Is Hashem Necessary? Hawking’s Misstep
Why Stephen Hawking is Wrong About God Not Creating the Universe
Stephen Hawking has garnered a lot of admiration and respect as a brilliant physicist and cosmologist. His book, A Brief History of Time, is a bestseller for its ability to translate physics and cosmology into terms that a layman can understand. So, when he came out recently promoting his new book claiming, “There is a sound scientific explanation for the making of our world—no Gods required” a lot of people took notice. Is our understanding of physics really sufficient to conclude that we know everything necessary to explain the existence of everything?
What new theory?
In his new book, Hawking claims that the reason the universe needs no creator is due to a “new theory” called M-theory (where “M” stands for “membrane,” or just “m,” or “murky” or “missing”1 depending upon one’s particular version of the theory). Originally promoted as “superstring” theory 20 years ago, it has evolved from “strings” to “membranes,” although all forms of the theory propose extra dimensions (11, in fact). However, M-theory is no single theory, but, rather, a number of theories through which one may obtain just about anything one wants. How one can test such a nebulous set of theories, which “predict” just about anything and everything, seems to be a problem.
M-theory: science or faith?
The nature of the universe requires that membranes from M-theory, if they exist at all, must be on the order of Planck length (10-35 m). Such a size is way less than microscopic or even well below subatomic particle sizes. In order to confirm such objects, one would need an accelerator on the order of 6,000,000,000,000,000 miles in circumference.2 It would seem likely, therefore, that confirmation of M-theory, based upon observable data, is impossible. Do such a set of theories that predict everything and anything and are not testable through observational data really fall within the realm of science?
Whence the laws of physics?
According to Stephen Hawking, “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.” However, neither gravity nor any other law of physics provides a mechanism by which universe can be spontaneously created. The question Hawking never answered was why those laws of physics exist? Although it is possible for things such as particles to pop into existence from “nothing,” it has never been shown that non-quantum-sized objects can perform such feats. Even if it were possible, why would it be expected that such laws of physics would exist that universes to be created from nothing? Why wouldn’t a true nothing consist of no laws of physics and no possibility of anything popping into existence?
So, Stephen Hawking wants us to believe that a nebulous set of theories, which cannot be confirmed through observational data, absolutely establishes that an infinite number of diverse universes exist, having been created from laws of physics that just happen to allow this. John Horgan, a fellow atheist, says that the popularity of M-theory is the result of “stubborn refusal of enthusiasts to abandon their faith.” Is it not more likely that a super-intelligent, powerful Being invented the laws of physics that produced the universe? Skeptics always ask, “Who created God?” Maybe they already have the answer to that question—Nothing! After all, they seem to think that nothing is a powerful force for creating things!
Note: While Hawkings is a top scientist, in the scientific community his is considered more of a pop-science hero phenomenon. He has not produced anything of note for many many years, since Hawking Radiation (his thesis as a post-grad). While he is well known in the lay world, scientists like Leonard Suskind and his peers think less highly of him. Like Einstein, whose creative period took place while he was in his 20’s, the God issue has torpedoed his thinking and logic. (Einstein didn’t produce anything of real note in the last 40 years of his life. Many scholars believe that his resistance to God which manifest itself in ignoring his own equations that would have pointed to an expanding universe as well as some of the basics of quantum theory). Hawkings came on to the popular cultural scene through a mixture of his best selling book (A Brief History of Time) as well as his overcoming ALS which is the ultimate underdog story as well as an award winning movie last year. Leonard Suskind famously disproved one of the key points of Hawking radiation, the absolute disappearance of matter in a Black Hole. Suskind believed correctly that it was replaced, meaning matter can escape to to the law of Conservation of Mass. Hawkings ignored him for 6 years until he was force to concede that Suskind was correct about this key point. Regarding his most recent book denying God, scholars believe that there were at least 5 critical errors in his assumption. To point out one, Hawkings asserts that there was an even number of Matter and Anti-Matter particles, thus the universe should have winked out of existence. This is a well known fallacy, as physicist are unanimous that there was a billion and one part of matter for every billion parts of anti-matter. With matter and anti-matter canceling each other out (destroying each other) our universe is the one part left over. It is this and other elementary errors that has lead scholars to believe that, despite his genius, his bias (anti-God) has lead to some critical errors.