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Hawking Goes Dawkins

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RLDavies
739346.  Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:04 am Reply with quote

From what I gather, Hawking said it's not necessary to invoke a God to describe the beginning of the Universe, where "God" is defined as a sentient creator being. This is a long way from saying "there is no God". Hawking is well versed in logic and certainly knows the difference between these two propositions; it's the media that muddle them up.

He's perfectly happy to use "God" as a metaphorical term to refer to all-the-laws-of-nature-and-everything-in-the-Universe.

I'm inclined to think Hawking doesn't much care one way or the other, when all is said and done. His all-consuming interest is theoretical physics, not religious hairsplitting.

 
djgordy
739453.  Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:18 pm Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
From what I gather, Hawking said it's not necessary to invoke a God to describe the beginning of the Universe, where "God" is defined as a sentient creator being. This is a long way from saying "there is no God". Hawking is well versed in logic and certainly knows the difference between these two propositions; it's the media that muddle them up.


If he was that well versed in logic he'd know about Occam's razor. I can't help wondering what God would be doing if he wasn't the sentient creator being of the universe. If you believe in a god that doesn't so anything, then I don't see how you can believe in God at all.

Quote:
He's perfectly happy to use "God" as a metaphorical term to refer to all-the-laws-of-nature-and-everything-in-the-Universe.


Well, there is a sense of "metaphor" which includes rhetorical figures of speech including anti-thesis. The word "god", I would suggest, must include some notion of sentience and intentionality. The laws of nature, it seems t me, don't have sentience or intentionality.

 
RLDavies
739624.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:54 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
If he was that well versed in logic he'd know about Occam's razor.

Occam's razor is drummed into all scientists. The introduction of supernatural beings to describe physical phenomena is often discussed in science education as a clear violation of Occam's razor -- "multiplying entities beyond necessity". If you can explain a phenomenon in physical terms, you need not introduce a god into the equation.

djgordy wrote:
I can't help wondering what God would be doing if he wasn't the sentient creator being of the universe. If you believe in a god that doesn't so anything, then I don't see how you can believe in God at all.

Well, that's the point of the argument. Given the definition of "God" as "sentient creator", then if there is no sentient creator, then there is no God by definition. So he wouldn't be doing anything.

Note that this is only a simple definition and an if-then statement. It doesn't prove the existence or nonexistence of anything; it's just an exercise in logic. You're free to deny the real-world validity of the "if" statement. You're also free to define "God" in some other terms, in which case it will be a completely different argument.

I don't remember anybody saying they believed in a God who exists but doesn't do anything. This seems to raise an interesting point: suppose a powerful superhuman being exists, but can't or won't do anything that affects the world (and never has, and never will). Could this entity be called a god? I would say not.

 
Efros
739657.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:16 am Reply with quote

Occam's razor wasn't drummed into this scientist, rather it's meaning became apparent through experience. Trying to apply logical thinking and empiricism to a matter of faith and belief is rather like hammering a nail into a piece of wood, with your forehead i.e. pointless and bound to end up in a headache and or bloodshed.

 
RLDavies
739665.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:29 am Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
Trying to apply logical thinking and empiricism to a matter of faith and belief is rather like hammering a nail into a piece of wood, with your forehead i.e. pointless and bound to end up in a headache and or bloodshed.

Well said!

I like Wikipedia's description of the scientific-philosophical divide in its article on occultism: "Occultism is conceived of as the study of the inner nature of things, as opposed to the outer characteristics that are studied by science."

It's not that science and religion/philosophy/belief are incompatible, it's that they speak of entirely different things. They're disconnected.

 
Spud McLaren
739679.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:43 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
Could this entity be called a god? I would say not.
Might be called God (proper noun) - but not a god.

 
Ion Zone
739873.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:51 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Occam's razor is drummed into all scientists. The introduction of supernatural beings to describe physical phenomena is often discussed in science education as a clear violation of Occam's razor -- "multiplying entities beyond necessity".


Actually, that phrase is intended to include God.

Using Occam's razor like this is silly. The Razor just doesn't work if you can't test your hypothesis. The whole idea of the Razor is that you test its output. All you get using it in this situation is a rationalisation of the user's possession.

It assumes blistering simplicity when all the evidence suggests the universe is a very complex place. It also assumes that everything exists for a reason.

Why Science Cannot Address the Existence of God

 
Efros
739884.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:58 pm Reply with quote

Existence of God is really unimportant, faith and belief take care of that, if you have them that is.

 
Zebra57
739887.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:59 pm Reply with quote

I believe Groucho Marx played God in his last feature film

 
Jenny
739938.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:59 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
If you believe in a god that doesn't so anything, then I don't see how you can believe in God at all.


The huge assumption behind this is that God is somehow separate from and outside the rest of the universe.

 
Efros
739951.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:27 pm Reply with quote

jai guru Jenny om...

 
Jenny
739955.  Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:38 pm Reply with quote

<looks beatific>

 
dr.bob
740250.  Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:35 am Reply with quote

Ion Zone wrote:
Quote:
their previous stance, held for the best part of 2,000, that the Bible actually was a description of how the universe came into being was shown by science to be nonsense.


A lot of science has also been shown by science to be nonsense - it's how the system works.


Slight difference there, though. When someone like Kepler comes along and says "All that nonsense Ptolemy came out with about the planets going round the Sun in circles was utter bollocks, and here's the evidence to prove it", scientists collectively say "Oh yeah, you're right. That old theory was wrong. Wrong, wrong, utterly wrong. We'll start using ellipses to describe planetary motion from now on."

By contrast, when someone like Darwin says "All that nonsense the Bible says about God having created all the plants and animals was utter bollocks, and here's the evidence to prove it", a lot of people say "Oh well, of course that was only ever meant to simply be an allegory" while, somewhat more scarily, an uncomfortably large number of other people simply refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence before their eyes.

Neotenic wrote:
I think, for me, what's interesting is that everyone appears to be using Hawking's new book as reason to roll out their positions again (or extrapolate out to entire articles on the basis of three-word quotes) when very few of them will even have read the extract, and precisely none of them will have read the whole book, seeing as it doesn't come out until next week.


Surely that's the whole point. Whoever put out the quotes (either Hawking, his publisher, or some combination of the two) almost certainly knew it would kick off this kind of fuss. Perfect free advertising to help shift a few more copies of a book from an ageing academic whose theories are losing ever more credibility with the scientific establishment.

 
pstotto
740261.  Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:02 am Reply with quote

How great is science? And how great is the thing, of which, science is the method? For example, how great is it, phenomenologically, that 15 billion years after the Big Bang, sits us, having a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, on the skin of a ball of molten metal?
Is that ten out of ten, for being so impressive? Or better? How far off divinity is it, on a scale of not very impressive, all the way to God, for it being god-like?
Now factor into the equation the infinitessimal cognition we have of the Grand Totality of events i.e. times the greatness of it all beyond what we could conceive of, and this is but a slight inckling as to whatīs actually there. Itīs phenomenologically so great as to be worthy of worship, as a religion, to be venerated as divine, for it being so incredible.
Those that say there is no God, are virgins, regarding witnessing the god-like nature of reality. They must never have had a mystical experience.

 
Efros
740264.  Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:07 am Reply with quote

Blows raspberry!!

 

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