Stephen Hawking’s Cosmic Slot Machine (Part 1)

by Jimmy Akin

in Apologetics, Philosophy, Science, Theology

I’ve read a number of books by Stephen Hawking (pictured) and Leonard Mlodinow, writing both together and separately. I’ve enjoyed them. They’re informative and funny, and they make clear some pretty deep concepts of physics and mathematics—without burdening you with a bunch of equations (that’s some trick).

But their new book The Grand Design
was a disappointment.

It’s a short read, which is fine, though I was surprised when I discovered that the last 25% of the alredy-short book to be composed of back matter (an exotic form of matter discovered by publishers; it consists of glossaries, indexes, author bios, acknowledgements, and the like).

Despite its brevity, it does a good job making clear some pretty far-out physics concepts, many of which are also treated in similar works, including Hawking’s and Mlodinow’s previous books. It is also nicely laced with humor.

What is disappointing is the way the book treats philosophy and theology.


KEEP READING.

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{ 8 comments }

Castel Gandolfo September 13, 2010 at 1:43 am

It seems to me that Hawking’s argument is not unlike the following:
“I have counted every number from 0 to a million, I have examined each and every one of those numbers carefully, I have studied them thoroughly and I can now say that the color green is not necessary for the existence of those numbers. The color green does not need to exist, and furthermore, art is unnecessary.”
That’s a pretty sad argument for such a smart man.

Bean September 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Pray for Stephen Hawking. Mr. Hawking is an angry man, angry about his health issues and he has directed his anger towards God. Mr. Hawking is on a one man crusade to turn as many as possible away from God because he is angry about the card he has been dealt in life.

randy martin October 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

dear idiots, science is based on obsevations with experiments to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. faith is based on HOG WASH with a splash of WHITE WASH with no proof. i find you, jimmy , to be the FUNNY ONE.

bill912 October 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

To be an athiest, one must believe that:
1. Billions of years ago, there JUST HAPPENED to exist,
2. these abstract “somethings”, which JUST HAPPENED to be atoms,
3. which JUST HAPPENED to get together,
4. in ways which JUST HAPPENED to look like natural laws,
5. that some configurations of atoms JUST HAPPENED to develop into stars,
6. that some of these stars JUST HAPPENED to have other objects orbiting around them,
7. that some of these objects JUST HAPPENED to be planets,
8. that one of these planets JUST HAPPENED to be exactly the right distance from its star that Hydrogen Monoxide could exist in a liquid state,
9. that this particular planet JUST HAPPENED to have certain exact concentrations of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen,
10. that some of these above molecules JUST HAPPENED to get together to form amino acids,
11. that some of these amino acids JUST HAPPENED to develop the ability to reproduce themselves,
12. that some of these organisms JUST HAPPENED to develop the ability to evolve into more complex organisms,
13. that some of these organisms JUST HAPPENED to develop self-awareness,
14. and that one of these JUST HAPPENS to be you.
To those that can believe all that, I say: “Great is thy Faith!”

randy martin October 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

dear bill, who said i was an athiest????

BobCatholic October 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Those who are anti-faith in God will place their faith in something else.
Like the dice – random chance
or
the mirror – the ego

The Masked Chicken October 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

dear idiots, science is based on obsevations with experiments to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. faith is based on HOG WASH with a splash of WHITE WASH with no proof. i find you, jimmy , to be the FUNNY ONE.
Dear Randy,
I suspect that you have no idea what science is based on. Do you have any notion of the philosophy of science? You seem to be someone who has bought into some dogmas of your own and I suspect those dogmas are of a recent vintage from popularized books. Your statement that faith is based on hog wash (whatever that is) with a splash of white paint (why would one want to paint hog wash white or splash it white paint?) without proof is, itself, a statement without proof.
You can no more prove that science is true than faith is true and if you think you can, then you neither understand science nor faith.
I don’t like drive-by posters. Either stay and have a polite conversation or leave. Either way, you have not proven to me that you are neither a scientist or a man struggling to understand the truth (the first criteria of a scientist).
The Chicken (a scientist)

The Masked Chicken October 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Should read:
Either way, you have not proven to me that you are either a scientist or a man struggling to understand the truth (the first criteria of a scientist).
The Chicken
P. S. Jimmy, why, oh why, can’t there ever be a correction button for the combox? I know why, but I’m still frustrated.

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