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September 2nd, 2010
12:18 PM ET

God didn't create universe, Stephen Hawking argues

God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book that aims to banish a divine creator from physics.

Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.

His book - as the title suggests - is an attempt to answer "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything," he writes, quoting Douglas Adams' cult science fiction romp, "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

He co-wrote the book with science writer Leonard Mlodinow.

His answer is "M-theory," which, he says, posits 11 space-time dimensions, "vibrating strings, ... point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space."

He doesn't explain much of that in the excerpt, which is the introduction to the book.

But he says he understands the feeling of the great English scientist SIr Isaac Newton that God did "create" and "conserve" order in the universe.

It was the discovery of other solar systems outside our own, in 1992, that undercut a key idea of Newton's - that our world was so uniquely designed to be comfortable for human life that some divine creator must have been responsible.

But, Hawking argues, if there are untold numbers of planets in the galaxy, it's less remarkable that there's one with conditions for human life.

And, indeed, he argues, any form of intelligent life that evolves anywhere will automatically find that it lives somewhere suitable for it.

From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours - and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing.

Therefore, he concludes, there's no need for God to explain it.

But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed  the point.

"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator  God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why  there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander.

"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our  scientific knowledge.

"Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may  happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative," said Alexander,  director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.

And Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history  of science, said that it's not the existence of the universe that proves the  existence of God.

But, he said, "a creator God provides a reasonable and credible  explanation of why there is a universe, and ... it is somewhat more likely that  there is a God than that there is not. That view is not undermined by what Hawking has said."

Hawking's book will be published on September 7 in the United States and  September 9 in the United Kingdom.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Culture wars • Europe • United Kingdom

soundoff (730 Responses)
  1. William Austin

    Okay, where did the gravity come from? There is still the question of getting something from nothing regardless of the M-theory. Gravity still exhibits a force so does gravity become the creative force of the universe? It is incredible how we can totally reason God out of the picture instead of discovering more of how He put the universe together. Belief in God does not remove science out of the picture at all.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Umm, fine, where did God come from? I mean, it'd be downright moronic to assert that one thing you know nothing about could not exist forever while at the same time, asserting that another thing you know nothing about could exist forever.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Dear god, save us from your followers.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @William Austin

      You said, "It is incredible how we can totally reason God out of the picture instead of discovering more of how He put the universe together."

      Man's learnings have been taking god out of the picture, for at least the last 300 years.
      Man created god, because they were afraid of death and because there were tons of stuff they didn't understand.

      God answered our ignorance. Why did it rain? God made it rain. Why does the sun circle the earth? God drives the sun across the sky. Why does the mountain rumble? God is angry. This is called "God Of The Gaps". God fills the gaps in man's knowledge. As man's learnings increase, the gaps that god has to fill, shrink.

      You asked, "Belief in God does not remove science out of the picture at all."

      Well, it sorta has to. Consider: Why does it rain? God makes it rain. Okay, if we say god did it, then we are done. If we are really serious and believe god makes it rain, then no further effort should be put into the problem. We have the answer. So, we would never have found out that it rains, because of evaporation.

      It is the goal of science, to learn the why of everything. By striving to do this, they have given us the technology we have today.
      Science has all but eradicated small pox and polio. If at anytime, science would have allowed the answer to a problem to be "god did it", then that problem would never be solved.

      September 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  2. npaki786

    umm...so Prof. Hawkings...where did gravity come from? It had to have an origin? ooo yes it came from nothing and the nothing created the Entire mass of all universes. Yep makes sense now. The nothing created light, mathematical formulas and gravity. So what is the Universe(s) expanding into?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • James

      Perhaps if you read his book, Mr Hawking would gladly answer questions like that within its pages.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Peter F

      I think the whole idea is completely absurd. Nothing cannot and will not ever be able to create "something" except in the case of God himself who exists outside the natural realm. Hawking may have a brilliant mind, but he's missing some key things.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      You sound like an obstinate child.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Nonimus

      PeterF,
      Why does God get a pass?

      September 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @npaki786

      You said, "umm...so Prof. Hawkings...where did gravity come from? It had to have an origin? ooo yes it came from nothing and the nothing created the Entire mass of all universes. Yep makes sense now. The nothing created light, mathematical formulas and gravity. So what is the Universe(s) expanding into?"

      Gravity isn't something that acts on gravity. Gravity exists, because mass exists. Greater the mass, the greater is the gravitational attraction. Heard of black holes? Gravity.

      So, if mass came to exist, so did gravity. Not separate.

      Universe may be expanding forever. Eventually falling apart, because gravitational attraction is dependent on distance from objects.

      Or, if there is enough material in the universe, the outward expansion will stop and start to collapse on itself. This is called the Big Crunch. The universe may have expanded and contracted (Bang and then Crunch) 1 time or Billions. Each time the big bang occurred a brand new universe would be created. Sort of exciting huh?

      September 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      Dark matter.

      Just bein' cryptic

      September 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Kate

      You said, "Dark matter."

