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Author Topic: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe  (Read 12932 times)

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Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« on: September 02, 2010, 11:49:35 PM »
Directly translated from brazilian Yahoo by me[/i]

London - God no longer has space in the theories about the creation of the universe, due to a series of advances in the Physics field, says the british scientist Stephen Hawking in his new book, that had some parts released this thursday.

Showing a harsher position towards religion than the one taken on the pages of his international best-seller "A Brief story about time", from 1988, Hawking says that the Big Bang was merely a consequence of the law of gravity.

"For there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing. The spontaneous creation is the reason why something exists instead of nothing existing, the reason why we are alive", wrote the famous scientist in his work "The grand design", that will be published on "The times".

"We don't need to evoke God to shine upon things and create the universe", adds.

Hawking became worldwide famous with his researches, books and documentaries, despite suffering, ever since his 21 years, from a degenerative disease that left him depending on a wheelchair and a voice synthetizer.

In "A brief story about time", Hawking suggested that the idea of God or a divine being wasn't necessarily incompatible with the scientific understanding of the universe. In his newest work, however, Hawking mentions the discovery, from the year 1992, of a planet that orbits a star outside our solar system, like a mark against Isaac Newton's belief that the universe couldn't be originated from the chaos.

"That makes the coincidences about our planetary conditions - the only sun, the happy combination of the distance from the Sun to the Earth and the solar mass - way less importants, and way less convincing, as an evidence that the Earth was carefully projected just to please the mankind", Hawking states.

-

As an atheist who was almost killed by religious fanatics, I have only one thing to say:

I like Hawking very much more right now.

Comment me.

Offline Sabby

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 12:39:42 AM »
I'm Agnostic, but sadly retarded when it comes to science :/ So much of that flew over my head... How exactly does the force of gravity create a universe out of nothing? I'm sure the guy knows what he's talking about, I'm not challenging the position :) Would just like to understand.

Offline Wolfy

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 01:02:47 AM »
I'm Agnostic, but sadly retarded when it comes to science :/ So much of that flew over my head... How exactly does the force of gravity create a universe out of nothing? I'm sure the guy knows what he's talking about, I'm not challenging the position :) Would just like to understand.

Well, obviously, at the beginning, Matter and Anti-matter (or Dark Matter) were very, very close together. Gravity forces two particles to collide, resulting in an explosion. :D

....*shrugs* or I could just be completely guessing. :D

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 01:05:00 AM »
There are theories that are perfectly scientific and sound that dispute both the occurrence of the Big Bang (by proposing a concept known as elasticity of space time) and the fundamental nature of Gravity (by claiming that it's a consequence of thermodynamics and other underlying complexities and not a "string" onto itself).  The facts that he's using as the basis of his atheistic claims are not facts, they are largely experimentally unverified theories that utilize consequential evidence, mathematical modeling, and theoretical posturing as a basis.  They are certainly not sound enough to lead to the conclusion that god does not, and has never, existed.

This is just another bold claim made by a theoretical physicist who is essentially utilizing young, largely untested models to his own ends.  Until we find the Higgs-Boson, better understand dark matter/matter asymmetry, and rule out other likely possibilities by actually doing experiments rather than consequential observational science, this claim cannot be honestly made.  Even then, I'm not sure it will ever be correct to apply science to something as fundamental as the origin of the universe.  Trying to find the prime mover is "turtles all the way down."

In this instance, Stephen Hawking is really doing science a disservice by misusing his position of scientific authority to perpetuate the war of thought between religion and science.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 01:09:54 AM by Jude »

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2010, 02:08:48 AM »
As I understand it God has no place in sciencetific study in the first place so Im not sure what the significance of this is. His theory also assumes that we fully understand the force of gravity (as I understand it we dont have it fully figured out yet). Acctually theres a lot of assumptions there with unproven theory. The whole thing seems...hokey at best, especially from a well respected man in the scientific community.

Offline Nyarly

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 05:07:30 AM »
I have my doubts that this will end well...

Offline Hemingway

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 07:38:02 AM »
I'm Agnostic, but sadly retarded when it comes to science :/ So much of that flew over my head... How exactly does the force of gravity create a universe out of nothing? I'm sure the guy knows what he's talking about, I'm not challenging the position :) Would just like to understand.

