Does God Exist? – Stephen Hawking on Curiosity (Discovery Channel)

One Unique, Spiral Galaxy.

One unique spiral galaxy. A commonplace yellow star. Orbited by 8 planets.

On one of those planets, a blue one, a species is increasingly aware of what a remarkably beautiful universe this is. We are asking questions about that universe in this century that no one has asked before in history.

We are living day by day, just as it dawns on us that the earth was made… (by the stars) (by God).

Does God Exist?

Tonight, the Discovery Channel unveiled its fascinating new show, Curiosity. It will be my favorite pop show, along side of Hawking’s Into The Universe.

The discerning mind however, just as was necessary with Isaac Asimov’s popular explorations of science in another generation, must be employed.

Why? Worldview is everywhere. Just because we like something, or it has great graphics and storytelling, doesn’t mean it’s all true.

The topic – “Does God Exist?” opened the show, and physicist Stephen Hawking, along with a cast of theistic, agnostic and atheistic scientists (and one theologian) reflect on this fundamental question.

First, Hawking articulates the conclusion “We don’t need God for this universe to have been created.” He goes on, “…And any idea of heaven, or afterlife, does not exist.” Of course, Hawking is presented over and against those who declare him a heretic.

Then, the roots of our understandings of God, god or gods in primal times were explored. Belief in supernatural meaning being applied to mysterious events, was of course, debunked. With a little knowledge, the Vikings could have been more, more, … like us. The reasoning of the Greeks and Aristarchus’ questioning of the gods causing eclipses, is touted as a moment of “liberation.”

Hawking is right. The “God of the Gaps” is a dysfunctional way to dig into faith. Some things may be explained – but “why” is a question that will always exist.

He then goes on to discuss the “Laws Of Nature,” not saying why they exist, but that they exist and replace God.

Their cause is not explained – just that they do. Welcome to lack of application of the question once again – “Why?”

“Laws govern,” Hawking says, “Not God.”

Second, fellow scientists from different backgrounds speak.

I won’t take the time to articulate their positions. Astrophysicists, Cosmologists, Physicists and Theologians spoke, from a variety of perspectives.

How Fellow Scientists Responded.

How fellow scientists from a variety of viewpoints responded to Hawking’s claims was fascinating.

One was left with the sense that Hawking’s big statements about cause and meaning – to his fellow scientists – were made by a private human being. I.e. They did not affirm that his statements of meaning were speaking, necessarily, for the scientific community.

Fascinating.

What We Saw.

Now, I am a Theist (and a Christian), and at the same time hold a high regard for science. My cards are on the table.

I’ve been entranced by two things since I was young – by the stars, and by spirituality.

Both captivated me, spun me around, and became the pivot points for most of my inner conversation (and outer) throughout life.

I felt atoms in my bones, music in my heart, and an encounter in my soul, since before I could articulate what was going on.

But that is not what we’re here to talk about – what happened in the show?

Hawking spoke brilliantly about “What and How.”

Then, he began to conjecture about “Why,” and “Meaning” as if it were a scientific conclusion – a strange direction for a man so committed to the language of objectivity and the scientific method.

As the scientists were interviewed, it was clear: Every scientist represented seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the conclusions Hawking was voicing about God and the afterlife. Some were directly uncomfortable with his definitive conclusions; all were somewhat uncomfortable that he was making them as a scientist. He was explicitly changing the scientific game, and taking it into the realm of fact statements about unknown metaphysics.

When people make fact statements about things they simply don’t know about, we call them ignorant, or worse yet, fundamentalists.

Science itself, for some of those on the panel, was in danger.

In other words…

Stephen Hawking was making a faith statement based on his knowledge. First, let me say that is the best way to make a faith statement. Many theists could use a strong dose of curiosity and exploration to overtake dogmatism. I include myself when suggesting that others take that prescription. We can all learn more.

Back to the discussion. For Hawking, his definition of God required that God create the universe. Doing his math and physics, he felt he didn’t need God to explain this particular universe. For his metaphysical money, he felt that if any alternate (and to him, more simple and elegant) way of describing universal origins could be presented, within the realm of scientific integrity, that would disprove God’s existence.

There is only one problem – an alternate story doesn’t make it true – it just makes it an alternate story. Faith in anything, at the beginning of the show, was presented as primal and outdated (the Vikings and the Wolf swallowing the sun in a solar eclipse). Now, Hawking was presenting his own “faith” story, albeit based on his gathering of knowledge to date.

The scientists were then welcomed to speak – atheists, agnostics and theists.

All of them, to a person, came back to this. Hawking would sacrifice the objectivity of science to conjecture like this. He was not making science statements, but rather faith statements (non-faith statements in this case, about things which he doesn’t actually know like the gravitational pull of planets or the stoppage of time in a black hole).

In fact, the laws that create not just one universe, but the possibilities of multiverses (multiple universes), are still a mystery. String theory welcomes this mystery.

One scientist asked, “Where did those laws come from, and why do they work?”

Words like elegance, majesty, magnificence and beauty flew around the table, but the question of “Why” kept eluding them. Miracles and strange metaphysics were put on the table. More “whys” were considered.

But ultimately, whether various approaches seem more logical, or intuitive, or neither, the following statement is true when it comes to the cause behind this awe-inspiring cosmos:

“Everyone Has Faith In Something.”

Atheism takes faith.

Theism takes faith.

Make no mistake, life is a leap of faith. One’s evidence is math for their leap of faith. Another’s is an encounter, a story, an experience, an epiphany.

No one knows exactly what the afterlife, if it exists, will be like. It takes faith to believe it exists. It takes faith to not believe it exists.

Faith has clues, and ancient stories, behind it, dating back to the beginnings of humankind. For some, the diversity of those stories disproves them. For others, threads are visible in those stories, and they wind back to primal truth – not superstition.

(Note: Having said this, every faith must be weighed on its own merits, and not lumped in with every other spiritual system. There are many ways to govern a nation – but not all of them are alike and we would do well to tease their stories and results apart to discover one that seems to rise above the others. I.e. All faiths are not the same. their creational and redemptive stories are radically different, and must be weighed.)

For Hawking, and some scientists (so important – many of the world’s greatest scientists are theists), just as protons can “pop” into being, so too a universe (or multiverse) can “pop” into being.

Let’s get this straight. A meaningless “popping into existence” or a meaningful “popping into existence” (a naturally occurring phenomenon or a naturally occurring phenomenon catalyzed by the Will of God) both take faith to embrace.

You can overlay your own meaning, or lack thereof, onto your facts. We can overlay almost any meaning on any fact. The motives behind the meaning we attribute may be more important to study than the fact.

Stephen should have said this, but he didn’t. Some of his fellow scientists alluded to it though. They felt the hole in the logic as it appeared. Science is in danger of losing its role when it ventures into statements of meaning.

In my mind, Stephen’s story is compelling, but not in contradiction to faith.

For my part, Hawking’s discussion actually led me to greater belief in God, not away. Go figure.

Christianity – A Brief Reason For The Embrace.

So, why would one set of human beings hold on to a (Bronze Age) faith with roots deep in the soil of the very ancient story of the Hebrews? With thousands of faith-systems existing on the planet, why choose this one?

First of all, faith is different than religion. Religion is the set of tracks that faith runs on. Many people who lose their religion, have not lost their faith. They are figuring things out. Their faith, on some levels may still be intact, but needing a fresh system to support it.

Christian faith – why choose it?

I won’t dishonor my readers with a long story, and this is a late night post. When I hear cosmic mysteries slammed into belief statements and argumentative slop, I cringe. I apologize to my atheist and agnostic readers for thoughtless declarations from those who have faith in Jesus Christ as God that are narrow, lack study beyond biblical focus, and are even dehumanizing to you as a person. Every Christian should be cross-trained in many disciplines, rather than shouting in fear against a world that is learning more every day (albeit, a world that is also overlaying new definitions of meaning on their fresh discoveries).

However, Christianity may not be as narrow as it seems, specific as it is (in time, place, ethnic roots and story). We may want an angel to drop off the story – but it may be in its very specificity and humanity that it’s merit lives.

Here is all I will say on this at this time.

I have been drawn to many meta-narratives throughout my life. Atheistic evolution has had it’s attractions to me. Zen buddhism intrigued me for a time (I like wide open space). It’s a big cosmos, and it’s all buzzing with complexity and grandeur. The mystery runs strong, and my spiritual experiences have always been riveting, encompassing and moving as I sought to nestle into a faith worth holding (note again, atheism as well as theism takes faith – a conviction related to things we don’t fully know about).

Now, not all stories about God or god or gods or no god are the same. And not every story about God is best understood by the historic acts of those who have also claimed to possess that faith (enter the Crusades, and other horrors doing violence to the central teachings of Christ on love, peace-making, acceptance and forgiveness).

Every story must be weighed for how compelling it is in the face of all that we actually know, and experience, and feel (welcome emotions into the process rather than just reason). In a new world filled with different ethnicities and worldviews now on our doorstep, each story must be carefully weighed.

Christianity offers me a God who deals in blood and bone, in humanity and frailty and dust and cosmic meaning. It offers an ancient narrative of self-giving Love, human dignity, a Personality at the center of the universe, a self-revealing divinity, explanations of war, hate, divorce, beauty and ultimate reasons behind both vast creation and the next few moments of your very, very significant life.

Of course, Stephen, we need an afterlife if we fear the unknown of death. But what if we actually need that story, and are attuned to discover it for a reason? What if those afterlife narratives are all different and should be weighed on their merits?

More than this, in Christianity, Love will not remain hidden, smiling as we make metaphysical guesses in our ignorance. Christianity says that God reveals. Sure, he does it through a human tribe, amidst a history of human tribes. Is that offensive? To me, it makes it so human it feels divine. From the Old Testament to New, it is a strange unveiling, and professed followers of this God have drug many of those ideas through the dehumanizing mud of hatred and violence and political quest.

I’m sorry. But it doesn’t make Christianity less true, just as science is not diminished in its truth by its arrogant, caustic and even dehumanizing fringes.

Galileo Is One Of My Heroes, Too.

For Hawking, Galileo is one of his heroes. He happens to be one of mine as well. Galileo was a Theist, blind as he apparently was in matters of faith due to his time and place (this would follow from Hawking’s argument that we are getting smarter with our incrementally building information). He was a Christian by profession in fact, and Hawking would suggest the need for God has been slowly replaced since his time.

“Science” Hawking says, “Is a simpler alternative.”

Since when, in the complex micro and macro universe we all study, is simplicity the goal? Could it be that the question of God is actually one that is complex, should be complex, like Astrophysics? Could it be that the question of God and specificity of faith should take great time and great attention?

Now it is true that atheistic science describes the complexities of friendship, love, joy, hate, the sexual experience, family connection in raw, anthropological, dry statements of fact. The cortex looks for patterns (unique to humans), and creates stories around the patterns (enter the power of stories to human beings). A mountain is beautiful because your ancient ancestor thought she could find food there. Social constructs exist out of raw need and a desire to dominate for food and water access. Color is just that – color. It’s interesting, and helpful.

But, again, are any of these things that “simple” by any definition? No, they are all quite complex, and deserve a complex answer. (Current atheists do give complex descriptions of these things, but to say that their answers are simpler and more elegant, is untenable to me. That’s for another time.)

A list of encounters across my life and those of others close to me – relationships, dramatic (and not so dramatic) answers to prayer, moments of raw metaphysical encounter, uncanny dreams and senses of things beyond my knowing, defy (to some degree) scientific measurement. You might examine my brain, and find the area where apparently the sense of God’s presence exists biologically. It would be quite red, I think, on the screen.

Give me a more compelling story of meaning, and I’ll be open to hearing it. The problem of evil has been presented as one of the primary reasons faith is unreasonable. I suggest that is only true in some universes, and the way we see our unanswered questions.

So far, a more compelling story hasn’t presented itself to me. (At this point, I hear my atheist friends saying “That’s because you’re deluded and need to believe it is true.) I confess, there are moments I have asked myself this, as deception is a sting and a horror in this world.

But, I don’t think I need to believe it. I think that I want to. I choose to. I am privileged to be believe it.

Science Is A Gift Helping To Shape Faith, Not A Replacement For Faith.

Back to the show. One of the scientists was afraid that Hawking’s statement would further the notion that great scientists are arrogant. I think not. There are enough humble scientists, great in their fields, to keep us away from that assumption. I enjoyed reading one the other day – I was grateful for the humility while he made his case, contrary as it was to my perspective.

(Fundamentalism weighs a belief immediately to see if it fits into his/her current belief system; curiosity and the spirit of discovery temporarily suspend disbelief and welcome an internal and external dialogue. Again, we’re looking for compelling stories.)

However, when a scientist declares that his science has defined ultimate meaning, that logic has led he or she to the place of determining if God exists, he or she steps outside of their sphere of expertise. However, as a human being, Hawking can say whatever he wants. Every scientist can. Good on him to commit himself. But to say that this is a scientific statement, lacks integrity with the scientific method.

To say “I don’t know that God exists, therefore He doesn’t,” and to say “In the face of my limited science, I declare that there is no afterlife,” in the face of the limited knowledge we have (brilliant as we can be), is actually a faith statement as “ignorant” as some scientists accuse others of being.

It’s like the Soviet cosmonauts who declared that God didn’t exist because they went to space and couldn’t find Him. If you’re not looking for God, then all the majesty of the universe will never convince you. But, your heart may. Welcome it into the equation, cerebral and logical as your gift may be.

Imagination, in this case, may lead us to reality, rather than to delusion. We do want to believe things, and can make ourselves believe them – but some things, we feel and are moved by and transcend our logic. When my wife and I kiss, there are biological and psychological triggers that fire. However, our kiss defies the math that seems (on the surface) to make it.

A Discoverer Is Different Than A Creator.

For Hawking, he has always been fascinated by the stars. I was as well, but didn’t have the gift set to become a Cosmologist or scientist. I ended up in the arts, and in the worlds of spirituality and creativity.

I did however, love the stars as deeply. But when I stared at the stars, I felt an overwhelming Presence. My Cause, my Reason. Since I was a child, that Presence was near. Through the crises of life, that Presence lifted me, strengthened me, and has restored the damaged lives of others with elegance and stunning beauty before my very eyes. The story of Jesus expands my understanding of that Presence, enlarges it, lifts it.

It doesn’t narrow it or make it smaller. It makes that Presence expand in my mind to embrace the fullness of my humanity at the same time that it embraces the fullness of every nuance of which Hawking so refreshingly speaks.

The words of Jesus expand the universe to its logical majesty, and define what it means to be truly human. All the strokes are there. Those scriptures don’t talk about microbiology, string theory, gravity, dark energy or aerodynamics. They don’t intend to – those things are for us to discover, basking in the meaning of what it means to be human that the scriptures afford.

Great scientists should come to conclusions and voice them, like Hawking. I’m grateful that he said what he did. He makes me happy.

But to make faith statements with human humility, not knowing what is beyond our knowing (as if we’ve been behind the blackboard of the elegant math), is as vital for a scientist as for any Christian.

Apparently, as Hawking said, if we have the right ingredients, we can create a new universe.

