Big Bang Stephen. Hawking's Hierarchy of Gods
MANILA - I start with this hypothesis: Stephen Hawking believes in God; the problem is, he doesn't know it! You don't believe me. The problem is, with his chariot of fire, he has failed to recognize, failed to acknowledge, and, unlike Alfred Lord Tennyson looking at a little flower, failed to know what God and Man is. I shall prove that by reason, without the aid of mathematics, without experimentation. I shall use Stephen's Science to disprove Hawking's Science. Fair enough?
Since his super-bestseller book A Brief History of Time in 1988, Stephen Hawking has been making a big bang for the bucks out of the Big Bang Theory and I congratulate him. Certainly, the laws of physics can make one happy despite the misery of one's existence. 9 million copies sold of these 256 pages of non-fiction volume is a huge volume of trees felled, but it stands to reason. The laws of physics do declare that if man must print on paper and paper must come from trees, the trees must be felled.
No one can repeal the laws of physics. "Everything in the universe follows laws," says Stephen Hawking, "without exception" (Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow, "Why God Did Not Create the Universe," wsj.com). Since this universe is made up of book buyers who were created by the Big Bang, and they owe their existence to it, it is proper and praiseworthy that they patronize their own creator. Right, Stephen?
I predict more bucks for the bang for Hawking's latest book. Already, the newspapers all over the world are agog at the latest pronouncements of Stephen Hawking (of the University of Cambridge) in his new book The Grand Design (co-written with Leonard Mlodinow of Caltech) (source cited, wsj.com), such as, "No gods required." With that, I agree. Ye gods! I am monotheistic myself; I believe in one God. Ye gods are a dime-a-dozen.
Hawking is monotheistic himself; he believes in God but calls God "the laws of physics" or "the laws of the universe" or " Big Bang" or “Science.” That is only vocabulary, as I shall show you in a moment. Nonetheless, I assure you it's an excellent exercise in critical - and creative thinking. Stephen is creative; if you want to criticize Hawking, you must be creative.
Let us first fathom the mind of Hawking as he postulates on ancient knowledge and modern wisdom (source cited, wsj.com):
Ignorance of nature's ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths to make sense of their world. But eventually, people turned to philosophy, that is, to the use of reason - with a good sense of intuition - to decipher their universe. Today we use reason, mathematics and experimental test - in other words, modern science.
This is a Stephen revelation to me! Hawking is like saying the ancients had no knowledge; the moderns know everything. I don't know. The ancients had only intuition, which is unreliable; the philosophers had only reason, which is deniable; but the moderns have the 3 magic words for knowing well - reason, mathematics, and experimentation - the results of the use of which are verifiable. Science knows best.
With or without a grand design, in my quote above, my insight is that Hawking is conjecturing that there have been 3 Stages in the Intellectual Growth of Man, Homo sapiens, The Thinking Species:
(1) Myth-Making = intuition (my interpretation)
(2) Philosophy = reason plus intuition
(3) Science = reason plus mathematics plus experimentation.
Thinking of Hawking intellectualizing, I have intellectualized my own conclusions:
(1.1) On Myth-Making. "Ignorance of nature's ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths to make sense of their world." Saying that, Hawking is chucking the role of myth-making in the culture of man. My God, without myths, this world would be a mist! Why, I grew up with myths in our sleepy town in Central Luzon, Philippines; I grew up with myths in books - a loner, how dreary life would have been for me if in my boyhood there were no myths to wander into, to wonder about! It must be that Stephen Hawking had no pleasant boyhood to speak of. Or he didn't like reading.
(1.2) Also on Myth-Making. By that also, Hawking is throwing away the role of religion in human society. To simplify, I shall simply equate myth with faith, even as they do make a similar sound. To Hawking, ancient wisdom has no place in modern society. Ancient writings and thinking are to be acknowledged but not to be respected. Too old. Stephen Hawking has no respect for tradition, or elders.
(2) On Philosophy. "But eventually, people turned to philosophy, that is, to the use of reason - with a good sense of intuition - to decipher their universe." Thereby, Hawking is saying that philosophers and thinkers are not worthy of being the source of knowledge and wisdom. Not Aristotle, Socrates, Epicurus, Ptolemy, Cicero, Plutarch, Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, Constantine the Great, Martin Luther, Karl Marx, Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, name your philosopher or thinker or rebel. Jesus dined with the sinners and the sick; Stephen will not dine with philosophers and kings.
My good friend Double O reminds me of another Stephen, St Stephen, who was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy against Moses and God and for speaking against the Temple and the Law, and was stoned to death (Wikipedia). With his Grand Design, Stephen Hawking has stoned God to death. While St Stephen was on trial, he underwent a theophany - he saw both God the Father and God the Son. In contrast, Stephen Hawking has put God on trial, and he cannot have undergone a theophany: he has been seeing through the glass, darkly, so he cannot have come face to face.
