Professor Stephen W. Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018)
ON THE PASSING OF STEPHEN HAWKING
One of the most successful mainstream theoretical physicists who has ever lived just passed away. There are numerous tributes to him to be found on the internet. He has been hailed as the new Einstein and as one of the great thinkers of our time. I never met Professor Hawking in person, but I knew him through his work and though a brief correspondence with him in 1989. I sent him a manuscript of my second book, “Infinite Continuity” prior to publishing it in 1990. In it, I proposed that, mathematically, reality must consist of at least 9 dimensions, with three dimensions of time, and that there could not have been an absolute beginning from a mathematical singularity as he and Sir Roger Penrose posited. I suggested that their conclusion that there was a big-bang beginning of everything, was in error because it ignored the facts of multi-dimensional quantum reality. Professor Hawking responded that he didn’t see the need for extra dimensions, and that he could not imagine three-dimensional time. A few years later, he changed his mind about both extra dimensions and absolute beginnings.
The fact we didn’t agree about everything is not surprising. It is extremely rare that any two scientists agree about everything; but possibly our biggest disagreement, related to thinking about science and the nature of reality, was his stance as an atheist. With respect, scientists who declare that there is no God do a great disservice to science and humanity, because if a man on the street hears that the “smartest man on the planet” says there is no God, he may decide that he can do whatever he wants, however illegal or immoral, if he can avoid being caught in the act, because there is no final accounting for his actions. The drift into atheism, aided and abetted by many professors of academia, is one of the avoidable imprudent factors that leads to senseless acts of inhumanity and violence and the breakdown of civilization.
The statement “There is no God” is not a statement of science, it is a statement of belief based on ignorance. Note that I am not using the word ignorance in a pejorative sense here. There is nothing hopeless, or even unusual, about ignorance, it is rampant in the world; most of us are ignorant of a whole list of things, but our ignorance of things does not mean that they don’t exist. There is a remedy for ignorance, it’s called education. Sadly, what passes for education today is not really education. The word education is derived from the word “educe”, which means to draw out. The pumping in of miscellaneous data into the heads of students is not education unless it draws out the desire for the direct experience of truth. All too often, it is simply indoctrination into a point of view.
A scientist who declares there is no God is analogous to a theologian declaring there is no Higgs boson: he has no basis for such a statement. The theologian has never seen any evidence that such a thing as a boson exists, nor does he have any reason to even suspect that it might exist. Having a particle physicist tell him it does exist is like having a Holy man tell a particle physicist that God exists. But the reality of this dichotomy goes even deeper: The non-experience of an individual does not prove non-existence, whereas the positive experience of something does prove its existence.
For the conjecture that there is no God to be a scientific hypothesis, it would have to be open to proof or disproof, and no one has proved there is no God, not even the most famous atheist in the world today, Richard Dawkins. Lack of evidence of something is not proof of the non-existence of that something, especially if the belief-system of the observer admits no basis for the existence of that something in the first place. Disproof of the atheistic hypothesis, i.e., proof of the existence of God, on the other hand, is possible, but not within a materialistic paradigm. Proof of the mathematical and physical necessity of the existence of the third form of reality that cannot be matter nor energy, leads to proof, as does the direct experience of advanced spiritual people of all times.
Concerning Stephen Hawking’s atheistic position, let’s look at some of actual statements he made over the years:
Hawking’s first best-selling book, “A Brief History of Time”, published in 1988, discussed black holes, the big bang and his belief that science would have a “theory of everything” by the year 2000; and that with that theory, our understanding of the universe would be a glimpse of “the mind of God.” Obviously, his prediction was wrong. Physicists did not have a theory of everything in 2000, and they still don’t. The reason is quite simple: You can’t have a theory of everything if the theory doesn’t include everything, and matter and energy interacting in time and space doesn’t include everything experienced by conscious beings. When Professor Hawking was asked about his statement about “the mind of God” several years later, he said:
“What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t.”
Talking to Reuters News Service In 2007, Hawking, described himself as “not religious in the normal sense” He said: “I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws.”
On another occasion, he said:
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark”,
When asked if he though it possible that there could be an afterlife, he said: “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
Talking about his 2010 book, “The Grand Design”, co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow, another mainstream physicist, Stephen Hawking said that he believed that there is a "grand design" to the universe, but that “it has nothing to do with God”. With continual breakthroughs, science is coming closer to "The Theory of Everything," and when it does, “all of us will be able to understand and benefit from this grand design”.
In 2014 during an interview with Pablo Jauregui, a journalist from El Mundo, Hawking said:
“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”
Because Stephen Hawking was generally considered one of the smartest people on Earth, and because he was a world famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist who received many honors for his work in the field of cosmology, quantum physics, black holes, and the nature of spacetime, when he said that God didn't exist and added the sentence, "I am an atheist,” to his statement, it got world-wide attention.
In Hawking’s view of the universe’s origin, he and co-author Leonard Mlodinow wrote in the 2010 book, “The Grand Design,” that the big bang was inevitable. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” the book states. “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 …set the universe going.”