      There are no flys on you, sister.

      It has been speculated that there is not enough mass in the universe to stop the outward expansion. So, no Big Crunch.

      Scientists think a substance called dark matter may account for 80% of the matter in the universe. The ordinary matter accounts for the other 20%. If this turns out to be true, then there will be enough mass to stop the outward expansion and begin the crunch.

      September 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      Gets even better when you factor in dark energy on top of it ...

      Not that I would possibly actually write science fiction, you understand

      Just incognitoin'

      September 2, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Peter F

      @ Nonimus

      Because The Lord God was and is and is to come. In other words, He has always existed but he exists outside the natural realm. He is supernatural, supreme, everlasting. He is not created because there is no one higher than him. I completely understand if that concept is hard to grasp. I'm a Christian, and it's hard for me to grasp.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Peter F,
      "...He has always existed but he exists outside the natural realm."
      Is there some reason to think that that is actually true?

      September 3, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  3. buntyp

    I wonder where the 'Blue Touch Paper', to which Stephen Hawikings refers, came from. The 'Admission of 'Spontaneity', as a part of the 'Reason' for the 'Lighting' of the 'Blue Touch Paper', is already an 'Inherently held belief', of a Power greater than 'SCIENCE', because, if there is nothing, THERE CAN BE NO SPONTANEITY.

    Whatever his 'Medical Problem', Stephen Hawkings', now shares the 'Delusional Belief', that many other Scientists hold, and that is, that they NOW KNOW, as much as God. BUT, having to deal with having all that KNOWLEDGE, & being able to RECONCILE that with having not even a ZILCH of the Power, is beyond their CAPACITY. They are then RELUCTANT OTHER SPECIES.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Karen

      Actually, scientists don't claim to know everything. It's why they are scientists, because they aim to try and discover more about what they admit that they don't know.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Bob

      @buntyp A couple of things. Scientists don't think they know as much as your mythical God. Because if they knew everything science would stop. Furthermore, CAPITIALIZING WORDS in your RESPONSES makes YOU look LIKE AN idiot. REALLY it DOES.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @buntyp

      "You said, "Whatever his 'Medical Problem', Stephen Hawkings', now shares the 'Delusional Belief', that many other Scientists hold, and that is, that they NOW KNOW, as much as God. BUT, having to deal with having all that KNOWLEDGE, & being able to RECONCILE that with having not even a ZILCH of the Power, is beyond their CAPACITY. They are then RELUCTANT OTHER SPECIES."

      You are right. Scientists do know as much as god, 'cause god doesn't exist.
      Bob is right. Using capitol letters doesn't strengthen your argument. Your argument does not need the capitol letters. It is strong! Bold! I knew at once I was listening to a scholar of the good book!

      September 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      OK, I am in awe, that was ... sublime 😛

      Just bowin'

      September 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  4. JazzHands

    People, it's just SPECULATION.
    If he had a mathematical proof, his assertions would be front page news around the world. Scientists would be flinging themselves onto talk-shows for years.
    Get a tucking grip.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @JazzHands

      You said, "People, it's just SPECULATION.
      If he had a mathematical proof, his assertions would be front page news around the world. Scientists would be flinging themselves onto talk-shows for years.
      Get a tucking grip"

      Yeah, its doesn't compare to all the evidence there is for god. If a person had real proof of god...why I bet he'd be on Oprah.

      September 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      Some people believe Oprah is God – or the closest thing to it

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  5. Ykcyc

    "God" is only a three letter word that point to Eternal, Infinite, Love. A word is only a pointer. It can not be used to describe, what is undescribable is everywhere and is everything, including us, lost in our labels and definitions, confining us to the prizon of our limited beliefs.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • John

      Isn't it amazing that most of the rebuttle within this discussion is simply pointed at spelling and grammerical errors or someone trying to one-up someone else. If people have nothing more to say than that, perhaps they should just listen or read. Your statement that "God" is only a three letter word that point to Eternal, Infinite, Love." This is the ultimate statement of life and is the only statement that needs to be made or has any meaning. Everything else is simply an argument about words. Religions come and go just like scientific theorys. They are simply mans efforts in trying to figure things out.
      God IS love. God is the LOVE that dwells in the hearts of men. It's as simple as that. If man had LOVE within his heart, there would be no fighting and killing and sorrow. There would be only forgiveness and understanding.
      Your previous statement says it all....

      To notice, all we have to do is listen, look
      Inside, One Truth, One Life is who we truly are
      But, we won’t get from “them” or “their books”
      The fact, God does exist, it’s only Love.

      In LOVE and through LOVE

      September 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  6. The Bare

    Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. Hawkings "faith" is in physics; his Creation god is Gravity. I wonder where gravity originated? If it has always been, that it is view held by many – of God. Many of those who beleive that God was and is the Creator, also view distant galaxies and planets – even those with life, as part of God's gift to his children. Discovery, through the wonder of science, is not an amusement, but a joy of intellectual growth. To this we give thanks.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @The Bare

      Except science doesn't depend on belief or faith. It depends on the scientific method.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bob

      Faith and reason are mutually exclusive. Just that you haven't figured out why yet.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Many of those who beleive that God was and is the Creator, also view distant galaxies and planets – even those with life, as part of God's gift to his children. Discovery, through the wonder of science, is not an amusement, but a joy of intellectual growth."