(3) On Science. "Today we use reason, mathematics and experimental test - in other words, modern science." In the context of all of the above, Hawking is actually saying Science is God, the only arbiter of ultimate truth, the all-making Almighty, The Non-Grand Designer. Creatively, this is how I interpret my Hawking quote above:
Science is above
Philosophy which is above
Myth-Making which is about
Understanding the Universe.
And with that, my Hawking revelation is this:
The 3rd God is above
The 2nd God which is above
The 1st God which is about
Creating the Universe.
That's what I call Hawking's Hierarchy of Gods. But this is so much unlike Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, where the lesser and greater needs all fulfill the whole of Man. In essence, Hawking is saying these are The 3 Gods of Knowledge of Men. Unknowingly, Hawking is saying that God is the arbiter of knowledge and wisdom. But since it's a hierarchy of divinity, you have lesser and greater gods, and they supplant each other. Since The 2nd God is higher in rank than The 1st God, and The 3rd God is higher in rank than The 2nd God, The 3rd God is the highest, Science.
Unfortunately, Hawking's Science is a jealous God. So, there cannot be any other strange gods before him.
Did you hear it? "God did not create the universe and the 'Big Bang' was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book," Michael Holden says (02 September 2010, reuters.com). That is The 3rd God speaking.
In Law, the Big Bang is guilty until proven otherwise. In Science, is the argument one of luminous brilliance? Let us examine it for all its worth. Holden quotes Hawking as saying:
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.
The 3rd God says it was not The 1st God (the God of Faith) who created the universe but Gravity.
In other words, Gravity created us! Of all people, me?
So, I'm a spontaneous creation of my father and mother. And my parents were the spontaneous creations of their parents and so on and so forth. So the first male and female of the human species were spontaneous creations. That's spontaneous thinking, but I don't think it's funny.
The 3rd God must be joking. I'm a Roman Catholic. I'm a sinner; Gravity created me, a Roman Catholic sinner? Gravity, that's who can I turn to when I feel guilty, when I feel miserable because of my sins of omission and commission, when my heart is heavily laden that I have to confess so that my burden is light?
"God did not create the universe." This is like Stephen Hawking declaring that "God is dead." Like Friedrich Nietzsche, he is effectively saying that "the shared cultural belief in God" (Austin Cline, about.com) cannot be reconciled with the truth. No more Christian God, not even Allah. The Bible is worthless, so is the Koran. Time to burn The Book.
That is god-awful. I cannot accept that. What can I do without God? Rather, it's time to burn the midnight oil to read The Book.
Hawking has his 3 gods topsy-turvy, the wrong hierarchy. The point Stephen Hawking's Grand Declaration misses is that the God of Science is not the highest god of all, not higher than the God of Faith. In any case, he has failed to prove his conjecture.
This is my conjecture:
Science is a way to the truth just as Faith is, just as Philosophy is. They cannot contradict each other.
Faith cannot say Science is wrong, because that would be contradicting itself - Faith is not based on what Science is based, as according to Stephen Hawking: reason, mathematics and experimentation. Faith is without logic, without mathematics, and without proof. It isn't called Faith for nothing! The Bible tells me, and I believe it: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11: 1, King James Version).
As to Philosophy, Faith has taken it all in - you should be a Roman Catholic! You will find a great many philosophers and thinkers in that Church and you will make their acquaintances, if not friendships, that will last forever. For starters, try the innocent little girl St Therese of the Little Flower. Try a little love for a change.
By the same token, neither can Science say Faith is wrong. Faith is beyond the scope of Science; Science is beyond the scope of Faith. In matters of Faith, Science cannot be Science. Science cannot devise an experiment to prove or disprove that there is a Christian God, or an Allah God, that God did not create the universe, that God did not give Man the Ten Commandments and so on and so forth. Science cannot disprove that the Bible is Revelation from God. Else, that would be another revelation to me, a sinner.
The basic problem lies in the assumption of Stephen Hawking that Science is The Only Way to the Truth. That is Stephen Hawking's Hidden Agenda.
In fact, obeying its own rules, Science cannot be Science in the matter of the Big Bang Theory. It will never be able to prove Big Bang. That's exactly why it should remain labeled as a theory, not knowledge, not old scientific dogma as Stephen Hawking presents it. "You cannot teach old dogma new tricks," Dorothy Parker says. Amen to that!
What, in heaven's name, is the Big Bang Theory that denies Heaven? Let us turn to the authority of other scientists. According to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA (nasa.gov):
The Big Bang Model is a broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe. It postulates that 12 to 14 billion years ago, the portion of the universe we can see today was only a few millimeters across. It has since expanded from this hot dense state into the vast and much cooler cosmos we currently inhabit.
Whatever. The Big Bang Model is theory. Now, what is theory? NASA tells us that a theory is "a scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena" (nasa.gov). The crucial word is testable, that is, experimentally verifiable.
