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USING MEDIA FOR TEACHING ENGLISH: THE GRAND DESIGN by Stephen Hawking

Hawking: God did not create Universe
Hannah Devlin, TimesOnline Sep. 2, 2010

Modern physics leaves no place for God in the creation of the Universe, Stephen Hawking has concluded. Just as Darwinism removed the need for a creator in the sphere of biology, Britain’s most eminent scientist argues that a new series of theories have rendered redundant the role of a creator for the Universe.

In his forthcoming book, an extract from which is published exclusively in Eureka, published today with The Times, Professor Hawking sets out to answer the question: “Did the Universe need a creator?” The answer he gives is a resounding “no”.

Far from being a once-in-a-million event that could be accounted for only by extraordinary serendipity or a divine hand, the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, Hawking says. “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,” he writes.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going,” he finds. Hawking’s book is a significant breakaway from previous views he has published on religion. In A Brief History of Time, he was accommodating of religious beliefs, suggesting that God as Creator was not incompatible with a scientific understanding of the Universe. “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 wrote in the 1988 bestseller.

In his new book, The Grand Design, published on September 9, a week before the Pope’s visit to Britain, he sets out a comprehensive thesis that the scientific framework leaves no room for a deity. In the book, co-written by Leonard Mlodinow, the American physicist, Hawking deconstructs Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the Universe could not have arisen out of chaos due to the mere laws of Nature, but must have been created by God.

Hawking writes that the first blow was the confirmed observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. “That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions — the single Sun, When it comes to religion, Stephen Hawking is the voice of reason. Not for him the polemical style that has propelled Richard Dawkins to the fore of national consciousness in the God debates. His argument is likely in the long term to be more dangerous to religion because it is more measured than The God Delusion.

His book A Brief History of Time was on bestseller lists for four years, one reason being his agnosticism on the possibility of a creator God.

He wrote: “However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”

He later confessed that he had almost cut the last sentence. He has now moved to a point where far from wondering whether science might one day reveal the mind of God, he believes that science and religion are irreconcilable. He said: “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.” Hawking has a rare ability to make us believe that we can understand difficult ideas, with or without a God.

Religious belief systems, in which people attempt to shape God into a mould of their own design, will be threatened by this book. But faith will continue beyond the day that a scientist explains the root of Hawking’s “spontaneous creation”.

At the atheist summer camps supported by Dawkins, children try to show that unicorns do not exist. They learn the difficulty of finding proof for the non-existence of being. People of faith the world over will read this book and marvel. Then they will pray, not because faith is logical, but because it works.
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Source: TimesOline, 2 Sep, 2010




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Stephen Hawking
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