      So, God created billions of stars in billions of galaxies, most of which won't ever be seen, just so we could feel the "joy" of discovery about something is not necessary. Wow, how depressing. What joy is there in discovering the window dressings?

      September 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • Kate

      @Bob

      Not really – mathematicians have faith in the order of reason.

      Just brainstormin'

      September 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      That's a rather species-centric rebuttal don't you think?

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Kate,
      I thought the whole 'God created the universe for man(kind) alone' concept was implied in the original statement... Perhaps not.

      September 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      If it's a given that humans can't understand God, and it's a given that there are billions upon billions upon untold billions of stars, and may of them have been found to have planets orbiting them, then there's no reason to believe that God is exclusive, the potential exists there for a God to have lots of children all over the place.

      Metaphysics and physics get complicated 😛

      Just hypothesizin'

      September 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimu

      Of course, that then lays open interstellar religious conflicts for exploration too ...

      Just paranoid

      September 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate,
      I don't think God or our ability to understand God is a given. Isn't that a point of debate here, "God didn't create universe, Stephen Hawking argues"?
      Multiple forms of life spread around the universe is not really an issue for science, in fact, it's kind of expected. If however one believes in a 'we're made in God's image' kind of religion then extraterrestrial life may very well be an issue, even if 'image' is not taken literally as physical representation.

      September 2, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @The Bare

      You said, "Many of those who beleive that God was and is the Creator, also view distant galaxies and planets – even those with life, as part of God's gift to his children."

      Do you think the life on those other planets, will accept the fact that god has given them to us, as a gift?

      Wish I could be there when you tell them...

      September 3, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  7. LaVerne L. Oliver

    1 thing is certain S.H. hasn't cast any new light on the nature of existence.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      I guess its a good thing he focused on theoretical physics and astronomy. You own the patent on existence.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  8. Sam

    Mike: shrug, brightest, speech marks required.
    abdul quadeer: can't
    ODIRony: border

    September 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  9. DS

    Who Created Gravity?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • don

      John Mayer

      September 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  10. Alex

    Se nao foi Deus que criou...fui eu!!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Flavio

      Deus criou o mundo. Hawking criou bobagem!

      September 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  11. Ike

    So, if there were a creator, it would have to come from nothing. Same problem. Since I behold there is something, then something can come from nothing. Adding a creator is an extra and unnecessary step.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Richard

      You and your silly logic, didn't you know that adding magic to science makes going further than our current knowledge unneccessary?

      I'm not sure why he's writing the book though, I was aware of these arguments decades ago. Is it just a reaction to the recent surge in public religious opposition science?

      September 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Richard

      You and your silly logic, didn't you know that adding magic to science makes going further than our current knowledge unneccessary?

      You asked, "I'm not sure why he's writing the book though, I was aware of these arguments decades ago. Is it just a reaction to the recent surge in public religious opposition science?"

      Anything written by Hawking will sell. If he posted his grocery list on e-bay, it would be purchased and not ignored.

      This statement about a god not being necessary to account for the universe is not only true, but stated by Hawking to rile up the fundies. And get tons of publicity for his new book.

      I love it, because I like to see the fundies riled up.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • Bob

      @David Johnson I have his grocery list book. Here's a spoiler, he buys alot of diapers. LOLZ.

      September 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      You said, " I have his grocery list book. Here's a spoiler, he buys alot of diapers. LOLZ."

      Dude! That's not right. Jesus won't love you if you talk smack like that.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      Bob's just jealous Hawking has a better computer to read sites like this on 😛

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  12. Patrick Worthey

    God, and his creation will continue to exist after Mr. Hawking and his opinions are long gone.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Peter

      He's actually a Professor.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • USN Athiest

      Unfortunately you are correct. Humans by nature need to have something to cling to whether it is for blame or for forgiveness.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Religions crumble when they face things that are larger and more powerful than themselves. Christianity is lucky because it was the preferred myth believed in by imperialistic Europeans. They forced the rest of the world to see things their way. Slowly but surely, science and logic are becoming more powerful than Christianity, and will eventually crush religion. Like it or not, its day's are numbered.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Patrick Worthey

      You said, "God, and his creation will continue to exist after Mr. Hawking and his opinions are long gone."

      I just read a book. In it were 3 pages of gods who men have worshipped throughout history. They all are now forgotten. But once, they were loved, prayed to, and feared. They have all died from neglect.

