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M-theory, religion and science funding on the BBC

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Vince Cable believes in cuts, but what about God and M-theory?

By Hamish Johnston

This morning there was lots of talk about science on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme – but I think it left many British scientists cringing under their duvets.

Stephen Hawking was on the show explaining why M-theory – an 11-dimensional structure that underlies and unifies various string theories – is our best bet for understanding the origin of the universe.

Hawking explained that M-theory allows the existence of a “multiverse” of different universes, each with different values of the physical constants. We exist in our universe not by the grace of God, according to Hawking, but simply because the physics in this particular universe is just right for stars, planets and humans to form.

There is just one tiny problem with all this – there is currently little experimental evidence to back up M-theory. In other words, a leading scientist is making a sweeping public statement on the existence of God based on his faith in an unsubstantiated theory.

This, and other recent pronouncements from Hawking in his new book The Grand Design were debated in a separate piece on Today by brain scientist Susan Greenfield and philosopher AC Grayling. Neither seemed too impressed with many of Hawking’s recent statements and Greenfield cautioned scientists against making “Taliban-like” statements about the existence of God.

That brings me to another bit of news making the headlines in the UK – huge and looming cuts in science funding.

The cuts will be implemented by Vince Cable who is the UK’s secretary of state for business, innovation and skills.

He was interviewed in a third piece on Today and made the remarkable claim that “45% of research grants [in the UK] go to research that is not of an excellent standard”.

Ouch…and to save money, the government will soon be “rationing funds by quality”.

So what does this have to do with Stephen Hawking and M-theory?

Physicists need the backing of the British public to ensure that the funding cuts don’t hit them disproportionately. This could be very difficult if the public think that most physicists spend their time arguing about what unproven theories say about the existence of God.

The challenge, of course, is how to make the public aware of all the fantastic work done by other British physicists.

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36 comments

  1. Kea

    Hmm, 45% sounds about right to me. He is well informed. This figure cannot improve in the current culture, where reward is in no way at all based upon the scientific value of one’s research.

  2. Roy Johnstone

    This all goes to show why the words “God” and/or “Religion” should never, *ever* be used in scienific work or literature.
    Hawking now says “”God is unnecessary, science can explain the universe without the need for a creator”. I would have thought it has *always* been the job of science to explain the universe without the need for, or reference to, a creator! Anthropic reasoning, at least in it’s strong form, is bad enough and can be seen as a “cop out”, but at least it is not metaphysical.
    Stephen, please leave “God” to the experts in the field of “spiritual” endeavours!
    Roy J.

  3. Dileep Sathe

    Science and Religion: I am a science teacher, with specialization in O level physics. In the last 35 years, many times I had to comment on science and religion in discussions with relatives / public. For many years, I am strongly opposing religious activities and especially funding of them. Here is my stand for the same, which will be useful for the readers of this blog.
    The main difference between science and religion is that science is based on objective thinking but religion is based on subjective thinking. Therefore, science can be useful in understanding this whole world and can minimize personal mistakes. On the other hand, religion does not give the freedom of thinking and one has to follow the religious leader without questioning. Hence religion is an emotional obstacle in the understanding of the universe.
    Secondly, one belongs to a particular religion, by birth means BY CHANCE. But science is free for all and does not put any restriction on learning and teaching, based on the religion. I am a Hindu by birth, but science permits me to learn work of Issac Newton, Michael Faraday etc. In fact, I am doing research in physics education for 35 years because of the informal guidance and inspiration from my Guru – Sir John Kendrew, the father of Molecular Biology from Cambridge. He was a Christian by birth but our religions did not have any effect on our Guru-Shishyaa relationship.
    On the other hand, I am witnessing multi-religious conflicts for 63 years, since my birth, and hence I strongly oppose religion and its funding.

  4. Imre von Soos

    For whom philosophy – the love of wisdom – is dead, is as good as dead himself. And the one who states that “science can explain everything without a creator”, that is, without a conscious, purposeful and creative, primary causative agent – not only that of the universe but also that of a simplest artefact – is either ignorant or is a fraud. True is that in no branch of science can be found even one example of a primary event or a primary process, the origin of which is being explained with purely material causation. The “some kind of interaction between energy and matter”, with the solemn pledge that its proof will be hit upon within the next years, decades or centuries, can be found in theories related from cosmos to consciousness. No attempt is wasted to prove to the public that only material values exist to be consumed, to be owned and to be proud of.
    But I am happy to observe the growing natural change between the public in a positive direction, not towards religions, which people are also disillusioned with, but towards what I can only call cultural or spiritual values.

