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Author Topic: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe  (Read 12905 times)

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Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2010, 04:44:01 PM »
Oh god Oniya, that is the most brain-orgasm inducing article I've read in a long time.  Marry me.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2010, 05:28:35 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 already addressed that in my post. Something external to our Universe either suffers the laws of thermodynamics and is thus mortal (and isn't really God in the ultimate sense), or is able to induce effects whose means and results reduce entropy in an entirely closed system - e.g. to our Universe. If that is possible, then it may be possible for us to break physics in the same manner.

Neither is really straight up, true to form impossible, per se, and there are other possibilities of renewal that don't invoke God but we can't enact, etc. and so on. Invoking God is not the simple answer when talking about creating the Universe, however - because it opens up the entire context that God exists within, and you end up asking the same question ad infinitum.

Whereas invoking the singularity as some giant zero-entropy state with infinite potential energy is actually rather simple, in comparison. Call it God if it makes you feel better.

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2010, 06:54:42 PM »
The problem I see with your explanations is you fail to realize or neglect to mention that there are more answers then god being internal or external to our universe. Did you think that he might be mutable? As in part of our universe and not part of our universe depending on certain criteria (perhaps choice?). What if he was both internal and external at the same time?

Regarding Occams razor, I think were just going to have to agree to disagree. From my point of view, when we get into the details (and considering science cant answer a lot of the questions) I feel that religion is the simplier of the two answers. Of course this is not taking into account other scientific "creation" theories like the Puse/Pulsing/Pulsar theory (I dont remember which of those names it uses), its only regarding the big bang theory


Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2010, 07:04:36 PM »
Brandon's post reflects exactly what I think. The major thing I dislike about religion (and one reason that took me to the atheist side) is that religion offers answers too easily. If things were easy like that then the universe would not be a mistery at all. Adding to the fact that I find absurd to come to the point where "I have to stop the logic and just believe"

That and some other things I will not comment not to go deep into that and be attacked.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2010, 07:15:44 PM »
Well, even with math there are certain points where you have to 'just believe'.  When dealing with Euclidean geometry, you have to 'just accept' that 'At most one line can be drawn through any point not on a given line parallel to the given line in a plane.'.  Euclid wasn't fond of it, but he couldn't prove it.  Later on, Riemann and Lobachevsky independently proved that you could have a consistent geometry without it - but it caused other strange things to happen.

It doesn't mean that points of view that accept different things 'on faith' are any less valid.  It just means that other strange things could happen.

Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2010, 07:20:12 PM »
It doesn't mean that points of view that accept different things 'on faith' are any less valid.  It just means that other strange things could happen.

I know that. But when we just accept that, we don't look for any other answers about it. For example, centuries ago we believed that thunders were magic, and many diseases were curses or punishments.

What if nobody questioned that?

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2010, 08:23:27 PM »
As far as Occam's Razor goes, it certainly cuts away creation myths.  Look at the two propositions:

The Universe exists.  The universe was created.  God created the universe.  God has always existed.

The Universe exists.  The Universe has always existed.

Anyone can clearly see which is simpler.  The Big Bang as the moment of creation is simply the fluctuation between states, not a beginning really.  Think of it as a natural process where the universe switches between being a singular point of infinitely condensed reality and what we all see now.  The latter offers for more complexity and interesting things to arise, so calling it "creation" really kind of reflects bias on our part.

The important thing to note here is that Occam's razor is not a deductive tool.  It is an inductive tool.  It can lead to false conclusions, it only works most of the time in describing likelihood not truth.  Back in Newton's day Occam's razor would've cut away relativity had someone proposed it, because it was an unnecessary addendum that wasn't supported by evidence.

The existence of god is an ad hoc hypothesis not born out by evidence, but that really shouldn't surprise anyone:  that is where faith comes in.

EDIT:  As far as religion leading to unquestioning attitudes, yes, it can.  Must it?  No.  Look at the enlightenment attitude about god being a Master Clockmaker and trying to worship him by understanding his creation.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 08:28:23 PM by Jude »

Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2010, 08:30:09 PM »
Quote
The important thing to note here is that Occam's razor is not a deductive tool.  It is an inductive tool. 

No.

1 - "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem)
2 - "plurality should not be posited without necessity" (pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate)

Occam's Razor was meant to be a technique in which the person would investigate the simplest answers first, which doesn't mean that it is the answer. The original definition for that was "The simplest answer may probably be the best conclusion".

Every deduction may lead to false conclusion, every. Otherwise there would be no mistakes. The Razor was just meant to spare time.

