Confession time: A Brief History Of Time is one of the few books I never finished, I found it a bit too accessible, I did read Hawking's "Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays" so I guess I can be forgiven . Feeling a little guilty, better go looking for it now.Ygern wrote:Also, a lot of people bought ABHOT but didn't read it, intimidated by the subject matter. They shouldn't have been, it's very accessible and Hawking's mischievous sense of humour shines through.
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Hmm... I'll have to read the new book to get the context, but I think this might become one of those quotes we end up wishing he'd never said. I wonder if he's being a little coy again, in order to stir things up a little. Creationists love to (incorrectly) define atheists as 'people who believe there was nothing and then nothing happened to nothing... etc' so I think we're going to end up having to rebut an 'even Steven Hawking believes that nothing caused everything' argument."'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."
Surely the whole concept of 'nothing' is an abstraction. Surely 'nothing' is, was, always has been, and always will be, impossible. We are surrounded by evidence that matter, energy and elementary forces exist. Nothing is the absence of all matter, all energy and all forces. Nothing cannot contain anything, not a boson, not a photon, not a fluctuation, and certainly not a god. Nothing means nothing. So I hope (presume) Hawking is talking about our known universe (or the known extent of it) not the entirety of all that has always existed (including beyond and before our limits of detection) and which must have always contained matter, energy and the forces that bind them in various states of formation and decay.
P.S. Nice thread title. When I first saw it I read 'hawking' as a verb.
“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven't recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can't decipher. What we can't understand we call nonsense. There is no free will. There are no variables. There is only the inevitable.” Chuck Palahniuk
hmm came across what looked like some interesting article on atheists perception of time after hawkings book was released, but can't find it now..anyone