Monday, September 6, 2010

Did God Ever Exist?

God didn’t create the universe…at least that seems all the fad right now; all last week my Google news page alerted me of Stephen Hawking’s new co-written book, The Grand Design (due out next week).

In the book, Hawking’s writes that science now is advance enough to show there was no intelligent designer. You can read an excerpt in the book here.

I have only read a sample from the book, and honestly have no desire to read the whole thing, but one thing Hawking’s said stood out: “Yet the latest advances in cosmology explain why the laws of the universe seem tailor-made for humans, without the need for a benevolent creator.” So basically he’s saying that earth is so perfect, and so fit for humans—so finely tuned that only one thing can explain it: science. Maybe it’s me, but the fact that it’s so ridiculously fine-tuned for humans is one thing that explains why science didn’t create it.

From what I have read from the book, it doesn’t add anything new; rather it just repeats old science in a controversial way; Hawking’s doesn’t really prove that God doesn’t exist—he doesn’t really prove anything.

As I read it, however, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him; it doesn’t matter to me what people believe, but to spend so much effort trying to prove that the world really is just a giant coincidence and that there isn’t much of anything to look forward to because when we die, that’s it—it just seems like about the most hopeless few of life you can possibly have.

What most scientist don’t spend enough time considering is people don’t believe in God because it’s the most rationale choice—they believe because it makes them happy. Faith is not logical; if you find a way to make faith make sense, it’s not faith anymore. The whole idea of faith is based on ideas that are at times incredibly irrational—but that’s sort of the point: to believe in something that is beyond what you can ever prove, and outside of what you can ever fully understand.

Rob Bell spends quite a bit of time talking about the universe and the laws of it in “Everything is Spiritual.” He’s not a scientist, but I found the ideas he raised much more interesting, and deeper, than Hawking’s; you can see some of Bell’s ideas below…it’s one of the better counter arguments to what Hawking’s is trying to say—at least from a pastor.

6 comments:

  1. Great post. I've been thinking along similar lines recently after I listened to an interview with Robert Laughlin on a podcast called Econtalk.

    In it he discussed the idea of Emergents - basically that certain characteristics and behaviours emerge that do not exist in and of themselves among particles/ideas.

    That the further you drill down into particles and other things, the less that all of this makes sense to us, and the less that we really understand how it all works.

    He wasn't arguing for a creator in any way, but it struck me as interesting that the more and more we learn about our Universe and the way we think it operates, we don't really understand more, but rather we just discover more and more complexity opening up - to me that just screams God. I understand it doesn't to others, but in my eyes this lack of ability for us to really break things down into understandable chunks really convinces me that there is an intelligence of utter awesomeness behind it all.

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  2. Sorry, emergence, not emergents.

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  3. But look at this banana, and see how the ridges perfectly fit into my hand! This proves creationism once and for all!

    (Just kidding, of course)

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  4. Scott, you can't pull a quote out of context and attempt to refute it. Also, there wouldn't be such animosity towards scientists and certain Christians if they didn't try to infiltrate real science by means of "intelligent design" and whatnot. Scientists aren't the bad guys here.

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  5. How's it out of context? Honestly the book just isn't good (at least what I read); he seems to be making the point (which really is no point) more to get people to talk than to say anything that actually makes sense (he only succeeds in getting people to talk). There are much better arguments out there, I'm sure.

    As for intelligent design...it's a load of bull! Why people try and call it science is beyond me...science is science and faith is faith. Kids should learn all about God and religion in public school, but it should be called philosophy--it should stay out of science classes.

    But when scientist start saying that science is so advance that we can now say there is no God, then they seem to be doing what certain Christians do--making science a religious exploration.

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  6. Parallel to your previous comment, Scott, I think Mr. Hawking is like most of the rest of us. Whether we are adamantly trying to prove or dis-prove God, we can easily lose the objectivity we need to approach the things we are using as 'evidence'.

    We have seen that in many fiery preachers, and now get to see it in Mr. Hawking--"My mind is made up, don't try to persuade me with facts." And, of course, facts are still subject to interpretation.

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