But wait; we can’t. And if we could, we’d have to use the matter, energy and space (or just energy and space – Einstein) that already exists. But we don’t. And an alternative way of speaking about the big bang, or creation, or origins doesn’t mean it’s true – it just means that it’s an alternate story (compelling as it may be to some, and yet less compelling to me as the story of creation).

After this show, it’s clear again – at least to me. The story of God as cause of laws, and energy and space – mingled with the joy of His nearness I feel as I write my scattered thoughts tonight, is stronger than ever.

Sure, I need to believe it; just a like a scientist inebriated on the vapors of a wild discovery needs to believe we can know everything because we have learned so much by honoring curiosity.

Some have given their lives to that faith. I have given my life over to my own faith, ever since I was a small boy looking at the stars. It didn’t begin in a church for me, as it didn’t for Hawking.

It began in a star field.

Even a child knows that a new discovery doesn’t make you the author of anything.

It only makes you a discoverer.

::

One of my favorite Cosmologists is George Ellis. His writing and activities as a cosmologist (who worked with Hawking and stood for justice in his native South Africa) are worth studying.

“The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the Universe to do.” Galileo Galilei (Natural Philosopher, Mathematician and Astronomer – 1564-1642)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

105 thoughts on “Does God Exist? – Stephen Hawking on Curiosity (Discovery Channel)

  1. I watched the presentation of “Curiosity” this afternoon trying to be some what opened minded to some of Stephen Hawking ideas, but soon became lost in his personal ideas and beliefs.
    I feel sorry for the man . He may be brilliant in the eyes of the world, but I feel he is terribly lost.
    He can justify his feelings of God with his own theories, but he really does not know. Far too many doctors have done research on death. LIfe after death is a simple thing to believe in. Many thousands have died and come back to describe the same exact world. I totally do not support the big bang theory. It makes no sense, and I do not think Stephen will change his mind until he leaves this earth and his body is finally taken back to the creator who made him.
    A lost soul he is.

  2. Caitlin,

    Thanks for your contribution. In my mind, Hawking is not so lost – he may be on the verge of the greatest discovery of his life. We all come to conclusions based on our experience, upbringing, predispositions and even psychological/psychosocial wiring.

    While it may take eons for universes to change, the mind can change in a moment of epiphany. I hold this hope for all of us, including myself.

    Ryan, the real question about an “afterlife” is “why not?” Evolutionary theorists suggest we believe in life after death because “we need to for our own sense of significance.”

    But explain why it can’t be a reality toward which we are pre-disposed. Does our knowledge of the laws that guide the workings of the universe or multiverses (limited as that knowledge is) preclude the idea? If so, why?

    Death, it may be, is great adventure – rather than Hawking’s “the computer simply turns off.” Again, why is it such a primitive thought?

    It may actually be the thought (that life continues beyond the veil of death) that gives meaning to a life lived (short or long) in service to humankind, and in exploration of this cosmic wonderland.

    My own reasons for belief in an afterlife are myriad, though the immeasurability of (some) spiritual experiences causes some in the scientific community to write them off as subjective and brain-powered.

    Hawking found it fascinating that limited human beings could even imagine the limitless possibilities that lead to our thinking about the cosmos.

    Why does that same imagination not apply to the metaphysics of an afterlife?

  3. I think Mr. Hawkings needs to look beyond the “Big bang”. He states that this event was the beginning of ‘time’, thus nothing could exist before this for there was no ‘time’. But the existence of Black Holes disproves his statement. We know they exist. These incredible dense objects swallow up everything including light. Light can not escape it thus causing ‘time’ to stop inside it. If time does not exist in the Black Hole, how can the Black Hole exist?

  4. I appreciate, Dan, your thoughts – and your humility. You are quite right to identify Hawking’s conclusions as a faith. I hope thoughtful viewers caught that.

    I am in awe of Hawking. His intellect certainly surpasses mine. But that made it all the more perplexing when he diverges from science. In particular I was troubled by his logical errors. One was the idea that It seems like Hawking ends with, a classic logical fallacy, begging the question. If time stops at the point of the singularity, Hawking says, God could not have acted to create because there is no time to act in. But the problem is there is no time for natural processes to act in either. (Actually, this is a bigger problem for Hawking than for theologians. They do not require that God be a part of the universe.) It is a catch 22. Hawking dismisses God, but he also dismisses the possibility of any natural cause. He is left with – It just happened. How can that be a satisfying answer for a scientist?

  5. Dan, Thanks for posting this and starting the talk here. The discussion is very in need of translation to our present generation. Not for “unbelievers” only but for those who are “theists” too. For too long we’ve had a ascension to great theology without asking that people take the time to learn. This was not so for thousands of years (perhaps the early Christian church requirements of 3 years of learning through catechism might not have been so onerous). In any case, the only people who don’t need to seriously consider this topic are those that have already died and know the experiential truth.

    Ryan- good question. One book that tackles the science of life after death with biological precision is “The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul” (http://amzn.to/p56g4g). Read the study data there. Not just anecdotal information. No. People are dead. Disconnected from life support. People with no life symptoms, no pulse, no vitals, even no brain waves. No life in their physical bodies (and no recording or thinking mechanism secretly recording or work in the brain– again, zero brain activity). During that time, reality happens, but the patient is dead, with no brain functions at all to even record anything, if even somehow possible subconsciousness. Some time later, the patient is revived and has the ability to answer questions that would not be possible if the reality of a human’s existence was based solely on their physical being. They catalog this data with the use of a scientific team, funded by the Canadian government. Afterlife? The data is interesting if you are asking.

    Kim

  6. I love the substance of this dialogue. Lately, I’ve been personally exploring the idea of “Imagination as sight”. It’s the idea that a re-formed, re-newed imagination has the potential to grasp greater reality than the physical senses. Only the imagination can make give a true measure to the substance of the air between us, for example. In such a case, imagination trumps sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. I love that that same idea comes across here.

  7. Hawking fascinates me with his intelligence and continued ability to question the largest of life’s questions. However, he did not go into this study objectively. He entered into it presuming there was no God, and left no room for other opinions. His first error. His second is in his view of God, a view that assumes God works within the human limits of time and space. The God I know is one who is outside of time because he created it. Hawking also does not thoroughly explore the theory that we are one universe, one of many universes, most likely inside something much larger.

  8. Thanks for this Dan. I am also a science geek who happens to be a pastor and public school teacher. People keep building walls between the two things I see as compatible. You do a great service to all of us with this article. I will be forwarding it a lot.

  9. I have incredible respect for Dr. Hawking and the brillance of his binary reasoning. However, one needs to go beyond binary reson to get to the grand technology of love. God resides in this regime. It is beyond binary information which gives rise to our space time. It is burried in the quantum information or computation. You cann’t infer GOD through binary reasoning and objectivity. But you can find it with quantum logic and subjectively experience it through certain practices.

  10. Our existence inextricably intertwines with aspects of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. Mental, intellectual and egoic functions interact with sensory gatherings to manifest our subtle natures in the world, a complex patterned dynamic.

    We think, we feel, we will, we discriminate, we identify. We are the subject, the ‘hinge-pin’ of our path and meaning of our lives. (This is not to advocate a philosophy of worldly self-centeredness, but a scientific reality by our very natures in these bodies in this world. There is certainly a huge variation amongst individuals of this planet, from the most selfish to the most selfless; still, the very ”construction” for all is the same. The infinitude of varieties exhibited by the ongoing generations yet lies within enforced parameters of a conditioned definition. Details of, and arguments relating to, such parameters may be endless.)

    As such, everything within our purview remains in some degree subject to our measurement, our utilization (even it be but an idea), our exploitation. This may be individual or collective. There are variances of opportunity, capability and manifestive outcomes.

    But how can a Supreme Being fall under our subjugating capacity ? That would mean that we would be categorically superior to God. To be able to ‘demand’ to see God (simply by the laws of physics by which our eyes function), to hear God, to experience God by the same faculties that we use to shop, to eat, to conduct our lives. Though it must also not be out of the chosen possibility of the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent loving Supreme Being to manifest within the scope of our current faculties, the ‘default’ (from our present predicament perspective) for us is to remain unaware of God’s plane of existence.

    So to try to establish the existence of God through ANY kind(s) of dexterity of sense, mind, intelligence or egoic faculty at our disposal without any regard other than our demanding condition, either individual or collective, remains as impotent an exercise as a young child’s demanding that the world be run according to his every whim.
    Rather the child is best guided and advised to follow a progressive path of education, behaviour and growth that will lead a palpable progression towards refining his life until an achieved maturity will bring him to the fulfillment of the happy realization of his destiny. This role will satisfy not only himself and his surrounding family and friends, but in fact, everyone.

    This guidance and advise issues from the Best, Most Complete and Capable Well-Wisher in authorized and effective forms through authorized and capable agents. One but requires some affinity for their own true well-being to be able to partake of the good fortune being offered. Whatever particular affinities and abilities one has acquired can best be used in the service of following that path to maturity. With sincerity and an activated desire one will surely meet the most auspicious great good fortune. Outside of that, utilization of even the most honed and rare of abilities, intelligence, etc will only fuel the engine of ignorance, spewing endless assortments of misery and disturbance for one and all.

  11. This show was brilliantly deceptive. They make it seem like they have somehow proven that God does not exist. They even go so far to suggest that it doesn’t make sense to even ASK whether or not God created the universe. LOL! I mean, that’s quite the magic wand they have there!

    They say that “all we need” to have a universe is 1) Matter, 2)Energy and 3) Space…well DUH!

    All we need?…ALL WE N-E-E-D??? I mean, how Profound…How Scientific…How RETARDED!

    They also make an outrageous assumption that because time (as we currently know and understand it in nature) did not exist before the Big Bang event, that this somehow proves that God COULD not have created the universe…

    If God did create time, matter, energy and space, then God would HAVE to transcend all of them. Understanding this (that the spiritual transcends the natural), it would be impossible to prove that God does not exist.

    Finally, their “negative energy” analogy (that a “hill” equals POSITIVE energy and a “hole” that was dug to create the hill equals NEGATIVE energy) was really brilliant……NOT! I mean how stupid do they think everyone is?

    It doesn’t take an astrophysicist to figure out that in order to have any negative energy (i.e. – a “hole”), the matter that the “hill” consists of (the positive energy) MUST already exist to BEGIN with! Therefore, their entire argument is meaningless.

    BUT, they have an “answer” for that too! In fact, this answer would make Jerry Seinfeld blush with envy! Are you ready for this one? Are you sure?? OK, here is their so-called “answer” to this age-long dilemma of where matter came from:

    “NOTHING”.

    That’s right. NOTHING! And to add insult to injury, they then boldly stated that the Big Bang was an event that had NO CAUSE”! That’s right…NO CAUSE!

    For God’s sake [pun intended], “cause and effect” is one of the foundational principles of science!

    When will this foolishness stop? The apostle Paul knew what he was talking about when he said “The FOOL has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’”.

    The fact is clear: God transcends both time and space. Therefore, His existence cannot be scientifically disproved.

    But, can God’s existence be proven? Yes. I believe that science can indeed prove that God does exist. (BTW: You won’t find the Stephen Hawkings or the Richard Dawkins of the world touching this evidence with a ten-foot pole!)…

    (Click my name to be led to the evidence. Once there, click the link at the top entitled: “If You Can Read This, I Can Prove God Exists”)

    CosmicFingerPrints DOT com

  12. RETARDED?

    Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds of his generation, and maybe one of the greatest scientific minds ever.

    You may not agree with him, but I suggest you engage his arguments without using words like that. He might decide to come over here and give you an intellectual spanking, and I guarantee you it would not be pretty.

    I will say that god is an extra layer of complexity that is not necessary to the beginning of the universe. Why add a goddidit at the beginning? There is existing evidence of things that seem to “pop” into and out of existence – watch the episode again for more details.

    We don’t know everything about sub-atomic particles yet, just like the vikings didn’t know everything there was to know about eclipses, but we are learning more every time they fire up the super-collider in Cern. It’s just a matter of time before we crack this mystery just like the wolf-god was replaced with a natural explanation.

  13. Roxy,

    Thanks for your contribution. Cracking mysteries may not be the only goal ahead of us. If reality begins and ends in a Person, then “cracking the mystery” may be like cracking the mystery of a Person. That, in my experience, is not a mission for science, but rather the purpose of a human being. Needing a “God did it” holds an assumption – that we create the idea of God because it explains something for us.

    It may not be about “need,” but rather – strange as it may sound – a declaration of the obvious. A Mind beyond us creates micro and macro majesty. The same statements of “This is so obvious” that you might use, I would use as well. “God’s existence is so obvious.”

    Jeremy,

    Your response, while interesting on some levels, is exactly the kind I was challenging in my post. I’m not sure why you would post it if you had read my post. I.e. I’m not sure you actually read it, or you would have resisted words like “retarded,” and the intimation that those who think this way are stupid. They are not, but we sound ignorant when we suggest they are retarded or broken mentally. This blog post was meant to diminish personal rants that feel diminishing of others’ perspectives.

    Feel free to continue to contributing, but please do so with respect so I don’t have to moderate the comments.

    Others,

    Thanks for offering your perspectives. Please continue offering your perspectives – no matter your age or perspective.

  14. I clearly don’t belong here. I followed an errant link it seems, but I can’t leave this alone. Also, I think this post veers off-topic, and I don’t want to distract from a discussion of the show. Please delete this post if it doesn’t belong.

    Here goes…

    I disagree that god is obvious. If anything, god is well-hidden.God was created by people to explain the un-explainable. It has happened time and again, and every time god has stopped progress until people were able to replace the object of their worship with knowledge of the world around them.

    Why do we need to add a layer of god to the mix anyway? Watch the Curiosity series – isn’t it enough that the universe is fabulous? Like a giant toy store, and aren’t we lucky to live in the time we do instead of the middle ages when the quest for knowledge was punished by burning at the stake? What do you think will come next? I saw a blog post about anti-matter being found in our very solar system! I’m not sure how accurate it is, I haven’t had time to read more, but what if it’s true? What are the implications of that? Long-distance space flight? Other galaxies?

    Back to earth, and the god I don’t detect – I would point you to an over-populated world with limited resources, but plenty of famine, disease (caused by organisms created by god, if you think about it), war, pestilence, natural disasters, and just plain old person-on-person violence. Also the human knee, which is a lousy piece of engineering.

    No need to explain the solution to the “problem of evil to me, I have heard it and it sounds to me like excuses for god to do nothing.

    I’m not sure what you mean by cracking the mystery of a person. I do know that a human solution is the key to our advancement, maybe our survival. A solution of our own making is the only defense we have against extinction as so many species have experienced before us.

    Is this a bleak outlook? I prefer the term realistic.

  15. Many intellectuals seem to agree with Karl Marx’s statement that religion is the opium of the people. A common conception in these times is that God is an anthropomorphic projection, a psychological crutch for those who are helplessly bewildered by the problems of life and who haven’t the guts to face reality.

    To demonstrate that God’s existence is every bit as objective as a brick wall, we will have to define what we mean by objective. According to Webster’s dictionary, the word objective means “of or having to do with a known or perceived object, as distinguished from something existing only in the mind of the subject.” To say that something objectively exists means that it has its own independent existence and is not the product of someone’s imagination. So how do we demonstrate that God’s existence is not the product of our imagination?

