Stephen Hawking jumps the shark
It’s common in sports to see an athlete play past his prime, searching for something he never achieved or fearing life without the spotlight. Think Muhammad Ali losing to Leon Spinks or Willie Mays batting .211 for the New York Mets.
That phenomenon is occurring with physicist Stephen Hawking. Hawking made headlines recently with a pronouncement, coinciding with the release of his book (imagine that), that he has concluded the universe could have come into existence without the assistance of God.
But has he really discovered something scientific? Nope. Stephen Hawking is in a Walter Mitty fantasy. Throughout his career he longed to make that announcement and no doubt repeatedly pictured himself in that moment of atheist glory. He retired last year without achieving his goal.
Unable to resist attention, he went ahead this year and announced it anyway with no more physics in his book to prove that God didn’t make the universe than a priest has in his Bible to show God did.
The Holy Grail for physicists is to find a unified theory that explains the whole universe, large and small. The problem is the physical laws we know of that govern small things like atoms don’t translate to big things like galaxies, so there is no “God excluding theory.”
Scientists have erred for centuries trying to unseat God. In prosecuting Galileo, the church was siding with wrong theories by scientists Aristotle and Ptolemy who thought the sun went round the earth, and they ignored Copernicus, the Catholic priest, who was actually right about the earth orbiting the sun.
In 1927 a Catholic priest named Monsignor Georges Lemaitre proposed what later became known as the Big Bang Theory. It was revolutionary because science had believed the universe had no beginning or end (which would exclude God). Lemaitre’s Big Bang gave the universe a creation point, which allows then for a Creator.
Science was outraged (not in defense of science, but atheist pride). Fred Hoyle tried to lead the world back to the “steady state theory,” developed by Einstein, which Albert later called his “greatest blunder” when further observations supported the Big Bang.
So let’s examine Stephen Hawking’s new book “The Grand Design” and look at his blunders. There are a few things you have to know first in order to clearly see that Hawking, the emperor of Cosmology, is wearing no clothes:
Point 1: “The Grand Design” isn’t really a new book. It’s a compilation of ideas already covered in previous Hawking books like “A Brief History of Time” and “The Theory of Everything.”
Point 2: The first tiny sliver of a second that occurred at the beginning of the Big Bang is known as Planck Time. It’s important because our laws of nature as well as time itself didn’t exist separately before that. In other words, whatever was before that was not “nature” but “supernatural.” And the hot, dense little singularity that existed before Planck Time came from where? Stephen Hawking doesn’t know and doesn’t address it in his book.
Keith Olbermann discussed Hawking’s book last week and flashed on the TV screen a quote attributed to Pope John Paul saying we should not study earlier than Planck time, the insinuation being that the Pope feared disproving God. Olbermann failed to flash the very same quote from Hawking who also said it; I guess the insinuation would be that Hawking is afraid to confirm God. But give Olbermann a pass for the transgression — anything beyond reading sports scores and he gets lost.
Point 3: Hawking in his book discusses the “model dependent reality” of the universe. It holds that 2 people, because of their different vantage points, can have 2 different measurements of the same event, but BOTH are correct, because they are operating under the information available to them from their view.
In other words, if we limit all knowledge in the universe to everything Stephen Hawking knows, then Stephen Hawking knows everything. Nice. Here is the example Stephen gives:
Person one is on an airplane bouncing a ball, and he will measure that the ball bounces in the same spot. Person two is on the ground looking up at the plane. Person two will measure that the ball is bouncing in different spots because he sees the plane moving forward. So if each is limited to what he knows, both are right even though they have different measurements.
But, Professor Hawking — suppose I build a plane with a glass bottom. Now both will see the same thing. My point is that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to what we (or you) know from one vantage point. We should try to look past Planck Time to find out what is back there.
Point 4: It’s common for people to do this bad math: We have nine planets circling our sun, there are billions and billions of suns, so with those odds, there must be life elsewhere. The problem is, there is so much that has to line up perfectly to get life on a planet, the odds are actually long AGAINST there being life elsewhere. This is the basis of “Intelligent Design” arguments.
In his book Hawking addresses Intelligent Design, and in such beautiful supportive words that Michael Behe would be smart to repeat it. But in the end, does Hawking say our planet overcoming those incredibly long odds to have life is proof of an intentional plan? No. Hawking’s conclusion: We’re “lucky.” Lucky? Gee thanks, Mr. Science guy. You’re now employing the same analysis used by my bookie.
Point 5: Now for the Grand Design promised by the book title. Hawking gives it an inauspicious introduction. When I got to the last chapter, it said, “see chapter 6,” which I had already read. How’d I miss something so important in Chapter 6?
I missed it because what Hawking is hawking as the theory that excludes God isn’t exactly new. He cited “M Theory.”
M-Theory holds that there is not one universe with one arrow of time, but multiple, perhaps an infinite number of universes, with every possible history that could occur playing out.
If Gene Rodenberry of Star Trek were alive, he might sue Hawking, because there was an episode where Kirk, Spock and the gang went to an alternate history where the Communists won the cold war. Nothing new to see here.
Hawking’s contention is that the multi-universes arise like tiny bubbles, each potentially a universe. “Tiny bubbles” was a cute Don Ho song but a lousy candidate as a replacement for God. How do the tiny bubbles that result in a universe arise? Hawking’s answer is “gravity.”
But how do we have gravity in the absence of mass? Where did the mass that created the gravity come from? If the gravity is being generated by light or energy, where is the light and energy coming from? Even “vacuum fluctuations” involve energy from somewhere. If Hawking has answered these questions, he didn’t say so in his book. Thanks for nothing.
In provable science, matter still can’t appear form nothing, and despite his pronouncement, nothing in Hawking’s book shows that it can. Science remains the same today as the day before Hawking wrote his book.
In asserting that the universe doesn’t need God, it appears Hawking has only confirmed that science no longer needs him.
Tommy De Seno is a political columnist with the TriCityNews in New Jersey, a Fox News Forum contributor and editor of the blog Justified Right.