  5. claude marchal

    Science is the unique philosophy which always questions his foundation based on verifications of its theories based on its foundations, performed by many separated groups of research, communicating using the language of mathematics (however, often an acceptable approximation, which can be verified when needed), the least ambiguous in interpretation.
    It is a classical mistake of non-scientist people to think that scientist think that scientists have an explanation for everything in the universe. Only non-scientist people think that there is a causal explanation for everything in the universe.
    I still have to see which positive contributions to the understanding of the reality (what ever what this one could be) the other philosophies and religions have brought to humanity.
    But the exercise of sciences has to find place in our culture which is not driven by excellence, so that sometimes scientific groups have to “sell” the object of their research to simple minds (if not biased ones!).
    If you accept the infinity in your reasoning, than anything can be proven. God and the Great Design belong to the infinity and their invocation excludes any possibility to argue but I understand that these concepts may calm the fear of unknown of many people.
    It is also a pity that science and mathematics are often presented in a formal, deductive and very unfriendly way while their discoveries are performed by men having at least a vision, sometimes closed to mysticism (Pythagoras, Kepler,..) and their life was rather exiting.
    Anyway, happiness lies in the way you follow (science f.e.), not in the place where you sit (religion f.e.).
    Our culture is in crisis because the big part of humanity wants to be secured (are afraid of the unknown)while at the same time, some scientists are already a step beyond, trying to understand non-linear systems, far from the equilibrium; showing a reality which can’t be predicted any more with a total certitude.
    It was already paradoxical that our culture is obsessed by stability when in physics stability is synonym of death.
    Indeed, a cultural revolution becomes still more necessary because this evolution of sciences, which is towards explaining more and more what the reality is qualitatively going to be but with more and more incertitude,will scare the leaders and most members of our culture (finance, politics, advertising, all kinds of brain washers) and will thus resist going on the way where the solution will be found.
    We have indeed a longer way to go than before… if we are allowed to walk!

  6. alex

    I think that this attack on Hawking is unnecessary. First of all, I am pretty sure that Hawking is well aware of the fact that there is little experimental evidence to back up M-theory. That does not mean though that he cannot speculate on the matter. Actually, the fact that we do not yet know is what makes this whole thing so fascinating. Secondly, Hamish Johnston speaks of Hawking’s “faith”. I have to inform Johnston that it is not a “faith”, it is rather a rational intuition based on Hawking’s vast knowledge on the subject, shared by many other physicists. Whether he will be proved right or wrong matters not. What is at stake here is whether a leading scientist has the right to publicly express his opinion on any matter. I believe that the answer to this question should be an emphatic yes. As an individual, as a physicist and as a citizen, Hawking has every right to express publicly his opinion on any topic, including the existence or not of God. I may be wrong, but my impression is that Johnston would not have reacted so harshly if Hawking’s statement about the existence of god was affirmative. Johnston informs us that Greenfield cautioned scientists against making “Taliban-like” statements about the existence of God. Well, I have to caution Johnston and Greenfield against adopting a “Taliban-like” mentality of intolerance against scientists making statements about the existence of God.

  7. Hamish Johnston

    Alex, I think that an affirmative on God from Hawking would have been even sillier.
    It’s not God that I’m worried about; it’s making grand pronouncements on the basis of an unsubstantiated theory.
    Of course M-theory could provide a path towards a better understanding of the universe and its origin, but I think most physicists think it’s too early to tell.
    With regards to the existence of God, I’m a condensed matter physicist by training so I don’t feel qualified to comment!
    Hamish