    “Show me God,” many people say. I hear this all the time. “OK, if God exists, prove it. Show me God right now”—as if seeing something were the only test of its existence. All right, you can see God, but seeing God is not a cheap thing. The problem is that people expect to instantly see God on demand. You can see God as directly as you are seeing this page, but it takes time. You have to become qualified.

    Besides, why do we have to see something to believe it? “Seeing is believing,” we say, but actually we believe in many things we don’t see. It’s only when we don’t want to believe something that we make the rules more difficult and say we have to see it to believe it.

    If we hear on the radio that there is a raging fire in a chemical factory on the other side of town, we accept it. We don’t say, “Show me the fire.” We accept it because we trust the radio announcer. Besides, we haven’t got time to drive all over town verifying everything for ourselves. The fire is an objective fact even though we didn’t see it ourselves.

    Death is also an objective fact. Would anyone dare to propose that death is a product of our imagination? I don’t think so. But on the other hand, none of us has yet seen our own death. So how can we know that our death is certain, if we haven’t seen it? We can know by extrapolation. Everyone in the past has died, without exception. So it is reasonable to conclude that for us, too, death is an undeniable fact.

    What about the existence of the atom? Surely nobody would complain that knowledge of the atom is merely one person’s subjective belief. But can we show someone an atom? Well, we can demonstrate that atoms exist, but it takes time. You can’t just walk into a particle accelerator laboratory and right up to a bunch of scientists who are busily adjusting knobs and staring into computer screens and demand that they instantly prove to you the existence of atoms simply by showing them to you.

    First of all, atoms are too small to see, even with an electron microscope, so there is no possibility that anyone can show you an atom. And even if the scientists of whom you impudently demanded immediate proof of the atom were to actually give you the proof, which might be some bewildering equations and numbers on a computer printout, you wouldn’t even be able to understand it. You’d say, “Where’s the atom? I don’t see any atom.” You don’t see the atom because you haven’t been trained to interpret the data that demonstrate the existence of the atom. You have some childish idea that for something to exist factually and objectively, you have to be able to see it.

    We can perceive the atom only by inference. Because of the behavior of matter under precisely controlled conditions, we can understand that the atom must exist. But without these conditions and without having studied chemistry and physics, we can never understand the proof of the existence of an atom.

    So why pull out a double standard when it comes to proving the existence of God? We accept as a fact the fire on the other side of town without having seen it. We accept that we are going to die, even though we haven’t seen our death. We accept the scientists’ declaration that there are atoms, even though the scientists themselves have not seen them. Why then turn around and say that anyone who accepts the existence of God is groping for a psychological crutch because of a weakness of character?

    There is a process for understanding everything, and there is an appropriate process for understanding God. You must enroll in an authorized course of study. Use the textbooks that have proven to be the most effective manuals for spiritual education and are recommended by the experts in the field. Follow the proper procedures under controlled conditions, if you want direct perception of God Himself. It is as systematic and predictable as any science.

    Yet there is a difference between the process by which we can understand God and the process of understanding matter—because God is a person.

    Because matter is not alive, we can shove it around any way we want without difficulty. But who says controlled manipulation is the only process for getting knowledge? Is it even reasonable to assume we can apply to our search for the Supreme Lord the same methods we use to investigate matter? After all, God is a person who thinks and feels and desires just like us. But unlike us, He is unlimited. He knows everything. He is eternal. He controls everything. But He is a conscious person nonetheless.

    Now, if you want to know something about a person, the best way to find out is to ask him. If you want to know, say, why a person is wearing a locket around his neck, you’d probably be well advised not to take the same approach we use for examining matter. You probably wouldn’t do well to walk up to the person, and without saying anything to him, grab the locket and start examining it, trying to pry it open. You’d probably get a knee in the ribs if you tried that. With persons, it helps to be personal. You try to please them, and if they want they can tell you all about themselves.

    The Lord is a person, and He’s our superior. Why should He immediately respond to our demand that He appear on the spot? If I were to call you up on the phone and say, “I command you to immediately come to my home,” would you feel obliged to do it? I doubt it.

    He Himself tells us how to know Him “One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service.” The process for understanding God is to please Him. Then, if He wants to, He can give us knowledge of Himself. But how exactly do we go about pleasing Him? What do we do? What do we say? How do we know if we are doing the right thing?

    As in any field, to learn quickly without getting lost or sidetracked we need a teacher. We need someone who knows the science of God, someone who can guide us through our studies. Don’t just pick any person who “looks spiritual.” We want someone who has been practicing the process for a long time and is an expert. He should know all the standard spiritual texts. And most important, he should love the Lord above all else. A person obsessed with love for God will have no interest in catering to the demands of his own body. He is not looking for pleasure from his tongue, his eyes, his ears, or his genitals, because he is absorbed in a higher pleasure. A spiritual teacher must also be free from anger and attachment—no fits of rage because someone dented his fender in the parking lot. And even if his house burns down, his wife runs off with another man, and he inherits a million dollars—all in one day—still he should be calm and peaceful, because one who knows the Lord is with Him, beyond this world. A tall order for you or me. But these are the qualifications of a genuine preceptor.

    Yet even if you find such a guide, you as a student also have to be qualified. You have to follow the instructions of the teacher. If you do so, then you will see the Lord. If you don’t, you won’t.

    Then you too will be able to honestly say, “God is an objective fact. I know, because I have seen Him,” as many have said before. People who will not accept God unless we can immediately show them God are just like blindfolded men demanding to see the sun without removing their blindfolds. Unfortunately, with such an attitude, such persons will never know that God is an objective fact.

  16. The difference between god and the other scenarios you describe is that I have seen a fire, and I have received accurate information from the radio announcer before. If i so desired, I could visit the site of the fire. The important thing is, if I saw no sign of a fire, I would be more skeptical about any announcement from that radio station in the future – maybe it’s an April Fool’s prank, maybe it’s a huge mistake, maybe it’s the morning crew run amok – who knows? I definitely would not believe what came out of their “news” dept anytime soon.

    i admit, I have never visited a particle accelerator, so I wouldn’t know if the knobs the scientists were adjusting crashed electrons into each other or made coffee. I do know that I benefit every day from science, and until it starts to make a difference to my life I don’t think I’m going to delve too deeply into quantum theory. If it was difficult for Richard Feynman to grasp, I don’t know that I would have much of a chance – know your limitations and all that.

    Another important difference:is that acceptance of the fire or acceptance of the atomic theory of matter, neither one, has anything to do with where I would spend eternity. If I had information this important for my own beloved children’s future I GUARANTEE it would not require extensive study to realize its truth. That information would be completely, unmistakably obvious. How much more should I expect from a gracious and loving, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent father who is also creator of the universe.

    Maybe he has “hardened my heart” or “blinded my eyes” because I refuse to see. What kind of human father would purposely do that when something this important is at stake? I know I would make whatever effort I could to reach my children – god seems to just give up – and yet god can do whatever it takes to prove himself to me. In which case, I guess I am headed for hell because then faith would be unnecessary :)

    Damned if I do and damned if I don’t – literally!

  17. Roxy, I very much appreciate your clear and critical thinking. You have an open-mindedness while yet maintaining an integrity of discrimination and a very genuine human-experience perspective. Thank you for your reciprocation.

    I also thank Dan Wilt for kindly providing this open forum in which freedom of expression and respect for others’ perspectives are genuinely embraced. Lucid and healthy discussions are surely necessary and progressive for moving toward a more harmonious, less antagonistic world as well as a deeper and wiser plurality for not only the collective but also for each individual seeking the sober significance of his or her existence within it, both at present and also for time to come … and even into eternity, (and what that means).

    In a world that seems to be churning more and more with mutual mistrust, antagonism, intolerance, constant disturbance and distresses (or at least with more awareness of these factors), it is very refreshing to be able to dip into the oasis of significant reflection and consideration regarding the true nature of our existence, our opportunities, legacy and destiny with others who genuinely share a thirst for these. This becomes the most practical and relevant activity, our ultimate need. It does require all vigorous ‘due diligence’ !

    In my own walk along the path to seek and know of that ultimate need, I too have been compelled to investigate the subject as presented in various cultures drawn from the four corners of our ‘global village.’ Has there been any time in recorded history when such an assortment and depth of information has been so universally referenceable ? This can seem both a blessing and a curse ! Honing of an ”essence-seeking” faculty would seem to be more and more of an imperative if we are to meet with success.

    The modern situation finds that the sciences and religions (noting that they originally constitute one category!) and the plethora of their respective representatives present so many versions or facets of an often-seeming mutually conflicting ‘reality.’ Is it any wonder that there’s so much strife and disagreement in this area as well as practically every other these days ?? Yet as seekers, the heart of every person drives toward a revelation of understanding and participation in the truest plane, the ”as-it-is” dimension beyond all ignorance and illusion.

    In the spirit of aspiration for a genuine persuit of a continuing shared significant investigation into the subject, I would sincerely like to petition your kind-hearted reciprocity for further interaction. While considering your points (speaking to the group), I would like to offer what I consider to be key points, perhaps challenging some assumptions or long-held foundation stones which may need to be examined if obstacles standing between us and a clear view are to be removed.

    I also have many faults and afflictions in the form of unwanted things which block real welfare and so seek clarity through dynamic loving exchanges: with feeling, but not sentiment-driven egoism; reciprocations often needfully expressed through the ”tough-love” mode. Bring out the sharp knife of intellect ! Cue up the human-experience factor ! Present the evidences of expressed wisdom ! Expect the nonmalicious wrestling of conflicting perspectives ! If all is conducted with heartfelt felicity under the simple aegeis of ultimate truth’s nonbelligerent self-illumination, I find only an eager anticipation of mutually beneficial dialogue.

  18. One thing that I feel is of absolute crucial importance in this conversation is to define what type of God one is talking about. It came out some in the show and I think even Sean Carroll mentioned it explicitly (briefly) in the after-dialog but it seems to still be glossed over heavily in most conversations on the topic.

    If one is talking about a God that tinkers with reality all the time like in answering prayers, performing miracles, etc I’m sorry to say that god is dead and Hawking is correct.

    However, if one is talking about a God who answers the “why” question for someone, etc like Dan is talking about, that is tenable. I find it unnecessary, but it is a tenable position nonetheless.

    The problem is, however, that non-empirically interacting God is not very fulfilling to believe in. The god of philosophers and sophisticated theologians is only represented in a small proportion of actual believers. Most believers “on the ground” and in the pews believe in a causally efficacious god who answers prayers and such and those are, to put it bluntly, superstitious beliefs. If you don’t believe me, look up Jason Slone’s work on Buddhism. Even that supposedly “atheistic” religion has good proportion of believers who have deified the Buddha into a prayer-answering, intervening deity much like the American Evangelical Jesus.

    One can look at prayer as meditative and contemplative or maybe even communing with a spirit realm and those are all well and good and like I said, tenable. But looking at it like that is not highly fulfilling to the average person.

    The catch-22 is that that the choices are the popular and psychologically fulfilling delusion of an interacting god, the un-motivating yet respectable liberalized faith, or unbelief. I myself would love to see more mature faith in the public square, but the data doesn’t bear this out. Conservative strands of faith flourish (Look up the data in Rodney Stark’s “What Americans Really Believe” to see that the trend. I remember one stat in particular: Episcopalians have declined like around 60% in the past 40 years while Church of God membership has increased by about 120% and that was representative of the entire data set.) Why is this so? Well, that’s one of the things I wrote my thesis on and am busy turning into a book and it is much too long to get into here.

    So what is my overall point? Prayer and a literal creation both fall into the same category of supernatural interaction with the empirical world and Hawking is completely justified in saying that type of God doesn’t exist.

    What Dan is saying, if I get him right, is that “God’s actions” and “natural events” are indistinguishable and are only different in the perception between the individual who “has faith” and the one who doesn’t. And if Hawking’s statement is to include that type of God as well, then he is overstepping his bounds. I’d tend to agree.

  19. Adam, greeting …

    What type of God ? …or which aspect(s) of God ?

    Man’s tendency to anthropomorphise and pick and choose in piecemeal fashion according to his own motivated whimsicality demonstrates a crucial need to search out an untainted process for determining conclusive truths. We must steer clear of all fallible mistaken versions which clamor for recognition or lie in ambush for the unsuspecting.

    We live in a world shot through with four basic principles generating endless obstacles to our clear understanding: i) the ongoing tendency to commit mistakes; ii) the tendency to be in illusion (already established in a ‘misconceptions construct’; iii) to rely on imperfectly and limited sensory instrumentation and, iv) the ongoing tendency to exploit / cheat.

    You are correct indicating that the popular considerations on the subject of God for the average man differs from that of philosophers and scholars. Meaningful ‘access’ availability for all would by definition be part and parcel of an Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, lovingly magnanimous Lord.

    This is exactly what an unbiased, discerning and generous-spirited investigator finds from a sincere study of the histories available to us drawn from all of the annals of mankind.

    So even in the midst of this world with it’s understanding-obstructing infrastructure, success for all stands ready. Clarity and full disclosure nourishing fulfillment and eternal well-being are waiting merely on the initiative of each individual. Reality self-illuminates for those with uncovered eyes. Sincerity and commitment are the footrests of our starting block.

    The engine of ignorance will capture and imprison those who prefer the shadow, which naturally is cast from the substantive reality. Advocates of both circulate freely within this realm in dynamic expressions offering everyone their prospective wares. In each person’s receiving, his ‘way’ finds credence and justification in proportion to his (conscious or unconscious) grasping of and adherence to, the underpinning principles on which the edifice of his adopted ideal rests. Freedom to choose one’s ideal ever remains each person’s prerogative.

  20. Roxy, sorry for the lengthy responses …

    It’s true that we have to work with what we’ve got, to move forward standing on the foundation of acquired footing, even if it is later seen that ours was a paucity of supply and an incomplete, flawed stance. We have experience of fire. We have none of God … or so we think. We must know the difference between the whole and the parts. Analogy can be an effective comprehension tool, but ultimately it is a representation and not itself the full reality. We must advance to the full qualification of realized understanding (full personal contact with The Real) by an effective process. This requires our participation in discovery, moving from darkness to light. How are we to proceed ?

    Children, with all their wondrous natural humanity and innocent qualities, yet also suffer from ignorance. They inexorably grow and mature under guidance and they live out their unique trial-and-error aspects of their lives. Good and bad fortune befall each of us. Our participation, our opportunities and choices determine our destiny. Potential exists in everyone; those who excel partake of a particular kind of determination, deliberation and participation.

    Much is unknown to us. Just what constitutes ”essential” or most efficacious for our best good fortune remains sometimes hotly debated and sometimes ignominiously neglected. Ultimately we each exercise our freedom under the unique (yet sharing common-element) circumstances of our life’s journey and arrive at the various destinations. For the simple and loving, the path is perceived as straightforward and ‘easy’ (integrity wise, not experientially); for the crooked or misguided, not so clear or easy. Therefore the ease or difficulty factor resides with each individual as part and parcel of their independent nature, not with the magnanamous, fully-potent loving Father.

