Stephen Hawking has garnered a lot of admiration and respect as a brilliant physicist and cosmologist. His book, A Brief History of Time, is a bestseller for its ability to translate physics and cosmology into terms that a layman can understand. So, when he came out recently promoting his new book claiming, "There is a sound scientific explanation for the making of our world—no Gods required" a lot of people took notice. Is our understanding of physics really sufficient to conclude that we know everything necessary to explain the existence of everything?
What new theory?
In his new book, Hawking claims that the reason the universe needs no creator is due to a "new theory" called M-theory (where "M" stands for "membrane," or just "m," or "murky" or "missing"1 depending upon one's particular version of the theory). Originally promoted as "superstring" theory 20 years ago, it has evolved from "strings" to "membranes," although all forms of the theory propose extra dimensions (11, in fact). However, M-theory is no single theory, but, rather, a number of theories through which one may obtain just about anything one wants. How one can test such a nebulous set of theories, which "predict" just about anything and everything, seems to be a problem.
M-theory: science or faith?
The nature of the universe requires that membranes from M-theory, if they exist at all, must be on the order of Planck length (10-35 m). Such a size is way less than microscopic or even well below subatomic particle sizes. In order to confirm such objects, one would need an accelerator on the order of 6,000,000,000,000,000 miles in circumference.2 It would seem likely, therefore, that confirmation of M-theory, based upon observable data, is impossible. Do such a set of theories that predict everything and anything and are not testable through observational data really fall within the realm of science?
Whence the laws of physics?
According to Stephen Hawking, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist." However, neither gravity nor any other law of physics provides a mechanism by which universe can be spontaneously created. The question Hawking never answered was why those laws of physics exist? Although it is possible for things such as particles to pop into existence from "nothing," it has never been shown that non-quantum-sized objects can perform such feats. Even if it were possible, why would it be expected that such laws of physics would exist that universes to be created from nothing? Why wouldn't a true nothing consist of no laws of physics and no possibility of anything popping into existence?
So, Stephen Hawking wants us to believe that a nebulous set of theories, which cannot be confirmed through observational data, absolutely establishes that an infinite number of diverse universes exist, having been created from laws of physics that just happen to allow this. John Horgan, a fellow atheist, says that the popularity of M-theory is the result of "stubborn refusal of enthusiasts to abandon their faith."3 Is it not more likely that a super-intelligent, powerful Being invented the laws of physics that produced the universe? Skeptics always ask, "Who created God?" Maybe they already have the answer to that question—Nothing! After all, they seem to think that nothing is a powerful force for creating things!
- Why is There Something Instead of Nothing?
- Stephen Hawking Says God Did Not Create the Universe: What Do You Think? (Reasons To Believe)
- Stephen Hawking, God and the role of science By Alister McGrath
- Proving the Existence of God by Frank J. Tipler
- As a scientist I'm certain Stephen Hawking is wrong. You can't explain the universe without God By Professor John Lennox
- If God Created Everything, Who Created God?
- Is God Real? Does Science Answer "Is There a God?"
- Book Review: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is by Hugh Ross
- Size of the Universe: Isn't it Too Large to Have Been Created by God for Humanity?
- Missing the Obvious - Have you checked your tent lately?
- Invisible Pink Unicorns, Santa Claus and God
- God of the Gaps - Do All Christian Apologetics Fall Into This Kind of Argument?
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? - Antony Flew Renounces Atheism
- Book Review: There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew
- String People: Ed Witten.
- Cosmic Clowning: Stephen Hawking's "new" theory of everything is the same old CRAP by John Horgan (Scientific American).
- ibid. "For more than two decades string theory has been the most popular candidate for the unified theory that Hawking envisioned 30 years ago. Yet this popularity stems not from the theory's actual merits but rather from the lack of decent alternatives and the stubborn refusal of enthusiasts to abandon their faith."
Last Modified April 25, 2012