Author Topic: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?  (Read 17012 times)

Offline Skip Slocum

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Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« on: August 08, 2011, 04:08:44 AM »
Did Stephen Hawking kill God?

I listened to an in depth discussion about time, space, reality and God. The program was the words and ideas of Stephen Hawking, narrated by someone else.
In my limited understanding of such matters, I listened and tried to grasp the concepts. Toward the end of the program, in Hawking’s own voice, so to speak, he made one leap in conclusion that I could not accept.

Since time did not exist before the big bang, this proves God does not exist either.  

Really? How can you make such an outlandish statement? In accepting this premise, you, (Stephen Hawking) assume that God as a being, is subjective to, and affected by the concept of time.

To ponder this statement even further, I ask this; isn’t time itself, an imaginary concept constructed by man to explain a linear existence?

Do I believe in God? As the son of a preacher, I'd like to say yes. However, I am constantly in search of proof. I cannot rely on the writings of men because man throughout his existence is and has always been a creature of greed and dominance with self-serving motives.

Therefore, if there is such a being called God, (without gravitating toward or away from one religion or another) if this being has existed since before the universe was made, he / she /whomever, is clearly a being not subjected to the confines and restraints of time and a linear existence.

So, Mr. Hawking, I’ll see your conclusion and raise you one better.

Prove it.


Skip
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 04:24:41 AM by Skip Slocum »

Offline Mark H

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 05:03:26 AM »
It's just semantics. For something to exist it has to have somewhere to exist in. The only somewhere we have reference to is space-time. Things can't exist outside of space-time, or not any real sense that we can comprehend. All he's really saying (which is nothing new) is that stuff outside space-time is unknowable and not worth wasting your time on.

M
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 05:14:13 AM »
Point taken. Unknowable, good word. It sums up both sides of the argument, doesn't it?  ;D

Skip

Offline Mark H

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 05:19:10 AM »
That's why faith is called faith not fact.

Are you that son of a preacher man that boffed the famous singer in the sixties?
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 05:24:49 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGeODt3xEn8&feature=related

LOL no that isn't me. The preacher was Mom in my case.  ;D ;D (Dad was a diesel mechanic)

Skip
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 07:30:33 AM by Skip Slocum »

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 05:38:49 AM »
The thing is, it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God because it is not a mathematical theory and proofs are the stuff of maths, not science. Scientific theories are so-called because they cannot be proven (there's always a non-zero chance that evidence refuting the theory could appear). So one has to go on the amount of evidence. For instance, there's so much evidence in favour for the theories of evolution, plate tectonics, the heliocentric version of the solar system etc. that they are considered scientific fact.

So, one must look at the evidence for whether God exists, and it is up to the theists to prove He exists, not to the atheists to prove that He does not. And I think we can categorically say there is no personal God - a biblical personality who answers prayers etc. In scientific trials, prayer only works as well as a placebo (which is a real phenomenon, though it has no supernatural origins).

The arguments for the existence of Yahweh (as we are talking about the God of the monotheistic religions and not of the Eastern religions) tend to be weak (the first cause argument etc.) and based on logic and reason rather than evidence. Humans have always believed in supernatural 'Gods' to explain what they could otherwise not explain (the so-called God-of-the-gaps). Of course, montheistic believers are still atheists when it comes to the very first human Gods - Donii, The Earh Mother; and then the Gods of the Romans and Pagans etc. etc. These Gods were simply replaced by fashions of the day - or via the sword.

Most people today believe in God simply because their parents told them to. I don't say this to create controversy or offence, but because it is true. However, if someone gets strength and joy and kindness and compassion through faith, then in my opinion it is irrelevant whether it is 'true' or not.
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 05:48:24 AM »
What amuses me is the paradox of all the killing done throughout the ages in the name of a holy God of peace and love. A true oxymoron

Skip

Offline Mark H

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 05:59:04 AM »
blah blah blah ...
Most people today believe in God simply because their parents told them to.
blah blah blah ...

That has to be a gigantic oversimplification, unless you want to argue that those people are as stupid as kittens.
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2011, 06:19:34 AM »
It’s interesting to see more than one side of a discussion on theology isn’t it?

Skip

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2011, 07:45:37 AM »
It’s called the, ‘ Multiverse Theory’.  ;D

Skip

Offline Hugh

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2011, 10:15:37 AM »
Hi Skip. You certainly know how to make people think, as the replies so far have shown.

Quote
Since time did not exist before the big bang, this proves God does not exist either.

I agree that this statement is flawed, for more than one reason. The very word “before” is a concept of time, so that before the big bang assumes a linear progression from “before” to “after”.