The idea that something can come from nothing is about as unscientific as you can get! There is no evidence for this. No one has ever seen something spontaneously appear from nothing. If you think that the virtual particles of quantum physics provides an example of this, you are wrong; because what we thought of as “empty space”, is filled with energy. Virtual particles do not arise from nothing, they arise from an infinite field of energy, sometimes called the zero-point field. There is no scientific evidence that absolute emptiness, i.e., nothing actually exists, ever existed, or can ever exist. What about before the big bang? No, there is no proof of “nothingness” there either. Materialist scientists who refuse to consider the possibility of the existence of something real that is neither matter nor energy (a very unscientific position) are forced to accept paradoxical things like mass-less and energy-less particles, infinite mass in a mathematical singularity, and something from nothing!
Einstein had something to say about this in the later years of his life. In a final appendix to his book “Relativity the Special and General Theory, A Clear Explanation That Anyone Can Understand” he debunked the idea that there is any such thing as “empty space” He said that objects do not exist in space, but rather that mass and energy are “extended” in the form of fields. The exact quotes are available in some of my earlier posts.
In discussing the book, Professor Hawking told ABC News: “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. But science makes God unnecessary. … The laws of physics can explain the universe without the need for a creator.”
While Professor Hawking was a brilliant physicist, in my opinion, he was never in the same league with Albert Einstein because Einstein was a paradigm shifter and a deeply spiritual man. Stephen Hawking, a competent mathematician and a brilliant theoretical physicist, was not a paradigm changer nor a spiritual man. As far as I can see from his published papers and books, he worked completely within the current materialistic paradigm. My intent here, however, is not to criticize Professor Hawking's work, but to celebrate his remarkable strength of mind and enormous success despite suffering from a debilitating and ultimately fatal disease. Here is a list of his remarkable accomplishments:
STEPHEN HAWKING’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Working with English mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, Stephan Hawking did ground-breaking work helping to prove the probable existence of gravitational singularities and theorized that the universe might have begun as such a singularity. The Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems attempt to answer the question of under what circumstances gravitational singularities may arise.
A gravitational singularity is a theoretical dimensionless point which contains an infinite amount of mass. In a singularity, gravity becomes infinite, space-time collapses on itself and “the laws of physics as we know them cease to exist”. With James Bardeen and Brandon Carter, Stephen Hawking proposed four laws that govern the mechanics of black holes. These laws are physical properties that black holes are believed to satisfy and are analogous to the well-known laws of thermodynamics. In January 1971, his essay titled “Black Holes” won the prestigious Gravity Research Foundation Award.
His most significant theory is that black holes emit radiation
Previously physicists believed nothing could escape a black hole. In 1974, Stephan Hawking showed that black holes emit radiation, which may continue till they exhaust their energy and evaporate. Stephen’s prediction of what became known as the Hawking radiation initially created a controversy but on further research was considered an important breakthrough in theoretical physics.
He contributed to the theory of cosmic inflation
Introduced by Alan Guth in 1980, cosmic inflation is a theory in physical cosmology which proposes that, following the Big Bang, the universe expanded exponentially before settling down to slower expansion. It is now widely accepted. Stephen Hawking was one of the first to calculate quantum fluctuations that were created during cosmic inflation and to show how they might give rise to the spread of galaxies in the universe. I have discussed the rapid expansion theory in my writings and conclude that it is mathematically necessary in an expanding universe.
Professor Hawking helped propose an important theoretical model of the universe’s initial state
Along with James Hartle, he published a model known as the Hartle–Hawking state in 1983. It proposed that time didn’t exist before the Big Bang and hence the concept of the beginning of the universe is meaningless. The Hartle–Hawking state universe has no beginning as it has no initial boundaries in time or space. It remains one of the most prominent theories on the initial state of the universe, and is one I agree with in principle.
With Thomas Hertog, he proposed a theory of “top-down cosmology”
In 2006, Stephen Hawking, along with Thomas Hertog of CERN, proposed a theory of “top-down cosmology”. It proposed that the universe had not one unique initial state but consisted of a superposition of many possible initial conditions. Thus, as we don’t know the initial conditions at the beginning of the universe, we can’t have a bottom-up model. This leaves the possibility of only a top-down approach as we know the final state of the universe – the one we are in now. The theory became popular because it fits in with the well-known string theory, including multiple extra dimensions.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Stephen Hawking’s accomplishments are significant and should be celebrated, especially because of the odds he overcame to achieve them. His contributions to physical science are truly remarkable. But his knowledge of spiritual reality was woefully limited during this life, possibly due to programming by those he admired and looked up to early in life. Unfortunately, when those who achieve fame in any given field make statements about subjects of which they have no direct experience or knowledge, and consequently about which they know very little, make declarative negative statements about those subjects, they do a great disservice to us all. We see this all too often with celebrities of all kinds, singers, actors and politicians, as well as scientists. Just because one is successful in one area of endeavor, it does not mean that one is an authority in all things. And a person with a high IQ is just as capable of being wrong about something he has little knowledge of, as any of us.
Finally, because of the conservation of mass, energy and consciousness (see my posts on Gimmel) I posit that Stephen Hawking’s consciousness still exists. However, because a strong belief in the limitation of reality to the material world of matter and energy, many souls who exit the physical body when it stops functioning and goes into entropic decay, are still in disbelief. This results in a temporary state of suspension, a sort of dream-like state that can last for a few days or many years, depending on the depth of the soul’s mistaken conviction and attachment to the physical body. My prayer for you, Dr. Hawking, is that you wake soon!
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