      So, you are correct. A god will live on, until the last human dies. But, will it be the Christian god? or the Islamic god or maybe the Hindu gods? Man loves to invent gods.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • lolcat

      lolz of course stephen hawking would say that religion is rubbish. Science is the only thing he has left in his life. I think he is biting more than he can chew, and that god exists and he did create the world that we know. how do you know that science put the sun in the center of our solar system? hmm????? i think religion and science both exist

      September 6, 2010 at 1:08 am |
  13. Sabrina

    Why are we listening to a vegetable like Hawking anyway?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • William Austin

      Sabrina,
      Although I do not agree with Professor Hawkings, he still has a brilliant mind regardless of his physical state. Unfortunately, he is using his mind to try and disprove the existence of a Creator which I believe is a foolish venture.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Infidelite

      Are you quoting the Pope, the Ayatollah, or Ahmadinejad? Perhaps Sabrina we listen to him because he is recognized by educated people as one of history's most brilliant physicists, something religious organizations such as the Catholic church have historically repudiated, denied, disputed, hidden, persecuted, tortured, mutilated and murdered throughout history on points now accepted and known to be common knowledge, such as the world being round instead of flat, that the sun is the center of the solar system, etc.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • treetop

      if hes a vegetable what does that make you?...

      September 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Sabrina

      You said, "Why are we listening to a vegetable like Hawking anyway?"

      The man's body is a wreck. But his mind is awesome.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Infidelite

      You said, "known to be common knowledge, such as the world being round instead of flat, that the sun is the center of the solar system, etc."

      Oh come on! You can only take your science so far. What do you mean the sun is the center of the solar system? God clearly made the universe for man's enjoyment. He placed the earth in the center, just as you might put the Christmas tree in the center of the room so all might enjoy it. The sun circles the earth. Bible says it. I believe it.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Kate

      @Sabrina

      If Hawking is a vegetable, that puts you somewhere around the level of a fungus.

      A particularly moldy one it seems.

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  14. James

    Mike, I think you may have somewhat missed the point of Hawking's statement. He's saying that in the emptiness before the Big Bang, there was no need for "divine intervention", as it were, to start the event, as gravity itself would create the necessary force to initiate it. So, unless there is are two tiny particles of seemingly infinite matter in your home, I don't think you're liable to see seven new kids and a TV. Unless your wife's been hiding something from you, that is.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • USN Athiest

      ZING!!! Score one for James.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Mike

      "gravity itself would create the necessary force to initiate it."

      Don't know how you got that from the article or the book that isn't even out but gravity, force, needs mass, something the opposite of nothing, to act upon.

      Congrats you got the joke about the seven kids, although its not as funny if you have to spell it out.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  15. Chuck

    He'd sell a thousand times as many books if he'd said God had created everything.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • USN Athiest

      That would have gone against what he believes then wouldn't it? It wouldn't be any better than someone writing a book(s) syaing stuff like woman came from someone's rib or that bats are birds or that five loaves of bread and two fish fed thousands.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      The man is not interested in lying for a profit. That's up to the church.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mike

      Chuck, I think you are wrong, there is already a best-selling book that states that.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Chuck

      You said, "He'd sell a thousand times as many books if he'd said God had created everything."

      Yeah, but then he would be a liar.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  16. R.Starnes

    Hawking sucks.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @R.Starnes

      So does your god, but at least Hawking is real.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      And you are?

      September 2, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Only with difficulty, if at all. Such is the nature of his disease.

      Would you be able to handle such a condition?

      September 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  17. ODIRony

    Once again, a scientist transgresses the boarder between physics and metaphysics.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      border?
      English?

      September 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Border? I think at this point it may be more of a vague smudge after being trampled by so many crossings in both directions.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Border? I think at this point it may be more of a va.g.ue smudge after being tram.p.led by so many cr.os.sings in both directions.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Kate

      @ODIrony

      I'm curious – who collects the rent, and do they all have to share a bathroom?

      Just wonderin'

      September 2, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Invitaciones

      Donnalin Posted on Stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE it!!! Gives me the courage to keep on trinyg even though most of my crafty ideas look sooooo much better in my head you inspire me LOL!!!! Have a great one.

      October 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  18. Fast Eddie

    His biggest mistake is in not defining what a "God" is.
    You cannot refute something that has no definition for you to refute.
    He has strayed into the philosophical where he is not especially gifted, it seems.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      "God" is only a three letter word that points to Eternal, Infinite, Love. A word is only a pointer. It can not be used to describe, what is undescribable is everywhere and is everything, including us, lost in our labels and definitions, confining us to the prizon of our limited beliefs.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      I would like to ask Dr. Hawking, "what holds atoms that make up your body together and have them fall apart, when you are dead?" It must be that "dumb" gravity force doing it again. ;))

      September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      I would also like to remind Dr. Hawking that we too, are mostly empty space and in reality don't know anything – we only think that we do. Where will your knowledge and accomplisments be when our sun dies? Most people defend their opinions and beliefs, as if they were real, forgeting they are only pretending, role playing, and mask wearing – not even knowing, who is behind those masks.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      If you would read something he wrote instead of what CNN wrote about him, you would see that he is actually extremely gifted.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      I am not saying that he isn't and I am aware of his talent, but he is still a mortal human being with a limited point of view and a set of body functions. What his mind is able to conceve is limited. What he is talking about is without a limit. A good bowel movement and a zipper that is not open sometimes should suffice. ;))

      September 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      A dead body doesn't decay on the atomic level.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      On what level does the body fall apart, once the Life ends? Is "nothing" far enough? Or does that mean we can claim ownership to "our" own atoms and sue those who reuse them in their bodies without our permission?))