  8. alex

    Hamish, to be honest I haven’t heard Hawking on the radio so it could be that it was me who reacted more harshly than needed to you! Anyway, many scientists, leading or otherwise, find it hard to refrain from grandiose comments and statements, especially on subjects relating to cosmology and particle physics. I still believe though that a scientist can make a grand pronouncement such as this regarding God. Its up to rest of us to decide how convincing, elegant etc was the aforementioned pronouncement/argument. And it is absolutely within your own right to critisize that pronouncement. I agree with you that it’s too early to tell re. M-theory, however I disagree with people who claim dismissively that it is “not even wrong” (I am not implying that you are one of them). Finally, I respect your last statement, even though I disagree with it. I beleive that people can have an opinion and comment even on subjects they are not familiar with. Another example of a theoretical phyicist who publicly speaks about these matters is Steven Weinberg.
    Well, that’s all folks, its back to work.
    Regards Hamish and sorry if I sounded rude

  9. Hamish,
    What you are responding to, as are the rest of the media, is one paragraph in an entire book. It makes a great headline, “Hawking disproves the need for God”. But it is not at all what was said.
    It would also contradict with what Hawking has said in the past of his definition of “god” which is the sum natural laws of the universe.
    What really needs to be addressed is not the public’s perceived sleight of an imaginary friend, but rather the public’s distrust of science itself and the great amount of backwards thinking becoming more and more prevalent.
    Let’s all not start singing “I’m a celestial teapot”, shall we?

  10. John Duffield

    It’s a free country. Hawking is free to air his views, do a Dawkins to double his book sales, play high-priest, and forget what PhD stands for. But everybody else is free to challenge him by pointing out that’s there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever for M-theory, and that spontaneous creation is just another non-answer. However those challenges don’t make it to the front page of The Times. I haven’t seen them anywhere myself. Maybe nobody will step up to the plate, because they’re afraid of being seen as religious. Instead I see more M-theory propaganda, like in today’s Independent. Hence the public do get the wrong impression. And doubtless Vince Cable too. And these cuts could be a bloodbath, worse even than the 20% described as “game over” in Interactions.
    Since we’re free to air our views, I’ll air one. Back in 2006 I found out that physics A-level were down 57% in 20 years. I was then puzzled by conversations wherein people from a certain high-ranking university didn’t seem too concerned. Instead they seemed to welcome it, as a confirmation of their elite status. So I imagine the same is true now, and some are sitting pretty shedding crocodile tears whilst inwardly gloating at a competition laid waste. I am reminded of a cuckoo in the nest, and golden eggs lying broken and empty on the ground. Don’t forget to turn out the lights.

  11. rl dwyer

    Everyone, including Stephen Hawking, is entitled to his or her opinion, which is what siding with string theories and M-theory is all about — an opinion of a theory — to be debated in intelligent circles; not thrown out on a radio program “to incite the natives.” And his opinion of God is also just an educated guess — an opinion of an UNKNOWN — to be debated by theologians with scientific input for good measure. However, “funding” for theory research cannot be helped or hindered by blatant, news-making rhetoric. It only puts physicists beneath themselves.

  12. rl dwyer

    Everyone, including Stephen Hawking, is entitled to his or her opinion, which is what siding with string theories and M-theory is all about — an opinion of a theory — to be debated in intelligent circles; not thrown out on a radio program “to incite the natives.” And his opinion of God is also just an educated guess — an opinion of an UNKNOWN — to be debated by theologians with scientific input for good measure. However, “funding” for theory research cannot be helped or hindered by blatant, news-making rhetoric. It only puts physicists beneath themselves.

  13. rl dwyer

    Everyone, including Stephen Hawking, is entitled to his or her opinion, which is what siding with string theories and M-theory is all about — an opinion of a theory — to be debated in intelligent circles; not thrown out on a radio program “to incite the natives.” And his opinion of God is also just an educated guess — an opinion of an UNKNOWN — to be debated by theologians with scientific input for good measure. However, “funding” for theory research cannot be helped or hindered by blatant, news-making rhetoric. It only puts physicists beneath themselves.

