This marks a change of position for Steven Hawking. In the past, he has always deflected such questions by saying that he does not answer "god questions."

But this newly atheistic position is not likely to satisfy the religionists, however. They will probably suggest that it doesn't really answer the question of origins, but merely postpones it: if laws like gravity caused the big bang, who created those laws?


LONDON (Reuters) – God did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.

In "The Grand Design," co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.

"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," Hawking writes.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going..."

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Replies to This Discussion

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

I gotta say, this doesn't make any sense to me at all. That is not to say that it therefore doesn't make sense but it seems a strange statement for a physicist to make.
Reading the whole book might clarify it for you.
Hi Gary, I agree with John. I have completed the book, and I believe you might have some clarity upon completion. It's not a hard read, honestly. I kept up quite nicely.
This definately tries to answer that ultimate philosophical question. Either the universe always existed or it was spontanously created. I like what Hawkings is going with. Even if a theist says that god is the prime mover one might be able to refute them by saying that god is "something" and the spontaneous creation of the univers is what spawned him, therefore he is not the prime mover. But i fear that this takes us back to the infinite regress question, where does it stop? perhaps there is no beginning in the way that we think of it. lol excuse my philosophical quibble, major props to hawking and the op.
Oh geez, I can feel vomit rushing up my throat from the memory of my religion teacher saying, "Even if the Universe was created by the Big Bang, the Big Bang was created by God." DX
I'm so sorry dude, i think that's my fault. lol, you'll be fine.
So, I am to Chapter 3 in the new Hawking book, and I gotta tell you. This is not a hard read at all. Everything is clear, and the concepts of the theory are explained. So far, I gotta say home run. I think I'm just starting to get to the good stuff, but for now, he is explaining the known laws. Their variables, and how we figured them out. So far, I'm not posting a cry for help from our rocket scientists friends on here to help me out. Others reading it??
Others reading it??

I got the book. I'm spread so thin now that I won't be able to start for a couple of weeks.
I have not been able to start reading this book yet. I do wish the title had been something else. I am waiting for the wingnuts to misinterpret the word "design" for their own purposes. It is a small thing, surely, as they will misinterpret the work anyway. I did cringe just a little when I first read the title of the book, however.
One small complaint from me. I was put off by the use of BC and AD rather than BCE and CE. I'm pushing for universal, not just scientific, usage of the secular terms. I'm sure he weighed the pros and cons based on the expected reactions of the target group. He tried to make the book understandable and friendly to a wide audience.
The terms might be secular but, think of what time period they refer to.
Religion has back-tracked over time from Adam and Eve to "God instigating Big Bang" - and is now left with nought but choir-boy buggery and a bunch of voodoo-logic.
Few remember the names of more than one or 2 popes.
Generation after generation - for centuries to come - will remember the names of Newton, Einstein, Hawking, Darwin, Galileo.




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