Gravity doesn't create a universe from nothing, but from everything, gathered into one tiny point.

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2010, 07:43:19 AM »
100% of 0% is still 0% or to put it another way, if there is literally nothing gravity cant pull in everything because the everything is still nothing

On that topic, if there is literally nothing, that would include forces like gravity wouldnt it? Did I just debunk the theory or just confuse people?

Offline Hemingway

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 07:53:26 AM »
There was never literally nothing.

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 08:01:23 AM »
If thats the view of science then I think theyre misunderstanding the creation with the universe with the evolution of the universe. I can wrap my head around and even believe that the universe has changed in ways that we dont understand or that science cant and maybe never will fully understand.

However, the creation of the universe is when the first thing came into existance. Whether that was a few particles, a force, a type of energy, etc. People often talk about the big bang as the creation of the universe but Ive always thought that particles creating a huge explosion that creates the universe was more a cosmic evolution theory then a creation theory. Those particles, or gravity in the case of Hawking's theory, had to come into being at some earlier time and that time is the true creation of the universe

Does that make sense?

Offline Hemingway

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 08:09:06 AM »
It doesn't make sense to talk about "before the big bang", because prior to the big bang there was no space and no time. At this point I think it's safe to say that our whole understanding of physics falls apart, and anything could be possible. What I like to point out to the religious who believe this is evidence for god, is that we know nothing about the physics of the pre big bang "universe", so even saying that "something cannot come from nothing" isn't necessarily true. It makes more sense to assume that something could come from nothing, than for something intelligent to have always existed, and created everything.

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 08:34:20 AM »
I didnt really want to get into a religious argument here but you do realize that when it comes to creation theories between science and religion that Occams razor tends to support religion right? Think about it, the simplist answer is often the correct one. So whats simpler? The idea that there has always been an omnipotent being that created the universe, or that a couple of particles or a force or a type of energy that somehow existed before everything else suddenly blew up and somehow made everything from planets of rock and dust to something as remarkable as the human mind.

Now if youre talking about god and his creation of the universe, objectivly, youre talking about a being beyond our understanding. While on a universal scale of time a sun takes billions of years to die out and by comparison our lives are like a second in its time. However in the scale of time for god the creation and end of entire universes could be like a second in time. He is a being with such power that he can create other realities (heaven, hell and purgatory for example) apart from our own. How could anyone even begin to understand such a person?

Now looking at the idea of physics worked differently before the big bang. Well ok, I can concede that idea. Its possible that the laws of the universe were rewritten, however the idea I cant wrap my head around is getting something from nothing. It just doesnt make sense in any sense except religious ideals which is not what science is about. Edit: Although I do find some child like glee in the irony of people ingrained so heavily in science using such an anti-scientific idea to help them prove an idea

Anyway, going back to what I said. Mr. Hawkings seems to be presenting this as scientific fact (unless I misunderstood him). What bugs me is science is based around the observable. Creating a theory from data is fine, presenting it as a theory is fine, but that doesnt seem to be whats going on here. Unless he has a time machine or some way to see events in the past, I fail to see how he can present the idea as fact or really even a theory. Right now it shouldnt be anymore then a hypothosis IMO

As to before the big bang. The very theory focuses on what happened before the explosion. How can that past be ignored when the theory itself forces people to look at it?

« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 08:57:34 AM by Brandon »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 08:49:56 AM »
English language publication

I think this might be a case of media spin and Hawking's characteristic bluntness.  The quote I am seeing (to the left of the ad in the article above) is that 'It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touchpaper and set the Universe going.'  This actually doesn't assume the non-existence of a divine being - it simply says that the divine force didn't instigate the Universe.

Not having read the book, I can't say if he goes any farther in this line, but if everything comes into existence at one time, that could include - well, anything.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 09:07:49 AM »
I didnt really want to get into a religious argument here but you do realize that when it comes to creation theories between science and religion that Occams razor tends to support religion right? Think about it, the simplist answer is often the correct one. So whats simpler? The idea that there has always been an omnipotent being that created the universe, or that a couple of particles or a force or a type of energy that somehow existed before everything else suddenly blew up and somehow made everything from planets of rock and dust to something as remarkable as the human mind.

