stephen Hawking is a genious, he's clever, but when you ask him a question...Is the answer always on the internet?

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Post by dm » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:57 pm

WCR - you've some really interesting points and the limits a messageboard puts on a complex discussion such as this is rather frustrating. I'd like to comment on two issues though.

Creationism is not the mainstay of Christian religious doctrine, but of conservative evangelicalism, particularly in America. The literal reading of the creation story in Genesis that you point to is really only about 150 years old. As mentioned above both before that and for the majority of Christians today, it is an ancient allegorical story and not, nor ever could be, a scientific explanation of what actually happened.

I don’t think the creation story was written to be a method of control. It’s generally agreed the book was written during the Hebrews exile in Babylon to give comfort to the exiled people, not control them.

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Post by WestCountryRanger » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:37 pm

Fair play DM. I'll look into what you're saying concerning conservative evangelicalism.

I don't think I'm saying that creation theory in any guise is to be taken as an alternative to scientific ideas, but I do think it has the capacity to be taken as such. Many scientific arguments are thus hidden away from view in order that the theory of creation is firmly the work of the mysterious creator and that is dangerous in my view, if not pertaining to myth that distorts the overall truth and places blind faith in place of credible reality.

As I said in the post I do think the allegorical bit holds true - a way of making sense of something so great make sense but, IMO, like the bible, no more than a good story.

I mean control in the sense that idea/theology can control what people think and do. Now, I'm not suggesting that even the worst religious bigots alive today have anything like the influence they did have but it wasn't that long ago that it was heresy to speak of the Earth not being the centre of the universe; in that sense Copernicus was lucky - a few years earlier and he may have found a fire at his feet, tied to a stake. Galileo nearly did in his footsteps.

But, what some modern christians are still doing is persisting with the idea that God has anything to do with the creation of the Earth/universe. By this I mean their perception of what God is has to be reassesed to remain credible. To say that people once believed is one thing; to stick with the idea in any form today is unhelpful in the extreme.

I think, therefore, that the biggest challenge that science may bring for religion is a total re-evaluation of what God actually is... a force, a particle (The God Particle) or a bearded man? And I don't mean that irreverently.

I do mean to read Genesis completely, only having read fragments, preferring instead John Milton's interpretation in Paradise Lost!
oo' R

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Post by Lee Gib » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:09 pm

dm, the way I see it is that the bible is the very foundation of your religion (assuming you're a christian of course). There are very specific references to exactly how one is supposed to live ones life. It was written at a time when there was no science, it was written by people who were making a genuine attempt to understand their world and without the bible there would be no christianity, it's that simple.

This is not a criticism as such, but what most intelligent christians do is they cherry-pick. They keep the good bits like love thy neighbour and thou shalt not kill, but conveniently forget the nasties like devinely endorsed murder or rape, or even stoning people to death. It evidence that morals don't come from religion or sacred texts.

Creationist are deluded, crazy headbangers who ignore reality, but they are right about one thing. If the bible is wrong on any subject, it can no longer be trusted or be considered truthful. Which has the knock on effect of undermining a few religions. The same can be said about any holy book.

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