  14. Personally, I wish science fell into the same category as infrastructure and education when it came to funding: a must-have, something without which a society cannot thrive.
    I have no problem with Hawking or anyone else pronouncing on God or religion. They are scientists, so I take their opinions in this area to be that of lay people in the field, much as my opinion in it is. I’m not offended, but I do wish they would formulate such comments with more of a “it’s my opinion that [insert sweeping religious view here]” attitude.
    The same goes for evangelicals and fundamentalists of any religion who proclaim their ignorance of science loudly and proudly. Please, take a moment to reflect. Surely a creative God would want his thinking creations to view his work accurately and clearly, and support an unflinching, honest appreciation and understanding of the universe? What artist doesn’t want their craft appreciated? Therefore, fund science! Promote it! Support it in the name of understanding the world God gave you clearly and without fear.

  15. Smurf

    Hamish,
    With regards to the existence of God, I’m a condensed matter physicist by training so I don’t feel qualified to comment!
    Maybe, you mean “With regards to M-theory, I’m a condensed matter physicist by training so I don’t feel qualified to comment”, right?-)

  16. Its remarkable that they got a brain scientist and philosopher to comment on M-Theory. The media does not have the slightest clue about the mind-boggling mathematics involved in even considering this theory, do they?

  17. Imre von Soos

    Alex and Hamish, the attack is not on Hawking, but on what he is exclaiming from a respected – and consequently trusted – cathedra. If he is well aware of the fact that there is little experimental evidence to back up M-theory, then he is knowingly misleading the public with his statements.
    There is no such thing as rational intuition, only intuition that is worked through rational mental processes and supported with rational explanations.
    It is not religion that science should not handle, but faith. There is no doubt that a leading scientist has the right to publicly express his opinion on any matter, as long as he clearly states that it is an opinion founded on faith. Other ways he is deceiving an discrediting his own “cathedra”, as that of other scientists.
    M-theory is – admittedly – only a mathematical construct, understood by none; how could that provide a path towards a better understanding of the universe and its origin? Mathematics is a language expressing rational thoughts; and shouldn’t be allowed to dominate them!

  18. Chipper Q

    So if the physical constants in this universe are peachy for us to form, what would be the required values in a universe for the formation of an omnipotent being who by nature is possessing of attributes like being non-local, faster than light, and free to roam the entire ‘multiverse’? If Stephen Hawking can offer proof that no such universe is possible in an infinite multiverse of possibilities, then such statements about grace (or lack thereof) might be proper.

  19. John Duffield

    Hamish, you should rustle up a few like-minded folk and a bunch of Hawking books, and threaten to burn the latter outside the IOP building. But stand well back, those babies are full of snake-oil.

  20. jayanti prasad

    In my opinion the fundamental difference between science and religion is that religious ideas revolve around human beings and in science no special status is given to human beings. Let me explain that.
    In cosmology, the cosmological principle states that there is no special place or direction in the universe. From biology we learn that we are not qualitatively different from pigs, plants etc. Basically we share biology with rest of other life forms on the Earth. One can clearly see that in all religions the god is always in some human form. Even if there is some god (although I am sure there is none !) why that should be in human form. I think religion is mostly a cultural subject and does not have any capacity to tell anything about how the natural world works, that is purely a matter of science.

  21. alex

    @Imre von Soos
    “If he is well aware of the fact that there is little experimental evidence to back up M-theory, then he is knowingly misleading the public with his statements.”
    I disagree with you there Imre. Based on his knowledge on the subject he is just making an educated guess, which he commutes to the public. It’s as simple as that. And I dont think I need to remind you how many times in the past theoretical prediction preceeded experimental verification. From antimatter to neutrinos and from the expansion of the universe to black holes, the examples are too many to list here. Indeed, he may be proved wrong. But I am certain that if it will turn out that this is the case, he will come out in the open and admit it. I remind you here that for about 30 years he supported that information is forever lost in black holes, only to admit in 2004 that he was wrong. Communicating science to the public is not just about disseminating only the well established facts, it is about informing the people about cutting edge researth, often speculative and uncertain, where scientists themselves disagree. And this is the most exciting thing about it.

  22. Pascvaks

    The truly great Stephen Hawking has been doing much talking and writing for the Great Unwashed and too little thinking and computation in his field, he arrived at his allotted level of success and is now stopped, high on the side of the mountain. As with Uncle Albert and those of his like before him, at the end of days he mutters thoughts untested and opinions out of his field and reveals the man behind the brain for all to see. For many that is enough. For others, it is sad but very understandable. Such is life.