The problem is that you're apparently missing the fact that god - even just a deist god, but even more so the god of the bible - is not a simple explanation, but an incredibly complex one. Invoking god is doing nothing but moving the goal post. I mean, the argument goes something like this; god created everything, but god himself doesn't require an explanation, because god always was. In the words of Carl Sagan, why not save a step, and assume that whatever you're invoking god to explain, always was. Given the choice between "the matter present in the universe was always there" and "the matter in the universe was created by god, and god was always there", which is the simpler explanation again?

Quote
Now looking at the idea of physics worked differently before the big bang. Well ok, I can concede that idea. Its possible that the laws of the universe were rewritten, however the idea I cant wrap my head around is getting something from nothing. It just doesnt make sense in any sense except religious ideals which is not what science is about. Edit: Although I do find some child like glee in the irony of people ingrained so heavily in science using such an anti-scientific idea to help them prove an idea

What I said, regarding something coming from nothing, was simply meant to illustrate that explanations exist that do not require god. I can't remember whose example it was, but I heard someone suggest that our universe might be a by-product of a parallel universe in which something can come from nothing. It assumes the existence of such a parallel universe, sure, but even that is more likely than a sentient, omnipotent and omniscient being creator.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 09:28:27 AM »
It's important to keep in mind that Hawking is more an icon of the media than of scientific progress in general. Einstein changed our approach to science, Hawking is a brilliant man with a tragic story but it doesn't mean that his word is the end of the matter. Einstein's wasn't, even, and he knew it.

Well, obviously, at the beginning, Matter and Anti-matter (or Dark Matter) were very, very close together. Gravity forces two particles to collide, resulting in an explosion. :D

....*shrugs* or I could just be completely guessing. :D

No, the singularity at the start of our Universe occurs before such things.

I didnt really want to get into a religious argument here but you do realize that when it comes to creation theories between science and religion that Occams razor tends to support religion right? Think about it, the simplist answer is often the correct one. So whats simpler? The idea that there has always been an omnipotent being that created the universe, or that a couple of particles or a force or a type of energy that somehow existed before everything else suddenly blew up and somehow made everything from planets of rock and dust to something as remarkable as the human mind.

I'd have to read the book (since it's not published yet...), but I think Hawking's argument is as follows

The Universe trends from a high energy, low entropy state to a low energy, high entropy state. This is true. We perceive this evolution as the passage of time - though it is not in and of itself time, it is the one process which we cannot reverse on large scales.

The singularity - the 'Big Bang' - is the lowest entropy, highest energy condition we can so far conceive of, which among other situations, also involves the unification of the electronuclearinflationary and gravitational forces. Whatever the hell that means.

Conceptually though, it creates a problem when you want to think of a willful God. Whatever form they take, sapience, perception, and desire all involve the trend towards higher entropy as I described above. That's a cold thought, literally, because if you take the simple answer - that the Universe began with a sort of cosmic one and a cosmic zero, and everything we perceive is a result of their mixing - then any God you conceive of is just as doomed as we are. Even if it exists.

There are varying, hopeful ways around this. Ultimately, if it is possible to reverse, it may be possible to find out how. There are questions that we can ask that can't be answered in our current socioeconomic state.

Personally, I would feel that doing our best and then praying to God when we know no other solution is possible is the superior solution to trying to wreck things further and praying to God by making sure no other solution is possible. The former is glorious, the latter is petty and insulting. But a great many people choose the latter path, because it is by far the easiest path to take.

Offline Talia

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 09:29:30 AM »
I have my doubts that this will end well...

Heehee...so true =)

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2010, 09:40:13 AM »
The problem is that you're apparently missing the fact that god - even just a deist god, but even more so the god of the bible - is not a simple explanation, but an incredibly complex one. Invoking god is doing nothing but moving the goal post. I mean, the argument goes something like this; god created everything, but god himself doesn't require an explanation, because god always was. In the words of Carl Sagan, why not save a step, and assume that whatever you're invoking god to explain, always was. Given the choice between "the matter present in the universe was always there" and "the matter in the universe was created by god, and god was always there", which is the simpler explanation again?