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2010, 08:38:06 PM »
Deductions never lead to false conclusions (unless you misapply logic and therefore you don't actually make a deduction).  Deductive logic is pure, and irrefutable; you're thinking of "inductive" from what I gather.  And I think you're splitting hairs, Occam's razor basically means "The simplest explanation is usually the correct one."

EDIT:  Well, to be technical, you can make a deductive argument that's valid and still arrive at a false conclusion, but only if you use a false premise.

EDIT2:  Fixed a few vocabulary issues.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 09:36:30 PM by Jude »

Offline Vekseid

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2010, 09:35:53 PM »
The problem I see with your explanations is you fail to realize or neglect to mention that there are more answers then god being internal or external to our universe. Did you think that he might be mutable? As in part of our universe and not part of our universe depending on certain criteria (perhaps choice?). What if he was both internal and external at the same time?

I'm not sure where or why you think that being both or dynamic solves anything. My point was how God handles entropy.

By definition, any effect God has on the Universe must be internal to it, otherwise it's not affecting the Universe. Whether it does so remaining outside or venturing inside doesn't change anything. The question is where the entropy goes.

If God can't make the entropy vanish, God is mortal. If God can make the entropy vanish, it is doing so using a closed system with or within the Universe.

Quote
Regarding Occams razor, I think were just going to have to agree to disagree. From my point of view, when we get into the details (and considering science cant answer a lot of the questions) I feel that religion is the simplier of the two answers. Of course this is not taking into account other scientific "creation" theories like the Puse/Pulsing/Pulsar theory (I dont remember which of those names it uses), its only regarding the big bang theory

It's important to draw a line between theory and hypothesis. The ekpyrotic, pulsing, and other hypothesis are little more than conjecture to solve the problem with the Universe's eventual heat death. Your belief in God is not necessarily less valid than them - they're rarely simple.

The Big Bang, itself, is quite well attested.

Regarding Occam's Razor, you're using God as the answer to simplify your life. That's fine. It doesn't simplify the question, though, if you're trying to probe the nature of the Universe, because the natural response is to probe the nature of God, which most religious people don't consider to be simple - and if God has will, intellect, and is truly immortal, it isn't.

Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2010, 09:44:22 PM »
Quote
Deductions never lead to false conclusions (unless you misapply logic and therefore you don't actually make a deduction).  Deductive logic is sound, pure, and irrefutable; you're thinking of "inductive."  And I think you're splitting hairs, Occam's razor basically means "The simplest explanation is usually the correct one."

This is mere use of probability.

By the way, that is the -second- definition of Occam'z Razor. You see, this concept got lost in time, and today is used more for medicine than anything else. Also, 'may probably' and 'usually' don't differ too much, right?

Quote
EDIT:  Well, to be technical, you can make a deductive argument that's sound and still arrive at a false conclusion, but only if you use a false premise.

Not necessairly. You may as well use a true premise and arrive in a false conclusion. This is most known in Schopenhauer's Reduction ao Absurdi, which consists on using a solid base and an actual logic train of thought, which ends in a false ending. For example: Sea is water + salt, cream crackers are made from water and salt, therefore, the ocean is a huge cracker.

Don't think that calling it a 'sophisma' will invalidate what I just said. After all, I am using two solid bases and a senseful logic to get into something that it is not true. You see, true base + true logic doesn't necessarily mean a true conclusion, otherwise the world would be filled with absolute affirmations. However, what we perceive as being 'logic' may not necessarily be actual logic.

Offline Serephino

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2010, 10:49:40 PM »
Here is what I don't get....  In Chemistry class the first thing we learned is that matter can neither be created or destroyed.  Atoms can be re-arranged to form different substances, but that's it.  So how can anyone think that the entire universe came from nothing?  If the Big Bang Theory were correct, all the matter in the entire universe had to have existed at some point.  And if particles colliding triggered it, the particles had to come from somewhere.  Reading this whole thing has given me more questions than answers.

I guess you could call me a Creationist, but not because I think it's the simplest answer.  That's what frustrates me the most I think.  It seems like all you scientific types assume that we religious people are that way because it's easy and we don't have to think.  Maybe some are like that (mostly extremists) but not all of us are anti-intellectuals as it has been so rudely put before.  It's just a feeling deep inside that I can't explain. 