  23. John Duffield

    There’s a review in the spectator by Alexander Waugh:
    url=http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/6257813/a-plague-of-infinities.thtml
    I reckon he’s pretty much nailed it.

  24. Imre von Soos

    Alex, Hamish and All,
    Human societies live in a pack of self-concocted lies in their social affairs, politics, religions, science and, consequently, education. The lies are so intertwined that each one in each field influences all the other fields.
    Which way Hawking has expressed it is irrelevant: his message, that he has transmitted ever since he has appeared on the scene, that “science can explain everything without a creator” – that is, without a conscious, purposeful and creative, primary causative agent – is an untruth and is subversive. True is that in no branch of science can be found even one example of a primary event or a primary process, the origin of which is being explained with purely material causation. (I find it remarkable that this last staement, which I have often repeated, as also in this blog in comment Nr.4, has never been contradicted by anybody. So, the challenge stays open.)
    The problem does not turn around the question if the biblical God, as specified by Moses, Who created the universe from the outside and Whom, being most anthropomorphic, we all must fear – a proposition that any unrestricted and more intelligent child could contradict – but around the one if only matter and material causation exists in the universe, as the materialist tenet proclaims. No attempt is wasted, in whatever branch of science that may be, to prove to the public that only material values exist to be consumed, to be owned and to be proud of.
    A deceptive information is a deceptive information, Alex, regardless if the rest of us decides how convincing or unconvincing it is. Besides, to quote Einstein, “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are not even capable of forming such opinions.” These latters are the ones who are looking up to prominent people (for whatever they are prominent for) for the truths they can build up their worldviews and realities with.
    There is little point in contradicting nonsenses with reason. Just expose the nonsenses that leave the “emperors” stark naked. The production of the holy cows is seldom more than that of their male partners.

  25. I Do Seriously Not agree with Hawking : Philosophy is still alive !
    haha … that’s the new picture:
    the natural number ‘one’ ( for apple) not equal to the ‘one’ (for electron),we need ‘the new one’ for electron come from quantum phenomenon , just so so…
    why ? because there are no ‘half-clicks’ not equal to there are ‘one’ electron.
    “The first thing we notice with our electron experiment is that we hear sharp
    “clicks” from the detector (that is, from the loudspeaker). And all “clicks” are
    the same. There are no “half-clicks.””(From Richard Feynman’s Lectures on Physics)
    I has more for the idea in my blog : http://xexz.mysmth.net. if interesting ,give me a comment,thanks a lot!

  26. bill wesley

    The word “God” has no consistent definition at all, its essentially meaningless.
    “I” and my actions can be discribed as the sumation of the behavior of particles or the particals actions can be sdescribed as the sumation of “my” intentions. Which leads which, no way to know for sure since both occure at the same time.
    If I did not know what a brain is I would assume its just another physical system obying the laws of physics, nothing would tell me anything about “conciousness”
    Yet we know conciousness is there and we know it is created by the energy exchanges going on in the brain.
    We have no hard evidence to prove that consiousness of some kind is not a companion of all energy exchange of any kind, so this is a possibility.
    If that is so than “our” conciousness may simply be part of a general over all conciousness that existes as a direct result of the laws of physics
    God if you will would then be bound by its own laws, the laws of physics would then BE God.
    this is a functional definition that unites the subjective and objective into one with no discrepency between them, all consiousness is physical, all physics creates conciousness.

  27. Ashwini Kumar Lal

    The current controversy regarding Stephen Hawking’s latest book, ‘The Grand Design’ results from the celebrated scientist’s limited vision about ‘origins’ (of life and the universe). Hawking appears to be under false impression that the current knowledge of quantum mechanics and general theory of relativity alone is sufficient to unearth mystery surrounding ‘origin of life’, whereas fact of the matter is that study relating to ‘origin of life’ is a multi-disciplinary field involving deep understanding of diverse sujects such as genetics, astrobiology, and molecular biology besides astrophysics. Ironically, despite considerable advancement in the above cited fields in recent years, science just remains clueless about origin of life.