Incorrect as youre missing the main point, that being the "creation" of the universe (I put creation in quotes because the big bang theory supports evolution of the universe more then creation IMO). Not what came first. Again, an omnipotent being created everything or a few particles, a force, or a type of energy caused a massive explosion which somehow formed everything. Ive gotta go with the omnipotent person being the simplier explanation of the two

If you talk about before the big bang, the even then I think Occams razor supports religion. Again it comes down to the details for me. In the case of Catholic religion it says that god created the universe, made exactly how he wanted it to work. The big bang theory however says that this huge explosion happend and somehow that created everything. The more detailed you get the more religion wins out and as they say the devil is in the details

What I said, regarding something coming from nothing, was simply meant to illustrate that explanations exist that do not require god. I can't remember whose example it was, but I heard someone suggest that our universe might be a by-product of a parallel universe in which something can come from nothing. It assumes the existence of such a parallel universe, sure, but even that is more likely than a sentient, omnipotent and omniscient being creator.

Fair enough, there are explanations that can explain how the universe was made without the presence of god. Problem is, they're just as much fiction as people claim the bible's creation myth is. Science cant even seem to explain how a massive explosion can create something as remarkable as the human mind but instead they want to look at science fiction style theories about the creation of the world? Sorry but no, thats not science. IMO thats scientists trying to turn science into the newest and most widely accepted religion. Scientifically they would have to work backwards from now to the "creation"of the universe and then before that

Interestingly, you comment on parallel universes (which I would call alternate realities) and theoretical sciences do support the idea of them (although some people claim theoretical sciences arent really science). Yet most scientists wont accept that somewhere in those realities there could be a reality that represents the ideas of heaven and hell. This leads me to believe that the larger part of the scientific community has a negative stigma with accepting any potential religious possibility

@Veksied: I did not understand any of that.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 09:47:03 AM by Brandon »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2010, 10:09:39 AM »
The basis for what Veks said is that entropy, or disorder, increases over the long run.  (Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics)  It takes more energy to put things together than it does to let them decay.  We can't reverse this.  We can't take a rotten apple and regress it to a whole apple.  We can't cause a bit of dye to coagulate out of a glass of water.  It's possible to remove salt that has dissolved (become disordered) in water, but only by increasing the disorder in the water (by evaporating it, which involves adding heat energy, which also increases the disorder in the air by creating thermal currents).

This is what makes entropy one of 'Time's Arrows'.  In theory (and yes, there's no way to go back and verify this.  We can only create simulations using things like CERN's supercollider), there had to be one point where there was a maximum amount of order, just like if a rock is rolling down a mountain, there had to be a 'highest point' that it came from.  This is what astrophysicists call 'The Big Bang'.  The observed expansion of the Universe also suggests that there had to be a 'smallest volume' of the Universe.  Since there's no way to 'rewind' from this point, there is no 'before'.  The Universe can't become any more ordered from that point, nor can it become any smaller.  This is Time Zero - the beginning from which every other point is measured.  When the disorder begins, Time starts.  Fiat lux.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2010, 10:17:35 AM »
Incorrect as youre missing the main point, that being the "creation" of the universe (I put creation in quotes because the big bang theory supports evolution of the universe more then creation IMO). Not what came first. Again, an omnipotent being created everything or a few particles, a force, or a type of energy caused a massive explosion which somehow formed everything. Ive gotta go with the omnipotent person being the simplier explanation of the two

If you talk about before the big bang, the even then I think Occams razor supports religion. Again it comes down to the details for me. In the case of Catholic religion it says that god created the universe, made exactly how he wanted it to work. The big bang theory however says that this huge explosion happend and somehow that created everything. The more detailed you get the more religion wins out and as they say the devil is in the details

I had a long post written up, but Carl Sagan says it so much better.