    Please consider the possibility that claiming that God neglects or gives up on anyone is a misunderstanding of His mercy and love and a simultaneous expression of ignorance of and\or an unwillingness to accept responsibility for having misused one’s independence (misused in the sense that the particular exercise of independence itself precipitates ill fortune, individually and collectively) Blame-casting, feelings of persecution, fear, and indeed, all the ills of the world, are all further natural consequences of particular choices. Morality & justice have their parts to play only where the misuse-tendency exists, either potentially or manifestedly.

    Seeking veracity, we need to acknowledge our innate restrictions and to seek out effective ways to establish reality and freedom from ignorance in it’s infinite forms by striking at the root of it’s varying influence over us. This necessitates a penetrating introspection. We need to squarely face and comprehensively enter into investigation of the significant questions: Who am I ? What is the nature of my relationship with all that be ? The very connected inquiry into origins and causality ensues. What are effective lines of inquiry ?

    The fuller perspective of ”God” as the Summum Bonum, as the Absolute Truth requires a review of prejudices in nomenclature and the gestalt of our enquiry. Approached from the very scientific method, we require to be free from a poor fund of knowledge. The very vehicle and crucible of this life’s-laboratory experiment must be clean and properly constructed to be able to yield meritorious and verifiable results.

    Our body, our mind, our intelligence, our consciousness are themselves under inspection while simultaneously providing a via media for realizing conclusive evidences. The true student of truth is by necessity a disciple, requiring discipline, regulation and informed reverence and with a genuine questing, inquisitive spirit.

    Tainted (or false) teachings (and teachers and followers) and tainted laboratory conditions presenting dangerous detours from the razor’s edge of proper discrimination and progress are natural corollories of individuality with the inherent possibility of misuse of minute independence.

    We must know the difference between what is temporarily, relatively of benefit and what is of a lasting, essential salutary nature. Expecting that the lastingly benificent option must be (therefore) obvious to the conditioned soul is like expecting that the innocent yet naiive child easily grasps and enacts the best choice in all circumstances, even in the midst of peer-coersive teasing, tempting and mocking as well as one’s own ignorance. Surely it IS obvious, but that is only evident to a qualified (unencumbered) observer.

    Yes, a loving Father ALWAYS presents and vigorously solicits the well-being of his children; however, the very nature of every individual innately includes full exercise of one’s minute independence. Without this aspect, where is the possibility of love ? How can one love another without the freedom to choose reciprocation ? How can we penetratingly appreciate the fullest implications of individuality, of independence reconcilled with both individual as well as collective consequences ? We must be sure to deeply consider these things. We must penetrate our own fallibilities and complications to the deep sublime simplicity lying beneath.

    Isn’t a true test of love that, in spite of rejection or non-reciprocation by the beloved, the lover acts in the interest of the beloved, up to and including their insisting on the very right NOT to reciprocate ? … and to clearly demonstrate the results of a condition of non-reciprosity ? … leaving intact the integrity of the beloved to come to terms with this aspect of full reality and further exercise his\her independence to rediscover or continue rejection of the lover ?

    Perhaps when we can move from the realm of harshness in which a sense of meaninglessness often penetrates and advocates varying levels of futility, loathing (of other and of ourselves) and boredom to discover a plane of existence whose very fabric is of the nature of true love, nourishing full significance in an ever-variegated, enthralling wholesome infinitude forever, then we can part with our required defensive insecurities and shallow puddles of affections which we cling to in this world. There we are blessed if we do and blessed (just differently) if we don’t !

  21. Friends,

    Maybe we should all cut our posts at least in half from now on so that we don’t scare off those who would just like to contribute a sentence or two to the conversation!

    I appreciate the civility finding its way into the conversation. We all do better when we’re sitting talking over a coffee rather than scrapping.

    I welcome others to contribute. Again, theist or not, Christian or not, be gracious with this process. We are talking about very important things.

    Dan

  22. Roxy, I appreciate your candor and the spirit of your response above.

    It is interesting to note that one looks at the world, and sees the “obvious” that you mention – the fingerprints of a Creator everywhere.

    Another does not.

    I wouldn’t go running to the “damned” part quite yet! I would suggest that sometimes our most honest requests to “see” that which we previously did not, motivated by an honest heart, can be met with a sight we didn’t have before. (Sorry, I’m playing my believing cards again, aren’t I?). Stay with me – this applies to me.

    That idea, that sight can occur when we’ve been blind (Plato’s “The Cave” expresses the moment of epiphany so well) applies to many things (we would probably agree), but possibly, and maybe especially, to this question.

    I would also note that note every Theist (or Christian). for that matter does not tell the same story of faith. I.e. Our theology is not all the same – just to note that. From what I heard in between the lines of your post, you suggest that if a Designer is afoot, that Designer is withholding a very important awareness from you. I.e. That Designer, in withholding, is actually doing the damning in this case.

    If I were you (and I’m not), I’d be asking the proposed Designer for an answer to that one! In my experience, my own mind (brain + more – see the bestselling book “The Spiritual Mind” by a neuroscientist that challenges Hawking’s mechanistic view of the brain-as-computer) has played a significant part in both my “seeing” and “non-seeing.” I.e. I do have something to do with this. As Bono sang, and many have said, I have found this to be often true: “Believing is seeing.” The leap is demanded before the revelation. That welcomed participation of heart might be, I suggest, the great kindness to us – welcoming us into a dynamic relationship with God, rather than a crime where God is simply ordering us about.

    Maybe the Designer (here I come, no bones about it, given my bio!) is not the one holding the blinding veil. But, then again, it’s a good question to ask. Being a Dad, I feel the heat on your metaphor. It should be obvious – and the scriptures around whose story I have ordered my life suggest that it is just that – obvious. Again, for Hawking, it’s not, fascinating as that is to me.

    To me, however, it is so obvious I feel the Person behind every flower, every sunset, every glance from one of my children.

    Thanks for being in this conversation. Please keep contributing; you add much to it.

  23. Would you recognize and accept a different god and others’ faith? According to your reasoning, the Christian god isn’t the only one that fit the bill.

  24. I feel as though no one has thought out the possibility of his findings. his theories are ones that will instantly be talked about because he is starting a conversation about a topic that affects everyone beliefs. The interesting thing about religion is that it is a story that has been told for many centuries and it is impossible to state whether the stories are fact or fiction. Another point being that if there were evidence of a higher power or commonly reffed to as “GOD”, why has there not been events that are unnatural or an event that was not weather related?

    I believe that the possibility of a creator is possible, yet highly unlikely. The theory that one super being having made all of what is in this universe is highly improbable; that being said, there is still a possibility.

    I think what was being presented in this film or series is the idea that there is a logical reasoning to say that this happened naturally. The way that it was presented might have offended some people that are religious believers; but if a man of such knowledge has proven through the use of historical and scientific evidence that the universe was a natural event, it should be considered. [Remember this man is almost three times smarter than you and I are]

    If you watch this for a second time, and process the information being presented, you can see the evidence for his findings. Although I might add that NO ONE can prove his theories right or wrong. It humanly impossible.

    The theory of after life is one that has been created to give death a positive meaning, or a meaning to life and death. Please remember that with each piece of information that we hear, we learn more information about life.

  25. Why is the idea of “god” a viable argument when considering why we are here? I feel the idea of “god” is the easiest explanation. In other words it’s to human to think of such a story as explanation. Every argument seems to need viable scientific evidence except religion. An old story is an old story, why is it considered to be so factual to so many? Why is science under such scrutiny but religion needs nothing more than an old book? I guess I just can’t seem to figure out why religion is even considered as a viable argument to why we are here, it seems terribly out dated.

  26. From the dawn of humanity, people believed in God(s), and put the cause of everything on it.
    Soon, people grew smarter. They studied stuff to find alternative solutions. It had soon become clear that the myths and legends had many holes in them.
    Yet people still believed in God(s).
    As time passed by, more and discoveries were made–and more frequently. Scientific facts gradually pushed down Religion. Eventually, there became enough evidence the God doesn’t exist.
    Yet people still believed in God(s).
    Why?
    Because people BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE, even if it’s far fetched!

  27. Without a doubt scientific discoveries have systematically eliminated many myths and provided an incredible foundation for binary reason to thrive and validate its presence in the nature of being. The scientific reasoning also gives rise to something that resembles GOD. It is buried in quantum information. It may not be a Hindu GOD or Muslim GOD or Christian GOD but it may be an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient informational and computational platform that hosts this digital drama of existence. It may be intimately tied to the functionality of this device called human body.

    If many of the scientific findings have dispelled myths of all kinds over centuries, the often neglected fact is that science has also confirmed many beliefs over centuries. GOD may be one of those beliefs. It may simply need to be understood in a new light.

  28. God has been shown time and time again not to exist, science is very poor at proofs but GREAT at ruling things out such as god with available evidence.

    It does not take much to rule out the possibility of god because the ONrLY EVIDENCE for gods existence is your book i.e. a single source and a weak one at that.

    Let me show you how simple this actually is

    I believe we can provide two or three Answers that can provide scientific evidence.

    Reason 1
    Does Any God, Satan or Devil exist? Hypotheses

    ——————

    Understanding: Anything that can be asserted with little or no evidence can be dismissed just as easily, so the extraordinary claims made by deist, which is that an omnipotent being (god or the devil) exists, would require extraordinary evidences for which religion cannot supply. Therefore, evidence for the existence of god is dismissed with any simple test such as the one that follows. It should be obvious to the most casual of observers that this test can only be applied to an being that is said to be omnipotent, because only omnipotence could be responsible for answering this test.

    Remember: Some religious books will state that the believers can not or should not test their god or the devil for that mater. So, if someone believes in god then he or she would be forbidden from testing god. Since (Atheist, Non-Believers or believers from other religions) do not believe in your god then they of course are free to test said god and show statistical truth behind blind belief in said god.

    1. Important Note: There is nothing that states anywhere in the world that we can not test the Satan or Devil, which is generally categorized as having similar omnipotence as god.
    2. God and devil are two dependent deities, if we show one does not exist then the other does not exist.

    Hypothesis: Does any God Exist? Data Collection and Test:

    This test will show either the gods/devils are not as powerful as claimed or they do not exist at all, in either case they do not deserve anyones worship.

    Here is a simple god/devil test

    1. God you will post on every Forum, Blog, FAQ and Yahoo Answers Category on the Internet in exactly 30 seconds (GMT) after this post has been made. You will post worldwide and your post will state the following:
    “I am god, I exist”
    A) In every Forum, Blog, FAQ and Yahoo Answers Category must have the same exact time stamp based on human time (GMT).

    2. Devil or Satan you will post on every Forum, Blog, FAQ and Yahoo Answers Category on the Internet in exactly 30 seconds (GMT) after this post has been made. You will post world wide and your post will state the following:
    “I am devil, I exist”
    A) In every Forum, Blog, FAQ and Yahoo Answers Category must have the same exact time stamp based on human time (GMT).

    We now have a working theory known as the God does not exist theory.

    **We have shown that no God of any kind exists!
    **We have shown that no Devil or Satan of any kind exists and established that God and Devils are mutually inclusive, so if one does not exist then the other does not exist.

    Thanks for asking such a wonderful question that we all can learn from and even get a little science in too, but the answer seems to be No God

    Reason 2
    Also science has even more definitive evidence that god does not exist, see this Article by NPR
    SCIENCE HAS FOUND GOD, see link below
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104291534

    Reason 3
    I know the future and SCIENCE WINS
    In 5 billion ish years our sun will go nova and end the earth’s existence.

  29. The biggest issue that science face today is that of “the observer”. The objectivity seems to have run into limitations. It is unfortunately not allowed in the realm that is purely designed for subjective observers. The binary determiniism unfortunately must be replaced by quantum algorithms. When one get to know one’s true self only then one can see the nature of quantum reality. Through bnary senses and caliration, one can infer but can never KNOW. Following classical physics and its principles, I don’t think one will ever get to the true bottom. GOD resides there.

  30. The very ingredients being used to squeeze out a ‘proof’ are minute samples of organized energies of a vast and complex reality, part of which (at least) follow specific laws and a nature established by their initiating cause, whatever or whomever that may be. This includes not only the external physical tools but also the very senses, mind, and intelligence of even the most brilliant of competent inquirers.

    There is a demand for ‘concrete, undeniable, verifiable’ evidence of the existence of any proposed Supreme Being (”God”). The question becomes: do prospective ”soul-and-God” scientists have the imagination, the wit, the genius, the insight, to recognise and then to successfully partake of an efficacious experiment in this regard ?

  31. Two things I’d like to ask Mr. Hawkins. 1) why did our common era start around Jesus’ time with our years changing from decending order to asending order? And, in the bible, if not inspired by God it says “….circle of the earth…” how did the writer know the earth was circled? They did not have telescopes at that time.

  32. Proof of god is simple, there is no evidence for the existence of god there for there is no god until evidence can be presented.

    Problem is people want to use the absence of evidence to claim that god exists i.e.
    You are here therefore god must have made you

    The most ignorant postulation that could ever be claimed for evidence.

    — Maxine Bourque —
    First, you hit upon 1 of the 100′s if not 1000′s of contradictions in the bible
    In one place the bible says the world is a circle LOL, and of course we are NOT a circle we are a sphere
    But the bible also states the world is Flat and has corners which is where the “flat earth” idea originated.

    Isaiah 11:12 — FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH.
    Science — must be a rectangle or square to have four corners i.e. Flat Earth

    Revelation 7:1 — angels standing on FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH (KJV)
    Science — must be a rectangle or square to have four corners i.e. Flat Earth

    Job 38:13 — ENDS OF THE EARTH
    Science — the earth is implied to be flat i.e. it had ends but sphere can have no ends

    Jeremiah 16:19 — ENDS OF THE EARTH
    Science — the earth is implied to be flat i.e. it had ends but sphere can have no ends

    Daniel 4:11 — ENDS OF ALL THE EARTH:
    Science — the earth is implied to be flat i.e. it had ends but sphere can have no ends

    Daniel 4:10-11 — The king “saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth…reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds.”
    Science — this is impossible on a spherical earth, yet again they imply a flat earth

    Matthew 4:8 — Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory.
    Science — Obviously, this would be impossible unless the earth were flat.

    Revelation 1:7: — Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye shall see him
    Science — Obviously, this would be impossible unless the earth were flat.

    Chronicles 16:30: — He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.
    Psalm 93:1: — Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm
    Psalm 96:10: — Thou has fixed the earth firm, immovable
    Psalm 104:5: — Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.
    Isaiah 45:18: — who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast
    Samuel 2:8, 10 — The foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world…the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

    Science — earth’s rotation is 1000+ miles per hour and is rotating around the sun at just over 67,000 miles per hour. Approximately
    Science — earth quakes the earth can be shaken!! the earth is not fixed and not immovable!!!! ;-)

    At best the bible is 50% bull crud as it relates to god and spiritual items and 50% correct on historical geography. That’s at BEST!
    I would say it more likely 80% bull and 20% correct…LOL

  33. Let’s just gloss over the physical incorrect bible descriptions of just about everything as shown above we could continue on and on with center of the universe bla bla bla

    Lets move on to is god even MORAL, if not why would anyone want to believe in it.