  28. Michael John Salvini

    Stephen Hawkings can’t say there is a God because he thinks he’s God…

  29. E. S. Warren

    Dilip Sathe’s comments above “The main difference between science and religion is that science is based on objective thinking but religion is based on subjective thinking. Therefore, science can be useful in understanding this whole world and can minimize personal mistakes. On the other hand, religion does not give the freedom of thinking and one has to follow the religious leader without questioning. Hence religion is an emotional obstacle in the understanding of the universe.”
    Unfortunately Dilip’s approach to the subject also appears to be based on “emotion” though presumably he is against its use in the thinking process. Dilip , like a vast majority of people, has confused religion with spirituality. Religion as understood today has little to do with spirituality and of course has been responsible for unspeakable crimes comitted by man against his brothers – not only now but across the span of history.
    Religion is based on a personalised God. The moment God is personalised, the view is filtered by man’s blinkers and many prejudices.
    Spirituality on the other hand is based on the impersonal God , the concept of the “power” that is responsible for all creation and order in the universe. Hawkings reference to God is in this context and not to Ram or Jesus or any other personal God.
    Hawking’s suggestion that our existence can be explained as a matter of pure chance – for that is what his theory ultimately boils down to (” the existence of the right set of circumstances for human life to form “) is laughable. Those on this August forum are only too well aware of the fact that slightest change in the existing parameters, in the physical forces that support our existence , would mean the destruction of the physical world. Have a look at the Universe around us – see the perfection of thier existence- Chance ? Some Chance that !
    Look at the the power that created us all -call it nature, God , Brahman, Jesus , Allah -call that power what you will, but can one deny the existence of that power when one sees the beauty of creation ? Is it possible for us to create one single tiny form of life from inanimate objects ? If it is only a question of circumstances being right – why are we unable to replicate those circumstances and create artificial life forms ? let alone those with consciousness -awareness ? Do we know what is the difference between animal life forms and human life forms which results in humans having “consciousness/awareness”
    A lot of questions remain to be answered -Dilip and Stephen- before we propound our theories on the non existence of God. And pray why should funding not be available for research into the inner world of man , when it is freely available for the outerworld ?

  30. Jerry Wigglesworth

    I see now Steven Hawking has come up with a theory of the universe that “obviates” God. Actually it is the recycled “multiverse” “string” or “many worlds interpretation”, now called “M-theory”. Not only does it not have a shred of physical evidence, but maximally violates Occam’s simplicity as well as Popper’s falsefiability criteria. And as yet it has absolutely no explanatory power for the origin and form of the rationally consistent, ontologically independent ideas reflected in physical law, -and effectively can be re-stated as: “all that physically can be… -was, or is, or will be!”. -Certainly not a “mythological” or religious statement, but certainly a metaphysical statement that I imagine has rattled around the brains of philosophers for quite some time. Science, because of its’ epistemological and ontological self-imposed limitation, is forced to come up with a naturalistic explanation of the Big Bang singularity, but here in M-theory it merely pushes back or deflects the ultimate eternal “agency, means or instrumentality” of causality, existence, or action in the universe…just my humble opinion, of course.
    \
    I call into question the “meaning” of the concept “multiverse”. How can there be more than one “totality of material reality”? How can there be more than one “spacetime”, one “nature” one “entity” -containing “the possibility of all phenomena”? Think about it! -do the words “totality” and “all” not mean what we think? When we speculate on the simultaneous existence of other universes, other actual “places” (more accurately, mathematically possible models of other universes conjectured to actually exist) -I think we must misuse the term “universe”.
    But far from being a semantic problem, it is a conceptual problem: By definition, these “universes” are causally disconnected from one another, each is its own “bubble universe”, with its own causally inaccessible “big bang” and after expansion, each has its own causally impenetrable event horizon, which, in my understanding, amounts to the same thing. Given this causality disconnection, and if it turns out to be true that they have -”no possibility of being detected” directly or indirectly…. in what sense can they be said to be “real”, -other than to simply assert that “all mathematically possible universes exist”? -Which is effectively, exactly what string/multiverse theory does assert…and which, in this scenario, is equivalent to metaphysical speculation. I eagerly await experimental confirmation of the theory.
    In what “fabric of space” could all the universes be said to be “embedded in”? And where did this fabric of “omni-space” come from, and where did the energy of this “megaverse” come from to produce the bubble universes? Is there not an energy conservation law, or an entropy law, or a geometry (just the slightest expansion or contraction) that restricts this “megaverse” to definable dynamic bounds? (ie. -either evolving to or from a singularity or an infinite expansion to entropic heat death) If it doesn’t have these dynamic properties, and is considered static, doesn’t it begin to sound a bit like the old “steady state” theory, where matter and energy (in this case,-in the form of universes) are continually supplied from (?) -nothing, -to give the effect or appearance of “mega-universal” infinite (in time and space) mega-scale isotropic homogeneity?

