Stephen Hawking dropped the poetics and made his feelings unambiguous when it comes to the formation of our universe. The statement below, from his 1988 “A Brief History of Time,” is arguably one of the most cited quotes among theists who understand little or nothing about science:
If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason -- for then we should know the mind of God.
For some odd reason, Christian creationists have trouble understanding metaphor (Christians with poor reading comprehension skills… shocking). Hawking’s new book supposedly leaves little doubt regarding his stance on the matter.
Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist… It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.
Frankly, I don’t know how mathematical physics can determine this, but it’s always nice to see someone in public saying God does not need to be part of the equation of creation.
Does this mean creationists will cease being stupid? No. Does this mean creationists will stop quoting Hawking out of context? Certainly not. Will this cause more people to be skeptical of religion? I honestly don’t know. This is why I don’t understand why this story is so big.
Are people reading it and taking it to heart? As popular as it is, it has to be predominantly read by theists, so what are they getting from this story? Do they see just another elitist intellectual criticizing their sacred and cherished beliefs?
I’m left with more questions than actual understanding. But, I guess that’s science for you. Science can only explain things, it cannot come up with the answers. Religion has always been a great source of answers, even if they’re wrong, while science can only explain things to the best of our ability. Answers are meant to be final, while explanations lead to further questions and explanations, a sort of ever-increasing complexity of information.
In any case, Hawking has some explaining to do regarding his new work’s title: “The Grand Design.” It is doubtful this work will even cause creationists to pause, let alone stop in their tracks. If anything, they jump on any mention of a word that implies a creator (like “design”). I think a more appropriate title might have been, “The Grand Scheme.”