Just as I wonder where the particles came from, I wonder how God came to be too.  I don't just accept that he always existed.  I have theories....  Also, an assumption some of you have made is that if God exists he must be subject to the laws of physics to be able to change anything.  If he is an all powerful being than that is not necessarily true.  He isn't a physical being that is of this earth.  God is a complex entity that I don't think we as humans were ever meant to understand.  We don't know what he is, so making assumptions to prove a point doesn't work well.  We just know that is he/she/it exists, we can't see or touch him/her/it.     

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2010, 11:15:03 PM »
This is mere use of probability.

By the way, that is the -second- definition of Occam'z Razor. You see, this concept got lost in time, and today is used more for medicine than anything else. Also, 'may probably' and 'usually' don't differ too much, right?

Not necessairly. You may as well use a true premise and arrive in a false conclusion. This is most known in Schopenhauer's Reduction ao Absurdi, which consists on using a solid base and an actual logic train of thought, which ends in a false ending. For example: Sea is water + salt, cream crackers are made from water and salt, therefore, the ocean is a huge cracker.

Don't think that calling it a 'sophisma' will invalidate what I just said. After all, I am using two solid bases and a senseful logic to get into something that it is not true. You see, true base + true logic doesn't necessarily mean a true conclusion, otherwise the world would be filled with absolute affirmations. However, what we perceive as being 'logic' may not necessarily be actual logic.
That's not a problem with deduction, the problem is that you're not using formal language.  If you want to apply propositional calculus (i.e. logic) you have to use a formal language.  Rigor to the point of a first order language isn't necessary, but use pure english language in the example you gave isn't valid deductive logic.

By the way, induction is argument from probability.

EDIT:  Not to mention the example you gave simply is just factually wrong.  Cream crackers have different ingredients than the sea and undergo a different preparation process... I'm not really sure what the point you're trying to make is with such a poor example.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 11:18:29 PM by Jude »

Offline Vekseid

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2010, 12:02:41 AM »
Here is what I don't get....  In Chemistry class the first thing we learned is that matter can neither be created or destroyed.  Atoms can be re-arranged to form different substances, but that's it.

Conservation of energy, not conservation of matter. Matter can be converted to and from energy, but the sum total of energy in a closed system must remain the same.

This can be violated over small time periods on local scales, via a means called quantum fluctuation. This has been floated as a hypothesis to explain the initial creation of matter in the Universe.

Quote
  So how can anyone think that the entire universe came from nothing?  If the Big Bang Theory were correct, all the matter in the entire universe had to have existed at some point.  And if particles colliding triggered it, the particles had to come from somewhere.  Reading this whole thing has given me more questions than answers.

Stephen Hawking seems to be saying that the simplest explanation is that it just was. It's simpler than bending over backwards trying to invoke God or some other process, at least.

Regardless, invoking a Creator for such a thing brings with it the questions of the Creator's context, including how the Creator was created. It's not simple, it complicates things immensely.

Quote
I guess you could call me a Creationist, but not because I think it's the simplest answer.  That's what frustrates me the most I think.  It seems like all you scientific types assume that we religious people are that way because it's easy and we don't have to think.  Maybe some are like that (mostly extremists) but not all of us are anti-intellectuals as it has been so rudely put before.

You keep on saying "You scientific types" like it's some sort of disease, inferior state or insult, a thing that is wrong with those of us who view the scientific method as being a good thing.

Quote
It's just a feeling deep inside that I can't explain. 

Denigrating my friends and family, insulting our life's work and foci, based on a feeling? What am I supposed to think?

Lazy is perfectly harmless. You're not lazy. You have a very narrow vision of what science is, and cling to it.

Edit: Harmless in the context of focusing your field of study. There is simply too much to know to try to know everything.

Quote
Just as I wonder where the particles came from, I wonder how God came to be too.  I don't just accept that he always existed.  I have theories....  Also, an assumption some of you have made is that if God exists he must be subject to the laws of physics to be able to change anything.  If he is an all powerful being than that is not necessarily true.  He isn't a physical being that is of this earth.  God is a complex entity that I don't think we as humans were ever meant to understand.  We don't know what he is, so making assumptions to prove a point doesn't work well.  We just know that is he/she/it exists, we can't see or touch him/her/it.     

Again, my argument is irrespective of whether or not God is within the Universe or is subject to its laws. It doesn't hold if God can violate logical principles, but that is a completely different can of worms.