      September 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Ykcyc

      On what level does the body fall apart, once the Life ends? Is "nothing" far enough? Or does that mean we can claim ownership to "our" own atoms and sue those who reuse them in their bodies without our permission?))

      Question: I have always wondered how come you can't split an atom?
      Mary, grade 5

      Answer:
      Well, you CAN split an atom, but NOT by ORDINARY means. That is,
      you can't do it with a knife or a grinder. You can't do it with chemistry
      either. You have to hit it with a high energy particle of some sort
      and after you have done so what you have left is no longer an atom
      of the material you started out with.
      For your purposes you should remember that –
      you can't split an atom by ORDINARY means.

      Yeah, dude, you really should be arguing with Stephen Hawking. LOL! LOL 'till my sides ache.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      @David Johnson
      You must be very proud of yourself, Mary.
      Now, pay attention – you are not performing on a stage.
      I wasn't talking about splitting atoms, silly.
      I was talking about you being gone without a slightest trace in a very short time.
      Whatever it is holding you together and breathing for you at this moment, you should be greatful to.
      Now, don't forget to drink plenty of water, exercise, and don't show off you "smarts" for everyone to see.
      I see that you get off on that.
      Go now and play nice. ;))

      September 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • reasonableMe

      All hes saying is it is not necessary to have something(god) outside of the universe to light the fuse. Nothing is what bible-thumpers are afraid of , nothing is what we came from and nothing is what we return to. Religion helps people who haven't yet found there purpose in life by giving them a temporary imaginary meaning.

      After awhile you will grow out of this to find your true creative purpose in life and define your own morals, you will be happier because your a good person because you want to be not because you have to be. Your past-faith in ancient text at this point will seem ludicrous and you will know YOUR Truth and YOUR truth will set YOU free – if you have any concern at all about OTHER Peoples views and faith then your not there yet.

      If you have to keep convincing yourself and others that somethings true, then maybe it' not

      September 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • TammyB

      @ Ykcyc...I hear if you bury someone in the forest regions of Washington and Oregon they will disappear very quickly with absolutely no trace of them by any means. Is that clear enough for you? (BTW, making your point by calling someone a "Mary" is not a very convincing sort of argument...kinda sounds like you're still in kindergarten or at least high school).

      September 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @ykcyc

      You stated: " would like to ask Dr. Hawking, "what holds atoms that make up your body together and have them fall apart, when you are dead?" It must be that "dumb" gravity force doing it again. )"

      Atoms don't fall apart when you are dead. So, it is not gravity. Other forces keeping atoms together.
      I don't know what a mary is, so I'm not offended.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      Ykcyc

      @David Johnson
      Dear Mr. Johnson,
      I am not trying to proove anything and there is really noone to convince of anything, but though I may be in kindergarden, I know that when a body dies, the atoms don't stay together, after death, gravity or not. Whatever held them together is not there anymore. I've seen dead bodies to know that. I think you are splitting hair, not atoms. What is your point?

      September 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • TammyB

      @Ykcyc...Hey, I'm the one that made the kindergarten comment NOT David Johnson! Sorry if I offended...

      September 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  19. abdul qadeer

    Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah), his science cant remove him from his wheel chair

    September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • Fast Eddie

      Faith will not heal him either. Science, at least, has a measurable chance of working. Modern medicine is getting closer to a cure for his debilitating disease.
      How much closer is your faith getting? Not even trying to find something that works in real life? Leaning on "Allah" weakens you as much as sitting in a chair with a debilitating disease. Did "Allah" intend for you to use your faith in this manner?

      September 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Neither can you god. Show me one documented case where your god has restored a lost limb.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yeah, you god is all powerful. Except:

      Show me one documented case where your god has restored a lost limb.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yeah, you god is all powerful. Except:

      Show me one doc umented case where your god has restored a lost limb.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Jesus

      Either can your god, so whats youe point? your lucky your not in a wheel chair you ignoramus!

      September 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • Colin

      Isn't it funny how all "faith healings" are internal conditions, not visible to the eye, that a person could've, oh I don't know, just got better from. What about all the disfigured children in the world, what about all the Muslim women, disfigured by the Taliban and their husbands; noses cut off, faces destroyed by acid. Where is Allah then? Why is their faith not rewarded and their flesh healed?

      Give me a break...

      September 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @ykcyc

      You stated: "I would like to ask Dr. Hawking, "what holds atoms that make up your body together and have them fall apart, when you are dead?" It must be that "dumb" gravity force doing it again. )"

      The atoms that make up your body do not "fall apart" when you die. Cheers!