Also, to me the second statement (“this proves that God does not exist”) is a non-sequiter. What has the existence of God got to do with the existence, or not, of time? Besides, if you believe in God as the supreme entity that controls everything, would not that entity have created the big bang? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”? Didn’t the big bang create the universe as we know it?

Like you, I’m not going to get into religious beliefs, or the numerous myths and legends about creation, although the word “God”, or whatever name given to a supreme being, is associated with them.

I am no scientist, but I think those who are would agree that there are definite laws governing everything in the universe. I can’t accept that everything is random, otherwise nature as we know it couldn’t exist. We assume that if we plant wheat seeds, they will come up as wheat, and not cucumbers.

As has been said, the human brain is only capable of processing what our senses can perceive within the dimensions we are aware of, yet it is possible, even highly likely, that there are many more dimensions of which we are unaware. And it can only be conjecture what goes on in those dimensions.

My own view is that the problem lies with the word “God” itself. The Bible says that God made Man in His own image. That presupposes the God is a being with human qualities. I believe it is other way round. Man made God in Man’s image.

If we could get away from seeing God as some sort of superhuman, but rather as a form of intelligence with capabilities far beyond the human mind’s understanding, perhaps scientists wouldn’t feel the need to try and prove it doesn’t exist.

But what do I know? I’m only human.

Hugh

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2011, 10:45:57 AM »
 ;D ;D Here-here. Aren't we all...well at least I think we are. ;)

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Offline Gayle

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 11:28:18 AM »
I watched that same program, Skip, and I think you've taken that sentence out of context. At the beginning of the program, Hawking said that the one of the popes (I forget which one) tried to reconcile natural science with religion by proclaiming that the natural world was ruled by natural laws that God had created and that He could break if he so chose. But the idea that God created the universe is an undeniable fact and must never be questioned.

Stephan Hawking then spent the rest of the program trying to figure out if there was a scientific basis for the claim that something (ie God) could've existed before the big bang. Since energy, mass, and time were all created by the big bang, it rules out the possibilty that God is created of energy (as some religions claim) or mass. And there was no time "before" the big bang, so there is no such thing as "before" the big bang, so God could not have existed "before" the big bang in order to create the universe.

However, I don't think this theory proves or disproves the existance of God, because there is nothing here that proves God didn't "pop" into existance along with the rest of the universe. It only argues that God couldn't have existed before the big bang and so didn't create it.

It also doesn't disprove the existance of an alternate plain of existance. He says that natural scientists have observed protons "popping" in and out of existance on the sub-atomic level and have theorized that the big bang is the result of the universe having "popped" into existance in much the same manner. But no one has ever tried to figure out if those protons are actually "dying" and being "reborn", or if they are simply disappearing into another plain of existance and reappearing in ours every so often.

You also have to remember that Stephan Hawking is an atheist. Most atheists get very offended when you suggest that they are running on blind faith, but atheism does require as much blind faith and any religion, because no one has even figured out how to define God's being and so there is no was to prove if He exists or not.

I don't know if God exists or not but since the only way to find out is to die, I'm in no hurry to find out.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 11:39:23 AM by Gayle »
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Offline Mark H

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 11:37:43 AM »
G

It is due to that kind of thinking that the atheist logo is a pink unicorn. I have taken your proposal and change the object.

Belief that pink unicorns do not exist requires as much blind faith as belief that pink unicorns exist, because no one can prove if pink unicorns exist or not.

God gets special treatment for historic and social reasons. Pink unicorns do not.

M
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Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Did Stephen Hawking kill God?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 11:40:19 AM »
You also have to remember that Stephan Hawking is an atheist and atheism requires as much blind faith as religion does because no one can prove if God exists or not. Although most atheists get very offended when you suggest that they are running on blind faith. I don't know if God exists or not but since the only way to find out is to die, I'm in no hurry to find out.

I disagree that atheism requires 'blind faith' in the belief that 'God doesn't exist'. To use the famous celestial teapot analogy - if I said to you there's a teapot floating at the very edge of the universe, you can't prove or disprove it either way, but you don't say "Hmm, there may be so I'll be an agnostic teapot believer." You say, "Give me some evidence." And when I say, "I can't" then you say "Then I don't believe you." It's the same with atheists and God - they look at the evidence (or lack of) and say, "No, that's not good enough for me. Hence I don't believe there is a God."    EDIT: Mark just said it so much better than me!

Mark, I don't think believers are stupid. I just mentioned the fact that most religious people have had a religious upbringing. And the reasons why are fairly well known: children tend to believe everything an adult (especially their parents) tell them as an evolutionary survival technique. Many athiests point to children believing in Father Christmas as an example, but I won't go there.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 11:41:51 AM by Matt Walker (Walkio) »
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