Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Top Scientist Dismisses Heaven as 'Fairytale'

"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."
-- Stephen Hawking (Britain's most eminent scientist)

Read the previous article Universe Created Itself, Not God, says Hawking

-- From "Hawking: 'There is no heaven'" by John Roach, 5/16/11

Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist . . . [now] 69, who was diagnosed with A.L.S. at age 21, made the heaven comment in response to a question about his fears of death.

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first," he told the newspaper.

The comments are seen as going beyond those in his 2010 book, "The Grand Design," which stirred up passions with the observation that science can explain the universe's origin without invoking God.

Hawking has far outlived most people who have A.L.S., also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, producing important cosmological research and writing books. His "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988, has sold more than 9 million copies.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven; it's a fairy story'" by Ian Sample, science correspondent, UK Guardian 5/15/11

The physicist's remarks draw a stark line between the use of God as a metaphor and the belief in an omniscient creator whose hands guide the workings of the cosmos.

In his bestselling 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking drew on the device so beloved of Einstein, when he described what it would mean for scientists to develop a "theory of everything" – a set of equations that described every particle and force in the entire universe. "It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God," he wrote.

Guardian: What is the value in knowing "Why are we here?"

Hawking: The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can't solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Physicist Hawking Mocks Religious Faith" by James Heiser, The New American 5/18/11

Hawking’s attempted argument by [the above-quoted computer] analogy is fatally flawed on several points. There is, in fact, a fundamental asymmetry between the self-awareness manifest in human beings and the predetermined processes of programmed devices called computers.

First, if Hawking intends to argue that man is merely a biochemically programmed computer, then his position is fundamentally untenable from the outset. Computers perform only those functions for which they are programmed . . .

Second, Hawking’s argument is flawed by the asymmetry of purpose. Computers, like all machines, do not express a sentiment regarding their final disposition . . .

Third, Hawking's attempt to attribute motive to those who disagree with his metaphysical pronouncements actually undermines his position. His misguided appeal to the virtue of courage — implicitly mocking those who disagree with him as cowards who are afraid of the dark — makes the fundamental inadequacy of his position immediately apparent. Computers are never brave or cowardly; they are neither virtuous nor evil. . . .

Stephen Hawking’s metaphysical pronouncements are significant because they are not computer output; rather, they are the religious beliefs of a human being who has faced tremendous obstacles in life and whose views have been shaped, in part, in response to his self-aware reflections on such struggles. . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.