      September 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      @David Johnson
      Dear Mr. Johnson,
      I am not trying to proove anything and there is really noone to convince of anything, but though I may be in kindergarden, I know that when a body dies, the atoms don't stay together, after death, gravity or not. Whatever held them together is not there anymore. I've seen dead bodies to know that. I think you are splitting hair not atoms. What is your point?

      September 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Ykcyc

      You said, "I am not trying to proove anything and there is really noone to convince of anything, but though I may be in kindergarden, I know that when a body dies, the atoms don't stay together, after death, gravity or not. Whatever held them together is not there anymore. I've seen dead bodies to know that. I think you are splitting hair not atoms. What is your point?"

      I have no point. You are right. When we die, the atoms fall apart.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      Any of us "are" where our hearts are at. The flesh just restrains us to do some chores from the negative pespective and an opportunity to help another with their struggles when we can find the allowance to function. Thankfully though, reaching beyond ourselves can spring forth from our heart and and even finds avenues to reach out [even to(ward) God] which the carnal nature does not fathom. And as the poem suggest God is the sustaining heart of the real potential for sacrificial love. And God's infinite nature allows all the balance and/or justice, necessarily mixed into the ALL finite entities' ways, an eternity coming be at One with the purest of grace.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • Gregory D. MELLOTT

      So noting the finite entities' enternal state, our heart seeks a health to be a new creature [beyond this worlds/cosmos[greek word for woeld] failing ways). Our faith must be beyond the carnal natures ways, since its state will never see with its own eyes sufficient evidence of God's existence to be really satisfied. So the physicist may say we believe in nothing. Yet that belief can make man willing to sacrifice even themselves to generate something toward God's nature in this creation, ideally as sustainably as possible for their fuller posterities sake. And sometimes even their sacrifice finds some measure of quiet in the midst of even this worlds storm. Though, the resolved 'quiet' in the heart is the sweetest conversation.

      September 10, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  20. Mike

    "the universe can and will create itself from nothing"

    So if I come home tonight and see a brand new TV and seven new kids in my house I will just strug my shoulders and say well I guess it created itself from nothing... what even the brightess people will do to sell books.

    September 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • USN Athiest

      "what even the brightess people will do to sell books."

      You are right...look at Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, Ezra, King David, King Solomon, Jeremiah, Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, all from the writings of the old testament. Matthew Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter, Jude and Paul from the new testament...as you said, what even the brightest (correct spelling I might add) people will do to sell books.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bostonian

      It is true that TVs and kids do not come from nothing, but plenty of smaller stuff does. Quantum mechanics proposes, and real observations have shown, that particles appear and disappear all the time. We are all made of probability.

      I do wish this meant that free TVs would appear in my living room (and why stop at TVs – why not Scarlett Johanssons?). But it doesn't. What it does mean is that a superpower-endowed creator character is not essential to an explanation of how the universe came to be. This is Hawking's main point, that gods have been written out of fundamental explanations because, given what we have learned, gods are not required for them. It's just like when gods were written out of health questions when the germ theory answered the question, "Why do people get sick?"

      September 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Peter F

      Except the apostles didn't profit off of them. 🙂

      September 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • USN Atheist

      @ Peter F – Depends on the definition "profit". Look at where christianity is now..all from someone writing something and getting people to believe it over the years despite evidence of it not occurring, not occurring as written or no way possible it could have occurred.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Hooray for taking the most brilliant individual's conclusions from his life's work to your own irrational conclusions to refute a point you know nothing about.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mike

      USN – Peter is correct what did the men who scribed the bible profit.

      As for you bold statement without source "no way possible it could have occurred."
      I will echo the words of Paul. The people at the time of the writtings had the ability to cross check the writtings with the ~500 witnesses of the resurrection that were still alive 1 Cor 15.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Peter F

      Paul did not SELL his books for money. In fact most of his "books" were actually letters written to the first churches in and around Greece. He wasn't out to cram his opinions down people's throats hoping they would adore and worship him. He actually REFUSED people's worship. Paul was out to extend the truth that Christ was Lord. And when it comes down to it, Paul was probably martyred during his service . The only "profit" I see in all of that is the love of God and eternal life. 🙂

      September 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Peter F

      You said, "Except the apostles didn't profit off of them."

      They got their 15 minutes of fame.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Peter F

      Anyone who does something important in the course of human history will acquire some type of fame... whether MLK, Charlemagne, Buddha, Gallileo or even Obama. The difference is that the apostles were givers. They were passing on what Christ had given to them, and eventually many of them gave their own lives. Few people are really willing to die (literally expecting a violent/bloody death) in the course of their service. And this wasn't one or two disciples, but many. It is amazing how powerful and resilient the love of God really is!

      September 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Peter F

      You said, " Few people are really willing to die (literally expecting a violent/bloody death) in the course of their service. And this wasn't one or two disciples, but many. It is amazing how powerful and resilient the love of God really is!"