It doesn't even deny God's existence, it just points out a possibility if God does.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 12:04:52 AM by Vekseid »

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2010, 12:24:12 AM »
wow... this is all mind boggling.
but to me Vek made the most sense.
I admit that it saddens me to see such rivalry and antagonisim between science and religon, they are not opposing views, but ways in which we seek to understand the universe, thus they are not seperate paths, trying to prove or disprove each other, the should work in harmony.
the first scientists were priests, and if I remember right Darwin was a vested member of the roman cathloic church, and Albert Einstien believed in god, he was a practicing member of the jewish community, and actually rather orthodox in his beliefs. partly because his parents were liberal.
I hate it when people try to draw a line.

oh interisting fact, Gallelo, sometimes used as a kind of "Marter of science" got credit for other scientist's findings, he put a lot of them in his book, and when mixed with folklore, and being exicuted by the inquisition, he stole the limelight. in life he was a bit of an intelectual bully who kocked down his peers.
If you look back at history Gallelo was not on trial for everything in his book, in the book he basicly calls the pope of the time an idiot, and mocked his favorite theories behind a thin veil and flowered words.
and well combined with the clamor of his peers, the inquisiton got involved, and things turned into total shit storm.
I read the book "The Gallelio (DAMNIT I can't get his name right) Affair" look it up, historical fiction, but the research was well done

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2010, 03:59:40 AM »
Brandon's post reflects exactly what I think. The major thing I dislike about religion (and one reason that took me to the atheist side) is that religion offers answers too easily. If things were easy like that then the universe would not be a mistery at all. Adding to the fact that I find absurd to come to the point where "I have to stop the logic and just believe"

Im not sure if I understand your point. Doesnt science in "creation" theories force people to stop using logic and just believe the theory as well? Even when I was in my agnostic youth I always felt the big bang theory had to many holes in it to even be considered a theory by scientific standards. As I mentioned before, from my point of view, it is not a creation theory but an evolution theory. As the former I feel its a ludicrous idea with no merit as the theory talks about the current form of the universe we know being created and relies on a past universe we know nothing about and just have to "believe in". The theory does not address the true creation of the universe where the first thing came into exsistance. As the latter it functions well as a hypothosis and may have some merit as an actual theory if testing could be done (I fail to see how it could be though).

That said, science has to my knowlege failed to explain a massive explosion like the big bang can create something as remarkable as the human mind, let alone basic things like planets or stars. . Still scientists tell people that they have to believe in it. To be a little cynical, its like religions of the past. Men in white robes wandered the lands talking about God and told people to believe because of this or that reason. Now we have men and women in white coats doing the same thing. Thats likely oversimplifying it but as I said thats if you want to be cynical

@Veksied: Ok I misunderstood you before, I thought you were trying to place god into a strictly external or internal being when compared with the universe. To answer your question, the idea that I think works best when mixed with mythology and metaphysical thinking/themes is that god is not effected by entropy or perhaps is highly resistant to it. To try and give an example, think about magnistim and how steel is magnetic but gold is not. So I would think he is made up of a different "material" then we are, or at least when we are in our physical forms (read: Alive).

Another explanation that comes to my mind, again Im mixing theoretical sciences and mythology here, is the idea of perhaps he is able to bleed off some amount of entropy into another realm of existance (hell perhaps?). Or in a similar idea, perhaps the entropy takes the form of "evil" souls because its currently in a weakened state which keeps the univrse alive. At the same time, that energy probably couldnt be continuially built up in hell (as per the laws of thermodynamics) so  entropy also needs to bleed back into our world and creates more evil souls and the decay of time. The entire idea perpetuates a cycle similar to life. Yet another idea, also using the bleeding hypothosis, is that perhaps entropy (as an energy or force)is slowly used up as time continues

Now in my mind science is a tool for mankind to understand how god made the universe work. I mean come on, objectivly, a being with enough experience, foresight, and power as God would create a living breathing world with laws so he wouldnt have to micromanage everything. The problem I see in this and other threads is people all to often take an anti-theist point of view as the atheists try as hard as they can to disprove anything even remotely religious. From my point of view elliquiy has a lot of scientific zealots (this is not the same as anti-theists) while the religious side who seems smaller (or at least has a smaller group who discusses things in P&R) is acctually pretty open to discussion of all types as long as things remain respectful. However I think scientific zealots and anti-theists have made that impossible over the last...probably year, maybe longer

Offline Lyell

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2010, 10:37:52 AM »
The problem I see in this and other threads is people all to often take an anti-theist point of view as the atheists try as hard as they can to disprove anything even remotely religious. From my point of view elliquiy has a lot of scientific zealots (this is not the same as anti-theists) while the religious side who seems smaller (or at least has a smaller group who discusses things in P&R) is acctually pretty open to discussion of all types as long as things remain respectful. However I think scientific zealots and anti-theists have made that impossible over the last...probably year, maybe longer

The problem with these debates is neither side is completely right yet, and each side's points spits in the faces of the other. If religeon is the only explaination, science has failed. If science explains away god's miracles, religeon has failed. What I find troublesome is that you're questioning the passion that those who favor the science route pursue while you are invoking the same amount on the religeous path.