    God has proven in his own words that he is immoral and not worthy of worship and all you have to do is read the bible
    God killed everyone with a great flood
    God ordered the murder of gays, innocent children, innocent men and women time and time again

    1. There is no moral reason to believe in god because if you believe in god you are immoral. Remember the GMD?

    2. If you claim there is a god then you must produce independently verifiable evidence or it must be assumed not to exist.

  34. There IS an independently verifiable process for achieving undeniable evidence but the crux of the whole subject becomes: do you have the requisite qualifications to first see and then take to it ?

  35. There’s an implied important aspect to the aforementioned crucial element: Who has the requisite qualifications to deliver it ? (the independently verifiable process for achieving undeniable evidence of the existence of God) In fact, the expansion into practical understanding of this principle of achievement is itself a great science.

  36. In this process a balanced perspective, commitment, integrity, determination, rigorous and even brutally honest introspection are also required. Not everyone possessed of the potential to become a ‘scientist’ (or whatever) adopts the necessary disciplines to actually realize their potential.

    Usually the foremost critics of the accomplished consist of those who left aside, fell short or perverted their own potential (since they are close enough to sense the realization of maturation in others which by contrast brings a painful understanding their own possibilities gone awry).

  37. For those who question if God does exist or does not exist, think about Pascal’s Wager

    1. Either I can believe in God (and act accordingly) or I can choose not to.
    2. If I believe in God, and God exists, then my reward will be infinite (heaven).
    3. If I believe in God, and God does not exist, then there will be a small cost (waste of time going to church, etc.).
    4. On the other hand, if I don’t believe in God, but God exists, then my punishment will be infinite (hell).
    5. And if I don’t believe in God, and God doesn’t exist, then there will only be a small benefit (not wasting my time going to church, etc.).
    6. Therefore, I am infinitely better off if I believe in God. I would be a fool not to believe.

    I think if one is a great intelluct, then that person should be logical and betting against the existance of God is a losing wager.

    I hope Hawking is logical?

  38. As presented, how will this (Pascal’s) perspective effectively influence anyone to believe in God ? In the end it’s a recommendation for wagering (guessing) ! Also, fear (of punishment) and avarice (coveting of a promised reward) are being promoted as desirable (or unavoidable) motivators.

    The whole presentation targets a blind kind of belief, reducing the significant question at hand by appealing to some aspect of probability theory.

    The “results” (eternal suffering in hell for disbelief or eternal enjoyment in heaven for belief) present an incomplete, singular-paradigm model which has the (dubious) ‘virtue’ of promoting the fear or coveting required.

    The summing-up points skate over significant points needing further understanding for coming to a decision. A life lived in acceptance of a living relationship with a loving and All-Capable Supreme Being takes on a wholesale different form than one devoid (or based on denial) of that. So, from either perspective (‘belief’ or ‘non-belief’), the consequences of accepting or rejecting the other perspective, in contrast to the glib presentations in many of the points, are far more significant to the type or quality of life (including occupation, family, friends, activities, etc etc) that one will be living. To minimize the consequemces and thus present the difference of choice to a seeming insignificance is a gross misnomer.

    To present God’s ‘position’ as one to inflict punishment for not believing paints a cruel, malicious portrait, committing the injustice of deflection from the truth and also neglecting to present things as they are (real cause for suffering).

    In these ways at least I find myself unable to tie the presentations with the definitive decision, point 6.

    The fact that a summary proposes to ascribe the de facto determinant as an acceptance or rejection of ‘logic’ sums up the impotent approach presented.

    Not that I am equating Arun’s position with that of this wager of Mr Pascal, or considering this the platform for Pascal’s own faith, but these are simply some critical analyses I find compelling against an acceptance of this concept (as presented) as valid or convincing. Let the beneficial discussion under consideration continue.

  39. Hey guys (Rich, heads up), again, in the original blog post I ask for civility and kind conversation, not rants.

    Please honor this, and each other in your choice of phrases and words, lest you diminish the conversation and end it for everyone.

    If we were at a coffee table, I might ask some of you to take a chill pill for a moment, and then re-enter the chat ;).

    Nuance is so important in these things. Reason has a place at the table, as does intuition. Continue please, but in a spirit of graciousness even if you strongly disagree.

    Thanks,

    Dan

  40. I would also ask that no one respond again without re-reading my entire post. No one has addressed my own experiences with the presence of God, and I have not addressed my numerous stories of miraculous healings, startling encounters, and more yet.

    We are from a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds. Please re-read, and then I welcome more comments.

    Again, let’s be at a coffee table talking, as invited guests without anonymity and the veil it creates. We have to sit here for a few hours, so let’s listen as well as speak.

    Dan

  41. The Great Debate over the existence of God will never be resolved by scientific scrutiny, nor by simple experiential story.

    While science offers astounding gifts that must never be denied, if God is who we suggest God might be, the Life that made supernovas cry at birth will not be deduced and dissected by the limitations of human perception.

    We are good, but the next time we create flesh from a dirt we birth from nothing, or craft a star in a cosmic art studio, we may step up to the plate of declaring ourselves to be a god.

    For those who daily taste a Presence, a Nearness, a Love that exudes Hope and Faith and Solace and Strength on this ragged journey, there is no math for such paradise over a lifetime. However, math can lift our awareness to bright and remarkable places.

    To see eyes change, minds heal and pain bend under a transcendent comfort, is to see the invisible God at work.

    And for that God to become visible and incarnate love? This is ecstasy.

  42. To Sal,

    Your assumption that God inflict’s pain (or cruelty, etc.) in the scenario presented by Pascal’s Wager is incorrect and highly assuming on your part.

    Pascal’s Wager is very basic, which is getting twisted by many to avoid the logical.

    It is a binary, hence the premise either believe or not to believe, which then creates four scenarios.

    If you think going to hell is cruel act, then just rewrite the wager:

    1. Either I can believe in God (and act accordingly) or I can choose not to.
    2. If I believe in God, and God exists, then my reward will be infinite hapiness.
    3. If I believe in God, and God does not exist, then there will be a small cost (waste of time going to church, etc.).
    4. On the other hand, if I don’t believe in God, but God exists, then my reward will be infinite unhapiness.
    5. And if I don’t believe in God, and God doesn’t exist, then there will only be a small benefit (not wasting my time going to church, etc.).
    6. Therefore, I am infinitely better off if I believe in God. I would be a fool not to believe.

    Based on the above where is the cruelty? By believing in God which in turn draws you closer to God (the one who is giving eternal hapiness), the reward is infinitely better on the other hand not believing in God and to draw yourself away from God, one will only find unhapiness, which is infinitely worse.

    Any short time hapiness that one experiences in their lifetime is a minute comparsion to eternal hapiness and therefore such small quantities can not be taken into consideration.

    To me, I do not see any flaw to the logic, and therefore, Pascal was correct in his wager.

    Hawking needs to rethink his premise as they are flawed.

    1) God is transcendental to time, matter, energy, space, and all other elements, etc that one wants to add into the formula. Therefore, Hawking can not prove one way or the other and therefore, his conclusion is flawed.

    2) Hawking is not acknowledging the afterlife, however, many people who experience near-death claim visions beyond the phyiscal and are able to tell their stories once they rewaken into their physical body. This is not a myth or made up, medical science has documented and is searchable on the web. Also, physics and medicine are branches of science, one should not ignore the other to prove one’s point, which is another reason Hawking is flawed on his conclusion.

    Science is a tool to explain the surroundings around us, and has done wonderful job in doing so. However, it does not have or in the future the capability to answer the following questions:

    Why and Who?

    Who created and why it is created?

    Saying creation is a fluke of nature, then is destruction is a fluke of nature? If so and anyone can come to that conclusion, then why bother for survival let nature take its course, why cry or fear for death at all. Why do humans try care for one another, why bother? Is instinct and emotions a fluke of nature, also?

  43. Hi Arun,

    Thank you for your response, which in turn has inspired something more for possible consideration.

    “Binary” translates to “black or white” and does not address the full nature of life, though it may present some accuracy in some models of a decision matrix. There are insurmountable shortcomings in this dry mathematical sort of approach for full revelation.

    To reduce a discussion about the existence or non-existence of God to a mathematical or logic-centered model does not accurately represent living reality. For analysis-and-arguments’ sake, ‘boiling it down to basics’ cannot be equated with killing the very subject under consideration.

    Adopting any process that directly or indirectly de-personalizes the Supreme Lord (emphasizing His impersonal energies in such a way as to supercede and thus minimize or ignore His Personality, which controls those energies, even hypothetically) with the declared intention of understanding, rebounds upon the speculator, effectively castrating his capacity to comprehend things as they are. No intelligent person can accept such a flawed process. It also happens to be of the essence of offence; real blasphemy.

    I did not say that going to hell was cruel. Cruelty refers to taking pleasure inflicting misery upon another or an indifference to the suffering of another when one has the ability to prevent or alleviate such misery. The fullest understanding of hell and of the whys and wherefores are beyond the scope of this discussion, but suffice it to say that a scenario in which hell exists as part of a loving Supreme Being’s arrangement for ultimate well-being (both collective AND individual) is a far different thing than a misunderstood concoction (speculation) permeated with uninformed, reason-poor and/or reactive (whether hostile or apologistic) notions.

    The attempt to apply an “objective,” mechanical model as a logic overlay with intention that it operate as an ultimate arbiter in determining the verity of the whole of reality itself is the very artificial imposition of a dead-superceding-living philosophy, the very jist of which is intrinsic to the nature of empiric thought. Utilizing such methodology itself employs a ‘blinders and colored-glasses’ approach that serves to cast a prejudiced hue on reality (or, more properly, what one sees of it). How can the very principle of skewing something ever approach a clear view of that very thing ?

    This is not twisting or avoiding logic; rather, this conclusion is iron-clad and inescapably logical. The only question becomes: does one understand the principle of energies and energetic and the interrelated nature and dynamics or not ?

    Pascal’s imaginative speculative approach in so far as his wager is concerned, remains significantly incomplete and flawed and therefore inapplicable; ergo, it is not at all convincing. My argument is not against the existence of God, but rather that Pascal’s wager is absolutely useless as a methodology for determining whether a person should believe or not believe.

    There’s more that could be said regarding your other points but this post is already long and the refutation nullifies the whole validity of considering Pascal’s wager a valid exercise. Best regards.

  44. To Sal,

    If we completely question every methodology, formula, then there is no way to prove anything, including GOD, and therefore, no one can come to any conclusion.

    For someone to come to any conclusion on any subject that can then be turnaround to question the steps a person took to come to that conclusion, would mean every conclusion is flawed.

    Therefore, in order to come to a conclusion, there must be acceptance on the steps and certain premises, otherwise, there is not point in any type of searching or researching.

    Hence, Pascal Wager is a step in a long process in searching for GOD. At least it creates a base and some logical conclusion of why we should believe in a GOD and then take further steps in searching for the existance.

    I never wanted to say Pascal Wager was the final answer, if I came across that way, then I apologize for that. However, I do strongly believe that is valid in the search of existance of GOD and gives good reason to do so.

    What shocks me more, is Hawking having a mathematical background, removed the probability of the existance of GOD and not even consider Pascal Wager.

  45. Arun, greetings …

    Thanks for elaborating on a couple of points. It now makes clearer your perspective so I am better able to understand where you are coming from. Sorry if I misunderstood your stance. Re: Stephen Hawking, I feel that even with his intellectual prowess, he misses some basics which, for many of us ‘ordinary’ folks, seem obvious. His faith is so heavily invested in the empiric process and in matter with all the complex laws of nature, I wonder if he could ever choose to see beyond an inductive methodology and approach the transcendent.

    Yes, I agree that a consistent doubting mentality (unable to accept anything for sure) eradicates all possibility of coming to a conclusion. Would it not then be an irreplaceable requirement to find [a] system(s) or methodology that is irrefutably conclusive ? If we say that NO methodology is irrefutable then the investigation ends. Again we are left with “believe or not, as you like,” which leaves us in the dark.

    Insisting upon a “seeing is believing” paradigm should at the least impel one to look for a “seeing” that is not rife with all the limitations and fallibility inherent in our eyes and mind. The demand inherent in the challenge, “can you show me God exists?” carries a(restricting)n immediacy that blinds one to the validity of a proof methodology, the latter requiring a specific integrity from the enquirerer so he may actually qualify himself to see. A restrictive line of inquiry insisting upon empiric, inductive methodology can never reveal that which is, as you nicely pointed out previously, “transcendental to time, matter, energy, space, and all other elements, etc that one wants to add into the formula. [Therefore, Hawking can not prove one way or the other and therefore, his conclusion is flawed.]”

    At the very least an actually sincere scientist should consider and ask, “Is there a way for me to acquire [the alleged] transcendental vision ?” and hear with an open true spirit of inquiry should someone offer any reasonable paradigm as premise. Let the true spirit of inquiry apply itself there. A true methodology would be fully capable of providing experiential proof by any enquirerer’s following the enabling process, taking said qualified person(s) beyond any doubt when they fully follow the authorized method. Lack of sincerity would be demonstrated in incomplete following or an outright rejection of the premise without even giving the experiment, as presented, a genuine try.

    Another aspect of Pascal’s wager that niggles is that there is no clear conception of just Who God IS that one is debating, trying to choose to either accept or reject with life changing consequences weighing in the balance. It seems that one considering the wager has a fairly sophisticated hypothetical knowledge at least. Perhaps there was a tendency during Pascal’s time for a universal notion of just that, especially for the intelligentsia for whom the wager might best target. The more that can be presented regarding the specific nature, characteristics, qualities, activities, associates, reisidence(s) and paraphernalia of God (and ourselves in direct association with Him), the more one can be led to a conclusive region beyond hazy might-be’s.

    The consideration that God seems to be cruel is derived from the idea of the consequences of not believing (eternal suffering). Fear (of going to hell) seems to be the motivator offered here. The idea of God being an all-capable and all-loving Person seems to be at odds with someone who would consign even one of His children to eternal damnation. Punishment for wrongdoing that leads to opportunity for redemption seems more in line with the nature one would expect from such a Person. We can easily understand “tough love” from our experiences here. This touches again on the point mentioned in the last post regarding clearly understanding the fullest truths about hell.

    I find myself in agreement with you regarding the value in anything that leads to a genuine search for God. Certainly there may be an infinite number of possible ways for progressing in that direction. Each according to their own.

    cheers

  46. To Sal,

    I do concur with some of your points and here is my take:

    1) There is ways to experience God, but this requires much discipline on the individual, for example, being Hindu, one would need to do Yoga, mediatation, fasts, etc. For other religions, they may set out other disciplines for their followers. Therefore, a sciencetist can attempt to validate claims from different religions and see he/she experiences the same as those who claimed it. What I find a problem with some sciencetist is that they want proof independent of trying to practice the discipline, which creates a catch 22. If you don’t follow the steps, faithfully, then the results won’t happen.

    2) I see your point about the heaven/hell and by being children of GOD, how can GOD be cruel to punish. But I see heaven and hell differently. Heavan means being closer to GOD and hell is being away from GOD. Therefore, I do not see GOD punishing anyone, but the individual needs to decide whether he wants to be closer or away from GOD, which leads one in a state of heaven or hell. Also, this can also seen as follows, a person who has immense love is in heaven and a person who has immense hate is in hell.