      Yeah, few people are willing to die for their god. Only the Christian god commands this kind of love and devotion. Ooopsie!

      What about all those followers of Islam who blow themselves up in the name of their god?

      Willingness to die for a god, does not mean that god is real.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Dustin

      @ USN Atheist: I agree with you that an absolute proof of God does not exist, but why are you so hostile to those who believe otherwise? You conclude rightly that many people believe many things "despite evidence of it not occurring, not occurring as written or no way possible it could have occurred." Then you say that all contributors to the bible where in it for profit.
      1) Stephen Hawkins' income from this book will more highly effect his income then most (but prob not all) of the writers of the bible (granting that some of them prob got free room and board after writing their letters). Believing they wrote the books to make money is a belief "despite evidence [of] occurring".
      2) Saying "Depends on the definition "profit". Look at where christianity is now" is, to me, twisting the truth to justify your belief as much as any hate-filled christian ever has. i dont know exactly what you meant but it sounds like you are saying profit means they wrote their books to influence future generations. I can respect the idea that fame or influence motivated them, but there is no evidence that any of them ever reversed their position when faced with death, so at the very least they were fully deluded by their beliefs, again, not evidence they were writing "rediculous" ideas in books for profit, as Mike originally suggested that Stephen Hawking was doing.
      Full disclosure: i am a christian, but i agree a lot of christians suck. But please dont hate people just for believing in God, try to be superior to those crappy christians, then you'll see it really is hard not to hate. I think the only way it to ask Jesus to heal you from all your sin and all the crappy things people have done to you in your life; but i admit thats just an opinion.
      Also as an electrical engineer i have always said that the only way to get rid of God in the creating of the universe is to presuppose infinite universes. So i agree that Stephen Hawkins theory holds water. But i'd still like to see the math, i hope he puts it in the book rather than just explaining the math with words.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • verify

      Mike,

      "The people at the time of the writtings had the ability to cross check the writtings with the ~500 witnesses of the resurrection that were still alive 1 Cor 15."

      Paul *claimed* this, but did not name or interview any of them. The most phenomenal event to ever occur in the history of mankind and he did not absolutely, definitively, incontrovertibly document it?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      RELIGION

      Religion is a sickness of the mind
      It twists, distorts reality and will
      Divide, sort, break, and label our kind
      Delusion that is truly evil, ill.

      Religion is a sickness of the world
      Opinions, positions, thoughts, beliefs
      Can only bring destruction, pain, and war
      Can only cause more bloodshed, grief, and tears

      Lies that are spread to keep the hate alive
      Contagious blindness, masked as real Truth
      To see, one only has to look with open mind
      And open heart, to break from prison of their views

      Blind faith, unconsciousness, fanatic make-believe
      Like wounded animal, tries to defend itself
      Imagined enemies and threats to it’s own myth
      Cause pain and suffering in it’s own hell

      Infects our minds with thoughts of right and wrong
      Pretends to be the Truth, to know what it is
      Based on reality that’s long been gone
      It lies of Love, true kindness, bliss, and peace

      Pretends, as if it’s possible in words
      Express the miracle, that is One Life, itself
      The depth of space, the “why?” of countless worlds
      Contained in dusty books, decaying on the shelf?

      Reality itself, Eternal, Infinite, Divine
      It’s purpose, plan, and reason “why?”
      It’s everywhere and all the time
      For “special me”, to grant me “mine”?

      For us to feel the joy, to simply be
      Exists reality beyond religion’s plan
      Beyond the ego’s, “mine”, and “me”
      Lies consciousness of Tao and Zen.

      To notice, all we have to do is listen, look
      Inside, One Truth, One Life is who we truly are
      But, we won’t get from “them” or “their books”
      The fact, God does exist, it’s only Love.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • verify

      Mike,

      "The people at the time of the writtings had the ability to cross check the writtings with the ~500 witnesses of the resurrection that were still alive 1 Cor 15."

      Paul *claimed* this, but did not name or interview any of them. The most phenomenal event to ever occur in the history of mankind and he did not absolutely, definitively, incontrovertibly doc_ument it?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Randy

      Another forum for the ignorant and superstitious to display their lack of comprehension, reason, and/or mastery of English. Instead of telling people who are actually interested in reason, learning, and the scientific method to "Go read the bible" (for the 10,000th time), why don't you open your narrow little mind and learn what the scientific method is all about? Maybe you could even get your G.E.D. along the way.

      Interesting as well that you're on here enjoying the fruits of the labor of scientists and researchers, whose technology you accept out of hand - and yet whose methods you choose to dismiss without thought.

      You would do well to reconsider your cavalier, head-in-the sand Bible-thumping attitude. There's a bigger, more wonderful world of endless knowledge and fascination awaiting, if only you'll open your eyes.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Verify

      Damn I respect you!

      September 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • verify

      David Johnson,

      Thank you - those words coming from you, whom I greatly respect, is a wonderful compliment.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Mike

      Verify, why?

