Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! A couple of months ago, Stephen Hawking and others appeared on an episode of Larry King and tonight, we will interact with the first part of just what Hawking said. A link to a video of it can be found here while a transcript can be found here .
Now as one who can count as disabled, I do have a great respect for Hawking overcoming so much of what he has in spite of ALS. However, that does not mean that his ideas cannot be touched. In fact, I think he makes the mistake of many scientists where he assumes a scientism that cannot be proven by science itself yet seeks to say all truth is provable by science.
I will also grant that for the sake of argument that some of what Hawking here is saying could be shortened responses since he is in a chair and has limited movement and thus wants to make his answers as succinct as possible.
To begin with, Hawking does think that the scientific account is complete. Of course, this could depend on the scientific account of what? Do we have a complete account for instance of how life came into existence? Do we have an account so complete in any field that that means we stop looking? For all the talk about ID being a science stopper, it would seem that if Hawking is correct, this is just as much a science stopper.
He then adds that theology is unnecessary, but does this follow? Let us suppose that we had answered every scientific question that could be. Does that mean theology is unnecessary? That would mean that all knowledge of God is scientific knowledge. Now properly understood, science refers to a body of knowledge. In that case, theology is a science, but it’s extremely doubtful that Hawking means it in this way.
The only way this is unnecessary is that the case is true that there is no God, but Hawking has not established that. He could have a case for the existence of something, which I doubt, but what of the existing of something? Does he have a case? He never directly answers “Why is there something rather than nothing at all?”
However, even if someone doesn’t believe God exists, it is still important to them to study theology. Why? Several people in this world, myself included of course, do believe that God does exist and if you’re going to critique their views rightly, you need to study those views. The new atheists would do well to learn this.
As for his theory, Hawking does treat it as if it explains everything, but he has not explained how it does. Now he could explain that more in his book, but the audience is left to wonder. What is it that gravity works on? Where did the law of gravity come from? How can nothing act in any way to produce something?
Hawking also says people are reacting because science is answering questions that used to be the province of religion. I would very much like to know what these questions are. It is as if Hawking is arguing against a god-of-the-gaps mentality, but could it be that the atheistic world has created this mentality as well? After all, the early Christians saw no threat to doing science and saw it as explaining HOW God was working in the world.
Finally, Hawking says his great hero is Galileo, who believed in the power of observation. The reality is, so did every other scientist. What else did they base their findings on? Naturally, they had their presuppositions, but they also observed the world around them. We have seen earlier other concerns with Galileo. He was right, but he did not have sufficient evidence.
Tomorrow, we will look more at how the discussion plays out with the other panelists.