Carl Sagan - God And Gods

Quote
Fair enough, there are explanations that can explain how the universe was made without the presence of god. Problem is, they're just as much fiction as people claim the bible's creation myth is. Science cant even seem to explain how a massive explosion can create something as remarkable as the human mind but instead they want to look at science fiction style theories about the creation of the world? Sorry but no, thats not science. IMO thats scientists trying to turn science into the newest and most widely accepted religion. Scientifically they would have to work backwards from now to the "creation"of the universe and then before that.

The term you're looking for isn't "fiction", it's "hypothesis". The hypotheses I've suggested, in the absence of any other evidence, and requiring fewer assumptions than the god hypothesis, are according to Occam's razor likelier than the god hypothesis.

Online RubySlippers

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2010, 10:45:55 AM »
My Bible says GOD created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh day, that is good enough for me.

And Usher's study set this creation at 10,000 years ago and if could be a bit longer but that is good enough for me.

But this for me is faith not science.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2010, 12:43:29 PM »
@Veksied: I did not understand any of that.

Picture a glass of liquid, split on the left and right by a film. One side contains blue dye, the other side contains red dye.

Remove or dissolve the film, and it will begin to mix, moving from a highly ordered (and not particularly interesting) state, through a mixing (and more interesting state, as complex structures will form and evolve) state, to a fully mixed (and not at all interesting) state.

This process cannot be reversed by an inside force. It must be external. Any external force must be going through the same process - you can reverse entropy on local scales, at the expense of generating a great deal more on large scales.

This actually becomes the simplest explanation for our perception of time, and the evolution of the Universe.

It's possible to depict God in some abstract manner - the continual evolution of our Universe, for example - but giving God goals, will, and thought means that God must either be subject to entropy, or there is a chance for us to overcome it on our own - because if you believe that God can do it to our Universe, it has to be done internal to our Universe in that case, subject to physics that we can affect.

Offline Remiel

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2010, 03:47:22 PM »
Picture a glass of liquid, split on the left and right by a film. One side contains blue dye, the other side contains red dye.

Remove or dissolve the film, and it will begin to mix, moving from a highly ordered (and not particularly interesting) state, through a mixing (and more interesting state, as complex structures will form and evolve) state, to a fully mixed (and not at all interesting) state.

This process cannot be reversed by an inside force. It must be external. Any external force must be going through the same process - you can reverse entropy on local scales, at the expense of generating a great deal more on large scales.

This actually becomes the simplest explanation for our perception of time, and the evolution of the Universe.

It's possible to depict God in some abstract manner - the continual evolution of our Universe, for example - but giving God goals, will, and thought means that God must either be subject to entropy, or there is a chance for us to overcome it on our own - because if you believe that God can do it to our Universe, it has to be done internal to our Universe in that case, subject to physics that we can affect.

To play Devil's advocate here, couldn't you induce from that explanation that "God" could be a force external to our universe, who has the power, ability, and motivation to reverse entropy within the universe?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2010, 03:59:30 PM »
Very nice explanation, Veks!

To play Devil's advocate here, couldn't you induce from that explanation that "God" could be a force external to our universe, who has the power, ability, and motivation to reverse entropy within the universe?

No. Our universe is a system operating under its given principles. Any extension into that system has to operate under those rules or principles. St. Augustine actually has an interesting bit to say on this where he points out that God as a timeless entity cannot interfere with what we perceive as time, in the same way that you cannot bisect a point.



On a larger note, I am not sure we should be talking about "Hawkings argument" when the book isn't publishes and the media has a long history of distorting scientific claims to make theme more sensationalist.

Offline Will

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2010, 04:04:10 PM »
To play Devil's advocate here, couldn't you induce from that explanation that "God" could be a force external to our universe, who has the power, ability, and motivation to reverse entropy within the universe?

I think the catch is that giving him qualities consistent with our universe, such as "goals, will, and thought" as Vekseid mentioned, puts him squarely within the realm of entropy.  Just the notion of God having goals as we understand the term implies that he is "inside" of time, so to speak.  If there is no such thing as present and future, how can there be goals?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2010, 04:12:52 PM »
To play Devil's advocate here, couldn't you induce from that explanation that "God" could be a force external to our universe, who has the power, ability, and motivation to reverse entropy within the universe?

I believe the entity you speak of is more properly termed 'Maxwell's Demon'.