      September 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Luke

      Mike – The best way to answer that is a rather difficult and cerebral statement. But try to wrap your mind around this:

      The creation of a TV and children is not equivalent to the creation of a universe. They are not comparable events. From there, I recommend reading books by Mr. Tyson of the Natural History Museum in NYC.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • Peter F

      Jonestown? David Koresh?

      September 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • JimBean

      HAHAHA thats your rebuttal to one of the greatest minds of any generation !?!?

      You reduce his argument about gravity and the orgins of the universe to crap appearing in your living room and sum it up with he's just trying to sell books?!? Wow! Bravo And you can use a computer too huh? Well i think that's neat.

      But seriously, beyond those trying to take the bible literally (nobody tries to argue with those guys) I dont know what the fuss is about. He didnt disprove your impossible to disprove invisible god living in the clouds. He only said you dont need god to credit the creation of the universe to.

      So relax fundies, you still have the silly homocentric word play i.e. "Well then mister smarty pants what created gravity then ?" da capo sine fine. Tomorrow is another day and your infallible logic is safe from anything rational science can throw atcha.

      Oh, here's another silly word game for ya ... I have 0 bananas, I may divide them later.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • Reality

      Christian economics 101:

      The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the "dunking". The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added "healing" as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. But still no greed there.

      Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and "Gentilized" the good word to the "big buck" world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?

      Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them "free". Major greed on his part!!

      The Holy Roman "Empirers"/Popes/Kings/Queens et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today's richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies. Obvious greed!!!

      And then there was Hawking?

      A better view? The universe always was and always will be existing in a state of expansion and shrinkage sometimes referred to the Big Bang followed by a Gib Gnab 20 billion years later.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • Tarim S

      @Ykcyc

      That was a nice post. It's good to see something besides the usual rants in here.
      thx

      September 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Dustin

      @ Luke; I agree that the creation of children and TV is not at all similar to the creation of the universe, but to say they are not comparable at all i believe is inaccurate. The entire reason that infinite universes are necessary to positively eliminate God from creation is that no other explanation can account for the entropy decrease that happened in this universe. Thats the way i read Mike's comment, that its not the children or TV in itself, but that order has appeared out of nowhere. I believe that entropy can decrease at the quantum level but system entropy always increases in this universe, so determinately so that we strictly define time as the direction of entropy increasing. That's why he is saying it sounded crazy to him. I dont think his thought is enough to treat him like he's a moron. for more on that, see my post above.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • Reality

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      September 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Luke

      Dustin – Who treated him like a moron? Certainly not me. I stated a very clear and concise metaphor that anyone can understand. Obviously, not a lot of people reading these boards are masters of quantum mechanics and biologists. My statement was not inflamatory and perfectly logical. In any event, I do not disagree with your postulations, but you do see the terrible use of logic in injecting the entire christian doctrine into the gap opened by our not fully understanding the nature of quantum mechanics and the relationship to system entropy in the universe at this point in our human existance, right? That's my argument.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Dustin

      @ Luke; sorry, i misunderstood you. your language was certainly not inflammatory, that not what i meant, i just know that someone telling me that i was wrong because the real answer was a "rather difficult and cerebral statement. But try to wrap your mind around this" and then saying what you admit and was a fact that "anyone can understand", would hurt my feelings and make me feel stupid. If you didnt mean it as an insult then my bad, im overly sensitive.
      I admit as a christian that a christian arguement seems pretty weak compared to the beauty and perfection of math and science, but as someone who experienced God's grace and freedom from drug addiction i can tell you i dont mean to find science's only big gap and say "see Jesus was real!", and i agree that would be wrong, but what else can i do if i do believed before i knew of the gap? just say, "well science will disprove me one day so why fight it"? you can see im kind of stuck, which might be why some christians can be so annoying, because they are so predictable in their response to math and seem to ignore all good sense. anyway, i love smart people and i appreciate your honest response to me.

      September 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Mike

      Reality "The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the "dunking". Where do you come up with this stuff. How much did John charge. What did he spend it on since he lived amoung creation. Why was he not upset when he loss is profitable business to Jesus.

      Luke – Why are they not comparable events? They have the same starting conditions, nothing (or nothing plus gravity).

      September 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Luke: I heart Neil Degrasse Tyson... I'm only just starting to read books on physics and particle theory. It is fascinating stuff!

      September 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • Kate

      @verify

      Anything Paul wrote is suspect if you subscribe to the Pauline coup theory, trying to displace Peter and start his own version – which, if the theory is true, obviously worked 🙂 A lack of documentation wouldn't be all that surprising since it's harder to rewrite history if someone actually wrote it.

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Kate

      @verify

      Anything Paul wrote is suspect if you subscribe to the Pauline coup theory, trying to displace Peter and start his own version – which, if the theory is true, obviously worked A lack of doc.umentation wouldn't be all that surprising since it's harder to rewrite history if someone actually wrote it.

      Just sayin'

      September 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Robert

      this guy has the entire universe figured out but has to have someone change his diaper??

      September 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.