    Cheers to you too

  47. Nice points, Arun

    There’s a fairly rigorous analysis and discussion of Pascal’s wager here:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/

    I was not familiar with the wager and when you first presented it (and AS you presented it), so I didn’t have much clarity in terms of a comprehensive study; though I still feel there is validity to the points I raised, I would like to say, in a more comprehensive study, there are worthwhile points in it that would be good for certain people to consider in the quest for proof of the existence of God.

    I like what you say in point 1) in your latest response. Especially your last three sentences are right on in my opinion (whatever that’s worth). I w o u l d like to add, if I may, consideration of what would seem to be an essential element (which tends to be tough for an empiric-thinking dominated mentality to accept even the existence of): Divine Grace; i.e. it is imperative that one receive a revelation, a direct reciprosity from the all-loving Lord (which He is anxious in His magnanimity of love to give).

    For the sincere, determined person, following the ”authorized process” -doing the experiment, so-to-speak, to gain said favor becomes a factor in attracting the Grace of God. Unfortunately, the faith of a materialist is placed primarily in the individual’s own speculative ability and perceptual prowess (with a concommitant mistrust in any ‘supposed’ capable & initiative-oriented benefacting Lord) , one result of which is as you say, “… a problem with some sciencetist is that they want proof independent of trying to practice the discipline …” So true.

    I’d like to address your 2nd point later. Thanks for the stimulating discussion. I wonder if any others have anything to say about this …

  48. Also very good points.

    I wanted to add this prespective

    For those who question “does God exist?”, can you first answer this question:

    If God does exist, would I want to know God?

    Hence, if you don’t open your mind completely to the task, then you already drawn a conclusion.

    Would like to thank Dan Wilt for starting this forum, and would like him and others to comment

  49. Does GOD exist? Where is GOD? Can I meet GOD? Can I experience the ultimate reality? What will I get? Will I be filled with joy from Deep within?

    Objectively you can come close. But you will never really get there. No matter how rigorous your mathematical derivation may be, it may still not capture the fullness and the perfection of the emptiness of a point.

    Your mind must be open to include subjectivity of a quantum observer and should be open to quantum algorithms if you want to have a shot at these questions collectively. Human brain is wired to receive deep joy. The deepest joy is in truly knowing the divine. Knowingly or unknowingly (whether one acknowledges the existence of GOD or not) all gravitate toward that joy. All have that deepest yearning to know and experience that Ultimate reality.

  50. Simple… Just give concrete “evidence” of YOUR god (compared to the many other gods created by humans throughout history)…being true, real, and finite. Not hocus pocus written in books penned by humans, but actual fact driven evidence of her existence.

    Without being able to do so, YOUR human created god is no different and no more believable compared to any other.

  51. Just to clarify my point at this dinner table discussion I’ve taken the liberty to pull up a chair and invite myself to… :) my point is that everyone keeps referencing your “own” god (or version thereof. It’s clear that the “believers”of this god you speak of and reference to is a common god. One that you learned of from the same books… One that while is “everywhere and in everything you see, touch, taste, and smell… One most of your parents most likely believed in as well. Yet there are MANY versions of god. Others that now and before we were all born believed in just as strongly as you. Versions of the same creation, the same “son”born to a virgin mother… Yet… I strongly believe that the majority of you will dismiss these gods. Think of those who believed what they were taught and what they believed with every cell firing in their body that the god in their heart and of their belief, was a false one. Do you not?

    Maybe it’s the common fear of death, the wanting to live forever in peace…to once again be with the loves we lost…that we all share… That keeps us alive with a common hope…that is in our very DNA that gives birth to every god ever created. Humans share that one common fear of death and the unknown…believing that we will be at peace and with our loved ones makes us not afraid to face death…because for most, the concept of “blank” is something they can not accept (or refuse to accept). But is “blank” just as peaceful in the end as it was before we were all conceived? To me…it’s as peaceful as any other concept. It’s free of pain, free of any and everything. Blank.

    None of the gods I have read about have ever referenced to that end. To end where we cane from. Fear drives belief in the unknown… But really…is there anything to fear if it all just goes blank?

  52. May be there is grand fullness with GOD like qualities at the core of all points. There are a few enlightened beings who have visited the core. If you knew how to get there and were determined to get there you may experience the same. You don’t have to read its description in any books. You will know.

  53. Dude “Arun Patel

    Pascal’s Wager

    1. Either I can believe in God (and act accordingly) or I can choose not to.
    2. If I believe in God, and God exists, then my reward will be infinite (heaven).
    3. If I believe in God, and God does not exist, then there will be a small cost (waste of time going to church, etc.).
    4. On the other hand, if I don’t believe in God, but God exists, then my punishment will be infinite (hell).
    5. And if I don’t believe in God, and God doesn’t exist, then there will only be a small benefit (not wasting my time going to church, etc.).
    6. Therefore, I am infinitely better off if I believe in God. I would be a fool not to believe.”

    OMG Pascal’s Wager has no intelligence at all

    Because 3 If god does not exist then there is a small cost is laughable because it means you have ONE LIFE TO LIVE PERIOD. If you only have one life to live then wasting anytime on god his a HUGE because you are wasting very precious LIFE TIME on nothing. YOu can’t seem to get that through your head you religious zealots….LOL

    Pascals Wager and God is a total fail because you are looking at backwards, LIFE is the most precious thing you have and to waste all your time on god is a FAIL.

    Let’s say your doctors tells you that you have 5 days to live.
    If god does not exist then and you spend your last 5 days on earth praying to it then you loose a huge amount, way more than an eternity spent as a spirit without feeling or body…LOL
    No matter how many times I see this stupid pascals wager it makes me laugh

  54. Rich

    Thank you for your insight. I did not realize Pascal Wager was so unintelligible. We should definitely ignore it.

    Why do we bother even listening to Pascal?

    According to Rich, anyone who even considers the Wager (i.e. belief in God) is wasting their life.

    Definitely Pascal wasted his entire life, no doubt Rich, I agree with you.

    Pascal wasted his life by creating Pascal’s law or the Principle of transmission of fluid-pressure and discovering Pascal’s triangle (though it is noted other mathematicians before him have done the same).

    Wait a minute! We should immediately tell the math community to remove his name from “Pascal’s triangle”, Rich just inferred to us he wasted his life, he create this Wager, which concluded a belief in God, according to Pascal, which then obviously is a waste of time, according to Rich.

    Let us not stop there, we need to call on the Scientific community and demand the removal of Pascal’s name as a SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young’s modulus and tensile strength. How dare they? They forgot to consult with Rich.

    Furthermore, Fermat and Pascal contributed into the calculus of probabilities laid important groundwork for Leibniz’ formulation, but we can ask historians to remove Pascal’s name, right Rich?

    Here is another, Pascal, not yet nineteen, constructed a mechanical calculator capable of addition and subtraction, called Pascal’s calculator, but Rich can you make sure the school children will not here about it.

    Thank you Rich, the enlightened one. Without you, I would have been lost, you understand the Wager better than everybody else.

    By the way, can you tell us how exactly one is wasting their entire life in believing God?

    What do you do with your time?

    Do help people in need like Mother Theresa? or try to fight for fundamental rights for people like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr?

    Woops! I just mentioned three people who believed in God, according to Rich they wasted their lives, Rich, hurry tell the press.

  55. Rich, careful if you would. In the way your present your argument, you are mocking, and if we were at a coffee table together, I’d be hoping you left, would leave, or would ask you to leave if I were the host.

    Please keep the spirit of this conversation civil, dignifying and respectful. It diminishes your credibility when you don’t. I’d like to keep you here, as I appreciate some of what you’re saying (though it’s hard to hear for the sarcastic noise).

    To your point: Tell Mother Theresa, who was daily motivated by her blossoming relationship with God to not just care for an alcoholic dying in a gutter once, but thousands of times, that “spending time on god” is a waste.

    Even the greatest of altruists today find it easy to do once, or 200 times. But over a lifetime of days and with 48,000? No, something unseen was motivating her. She saw every one as her precious Lord, and cared for them as she would Him.

    As for her, and her God, there was no waste for the rest of us. Waste indeed.

    Hemant, your perspectives are an iPod mix (i.e. select spiritual tastes that fit someone’s preference) of Gnosticism – certain people have spiritual keys and others don’t, Buddhism – enlightenment is the goal of the human experience, and New Age – a blend of spiritualities that all promise a nirvana “if only you….”

    While I appreciate the spiritual hunger in your words, Gnosticism appeals to those hungering for religious achievement and creates horrible deifications of individuals who have the “keys” we all must learn the secret handshake to find.

    Buddhism, while refreshing at times with it’s emphasis on peace (I was always drawn to Zen Buddhism, is, in my mind, a small story. It focused on me, and my peace. Then, it extends to others. Then the strange spiritual pantheon becomes very strange (to me) indeed. Ultimately, even the most stripped back versions blend a Gnostic quest for nirvana with a Buddhist self-focus – making it a worldview. I do appreciate the selfless language within Buddhism, though. It is often more creational of a faith than Christian’s express (at least today). I’m working with others to change that.

    Finally, the New Age streams blended in, for me, just become a “pick your own,” muddy blend of ideas that ultimately contradict each other. It’s like Hinduism; I worship many gods, even Jesus, but then if he said he was the only way, there’s a problem. New Age worlds are also places where the weak-hearted come to honor an authority figure who has apparently obtained some unseen spiritual experience for which they hunger.

    Even Jesus didn’t do that. His focus was on loving, caring, giving, serving, forgiving, honoring each other and bearing hope to the world.

    I’ll leave Pascal’s wager to the other conversation.

  56. Rich

    Thank you for your insight. I did not realize Pascal Wager was so unintelligible. We should definitely ignore it.

    Why do we bother even listening to Pascal?

    According to Rich, anyone who even considers the Wager (i.e. belief in God) is wasting their life.

    Definitely Pascal wasted his entire life, no doubt Rich, I agree with you.

    Pascal wasted his life by creating Pascal’s law or the Principle of transmission of fluid-pressure and discovering Pascal’s triangle (though it is noted other mathematicians before him have done the same).

    Wait a minute! We should immediately tell the math community to remove his name from “Pascal’s triangle”, Rich just inferred to us he wasted his life, he create this Wager, which concluded a belief in God, according to Pascal, which then obviously is a waste of time, according to Rich.

    Let us not stop there, we need to call on the Scientific community and demand the removal of Pascal’s name as a SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young’s modulus and tensile strength. How dare they? They forgot to consult with Rich.

    Furthermore, Fermat and Pascal contributed into the calculus of probabilities laid important groundwork for Leibniz’ formulation, but we can ask historians to remove Pascal’s name, right Rich?

    Here is another, Pascal, not yet nineteen, constructed a mechanical calculator capable of addition and subtraction, called Pascal’s calculator, but Rich can you make sure the school children will not here about it.

    Thank you Rich, the enlightened one. Without you, I would have been lost, you understand the Wager better than everybody else.

    By the way, can you tell us how exactly one is wasting their entire life in believing God?

    What do you do with your time?

    Do help people in need like Mother Theresa? or try to fight for fundamental rights for people like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr?

    Woops! I just mentioned three people who believed in God, according to Rich they wasted their lives, Rich, hurry tell the press.
    .

  57. Folks,

    Just a few serious thoughts from me, not as a theologian (though I think I can talk theology if need be), but as a person who thinks deeply about all aspects of life, work, science, systems and relationships.

    1. First, it is my belief that no arguments in science or logics will bring about the proof that a scientific mind hopes for (indeed, needs if using the scientific method) to convince them of the existence of God. Christians have often been rightly accused of having blind faith in this regard, and rightly so. Most that I know have not seriously investigated the actual scientific evidence (aside from reading books based on “Christian research” which is presupposing a bias to which they hope to use science to confer further truth). Admittedly, some have researched the topic seriously, and have remained strongly Christian and devoted. Conversely, some anti-theists have determined that the lack of scientific evidence of a God is all the proof they need to abolish the notion of God. Like Christians, there are a good portion of those who seek to hold an anti-theist view without actually having looked at the evidence for themselves, but have relied on pop-arguments leveled by people who have not only anti-theistic views, but ardently materialistic (in the true philosophical sense, not popularist/consumeristic sense) and are simply using the arguments of anti-theism to support a materialistic agenda. Christians and non-Christians alike often enter this discussion with ulterior motives. This is not me purporting to know people’s hearts, but rather written documentation from people like Richard Dawkins (ardent evolutionist/materialist) and Phillip Johnson (founder of the ID concept) who avow not just a claim of science to support their position towards the theist/anti-theist position, but use that as a stepping stone to extend a deeper agenda. The core juxtaposition in this “battle” that both sides seem to falter on (at times) is that God can be said to exist/not exist by using science as proof. But clear thinking tells us that if a Supreme Creator exists with such power as to instantiate the entire universe (and all its contents, in whatever method you might consider), that Creator (by definition) is beyond the limits of it’s own creation. A God that is beyond its creation is not subject to the realm of its creation or its ability to measure Him. These are all logical and reasonable assumptions. I would refer to a couple of books that articulate some of these thoughts much better than I do– “The Language of God”/Francis Collins (who was the leader of the Human Genome Project), and “The Spiritual Brain”/Mario Beauregard (neuroscientist, whose book studies the complex philosophical and scientific arguments related to whether the mind exists beyond just the physical contents of the human brain). These are vastly different books, but worthwhile reading all the way through. Collins book especially is solidly scientific while remaining theist. Beauregard’s book is narrower in scope and delves much deeper into layers of philosophical and scientific considerations- not all of which I would agree on (but mostly). From my limited perspective, the most crucial question for any scientific consideration about the existence of God is the existence of the universe itself. How could anything exist? If you must maintain a scientific explanation for the universe, no one (certainly no scientist) has been able to derive a theory that adequately explains the existence of a singularity from which all things could happen (the big band theory still requires that some initial form of reality had to exist to begin with). While not a scientific proof, it certainly is a powerful question which neither Hawking or any one else has put forth a reasonable proposal to consider. Theists posit that all things come from the Supreme God, who exists outside of time and space. No scientific theory is able to refute this or give a viable alternative to the origin of the singularity. Again, while this does not provide measurable scientific proof for either “side”, it does provide a strong question for those considering the issue.

    2. Simply because God cannot be measured or limited to his own Creation, does not mean that he would necessarily contradict or circumvent the realm of his creation (or its laws) should he choose to do so. God appearing or engaging within His creation seems not only appropriate but reasonable. Whether or not one agrees he has engaged with his creation or that such engagement can be measured or proved is another topic, but it would follow that proponents of opposite positions on this point should be equally as cautious about such claims (of God engaging or not with His creation). On this Christians should find themselves better served to look at well-proven historical record for much clear ancient evidence of the lives of many of its major characters. The documentation for the historicity of nearly the entire New Testament scriptures, and the characters they expound as witnesses has been one (if not the) most well documented collection of “eye witness” accounts in all the ancient records. Nearly all serious historians have come to the conclusion that the accounts of the gospels, acts and other writings of the New Testament have astounding clarity, reliability and accuracy regarding the times, places and characters in question. But again, the meaning of these same texts is what is at issue– certainly a Jewish Rabbi/man named Jesus lived in 1st century, Roman occupied, Palestine. If we can’t accept this basic fact of history, which is more well-documented (by Christians and non-Christians alike) than almost any other figure in the ancient world, we then must call into question whether Julius Caesar was a real and authentic character in ancient Rome. Accepting it as history, what is more applicable to this discussion is whether or not Jesus (and the rest of the new testament witnesses/writers) was actually who he said he was. History has much to teach us, but archiving evidence to support the claim of Jesus as God is something that we all can recognize did not happen. We may accept all the things we see in the Bible record as history, but to do so requires something more than history.