  31. Imre von Soos

    I must be insistent and I am not excusing myself for it, because a simple and rational answer to my challenge would resolve all the questions in these discussions.
    My challenging statement that I have often posed, including already twice in my comments to this blog, that, however, has never received – or to which nobody was ever able to provide – an answer was – and still is – that Hawking’s message, that he has transmitted ever since he has appeared on the scene, that “science can explain everything without a creator” – that is, without a conscious, purposeful and creative, primary causative agent – is an untruth and is subversive. True is that in no branch of science can be found even one example of a primary event or a primary process, the origin of which is being explained rationally with purely material causation. Rationally means that the causative agent has to be rationally substantiated.

  32. Hawking is invoking multiverses which have not been observed and cannot readily be sought. Nor has he explained why a cosmos of any sort with laws of any sort has appeared. His universe of impersonal physical laws leaves no place for free will, without which there can be no moral choice and no rational choice.
    Salthe says science unlike religion is objective. Some indisputably real things cannot be objectified – the colour of a flower, love of someone, love of science. He and Warren fix on bad behaviour by religion. Marxism killed more people than any religion. I had nothing to do with 9/11 and I don’t blame my Muslim friends for it either. Warren says a personal god is more dangerous. Would an impersonal god have inspired Wilberforce, Martin Luther King or the Salvation Army?
    P.S. to the moderator – could you please check your posting system? I was rejected for too many posts – in response to a first post ever on this estimable site.

  33. Soos, see Alan Guth and go away.
    0 = +1 -1
    elder, there can be no free will as long as there is a God. Or determinism.

  34. I wish everyone would use the word, agnostic, in front of their religion as an adjective to show that they know they don’t know anything about God. Thus, I am sn agnostic Deist because I don’t know anything about a ‘creator’ I guess exists only because I observe effects have a cause and I sense that we are the effect. I am cognizant that no one knows more about god than I do and vice versa.

  35. Ashwini Kumar Lal

    I personally hold Stephen Hawking in very high esteem. It nonetheless does not mean whatever he writes will be acceptable to everbody.It is wrong to presume that he is infallible.The celebrated scientist appears to have wrongly referred to the ‘Big Bang Model’ as the viable explanation for origin of the universe in his latest book, ‘The Grand Design’. I am not opposing the largely accepted hypothesis just for the heck of it. There are genuine reasons for this.The redshift controversy, presence of fully developed mature galaxies in the very early epoch of the universe, and presence of superclusters of galaxies and supervoids in the cosmos are some of the unsolved mysteries which are inexplicable by the Big Bang model. It is ironic that the mainstream cosmologists have remained indifferent to admit the cosmological realities despite the loopholes with the said model repeatedly being pointed out from time to time. The prominent inconsistencies with the said model have been highlighted in the review paper titled “Big Bang Model? A Critical Review” published in the peer-reviewed US journal, ‘Journal of Cosmology’, modified version of which is posted at the website: http://vixra.org/pdf/1005.0051v8.pdf .

  36. Ashwini Kumar Lal

    In my opinion, awarding the ’2006 Physics Nobel’ to the advocates of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ has been one of the biggest blunders committed by the Nobel Committee in the light of the prevailing inconsistencies(e.g. the unrersolved redshift controversy that has direct bearing on the expanse and the age of the universe, presence of fully developed mature galaxies with higher metallicity in the very early epoch of the universe, and the presence of superclusters of galaxies interspersed with supervoids in the cosmos) that remain inexplicable by the ‘Big Bang Model’.

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