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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I just read this at Pharyngula, can't say that it amazes me. Another scientist sees the God Hypothesis as an unnecessary one that does not explain anything.
How about them Newtons, Apple???? errrrrrrr- - - - - How 'bout them Apples, Newton?
I will be quite curious to see if this story has any "legs" as they put it.
I doubt that the religio-political wing nuts will have the nerve to take on Hawking. They tend to shy away from anything that has much to do with facts.
The response, if any will likely be a big "so what".

I'd like to see them throw a rhetorical fit.
As of late, the clergy and every numbnut that gets near a TV camera has more to talk about than Stephen Hawking's book.
I think the less said on this site about the recent nonsense the better, although the recent controversy does pose something of a conundrum for the atheist.

I suppose I could sum up my feelings thus:

Religious books bad.
Book burning worse.
"There are worse crimes than burning books, one of them is not reading them."
-Ray Bradbury

The owners of my local used book store (Prospero's, Tom Wayne and W.E. Leathem) were arrested several years ago for hosting a public book burning in protest of society's indifference toward the written word. They had excess inventory that they had tried giving away for free (including to the local library system) and nobody was interested.
This has nothing to do with the main topic here, I just felt compelled to respond to the generic statement that burning books is bad.
Well, I have already heard (on the BBC) a response by a Christian cleric in Britain (don't recall the denomination - probably Anglican), who said exactly what I predicted - that Hawking hasn't really said anything because he hasn't said how laws like gravitation got created.

Of course, that really isn't saying anything either. If God created the law of gravitation, who created God?
Unfortunately, clergy everywhere are as likely to disown their product as a GM executive will tell people to buy a Ford because Chevys suck. (but we have all these other wonderful products right over here...)
You have certainly hit the nail on the head.

This is the time for Atheism to make a world wide push in good taste. The church is crippled with sex abuse, Hawking is saying the existence of the universe can be explained without the need of a god and theist spokespeople are shooting themselves in the foot.
Sort of reminds me of what Anthony Wiener said about democrats and debates with the GOP(I paraphrase from memory):

"Democrats have the habit of showing up to knife fights with library books."

In your context, one might add: ".........and while the faithful reload, the atheists go back online"
I have heard that quote before and it still makes me chuckle. It's the perfect example to magnify this debate.
Hey John, I think you will agree that at least a theory is a step in the right direction. We have both completed the book, and I'll say it again, I think this is Hawking's way of saying, here is a theory, based on god necessary. Suck it!! LOL
For theologians, the whole premise of their approach to physics or the universe is that every thing has to be created or have a cause.
Hello Scott, et. al.
There is no reason that gravity has to be created. It just is, eternal. It's a relationship with mass and other natural forces which exists infinitely and eternally with matter. (You can see I'm not well versed in physics!, but I think you all can get the point.)
Curious thing about Christianity. There are remnants of this understanding where God is referred to as infinite or omnipresent. So it seems to me that God is just a stand in word for physics but certainly not the author of a set of holy books. Theologians want to have it both ways: a God that is "the infinite" not a creator, and a "God" of laws that determines the personal lives of humans, an ultimate King of the realm. In another word the "political God." I think the two concepts are a contradiction. My hunch is that the "infinite God" concept, prefigures the "political God." To borrow a cliche, when people want power, politics trumps everything; not to mention the desire to make a profit. Perhaps the first time an early "Cro Magnon" ancestor said, "this is mine, it belongs to me," (or my family or tribe), the political God was invented.
-- Gary


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