    3. If we cannot prove God from science (or disprove him for that matter), our sense of loyalty, devotion or even reality of such a Creator must be founded on something else. If we cannot use history to absolutely prove that Jesus was God (and therefor that God exists), our belief in both requires something more. Proof through science and history simply is not absolute, not conclusive, and certainly not so for the person standing in 21st century earth, trying to peer into the universe or back 2000 years to understand if God really exists. This doesn’t mean that we can’t gain a sense of wonder at the remarkable record of history as a possible indicator that Jesus was God– after all, all the original 12 apostles (save John) gave their lives as martyrs to the belief that Jesus was Savior, Lord and God. For many (me included) the fact that the original founders of Christianity (the apostles and Jesus himself) gave their lives in surrender to uphold their belief in the deity of Jesus is a powerful testament to the veracity of their claims (primarily that he was God, that he died and that he was resurrected from death to life). The apostles never recanted their belief in Christ or of his claims. They stood to lose everything (including their lives) if they held their position. They stood only to gain if they had recanted. The possibilities beyond this are covered well by great writers such as CS Lewis (who’s Oxford brilliance shines in his treatise Mere Christianity), and I refer more discussion on these points to such writings.

    4. Belief in God must come down to an accumulation of something beyond science, history or even careful logical arguments. For a God who lives beyond these constraints must be encountered on his terms, not ours. If that seems wildly mystical, it is precisely because it is. If you believe this is too irrational a vantage point from which to discover a God you can’t know otherwise, then perhaps you are missing something. Christians say that they discover God because He reveals himself to us, and our response to that revelation is called faith- an act in which we simply trust that He does indeed exist and wishes to be known by us. This continues to be the case. But the Christian also contends that God is knowable and reachable, not just to those with the “secret revelation” but to anyone who endeavors to simply call out to him. I am unabashedly one such individual. All I can offer is my personal experience and story. And this is what most Christians have to say as well- here is my story, and God awaits you if you wish to believe my story is true and wish to call out to God for you to encounter him as well.

    While it is the belief of most Christians that God will indeed meet anyone who calls out to God in sincerity, the view from the non-Christian /anti-theist viewpoint is harshly skeptical. After all, why wouldn’t it be? All the foundations of their reality (science, history, logic) remain slight, if any, convincing truth of a God who chooses to reveal himself only to those who wish to find him. Because theists and non-theists (I will chose to take Christian/non-Christian for now) believe what they do from such differing vantage points, I believe we have seen much “slinging of mud” over the walls of ignorance (on both sides). Perhaps it is time to climb over the walls and talk to one another, instead of hurling mud (arguments) that look the same when they arrive on either side?

    Christians must admit that the journey to God cannot be made solely in the realm of the physical universe. Anti-theists must admit that the very nature of a supernatural God would mean existence of something beyond the natural laws we have the ability to measure, and hence they cannot disprove such a being by any arguments contained in that realm.

    Of course, since I am even making these statements I am treading on the premise of “logical arguments”- that somehow my statements here are able to help myself (or anyone else) understand the questions that are pertinent to discovering the reality (or non-reality) of a real living God. Yes, I do recognize that.

    I have appreciated and enjoyed the thoughtful comments put forth here. Thank you Dan for sparking the conversation.

    Yours in the search
    Kim Gentes

  58. Just to clarify my previous post, I did not derive all of the information or ideas I stated simply on my own. Lest anyone should wonder, I have gained much of it (as I said in the post) from reading and discovery. Not much is original or hasn’t been said by others, often is much better form. As I re-read the post, I realized that I should have caveat-ed my statements at the outset as relying extensively on the work of others (reading others, btw, doesn’t mean you haven’t thought well on a subject or have your own ideas, it just means you found others who have thought well about those things as well, and found their explanations helpful and clarifying to your positions).

    thanks
    Kim

  59. Caitlin wrote: “He may be brilliant in the eyes of the world, but I feel he is terribly lost.”

    A man who can explain the beginning of time to the present is definitely not “lost”…

  60. From my take on what Hawkins was saying, is there does not need to be a God because there is as much positive energy in the universe as there is negative. Sum the 2 up and they = 0. He then dramatized it by a man with a shovel on a flat plain who wanted to create a mound. To create the mound he had to dig a hole, mound(+), hole(-). So there does not need to be a God? But what about the hole digger?
    I do not believe in a Santa Clause God. Some creepy white bearded guy in a robe, hovering about judging us and going about creating things, while saying in a big booming voice behold. But there has to be something. God of the big bang, the great membranes colliding, the great mound builder, something.
    String/membrane theory, a membrane where all space, time and enegy (energy making up matter) all lying on a membrane that lies within th 11th dimension. Don’t pretend to understand it, but that does sound kind of God like to me.

  61. I SEE A CURIOSITY
    CLEARLY SEE TO UNIVERSE NOT CREATE A GOD.
    THIS IS A VERY HARD QUESTION .
    BUT EVERY QUESTION ANSWER IN SCIENCE…
    ……………………………………………………………..

  62. I SEE A CURIOSITY
    CLEARLY SEE TO UNIVERSE NOT CREATE A GOD.
    THIS IS A VERY HARD QUESTION .
    GOD IS AN ONLY WORD THE CREATE A MAN
    BUT EVERY QUESTION ANSWER IN SCIENCE…
    ……………………………………………………………..

  63. Man is his own judge….however u live your life will determine your next destination as far as the end of your life in this estate or dimension is concerned.We all know that matter can only change its form and can never be totally destroyed.The Mormon founder Joseph Smith had this to say about matter,and somewhat explains what anti matter is made up of and why it exists… It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.
    There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.D&C 131…..God is the co ordinator of the human race we determine at what level of purity we enter into the next dimension of our souls…Jesus Christ came to Earth to lead the way for us all to be able to enter the next dimension thru Resurrection and suffered for all the smudges that we would inevitably commit here on earth so that if we recognised and acknowledged the architect of the universe and followed his instructions [commandments etc] of the Universe that we could utilise Jesus sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane as a ways of beating the Mercy scales which would prevent us from ever reaching an improved or even perfect state in the next estate….Plain and Simple!Previous discussions have undeniable evidence of a Creator our perceptions on Religion based on stained glass images and our anti Big Brother or Win-Lose mentality does not allow us to see the simplicity of this 80 year journey here on earth and how everything else in our futere is determined by this very pedestrian world in comparison to the future dimension of unmetered intellect and knowledge and abilities.

  64. i really respect Stephen Hawkins and all(i just finished reading his Book a brief history of time), but for any one to say there is no God is as absurd as saying there is no air, we can’t see it yet we feel it, when we think of it the bible itself is enough proof that there is a Supernatural Being With Intellects and capabilities far above our own, for instance quite a number of scientist believe in the Big bang theory of the Origin of the Universe, which tells us that the Universe had a beginning well such a believe is supported in the bible in the opening words of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 “In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth
    ” this refers to the Physical Heavens and Earth.

    Another Proof Comes from the order in which the Different Lifeforms Appear first Plants, animals and Humans (Genesis 1: 11-13, 20-25,26), well paleontologist Generally Agree with These Pattern of the order in which life appeared, How could some ancient Sheep herder have gotten right what Ptolemy and Aristotle fail to understand if he wasn’t told by the One who did it all?

    with regard to the shape of the Earth the Bible was far ahead of it’s time when most people had wrong ideas about the shape and support of the earth the bible called it a circle or a sphere and said it hung upon nothing (Isaiah 40:20: Job 26:7). it is true that the bible mentions the four corners of the earth, a huge tree that can be seen from every where on the earth surface etc, that those not mean that the bible support a flat earth model any more than the statement the four wall of Yale or Cambridge suggest that those institutions have only four walls! it’s just a figure of speech, a prophetic statement. which i don’t expect anybody who hasn’t study the bible to Understand, just like anybody who hasn’t studied quantum physic has any idea what quark, muon and gluon are.

    God exist and Misinformation about him doesn’t mean he is not real or caring, those who are really seeking for him will find him.

  65. First of all I ask you not to judge me by my name! I did not choose it!!!!

    I am a graduate student in Astronomy, studying the galaxies and their evolution during the Cosmos. Understanding about this apparent problem of Science and Religion has always been my primary reading habit and I have always been curious to extend my knowledge in both to be able to at least personally solve this dilemma.

    I saw this documentary of Hawking last night and it really made me furious!!! I really could not believe how this figure (which I admired so much in my childhood as a model physicist and had inspired me so much) has such a low understanding of Science in general and Physics in particular, it’s history and it’s philosophy. The primary advantage of science in the words of Karl Popper (a philosopher) is its Falsifiability (the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment), it is exactly this fact that has lead Galileo to prove the ancient view to be wrong, it lead Einstein to prove Newton wrong in high speeds and gravitational fields and basically all scientific discoveries are aspects of this Falsifiability.

    Hawking has blissfully ignored this very important fact and states scientific results with such determinism that is just shocking and not at all scientific. I propose that if any one wants to obtain a better picture of science you should watch The Elegant Universe, I personally think that documentary portrays a much better vision of Science than this documentary!!!

    As an example Hawking refers to black holes as if we absolutely know everything about them and we have observed several of them in the universe. He must be aware that even though it has a strong theoretic basis but theory is not the final judge a scientific fact has to go to! It is observation!!! But he ignores this in the most horrible way and just says that since theory predicts it to be there it has to be there! Well, this is just like Aristotle ~2300 years ago when he said that women have to have two teeth less than men, based on some theory, because theory says so! He never even looked into a womans mouth or asked a woman to count her teeth!!! I believe Hawking is making exactly this kind of mistake. Although direct observations of black holes might be made in the future and I for one would be very excited by the prospect, I believe we should not rush to conclusions so hastily as Hawking does in this documentary.

    The mere fact that he compares religion to science shows how much he has never understood either!!!! I personally think that by its definition, religion is not a tool to judge our observations on since contrary to observation (which is always improving) religious claims are by definition unchanging and any time in the course of history that any religion has tried to explain an observation they have been proved wrong later because observations improved.

    I am personally not a religious practitioner, but I have studied the evolution of religious thought and really enjoy being to religious places and understanding as much as I can about them, I have been to the Vatican, Mecca (the most sacred place in Islam) and Chinese and Japanese temples and shrines. I understand what religion has to offer and as my job, I am practising science. I respect both and they have both had definitive roles in our life as a species on this planet. So I really find such claims (on both sides) trying to refute the other very despicable.

    So my advice to all the religious people here is that, please, don’t base your religion on observational results and don’t try to compare scientific (observational) results to religious texts!!! Very soon every scientific thing we know today will have improved (and with a high probability contradicted) in the near future and you will have to change your interpretation of your religious text!!! So please don’t devalue religion (or generally speaking, spirituality) by validating it based on Observational (scientific results) and please have in mind that people like Hawking are not true scientists!!! PEOPLE LIKE HAWKING ARE IGNORANT TO THE FALSIFIABILITY OF SCIENCE AND ARE TRYING TO MAKE THE LAWS OF SCIENCE DETERMINISTIC AND THUS TRYING TO MAKE A RELIGION OUT OF IT!!!

  66. Dear Mohammad
    greetings, You are mostly right in my view, but firstly, don’t you think that science has been proven enough? and the second fact is that mostly religious scientist want to defend their god through their observation and vice versa. this try make them to feel more of what they already have.
    thirdly some scientist want to speak about different aspects of a phenomena, sometimes they only want to publish their own view, I am sure that Hawking doesn’t not recommend people to be against god. even if he want so, In my opinion this argues are necessary from both sides to bust up existing theories. however even if we can’t relay on the science which we have now,OK so lets leave science because it is always changing, sticking to traditions is also mistake here. So, the balancing ideas are needed in history to improve our knowledge. and in my opinion it is interesting for both sides to show what they have and may be in future our offspring thank our effort, that is why we don’t excuse ancient scientist for their nowadays proven faults…

  67. Dear Yahya,
    I am not attempting to prove any one of Science or Religion to be correct or not. I am just saying that by their definitions, they are separate methods and you cannot compare the interpretation of one thing (here it is nature) from both view points. In my post I tried to say in detail how they differ; one is deterministic, the other is falsifiable!

    Let me give you a more general and simple example; suppose you are wearing a yellow filtered glasses and I am wearing a blue filtered one (so what ever you see is strongly yellow and what ever I see is strongly blue). Is it correct for us to discuss the color of a toy while we have those glasses on? Of course we can’t!!!! That is what I am saying. I am saying people like Hawking and many people in the religious and scientific realm who try to compare such fundamentally different things are strongly mistaking and are by definition ignorant to such differences and thus are not qualified at all to make such claims.

  68. I am unsure of more than what I am sure about. I believe that’s more or less where everyone of us is. We know that we have more to discover, interpret,verify and learn than what we do today.

    I feel that there is a supreme force that governs everything – the universe OR multiverses. That supreme force is not a person, has no personality, has no choice between good or bad or has a thought process. Thyat supreme force defines the laws of the universe, and the universe is governed by it. Although that still does not explain why the laws of the universe are the way they are, I am sure with time, we will find that out too.

    If we steal someone’s food for our consumption, its bad. We, as a society have set rules to define what is good and what is bad. Society has set rules in order to allow everyone to get his fair share of everything. Have a look at how animals live. Stealing some other animal’s food is ther way of living. If humans do that, it considered bad. If an animal does it, it considered its way of life. Isn’t that bad too? – My point is – Good / Bad are relative thoughts we have devised in order to get our interests fair. Right / Wrong are terms coined by us to fit actions in the norms of society. That supreme force doesn’t have anything to do with our interpretations or judgements. We are just one of the billions of living species on just this planet. In fact, our very existance is an accident in the course of the evolution of our universe. We weren’t there since time began, and we’ll certainly not be around for ever.

    There are several open questions that our current awareness of science does not explain. There were many more, say 2000, years ago, but some have already got answered. I infer that we’ll find answers to many more with time. Till then, several plausible explainstions will be discussed, one being the existance / consiousness of God. I don’t know what would be the final answer (if our race survives long enough to find that).

  69. an interesting comment giving an important perspective (found on a story about AAR’s recent annual meeting) worth considering:

    “Religious studies come from a place of methodological agnosticism, focusing on human religious behavior and not really addressing the question of God. Theology, however, is a study by people of faith of God, doctrine and practices in their own tradition.”

  70. Thank you Stephen Hawking you are absolutely right.

    “Man” has bought into the super ego trip sold by Religion that “Man” has a purpose and meaning and an after life making “us”humans “superior” “God like” etc etc.

    BTW — why has there to be a “meaning” and a “purpose” to every human life ????

    The human purpose and meaning is like that of a tree , a flower a horse etc etc. —all part of this thing we call life and nature.