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2010, 10:56:41 AM »
The problem with these debates is neither side is completely right yet, and each side's points spits in the faces of the other. If religeon is the only explaination, science has failed. If science explains away god's miracles, religeon has failed. What I find troublesome is that you're questioning the passion that those who favor the science route pursue while you are invoking the same amount on the religeous path.

Im sure thats dead on for some people but I think youre wrong about others (including myself). As I said before I see science as a tool for mankind to understand how the universe works as god made it. I dont invalidate science by that opinion, I encourage it. I want science to discover more and help reveal the mysteries of the universe. In the context of science helps us to understand the universe I can still believe that God made it this way but thats a belief. The problem is when the antagonizing anti-theist ideals come out like the "God doesnt exist" point above (Im paraphrasing there). As I said before God doesnt belong in any purely scientific hypothosis or theory, period. To force god into a scientific theory is IMO a diservice to science. Science was not made to antagonize, goad, or threaten religion but far to many people far too often use it for that very purpose

Offline Lyell

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2010, 11:13:19 AM »
So science is okay so long as it doesn't or its goal is not to prove the lack of existance of God? And what if it does so unintentionally? Is it still the work of a 'zealot'? You're dead set in your belief that God created the universe, just as much so as others who are dead set in their beliefs that God didn't create the universe. Just because their beliefs differ from yours doesn't mean they're anti-theists or zealots out to destroy your faith.

And if you're right, you have nothing to fear.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 11:27:15 AM by Lyell »

Offline Aiden


Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #45 on: September 04, 2010, 11:59:09 AM »
I didnt say that. In fact I didnt say any of that.

Using science as a tool to antagonize the religious is what is wrong. That is what I said. I said it because there is no faster way to close someones mind to a different way of thinking then attacking their beliefs. It happens all the time though.

You are far to black and white with the situation Aiden. At first you said there were only 2 sides, the religious and the scientific but the third side, my side, says that both can coexist and compliment the other in different ways. Both are needed to make a successful society and rely solely on one or the other is IMO foolish. There are probably even more sides that I have not considered

You went on to say that if religion is the only answer, then science has failed. How? Science can not give a person morality. It cant make a person feel worthwhile. It cant feed the social needs of the human mind. How then has it failed when it was never meant to provide those things? Science needs religion for the things it can not do, and religion needs science for the things it cant do. As I said, both compliment each other in different ways


Offline Will

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2010, 01:56:11 PM »
Why exactly does science need religion?  To have a conscience? Morality?  I think it's a little self-centered for the religious to claim such a monopoly on morality.  A person can feel worthwhile and live a full, happy life without religion.  By the same token, religion does not guarantee morality or a worthwhile life.

I don't like the implication that the non-religious are all immoral and directionless any more than you like the implications that the religious are all simple-minded and unintellectual.

Offline Lyell

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2010, 01:57:28 PM »


You're calling the entire scope of religion and science's purpose into a thread where they're discussing the validity of Stephen Hawking's statement. You're attacking people's beliefs for what you percieve to be an attack on your beliefs, personally. Disproving religion =/= antagonising it. If I wanted to antagonize a religion I'd be mentioning crusades and pedophiles. They are theories, all of it. You left out the part where I said nobody knows who is right yet.

And if religion is the only source of morality then I'm quite possibly the most amoral bastard child on the planet.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 01:59:32 PM by Lyell »

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #48 on: September 04, 2010, 02:06:45 PM »
excellent point, still hawkens is a respectable scientist, and his theories carry weight, I don't know if he's directly antagonizing religon or not, if so he has no authority to do so and it was a bonehead move, if not I'm happy to think on his theories, keep my faith, and enjoy life.

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #49 on: September 04, 2010, 02:18:36 PM »
Hawkings is a public scientist, much like Sagan was public.  Ask the man in the street to name a scientist, and Hawkings will probably show up in the top ten.  From what I've seen of him, however, he's not very personable.  Combine that with the fact that his speech synthesizer makes it impossible to read his vocal inflections, and it's a recipe for misunderstanding.

As Veks said earlier, the book hasn't even hit the shelves yet.  What we are reading is the media trying to stir up a story - and not even necessarily trying to promote the book itself.