Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Is There a God?"--a critique of Stephen Hawking's Curiosity Debut

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

Discovery Channel ran a series entitled “Curiosity.” (I do not know if it is still on as of this writing. It is listed as having five seasons) It is a forum for celebrity-types to discuss their views on something about which they are curious. The initial program aired August 7, 2011 featuring famed physicist, Stephen Hawking asking, “Does God Exist?”

Anyone who recognizes Hawking's name knows where he stands on the question. “Curiosity” gave him a television opportunity to discuss his views and why he holds them.

I watched the program with great curiosity to see how he would or could encapsulate a lifetime of work into a one-hour television program. The program was designed (as are most) to reach a general audience whose education level was at least the eighth grade. The biggest and most difficult word used was “infinitesimally,” which goes quite beyond the average eighth-grade level of understanding.

He followed a logical course of continually asking, “Where, then, did that originate?” as he took us back through time to the beginning. That is ultimately the question that thinkers seek to answer. Those who follow a religious path answer with “God.” Those who do not believe in God answer with the current scientific explanation, “Big Bang.”

Hawking's explanation of how the Big Bang occurred leaves much to be desired. His logical progressions are filled with major assumptions. This master of quantum physics made quantum leaps in logic that left me wondering if he had ever studied even the rudiments of logic.

His premise is that “laws can be understood by the human mind, and these laws tell us whether we need a god.”

The beginning of his presentation was a masterful deception designed to equate himself with other great scientists such as Aristarchus and Galileo. By association, he used his victim status of being persecuted by the church for his views as similar to the persecution of Galileo. It follows that since the church persecuted Galileo and he was later proven to be correct, then since the church has persecuted me, I must be correct. 

Subtle.
Effective.

It appears that he has taken his great mind to argue against very weak religious views. Before he begins presenting his major assumptions, he makes one subtle assumption about God's purpose. After his premise statement, his argument is that God's purpose is only to set and reset natural law, but natural laws are universal and need no governance. Therefore, God is not necessary.

When he discusses black holes, we are led through a series of major assumptions that are posed as facts, but only after presenting some commonly known “facts” about black holes. Black holes are the result of extremely massive stars imploding upon themselves. (We have accepted that as fact, though no one has ever seen a star implode.) Nothing exists within black holes. (Though no one has ever gone into one to see. Just because we cannot see something, does not mean it doesn't exist.) Time ceases within a black hole. (That has got to be a major assumption.)

We know, understand, and accept that scientific advances are made because of theories and propositions. No problem. But, please do not attempt to present a theory as a fact.
He states that it only takes three things to make a universe: matter, energy and space. Then Hawking brings in Einstein's E=Mc², to show that only two ingredients are necessary: space and energy.

And, following the reasoning, he asks once again, “Where did space and energy come from?”

“We now know that space and energy were created by the Big Bang.”

Really? We know that? 
How? 
Were you there?

No, sir. You might theorize, postulate, propose, or assume that; but you do not KNOW that.

Hawking then follows with yet another assumption: “We know the universe was incredibly small.” This assumption is that the universe has always existed, which is similar to Carl Sagan's assumptive statement: “The cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be.”

Returning to the black holes, he states that these phenomena reveal “how the universe created itself.”

(In 1976, Hawking demonstrated under the rules of quantum physics that black holes begin to evaporate away taking all their information with them. But now, according to his latest revision (2004), Hawking argues that eventually some of the information about the black hole can be determined from what it emits.)

I realize that most of what I have presented so far can be reasonably argued against, especially by those who have more knowledge and experience with these aspects of science. However, there was one glaring fallacy presented that even the weakest of minds could grasp.

In his initial explanation of black holes, Hawking stated that they were “massive” having come from massive stars much larger than our sun. Then, as he traced our knowledge backward to the beginning of time, and asked the question of where it all began, he boldly declared, “an infinitesimally small black hole.” The obvious contradiction should be more than most people can tolerate.

Mr. Hawking concluded, “We now know where the universe came from, and we are quite pleased with ourselves for having obtained this knowledge.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video to which I refer may be viewed by clicking here. The provider charges $1.99 to view it. I do NOT receive any compensation for providing this link.

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