    In comparison to the vast size of the Universes , our whole solar system is less than a grain of sand in comparison …

    But the Super Human Ego tricks us into believing that the human race holds some special place in eternity??

    The whole universe is alive, each galaxy, each star, each planet, each animal, each human –and each one lives a life cycle –and eventually each one dies.

    Religion is what stops humans from understanding the “language” of the other living beings in our many universes.

    If you are gullible enough to believe in an “after life” ,Heaven and Hell etc one can beilieve almost anything.

    After all God and Religion are the “Greatest Stories Ever Sold”.

  71. Dear Mathew,
    Did you read my comment (5 comments above yours)? Please have a look at it.

    I am not a religious person but I am a scientist. I can assure you that in this documentary, Hawking is not taking a scientific standpoint; in any assertion or claim a scientist has to take into account the probability that she/he might be wrong! Hawking speaks as if he is the GOD OF SCIENCE or at least its prophet!!! It seems he is refuting the GOD OF RELIGION only to replace it with his GOD OF SCIENCE!!!! The funniest part is that he does not define this GOD he is trying so desperately to prove non-existent!!! You see, these claims he makes in this documentary are not scientific!!!

    Science inevitably (by its definition) has a large amount of unknowns that will always accompany it and in fact become even more: we have more un-knowns now than we did 100 years ago, even 10 years ago! So you see, ignorant attempts like this one by Hawking will only take away people’s trust in science in the long run. Unfortunately there are a lot of scientists like Hawking out here, so you have to be really careful in interpreting what they say!!!

    In the time of the Bible the scientific unknowns were the rotation and central position of the Earth, that is why foolish religious people said these unknowns have been created by GOD, then observations advanced and the solutions were found. The descendants of those foolish religious people are now trying to fix the mistakes their ancestors made. Now people like Hawking from the self-appointed Scientific standpoint are making this mistake (trying to prove or refute GOD based on science) and we have to correct it!

    You see, GOD always represents the unknowns for a person who wants to believe in it in a personal stand point and for a society as a whole depending on how many of such people there are in it. Defining GOD like this, then GOD has become larger (our unknowns have increased) compared to 100 years ago!!! You see, it is pointless to try to prove the existence or non-existence of god based on Science!!!!

    Best wishes,
    Mohammad

  72. Their is a strong evidence against the presence of god. To this day no Prophet/Saint/Guru/Messiah could give a definite proof of god, they only say yes their is something beyond explanation. Saint kabir says its just like a dumb man tastes a sugar candy, If you ask him the taste of candy he can’t tell the taste, he only can enjoy it.

    Hawkins is not the first man to refute the presence of god. Carl Marks also refuted the idea of god, and on other hand there have been saints like Adi Guru Shankaracharya, he was of the view that god only is there and world is not there(Wherever I see, I see god).

    Logical man/ Scientist like Hawking will reason that both cannot be correct, only one is right.

    But I would like to share that both are right, One is looking at the foot and other at the head. (Remember the story of five blind men and a elephant). Eyes like the intellect have same problem, if you look at the foot of a person you cannot see the head & vice versa. Adi guru saw the head(God) and Carl marks saw the foot i.e this physical world

    Bram-Gyan (Divine knowledge) starts where Vigyan (physical science
    ) ends. To receive divine knowledge (understand and know God) you have to look beyond physical world.

    Mr. Hawkins don’t mix the two disciplines. I admire your genius but keep it to physical world do not try to answer higher question studying lower disciplines.

    If you can understand what he can do and what he cannot you will become him i.e you will we equal to him. Imagine a newly born son knowing all about his father.

    God bless you & Liberate you from the sufferings

  73. i just want to quote the words of a brilliant dude “epicurus”, read it he has a point.

    is god willing to prevent evil , but not able?
    then he is not omnipotent
    is he able and not willing?
    then he is not malevolent
    is he both able and willing?
    then whence cometh the evil?
    is he neither able nor willing?
    then why call him GOD?

  74. Keep being gracious and benevolent to one another in this conversation, please. It has merit only if each of us can graciously present our thoughts. Good reflections adding to the discussion.

  75. i am glad to see this show..and i liked it. when ever thought about univerese and its elements i only think that this whole is made by god . but the question is who is god?
    according to this there are manny question in my mind.
    1.we are made by god ,but who has created god?
    2.Is god really exist,and if yes, where they are in the universe,at which place that they can see us ?
    i have manny question like this,i am only 13 but i am very much exited to know about this …………

  76. I feel we don’t need any god or gods to live our life peacefully. Premitive men when they don’t have proper understanding of natural phenomenons, used to think that if anything happens and is out of their understanding , is due to God. But those days are gone..
    Science has given us causes of every phenomenons. We no longer need God.
    we just need to meditate, I believe, through meditation we can know every thing about universe , ourselves and our mind.

  77. The best thing I can possibly say is WOW!! This is an absolutely incredible post and conversation thread to go along with it. I haven’t found much good stuff on the Internet recently, but this is awesome. Let me start by saying I was watching this show last night, and I was wondering why Hawking was making this radical claims. I thought I was alone, but oh boy was I wrong. Thanks everyone for voicing your opinion, and I’m not sure if this is correct, but last night was the first time that show was aired, so it’s blowing my mind how huge this conversation is already.

    I would explain the many things I saw wrong with this show, but I doubt anyone would understand me or be able to follow my complicated thought process. I will say, in this show I saw logical fallacies, avoiding important questions (he seemed to not mention anything about why the entire show), a lack of details (to me it seemed he just said what he thinks, and what makes him think that, he didn’t say why we should believe anything he’s saying) for example when he talked black holes. Most surprisingly to me, there seemed to be a lack of understanding on Hawkings part. I think he abused his status of a well known and respected intellect to push his views on others. At the end he simply said, at the beginning there was no time, therefore no time for God to exist. That’s pretty much all he said about it, and it was said in a way that he just wanted people to listen to him and not ask questions. Something I’ve known since a child though, that if God exists, he would exist out of time, if he created time, how would he be held by it’s constraints? Also want to mention, I watched the following episode about aliens, and I saw a lot of problems with his thoughts on aliens as well.

    All in all, I have lost a bit of my respect for Stephen Hawking. Maybe he’s having personal struggles with his beliefs, so he decided to push it on others to make it easier on himself, I know that’s what I did when I struggled with my beliefs. Whatever his motive was, I hope somebody can reach out to him and will make him challenge himself. Again, thanks to everyone for posting on here, I thought I was alone while watching that show. Also I think this is the perfect book for everyone on here in case anyone is interested in getting deeper into this subject, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check out Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? by Henry Schaefer, a professor at the university of Georgia. The book really changed my life, and anyone that liked this post as much as I did, and is as interested in the subjects of religion and science will love this book!

  78. Actually, the concept most people have of “faith” is contrary to the way the writers of the Bible used it. Steven Hawking uses it the way it’s used in the Bible while most other people use it the way those who believe in false gods always use it. To most people, faith is just a synonym for “prejudice” and “credulity” and that’s the way they use it. When Hawking uses it in reference to people who believe in some form of the many ideas of the Biblical God, it’s equivalent to “prejudice.” From the Biblical standpoint, no one can be held accountable for anything that there isn’t observable evidence for that is obviously irrefutable. See Deuteronomy 18. That was the reason for “miracles,” events that could not possibly be explained as natural phenomena, things that would have to have been the result of the intentional working of that power that created the universe. See John 3:1-3. According to the Bible, it was those miracles, not magic tricks, See Acts 8, that gave legitimacy to claims that a person was actually presenting the will of God and it was that irrefutable evidence that made God just in condemning and punishing those who refused to believe and obey him. It was by means of the miracles that people could know, not guess, the will of God, and it was because humans could do what God requires that justified punishment when they freely chose to do differently.

    If the best humans can do is guess at whether or not God exists, if they have to guess at what he requires, then God cannot possibly be just in punishing anyone unless justice and injustice mean the same thing.

    That God exists is obvious because something caused the universe. The question people need to be asking and finding the real answer to is, “What is God’s true identity?” Is it one of the many invisible anthropomorphic Gods imagined by humans or is it none of them? Is God Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Baptist, Mormon, Methodist, or of one of any of the various Gods described by any of the denominations of those groups and others? After all, since God is invisible, no one has ever seen God, the only way to describe “him” is by what “he” says people should believe and behave like. It would be totally absurd for “him” to allow people to believe whatever they decide is right in their own sight. That would make God unnecessary, it would make the Bible totally superfluous, it would make Jesus’ command for his disciples to go to all the world trying to get people to change their ways of behaving and thinking to align with his an absurdity and a contradiction of the notion that no one can actually know the will of God or obey it even if they could know it.

    People have been asking the wrong question and those who have denied the various descriptions of God given by groups such as listed above have been fighting a straw man that is itself false.

    The Bible actually contains the truth about God and what God requires but “the truth” is mixed with a lot of untruth at the same time and people just aren’t smart enough to distinguish between what’s true and what isn’t. The truth is obvious but people aren’t seeing the forest for the trees. Their prejudices are standing in the way and are responsible for all the varying and contradictory ideas virtually all of which are false.

    My new book, “The Answer,” that I am almost finished with and hope to publish for electronic readers and iPads, is a guide in the form of a debate between all the great thinkers, and some not so great, with my own observations added that will guide honest and sincere truth seekers to the answer that everyone says they want but that most mistakenly think can’t be found. Jesus was right, you can know the truth and it will make you free. But what actually is that truth and what will it actually free you from? I found the answer. It’s not an answer, it’s “The Answer.”

  79. A lot of people dont believe in God, Steve Hawking is just one of them.
    A lot of people do believe in God , Steve Hawking isn’t one of them.
    Steve Hawking is just a person he is no an authority on God’s existance or non-existance. I don’t think I can point to any any of Steve Hawking’s theories and say they are true or have explained anything for certain. I know of no scientific laws that Steve Hawkings has discovered or laid down hat has advanced mankind one step further.

  80. As per the law of physics, “ energy can neither be created nor destroyed”. If you see as per Mr. Steve Hawking universe is continuously changing energy, all living non-living substance are just one type of that energy. I am totally agreed with this, but still one question remains what is the first trigger point for this energy?
    As per curiosity program on discovery,Mr. Hawking said that god has not created this energy and it just happened automatically.
    I am not satisfied with this explanation, because I believe that “for every action there should be an equal and opposite reaction” ( By Mr Newton’s 3rd law) so there must be some trigger point for this energy (Universe).

    Please correct me if I am wrong?

  81. Dear Vishal,
    Like Hawking, I feel you have taken the Big Bang as a known fact. Taking the Big Bang as a postulate (like you, Hawking and all the religious and non-religious guys out there who ask a similar question to you) leads you to this question: that where did the action come from that caused the Big Bang as a reaction.
    But the fact is that although the Big Bang is currently the best model to explain the universe, it is by no means the ultimate. So it is wrong to take the Big Bang as a known fact and try to find its causes. The number of unknowns about the Big bang and the universe currently seriously outweigh the number of knowns about it!

  82. i just read a comment about someone feeling sorry for hawkins? not his sickness, but his ideas… that was ironic. WHY is not a valid question! you cannot ask why things happen but how things happen. things dont happen for a reason, they happen as an effect. i cant tell you why there is gonna be a tomorrow, but i can tell you how there will be one very very very probably. the why question makes time overlap, it is thinking that earth knew it was gonna be habituated by humans and adjusted. that is not how it happened, and if you want to undertand you gotta ask HOW! not why!

  83. i’m sorry your reply stephen hawkins video jut sounds like an awful lot of waffle. it’s very confusing. just like many theists you mix up so many different ideas that they all become meaningless and incoherent.

  84. God is really just another thing that Stephen Hawkings doesn’t yet understand. Science has been wrong before, so far to my humble knowledge it has been wrong in all cases until eventually the truth and correct laws have been found.

  85. Again im a christian…eventhough it seems like im betraying my religion…but science is the best we got…come on think without science itself we are only a bunch of retards wandering who we are….without science our existence is meaningless….we use piece of technology in our everyday life which is a product of science……back in the days our ancestors worship woods but when science discovered that trees are nothing to worship about….all science needs is the time to discover it all…and give us hard evidence we all craving for….

  86. The existance of God is very much a question to most of mankind.
    Unfortunately Stephen doesn’t have the answer, only the question.
    One cannot invent answers, they must be discovered, understood and ultimately realised beyond doubt.

  87. Sorry I didn’t mean to stymie the process with my last comment in re-reading it appears a little curt… it was really just another thought.

  88. I think it is good that Steve Hawking has been looking for God and I sincerely hope that he finds him. One doesn’t look for the chef in a cake he made, even though it is now a whole and complete thing on its own. If he cant find God in the stars,he needs to look else where. God is evidient in a lot of places but there is one place that I know he is and that is in each and every one of us, including Stephen Hawking. You cant weigh the mass of love but it is here none the less and Stephen Hawking knows that in his own life. My Mum used to have a saying “God never gives you more hardship than he thinks you can handle” and Stephen Hawking has stood as strong in this life as anyone. We dont have to believe in God but I for one am thankful that God believes in us. If Stephen doesnt find his God, then I pray my God goes with him.

  89. Thank you for another magnificent article.
    Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect
    approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at
    the look for such info.

  90. Thank you for your words, Dan. I’m just a very layperson who is also intrigued by our exciting discoveries in cosmology and physics. I found you because I was googling if Dr. Stephen Hawking believed in God and noted how his position seemed to change over time to what appears as complete disbelief in the possibility at all. I felt….sad about it. I love God and I love science. It sometimes seems the two cannot coexist. I appreciate the way you articulated your keen insights above with a way to think that I hadn’t applied to the matter. Thank you for sharing, for teaching, and for actually giving me peace about the dichotomy. I’m looking foward to your future “stories.” God Bless You!

  91. Hi there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article
    reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this.
    I’ll forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will
    have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  92. I’m not nearly as articulate nor am I as knowledgeable as most of the people on this forum, but I feel I have something to say.

    I have always loved Stephen Hawkings, in fact I still love, admire and respect him, but I find his statement about the universe not needing God to be shocking to say the least, while I might not agree with his views I see the point he’s trying to make.

    much like him, I love the stars, I’m very curious I really love science, I’m a zoologist but I love astronomy, astrobiology, astrophysics in short most of the “Astros”. I’m also religious- I’m a Christian. that being said my opinion will be well guessed.

    while I don’t believe that there’s something that survives the death of the physical body, I do believe in an eternal reward either one of endless life, through a resurrection or eternal destruction.

    then there’s are comments on this forum about the Bible and God that really hurts my feeling, and I feel there were made on wrong assumptions. I feel I should try to clear them if I can find the right words.

    Now if God exist he most be a life form that is infinitely superior to us, I’d say something in the order of Stephen Hawkins himself and a simple bacteria, (get the point) now if he is that superior to us how would we expect him to explain himself to us without him using term familiar to us, much like how a human might talk about using his flagella to aid a bacteria(diploid humans lack flagella). especially when he had dealings with the ancients.

    my point is the poetic expressions in the Bible should not be taken as literal, and as a Bacteria can’t comprehend our existence, so we can’t fully comprehend him.

    my proof for His existence is Bible prophecy that where fulfilled in the past and those are being fulfilled now, I will elaborate in my next post.