Is the Big Bang Theory testable? For the Big Bang Theory to be declared scientific, following Hawking's undeclared 3 Scientific Criteria, there are 3 requirements to meet: (1) it must stand to reason; (2) it must stand up to the rigors of mathematics; and (3) it must pass the scientific test.
I almost have no problem with that.
(1) I will grant that the Big Bang Theory stands to reason. I have no arguments against it. It's a theory, that's all. Your theory is as good as mine!
(2) I will also grant that the Big Bang can stand the rigors of mathematics, since it is based on the genius of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity; even if I don't understand Relativity at all, since I salute Einstein, I'll take his word for it. By the way, this genius believed in Grand Design. He famously said, "God does not play dice with the universe."
(3) But can the genius of Stephen Hawking devise an experiment to disprove the existence of the God of Faith? More importantly and urgently, can Hawking or any of his ilk devise an experiment to prove once and for all that the Big Bang did happen? Don't claim it - prove it! In contrast, in Faith you claim a miracle, but it takes God to prove it.
I would have accepted with love if Stephen Hawking did only say, "Gravity created the universe," even if there is no experimentation to prove it - because then I could have said that God created Gravity and commanded it to just go do it! But I cannot accept that Hawking did also say, "God did not create the universe." That is to speak without reason, without mathematics, without experimentation. Science is not on the side of the scientist, "the most brilliant man alive today" (Keith Dick, sliceofscifi.com). The scientist can be brilliant and wrong.
Faith is on my side. Did God create this chaotic, uncaring, violent, anthromorphic universe? Hawking knows. "God did not create the universe," the Big Bang did it. Not guilty!
"God did not create the universe," the Big Bang did it - that is in fact a logical fallacy called begging the question. You are trying to prove something by using your claim as your proof. You are using the Big Bang itself to prove itself. Petitio principii, as Aristotle would say, a material fallacy. Fallacy will get you nowhere!
I'll simplify and say, "Assuming the Big Bang, the question is not how the universe began, not how the Big Bang happened, but where?"
The Big Bang cannot be the Beginning of the Beginning, because it must have happened somewhere, not in a formless void and not where darkness covered the face of the deep and not where a mighty wind swept over the face of the waters. It could not have caused its own existence; that is against the reason of Science. Where did the Big Bang happen? Who caused it to happen? Who caused Gravity to happen to create the universe? It cannot have been Gravity itself; Gravity cannot have been the Uncaused Cause. The God of Faith is.
To understand the wondrous claims of Stephen Hawking about the Big Bang Theory, I have my own theory. And yes, if I may say so myself, my theory stands to reason; it is mathematical; and it can be tested experimentally. To make the Big Bang Theory stand on its head, I shall call mine the Bang Big Theory, and it is based on what I shall refer to as The Lawyer's Principle:
If you have the law, Bang on the law.
If you have the facts, Bang on the facts.
If you have neither the law nor the facts,
Bang on the table.
The lawyers do it; the debaters do it; let's do it, Stephen Hawking must have said to himself. If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.
Stephen Hawking bangs on the laws of physics, because they are universal laws. But he cannot prove that they work like he says they work in his favor when it comes to the Big Bang. He claims it; he has to show me the miracle that they work like he says they do.
He bangs on the facts, like there has been discovered a planet revolving around another that is not in our solar system, but he cannot prove that that is not part of God's grand design.
So he bangs on the table of mass media to catch everyone's attention. So he gets Big Bucks for his Big Bang.
At this point, I find I must quote my favorite US President, Abraham Lincoln, who famously said, "If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference." If I am wrong, if Stephen Hawking's Big Bang is not after the Big Bucks, he must be after the Big Cheese: a Nobel Prize in Physics. He will get it, no doubt. And his book will be another bestseller, certainly. Yet, neither the Nobel Prize nor another bestselling book will prove that Stephen Hawking is right about God. The Nobel and the bestseller will only prove that Stephen Hawking is a great thinker and a great writer. Stephen Hawking's God is good but not great.
Disappointed people are saying that by coming out with his Grand Design book, Hawking has turned from a believer to an atheist. They are only misreading Stephen Hawking. The last sentence in his bestselling book A Brief History of Time was this: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we should know the mind of God." And now that in his new book The Grand Design he emphatically says that "God did not create the universe," they are saying that Hawking has reversed himself. Are they saying he cannot stand on his own two feet?
That is incorrect. When he wrote at the end of his book of Time, "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we should know the mind of God," he was playing with the word God. What he meant was that if man found that Grand Theory of Everything "to explain all the mysteries and apparent contradictions of physics in one fell swoop" (DM, thedailymaverick.co.za), that Mind of God Theory would show that Man's reason is the right tool to understand the universe, and prove that God was in fact unnecessary.
God is not necessary for Stephen to understand the universe. But Hawking's reasoning has failed to prove scientifically that God is not necessary for me. Stephen Hawking's Science is The God That Failed. I pass.